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My first year here, I got together with a group of other students and formed the Bard Community Arts Collective. Every semester we hold a student-curated art gallery, turning Kline, the dining hall, into a gallery for a night. Last year the event featured a student jazz band, photography, paintings, and interactive media installations. People could come and see the work of their fellow students, which was great. This past spring we launched a new student publication called Index, which highlights a selection of student work. There are so many talented individuals at this school; they all deserve to be in the spotlight, even if they aren’t majoring in the studio arts. This is one of the best things about the liberal arts, and about Bard—I really feel like I can be involved broadly, academically and socially.
One of my favorite classes at Bard has been Can War Be Just? It was taught by Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton, and focused on a collection of essays on war through both religious and political lenses—ranging across centuries and various religions. West Point Military Academy faculty co-taught the class, which made it really unique. Many of our classes were actually held with West Point cadets, so it really exposed us to viewpoints that we wouldn't have encountered otherwise. I found it eye opening. It was unique to approach the subject of warfare from such a multidisciplinary perspective.
Bard students are very driven. Everyone is passionate about something; you really see that when you engage in conversations with other students. People learn from each other because everyone is so open about what they’re interested in, and brave enough to challenge each other’s opinions and assertions. Being at Bard has challenged my notions of right and wrong. It’s challenged me to think about myself and my community, and about my place in the world. I’ve become more argumentative, but in a good way! I’ve had a lot of debates that I wouldn’t have had if I didn't attend an institution where I'm surrounded by such intellect, passion, and drive.
I am currently studying abroad in London as part of a yearlong program at the London School of Economics and Political Science. More than 65 percent of the student body is international, so it truly provides the opportunity to learn from people from all over the world. No words can express how young it makes me feel to pass signs that say "This stone was laid here in 1620" on my walk to classes each morning! While I'm here I plan to take advantage of all the museums and the National Archives—documents from which I hope to incorporate into my Senior Project.