Students from every discipline on campus dressed up to celebrate and, for some, to present during the 8th annual Scholarship and Creative Arts Days hosted at Elizabethtown College from April 20 to April 22. More than 2,788 students have participated in SCAD since its inaugural year, alongside several renowned keynote speakers.
Kicking off the SCAD events on Monday night was the 28th Annual Juried Student Art Show featuring works from 23 different students of various majors. While some were media art students, others study less traditionally “creative” majors such as biology. Though the original awards ceremony for the arts show was earlier in the month, April 7, the show continued through SCAD.
Following the art show was the keynote speech, given by Dr. Donald B. Kraybill, professor of sociology and religious studies and senior fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Kraybill, who will be retiring from Etown in June, is known as the world’s foremost expert on Amish societies. Offering the audience a comprehensive history of the Amish, Kraybill explained that it was the rapid growth of the culture in recent years that inspired him to conduct research to discover how the Amish flourish in the midst of modernity.
He explained his research as cross-disciplinary, finding it necessary to call upon his knowledge sociology, anthropology, history, religion, economics and politics. In addition to relying heavily upon secondary sources, Kraybill also engaged in participant observation so that he could write first-hand accounts of their culture. Sophomore Sarah McCarron, who is currently enrolled in Kraybill’s Honors Amish, Brethren, and Mennonites in the US since 1860 course, joined him onstage to exemplify how he “Amishizes” himself so that his presence does not disrupt their social structure.
According to Kraybill, the Amish riddle that he has spent so long trying to solve can be explained by their negotiation with modernity. Contrasting the values of modern society with the traditions of the Amish, he explained that they believe in supporting “human-scale” rather than large-scale endeavors, which they avoid by establishing cultural fences, such as limited interaction and distinctive symbols.
“The biggest wedge between the Amish and ourselves is the difference between the focus on the individual and the focus on the community,” said Kraybill.
The inventiveness in modifying technology, entrepreneurialism and purity of the Amish have allowed them to navigate the modern world. Kraybill’s research has proven fruitful over the past several decades, allowing him to identify the greater meaning of the society. His work exemplifies the scholarship the College promotes through SCAD.
Tuesday saw four sessions of undergraduate presentations ranging from posters to panel discussions and paper presentations. Student presenters must find faculty mentors and submit their proposals months in advance to be considered for a slot at SCAD; most students had been preparing and practicing for months leading up to the event. Junior professional writing major Samantha Whitall did not present but went to support other members of her department. This was Whitall’s second year attending SCAD and she felt that the presentations were both informative and entertaining. “[It’s been] really impressive, the work the… students had done,” she said.
Presentations ranged in topic. Sophomores Garrett Clark and Maria Rajkowshi, alongside junior Steven Paul, analyzed and talked about results of a survey they created on political tolerance as part of their class political science on research methods. Senior Spanish major Justin Ahmad discussed the mid-20th century Spanish novel La isla y los demonios and how its main character broke female stereotypes of the time period. Senior music therapy students Marissa Aulenbach, Ashley Blaha and Marissa Harper created a poster detailing the results of their experiment conducted about the impact of technology during group sessions. Senior English majors Kyler Koons and Brighid Flynn talked about class projects that they then expanded into more personal stories.
Paige Neidig, SCAD PR intern and third-year corporate communications major, worked with Office of Marketing and Communications leading up to the event to create promotional material and generate buzz on social media about SCAD. Neidig feels that SCAD is “a great opportunity for any student to participate in” regardless of major and there are “lots of ways to get involved” outside of just presenting. After the presentations were over, there was a reception held in the M & M Mars Room followed by the SCAD Recital.
Throughout the day, the College’s official Twitter page was constantly updated with mentions of various upcoming panels & events. Tweets and photos from SCAD can be found at https://storify.com/EtownCollege/scad-2015.
The mission of SCAD “is to provide a forum for student scholarship that supports and promotes the College’s main learning goals for intellectual development, critical thinking, thoughtful communication, creativity, human expression and diversity of perspectives.” Under committee chair Brian Newsome, the SCAD committee, made up of students and faculty, was largely responsible for planning SCAD. They have already begun work on next year’s event; Harriet Rubi has already been announced as the keynote speaker for SCAD 2016.