Wednesday, September 25, 2013

40 anos despues Pueblo, Colorado State

Keep running into visitors from Pueblo and Denver, Colorado, spoke with my own Columbia alumni recently. I read that the school will host Daniel Hernandez, jr., a hero in the shooting of Tucson CongressMember Giffords, to speak.   Feeling bliss at having had such wonderful adventures in life. Wanted to get my thoughts from 40 years ago out to Pueblo:

Best wishes for the Colorado State alumni homecoming events. I follow the college activity on Facebook (alumni, football).  My Facebook friends include people from Colorado including Pueblo. This summer, in my Newark NJ apartment building, I have had frequent talks with a recent Pueblo graduate. I wanted to share some of my activity although I am not an alumni.

It is 40 years since I left Pueblo after my freshman year of college (1972-3). I graduated high school in Colorado and then my parents moved to New Jersey. I did not return to Pueblo  but lived with my parents and moved to Brooklyn, NY. In 1978, I graduated Brooklyn College, went to Columbia University for my Masters then started Phd at Columbia (comparative social policy). I am a social worker as well as an adjunct professor for decades with a range of college populations (international, lgbt, immigrant, first generation, primarily urban). I primarily teach Methods of Research to graduating seniors, and field instruct/advise graduate social work students. I am also an alumni of the International House, NYC where I had a fellowship whilst working on my Master's degree.

I loved my year at Pueblo although sometimes it may seem more romantic than it was (of course). I lived in the dormitory, volunteered on a crisis hotline, pledged Tau Kappa Epsilon, loved the sunsets and landscapes, and focused on being fluent in Spanish. I remember how so many of us were supporters of Native American organizing at Wounded Knee, SD that year. Students were going there in solidarity. I dated a Jewish woman and attended my first synagogue services in Pueblo. I visited the homes of various classmates during breaks and several actually visited me in New Jersey and Brooklyn. An endless array of stories to share far away from Pueblo which adds to the romance of those memories.

More recently, I helped a Colorado high school friend who was born in Pueblo with her crime novel set in Pueblo. This summer I met friends of a neighbor. The friends are all living in Denver,many are immigrants from Cote d'Voire. One of them is a Pueblo graduate and I have shared my photos and memories with her. She hopes to be accepted in Master's program in a New York City school. I have had over a 1000 students to teach and/or mentor, and she is certainly among the most ambitious. It has been a joy to hear her stories of CSU-Pueblo: international students, transgender students, her major (business), the environment, as well as how the campus has changed. No doubt I would be visually lost with all the changes. 

My year in Pueblo was particularly fascinating in my studying Spanish which is perfect to have in my social work practice. I recently had a graduate social work student who came to NYC from Los Angeles to be more fluent but I think my Pueblo year was better! I had a number of friends of Native American heritage and although we have the wonderful American Indian Community House, there was certainly a zeitgeist in Pueblo that year. I did not have the specific idea of being a social worker at that time, but I was particularly influenced by the kindness and intellectual lens of Professor June Hearn. One of my peers was active in organizing for lesbian rights in those early seminal years, she later became a lgbt lobbyist in Washington, all part of a 40 year history which now   includes marriage equality, etal in the past year(s).

 Thank you very much for reading through my email. I am not an alumni yet certainly have a rich diverse memory from just one year at Pueblo. I am also sending to the Social Work department to share my thoughts.

I look forward to following the college activities on Facebook.

All the best and thanks for your work!



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