The periodicals room has been a sleepy corner of the Rice-Aron Library recently, made relatively obsolete by online periodicals and indexes, but that all changed this fall. With a little consolidation and a good deal of renovation, that room has been transformed into a beehive of activity known as the Center for Experiential Learning and Global Engagement. The new resource combines the offices of international services and career development to provide both students and alumni access to dynamic and diverse experiences beyond the classroom.
“Although many of the services we provide are not new, the center better serves the academic needs of Marlboro students because they have a clearer path to information— a clearer path to success,” says Kate Trzaskos, director of experiential learning and career development. “We work closely together now to bridge the gap between theory and practice, providing students multiple pathways to design their learning in innovative ways.”
“Marlboro students have the option to study away in many different capacities, including through international exchange programs, World Studies Program internships, and domestic partnerships,” says Maggie Patari, director of international services. “It often wasn’t clear to students—and the faculty helping them—where to start, since these programs were housed across a few different offices here on campus. Now there is a single, clear resource for students to find study away options, internships, funding, professional development...it’s all right here.”
For years, the career director and the international director have co-taught a class called Finding an Internship, in which students learn networking, intercultural communication, how to discover their passion, and how to find an internship or job or post-graduate fellowship. Kate and Maggie felt that these are all things that should be offered to all students, not just the ones enrolled in that class, so the new center is also the spot to come for all of that.
“It’s so crucial for students who go overseas for an academic experience—or any other experience outside the classroom—to be able to articulate that experience, and reflect on and use their own growth and learning to move forward with some exciting path after Marlboro,” says Maggie. “Whether it be for grad school, a job, an international position, or study abroad, the new combined office better prepares students to find that voice.”
The new center got off to a festive start in November with International Education Week, when colleges and universities across the country celebrated the benefits of worldwide international education and exchange. At Marlboro, this included movie nights, student-led poetry readings, discussions, theater performances, international lunches, trivia games, and a talk sponsored by the Windham World Affairs Council about China’s new approach to global development.
A highlight of the week was a performance by special guest and Afro-Caribbean artist Andrew Clarke, hosted by Living In Color in the new Center for Equity, Empowerment and Inclusion—formerly known as Marlboro Gardens. Andrew performed from the play The Black That I Am, a monologue that explores the journey of a Jamaican man moving to the U.S. and trying to fit into the cultural fabric of America.
“The Center for Experiential Learning and Global Engagement offers a broad range of services to help Marlboro students channel their passions into valuable off-campus experiences and meaningful work, starting with their first year and continuing after graduation,” says Kate. “From assessing interests to developing skills, we want to empower students and alumni to explore, define, and realize their post-graduate goals.”