Barnard College - Mortarboard Yearbook (New York, NY)

 - Class of 1981

Page 17 of 272


Barnard College - Mortarboard Yearbook (New York, NY) online yearbook collection, 1981 Edition, Page 17 of 272
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Barnard College - Mortarboard Yearbook (New York, NY) online yearbook collection, 1981 Edition, Page 16
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Page 17 text:

The Chinese enrollment in Columbia University and Barnard College is a sizeable one, and it makes up an integral part of the community on the two campuses. Chinese students, however, do not come from identical backgrounds. Basically three main geographical categories can distinguish most Chinese students. First, there are those who were brought up in America with a relatively heterogeneous upbringing. At home, Chinese culture is practiced; away from the home mostly Western culture is taught. Second, there are students from Hong Kong whose views of Chinese heritage are influenced by a very cosmopolitan. Western lifestyle that exists in the British colony. Finally, there are students who were brought up in Taiwan, yet another land of Chinese tradition and experience, whose people make up the third main sector of a most interesting Chinese community at Columbia and Barnard. Included this year also are approximately forty scholars from the People ' s Republic of China. Since all Chinese students share a common cultural heritage, it is also important to achieve a certain cohesiveness among the members of this community. This cohesiveness is necessary for students to organize in sharing and presenting their common culture. And because the Chinese students hold different views of the same culture, their interactions enrich and bring more meaning to Chinese traditions. The desire to organize, which overcomes the general reluctance of Chinese students to be involved in such matters, is concretely represented in the existence of the Chinese Students ' Club, which has become the center of activities in the Chinese community. It is therefore impossible to mention the Columbia-Barnard Chinese community without taking into account the CSC. Over the years this club has been the source of enjoyable extracurricular and social activities which are important to students in an academically demand- ing environment. The CSC has two primary functions: to promote Chinese culture and to facilitate an interesting social environment for its members as well as enthusiastic nonmembers. Events sponsored by the CSC work toward these two goals. For example, the Welcome Fest held soon after Freshman Orientation included a culture show, a Peking duck dinner, and a disco. Deans and several faculty members were invited to acquaint students with Columbia ' s faculty. In the Mid-Autumn Festival Chinese mooncakes were served under moonlight to commemorate this traditional celebration. And the biggest event was the festival, honoring Chinese New Year. In addition there was the basketball team, the movie presentations, the bowling and social hours, and work on the annual publication — the CSC Bulletin. In particular, the CSC has enjoyed its unique status of having members from very diverse geographical backgrounds. Such diversity has given its members greater opportunities for a better setting to appreciate their common cultural heritage. In this time of a growing awareness of the Chinese culture, it is appropriate and very significant that the CSC play such an important role in the activities of Chinese students. Its success is not only commensurate with its goal and title, it is also a salubrious element to a more lively atmosphere at Columbia University and Barnard College. Su-Ping Chan C ' 82 Addison Lau C ' 82 Susie Ng B ' 81

Page 16 text:

Being a Hispanic student at Barnard is quite an ac- complishment. A very small percentage of Hispanic- Americans go to college and the number of women doing so is even smaller. The fact that some of us attend a selective, academically demanding institution such as Barnard makes us pretty special. Aside from the pride and joy that stem from our success, we face certain challenges as we move from the world of our culture and community to that of American academia. As Rosa Alonso, ' 82, points out, " The people I went to high school with are still in town, working in stores and banks, getting married and divorced, as is often the norm in our communities. Choosing college and a career means that we ' ve broken away from our culture to get the better part of Anglo culture, and to return to ours. " " We ' re not breaking away totally. We ' ve got an opportu- nity most of our Latin sisters don ' t have, " remarked Magda Garcia, ' 81. For many of us, it is a challenge and a com- mitment to " make the best of it, bringing the best of both worlds back to the community. " The degree of support we get from our families is not something to be taken for granted either. While few of us at Barnard have had to deal with total opposition, there is sometimes a certain degree of reluctance on the part of our parents, faced with a daughter so determined to break with tradition. As Carmen Sanchez, ' 81, explains, " for His- panics, if yo u ' re twenty-one, and not married, well . . . " . " My father used to say, ' why do you have to want such a long career for a woman, ' about my plans to go to law school. Now he ' s happy about it, " remarks Rosa Alonso. Others such as Idalia Lopez, ' 82, are luckier: " My family is thrilled that I ' m going to school. They won ' t accept any- thing less than a Ph.D., and they tell me that there ' s always time for marriage and children. " On a social level, life at Barnard is much more positive for most of us. While keeping our own cultural identity, we share and grow with our friends and classmates. " I ' m very Hispanic, but I don ' t find my friends on that basis, " states Idalia. " As a minority sponsor in Orientation, I wanted to do something for minorities on campus, something not be exclude others, but something from the Latin community to the f reshman class. " Carmen Sanchez adds, " Barnard pro- vides an opportunity to mingle. I can choose to sit with someone because I want to, not because I ' m Hispanic. " On an academic level, we often find that Barnard helps us grow, even in terms of our own culture and history, as we are given the opportunity to bridge the intellectual gap often found in our immigrant communities. " I felt I couldn ' t express myself in Spanish as I wanted to, " explains Magda Garcia. " I took a Spanish course, and saw that there was more to it than language. " However, " being a His- panic is not the only perspective I come to class with. Being a woman is also very important to me; a lot depends on what end I ' m feeling oppressed from that day, " she quipped. Rosa Alonsa added, " I was thrilled to be able to hear Borges, and shake hands with Cortazar. It ' s something I can relate to, and learn about my own culture. " Carmen Sanchez agreed, " That ' s something Barnard gave me that I didn ' t have back in the ghetto — to be able to hear about someone like Cortazar. " Our aspirations don ' t end at graduation, either. Many of us have definite plans for professional careers, with an eye towards serving as role models for our communities, and for all women. As we look towards the future, we know we will remember Barnard as a place for challenges and growth, and will feel very proud to have left the mark of our efforts in Barnard ' s history. Kenia M. Fernandez B ' 83 Rosa Alonso B ' 82 12

Page 18 text:

BLACK AT BARNARD " Besides the waters of the Hudson I feel my race. Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon and over swept, but through it all, I remain myself. When covered by the waters I am; and the ebb reveals me again. " Zora Neale Hurston, one of Barnard ' s most distin- guished alumna and the first Black graduate, expressed her feelings about attending Barnard in the above quote. Bar- nard College is not without a history of Black women. Unfortunately the stories of Zora Neale Hurston and other Black women who succeeded her at Barnard have not been relayed to women attending the school many years after Hurston. The four years spent at Barnard represents an imple- menting process of those ideals and gains struggled for by many black women in Barnard ' s past. A knowledge of this past reveals the diversity of this college. Barnard is a com- posite of many individuals who bring to this unique at- mosphere all their personal reference points. For many a group of women being an individual means being a Black woman. But each of these Black women is an outgrowth of different perspectives within the Black culture. This indi- viduality and sense of self is what Hurston spoke of in her statement. And the Barnard Organization of Black Women has grown with the times and development of Black at Barnard in order to answer to a need for many Black Women at Barnard to express themselves in an environment of understanding beyond the educational. Barnard Organization of Black Women was born of the struggles of the sixties and early seventies. This period in the college ' s history marked the beginning of a more active recruiting program for minority students, increasing the number of Black women per class. This higher concentra- tion of Black women created a stronger feeling of a Black presence on campus. Therefore many Black women felt a need for a gathering place, a place for Black women to address themselves as Blacks but most importantly recon- ciling that with our position as women. Through the sixties and seventies B.O.B.W. helped many women work out their feelings about entering pre- dominately white schools. The eighties will be a time of resolving our feelings of being a part of a larger Black culture but recognizing all the variations on that theme as well as realizing ourselves as women within that culture and within Barnard. Marcia Lynn Sells B ' 81 From Left to Right (Committee heads of Celebration of Black Womanhood Weekend): Veronica Mallet, Diane Elebe, Sharon Roberson, Kuumba Edwards, Debra Johnson. 14

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