Joyce Jacobsen Interview
President of Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Drink Like a Girl 5K Event
May 17, 2020
We obviously know what a challenging time this is, and we appreciate you taking your time to speak with Drink Like a Girl. How have you coped with the COVID-19 Virus personally? How do you feel the HWS Community is coping and should be reacting? How do you feel the Finger Lakes Region is doing with the same?
Well personally I have joked that the COVID-19 Virus hasn’t affected my life all that much. I work on the road a lot anyway. I’m used to remote work. And also I work out of the house. It’s probably affected me less than anyone else around here. Living in Geneva of course also has mitigated it for people. It’s easier to go outside and walk around. I’m probably in better shape because I have more time to go outside and take a nice, long walk. We are also eating at home more which is probably healthier. I like to look for the silver linings in the current situation. I feel blessed that I have a large house and a beautiful place to look out on.
Obviously, it is a big challenge and I think all of higher education has had the same challenge right now. I’m so proud of all of our faculty, staff, and students because they basically have turned on a dime from our normal way of doing things to remote learning. We had basically one week to do it in – which was our Spring Break. Now we have been going for six weeks, and then students have their regular finals and reading period week. We have still used May 17th as our Annual Day of Record for the graduating seniors. We celebrate that day. We are also still planning to have an in-person celebration of their commencement at a later date. Either in the summer or next year.
You know, overall, even though it has been stressful on everybody, but a lot of people keep plugging along, getting through the semesters of today. It’s been okay. I want to say it’s okay, but not great, because we don’t think anything substitutes for the true residential, immersive liberal arts education. And I think that has been made very clear by this situation not only for our students but all students.
I can’t even imagine teaching small children. My sister-in-Law does Pre-K, and it’s surprising that one can even do that. But she has come up with some good ideas. This has been a bit easier because we did have digital learning specialists on campus. We have a center for teaching and learning. They along with the Assistant Deans contacted every single faculty member to come up with a plan. They focused on the important aspects, learning goals to meet from each course. It has been a large range of solutions. Some have continued with synchronous classes. Others have gone to a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous. And obviously it has been harder for people teaching lab courses, the arts. It’s much easier if it’s a standard lecture course or full discussion course. But they’ve come up with imaginative ways. But they did have probably more support here than I think a lot of people to be able to make that transition.
As of now, many businesses, DLG included, have either had to postpone, or in some cases, have had to cancel outright, as a result of the pandemic – what advice do you have for these businesses and for the people affected by it?
One of the biggest questions is, when can we move to a full reopening? We will obviously mitigate a lot of damage once we can get back into everybody being open, not just some businesses. We really need everything back open to get all the supply chains back in place. And it has been a good lesson for everybody about the economics of how everything is connected. For instance, if you don’t pay rent, the person in the middle gets squeezed because they still pay a mortgage. So there are all of these chains of both debt payments and revenue payments out there. Certainly for us it is important because we are a higher education institution, but also because we are one of the main employers in this area. We have not laid off anybody at this point – we are still paying everybody – but if it keeps going on, you can’t always do that. So I think that’s one of the challenges in getting everybody back to work.
And the second question is, how much of a recession do we end up generating? How deep will it go? I hope we can get the supply chains back into place nationally and internationally so that it will not be a very long or deep recession. The good news is that everyone should be able to go back to their regular jobs once we open up for the most part. But that hasn’t always been true during other recessions. The trick is to get all those interlinkages up and running.
The Drink Like a Girl 5K Event was founded based on a history of the Craft Beer Industry being more heavily driven by the male influence and population. The Craft Beer Industry created a fair share of obstacles for its female participants despite beer being produced by female ‘brewsters’ over 4000 years ago. This event is a takeback for equal rights, a celebration of women’s rights (in conjuncture with the 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote, and International Women’s Day), as well as, the pride of community and participation. What was it that attracted you to DLG and what motivated you to throw your support behind its message?
I think Drink Like a Girl 5K is a great idea – very innovative. The range of things that get linked together with basically running and beer-tasting. And addressing some narratives about what is appropriate for women or girls to be doing too. Which I think is a nice clever twist on that. Linking activities together that people are interested in and that are linked to this area. It is just a great combination of events.
What are the challenges you face as the first female president of HWS? What are your goals for female empowerment that have/can become more attainable through your position?
There is always some tension about how the coordinate system works. We are working through a lot of that this year. For instance, for the first time at commencement this year, we offer three choices of diplomas: Hobart or William Smith, or you can have a combination of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. So they have been running through a lot of ways to try and update and contemporize coordinate. So also recognizing the historical roots. And also the way that some people think about and as I like to say, ‘play’ with the ideas of what does gender mean. That has been a challenge to navigate that. Not so much because I’m a woman, but I’m also a scholar of gender economics. It has been interesting from that angle.
Otherwise, the big challenges are things like what’s happening now. So all the new presidents are going through this together. It was quite a shock that this happened this year.
Through your decorated career, what are some of the accomplishments with female empowerment that you have spearheaded or been a part of that you are most proud?
I was involved with the International Association for Feminist Economics. I was one of the founding members of that. It’s about twenty-five years old now and I served as President for it on a regular term and also worked on their journal. I think in the field of economics that has been really important to me because it is a very male dominated field. Women are still a minority in that field. I also was on the committee for the Status for Women in the Economics Profession for three years. A lot of it has been focused on my work as an Economist and the status of women in that field. But also, from years of educating women, particularly women who are majoring in economics and seeing some of them go on to graduate school has been important to me. And as a College President, making sure all of the student, both men and women and those that are identifying as non-binary, have the chance to really grow as individuals and as people.
A main focus for DLG is Community. What are your thoughts and hopes for each of these communities and how can/will you affect them in a positive way?
What I have really been focusing a lot on this year is all the overlapping of communities. And when we talk about HWS, we have to talk about that as a broad community that includes everybody on campus, but also all of the parents and all of the alums. That’s a much broader community of people. And also many members of the Geneva area, who are not Alums but have a deep connection to the Colleges as well. So I think the embedding in the Geneva and in the broader Finger Lakes and Upstate New York communities is also important. My husband and I have been getting to know people in town. Everyone has been very welcoming and friendly. We have made friends already, which has been great. We really enjoy living here in this setting.
Do you like Craft Beer?
DLG is proud to host ten local craft breweries from the Finger Lakes Region (Including WeBe, Warhorse, and Twisted Rail from the Geneva neighborhood). Do you have a favorite? I’m sure the brewers would love to have your opinion…
I’m more of a wine person and I also really like cider. So I’d say beer is my third favorite. But I have been really impressed by the fact that all of those, and of course distilled liquor are available here. Obviously we haven’t been able to get out and around as much as we’d like to. We have a plan to circumnavigate all of the eleven Finger Lakes and visit all of the breweries and wineries in the area, not just on Seneca Lake. We have gone all the way around this lake, but we haven’t visited everything yet.
The Women’s Hall Of Fame: Taking New Steps to Tell Women’s Stories
National Women’s Hall of Fame
A Q n’ A with President Kate Bennett
By DAVID DIEHL
I like your shoes…
Thank you. I love to hike.
Where do you like to hike?
Anywhere that you can go higher…
Such the perfect line to such an everyday conversation. The National Women’s Hall of Fame is set to move into its brand-new location in Seneca Falls, and President Kate Bennett tells Drink Like a Girl all of steps they are taking to elevate women’s stories and focus on leadership and world peace.
What is the primary purpose and function of the National Women’s Hall of Fame?
We recognize great American women. And every other year we have an induction ceremony that brings in about ten worthy women. People are nominated by the general public, and those ideas are sent to judges who pick the top of the class. We want to show the importance of leadership, civil discourse, and ways of working together.
What do you believe that the Hall of Fame exemplifies for women?
The HOF is a way for women to be honored. For so long, women weren’t in history books. It was so important to chronicle these stories, so people understood that many amazing feats were being accomplished within science and law and even, space. Women are everywhere. They are making news and they need to be in the history books. We encourage women to stand up and be who they are.
Fifty years ago, the Women’s Hall of Fame was started. And this community realized that it was so remarkable what had happened here in Seneca Falls. So, it was created to stand on the shoulders of the convention and tells the story of great American women.
How many people visit the HOF each year?
More than ten thousand, and we hope that that number increases as we are moving to our new location and there will be an increase of press. So many people need to come to this area and learn what happened here. This was a hotbed of activism and not just for women’s rights. People really spoke up for what they believed in right here.
What are your thoughts on the ‘Like a Girl’ movements?
I think it’s wonderful. I have three daughters, so the first time I heard a phrase like that I was delighted. It was time. It was nice to add a little humor, because I grew up being told I ‘threw like a girl.’ I grew up before title 9 had any sort of influence in my life. I loved sports, and yet couldn’t play in organized sports. It didn’t exist for us. So when I heard of the campaign – I loved it.
Now, with the HOF being the beneficiary to the Drink Like a Girl 5K event,
How do you feel it brings it all together?
I think it’s fun to take this region and look at what happened here again. It used to be that beer and hops were produced all along this countryside in the 19th century, and now there are so many brewery trails and winery trails. I think it’s terrific that Drink Like a Girl is starting something that celebrates that fact and the fact that we have quite a craft industry here. Also, people love to get outside and run for a good cause.
What are the HOF’s thoughts on the LGBTQ community and various gender expressions?
We are totally open to wherever the world takes us, because we think that there is a place for everyone in this world. One of the very cool things about the people that have been inducted to the Hall, is that they have all identified themselves as women. In the future, it’ll be interesting to see how that all plays out. But there is no question that there needs to be a place for all of our children in this world. Having a place to accept you for exactly who you are and what you want to say is really our only way to world peace.
What are the Hall of Fame’s goals for the future?
Well, we are just celebrating our 50 year Anniversary. Fifty years ago, there was a “First Tea,” where a group of women sat at a card table in Seneca Falls to get signatures to convince people to want a Women’s HOF. We are now moving into the Seneca Knitting Mills Building – a limestone building built in 1844 – has been restored and we will have both permanent and movable exhibits. Everyday we are taking steps to tell women’s stories.
CHANGING THE WORLD ONE RACE AT A TIME
A Q n’ A with Professional Distance Runner Melissa Johnson-White.
By DAVID DIEHL
If you like running like we do, you are certainly surrounded by the right people. It is remarkable how supportive, encouraging, and growing the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region Running community is and how lucky we are to have it and its leaders. While attending the Greater Rochester Running Club Yearly Banquet, Drink Like a Girl 5K met up with Rochester living-legend Melissa Johnson-White and asked her to join our event. Johnson-White is a five-time Olympic Trial Qualifier, six-time USA Team Member, an NCAA Champion, and a three-time Walt Disney Half Marathon Winner. She is currently training again for the Olympic Trials, but along the way will stop by Geneva to speak to all of our Drink Like a Girl 5K participants prior to the race.
Drink Like a Girl 5K: We are so excited to have you join us for the First Annual Drink Like a Girl 5K Event. What are the Olympic Trials and how do you qualify?
Melissa Johnson-White: This year will be my fifth Olympic Trials. Which is exciting. My goals will be a little bit different than they have been previously. This time life is a little bit different; I’ve had two kids. Not to say I don’t have big goals, I still like to run really well. I’ve been training, but my chances to be top three are probably pretty slim this time. I want to take it in a little bit and celebrate that I have made it for the 5th time. Just talking about women in general, this will be the largest women’s field they have ever had: 463 women are signed up, usually it’s in the 200 range. This is going to make history for women.
The way you qualify for the Olympic Trials is basically that every 4 years there’s going to be an Olympic Games. We usually have about 2 years of a qualifying window, so for women this time, you had to run under a certain time to make it to a qualifying marathon. That’s how you can get in. If you hit the standard, you then get entry in to the race. At the race, the top three women and three men from the race go to the Olympics. It’s only the top three.
DLG: What is your background and how has running contributing in the shape of your story?
MJW: I am originally from Naples, NY and attended Naples High School. Believe it or not, I never ran because they didn’t have a track or cross-country team. And I ended up walking on the team at SUNY Geneseo. In four years, I went from never running to an NCAA Champion in the 5K Indoors.
After college, I lucked out because the Hanson’s-Brooks Distance Project were starting there first women’s team in Michigan. So, I moved from New York-to-Michigan for running. From 2003-to-2017, I was in Michigan and it was when we had our first daughter that we moved back to Fairport, New York.
DLG: How important and supportive is the Rochester – Finger lakes running community?
MJW: The Rochester – Finger Lakes running community is incredible. When I moved back, one thing I was not worried about was the running community. We are really lucky in this region, and I think that people that haven’t left don’t realize that. You can find a marathon in every state, in every month of the year, but we have a great racing circuit all year long. There is prize money and Championships as well.
DLG: What does your training regimen consist of?
MJW: Right now, I train seven days a week - I run 90 miles a week. I finished off with 20 miles yesterday. In my prime I ran 120 miles a week for the marathon.
DLG: With running be a focal point in your life, what are the other facets that motivate you? Do you ever get a break?
MJW: What are my hobbies? Running, I think (laughs). Running is a big stress reliever for me now, even more than it used to be. I have two kids – I have a three-year-old and a ten-month old. Life is crazy. Between running, working, and taking care of the family, that’s pretty much what I do. We joke, but running is what we do for fun. My husband is a runner too, so that will be our dates out. My mom will come over and watch the kids so we can go do a race.
DLG: What do you think will motivate people to join the Drink Like a Girl 5 K?
MJW: I am excited to run along Seneca Lake. Even though I’ve been back in the area, I haven’t seen Geneva since I left. I’m excited because I know that it has changed. There are a lot of more exciting things there. So not only is it beautiful, there is going to be the draw of the scenery and there’s going to be the draw of these breweries out there too. You can exercise, you can have fun, and you can celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the women’s right to vote too.
DLG: So, is there any chance you will compete in the Drink Like a Girl 5k race?
MJW: I definitely want to run. I’m going to sign up.
DLG: Are you going to win?
MJW: It will be interesting because I’ll be just coming back after the marathon. My husband should be too. He’s trying to get back shape. So, I recommended this race. We can go to Geneva, we can run, we can drink some beer.
DLG: Can you give us a little taste of inspiration?
MJW: Running for me is a way to challenge myself. Before it was to compete and to see how good I could get. Now I run to challenge myself and to show my children what you can learn through running. Honestly one hundred years ago, women and men, they challenged themselves and fought for what they thought was right, and we need to continue to do that in this day and age. Running is one way where I think people can find their strength. They can prove to themselves that they are stronger than they may think they are. They can push themselves farther than they think they can go. That’s where I think running can really help us change the world.
"I fell in love with the Finger Lakes when I was at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. After graduating, I moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn to sling beers and write. Back in the FL, I have created this freelance project...
FLX Words". -David Diehl-
To see more work by David Diehl go to www.flxwords.com
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