Inspired by a poem “What I Was Wearing” by Dr. Mary Simmerling, Jen Brockman and Mary Wyandt-Hiebert created the first exhibit of “What Were You Wearing” in 2014 at the University of Arkansas. Since then, many “What Were You Wearing?” survivor art installations were developed across the US to shatter the decades-old myth that the responsibility of an assault lies in the victim. Similar victim-blaming questions, such as interrogating the victims’ alcohol consumption and their sexual history, bring shame and blame upon the victim and take the focus away from the real offenders. Such prejudices intimidate victims from reporting the assault and further feeds the rape culture.
i have been asked this question
it has been called to my mind
if only it were so simple
if only we could
by simply changing clothes.
i remember also
what he was wearing
that no one
has ever asked.”
From “What I Was Wearing” by Mary Simmerling
On November 7th, GCC exhibited its own survivor art installation, displaying nine outfits hanging next to 9 rape survivors’ narratives about what they wore when they were assaulted.
A long sleet shirt and Khakis. A T-shirt and jeans. A sweatsuit. A 6-year old girl’s dress. They were all there. Attendees not only see themselves reflected in the outfits “I have this similar shirt at home,” but also in the settings or contexts in which assaults took place, “a family’s friend came to visit,” “at a social gathering before entering grad school,”…
Within the exhibit were support groups and organizations at GCC and local communities:
Al-Anon is a newly created peer support club for students at GCC that aids recovery for the families and friends of alcoholics. Weekly meeting will be held in room C201 every Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 pm.
GLOW Women March empower women of local, rural communities of the GLOW region to participate and rise to positions of power that create positive changes.
RESTORE, a program of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, leads the community response to sexual violence through advocacy and education, by providing the safety, support and validation that changes the lives of all those affected.
YWCA Genesee offers domestic violence crisis and prevention services, accessible childcare at Genesee County Family Court, and economic empowerment opportunities.
More facts about domestic and sexual violence in the US:
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) – NSVRC
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men (1).
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime (1).
Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries (1).
On October 31st, 2019, Global Education club, in collaboration with WOKE, Student Government Association celebrated The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos. It’s easy to be confused, but Day of the Dead is not a Mexican version of Halloween. Dia de los Muertos celebrates the memories of the departed ones and welcomes the visits of their family members’ spirits into their homes with food offerings, beautifully decorated altars and cemeteries. On the contrary, the Celtic-originated Halloween strongly associated with fear of death and spirits from the underworld, with disguised costumes and jack-o’-lanterns to frighten off evil spirits and motifs of graves opening and the dead rising. As both traditions developed and popularized, their influences and symbols influenced one another (1).
Having learned about Mexican’s Day of the Dead during high school, I could not comprehend how people could remember the dead and their lost ones in such a festive mood and vibrant decorations instead of mourning, almost as if death and departure to the underworld is good news to be lauded and strived toward. But after watching Coco (2017 film), I realized by honoring the dead, we are honoring life itself, the time our beloved ones had struggled through and lived to their fullest. By celebrating the dead, we are keeping our departed ones alive even when they are no longer with us, “Our memories, they have to be passed down by those who knew us in life – in the stories they tell about us” (Coco Film, 2017).
The most essential aspect of Day of the Dead lies in Ofrenda (Spanish for offerings), an elaborately decorated altar with personal items and favorite food and drinks of the one being honored. Many mistaken Ofrenda to be for worshipping, but those offerings are to entice the deceased to visit and to have a meal like a family.
I got to enjoy many of the traditional foods during the Day of the Dead at the celebration yesterday, including Mexican Rice and Beans, Churros and Dulce de leche sauce (cinnamon sugar stick with caramel milk sauce), Pico, Tortilla and Mexican Hot Cocoa.
The most easily recognizable symbols of Day of the Dead are Mexican Marigolds (or Flor de Muerto) and Chrysanthemums. The flowers’ vibrant colors and scent help guide the departed souls to come back to their altars and family for a visit and feast on offerings dedicated for them. Despite its bright yellow and orange colors, marigolds are often known as “flower of the dead.” Many people even craft their own colorful marigolds from colored tissue paper, plastic and pipe cleaners, just like many of the students and GCC staff crafted at the event.
Sugar skull, or Calavera, is another part of the holiday that emphasizes Día de Muertos is all about celebratory, not gloomy. The skulls are often colorfully drawn by hand with smiles, as if to laugh at death (2), and that “death doesn’t have to be bitter, it can be sweet” (3). They are also decorated with colorful icing, beads and confectionery.
The event also educates the attendees on some of the Mexican tradition by introducing Spanish phrases associated with the holiday and the culture. And if you are also learning Spanish like I am, let’s dig in / review some of the Spanish vocab (4):
Día de Muertos: Day of the Dead
La calavera: skull
La Ofrenda: offerings (including personal items, food, drinks, decorations dedicated to the loved ones)
La calaca: skeleton figure
El espíritu: spirit / soul
La ánima: another word for spirit / soul
Flor de muerto: the vibrant orange/yellow marigolds
If there’s one thing you can take away from this post or from this holiday, embrace this irony, “The Day of the Dead makes us reflect on life. In order to have life, we need to have death. It’s that perfect and necessary duality” (5).
College marks an important period in a student’s life. As students begin to transition into adulthood, college is a playground of sorts, a place where experimentation, deep thought, and pondering on what lies ahead are all on the menu. Some students define their college experience through partying, sexual exploration, intense academic rigor, or a combination of sorts. However, for many students they are not in the least concerned with these activities as their energy is more focused on getting themselves out of bed, dealing with an anxiety attack or flirting with the idea of suicide.
Over the past few years mental health has become a hallmark on college campuses across the world. More attention and resources have now been dedicated in assisting students who struggle with their internal demons, which for many, is a case of life and death. Here at Genesee Community College, there is a noticeable sense of despair which afflicts much of the student body. I myself have seen people in my own social circle openly admit to cutting themselves, failed suicide attempts, amongst many other tragic stories. One student in particular had cut themselves multiple times in their abdomen, an event which required an overnight hospital stay.
Earlier this month at the behest of GCC President James Sunser, me and College Village Resident Assistant Randy Bumbury, visited Monroe Community College and advocated for more resources on campus to deal with this crisis. In a room filled with State legislators across various regions we plead our case as to why this issue requires urgent action. Jeanie Burdick is a fine counselor here at GCC and has performed her job well, but she is only one individual. Given that our estimated student population is well over 1,000 (more if our campus centers and distance learning students are calculated), there is simply not enough resources available to address the needs of students.
To be blunt, we need money. Monetary backing would ensure we could afford more than one full-time, qualified counselor as well as expanding our services at the Counseling Center. Thus, GCC could provide more options for students to better manage their health outside of what currently exists, such as Therapy Assist Online, a useful tool students can use, but doesn’t completely solve the problem. The issue we have is not a lack of motivation or skill. That much among faculty is present. We just don’t have the “cache” if you will, to go beyond our constraints and truly make a difference.
Dennis Austin is a graduating sophomore, majoring in Liberal Arts & Sciences. He is graduating this semester and will be attending the University of Illinois in January.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911. If you need to make an appointment with our Counseling Center, please contact Jeanie Burdick at email@example.com or call (585)-343-0055 ext. 6219. The Counseling Center is open weekdays, Monday-Friday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
Runo Suzuki is a sophomore majoring in Theatre Arts at GCC. She is an international student from Hokkaido, Japan. She’s currently a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Student Government Association, Forum Players Theatre Company and a Resident Assistant at GCC’s College Village.
During high school, Runo partook in at least six theatre productions in various roles as an actress, lightning crew, stage manager, and director. At GCC, she had participated in four productions including Bakkhai (as one of the Bakkahs), Single Black Female (as a dancer), Encounters (as an actor), and Children’s Theatre: The Lamp is the Moon (as an ensemble member). Together with the Forum Players Theatre Company, Runo Suzuki performed The Rocky Horror Show as Janet Weiss on October 17-20, 2019 at GCC’s Stuart Steiner Theatre.
“Your heart will thump and your blood will sing / So let the party and the sound rock on / We’re gonna shake it til the life has gone” (lyrics of “Wild And Untamed Thing”). Runo Suzuki and cast performing “Wild And Untamed Thing.”
Were there any difficulties being an international student at GCC?
Absolutely. Last year I was too scared, too shy and too embarrassed to talk to people, ‘cause I thought my English was not good. I’m involved in theatre, have to communicate with the crew and the cast, I was in the situations that I have to talk. Also, my American roommate, Brittany, who is also a theatre major, was also extremely helpful; she always stayed to help me and we hung out a lot, and that boosted my confidence in English speaking.
Why did you choose GCC? And why the theatre major?
I’ve always loved theatre since I was little. In Japan, there are very few colleges that provide theatre programs, and they are mostly very expensive. And I love English, so I want to learn more about it, and I want to learn theatre in New York, since it is the hotspot of theatre and arts. I searched through various colleges with theatre programs and specifically chose GCC to start my English and theatre studies.
What’s your favorite theatre course or professor at GCC?
My favorite course was “Lighting the Stage” taught by Instructor Brodie McPherson, who is also the director of the show. Brodie is so amazing, he can do everything, from light tech to staging and building set props and designs. Currently, I’m working as a lighting design assistant under Brodie as well.
How was the audition process? Why did you choose to audition for this role?
Actually, I initially chose to audition for Frank-N-Furter (Big laugh). I only wrote down Frank-N-Furter and that’s it, I did not write down any other roles. I just loved Frank-N-Furter and after I auditioned for the character, and I was shocked when I was cast for Janet. Because Janet is a pretty, girly and extremely Janet, and I am absolutely not that kind of person.
And I’m shocked to hear you were shocked that you were cast for Janet. I skimmed over the main cast and I could not imagine another cast member that can fit the role and exhibit the bubbly and mischievous innocence as well as you did. It’s either the director cast really well or you acted really well, or both. Why were you shocked you were cast as Janet?
Long story short, I attended an all-girls high school and I mostly played male roles, so I have always been used to the masculine role-playing, so my mind and my comfort zone has always been filled with male’s roles. This was one of the reasons why I auditioned for Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Then one day, I had to be Janet, an utterly feminine, cute and sexual woman.
So the most difficult for me was transforming my gender identity as an actress from masculine roles to feminine roles. There are many different versions of Rocky Horror Picture Show and I watched everything I could find and especially focused on Janet’s pretty and womanly movements. The part I felt most difficult was performing Janet’s “Toucha, Toucha, Touch Me,” which was about her pent-up sexual frustrations and lust awakenings. The scene I feared the most was the scene at the start of Act II (shyly giggles), in which Janet had her first sex with Frank, who disguised himself as her fiancé, Brad, to seduce her.
What are your strong and weak points as an actress? Let’s start with your strong points.
I think one of my strengths so far is adaptability [to different roles]. I’m overly facially expressive. I think another one of my strengths is craziness. Brodie always told me, “you’re a weirdo!” I’d proudly response, “I know!” – maybe that’s a strong point for an actress. I love moving my body, I can’t stop moving my body and dancing whenever I’m hyped.
For weaknesses, I’m not a good singer. I’ve played the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” in high school, but I think I was terrible, I think no one was moved by my singing. During the first few weeks of rehearsal, the musical director, Lauren, taught me vocal lessons on learning how to breathe, how to project my voice. I also need to improve more on understanding, analyzing in-depth and empathize with the character’s backgrounds and motives.
Did you learn anything new about American culture through this production?
YES! Americans are more open-minded regarding LGBT and they are not too bothered about what others are wearing or what their gender and sexual identity labels are. In Japan, it’s more conservative, the topic is not openly address and people of Japan’s LGBT community in most of the time feels they have to hide a huge part of themselves.
What are your plans post-graduation?
I plan on transfer to a 4-year university or work in a theatre-related position for a year on OPT (Optional Practical Training).
Any words or tips for future GCC theater students?
I experienced so many wonderful experiences with the theatre people here and I couldn’t be more proud. I do hope they will get to have the same terrific experiences as I did.
I’m Pinn and I’m an international student from Vietnam. This
is my first semester at GCC and I’m majoring in Computer Information Systems at GCC. This is an intro blog so I’ll will throw at
you some random intro points about me:
Having been at GCC for 6-7 weeks, I’m pleasantly surprised to find so many international Japanese students are enrolling at GCC. I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture and I never imagined coming to GCC would offer me an indirect cultural exposure to “The Land of the Rising Sun.”
Coming from the tropical and humid equatorial climate of Vietnam, I’m preparing myself (physically and mentally) to fight head on with the intense winter sneakily creeping into Batavia.
One thing I crave the most after coming to the US is coconut water, which is much more expensive here compared to my home. But on a brighter note, I have easier access to fresh blueberries, cherries and certified-quality nuts (walnut, pecan, almonds…) which can be considered a luxury in Vietnam.
I love K-pop and my favorite group is Epik High. Tablo, a Korean-Canadian leader and producer of the group, studied English Literature at Stanford University so many of his songs are produced in English. I am rarely interested in rap, but many of Epik High’s rap songs are at the top of my playlist because of their poetic nature and clever wordplay. If you have only heard about K-pop for BTS, I recommend you check out one of Tablo’s English raps, “Dear TV”which tackles the modern demon of tech and entertainment shows.
I love graphic design and have been tinkering with and learning to use Adobe software since middle school. I used to think I could take on graphic design as a career but I later realized I lack the artsy-ness and patience, so I’m keeping it as my hobby.
I read almost all the student writing on this blog before arriving at GCC and their blogging provided many helpful tips about being in America and being a student at GCC.
I hope my future blogs will be able to do the same for other students.
It’s all-hands on deck for the fashion show committees, finalizing Marketing strategies, Front of House spray painting decorations, Back of House making hair and makeup schedules, Finance putting together basket raffles and Planning Committee organizing scenes! We are all very excited to show everyone what it’s really like to be Limitless!
Meet the Planning Committee!
Planning is the largest department of them all, they have worked hard on organizing meetings, putting together the lineup and making sure every scene coordinator is keeping up with their looks! Pictured above (left to right) is Kali Nichols, Aleah Libori, Emma Prior, Kaeli LaFrance, Annika Staffo, Julia Karabinas and Kento Takayama. If you see them around ask them about their scene!
With coordinating colors, the finance committee is responsible for budgeting the entire show. The kept up with fundraising and put together the various themed baskets that will be raffled! They also counted money and had to organize the spreadsheets and finalizing the program! Meet the Finance Committee, Ayaka Yamanaka, Larry DeWitt and Becca Bishop.
In today’s day in age figuring out social media is its own superpower! The Marketing Committee girls have been blasting and spamming your Instagram and Twitter feeds with updates and reminders on the show. Know the girls behind your screen- Nicole Favata has been taking over Instagram, Gianna Monti has been snapping on Snapchat, Hannah Donnelly writing the blog posts, and Jewel Watters has been tweeting away on Twitter! Not pictured is Emma Mckenna who went on WBTA to discuss Limitless and the fashion industry. Make sure to follow all GCC Fashion accounts for more information and pictures!
Back of House
They may be tiny but they are mighty! Hard to believe such an important committee only has two people but trust Ashley Barclay and Camilo Pernett with all of the duties! Ever watch a runway show and wonder how all of the models got their hair and makeup done in time for the walk? It’s all about scheduling- these two coordinated when and where each scene’s model gets their hair and makeup runway-ready!
Front of House
Girls with such good taste must be a part of the Front of House Committee. Diamond Jones, Jordan Brown and Sarah Wescott are making the Arena look completely unrecognizable with their styles. They have worked hard outside of the classroom finding and booking entertainment, coordinating with a shuttle bus company and putting out a schedule to pick our attendees. They have also have been gathering decorations and getting the delicious reception food prepared!
GCC Plaid Inventory is still for sale, but time is running out as the end of the semester is quickly approaching!
There will be a table at the fashion show, Limitless on May 4, 2019. Buy your tickets to the fashion show here: Fashion Show Tickets
But, you don’t have to wait until then to purchase your T-shirts, socks, or ties. Email: Alexis Eighmey to purchase your plaid items! firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay comfortable and stylish while simultaneously promoting GCC and helping out the DECA Club. Look for us during GCC sporting events and on the Batavia Campus Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:20-1:15!
The following items are available for sale:
Black long sleeve T-shirts $15
Blue short sleeve T-shirts $10
Plaid socks $10
Silk neckties $20