Loss of Student
In an email sent to the Vassar Community on April 23, President Catharine Bond Hill reported the passing of Nicholas Gillin Braun ’14.
According to the email, Braun was in Omaha, Neb. at the time, undergoing medical treatment for cancer of the bile duct. After seven months of treatment, Braun succumbed to his illness on April 19. According to an obituary published in the Omaha World-Herald on April 25, Gillin Braun was an economics major, Homecoming King at the Brownell-Talbot School of Omaha and a member of the varsity track team.
Braun’s death comes weeks after the passing of Dashielle Robertson ’17, who died on April 1 from complications related to a diabetic condition.
An on-campus memorial program is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Aula for members of the Vassar Community who wish to attend. President Hill also noted that students should “call upon our campus resources for help during this time: the Counseling Service, the Dean of the College Office, Dean of Students Office, Residential Life, Religious and Spiritual Life and any of the senior staff.”
The website of the College Counseling Services notes, “The Counseling Service offers confidential short-term individual counseling. The details and course of counseling are worked out collaboratively by the student and the counselor. Short-term counseling allows the student to work on immediate concerns and, typically, come to a resolution. An appropriate referral may be made for further counseling or therapeutic services.”
In the same email, a statement from Braun’s parents noted, “His final wish was to return to Vassar College. Rest in peace, precious Nicholas.”
SASA Fest brings community together
On Sunday, April 28, the South Asian Students Alliance held SASA fest on the residential quad. It was a day-long event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that took place directly behind Rockefeller Hall. Food vendors included local Indian restaurant Kismat and a private caterer. Several dance performances took place at around 1 p.m. that featured members of SASA and an outside dance group. Many members of the community attended the event to support and appreciate the cultural festival.
Sino Esthappan ’16 said, “I think SASA did everything in its capacity to gather the Vassar community to the festival, but the weather certainly conflicted with their ability to draw a large crowd. In terms of the performances, I think SASA did a wonderful job in providing to the audience the appropriate cultural context with each event that was showcased.”
He continued, “I think ultimately the purpose of SASA Fest is to share the cultural traditions of South Asia with the Vassar community and I think that SASA engaged with the community as best as it could. I was particularly pleased with the turnout from the Poughkeepsie community. I’m really glad that events like SASA Fest allow Vassar to strengthen its ties with the surrounding community.”
The new Public Relations Representative for SASA next semester, Dushyant Naresh, also commented on his thoughts of the festival, saying, “I think everybody who came really enjoyed themselves, not only because students of the Vassar community were able to perform traditional/modern South Asian arts (Bharatanatyam classical dance, modern Bollywood song and dance), but also because South Asian members of the Poughkeepsie community were able to showcase their talents.”
He continued, “The highlight was definitely seeing the Poughkeepsie community and the Vassar community come together for a cultural festival. It’s definitely heartwarming to see this happen, especially for international students who haven’t experienced this in a while. It’s really reminiscent of home and I can’t wait to make it even bigger and better next year.”
Orgs collaborate for Throwback Jam
Hip Hop 101 and ViCE organized this year’s Throwback Jam on Saturday, April 26. The annual concert usually takes place out on the residential quad, but due to weather, it was held in UpC this year. The event featured Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, DJ TGIF, SIKNik, Skip Lighty, Sean Blaise, Boogs Boogetz and Vassar’s own HYPE dance crew. After success with the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah debuted his solo album in 1996, called “Ironman.” He is a critically acclaimed rapper and started his own record label Stark Enterprises.
Ashley Barad ’16 commented, “I wasn’t really familiar with Ghostface’s music but I had a great time at the Throwback Jam. I usually don’t listen to that much rap but everyone was dancing and really getting into the music so it was just a nice atmosphere to be in.”
Tomas Guarnizo also commented, “Even though the weather got in the way, I think Throwback was great. I like to see people coming together to appreciate the music. I must admit I would’ve liked to see a bigger turnout. Not only because it would’ve been a better show with a bigger crowd but also because of the sound.”
He added, “Anyone who has been to UpC is well aware that its acoustics are atrocious. Also, a bigger crowd might have helped absorb the sound. All in all, however, I think the show was great and Ghost Face definitely delivered.”