From the Desk of Dean Waite

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

April 23, 2013
by zwaite
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Doing Kindness for Katie

Doing Kindness for Katie

Written by Leiba Estrin and Sara Weinstein

To contact Leiba and Sara please email lestrin@chatham.edu

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What do you do after the untimely death of a fellow student?

Katie Walters was a friend to many.  She was 20 years old, and a woman of convictions. She was both serious and spontaneous. She liked to have fun.  No one could forget her beautiful smile.  As one friend commented, “When you were with her, she had an incredible ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the world.”

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What do you do when a friend passes away?

“To everything there is a season

A time to live, a time to die…”

To everything there is a purpose under Heaven.”

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We may never know the purpose of her death.  But we can learn from the purpose of her life.  Katie noticed others.  Everyone agrees that Katie was very kind.  As Esther L. Barazzone, the President of Chatham University, said at the recent Memorial Service for Katie,  “In Katie’s memory, stop and do an act of kindness for someone.  It may be the hardest thing to do.  It may also be the most important thing to do!”

Chabad on Chatham has chosen to do two special programs in Katie’s memory for Chatham students.

“Slips of Kindness” was a simple, but far-reaching idea to empower more people to do acts of kindness on campus.  On Tuesday, April 16, members of Chabad on Chatham gave out bags including a chocolate chip cookie and a slip of kindness.  These slips of paper each suggested a single act of kindness to do that day.  Examples included:download (4)

–         Call a friend to say hi today.

–         Smile at someone walking past you to brighten his/her day.

–         Thank a cashier who you encounter today.

–         Take time to listen to someone and be empathetic to their feelings.

–         Go out of your way to do something nice for someone.download

–         Take time to notice a friend.

–         Give charity to your favorite cause.

Students were really happy with the opportunity to be a part of this simple but meaningful activity.

The second program planned in Katie’s memory will take place on May 1st in the Mellon Living Room.  Called, An Evening with Leah Herman: A Jewish Feminist Perspective,” this program will bring together friends of Katie’s and hopefully, students from all backgrounds for an uplifting and inspiring perspective of womanhood.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.  Refreshments will be served.

“As painful as Katie’s loss is, “ Chabad Student President, Leiba Estrin, asserts, “Chabad on Chatham will strive to do more acts of kindness for Katie.”   Pass it along.  It may be the hardest thing to do, but it may be the most important thing you CAN do!

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March 19, 2013
by zwaite
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What’s In a Name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. -William Shakespeare

        Emma1   Emma2

“Mommy!  Why are there so many kids named Emma?”  my eleven year daughter, Emma asked.

My answer, “I think a lot of parents like the name “Emma” plus Rachel on the sitcom Friends named her daughter Emma a month after you were born causing many Rachel fans to name their daughter Emma. I decided to find out how popular the name “Emma” is. A quick Internet search confirmed its popularity:

http://www.behindthename.com/name/emmaCountriesI also found out that ‘Emma” is originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element “emen” which means “whole” or “Universal.” I have to admit that I became interested in the topic of names because of my daughter’s constant questioning about her name plus a recent experience that I will remember fondly for many years to come.

I share today in honor of Emma and how proud I am of her. My hope is she will continue to enjoy working hard and giving her best in all of her endeavors regardless of the outcome . . .  the way she strived to win a basketball championship a month ago. Emma3The weekend before the championship, Emma and I went to an office supply store as I wanted to make some posters for the team. While waiting for me, Emma tried out pens by writing the following . . .

“This is Emma. I would like to share something with you as I wait for my mommy to decide on the boards and markers she wants buy to make posters for my basketball teammates. Last year, my basketball team lost the city 4th and 5th graders championship. For an entire year my teammates and I have been focused on one primary vision: to bring the championship to Colfax Elementary School this year. So far, we are undefeated and if everything goes as planned, we will be the city champions. What I have learned from this  experience is that it truly takes a team to put together an undefeated season. Every one of my teammates bring something unique to the court  which when put together has helped us be victorious each game. Our first win was followed by our second win, and so on and so on. We realized  that it was going to be a long and challenging season but we never gave up as every single one of us was focused on the vision we set for ourselves  after we walked off the court last year in second place. Although I am excited and we are now in the championship, the reality is that I know we  could lose. We will be very sad and disappointed but for now all I know is we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t because all of us made a  pack to win the championship a year ago.”

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Emma’s note was written a week before the championship game. Today, a month after the game, we know the outcome. Emma’s team lost the championship.

After waiting all year for this day . . . February 16, 2013 was a sad day. There were lots of tears. The opposing team led by 10 points before Colfax could score. Although the teams tied at 17 towards the end, Colfax could not end the game with a win. For a while, Emma blamed herself for letting the team down as she missed lay-ups, jump shots and foul shots. As a mom, I just could not say anything to make her feel okay (which is the worst feeling ever) so I let her be sad. At one point when she was still sobbing, I said, what can I do to make you feel better . . .  shut up? And she smiled through her tears and nodded her head.

The school’s basketball season is over and Emma is over the loss of the championship. What is not over for Emma is regular basketball practice at the community center, on the court at a nearby park and the basketball stand in our driveway. What is not over is Emma’s passion for basketball. What is not over is Emma’s zeal and commitment to prepare herself for another championship.

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Emma is truly not just a name . . . Emma understands disappointments and the sacrifices needed to excel . . .  Emma knows how to use loses to spur on for excellence . . . Emma is growing to be a whole and well balanced young woman . . . I am so proud of my Emma. Thank you for enriching my life.Group 02 14 2013a   Group 02 16 2013