Letters From Readers
April 28, 2010
Residential Language Communities Redux
I was an international affairs major and graduated in 1968 after having traveled to Mexico with Lewis & Clark’s overseas study program.
I was pleased to read in the winter 2010 Chronicle that Lewis & Clark is reestablishing language floors in the residence halls. I started these in 1967. Well, they weren’t as well organized as today’s Residential Language Communities seem to be, but Forest Hall was new, as was the idea of forming a living group centered around a major or interest. When I received a letter announcing the opening of Forest Hall and suggesting that students form living groups in different apartments, I immediately thought of forming a Spanish floor. I had wanted to attend Middlebury College in Vermont because it had a hacienda residence where only Spanish was spoken. I worked with L&C’s admissions office and the French and Spanish professors to find students who might want to join language floors.
We ended up that first year with a women’s Spanish floor, a men’s Spanish floor, and two women’s French floors. I was the RA for the women’s Spanish floor.
The two Spanish floors were mostly students who had traveled with L&C’s study-abroad program to Mexico and some first-year students who had taken two or more years of Spanish in high school. We were on our own to figure out what our language floors would do. We tried to have everyone speak Spanish at all times in the common areas of the floor, but the first-years were not as dedicated to this idea as those of us who had studied in Mexico.
When someone visited the campus from Latin America, we quickly got together to have a Mexican dinner, complete with songs led by the trio that had formed in our Mexico group. It would have been nice to have a faculty advisor to help us plan other activities, like celebrating various holidays, and to help us find ways to encourage more speaking of Spanish.
As students graduated, interest in the language floors dried up, and they were not continued. I am so excited the dean of students, the director of campus living, and the foreign languages departments are working together to make a residential immersion experience possible. I hope it gets expanded to include Spanish very soon. Keep up the good work!
Jacki Richey B.A. ’68
Time for an Audit?
In the Q&A about the Great Recession [winter 2010 Chronicle], economist Joe Cortright B.S. ’76 notes that “we’re fortunate to have Ben Bernanke, a noted scholar of the Great Depression, as head of the Federal Reserve Board.” Your interviewer forgot to ask Joe if he’s for a complete audit of the Federal Reserve.
Fortune and Friendship—and, um, Ordering Instructions?
I attended Lewis & Clark Law School and was most taken by the story about Professor Stephen Dow Beckham’s book Fortune and Friendship in the winter 2010 Chronicle.
I was particularly pleased to learn about Cameron Squires’ commission and construction of what is now known as Cooley House. As a child in the 1950s and early 1960s, I met, and was always impressed by, a “Mr. Squires,” who annually rented a beach house in Santa Barbara near one built by my grandparents. It didn’t take long to confirm that it was the same gentleman. (The photo looked familiar. I called my mother, who recalled, “Oh yes, he came down each year from somewhere in Oregon.”)
Is the book available for purchase anywhere? I would much enjoy having a copy.
By the way, on hot fall and spring days during law school, swimming in the manor house pool, with its stunning views of the manor house in one direction and Mount Hood in the other, was a wonderful Lewis & Clark benefit.
Robert Sawyer J.D. ’75
Editor’s Note: Fortune and Friendship: Lewis & Clark’s Heritage Properties is available by calling the Lewis & Clark College Bookstore (503-768-7885) or by visiting Amazon.com.