“There is nothing permanent except change.”
These words by Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who is well known for his theories of universal flux, are as true at Trinity in 2014 as they were in the ancient city of Ephesus in 500 BCE. We at the College find ourselves constantly reevaluating and making refinements to our outstanding institution to be certain that we are providing the best experience possible for all of those who are a part of our community.
Most recently, Trinity embarked on the new J-Term, an innovative three-year pilot program that offered nine half-credit courses across a range of topics during two weeks of this year’s traditional winter break in January. Students had the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member in a small group setting, taking classes as varied as “Health Care Access and Inequalities in the Americas,” “Soccer, Race, and Nationalism,” and “Reproductive Justice in America.” During the pilot program’s three-year span, we plan to gauge student interest in taking these smaller courses in between terms. We realize that a student population of athletes, international students, and musical performers who are already here in January might welcome taking an academic course as well.
The start of the spring semester also marked the opening of the second phase of the Crescent Street Townhouses, right on cue as planned, providing an additional 150 beds for the seniors, juniors, and sophomores who now call the new residences their home at Trinity. During the fall semester, the first phase of the apartment-style townhouses reinvigorated the southeast corner of campus, which previously had not been developed by the College. The addition of the second phase extends that upbeat trend.
The significant changes that were made to Trinity’s orientation last August continue to be reviewed by a thoughtful committee that has been fine-tuning the program to ensure it is in peak form by this fall. We are committed to making a concerted effort to help new students form meaningful connections with other students and with faculty members; for example, in the fall of 2013, more than half of the new students enjoyed their first campus meal together with their first-year seminar instructor and mentor. A new array of required programs on social, emotional, physical, and academic wellness helped prepare new students for their four years at Trinity.
In addition, the greatly expanded selection of pre-orientation options enabled first-year students to meet classmates, faculty, and upper-level students while getting to know Hartford and Connecticut. The College launched Venture Trinity, a leadership program for young women, and nine additional pre-orientation choices representing a wide range of student interests. These 10 new pre-orientation options supplemented the popular P.R.I.D.E. program for international students and students of color, and Quest, the four- and nine-day wilderness adventure program on the Appalachian Trail. Participants had the opportunity to do something together of mutual interest, form natural friendships, and get to know at least one faculty or staff member–all part of building their new community.
Two important staff additions to the Trinity community this past fall had positive effects on campus life. Laura Rogalski took the reins of programming at the newly renovated Vernon Social in her role as assistant director of student activities, and her presence was felt immediately. Laura comes to Trinity from Western New England University, where she worked as program coordinator of student activities and leadership development, and her experience brings us strength in programming, campus center operations, and student leadership development. Timothy Dunn, former director of Greek affairs at Union College, joined Trinity as associate director of student services for social houses. He works with our Greek letter organizations and other social houses, guiding their campus involvement, advocating for their needs, and advising them as they work to adhere to College requirements.
Amid all of the happenings and exciting changes on campus, constants do remain. We continue to keep campus safety at the forefront and are confident that our strengthened efforts, under the wise leadership of Director of Campus Safety Francisco Ortiz, have made a difference. We will sustain these efforts, as the safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains of utmost importance.
Also unchanged was the Bantam success on the field, on the court, and on the water. Women’s soccer marked its best season in team history, setting a program record for victories in a season and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Football extended its home-game winning streak to 51 with a 40-10 victory over Wesleyan at Homecoming, and field hockey and volleyball advanced to the NESCAC quarterfinals. Women’s rowing won the Head of the Schuylkill and the Head of the Housatonic and came in second in the Head of the Charles. Trinity’s fall season was spectacular indeed.
Very truly yours,
James F. Jones, Jr.
President and Trinity College
Professor in the Humanities