Category Archives: Events

(May 1, Lakewood, N.J.) —  When Covenant House President Kevin Ryan visited Georgian Court last year and spoke about the myriad problems associated with teen homelessness, GCU students did more than just listen.

They decided to sleep outdoors for a night as a show of support for the 2 million young people in the U.S. and Canada who run away or are kicked out of their homes each year and ultimately end up homeless and hungry.

“On Friday, May 2, Georgian Court students will be supplied with a cardboard box to sleep on overnight on the Great Lawn,” said David Schenck, a 19-year-old biology major from Manchester. “They are allowed to bring a blanket, but no pillow, as we really are trying to emphasize what it is truly like to be homeless.”

The effort is one of many affiliated with Covenant House, the largest provider of services to homeless and trafficked youth throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. Also called a “solidarity sleep out,” the activity is intended to underscore the plight of homeless teens and their daily struggle for basic human rights.

The event, which will include only GCU students, begins with a 7 p.m. talk by Covenant House Ambassador Jennifer Williams of South Jersey. A candlelight vigil will be led by GCU Campus Ministry Director Jeff Schaeffer, followed by poetry readings and group discussions in the North Dining Room.

The evening concludes with GCU students sleeping on the Great Lawn. Participants are asking for donors to contribute resources—from money to toiletries to clothing—to help homeless teens.

“Every little bit helps, and even raising awareness will help this issue get the attention it deserves,” said David.

When a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet speaks, GCU listens

A night to remember at Georgian Court

Guest post by Charlee Bassillo  ///  Photos by Amanda MacPhee

On April 23, 2013, thanks to diligent preparations made by students and faculty of the Georgian Court University Department of English, Massachusetts native Tracy K. Smith visited for a poetry reading in the Little Theater, an evening event that will surely be held near and dear to the hearts of English majors across campus. GCU’s Dr. Russell McDonald ushered in the visiting poet with a warm welcome and introduction, echoing the pleasure shared by the entire audience to have had the distinct opportunity to meet, greet, and speak with such a highly-esteemed literary voice as Tracy K. Smith, whose 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars is preceded by the James Laughlin Award-winning Duende and The Body’s Question, a Cave Canem Poetry Prize-winner.

Poet Tracy K. Smith Listening
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The night’s readings primarily focused on material from her 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winner, Life on Mars, but Smith also surprised guests with a brand new selection, dazzling attendants with her poetic artistry, invigoratingly fresh insight, and meditative prose. ​Explaining that her poetry has blossomed out of life’s perplexing quandaries, both big and small, Ms. Smith’s writing encompasses even day-to-day ponderings, which are, of course, juxtaposed neatly and meaningfully against “big ticket” questions, revealing uncanny connections between unlikely pairings – such as the cosmos versus ordinary, everyday life. Many poems were designated by Smith as being largely elegiac to her father, a retired Space Hubble engineer, though Tracy also discussed the impact of a unique blend of political, personal, and spiritual influences on her writing of Life on Mars, citing a sundry of inspirational sources – from the gassing of geese at JFK airport and seeing her father’s reflection in the impressive stance of a tiger on a magazine page to the contemplation of dark matter – as she demonstrated by sharing the collection’s title poem, Life on Mars,” which begins:

Tina says what if dark matter is like the space between people
When what holds them together isn’t exactly love, and I think
That sounds right – how strong the pull can be, as if something
That knows better won’t let you drift apart so easily, and how
Small and heavy you feel, stuck there spinning in place.

Not only was the audience given a chance to procure a much-coveted autograph, but they also received a precious behind-the-scenes pass to the poet’s mind at work. During the reading, and in this post-reading question and answer session, audience members were afforded the privilege of seeing through the eyes of Tracy K. Smith – as the award-winning author, David Bowie lover, daughter of a dearly loved, but lost, father, and as the new mother. She was witty, approachable, and a master of her trade – her poetry probing for profound meaning and reflecting upon all of life’s significance, wonder, and beauty, however big or small.

Charlee Bassillo is an English and Education major at Georgian Court University where she expects to graduate in Spring 2014 to pursue a career in secondary education.


Smith, Tracy K. “Life on Mars.” Life on Mars. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2011. 37 – 42. Print.

Open House!

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet and greet potential new students at today’s Open House—-everything gets going at 9:30 a.m. in the Wellness Center and students/parents eventually will move on to the Casino as well as A&S. See you there!

Kean to GCU: ‘We are safer, but not totally safe’

GCU's Bob Louden, who directs the criminal justice program at the university, joined President Rosemary E. Jeffries (second from left), the Hon. Thomas H. Kean, and Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford (a GCU alumna), during the event.

More than 250 people turned out to hear former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean talk about the incredible changes America has seen since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. His talk, “9/11: A Decade Later,” was held in the historic Casino where students, faculty, staff and community residents listened intently to the man who also served as chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Now more than ever, Americans need to understand that “we cannot go it alone,” Kean told the audience. “If we really cooperate, we can all be safer.”  That level of cooperation extends to supporting countries that are trying to expand their own economic and educational opportunities, as well as supporting democracy abroad.The former governor, who was tapped in 2002 by then-President George W. Bush to lead the investigative commission, talked candidly about the group’s achievements, and goals that have yet to be realized.

“What I learned about secrets in Washington is that they shouldn’t be secrets,” he said, underscoring the need to de-classify information that he believes Americans would be better off knowing.

“Are we safe? Yes, we’re much safer than we were before Sept. 11, but we’re not safe enough, not yet,” he said.

“Our biggest threat today is not in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” he said. “It comes from those wild, ungoverned parts of thw world. They have neither the desire or power for a big attack, but they are likely to plan smaller attacks. We’ve gotten pretty darn good at stopping unwanted people from coming into the country, but what’s happening now is that attackers are recruiting U.S. citizens—over the Internet. We have to be aware of this and get ahead of it.”

Look for extended coverage of Kean’s speech and other related activities in the fall edition of GCU Magazine.