Medieval Merriment at the Boar’s Head Dinner

A royal procession of deans, professors, and student leaders marked the beginning of the Boar’s Head Dinner, the University of Rochester’s longest-running tradition, on Thursday, December 4th. The 80th annual River Campus feast offered students and faculty a medieval meal by transforming Douglass Dining Center into a royal court set for a feast — jesters included!

Regarded as one of the University’s biggest events for student life, this year’s upperclassman scrambled to secure a spot at the feast, with tickets selling out in just under an hour.

More than 600 attendees enjoyed the holiday dinner of turkey, roast pork, and apple stuffing as served by members of the campus a cappella groups. After Hours, the Midnight Ramblers, Roc Hakol, Vocal Point, and the YellowJackets also provided some musical entertainment, leading the captive, hungry audience in singing “The Boar’s Head Carol,” “The Gloucestershire Wassail,” “Figgy Pudding,” and “Let it Snow,” among other festive tunes. The caroling servers, dressed as lords and ladies, acted as the dinner’s medieval waitstaff.

The Strong Jugglers also offered entertainment as court jesters to the High Table, composed of deans, administrators, student leaders from the SA Government and Campus Activities Board, and a faculty member chosen as the Boar’s Head Reader.

This year, Professor of Chemistry Benjamin Hafensteiner provided his account of the Story of the Boar. Building off of the story of an Oxford student’s encounter with a wild boar, Hafensteiner’s remarks featured his own spin on the historic tale, adding in his own UR-centric references along the way.

Each year, a student organization that has positively impacted campus life receives the Boar’s Head Award. Past winners include the D’lions, ADITI, and MERT. GlobeMed, last year’s Boar’s Head recipient, had the honor of “passing on the boar” to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an organization rooted in creating an educated community dedicated to engaging issues of social and economic justice

Through teach-ins, forums, and public panel discussions, SDS works to educate the campus on current issues, in both the global and campus communities. In the past year, the group has helped to advocate for fair wages for University workers through demonstrations, speak outs, and petitions. In May, they held a Community Field Day to bridge the gap between students of different backgrounds.

The evening wrapped up with another quintessentially Rochesterian tradition: the singing of the Genesee.  Asking all of the seniors to stand, Dean Burns honored those who will soon be wrapping up their last fall semester as undergraduate students.  A unique tradition providing merry hearts and full stomachs, the Boar’s Head Dinner is an experience that is not to be missed in your time at Rochester!

GlobeMed: Partners for Positive Change

By Rei Ramos ‘15
University Communications

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Rhett Partida ’15 believes that these words of wisdom work well to encapsulate GlobeMed’s intentions and goals of inspiring sustainable positive change for the residents of Iquitos, Peru.

Earlier this summer, Partida, along with a team of five other students, traveled to the Peruvian rainforest as part of GROW, an internship opportunity that focuses on involvement in Grassroots On-Site Work.  Through GROW, the university’s GlobeMed chapter is given the opportunity to create a relationship between a student team and a grassroots health partner.  The UR chapter works closely with Kallpa, a youth development organization that hopes to educate, engage, and empower youth in the urban community of Pampachica in Iquitos.  Together, they create goals to provide better health opportunities and foster long term sustainable solutions for underprivileged youth.

“The idea of partnership is rooted in our mission,” said Humma Sheikh ’15.  The rising senior, a neuroscience major, stressed the importance of GlobeMed’s interactive approach to creating better opportunities not only for but with Iquitos.  Through the GROW internship, students were able to travel to Iquitos to work collaboratively with Kallpa and local community members to instill positive change through education, research, and programming.

Over the academic year, GlobeMed stages fundraising events to procure monetary support for their partner organization.  Working under a Partnership Action Framework, the Rochester chapter teams with Kallpa in order to evaluate programs in place in the community, assess the potential for change, and set goals in accordance with their budgetary possibilities.  This year, the group was able to raise more than $11,000 to go towards a solutions budget.  From there, they have created initiatives with community leaders, integrating the community’s voice to serve local needs.

Partida, this year’s GROW coordinator, believes that listening is a key step in working towards finding routes towards change.  “GROW is about creating sustainable solutions. What we were there to do, first and foremost, was to listen and understand,” he said.  This communicative emphasis helped the chapter to identify some of the community’s greatest issues, including but not limited to education, sanitation, and a lack of accessible health care.

In line with the mission of Kallpa, the GROW team focused on creating better opportunities for local youth; this led to a strong emphasis on assessing the state of the education system.  This summer, the team was able to provide after school programs at an elementary school in the community of Pampachica.  For Partida, offering educational opportunities for youth is integral for instilling positive change and providing the tools for success.  “I grew up with the concept that the greatest gift you can give to someone is education. Knowledge is one thing that no one can take away from you,” explained Partida.  Kallpa and GlobeMed hope that these programs will curb delinquency and promote the pursuit of higher education among local youth.

Even with these new opportunities in place, education in Iquitos remains a messy picture.  Many factors deter youth from being able to pursue higher education.  Kallpa has tried to create preparatory programs for mentorship and tutoring but has seen them fail due to budgetary shortcomings.  Because of these difficulties, GROW has been conducting research to study the factors behind these barriers to education.  This has included diagnostic interviews of students and observation of classes and lesson plans.  They found that difficulties in travel, commitments to jobs and family, and a general lack of access to educational and monetary resources leave many Peruvian students bereft of the opportunity to pursue collegiate education.  Even with scholarship opportunities provided by the Peruvian government, such as Beca-18, many community youth had to turn down grants and preparatory programs in order to focus on supporting their families.

“These kids want to do more; they have dreams. They just don’t have the means,” admitted Partida, woefully.  With over half of the community’s adolescents unable to complete secondary education, GlobeMed hopes to use findings of their research to create more fruitful programs and solutions.

In order to foster and mobilize efforts for self-sustaining local action, GROW also held leadership training workshops and community events.  These workshops, focused on creating effective local leaders, were aimed at providing youth with the skills to manage neighborhoods, lead communities, and facilitate lasting change.  These workshops, provided in nine different neighborhoods, are geared towards embedding local leaders who can cater to the individualized needs of their communities.  With this, the workshops help to provide a lasting difference, equipping the community with agents of change even after the GROW team has left.

With GlobeMed’s large focus on the promotion and provision of global health, GROW also observed the community’s health issues.  Situated on the Rio Nanay, a tributary of the Amazon, much of Pampachica is prone to flooding, especially in the summer season, which brings pollution and trash into the streets.  This leaves the community with a very serious trash problem that threatens the health of its inhabitants.  Cleanup programs and efforts to raise awareness of the issue have since been implemented. The GROW team also found a lack of access to proper health care within the community.  In hopes of changing that, they helped to install a clinic that allowed a reproductive health specialist to meet with local youth in order to provide education and fulfill basic health care needs.

“This internship has been the most enriching, most difficult, most thought provoking, and heartbreaking experience,” said Sheikh.  “It’s crazy how much these kids can inspire you with their ability to keep hope and find solutions for themselves.”

Seeing that the community has increasingly become more comfortable looking to GlobeMed for support, she believes that genuine connection is what differentiates their efforts from the low-skill labor of other “voluntourism” efforts.  “Looking for solutions should be an interactive process. We operate completely and entirely on the strength of our partnership,” she said.

In his three years of experience with GlobeMed and GROW, Partida has seen the tangible differences that his efforts have made in Iquitos and admits that the experience, in turn, has changed him as well.  “Part of the GlobeMed model is to create this greater sense of consciousness. It makes you aware of things outside your university, community, and personal bubble.”

Hoping to one day enter the medical field, he believes that these experiences have equipped him with expanded perspective and greater empathy.  He strongly believes that GlobeMed’s emphasis on interactive partnership with Kallpa in Iquitos, as well as with the community of Pampachica, fosters true connection that can lead to lasting change. “They can call me a family member and a friend.”

GlobeMed presents IMPACT, 2nd Annual Art Gala

By Rachel Goldstein ’13
University Communications

What is your impact on the local community? How do your actions impact the world? GlobeMed, an undergraduate organization at the University of Rochester, asks these salient questions of the Rochester community with its second annual art gala, IMPACT.

The public exhibition, presenting juried artwork for viewing and for sale, will be held at the Art Museum of Rochester, 610 Monroe Ave. on December 6 with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Guests can expect a showcase of Rochester talent–great art, musical entertainment, refreshments, a raffle featuring products from local businesses, as well as an opportunity to learn more about what GlobeMed does abroad and in Rochester. There is a suggested five dollar donation.

The gala is part of an on-going fundraising campaign for GlobeMed’s partnering organization, Kallpa Iquitos, a grassroots nonprofit aiming to empower youth and enhance opportunities through youth development projects in Iquitos, Peru.

“We want our fundraisers to reflect the values of our partner while also engaging the Rochester community–not just UR students, but the community at large,” says Art Gala co-coordinator, Alysha Alani ’15. The gala was pioneered last year as a way to tie Kallpa Iquitos into the local picture. “They use art as a public messaging forum,” explains Alani, “a way to promote healthy lifestyles and empower the community.”

GlobeMed, a group that addresses health equity and social justice, has partnered with Kallpa Iquitos since 2010 when founders Anupa Gewali ’12 and Rohini Bhatia ’13 applied to be a chapter. Part of a national organization comprised of 55 groups in total, the GlobeMed chapter at the University is working to achieve global health equity through local efforts and long-term partnerships abroad.

Kallpa Iquitos and GlobeMed co-construct a memorandum of understanding, which outlines how much money GlobeMed can commit to raising and how that money will be used. “We believe that Kallpa is an expert on the community they work and live in,” says Alani. “They know best how to sustainably address these self-identified issues and how GlobeMed can best use our resources as University students–not only financially, but time and knowledge–to help.”

Kallpa Iquitos is currently focused on empowering youth to take ownership of their communities through establishing youth centers and facilitating the development of academic enrichment programming, sexual health classes, and employment opportunities, among other projects. They are currently working with nine neighborhoods within the Pampachica area of Iquitos.

Locally, GlobeMed engages in community service and strives to educate the Rochester community about public health issues and disparities. “We cannot turn a blind eye to marginalized communities,” says Alani, “whether they are in our own backyard or 3,000 miles away.”

GlobeMed held their 2nd annual 5K walk in partnership with two Rochester non-profits in October 2013. They are planning their 3rd annual benefit dinner in mid-February, last year’s theme being “Hope in Health: Youth in Action.” Additionally, GlobeMed hopes to organize an educational debate on public health topics for the spring semester. Past events have included a panel discussion on the Affordable Care Act that featured a public health professor, physician, theologian, and economist, as well as a debate on cultural relativism and family planning co-sponsored by the debate team.

“I especially value the educational curriculum that GlobeMed incorporates,” Alani explains, “topics such as why health is a human right, the history of global health efforts, and models of foreign aid. It is rare to find a group of students as passionate and willing to learn.”

Alani attended two GlobeMed conferences in the past year–one regional and one national–that bring together university chapters and GlobeMed alumni. They were a reminder of the immense tasks at hand, but also the small changes that can go a long way.

“I am continually proud and impressed,” Alani states, “with what a group of undergraduates can do when we put our minds to it.”

For more information about the gala, visit, e-mail at, or see the event Facebook page



Sorcha Dundas Awarded Fulbright to Nepal

University of Rochester student Sorcha Dundas ’12 has been awarded a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholarship to Nepal, where she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant. Dundas, a native of Rutland, Vt., is the first Rochester student to be accepted into the Nepal program. In the past five years, 35 Rochester students and alumni have received a Fulbright Scholarship, which is among the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs.

Rochester senior Edith Hanson, who will graduate with dual majors in Japanese and computer science and a minor in history, was named a Fulbright alternate to South Korea. Rising junior Adam Russak was chosen to participate in the 2012 Fulbright US-UK Summer Institute, where he will spend six weeks studying at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Russak, a native of Agoura Hills, Calif., is completing a bachelor of science degree in applied math and also doing a minor in classical civilization.

Dundas, who will graduate on May 20 with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from the College, will spend a month in Katmandu, undergoing extensive training in the Nepali language and honing her teaching skills. During her eight-month stay in Nepal, she hopes to volunteer in a local health clinic or assist in research and community projects, in addition to her teaching assistantship.

For Dundas, the Fulbright is an opportunity to build upon experiences she had working with and studying Nepali refugees in America during summer 2011. Dundas, who was awarded an Anthropology Undergraduate Research Grant, worked with newly settled Bhutanese refugees during an internship with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. Dundas lived with a Nepali family originally from Bhutan, serving as an in-home English tutor. During the summer, she also used her research grant to study newly formed agricultural projects that help refugees and immigrants acclimate to the United States. Both experiences will help inform her honor’s thesis, which explores the American experience of Nepali refugees.

For Dundas, traveling to Nepal as a Fulbright is not her first international education experience. She also studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, as a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar and also received an IES Africa Scholarship. During her time in South Africa, she worked in impoverished Cape Flat communities, teaching English as a Second Language to nine through 12-year-olds.

At Rochester, Dundas was involved in the campus chapter of GlobeMed, a student organization that is committed to improving the conditions of global health and advocating for social justice. As a tutor with UReading, she spent nearly 10 hours each week helping preschool children develop their language, literacy, math, and social skills at Rochester City School District School 29. She also served as a resident assistant for four semesters.

The Fulbright program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers opportunities for career-launching study, teaching, and research abroad and are designed to promote education and cultural exchange between the United States and other nations. Postgraduate scholars pursuing study or research design their own programs and arrange institutional affiliations in the host countries. The grants cover expenses such as travel and health insurance, and also provide a monthly stipend. Established by Congress in 1946, Fulbright is the largest federally sponsored international educational exchange program.

Rochester Undergrads Featured in GlobeMed Video

Univ. Communications – Rohini Bhatia ’13 and Anupa Gewali ’12, co-presidents of the Rochester chapter of GlobeMed, an organization that works to improve the health of people living in poverty around the world, were recently featured in a video about the organization’s annual global health summit.

The video follows Bhatia, along with two other college students, as they attend workshops and lectures that explore issues related to global health equality.

2011 GlobeMed Global Health Summit Documentary from GlobeMed on Vimeo.

Rochester’s chapter, which was founded in 2010, has launched several initiatives related to improving global health. The group has partnered with Kallpa Iquitos in Iquitos, Peru to support programs that bring together youth and adults in Iquitos to develop creative and innovative solutions that improve the health, education, and quality of life within their communities. Additionally, Rochester’s chapter has organized educational and fundraising events to support GlobeMed’s cause.

Students interested in learning more about GlobeMed can email for more information.