Fall magazine

2020 READERSHIP SURVEY Is there such a thing as an average Laurentian? First, thank you to all the readers who participated in the spring readership survey. February and March feel like an entire lifetime ago, and despite the upheaval, Laurentians answered the call for critical feedback. The first four pages of the survey report represent quantitative data. The next 70 pages are filled with readers’ comments. The most interesting comment to me is the request to do more stories on “average” Laurentians. This comment was also made back in the 2016 readership survey, and the communications team set out to fulfill that request over the last four years. The problem is, that once you start asking Laurentians questions about who they are, what they do, and why they do it, you discover that there is no such thing as an “average” Laurentian. Humble Laurentians yes, but average? I have yet to find any. DEBORAH DUDLEY, EDITOR CONNECT.STLAWU.EDU Take advantage of the Laurentian network Many survey respondents commented on the institution’s role in networking Laurentians. Now, there is a new platform where Laurentians can connect through career networks, common-interest groups, and affinities. Check out Laurentian Connection at connect.stlawu.edu Survey Says! YOUR CLASS NOTES Class reporters have the enormous task of keeping up with peers, and because of their commitment, Class Notes remains the most popular section of St. Lawrence magazine. Find your reporter here: stlawu.edu/alumni/class-reporters and let them know what you are up to. No reporter? Submit your notes here: tinyurl.com/SLUclassnotes Print vs. Digital Laurentians overwhelmingly PREFER THEIR MAGAZINE IN PRINT. 83% in print 14% both 3% online only 33% spend 30 minutes or less St. Lawrence magazine is made with FSC certified recycled paper using soy inks. Across constituencies, the magazine serves as “the” primary source of information about St. Lawrence, followed second by emails from the University. Fifty-eight percent get all or most of their information from the magazine. read most or every issue of St. Lawrence. 92% Across all constituencies, St. Lawrence has a long shelf life with 78% keeping each issue a month or longer. # 1 Topics of highest interest: 1 Class Notes, In Memory, Weddings and Births 2 Institutional history and traditions 3 Alumni stories and events 4 Student/faculty academic experience 5 Athletics 6 Local community 7 Environmental issues 8 Campus controversies 9 Issues facing higher education 10 Campus growth and financials 67% spend 30 minutes or more Good Questions Jean Herriott Maier ’74 was inspired to write in with concerns after seeing the artwork of Raven Larcom ’20 in the Personal Space exhibition highlighted in the summer issue. Jean’s email raised important questions about the destruction of trees and the responsibility of the artist in environmental stewardship, which prompted an interesting exchange between two generations of Laurentians. In response to Jean’s inquiry, Raven replied with important questions of her own. “This is the exact reaction I was hoping for. These are old white pine trees that were planted after the land had been clear cut and used as a sheep farm back in the day. These trees would normally not grow here and have been taking resources from native species and have started to die and collapse as they age. They needed to be felled to better manage the forest and promote the growth of native plant species which have seen a significant reduction in habitat over the last 100 years, especially in the area surrounding our property. Yes, this project has sped up the collapse of these four trees, but this simultaneously quickens the rate at which more niches will open for endangered or otherwise struggling native species. The holes that I have drilled into the trees will promote quicker and targeted decay, thus serving as both microhabitats for insects and as feeders for birds. “I think it is interesting that the environmental impact of slow-felling four trees—trees that were here unnaturally to begin with and which will significantly benefit the native flora and fauna of my forest—would be of concern, but the environmental impacts of other art supplies are not being questioned. My work seeks to Uniquely Qualified W hen a global pandemic made physical distancing an unfortunate and, at times, difficult necessity of 2020, the outdoors became a key ingredient in maintaining sanity. Stories of Laurentians in the wilderness, by trade or by choice, just fell into my lap and flood many of the pages in this issue. But COVID-19 is not the only storm we are weathering in 2020. Our lives have been exponentially complicated by the struggle for social justice, destructive wildfires and hurricanes battering both coasts, and a bitterly contested general election just days away. The overlapping of crisis point out our flawed understanding of the relationship between art and environmentalism. Perhaps we should be asking other questions such as what are colored pencils made out of, who is working in the factories that mass-produce them, and what are the carbon-costs of shipping them halfway across the world? I am very happy that my work is provoking these questions. I was hoping that people would ask themselves what scenarios would make this work morally acceptable, despite using fewer resources than the art supplies used in every other project for this show.” Good questions, all. n after crisis has made getting through each day a kind of wilderness challenge of its own, forcing us to be resourceful in new and different ways. As anyone who has spent the 365 days necessary to experience the entirety of the exquisite extremes of the North Country knows, both the geographic location and the intellectual landscape of our campus is not for the timid or risk-averse. It is, in some ways, our not-so-secret ingredient in the St. Lawrence recipe of resilience. It is what makes so many Laurentians uniquely qualified to excel in the wilderness, any wilderness, candle and all. DEBORAH DUDLEY, EDITOR IN/ORGANIC by Raven Larcom ’20. See the full exhibit at Personalspace2020.com. stlawu.edu/magazine Fall 2020 | | St. Lawrence University Magazine 4 5 LETTERS BY THE NUMBERS