Voter Information

October 2, 2016-

It’s hard not to notice that we’re in the midst of an important election cycle and the move is on to have Mount Ida become a “voter-friendly” campus. What exactly does that mean? 

Under the leadership of Gregg Grenier, Director of Community Engagement, and James Dulin, Assistant Director of Social Justice and Inclusion, a coalition has been formed to introduce a participatory culture when it comes to the democratic process, especially voting. Grenier and Dulin have been working since April – and will be through the next academic year – with NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and the Campus Vote Project to implement programs and initiatives that break down voter access and awareness barriers that will lead to Mount Ida College receiving a “Voter Friendly” designation. This designation would last from March 2017 to December 2018.

Dulin, Grenier, the staff at the Wadsworth Library, and members of the Associated Student Government will be organizing voter registration drives, ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, an on-campus mock election, transportation to and from the polls on election day, an election night watching-party and more. “We want to make sure that our students realize the importance of exercising their right to cast a vote,” says Dulin, “and more importantly that they are informed about the process, access, and the issues.”

Many students are not aware of how easy it is to register and/or that residential students can list Mount Ida as their address when doing so. “For other students, staff, and faculty, we want to make sure they know where their polling station is and how to file an absentee ballot if they can’t get to their location and still want to vote,” says Grenier.

This year, in addition to the all-important presidential race, there are also congressional races and state-wide ballot questions that Grenier and Dulin want to be sure the students know about.  “We are sure the Mount Ida community will have strong opinions about the questions on the Massachusetts ballot,” says Grenier.  “Ballot questions can be very confusing, so we will be working with the library staff to put together mock ballots and non-partisan background information to both demystify the process and to empower the community with the information to cast an informed vote.”

“An informed student body is the best student body,” says Grenier.

The following events and resources have been created for the benefit of the Mount Ida community to become active participants in the 2016 Election.

Non-partisan information: The Mount Ida Library put together an Election 2016 guide that is extremely helpful in learning everything there is to know about this year’s election!

Register to vote and Absentee Ballots: The Mount Ida Library and the Campus Center Information Desk (top floor) will have voter registration and absentee ballot information for all 50 states. Stamps will be provided for anyone that needs them to send in one of these forms. *Mount Ida Residential Students can use Mount Ida as their voting address.

Debate Watching Parties:

  • Tuesday, October 4th at 9PM in the Campus Center Theater (Vice President Debate)
  • Sunday, October 9th at 9PM in the Campus Center Theater
  • Wednesday, October 19th at 9PM in the Wingate Event Center

Issue-based Lunch and Learns: 

  • Criminal Justice: Friday, October 7th from 12-1PM in the Oak Hill Room
  • Foreign Policy: Friday, October 14th from 12-1PM in the Oak Hill Room
  • Environment: Wednesday, October 19th from 12-1PM in the Oak Hill Room
  • Healthcare: TBD (Last week in October)

Mock Election: What if Mount Ida students, staff, and faculty were to decide the 2016 Election? Only one way to find out!  On Tuesday, October 25th, the Mount Ida Library will be transformed into a polling station where everyone at Mount Ida will have a chance to vote by using the Massachusetts ballot from 7:30AM until 9PM.

Election Day:  Tuesday, November 8th 
Transportation: For anyone that has Mount Ida as their voting address,there will be a shuttle to the local polling station in Newton.  And there will be an Election Night Party in Wingate to watch the results come in.

CommunityPlunge
October 1, 2016-

The commencement robes were barely off and mortarboards tucked away, when the Student Affairs staff kicked into high gear to meet and greet the incoming freshman class, through a carefully-planned and organized series of events.

Beginning in May, the 25 Orientation Ambassadors began an intensive week-and-a-half of training to prepare them to lead the newest members of the Mount Ida Community. They met with different departments to learn and understand the wealth of resources available. They learned about the ups and downs of new student transition, about diversity and equity and became a team.

They made forays into Boston, engaged in a scavenger hunt, became familiar with what was where, the different stops on the Green, Orange, Red and Blue Lines and were prepared for just about any question a new student or parent might ask.

But it wasn’t all just facts and figures. They wrote skits, produced videos, learned to dance and how to command an audience from the stage. They were Mighty and they were ready!
Three two-day Orientation sessions happened in June, another in August and yet another for international students in September.BarryWelcome
Hundreds of new students, who brought along parents and friends, were given a two-day immersion into Mount Ida College life.  By the time they drove past the gatehouse on the way home, they had heard about campus life, the Mighty Creed, learned about clubs and organizations, met their peer groups from their Schools or programs, lived in the residence hall and relaxed together.

“It was a very positive experience,” says Ally Petrosinelli, the Assistant Director of Orientation and Involvement. “I had only been on campus for a few days when the process began in June, and am incredibly impressed at the enthusiasm and family atmosphere of this campus.”

Not only were the students pleased, but the parents and families were equally impressed with the time and care taken to assure that they could separate from their children and know they were in good hands.  They attended several sessions with Orientation Ambassadors and other staff members where they could freely discuss their fears and concerns and leave knowing that the resources would be there for their children and that they were not alone in their feelings.

As the summer waned, the residence halls were readied and on September 1, it was Move In Day and the beginning of Mustang Round-Up, four full days of activities.  Included was a first-ever group drone photo on alumni field, a lunch and the official good byes.  On Friday, a full contingent of new students showed up under the tent for breakfast and assignments for the Community Plunge.  Off they went to do good work and be introduced to the importance of community involvement (see related story).

When the students returned from their good deeds, they grabbed a lunch, then geared up for the pep rally and home opener football rivalry of Mount Ida and UMass Dartmouth.  Dressed in their Green Out tee shirts, eye black and team spirit, they cheered the Mustangs on.

On Saturday, upwards of 250 people hopped on board the “Spirit of Boston” for a daytime cruise around Boston Harbor.  They danced to two DJs, played lawn games on deck or just stood on the top deck and took in the Boston skyline and the place they now call home.

Back on solid ground, they settled in a bit more and got ready to say hello to the returning students who arrived, amid hurricane warnings, on Labor Day Monday and the Week of Welcome began.

From bingo games to a performance by a comedian, to settling back in and decorating their rooms, the students got ready to begin their academic careers.  The formal kick-off took place under the tent at the annual Convocation on Thursday.  President Brown addressed the crowd, then Provost Ron Akie handed out buttons with the word “Ummm” within a circle with a line through it.  By the end of their time at Mount Ida, he assured, they would have no hesitation in the way they spoke – or in knowing what they could become.

They were empowered by the words of Alioune Gueye, Ph.D. Professor of Veterinary Technology, the recipient of the 2016 Ronald Lettieri Award for Excellence in Teaching. He extolled on how students can overcome obstacles and use many strategies promoting effective academic success, emphasizing that the College provides a positive context that will enable them to set goals, generate pathways, and sustain motivation to attain their educational objectives. Before being sent on their academic pathway, they were invigorated by words of wisdom and experience from Ryan Burch, ’17, President of Associated Student Government.

And with that and a few more events to go, the Student Affairs staff took a deep breath, then prepared the application forms for next year’s Orientation Ambassadors.

AmeriCorps

September 30, 2016-

As another year drew to a close, it was time to celebrate the great work done by AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers from campuses across Massachusetts.

At a luncheon at Mount Ida, the College and Massachusetts Campus Compact (MACC) met to applaud the AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers and the programs they made possible, to acknowledge those who were leaving and to welcome the newest group of VISTAs. MACC is an umbrella organization that oversees a cohort of VISTA volunteers throughout the state who work in partnership with higher education institutions and local education organizations.

President Barry Brown, a MACC Board of Directors member, welcomed the attendees to Mount Ida and underscored the importance of these programs and partnerships. Then, the Keynote speech was delivered by Karley Ausiello, who was MACC’s first VISTA 20 years ago.  “Ausiello built the program from scratch and formed the model which has been adopted by almost every other state,” says Director for Community Engagement, Gregg Grenier.

In addition to honoring the VISTAs, special recognition was given to Karen Chisholm, the Co-Director of the Massachusetts Campus Compact VISTA program, who was leaving after 19 years of service.  “She has been the driving force behind its growth,” says Grenier.  “There are now 25 VISTAs in the Bay State who each year do amazing work.”

The event was a culmination of much hard work over this past year.  “We have been so fortunate to have two amazing VISTAs over the past few years who have developed and help build our program with the West Roxbury Urban Science Academy,” says Grenier.  “We have formulated a formidable mentoring program that has opened doors to post-secondary education to many students who may have never thought that was a possibility.”

As this new school year begins, Taisha White ‘15, now entering her second and final year as an AmeriCorps*VISTA, will focus on introducing the program to 9th and 10th graders.  “They need to be introduced to the concepts of planning for a path after high school at an earlier stage in their life.  We hope to instill in them the passion that the seniors felt last year when they stood and proclaimed that they had made the decision to go on,” says White.  For some it was to a community college, to others it was military or trade school while some were headed to colleges and universities.

“This program has been instrumental in creating sustainable opportunities for Mount Ida students to become involved in the community,” says Grenier. “It is also a phenomenal way to meet the needs and goals of one of our longest-standing community partners – something that we strive to do with all of our partners.”