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Wed April 1, 2015
  • Uncharted Waters Theme Dinner

    5–7:30 p.m.
    Murray-Aikins Dining Hall

    Inspired by pirates, mermaids, and Captain Cook, Dining Services is pulling out the stops for its April 1 theme dinner.

    Start with pirates, mermaids, and bioluminescent fish. Throw in a coral reef, a scavenger hunt, surfboards, and navigating by the stars. Add delectable exotic foods. Now you have an idea of what’s in store at the Uncharted Waters dinner that—with the help of 20 Honors Forum students—will kick off SkidGenuity on Wednesday, April 1.

    It started when Bonnie Bertrand, a veteran theme-dinner planner as Dining Services’ assistant supervisor for catering and special events, told history professor Tillman Nechtman of her idea for a pirate-themed dinner, and he told her about his popular Scribner Seminar “Sailing the Seas with Captain Cook.” Together they hatched the Uncharted Waters theme.

    Nechtman’s aim in the course is to give students a keen sense of what it actually must have been like to be a member of Cook’s crew, visiting strange new lands and living for months on end in a three-masted schooner. Nechtman right away saw the dinner as an opportunity to share with a larger audience some of the academic content his students generated last fall in the course, which focuses on the three historic voyages Cook led into the Pacific in the late 1700s.

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    Cook’s missions encompassed science, exploration, and empire. He and his crew torpedoed such geographical myths as the “Great Southern Continent” and “Northwest Passage.” They tested the elements, sailing further south into the Antarctic than any European ship had dared to go. And they changed European perceptions of time itself as the first sailors to use an accurate nautical timepiece, a “chronometer” they called K1.

    “They left behind a world they called ‘modern’ and met diverse peoples—aboriginal Australians, New Zealand Maoris, Alaskan Inuits, and South Pacific islanders—who lived very much in the ‘past,’” notes Nechtman. “They crossed space, time, cultures, and the known and the unknown. At some point during the semester, someone always says, ‘This course isn't really about Captain Cook, is it? It’s about us.’”

    Nechtman’s seminar students are working with him on the dinner—along with five students of English professor Catherine Golden, who played a key role in last year’s Alice in Wonderland–themed dinner, and history professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart, who happens to have a special interest in sea monsters.

    Nechtman asked the students to pick a maritime subject and figure out a creative way to represent it in a display or interaction in Murray-Aikins Dining Hall. So it is that Andrei Tuluca ’18 will focus on bioluminescence, Alexis Traussi ’17 will work on maps and charts, Emily Meagher ’18 will cover 18th-century technologies used in navigation, and others will focus on staying healthy on a long voyage, seafaring songs of the late 1700s, and early modes of Polynesian surfing.

    Great food, of course, will be the centerpiece of the event, and Dining Services is pulling out the stops to imaginatively and deliciously reinforce the theme. For appetizers, look for fried calamari and a “marsh bar” featuring steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp. Entrees will include blue-corn–crusted mahi mahi, tacos with pineapple and coconut salsa, rum-glazed flank steak, and coffee-brine roasted pork shoulder with a sweet potato and plantain mash. For dessert, you’ll find key lime pie and pineapple upside-down cake. And don’t miss the “anti-scurvy bar,” featuring three citrus drinks.

    Theme dinners “always offer a lot of great interaction with students,” says Frank Esposito, Dining Services production manager. “There are a lot of moving parts that really get us going. It’s pretty cool how it all comes together.”

  • Great Saratoga Chip-fest

    11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
    Murray-Aikins Dining Hall

    Are you an adventurous snacker? Here’s a chance to find out.

    Go to Murray-Aikins Dining Hall at the lunch hour Wednesday, April 1, and you'll find a clearly marked Saratoga Chips table where you can sample the most innovative chip flavors on the market—“from brands sold right here in Saratoga to chips from Korea,” says Lyssa Jackson ’16.

    “We’ll be introducing the Skidmore community to adventurous flavors like sriracha and cheddar-beer,” says Jackson. “We’ll also be inviting ideas for innovative new flavors, any of which have the potential to become new products.” At the end of their sampling, tasters will take a brief survey.

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    “The goal is to find out what flavors really excite Skidmore students, and create bagfuls of ideas for new flavors,” says Yoon Young Sim ’16, who will be bringing bags of Korea’s most popular honey-butter chips.

    Jackson and Sim are joined by Peter LaChance ’16 and Carol Li ’15 on the Saratoga Chips consulting team under the aegis of the Skidmore-Saratoga Consulting Partnership (SSCP). The team will offer its client a comprehensive strategy for raising brand awareness, entering the nationwide market, expanding flavor offerings, and selling to Millennials. A key challenge is to strategize how an association with Saratoga Springs can translate into a successful brand identity nationwide. SSCP has a track record here, having successfully consulted with the Saratoga Spring Water Company on its national expansion last year.

    This semester SSCP is also consulting with the Children’s Museum of Saratoga and the Marketplace on Broadway. All three teams will present their research and recommendations at Academic Festival this spring as well as to the executives and boards of their clients.

    SSCP is the public face of MB360, a service-learning course that provides pro bono business consulting to the wider community. Executive-in-Residence Colleen Burke directs SSCP and works closely with its student managers, Ezra Levy ’15 and Lauren Alexander ’15, to assure that it fulfills its mission “to enable the region’s for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises to realize their potential and achieve their goals—creative thought creating value.”

Fri April 10, 2015
  • Fifth Year of Freirich Competition

    1:30 p.m.
    Filene Recital Hall

    More than 250 students and 150 businesses have entered the Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition since Ken Freirich ’90 established it in 2010 as a way to encourage Skidmore students to “follow their passions” in an entrepreneurial experience that could change their lives forever. For its fifth anniversary, the competition has broadened its scope to include artistic and social entrepreneurship.

    Will the winner be Adirondack Flannel and its Saratoga Shirt? MyCity Brewing and its Buffalo-brewed beer? A next-generation composting service? Or the novel that twin sisters are writing about their great-great-grandmother's emigration from Russia to Turkey after the Bolshevik Revolution?

    After surviving the first round, eight student teams are now focused on the April 10 finals in the for-profit category and five more in the new social entrepreneurship category.

    For the fifth anniversary event, total cash prizes—with others contributing—will set a record of $60,000, along with in-kind legal and accounting services valued at over $10,000. Freirich has put up $25,000 toward the prizes.

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    A record 19 teams made presentations in the first round, pitching their business plans to a panel of nine alumni entrepreneurs and executives. Once the eight finalists were selected, they were each paired with judges, who then served as the students’ mentors to help them prepare for the finals. As examples, retailing expert Nancy Wekselbaum ’73, president of the Gracious Gourmet, is counseling Jamie Benjamin ’17 and Leif Catania ’17 of Adirondack Flannel on their plan to bring to market their vision of the “Saratoga Shirt,” a fashion hybrid that combines classic style with the comfort of flannel. And Andrew Eifler ’07, senior director for product management at AppNexus, has been working with twin sisters Övgu and Öyku Bozgeyik ’16 in developing their historical novel, Call Me Myna.

    “We have never seen a larger or stronger field of contestants in this competition,” notes Roy Rotheim, professor of economics and director of the competition. “All of these initiatives are quintessentially Skidmore in their creativity, global reach, and social consciousness.”

    “It was an awesome fifth-year semifinal,” says Freirich. “The businesses and organizations were as diverse as ever, and I am always amazed by the incredible amount of talent and creativity among the students.”