Homecoming Weekend 2017

Homecoming Weekend 2017

Trinity just welcomed back Alumni with their family and friends to Homecoming Weekend 2017. This past weekend, the campus was alive with an a cappella concert Saturday morning, a tailgate tent, and of course the football game main event.

Starting early Saturday morning, cars rolled into campus. Hatchbacks opened up and tables laid out with hot chocolate, “Box O’ Joes”, donuts and other snacks popped up around the Hansen parking lot. Current students and alumni mingled and chatted despite the briskness of the morning, their gloved hands wrapped around warm coffee cups. Homecoming is a great time of year for all generations of Trinity students and their families to come together. Even though it tends to get colder around this time of year, Homecoming is always an exciting and warm time on campus. Saturday was certainly no exception!

Trinity’s five a cappella groups all put on a concert in Vernon Social. The Dischords started, followed by the Accidentals, The Trinitones, The Trinity Pipes and The Quirks. Alumni from each group were also able to attend the concert and they each got up on stage with their groups to sing their traditional Homecoming songs. It was a wonderfully musical way to open up the weekend.

Outside of Vernon Social, there was a tent set up with a complimentary lunch buffet, tables with face-painting and other fun games and activities. After the tailgating reception, families and students went over to their tables in the Hansen parking lot and waited for the flag ceremony and the kick off of the game.

Around fifteen minutes before kick off, an impressive 30x50ft American flag was carried out onto the field in honor of all the veterans and their families in the Trinity Community. Veterans attending Homecoming were also able to sign up to be flag bearers.

Finally, after the morning’s festivities, the football game against Wesleyan started and proved to be quite an exciting game. Trinity maintained a 4pt lead through halftime. After the Trinity Men’s Squash team was presented their national championship rings, the game continued and Trinity came out on top, beating rival Wesleyan 28-3.

Overall, Homecoming 2017 was a beautiful weekend. And it was amazing to have campus so lively and full of the excitement of the Trinity Family across generations.

Trin Alums are Everywhere!

Trin Alums are Everywhere!

Last Wednesday, I was attending an education policy event at the National Press Club. After taking the elevator up to the 13th floor, the doors opened up to a magnificent lobby. After checking in, grabbing my name tag, and picking up the event literature, I found my seat. I mingled with my table mates for a few minutes until the warm, inviting aroma of coffee wafted to my nose. I looked at the breakfast table and saw an array of coffee and pastries. Exhausted and hungry at 8 in the morning, I made my way over to the refreshments table. To my surprise, another woman at the refreshment table turned to me and asked, “Did I hear you say you attend Trinity College?”

After confirming that I do attend Trinity, the woman remarked that she was an alumna of Trinity. Turns out the alumna was Catherine Millett, Senior Research Scientist at Policy Evaluation & Research Center, and she was organizing the whole event. I was incredibly surprised to meet an alumna at such a random event. But, as I turned back to the room from the refreshment table I realized that I now knew one person and felt much more confident and comfortable. Catherine and I were able to connect over our love for both Trinity and education policy. After the event, I got a picture with Catherine and sent her an email congratulating her on such a wonderful event, and thanking her for mentioning that she also went to Trinity.

After my last blog was posted on the Trinity College Admissions Instagram, an alum in D.C. commented on the post. Kristin Duquette ’13 works at FEMA right behind the U.S. Department of Education building that I work in. She was interested in connecting and I followed her up on her offer. The next week, Kristin and I met for lunch at the cafeteria of the American Indian Museum near both of our offices. Kristin and I connected over our Trinity experiences and affinity for all things D.C. She emphasized how important it is to speak up for yourself, find things you are passionate about and know that it is okay to not have a plan. Kristin has an extensive resume, and I was honored to get words of wisdom from such an amazing woman.

It is no surprise to anyone that Trinity has such an incredible alumni network. This week, I got to experience it firsthand and meet two wonderful alumni that took time out of their day to speak to me. Trinity alums show up in the most random places and are always willing to create a connection with students and help them in any way they can. At the least, students and alums have the opportunity to bond over their great experiences ‘neath the elms.

Interview with Michael Acosta ’13

Interview with Michael Acosta ’13

I had the privilege of interviewing Michael Acosta ’13, who is a co-owner of Story and Soil, Hartford’s newest coffee shop. In addition to coffee, we had the chance to discuss his time at Trinity, his favorite thing to order, and the wonderful city of Hartford. 

When did you graduate from Trinity? What did you study, and what was your experience there like?

I graduated Trinity College in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. By design most of my classes were multidisciplinary since I love the intersections of neuroscience and analytic and existential philosophy. I found my niche at Trinity very early on in the Underground coffeehouse, where I would eventually be manager as a Graduate Assistant, and Cleo of Alpha where I’m currently alumni treasurer. I loved my professors and always kept a busy and diverse class load. Being part of multiple groups on campus meant that many more people to discuss life and current events with.

Story and Soil just opened, and you’re a co-owner—what was the process like, of conceiving of this idea and then bringing it to life?

Before Story and Soil Coffee I started another coffee project called N2 Coffee. N2 Coffee was a way for me to introduce local Connecticut specialty coffee in an approachable and fun way. Mobile nitro cold brew was certainly a great way to start the conversation about interesting coffees and the awesome people behind them. I ran N2 Coffee part-time while also studying at Trinity College and then working as a research technician at a biomedical company in Hartford.

Story and Soil Coffee came about when Sarah and Michael McCoy approached me about starting a coffee business in Hartford back in October 2016. In preparation for launching and finding funding for Story and Soil I joined the Social Enterprise Incubator at reSET in Hartford. I had a specific idea of what kind of coffee, service and hospitality program I wanted, but the three of us had to conceptually and at many points literally build the physical space from the ground up. The shop is located in a 128 year old historic building and needed an incredible amount of structural work.

Most of our time was spent finding funding and building a strong business plan. The actual build-out took about four months from floor boards and studs, to final design and equipment. It was important to test our branding and model within our Hartford community and so we participated in a number of events during the build-out, including the first KNOW GOOD Market of the 2017 season, which is run by fellow alumnus Jeffrey Devereux.

What’s the story behind the name ‘Story and Soil’?

The name was directly inspired by the Bright Eyes album titled Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep your Ear to the Ground. My partners and I also had multiple inspirations for the name during our endless discussions since it quietly spoke to our emphasis on the origin of coffee, the terroir and agricultural component of specialty coffee, as well as the beauty of the communities that coffee shops find themselves in, and the stories and common ground they stimulate.

Why did you choose Hartford as its’ location?

As a foodie and through N2 Coffee I met many of the creatives, restaurateurs, farmers, organizers, and passionate Hartford residents that make our Capital city beat and whom are leading the movement to revitalize Hartford. This community and economic and cultural outlook made Hartford a great city to set up shop. This vibrancy and enterprising spirit has also been through out the specialty coffee community in Connecticut over the past 5 years. A number of shops run by young and passionate entrepreneurs have popped up and made a real imprint in the coffee industry and their communities. Hartford and Frog Hollow in particular needed a quality driven community shop that was committed to providing an inclusive and fun space.

And since opening, how has Hartford taken to Story and Soil?

So far Hartford has embraced Story and Soil with grace, curiosity and open arms. Our guests include city workers, local business owners, residents, students, and friends. There is certainly more excitement than confusion on any given day (albeit we are on our fourth day of soft opening). We get more questions about our flights and cocktail inspired coffee drinks than our business model, and our guests are definitely getting savvy to the tasting portions of our coffee menu. Guests have loved our vinyl record selection.

How did your time at Trinity help bring you to where you are today?

Even while taking a number of labs a semester, Trinity made it easy to include exciting classes that provided respite, stimulation and perspective. Professors at Trinity reward critical thought, and breadth of knowledge and interests, allowing for deep dives into a variety of subjects throughout your four years of study. While building my potential career in biotechnology, I never felt shy about continuing to pursue my passion in coffee. I traveled to Colombia, attended conferences and built a rapport in the coffee community that helped me launch N2 Coffee, and eventually Story and Soil Coffee.

Finally: what’s your favorite coffee and food order? Any recommendations for Story and Soil first-timers?

I would begin with an espresso float, and then order a flight of the seasonal espresso and pour over, pairing it with the avocado toast (smashed avocado, roasted garlic, salt and pepper). A glass of hibiscus ginger kombucha or mineral water would be a great finisher.

Guests should feel welcomed to explore our menu or order their regular drink. We promise to have something for everyone, and strive to welcome you into our shop with warmth and gratitude.

How to Utilize The Bantam Network

How to Utilize The Bantam Network

Last week, a friend from Trinity visited me here in Rome, Italy, where I am currently studying as a member of Trinity’s Rome Program. Although we went sight-seeing and tried new restaurants together, the majority of my friend’s time was not spent with me, but rather in an office. Indeed, as a first-semester senior who was already offered a job in Rome, she had spent last week enjoying an employer-paid visit to attend a week-long conference. Come July, her job will officially begin.

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I asked her how she had gotten so lucky.  She replied simply, “I interned there last summer.”

My friend’s experience reinforced what I had already suspected, that internships are an integral and necessary rite of passage for any successful college student. Yet, from the experience of most millennials, these internships are also often unpaid and, depending on where you are from, could be inconveniently located. Certainly, finding the perfect internship, and later, the perfect job, can be a very daunting task.  Fortunately, Trinity College is an incredible resource. 

Prior to the beginning of my first year, all members of my incoming class were invited to an alumnus/alumna-hosted event, located at the home or club of the alum. There were multiple events hosted throughout that summer, in locations spanning the entire nation, so that as many students as possible could partake. These meet-and-greets were attended by many alumni, current-students, professors and other incoming first years. Notably, these events occur every year, for every Trinity-class. Apart from being an occasion to make new friends or to meet your professors, it also presents an amazing networking opportunity. 

Such was my experience when I attended a reception in the Hamptons, Long Island, at the home of a highly successful entrepreneur whose business had gross sales in excess of 500 million dollars. She was not simply a gracious hostess, but very generously provided me her contact information with an offer to apply for an internship with her Manhattan-based company during the summer of my junior year. 

Without question, the Bantam alumni are a tight-knit group who are dedicated to transitioning the next generation of graduates into the work place.

However, if offers from alumni are not enough, there is also an on-campus Career Development Center. There, you can find leads for internships, seek help creating a resume, schedule a mock job interview or simply seek advice from a career advisor.

Notably, Trinity also offers rare and unique student research opportunities. Since Trinity does not have a science-graduate program, all of its’ research is conducted by its’ undergraduate students. As early as your first year, you can begin to conduct professional research alongside your professors. Many of my friends who are majoring in Engineering and Biology have benefited from these programs. They spend their summers on Trinity’s campus, taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity that so few other institutions of higher learning offer.

As for me, I am currently teaching English to children ranging in ages from 8-12 years at a middle school here in Rome. I obtained this internship through Trinity’s Rome Program, which offers countless other opportunities depending on your level of Italian competency. For instance, if you speak little to no Italian, you can work with an Italian (but English-speaking) chef. Or, if you’re fluent in the native language, you can give tours in museums or conduct research in basilicas alongside church authorities. There are a variety of internships that fall along this spectrum, such as my position at the middle school. It certainly has been one of the most satisfying and transformative experiences of my life, and I do not doubt that it has given me skills and experiences that will help me secure a job in the future.

Although the prospect of searching for internships and jobs can be stressful, it is reassuring to know that Trinity’s wide-ranging alumni connections, offered-programs, and opportunities available in locations such as Hartford and even Rome, guarantees something for everyone. As I prepare to enter my senior year and graduation draws near, I am confident that Trinity will provide me with all of the necessary tools to successfully transition to the work place and that, if I utilize them, the future will be mine for the taking!

Fall Highlights at Trinity

I am thoroughly enjoying the start of my semester abroad at St. Andrews, but as October rolls in, I am starting to miss what New England does like no other: fall. While I love living just across from the North Sea here in Scotland, it is hard to compete with the vibrant foliage back at home. Last year Trinity was ranked in the top 10 most beautiful college campuses in the fall, and I’d like to share just a few of the fall highlights that contribute to Trinity’s autumnal atmosphere.

  • Hot cider at Peter B’s is a great way to warm up, and I recommend getting it with whipped cream! Pumpkin bread is an appropriate supplement here.
  • The in-between days where the leaves are falling but it’s warm enough to read on the quad and soak up some sunshine.
  • Football games are incredibly fun whether you care for the sport or not! They’re a great chance to don some Trinity gear, see all your friends in one place, and hear the Bantam call over the loudspeakers every time we score.
  • In a similar vein, Homecoming weekend offers the opportunity to chat with Trinity alumni of all class years, from your friends who just graduated to wise graduates who remember what the campus was like a few decades ago. I love connecting and reminiscing with members of the Trinity network!
  • Trinity days always manage to come at just the right time and offer a mix of both productivity and relaxation. Whether you head out for the weekend or stick around campus, you’re sure to enjoy the long weekend.

This list is just a few of my favorite aspects of fall at Trinity, and I can’t wait to enjoy them all again in the fall of 2017.