News Briefs

Senior class renames student gift as a tribute to Andrei Buryachenko ’13

Each year, the senior class gives a gift to Vassar as a token of appreciation. This year, the Class of 2013 proposed to create a scholarship fund that provides money for financial aid. Announced in early December, the gift was initially called the 2013 Scholarship Fund. The senior class maintained that they were passionate about providing financial aid and giving other students the opportunity to experience Vassar.

After the tragic loss of Andrei Buryachenko ’13 in January, Class of 2013 President Vincent Marchetta emailed the class to address and discuss Buryachenko’s passing and asked what they wanted to do to memorialize him. Many students responded with the idea of naming the student gift after Buryachenko. Marchetta asserted, “The gift serves as a statement made by our community as a whole – that we honor the life of one of our own, and that the Vassar community, filled with the spirit that being a part of this college engenders, can come together to support one another in difficult times and is committed to recognizing the value of each of its members.”

In order to make this happen, Marchetta ran the idea by the Senior Class Council Executive Board, all of whom approved. He then contacted the Gift Chairs, 3 members of the Senior Class Council, who then contacted the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development (OAAD).

While the student gift program is student-run, Assistant Director of the Annual Fund Lindsay Roth works with the senior class leadership as a liaison with the OAAD. She is a part of a nine-member team who looks over projects relating to fundraising efforts for the graduates of the last decade and creates cultural philanthropy on campus, through venues like the student gift. After Marchetta contact her, Roth helped them get the idea approved by the office. She said, “Everyone in the OAAD was touched by the gesture of the senior class and student body to come together in this way to honor the memory of [Buryachenko]- their friend, classmate, and peer.”

Within a few days the decision was approved and was announced at Buryachenko’s memorial on Friday.

— Emily Hoffman, Guest Reporter


TA Bridge to be Reopened in April

After several rounds of bidding, Vassar College has selected local contractor The Storm King Group to begin off-site fabrication of the Terrace Apartment (TA) bridge, which is due to be completed by April 1.

According to project manager Michael Quattroiocchi, the new bridge will be constructed from black locust wood, which fits with the desired aesthetic of the area and is intended to be both sustainable and long lasting. He noted that the materials are supposed to last for nearly 100 years.

“This bridge will be here long after we are gone,” said Quattroiocchi.

Quattroiocchi went on to say that offsite fabrication of the bridge will begin within the next two weeks. The bridge will be created offsite in the Storm King Group’s indoor workshop to avoid taking up large amounts of parking space on campus and installed via crane in late March.

The new bridge will be built on the concrete supports of the old bridge. “If we were to expand the bridge or change the location of the concrete foundations, then we would have had to get Planning Board approval.” said Quattroiocchi.

After a routine inspection of the old bridge, which has been unusable since March of last year, the College decided that the bridge needed to be replaced.

“We do periodic inspections of different facilities and our bridges are one of the things that we’ll try to inspect on a regular basis,” said Quattroiocchi. “It was decided, in looking at the age of the old bridge and the condition of the old bridge, not that it was unsafe, that it had reached its lifespan.”

The process of building the new bridge has been time consuming. “When you get the townships involved, even though we didn’t need to get Planning Board approval, the timeframe that it takes to go through that process and making those decisions with the town of what you can and can’t do is just a very slow process and it eats up a lot of time.”

Additionally, the need for multiple rounds of bidding and changing the design of the bridge also delayed construction of the bridge.

“We had several rounds of bidding on the project,” said Quattroiocchi.  Initially, the pricing on the project came back in quite expensive, so we sent the project back out to bid and we made some changes to the design that would help to lower close and yet not compromise the design.”

—Aja Brady-Saalfeld, Design Editor


OUTSIDE THE BUBBLE: House of Commons Passes Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

On Tuesday, the House of Commons in Britain voted in favor of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, after a full day of debate.

The legislation would permit civil marriage between same-sex couples in England and Wales, but it would specifically exempt churches and other faiths from an obligation to perform such ceremonies. Some faith groups, including the Quakers, have stated that they want the legal right to perform same-sex marriages. The bill still has to pass in the House of Lords where the legislation could be slowed by delaying tactics, but Prime Minister David Cameron, the champion of this measure, has stated he plans to enact the bill into law sometime this summer.

Even so, the passage of the bill has been, in one way, a major setback for Cameron. It appears that more than half of the lawmakers in his Conservative Party voted against the measure or simply abstained.

The majority of votes supporting the measure came from the opposition Labour Party and the center-left Liberal Democrats.

In recent times, few prime ministers have faced such an extensive rebellion in their own ranks, and the outcome seems likely to add to the growing frustration among British conservatives about Cameron’s leadership.

Still, Prime Minister Cameron was pleased with the passing of the bill. He told reporters just before the vote, “Today is an important day. I am a strong believer in marriage. It helps people commit to each other, and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too” (BBC News, “Gay marriage an important step forward, says PM”, 2.5.13).

“Yes, this is about equality,” he added. “But it is also about making our society stronger.”

—Noble Ingram, Reporter


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