our identities, our community. (and why you should attend!)

Are you a first-year student? Want to learn more about identity and how to engage in dialogue about difference? Our Identities, Our Community, a foundational identity workshop for first-year students, is coming up on Saturday, October 20, and we’d love for you to join us. Want to learn more? Read on for great information, and answers to the most common questions!

What’s this workshop all about?
As individuals, we bring a variety of different identities with us to the Hampshire community, many of which take on new meaning as we immerse ourselves in our new surroundings. As a participant, this workshop will help you to better understand your own multitude of identities, the ways in which they intersect, and how they inform your experiences at Hampshire and in the U.S. You’ll also be introduced to behaviors that support dialogue in a diverse community, with the goal of empowering yourself and others to continue to engage in conversations about social justice, oppression, power, and privilege at Hampshire and beyond.

Who is facilitating the workshop? Anyone I know?
The workshop will be facilitated by the Design Studio for Social Intervention, great friends of Hampshire College who have hosted workshops and trainings for a number of different groups and programs on campus. They have an informative, interactive, and engaging afternoon planned, and can’t wait to share it with you. Staff members from the office of new student programs will also be in attendance to provide support to the facilitators and to connect you with campus resources that will help you extend what you’ve learned beyond the workshop space and into the campus community.

Why would I want to attend something like this?
There are innumerable reasons to attend Our Identities, Our Community, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • You want to engage more deeply in conversation about identity and social justice in class or with other students, but feel intimidated and worried about saying the wrong thing.
  • You want to learn more about your own and others’ identities, how they intersect, and understand how identities can influence individuals’ experiences in the United States.
  • You want to meet other first-year students who share the same interests and passions as you do, and find new ways to connect.
  • You want to learn more about campus resources related to social justice and community advocacy.
  • You’d like to earn four CEL-1 hours while you learn!

Sounds good to me. When is it and how do I register?
Saturday, October 20
12-4 p.m. (lunch provided)
Franklin Patterson Hall

Registration is limited to 50 participants, so register now to reserve your space!

Questions? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We hope to see you there.

people you should know: laura melbin-diniz!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Last week, I visited the Center for Academic Support and Advising’s (CASA) new offices located in the Lemelson Building to sit down with Laura Melbin-Diniz, the first year advising dean. This is Laura’s first year at CASA, but I’ve actually known her for quite some time; our first meeting was more than two years ago in a New York City coffee shop, where she interviewed me as a Hampshire College admissions counselor during my college application process. Laura worked in Hampshire’s Admissions Office from 2007 until this summer, and it amazes me that in the five years spent interviewing hundreds of students, she still remembers our interview. This time around, she answered my questions as the New Students Programs assistant, and it was clear to see how passionate she was about her experience at Hampshire. She broke her current position down to three main elements:

  • Negotiation of academic programs for students—she helps you plan an academic schedule and experience in your first year that works for you
  • Making sure students progress well during their first year at Hampshire—Laura will help ensure that you’re on the right track to successfully managing your Division I, and will intervene if and when you need academic help this year (this includes anyone considering withdrawing, transferring, or taking a leave from Hampshire)
  • Management of the Peer Academic Resource Center (PARC)—currently located in the Johnson Library at the end of the Info Bar, PARC is co-run with Hampshire students and, among other perks, offers a cool resource library that allows students to look at sample divisional contracts and portfolios

Laura and I also talked about a few common issues first-year students bring up to her, and I’ve summarized some of the information she gave me. Having difficulty talking to a professor or advisor? Laura can play a supportive role by helping facilitate communication between you and any faculty members. She knows that every student transitions to college life differently, and it’s natural for some of you to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Do you feel you’re having trouble managing and adjusting to your academic workload? Feeling homesick and missing the familiarity of your home life? Talk to Laura about it—she’ll listen and give you tips. For many of you, the transition to Hampshire can be a bit of a shock, and she’s a tremendous resource because she works to help in any way she can. Even if you find yourself just needing a place to talk, go meet with her! She loves listening and talking to students, and she is honestly one of the friendliest people I’ve met during my Hampshire experience.

One of the best parts of our meeting was during the end of our conversation when she talked about her own transition from working in the Admissions Office to CASA. Laura has always enjoyed working with young people, but one of the best parts of being the assistant dean of advising is that: “I actually get to know students and see how Hampshire works for them, rather than how I thought it would.” Her passion and excitement was as clear now as it was during my college interview more than two years ago, and I strongly suggest getting to know her.

You’re free to schedule an appointment with Laura by calling CASA at 413-559-5498, and she also welcomes drop-in visits to her office. Have a question, but not sure you need an appointment? Feel free to e-mail Laura at lmelbin-diniz@hampshire.edu. She’ll also be collaborating with us at New Student Programs throughout the year, so stay tuned!

As always, please contact us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu with any questions or comments!

how to approach faculty

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Welcome, new students! Now that the semester has already started, you’ve probably realized that one of the best things about Hampshire is the accessibility to faculty. You may have lots of questions, and there are so many potential sources to give you the answers. But do you ever feel intimidated, hesitant, or just plain shy in approaching faculty? During this time of transition to college life, social adjustment can feel tricky in and out of the classroom. Knowing how to approach faculty members is a necessary skill in advocating for yourself and maintaining a successful academic experience. Here are some tips to building these important relationships:

1. Keep in touch with your advisor! During your first meetings, be sure to talk about classes, review your strengths and weaknesses, and share your future goals. Remember, advisors are a tremendous resource at Hampshire—there are here for you.

2. If you’re ever feeling confused, lost, overwhelmed or concerned in the classroom or about certain course material, don’t wait—communicate with your professor! There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Plan your questions, and approach them after class to discuss them. In my experience, this is the best way to get quick questions answered!
  • Sign up for office hours! Some professors are busier than others, and are therefore a bit harder to reach. Signing up for their office hours (usually posted on your course syllabus, their office door, and/or their Hampedia page) ensures one-on-one time with them, and is especially helpful when you’re looking to have a thoughtful conversation.
  • You can also contact them through e-mail and their course website to try and find a time to meet outside the classroom. Just remember: faculty inboxes can sometimes be filled the brim, so if you’re waiting for a reply, it may be best to actually follow up in person with your professor. Note: when writing an e-mail to faculty, make sure to include a greeting, provide a clear overview of what you’re writing about, and don’t forget to sign your name! The more information they have, the easier it will be for them to respond to you.

3. Teacher’s Assistants (or TAs) are older Division II or Division III students who help professors throughout the semester. They’re great conduits between you and faculty, so use them well!

4. The Deans of the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) are also available to help make connections. CASA’s expert tips helped to provide the framework for this blog post, and they have lots of great information to share. Don’t hesitate to visit their office, located in the Lemelson Building, or call them at x5498.

5. As with all campus communication, please make sure to check your Hampshire e-mail regularly. Faculty, staff, community members, and other students will use this e-mail address to reach you, and you are expected to follow up on e-mail communication through this account throughout your time at Hampshire.

Faculty are always willing to help, but they can’t read minds, so it’s crucial for you to take the first step in approaching them. Introducing yourself and keeping in regular contact is a great way to start the year and to stay on top of your progress in class.

Best of luck with the start of the semester!

Questions or comments? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’d love to hear from you!