University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Global and Regional Studies Program


UVM European Studies Program Updates - 2012/2013

from Prof. Susanna Schrafstetter, Interim Director


As we are moving into the Spring 2013 semester, there is much interesting news to report from our European Studies students. We have a number of graduating seniors who are busy with their senior research projects this year, and are making plans for the future. Some students have just arrived back at UVM from their semester abroad. Azure Giroux, a senior in European Studies and English, has just returned from a semester at the University of Grenoble, France. Alessandra Hodulik, a senior in European Studies and Spanish, plans to teach English as a second language after graduation. She hopes to work in Spain as part of the Spanish government’s “auxiliaries” scheme, a teachers’ assistant program. Alessandra is also a Fulbright finalist for South Korea. Fingers crossed! European Studies senior Sam Grabel spent the Spring 2012 semester in Salamanca, Spain. He is looking forward to writing a research paper on the Spanish Civil War, using the language skills that he acquired during his semester in Spain. Like Alessandra, Sam will apply to the “auxiliaries” program to go to Spain but he is also thinking about graduate study in international relations in the UK. Meanwhile, Bronwen Hudson, a Junior, is preparing for her senior thesis and for the completion of her Latin minor. For her thesis she plans to examine European poetry as a Complex System. She says she is exited about exploring her passion for different poets and styles of poetry, as well as applying her love of mathematics. Bronwen is also in her second semester as an intern with the Lane Series at UVM. She is looking forward to spending the summer in Vienna, Austria to learn as much German as possible.

In November 2012, students of German and Russian met in November 2012 for an "Epic Food Battle” over the best food and baked goods from the two countries. The benefits from the sales went to an orphanage in Kiev. A report on the culinary experiences - and the winner – can be found below.

European Studies started the Spring 2013 semester co-sponsoring a guest lecture by Jeffrey Champlin, who is currently an Associate Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Centre for Politics and Humanities at Bard College and a visiting assistant professor at Bard Honors College at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem. He spoke on “Born Again: Hannah Arendt’s Language of Freedom,” arguing that Arendt’s language offers resources for a profound defense of freedom from threats of technological and historical determinism. Champlin’s lecture continues our tradition of inviting stimulating guest speakers in the field of European Studies to UVM.

We expect a busy Spring semester. As our European Studies seniors are getting ready to say farewell to UVM, we are excited to welcome new students interested in European culture, history, politics, and languages.

UVM German and Russian Global Village Houses Host Fund-Raising Event to Help Orphanage in Kirov, Russia

by Kevin McKenna, Professor of Russian

Two of the “houses” in the Living/Learning Center’s Global Village challenged one another to a friendly yet competitive cook-off in an effort to raise money for an orphanage in Kirov, Russia. Commonly referred to as the Epic Food Battle of 2012, the “food fight” took place in the Fireplace Lounge of the Living and Learning Center Nov. 7 (ironically, the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution). The German House’s Stephanie Forristall, an exchange student from the University of Augsburg, and the Russian House’s Kristen Rousse organized a widely attended culinary evening along with fellow students from their respective residential learning houses.

Nine members of the German House (Bruce Barger, Tracy Guion, Samuel Janidlo, Kara Pratt, Patrick Ryan, CharlieDan Sheffy, Erin Skelly, Allie Sullivan, and Stephanie) as well as an equal number of Russian majors from the Russian House (Veronica Rock, Nicolas Chlebak, Dalina Ceku, Tatiana Rumsey, John Mauran, Corey Pariseau, Rubin Goldberg, Jake Pelland, and Kristen) organized themselves into small “kollektivs” for purposes of preparing a wide array of national dishes for the event.

With the help of faculty director Professor Dennis Mahoney, German House students prepared käsespätzle (cheese noodle casserole), two kinds of apfelkuchen (apple cake), sauerbraten (pot roast), kartoffelpuffer (potato pancake), schwarzwälder (Black Forest cake) brownies and apple twists. They also served apple sauce for the potato pancakes and some rather tasty non-alcoholic drinks.

As faculty director of the Russian House, I made my contribution to the evening’s “cook-off” by staying out of the kitchen; but under Kristen Rousse’s direction Russian House students prepared a delicious array of борщ/borscht, пельменные/pel’mennye (fried dumplings), блины/bliny, шарлотта с яблоками/ sharlotta s yablokami (apple cake), салад столичный/salad stolichnyi and, of course, Russian печения/pecheniya (cookies).

Katie Boynton, former UVM Russian House student director and, now, UVM grad (class of 2012), was the guiding force for this event in suggesting that the Russian and German Houses work together in raising much-needed funds for a cash-strapped orphanage in Kirov, Russia. Since graduation Boynton has been working for a non-profit organization, Bright Connections, in the Philadelphia area, where she assists in fund-raising efforts for Russian orphanages to repair buildings, provide toys for the kids, and provide other basic services.

While the Germans once again went down in defeat to the Russians in this food-fight, a total of more than $330 was raised in contributions to the Kirov Orphanage: a most worthy undertaking with no victims or casualties to report! Judging by the unusually healthy (and hungry) turnout of UVM students for the event (approximately 90-100 in number), the evening was a “большой успех” and no one awakened “wurst” for the experience the following morning. Delighted by the turnout and even more so by the money raised, Professor Mahoney (the founding faculty director of Global Village in 2006-08) was most of all impressed by the enthusiasm and cooperation displayed by the students in both houses: an example of Residential Learning at its best!


Last modified February 22 2013 03:35 PM