Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alfred bee man

As a follow up to my last post, I decided to interview the one and only beekeeper in the Village of Alfred- Mr. Thomas McDowell.
During his college years, Mr. McDowell studied biology with a specific focus in mammalian behavioral ecology. This is what led him to discover his interest in bees. He loved watching and studying the way animals interact, specifically the behavioral codes of bees.
When Mr. McDowell moved to Alfred, around 1985, he had the perfect opportunity to take his fascination with bees and make it a physical proposition. Soon after moving into the house that he still lives in, he noticed a strange happening going on in late July. On the outside of his home, a swarm of bees had taken to nesting. He talked to the local beekeeper at the time and the beekeeper said there was no way they would make it through the winter if Mr. McDowell decided to capture the swarm now, in early August. He decided to give it a shot anyway. Tom built a Styrofoam “hive” around the swarm onto the side of the house. Miraculously the hive survived the winter- and the rest is history.
As I had recently found out Alfred was a pretty busy bee hive. Bees were a crucial part of Alfred State’s research and the reason Honey Pot Candy was founded. It is surprising that not more beekeepers are found in the Village.
Starting out Mr. McDowell only had one hive, realizing soon enough that it was just too risky not to have more than one- he expanded. It is very common that a hive will not survive the winter, especially in a climate like Alfred. In 1986 or 87’ he started with one hive, slowly building his way up to the 12 that he has today. This year, all 12 have survived the winter, probably because it has not been too brutal. All his hives consist of Carolinian Queen Bees, which he receives from a company in Georgia. Mr. McDowell prefers this species because of their calm, non-aggressive behavior. In the beginning of his practice, every year Tom would receive a whole hive of bees from Georgia but now just prefers to purchase the queens and split his old hive to create a new one.
The average amount of honey Mr. Mc Dowell will receive depends on how good the season is. The amount can range from 30 -100lbs of honey from individual hives. On average about 60- 70lbs of honey is gathered from each hive during a normal season. The way to receive the honey from the hives is a rather tricky process. There are two ways to take the honey; it depends on what type of honey you want. One can just take the entire honeycomb- honey and wax, or one can extract the honey from the honeycombs. The processes involve an entire suit of protective clothing and special equipment to keep the bees away. One has to scare the bees away from the hive, hoping that they will return after they have been pushed away from their home. While they are gone, it leaves one with enough time to go into each hive and remove the frames. One would take a hot knife and cut the honeycombs away from the frame leaving the empty frames and putting them back into the hive. The other way to just get pure honey with no honeycomb is the slice the caps off the honeycombs and put the entire frame in a barrel. The barrel will than spin and gravity will extract the honey from the combs and force it toward the outside of the barrel, dripping down into a collecting agent.
Something I found very interesting while looking at different types of honey was the fact that some of them can be artificially flavored with clover, orange, blueberry or naturally flavored. I did not quite understand how the natural flavoring happened so I asked Mr. McDowell to elaborate. It is possible to take a hive of bees to a specific location where there is a grove of particular flowers or trees. If there is a large quantity of a specific flower in one place, the bee will only collect pollen from that one species- resulting in a natural flavoring of the honey. Therefore, if a honey has a naturally orange or clover flavoring it is because the bees only took pollen from those particular plants.
Mr. McDowell sends his honey out to friends and family, sells it at local stores like Kinfolk and the Quest Farm produce stand in Almond, and of course keeps some for him. As stated, Mr. McDowell, “Loves honey, specifically honey combs (eating the wax and all). There is nothing better than eating an entire honeycomb on top of toast or an English muffin.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunrise/set

While the Old Farmer's Almanac is not unique to Alfred, NY, the information it contains about Alfred is unique to the area.

Robert B. Thomas was the original editor of the Almanac and the first copy was published in 1792; he also created the weather prediction formula still used today.  Its publication stayed strong until 1936, when the current editor, Roger Scaife, edited out the weather forecast from the almanac. In 1939, though, it was then bought by Robert Sagendorph, where it's tradition in forecasting was carried on.

Three editions of the Almanac are published four times per year.  The New England edition is printed in Boston.

A matter of accuracy . While the Almanac claims 80% accuracy, some say only around 52% come true (which is little better than guessing). (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/february96/weather_2-2.html)

The following is data specific to Alfred, NY, spanning every 5 years, from 1970 to 2035.

April 22, 1970
Sun    rise 5:20 A.M.   set 7:00 P.M.    length of day 13:40

April 22, 1975
Sun    rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:00 P.M.   length of day 13:40

April 22, 1980
Sun   rise 5:19 A.M.   set 7:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 1985
Sun   rise 5:19 A.M.   set 7:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 1990
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:41

April 22, 1995
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:00 P.M.    length of day 13:40

April 22, 2000
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:42

April 22, 2005
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 2010
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.  set  8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 2015
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:41

April 22, 2020
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:41

April 22, 2025
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:42

April 22, 2030
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 2035
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:42


While the sun may set at a specific time "on the books" so to speak, the hills here create their own rise and set time.  In winter, on the shortest day, the sun can easily set before 4:30, only because of Moland Hill.

So what or who is really in control of our natural light?  

An overlooked bridge

This bridge adjacent to the Brick is very often overlooked. Yet one should see it as an architectural feat. From the Roman Empire to modern-day steel the bridge has overcome many design changes. Yet this bridge serves more than just a crosswalk over water. It is the gateway to our campus, and frames the cornerstone of our identity, King Alfred.

The Foote Brothers of Nunda, NY, made this bridge. These brothers also owned a cement manufacturing company, a large part of the material used to make the bridge. Yet the most interesting piece of this bridge t me was the sign stating the maker. This small copper plate is so easily missed, that it took me four years of walking up that hill to notice, and only by happenstance, because my dog stopped to sniff. Copper is such a revolutionary metal, and for me, has so many historical references, like the Statue of Liberty as well as ancient art and monetary references as well.

I find it interesting to think about the choices of materials that builders use. Why a copper sign? Why a cement base, when water could potentially seep in and eventually crack the cement. Another interesting fact is why the copper changes to the color green. To quote a metal website “Gemini Geek,” “Though copper is well known as a metal that resists the effects of exposure to the air and to salt water (because of the salt), it does have an interesting characteristic when this exposure occurs. It turns green.”

Strays in Alfred

stray (v.) Look up stray at Dictionary.com
c.1300, aphetic of O.Fr. estraier "wander about," lit. "go about the streets," from estree "route, highway," from L.L. via strata "paved road" (see street). On another theory, the O.Fr. is from V.L. *estragare, a contraction of *estravagare, representing L. extra vagari "to wander outside" (see extravagant). Fig. sense of "to wander from the path of rectitude" is attested from early 14c. The noun meaning "domestic animal found wandering" is earlier (early 13c.), from O.Fr. estraiƩ "strayed," pp. of estraier. The adj. is first recorded c.1600.


I recently found a stray on a random trip to gas up the car. After putting up posters, calling vets, the SPCA, and anyone else I could think of, I came across a realization. There are many strays in the community of Alfred.

There are cats roaming the alley and dogs on the highway. Where do they all come from? I recently learned that one student tried to hand over a dog that she knew she could not take care of to the SPCA, she was told it would be $95 to turn him in.

daffodils

Its spring … well sometimes. And that means that hopefully flowers will be in bloom. One of the most iconic flowers of spring, the daffodil has a presence on the Alfred University Campus. These perennials are often seen in churches during the Pentecost season. Generally yellow or white in color they grace many a flowerbed mid-March through April.

These flowers are also the symbol of friendship, a perfect addition to the Alfred campus. Often you will see students carrying around glimpses of this spring flower up until hot dog day.

bees

I have started to take my interest in locally grown foods and sustainable living to a smaller notion. The agricultural in this part of the state has been an influential part of living within the community. What better place to start my research than at Kinfolk, the local organic grocery store. In my last post, I researched Honey Pot Candies, sold and created in only in Alfred, NY. I am interested in the local honey businesses surrounding the Alfred community. Many local beekeepers provide honey for Alfred and villages surrounding us. Since I do not know much about bees as an insect, I began researching bees.
I will be posting another blog at the end of the week providing information gathered from some local beekeepers that I have interviews with this week.
Bees
are flying
insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are unrecognized and the actual number is probably higher. Bees are found throughout the world except at the highest altitudes, in Polar Regions, and on some small oceanic islands. The greatest diversity of bee species is found in warm, arid or semiarid areas, especially in the American Southwest and Mexico.They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
Bees range in size from tiny species only 2 mm in length to rather large insects up to 4 cm long. Many bees are black or gray, but others are bright yellow, red, or metallic green or blue. Bees have a long complex "tongue" that enables them to obtain the nectar from
flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in female. All bees have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless. Bee flight patterns were applied the equations of air resistance and found that their flight could not be explained by fixed-wing calculations. This has led to a common misconception that bees "violate aerodynamic theory", but in fact it confirms that bees do not engage in fixed-wing flight, and that their flight is explained by other mechanics, such as those used by helicopters. Their sufficient lift is generated by the combination of short, choppy wing strokes, a rapid rotation of the wing as it flops over and reverses direction, and a very fast wing-beat frequency. Wing beat frequency normally increases as size decreases, but as the bee's wing beat covers such a small arc, it flaps approximately 230 times per second.
Bees are dependent on pollen as a protein source and on flower nectar or oils as an energy source. Adult females collect pollen primarily to feed their larvae. The pollen they inevitably lose in going from flower to flower is important to plants because some pollen lands on the pistils of other flowers of the same species, resulting in cross-pollination. Bees are the most important pollinating insects, and their interdependence with plants makes them an perfect example of symbiosis known as mutualism, an association between unlike organisms that is beneficial to both parties. Bees focus either on gathering nectar or on gathering pollen depending on demand, especially in social species. Bees gathering nectar may accomplish pollination, but bees that are deliberately gathering pollen are pollinators that are more efficient. It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated
European honeybee.
The European Honey bee which is the domesticated bee found in Alfred, belongs to a species of eusocial bees, which live in colonies. Each colony has a single
queen, many workers and, at certain stages in the colony cycle, drones. When humans provide the nest, it is called a hive. Colonies are typically small, with a dozen or fewer workers, on average. The only physical difference between queens and workers is average size, if they differ at all. A honey bee hive can contain up to 40,000 bees at their annual peak, which occurs in the spring, but usually have fewer. In some species, groups of cohabiting females may be sisters, and if there is a division of labor within the group, then they are considered semi social. If, in addition to a division of labor, the group consists of a mother and her daughters, then the group is called eusocial. The mother is considered the "queen" and the daughters are "workers". These castes may be purely behavioral alternatives. Males play no part in the colony's organization and only mate with the queens. Individual bees may have highly specialized functions within the colony. The tasks of defense, food collection and storage, reproduction, and many other activities are regulated by the colony's response to environmental conditions inside and outside the hive. Individuals communicate by means of chemical messages, touch, sound, and, in the case of honey bees, a symbolic dance language. The nests of many eusocial bees are very elaborate and may be constructed partially of wax secreted by the bees.
The Bee as a figure has been seen prominently in
mythology and has been used by political theorists as a model for human society. Despite the honey bee's painful sting and the stereotype of insects as pests, bees are generally held in high regard. This is most likely due to their usefulness as pollinators and as producers of honey, their social nature, and their reputation for diligence. Bees are one of the few insects regularly used on advertisements, being used to illustrate honey and foods made with honey.
In
North America, yellow jackets and hornets, especially when encountered as flying pests, are often misidentified as bees, despite numerous differences between them. Although a bee sting can be deadly to those with allergies, virtually all bee species are non-aggressive if undisturbed and many cannot sting at all. Humans are often a greater danger to bees, as bees can be affected or even harmed by encounters with toxic chemicals in the environment.

Alfred bus shelter aka "Alfred Plaza"





The project of rebuilding the existing Alfred bus shelter began in November 2006 when Bland Hoke, a 2007 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of Alfred University, obtained a Community Initiative Grant from the School of Art & Design. According to Hoke, the grant “was targeted at working with the community. I gathered a group of students, and we researched a public amenity within the Village of Alfred that would be revitalized with the integration of public art.” The bus shelter, constructed in the early ‘70s by Glenn Zweygardt, a sculpture professor at the University from 1969 to 2007, was chosen because it had been decommissioned due to structural instability after more than 30 years of use. Additionally, its location on the corner of South Main and West University streets in Alfred make it highly visible to the Alfred community. Rebuilding the bus shelter was the pilot project of Alfred Community Outreach Through the Arts (COTTA), a student initiative co-founded by Hoke, whose objective was to “provide students with an educational experience in public art making while providing the Village with the service of renovation and beautification.”

Upon receiving the grant, Hoke contacted Alfred State College architecture professor Joy Carlson, who connected him with the Alfred State Architecture Club. Together, the two groups developed four different concepts for the new bus shelter and put up posters around the village explaining the project and requesting feedback from the community. On January 28th, 2007, COTTA and the Alfred State Architecture club held a “charette” session at the Village Hall involving business members, elected officials, residents, faculty and students. A charette is defined as a final, intensive effort to finish an architectural project. The charette provided an opportunity for anyone in the Alfred community interested to be a part of the project and included a trip to the site to make observations of existing conditions. Glenn Zweygardt participated in the charette, offering insights to any changes made and educating the community on his original concepts for the existing bus shelter. On February 1st, the two groups presented a semi-finalized concept to the Village Planning Board, which included many different Auto-CAD site plans, floor plans, renderings and virtual placement of the new bus shelter in the existing location. Considerations of the design included a backrest that blocked the prevailing wind but also functioned as a posting board for temporary and permanent postings, a paving pattern that allowed access to the sidewalk and a structure that served as a community-gathering place. The Village of Alfred Planning Board approved the final design on March 1st, 2007 and on April 19th, the structure was erected in just nine hours.

Sustainability of the bus shelter, which came to be known as “Alfred Plaza”, and the use of local, recycled and re-purposed materials were major factors influencing the design and construction of the shelter. The timber frame of the shelter was designed by the Alfred State Architecture Club and constructed using traditional timber framing techniques. It is constructed from white oak harvested locally by Eddie’s Lumber, and prefabricated in Wellsville by the Alfred State Timber Framing Club. The seven benches, designed by Hoke, are made entirely from durable recycled materials including Corian, composite decking and galvanized metal and will be virtually maintenance free for 25 to 30 years. Approximately 1 ½ tons of Corian flashing material, along with 1,000 pink, translucent acrylic promotional bracelets by Estee Lauder were procured from a landfill by the Hudson Valley Materials Exchange in order to construct the benches. The failed bracelets were used as spacers between the Corian to reduce the weight of the benches (each bench weighs approximately 600 pounds!) and allow water to flow through. The benches also make use of a repurposed rigid conduit lighting grid for support and recycled plastic timber for the seat. The roof of the structure was created using 15,000 terra cotta tiles donated by John Ninos and Alfred State architecture professor Terry Palmiter. The tiles serve to strengthen the shelter’s connection to the village of Alfred, which probably wouldn’t exist as we know it today if it weren’t for terra cotta.

The story of Alfred Plaza project is significant because is representative of collaboration between Alfred State, Alfred University and the community of Alfred. Hoke says, “I believe this project will be a catalyst for continued collaboration between Alfred University and Alfred State College. The two schools have tremendous capabilities in terms of applied skills, conceptual strongholds and a creative broth of students that are capable of doing just about anything. It will be exciting to see how Alfred melds and morphs in the coming years.” Furthermore, the design of the bus shelter as we know it today is significant because it considers sustainability and the use of recycled and repurposed materials for building, a phenomenon which is very much in the interest and spirit of this day and age.

Works Cited

Hoke, Bland. “Alfred Plaza Project.” [Weblog entry.] The Blog of Bland. 22 Apr 2008. (http://blandzai.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html.) 28 Mar 2010.

Hoke, Bland. Alfred Cotta. N.p. 3 Apr 2009. Web. 28 Mar 2010. (http://alfredcotta.blogspot.com/)

An unfamiliar place on Sherman Road

Alfred has the ability to make visitors feel like they are entering a different time. Maybe it is the brick facades and walkways or the old-style lanterns that are so prominent in the village. It could be the single stop light, the historic buildings, the uncanny tree outside of Powell Campus Center. Or maybe Alfred is just a different from many of our home towns. Students here are from all over the country and all over the world. The size of Alfred can be surprising and even uncomfortable for some who are unfamiliar with this kind of setting. After doing some driving around and exploring a couple years back, I started to feel as if I was seeing the unknown and the forgotten. One place in particular gave me the spooks and sticks with me still.


On Sherman Road, there is a dirt drive on the left heading up the hill from Route 244. I have frequented there only once. (If I can muster up some courage, I will go there again to paint a better picture.) After a full day of driving through back roads to take pictures for our photography class, I drove there with my boyfriend for one last stop. Our assignment: go somewhere you have never been and photograph it. Each place we stopped at gave us the growing illusion that Alfred was similar to those oh-so-disconnected towns in some Hollywood films. I had flashbacks to horror movies that take place in small towns with little or no contact to the outside world, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


The dirt road leading into this spot very narrowly crosses a stream. The bridge is so narrow that we almost went off of it on our fast departure from there. The unpaved road curves around to the right, and before you know it, you are driving towards a dead end surrounded on all sides by high and steep slopes. In the turn around loop, there is an old, run down school bus that looks like it could be sheltering someone (or something). The dirt road leads out of the dead end and up a hill. When I was there, I saw what looked like a garden of sorts atop the hill, leading my imagination further into thinking that there were inhabitants near by. On the way out, we saw a desk with cinder blocks on top of it in the middle of an overgrown field. I didn't even get out of the car to take my picture. Going back down Sherman Road, I stopped close to this mysterious spot to take a couple more pictures, when a man came out of the house on the corner property of Sherman and Route 244 to approach me. What he wanted, I will never know. I got in my car when I saw him because he did not look happy with what we were doing. Did he see us visiting the strange area? Was it his property? Had we been trespassing? The relief I felt when arriving on campus was incredible, because although Alfred is reminiscent of another time and place, it can be very jarring and unfamiliar, creating wild ideas and painting inaccurate pictures of what Alfred is really all about.

Before Route 21

To get to Hornell from Alfred, one must venture onto Route 21, a road that has been in existence since the late 1930s and early 40s. In Hornell can be found a Walmart, Wegman's, Salvation Army, restaurants, a small movie theater, not to mention a Lowe's that was put in recently. Compared to Alfred, there is a lot going on there to lure students from their quaint dorms and monotonous school work, and all one must do to visit the exciting town of Hornell is travel a mere 18 minutes by car. On the way, one may notice several side roads that veer off from Route 21 for under a mile, then curve and rejoin the main road. From a first glance, one might assume that these roads were built after Route 21 so that residents could pull off into their driveways in slower moving traffic areas. However, these side roads connected at one point to form a main road, the "old Route 21," the original roadway to move from town to town. Route 21 was built around the same time as the Almond Dam, to provide a faster, straighter, more efficient means by which to travel. Starting in Alfred, there is Shaw Road, Whitford Road, Old Whitney Valley Road, and Old Almond Road that run adjacent to 21 on the way to Hornell.


With the exception of Almond Road, the names of these roads are connected to some of the earliest settlers of this area. And these three roads are not unique in this way. Most, if not all of the roads in the Alfred area, were named after families, or if not named after families were named after certain features. Chapel Road in Almond for example, connected to three churches in the 1800s, each with different denominations. Only one of these churches remains today.


It is interesting to look at a topographical map of Alfred to see how the roads are built dependent upon the geography. Most of the roads were placed when Alfred was first settled and haven't moved since. It's no wonder Route 21 was built. The main road was very windy because it conformed to the shape of the land. The roads were built out of necessity, not for the ease of travel. The side roads have a different look and feel than they did originally. Like on-ramps and off-ramps of the interstate highways, these side roads provide stopping points for a faster moving roadway.


In looking at ways to travel, it is interesting to also note the train station at Alfred Station. Similarly to these side roads, it was once a major means of travel, yet is no longer used for transit. Luckily, the continued use of cars for travel has kept the side roads in existence and in use.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Drawn to Diversity AKA D2D

Alfred University strides itself on being a diverse school. We are techqually the first school to have men and women enrolled and attending the same classes. Also in the 1850’s AU enrolled its first African-American and Native American students, becoming the second school to do so in their time. With this strong history relating to diversity, Drawn to Diversity emerged in 2006.

Drawn to Diversity, also known as D2D, was created by the University’s Director of Student Activities, Dan Napolitano. This program aims to “teach history, inspire artists, cultivate dialogue, and fight ignorance using popular art and media forms.” When D2D first started in 2006 Marvel Comics and MTV provided support for the club to explore diversity issues through comic books. D2D put on programs throughout the year that involved colorful stage shows that featured the students dressed in superhero costumes and detailing the history of civil rights. Some examples of the superheroes that were portrayed were The Black Panther, Luke Cage, Green Lantern, and Falcon.

In 2008, Dan Napolitano began to teach his first D2D class, the topic being diversity and advertising. The goal for this class was to explore the history of advertising icons such as Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, Chiquita Banana, and other famous advertising creations. The class worked hand in hand with the club taking the research they have gathered and compiled it into a fun power point presentation that ends up captivating audiences of all ages. February of that year D2D made themselves present at the NYC Comic Con hosting a booth and also putting on performances for educators and other alike. At the end of the 2007-2008 school year the Drawn to Diversity class hosted an event in Susan Howell where the students revealed posters that provoked the truth about the history of several advertising icons. They were originally designed to be hanged in Wegman’s supermarkets; sadly Wegman’s declined the offer. Along with unveiling the posters Aleighlia Bundles, Madam CJ Walkers great granddaughter, made a speech at the ceremony.

During the fall semester of the 2008-2009 school year Dan Napolitano decided to take the Drawn to Diversity club and turn it into a class. The D2D club is a community service program. The club is made up of several students who take turns being the Art Force Five. Going to schools and inviting elementary-college students to view their performance.

The focuses of the last two Drawn to Diversity classes have been diversity in toys and diversity in animation. Each semester new students get involved in this growing club/class helping fight ignorance.



Magazine Cover

Reserving

Reserving space for blog entries about the odors of harder, sustainability on campus, and the best designed dorm rooms

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Backs of Buildings Continued: Mapping the Alley Behind the Rose Bush Block

For my final essay for the Alfred LUCK project I would like to revisit a location that I discussed before; the alley that runs behind what was historically called the Rose Bush block. But is probably known better as the alley that runs behind the Chinese restaurant, Alex’s, the hair salon, the Kampus Kave, the ballet apartments and the former Collegiate restaurant. In the previous essay on this location I talked about the ethos of the alley and how it had the feeling that it could be located in a city, instead of a rural location. I also talked about the various formal characteristics of the alley, how it smells, the sounds that can be heard from it, and the large number of fire escapes that reinforce the city feel. The function of the alley is to allow mobility and access to business without being visible to the consumers frequenting the business. This is so food/products can be brought in and trash removed in a discrete manner. The function of the alley is also to allow escape to the residents of the building via fire escapes in the case of emergency. Basically the function of the alley is to discretely allow for practical task to take place behind the faƧade of the front of the building out of the public eye.

I have already talked about the formal design and layout of the alley behind the Rose Bush block in my previous essay and would now like to talk about different ways of mapping that could be utilized to demonstrate this form and function in a non-traditional manner. The first way to map the alley, while at the same time show the function of the alley and represent the business that are located in the building that it runs behind would be to make a map of the trash disposed in it. This may seem a little gross, but by making a record of the different kind of waste that is being disposed of in the large dumpster and smaller trash cans could illustrate what kind of business are located in the building without ever seeing the front of the building. At the same time this method of mapping shows that one function of the alley is to be a place where trash can be disposed of.

My second idea for making a map representing form and function of the alley would be to make a visual map showing only the fire escapes located on the back of the building above the alley. This map would roughly illustrate the location of the residential apartments and demonstrate the function of the alley as being a way of escape in an emergency. In the alley behind Alex’s and the Chinese food restaurant there are three sets of fire escapes, two of them having three levels to them and the third having two levels. The fire escape is a fairly typical architectural device that is typically used in urban apartment buildings as a way of escape during a fire. It was invented in 1784 by Daniel Maseres in England and has become an iconic image of the cityscape.

My third idea for mapping the alley behind Alex’s and the Chinese food restaurant would be to document the consumption of electricity from the building. A notable aesthetic element of the alley is the rows of electric meters that are on the back wall of the building each having a label for each business and apartment. A map made showing the different levels of electricity consumption would illustrate the different inhabitants of the building based on their consumption of electricity. The business’s would likely have a higher rate of electricity consumption so the map would show the number of commercial and residential inhabitants, while at the same time illustrating one of the functions of the alley as being a place for the electric meters to exist out of public view.

At the end of my last essay I posed the question what purpose do the backs of buildings serve? I think the answer to this question is that there purpose is to allow discrete access and mobility away from the public eye and I think that the three alternative ways of mapping that I have proposed clearly illustrate the characteristics of the alley behind the Rose Bush block.

Work cited

The Alfred Historical Society and Baker’s Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas Texas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.

Ghost sightings

Since arriving at college I have wanted to know about the history of the Alfred and it’s buildings. As soon as discussion started I found that conversation took a turn for the supernatural. Once a building was brought up someone inevitably had a story of of some kind about something that had happened with in these various buildings. Whether I believe them or not them or not there is some quite great about hearing a story about a “ ghost” or whatever you want to call it. Another great aspect of these stories at are also interesting to hear about is how someone telling the story reacted to the experience.

One story that seems to be the most reacquiring story of ghost on Alfred University's campus is the sighting of a man in civil war uniform roaming the halls of the brick. This kind of “sighting” always makes me wonder I know it may seem more convincing if more people ad seen this figure but for me I feel like the multiple claims to have seen this “figure” is somewhat unreal and fabricated, since it is a well known fact the the brick was converted in to an infirmary doing the civil war and that many people died there, is just common knowledge. I guess what I’m trying to get at is when reading or hearing these stories I question how much of it is fabrication of “thing” that is in your mind ( maybe in even a dream) but then connecting it to some kind of historical event. For example, I have had two people live in the Brick tell me that they have had dreams about walking through the building and seeing it all “ as it was when it was a hospital” and then with in dreams interacting with “people” and then waking up in cold sweat. Now I don’t know if these two people have spoken to each-other however what is interesting is yes they are somewhat connecting historical events of the location however where the flaw seems to be is in what time periods are explained. It is well known that is was during civil war times that a place like this was described but these dreams were set according to the tellers one in the 1920’s and one in the 1960’s, a little off.

Other stories of encounters are seeing a small boy with in the row of books on the second floor of Herrick library. There is also the claim that there is women’s spirt roaming around the CDC which has been seen by janitors while cleaning u and she has been seen in the top floor window from the back path behind powell and the science center. In 2009 there a “ghost hunter” came to Alfred and when doing a tour on campus, and was asked where he does like to do a ghost tour he picked the CDC and the brick to hold his “ghost tours”. Then entering the CDC he claimed that he felt a spirt of a young boy and a mother. When asked how is received these feelings or how they were different? he claimed that the spirt of most young boys were a lot more high energy while women sprits are more claim and seem to somewhat float through spaces. He then proceeded to explain that men’s sprits are more “rough” feeling and there is a sense of anger and your girls seem claim and as well with young boys to be an almost bouncy feel of them. Now something I feel is interesting about these claims about different gendered and aged sprits is that they almost seem of a stereo type for men, women and little boys and girls. I don’t know for a fact but I think there should be more of a definite/ complex answer as to why a spirt is cauterized as something. I think what I am trying to “map” with in this entry is not so much the actual ghost stories but to map where these people thought about these stories or came to these conclusions.



Alfred State Green House


In 2007 Alfred State College completed construction of a new building on campus, a mass of steel and glass, this building would be the home to hundreds of plants. The greenhouse operates now as the laboratory for the school's Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (COSA). The building itself offers little in the way of inspired design, instead it is the advanced growing system that is of note. The greenhouse employs a hydroponic system known as “Nutrient Film Technology” in which nutrients are delivered to the plants through tubes facilitating rapid growth. This method of growing can provide harvestable lettuce in as little as a month after planting. In winter there is not sufficient sunlight in Alfred to support this rapid growth so in order to supplement that deficiency the greenhouse has another technological feature, a system of light emitting diodes which are more efficient than other means of greenhouse lighting, as well as less hazardous. The program is in cooperation with on campus dining, and the greenhouse supplies fresh lettuce to the dining hall through out the year. The projected yield for lettuce is 30 heads a day, which is about 20-30 pounds, it is also projected to include tomatoes carrots broccoli and other produce. This arrangement is an attempt to not only provide local vegetation to campus dining services, but also to teach the students in the program the entire process of their work, from seedling to plate, not just the initial steps. The system that is in place is said to be more sustainable than other traditional methods of greenhouse growing in that it requires less space and offers a larger yield. This design is a great example of an innovative way to improve both the learning experience, and the quality as well as environmental impact of the dining services. It is surprisingly uncommon to see two programs working in such close symbiosis, this relationship should stand as a model for other departments to work together in order to improve the school in a larger sense.


Sources:

http://www.fsdmag.com/going-green/alfred-state-saddles-up-for-sustainable.html

http://www.alfredstate.edu/news/2008-04-10/hydroponics-system-at-alfred-state-college-new-ideas-sprouting-up-everywhere

Alfred Skunks



When you visit Alfred or Alfred University, your tour guide may tell you about the Ceramics department, the Green Monster, even the dreaded food at the Dining halls. However, they always fail to mention the Skunks. It seems that there is a large amount of skunks that have made their home around campus. If you are a student living on or around campus the likeliness that you have had an encounter with a skunk or its smell is almost 100%. Coming back from breaks is especially pleasant because i am usually greeted with the odor of a skunk.

Skunks vary in size, but most are about the size of a house cat, they also appear in a variety of striped, swirled and spotted patterns. They are all black-and-white which makes them easily visible to predators. Skunks usually nest in burrows constructed by other animals. During the coldest winter months they sleep in their burrows for several weeks. Each female gives birth to between 2 and 10 young each year!!! Which explains the large population in Alfred. They are opportunistic eaters (so don't leave your trash around). The good news is skunk spray causes no real damage to its victims, just a lingering smell that can last for days.

In my experience most skunks in Alfred are a little desensitized to humans, i have walked a foot away from one without it even noticing me. Although when provoked, I have seen them spray a kid throwing rocks. There are many skunks around the Pine Hill suites, even an all white one. There are also some around main street including one that lives under the deck of 21. Besides their smell, skunks are harmless and are usually victims of speeding cars. Without the skunks around Alfred, it may be much more relaxing to walk near dumpsters or down a flight of stairs at night, but, it also wouldn't smell like the middle of nowhere which we all know and love!

Graffiti Wall


The graffiti wall in the courtyard of Harder Hall is a place for a little freedom of expression. To discourage graffiti on public property a section of the wall has been designated for this exact purpose. It allows students to indulge in their graffiti love in a less destructive way. This wall has been around for quite some time and every so often it gets painted over. However until this clean slate is created, layers upon layers of art build up. A very interesting mixture of styles, colors, and subjects combine to create a unique collage. While it is a form of self expression it also creates a venue for students to display their work. It is an ever changing wall, constantly being covered and restructured into something new. While some students take it more seriously than others, it creates an interesting mash of abstract patterns, recognizable objects, and text.

Right now there are many remnants of individuals work. The background is covered with pinks and blues creating a patterned tube structure. The tube is divided up into small sections each one with its own unique pattern. At the top are the initials “JB,”” JW”, “OL” and the year ’09, we can assume that these are the initials of the artist or perhaps somehow related to the piece. Parallel lines serve to divide up the space up even further. Some parts of it seem to be spray painted while others are clearly hand-painted. While some parts are very angular, others are much more organic and freeform. One part that particularly interests me is the figure that occupies the bottom portion of the wall. She doesn’t have much detail, and is made up of solid shapes. We can tell it’s a girl because she has a yellow dress on and a bow in her hair. However all of her features are completely obliterated. The wall seems to be dripping from her face and hair into the rest of her body. The red of her hair seems to give the feeling of blood running down her white skin. Her lack of identity gives her a rather disturbing presence as well. She is outlined in blue and it is difficult to tell whether this was done by the original artist or added later by someone else. It does serve to separate her from the background, giving definition to her arms and hands. A portion of her bottom half is recently covered up by a gold square. This square has a match about two feet away from it which is identical in form. An interesting green and red pattern resides in the space next to the figure. It is an organic form radiating from the center to form a pattern similar to a mandala. Harsh black lines divide the colors and are also used to create dots within the shapes.

Another fascinating notion regarding the wall is the anonymity of it. Many times you never see the artist in action and it seems as though a new piece has just magically appeared. There is no title card or description of the artist’s intentions. This relates back to a long standing debate in the art world of the individuals v. the collective. It is essentially a collective work of art that has contributions from many different sources. However this collaboration is not organized in any specific manner. It is up to the individual to take the wall in a new direction even though it will be viewed as a whole. A certain amount of discrimination takes place in the choices of what to cover up with one’s own work. This community work adds individuality to Alfred’s campus that cannot be seen anywhere else.

Christian Influence in Alfred




Mapping Christian Influence in Alfred

The town of Alfred, as well as the institutions developed therein, was originally founded on the morals of the Seventh Day Baptist church. Though this foundation has been replaced by other values, traces of Christianity have been maintained through much of Alfred University’s history. In 1807 the first settlers, Nathan Green, Clark Crandall and Edward Green, traveled from Newport, Rhode Island to establish the sixth Baptist church in America at this time (Minard). Differing from their mother church, this church recognized the Sabbath as the seventh day, or Saturday, instead of the traditional Sunday worship day. As more people settled in the area, a school was developed and which held the weekly Sabbath meeting that became part of the settler’s everyday lives. In 1836 the church founded the Select School, created to educate qualified teachers for the sparse areas surrounding the region (A Tradition of Distinction). That soon became the Alfred Academy which opened more opportunities for higher learning, while still maintaining its original foundational values: protestant Christianity.
Chapel Hall, or what is now known as Alumni Hall, the office of financial aid and admissions, is the oldest original building on the Alfred University campus and was a center point in student’s lives. Chapel Hall was built in 1851 in the Greek revival style, which was a very popular in America and Europe for businesses, wealthy residential homes, and churches. The Greek Revival was important to this time period not only because it was believed to be beautiful aesthetically, but because of the associations it had with religion and democracy, and the strong ties citizens held to these values. Though the Greeks were not Christian, their daily use of religion as well as their devotion to democracy, was idealized at this time.
As evident in a diary recovered from a past student, Vernon Marion Babbit, students would attend chapel before classes in the morning and a prayer meeting at night (Babbit). The chapel was a non-denominational Christian church that held services of Protestant origins. Attending chapel was not required by the school, nor did it have any academic advantages other than self fulfillment. Students wanted to improve themselves, and one way they believed that could be accomplished was by going to church services. Many faculty members also participated in church lectures, including then University president Jonathan Allen (Babbit). Christianity had strong influences on this community, partially because the town was founded by Seventh Day Baptist settlers, but also because most of America was still strongly religious at this period.
Those students who were local or of Seventh Day Baptist faith, most likely worshiped at the Seventh Day Baptist Church located in the town of Alfred. The original church was destroyed in 1929 by a devastating fire, but was quickly rebuilt as it is now (Clarke). This church, rebuilt in a similar fashion, also demonstrates the Greek revival style, and when compared with Alumni Hall, similarities can be seen in the tall white steeple. It is evident that Alumni Hall was modeled similarly, and perhaps in response to, the Seventh Day Baptist Church.
As the University got bigger, and Alfred State was established, more people traveled to the area, bringing various religions with them. Many other churches are located in Alfred, providing options for diverse Christian back grounds. In 1922, the Union University Church began worshiping in the same chapel, catering to non-denomination worship for those used to worshiping on Sunday. Due in part to the need of people from many different areas to learn and teach at the school, this was needed to accommodate their needs. On State campus St. Judes provides catholic worship services as well.
As time when on, findings in science and anthropology, as well as the spread of different ethnicities to the United States competed with religion as a source of knowledge. These findings started out in urban areas and eventually spread to more destitute areas of population. To think about religion in terms of most American's everyday lives, it has stark differences to that of Babbits account, especially when speaking of college age Americans. More than once a week did he write in his journal something like, "I pray god give me the strength to follow him more closely" or “God please bless help me think in your image”. As a current student, I can say that I, nor do many of my friends, have this same state of mine. I've grown up in a Christian family but I would never attend church every day before my classes, especially if it meant getting up earlier. Though my account is personal and does not reflect all those who live in America, studies have shown that this is a trend that significantly affected American culture and politics (Meacham).
As religion decreased in importance at the university the chapel was used as a lecture hall, library, gymnasium, movie theatre, and laboratory, and in 1927 it was renamed Alumni Hall (Herrick). In 1901 the Gothic Chapel opened for the study of theology. It contented classrooms and a chapel. This building is now the university chapel which caters to non-denominational Christian worship as did Alumni Hall; however, it is clearly much smaller and has less room for students to attend. In the 1970's Alumni Hall was declared a fire hazard and closed. However, it was also placed on the National and State Historic Register a few years after. In 1986 it was re-opened after being gutted and restored with a steel structure replacing the old wood frame and by adding the offices as we know them today.
There are several Christian groups available to students at Alfred University such as, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Brothers and Sisters in Christ, but they are not nearly as large a part of life as religion used to be. Their meetings are located in Susan Howell hall, and Powell Campus Center. They do not have their own chapel as they formerly did.
Through the structure of Alumni Hall, we can see the change in values that occurred over time at Alfred University as well as throughout America. At its opening it was a highly regarded religious building. Though the exterior structure has maintained the Greek Revival style, the building no longer resonates the cultural significance of that style. This is a commonality that occurs in a lot of antiquated architecture. Buildings with historical significance are preserved for their beauty, but as the ideals of society change, the building purposes change with them.



Babbit, Vernon Marion. Vernon Marion Babbit's Diary. New York: Alfred University. Alfred University Archives. 2009. Alfred University. 11 February 2010.

Clark, Douglas. “An Historical Perspective” The First Seventh Day Baptist Church. 15 Mar. 2010.

Herrick Memorial Library. "A Tradition of Distinction: University History" Alfred University Archives. 10 Feb. 2010.

Meacham, Jon. The End of Christian America. Newsweek. 4 April 2009.

Minard, John S. History of Alfred. New York A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N. Y. 1896, p. 624.


The Fasano House and Legacy

71 North Main Street, otherwise known as Alfred University Welcome Center at the Fasano House, has gone through many changes in its structure, use, and meaning. It was first constructed for William C. Burdick, a well-known Alumni, member of the Board of Trustees, and significant member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, making him a prominent figure in his time in Alfred (Campus Map). He married Amanda Crandall Prescott in 1885, and together they brought many community members through their house through the operation of the Allegany Cheese Company and the Amandine reading club for women. After both owners passed away, their daughter sold the residence to Alfred University to be used by the well known fraternity Delta Sigma Phi.
Throughout its years as a fraternity it underwent many changes in appearance partially because it was damaged by a fire twice, in 1931 and 1981, both times destroying most of the third floor and attic (Campus Map). It also went through many minor changes as a fraternity house, including the addition of a third floor, and accommodations made to suit the Greek life. It was used by the fraternity until 2002, when the university abolished the recognition and funding of Greek organizations, except for a brief time during World War Two. At this point the women’s dormitory, the Brick, was needed for Student Army Training Corps; as a result, the women were housed at 71 North Main.
Once the Delta Sigma Phi house could no longer be recognized as a fraternity house, it was turned over to the university. Though many alumni members of the organization were at first furious, later findings in the reasons for fraternity abolition swayed them to understand (Fasano). Given that many of the prominent members of the frat owned the house for eighty some years, many former Delta Sigma Phi and alumni led efforts to raise more than half the funding needed to restore the house. A former fraternity brother and friend of Joe Fasano, Jon Tabor class of 1955, matched dollar-for-dollar all contributions made to the renovation fund (Campus Map). The house would soon become an Alumni Welcome Center, home of University Relations, and dedicated to the Fasano family.
The Fasanos have attended Alfred University for many generations; it is because of this and their contributions to the University that the house was dedicated to them. Joe Fasano, class of 1954, was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi and lived in the house. After graduating and serving in the Marine Corps, he came back to serve as alumni director, on the alumni board, and other various boards involved in the university for 56 years (Fasano). He was also inducted into the hall of fame for football. His wife, Ann Saunders Fasano, class of 1953, was also an Alfred University graduate and worked in Herrick Library until she retired. Her parents also attended Alfred University. Because the couple was so involved with the university, and their house was right down the road from the campus, they welcomed many visitors to the university into their home. They developed many personal relationships with prominent university affiliates as well as visitors. Their son, Patrick Fasano, grew up in Alfred, graduated in 1980 from the University for ceramic engineering, and lived in the Delta Sigma Phi house as well. He passed away in 1994 leaving behind a wife two children, one of which, Elizabeth Fasano, is currently a junior at Alfred University. The front room of the house, the Patrick Allen Fasano Room, is dedicated to him and his family. A stained glass window and plaque stand for his wife and each of his children in the room.
The reconstruction of the Fasano House was based on the original Burdick residence. Initially, the house was created in the Eastlake style, complete with geometric cross gabled roof and dormers (Campus Map). This style was similar to the Queen Ann style of the Victorian era. Well known restoration architect, Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, worked with interior designer Vivian Hyde of Alfred “to uncover and recreate the original architectural details, including intricately carved woodwork, stained glass and raised plaster decorations on the wall” (Campus Map). They removed layers of paint and wallpaper to determine original color schemes to restore the exterior of the building and the first floor restored to their original Victorian fashion. Many community members helped with the efforts, including Joe Fasano himself who laved much of the woodwork, carving from photographs and existing reliefs (Fasano).

Campus Map. Alfred University Welcome Center at the Fasano House. 2007. Alfred University. March 19, 2010

Fasano, Elizabeth. Personal Interview. March 19, 2010.

Alfred State Labyrinth

In Greek mythology the labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the Daedalus, a skilled craftsman and artisan known as the creator of the dancing ground. He built the labyrinth for King Minos of Crete, who after his death became the judge of the dead in Hades. The function of the labyrinths was to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull. Daedalus had made the labyrinth so cunningly that he himself could barely escape it after he built it. The mythology continues that, Daedalus was aided by Ariadne, King Minos' daughter, who provided him with clues, so he could find his way out again.

Later revised to become synonymous with mazes, colloquial English standards defined the labyrinth as an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one's way or to reach the exit, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the labyrinth and maze. In America, the term "maze craze" was coined in 1970. About this time, numerous books, and some magazines, were commercially available in nationwide outlets and devoted exclusively to mazes of a complexity that was able to challenge adults as well as children.Conversely, a labyrinth is a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route is not designed to be difficult to navigate.

The labyrinth mysticism was recently perpetuated by Guillermo del Toro's film "Pan's Labyrinth", aka. El laberinto del fauno. This graphic account of danger and fantasy brings modern viewers back to the Labyrinth's origin. The film is set "in 1944 fascist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she's a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again." The visual inspiration of this film invites all cultures into the wonder of myth.

Nearer labyrinth's can be found in Wellsville, Canandaigua, Honeoye Falls, and West Valley New York. In these instances, most of the labyrinths are used for relaxation and meditation purposes. Based on the labyrinth society and Veriditas' World-Wide Labyrinth Locator, there are around 3300 labyrinths in over 70 countries. By an unexpected turn of events the labyrinth has taken on Judea-Christian significance by serving as a symbol for pilgramage; the physical act of walking the labyrinth's path represents ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel. Later, the religious significance of labyrinths faded, and they served primarily for entertainment. However, as indicated before the significance of their spiritual aspects have seen a resurgence in postmodern culture.

Other cultural significance comes from the prehistoric labyrinths which are believed to trap malevolent spirits, or define paths for ritual dances. In medieval times, the labyrinth symbolized a hard path to God with a clearly defined center and one entrance.

Outside sources say that many newly made labyrinths exist in churches and parks. Labyrinths are used by modern mystics to help achieve a contemplative state. Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets the mind.

As SUNY Alfred built their own labyrinth, unique intentions were brought forth through a press release entitled "Ancient World Comes to Alfred State". Released 05/02/2007

Volunteers began work on the labyrinth Thursday, April 26, 2007, with 106 tons of gravel was brought to the Alfred State College campus to create a labyrinth, a unicursal path that provides a walker with a quiet, contemplative space where thinking can subside so that imagination and spirit can arise. A labyrinth's path circles slowly to the center and then flows back again to its beginning.

The Alfred State labyrinth is located in a quiet grassy space opposite TA Parish Hall and the MacKenzie residential complex. Once completed, it will be available for the use of anyone in the Alfred community.

Students, community members, and faculty/staff participated in moving and raking gravel to create the pathways. Additionally, many Alfred State students had already been involved in the early phases of its planning and construction. A surveying technology curriculum student first checked the property lines; an architecture class worked together to create the labyrinth design; and the surveyor translated it to the grassy surface. A landscaping class removed sod from the pathways in preparation for the gravel.

Funds for this project were provided by a college donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The labyrinth is intended to grow in beauty as contributions for small gardens, benches, pathways, and flowering plants arrive in the years to come.

Labyrinths are located in cultures around the world. In the book, Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses, (2001) Sig Lonegren states: "Labyrinths are amazing tools. They can work real magic--moments that bring worlds together. Invented in the mists of prehistory by a culture that functioned on quite different levels of consciousness than we do today, these magical single-path mazes can enhance the possibility of bringing together our analytical or rational mode of consciousness with our intuitive or spiritual levels of consciousness."

Suny Alfred's Labyrinth Project designs were made by Michael Chisamore, Assistant Professor. Volunteer efforts were contributed by the SUNY Alfred architecture club.

Yoga Club


Yoga club meets Thursdays at 4:45 to 5:45 at Miller in the dance studio. This club was started spring semester 2009 and is open to all levels. Students, faculty and community members are welcome to join. Yoga means to join and when you participate in yoga your mind and body join together.
No one person is noted for inventing yoga. Yoga can be traced back more then 5,000 years ago because of stone carvings found in the Indus Valley. Yoga first started appearing in the United States around the 1800's but became popular in the 1960's because of a growing interest in middle east. Because of the growing population of yoga, more is known about the benefits of stress relief and yoga became a respectable exercise.
Yoga can be practiced by any adult but is not recommended for children. The poses in yoga can be altered for people with disabilities. Meditation, breathing, and exercising are the three areas that are focused on in yoga. People with back pain, arthritis, and depression may be prompted by their physician to participate in yoga because of the benefits. If you are interested in yoga the club meets every thursday.

Work Cited:

"General Yoga Information." American Yoga Association. Web. 22 Mar. 2010. .

The Black Knight

According to popular legend, in the early 1900's, within the confines of the old classrooms in the Brick, sat an old iron stove with a small statue of a black knight affixed to the top. This knight stood proudly atop his perch, with sword and shield, two iron arms with which to hold them, and two sturdy legs with which to stand. Around this stove huddled a group of students, whispering and conniving amongst themselves. Not many days later, the old stove was seen making its way along the Kanakadea, drifting quietly away from it's former home. The Iron Knight, however, made its way into the possession of two students, one of an even class number, and one of an odd. Somehow, the knight was commandeered by the even classes, and declared "the Iron Knight of the Even Numbers", a mascot for the classes.

The odd classes fought fiercely, through attacks and trickery, to capture the Even's mascot, but were unsuccessful for many years. However, in 1922, the class of 1924 made the foolhardy decision to take the Iron Knight out into the bright of day, to pose for the class photo. At 10:15 AM the class of 1924 stood, posed and smiling with their mascot, in front of Kanakadea Hall-but the peace of the moment did not last. The odd class men, hearing of the knight's exposure, attacked, and began an epic battle, capturing the knight, and bringing the battle to the banks of Kanakadea creek. There, the knight was lost in the fray, and found again by a member of the odd, who brought the battle back to Main street. Meanwhile, the class of 1924 had enlisted the help of the freshman class of 1926, who loyally threw themselves into the battle raging along Main Street. In a stroke of brilliance, Junior Edward "Soupy" Campbell gained possession of the Iron Knight, and slipped him into his trousers. Feigning injury, Campbell was escorted off the battlefield (by two of the enemy, nonetheless!), and brought to the Delta Sigma Phi house, which had been converted into a makeshift hospital for the wounded. Soon afterwards, the battle was called to a truce, because of the concern for the welfare of the football players. The Iron Knight was in the possession of the even classes- but he did not escape unharmed. An arm was lost on the battlefield, and the odds had gained possession of the other, along with the base, legs and shield.
There is a fantastic poem that appeared, along with a photo of the missing limbs, in the 1931 yearbook, that went as follows:
The Black Knight,
The Even classes proudly boast,
Of a mascot, brave,
a relic of an old black stove,
Long since in its grave.

The evens still are prone to laugh
At our oddity
But we retain the part which means
Supportability.

This duel ownership was caused
(Some perchance know not)
Some years ago by a class fight-
Each a portion got.

Each Junior Class receives in stealth
Trophy treasured.
One a legless knight now guards:
One a knightless leg.

This skirmish was only the beginning of the Iron Knight's travels. Soon after this fight, the knight was hidden, only to be found in 1935 in an old bank in Hornell. The finders quickly hid it once again, after photographing their find, and it was not found again until 1938. Over and over, the tradition of its finding and hiding was continued. It is possible that some of the documented cases of the Iron Knight may be impostors: sometime during the thirtys, the odd classes produced their own mascot, a similar statue of King Alfred, which has continually been confused with the Black Knight of the Evens. The real Iron Knight was missing for about 38 years, but was returned to campus in 1977, during the reunion. For about 27 years, the knight resided first in Herrick Memorial Library, and then in Powell Campus Center. However, in 2005, the campus center was broken into during the night, and the Knight was stolen. Let us hope that with luck, the knight may make an appearance in the near future, and once again take its place as the mascot it once was.


Works Cited
Alfred University in the 1890's: Honors Seminar, Fall 1996. Herrick Memorial Library.

McCord, Jean."Black Knight Returns". Herrick Memorial Library, 2005.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Im wearing a navy blue T-shirt


    Popular T-shirt Colors of Alfred Art students                    64% of 75 students where

 Black White Gray  Green Purple and Blue


Color trends have been forecasted since the early 16th century. Americas first color forecaster and developer of the Standard American color card, Margaret Hayden Rorke, has been behind the color forecast for more than four decades.  Color aside from pattern association has been affected by events, limitations to color dyes and mass, high culture swings. World War I caused a radical shift in fashion color due to the supply cut off of German dyes from the British blockade. When the fashion industries ran out of imported dyes the textile mills produced standard Olive Drab and Battleship Gray. 

Other color associations come from our history in industrial trends, such as the Art Nouveau era with it floral like designs and bold color lithographs or modern international styles in housing. The color of a T-shirt can leave many readings. One shirt may induce a viewer with the feelings of happiness due to a bright color or even feelings of nostalgia from a washing machine faded blue. Some colors can bring us closer to nature by being in harmony with the natural world around us.  Red may be bold and dominate or signify political standpoint.

            My question for Alfred students is, what colors are we wearing? Are we full of school pride wearing lots of purple and gold, are we patriotic, nostalgic, or earthy? How do the colors of our shirts describe us?

Knowing that I would only take a small survey of the campus I collected data from only Harder Hall. I divided Harder into sections, ceramics, painting, and design.  I noticed that certain colors tended to always repeat and be present even if only once. In Ceramics the colors green, black and white took up 15 out of the 25 shirt colors. In painting and photo 16 out of 25 were wearing green, purple, black and blue. In design 15 out of 25 were wearing black, white and gray. 

There seemed to be four mainstream colors of grey, black, green and white.  There were not obvious distinctions between the colored shirts and different disciplines. I did notice, however, that green, navy blue and purple were popular color choices. Though even though they were far and few some wore yellows, pinks and reds on occasion.

The majority of the shirts were made from cotton and usually simple in design or solid. I asked a few students as to why they might wear a cotton shirt over another and most replied that cotton shirts where comfortable, and where not costly incase something stained them. Many of the shirts worn in harder might be classified as “work and studio only” shirts. The weather is also a factor seeing as the further we get into spring and summer the brighter colors we wear. However, still in Alfred I will find that many students and staff still wear lots of black, grey, blue, and white all the way till Hot Dog Day..

            Colors in industry and of Harder Halls building have been designated to various meanings, For instance yellow, signifies the gas line to the kilns or the fire lanes, grey references the floors and walls.  Colors on clothing have also been used similarly. Some students feel that certain colors bring out prominent qualities in their personality, “ I am a very purple person because purple brings out the color in my eyes.”  Colors also have psychological meanings, white standing for purity, blue for calmness and yellow for anxiety.

Morally some colors have been known to cause trouble if worn in certain locations or situations. Wearing red to a funeral was once and may still be considered taboo. Some may also live by the rule that you cannot wear white after Labor Day. Wearing orange on St Patrick’s Day might signify a cultural loyalty. But then wearing orange to a Syracuse Basketball game is next to godly.

Socially students will sometimes wear a color repeatedly and can then become known for a certain color. A senior, Orange Mike, was nicknamed for the orange clothing he used to wear on a daily basis.  Out of the corner of my eyes I can often see friends coming because of a specific color sweater or shirt I know them for wearing.

In Alfred many I do not think are aware of latest color trends, Alfred specifically most are limited if only shopping at Wall-mart and area department stores to specific colors.  However, students and community members alike rely on other sources like the Internet, TV and catalogs to advise them on what to wear. Still Alfred art students still I feel have a specific color trend of their own.