Campus Briefing

Abbot Academy Association Grant: 

IMPACT Visits Campus to Educate Students about Self-Defense

Kicking, swinging and jabbing their way across the floor of Borden Gym on Friday night, around 20 students practiced gouging assailants in the eyes and kneeing them in the groin. IMPACT, a local non-profit organization that teaches self-defense to youth in Massachusetts, was educating the students in the best ways to fight back against danger. 

In the two-hour session, IMPACT taught Andover students the basics of self-defense, instructing them on the effectiveness of vocal aggression as a deterrent, along with various physical maneuvers designed to incapacitate an assailant. 

Although the event was open to all students, only females were in attendance. “People don’t really consider that males can be in danger as well or that males can serve to benefit from something like [the IMPACT program.] I think there’s an expectation that men aren’t going to need to go to these kinds of things,” said Abigail Czito ’15, an organizer of the event. “We wanted to dispel that kind of notion, and we wanted to [say that] anybody can come because we are all potential victims for things like this,” she continued. 

Paulina Munn ’15, a participant in the program, noted that, despite social stigmas about assault, basic self-defense is important for everyone. She said, “I think it’s such useful information regardless of your gender, sex or height. It’s good to know. I really wish it were part of the curriculum.”

Meg Stone, Director and Instructor at IMPACT, said, “Whenever I teach a class, I want students to realize that they are powerful and capable in ways that they did not realize. I want them to leave with knowledge about the actual realities about violence, rather than the stereotypes that many of us live with or many of us are surrounded by. And with the knowledge of violence as it actually is, I want them to feel empowered to do something about it.” 

The class included several simulations of potential assault situations during which students faced a heavily padded IMPACT instructor acting as an assailant. The students were asked to attempt to escape the situation using tactics they learned from the session.

Munn said, “It was very nerve-racking, not because I was in the spotlight, but because it got very real. My heart was racing, and I actually had dreams about being attacked and then poking that person’s eyes out.  But then when I did it, I said to myself, ‘I can do this.’ If I’m being attacked and I’m alone, I will have the skills [acquired through the training] with me.”

The organization was brought to campus by an Abbot Academy Association grant written by Czito and Philippine Kugener ’15. They hoped that the class would not only educate students on basic self-defense and personal safety, but that it would also lead to a larger, more extensive self-defense program at Andover.  “We thought that this is very important for kind of a college campus-esque environment. And because we have such a vast age range and an opportunity to teach people for several years, we should put at least part of that into the Wellness Week curriculum,” said Czito. 

Kugener added, “During Wellness Week you can take Salsa classes. So why can’t you take a self-defense class?”

**Roshan Benefo contributed reporting.**

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Rebecca Sykes Wellness Center:

3-Mile “Fun Run” Kicks Off Groundbreaking of Wellness Center

Sporting his Andover athletic gear, Head of School John Palfrey ran alongside Andover Girls Cross Country and over 200 members of the Andover community in a three-mile long Fun Run/Walk last Friday to celebrate the construction of the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center.

“The idea was to bring the campus community together to celebrate, but rather than looking at a large hole in the ground, we wanted to acknowledge the purpose of the building, [which is] wellness, by having a run,” said Jennifer Savino, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement.  

Savino said that, although the actual groundbreaking of the Wellness Center happened over the summer, the Fun Run/Walk was held on Friday to commemorate the continuation of the construction. 

Prior to the run, Palfrey, School Co-Presidents Rebecca Somer ’15 and David Gutierrez ’15, Carol Israel, Director of Graham House, and Amy Patel, Medical Director of Isham Health Center, shared a few words about the Wellness Center. 

“Thank you to all who have come out on this beautiful day to celebrate what I think will be one of the most exciting things to happen at Andover in this decade. The building is named after someone we care a great deal about, Rebecca M. Sykes, and I couldn’t be more excited to name this building in her honor,” Palfrey said in his speech at the ceremony.

“For those who knew her, [Sykes]truly embodied ‘wellness.’ Under the leadership of our amazing team that will populate this building, we will embody that spirit in the form of this building behind me,” he continued. 

Before the grand opening of the Wellness Center next year, there will also be a “topping off” ceremony, which will occur when the last beam is secure and the building’s structure is considered complete.

The event was coordinated by the Head of School Office, the Wellness Committee and the Office of Alumni Engagement.

**Haley Suh contributed reporting.**

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Gelb Science Center: 

$60,000 Camera Purchased to Photograph Nearby Galaxies

Tuesday night, the Astronomy club launched its first shooting of the Andromeda Galaxy with its newly purchased $60,000 camera. Starting at 10 p.m, the telescope took photographs for five hours, focusing around the center region of the star system.

The 3.5 kilogram new camera has a much bigger chip than one would normally find in a Canon or a Nikon camera, enabling students to take a bigger image of the sky and increase efficiency in their research. It has also doubled sensitivity compared to the old camera by allowing for images of much fainter objects and greatly increasing the range of shooting. “The camera has far exceeded my expectations in terms of sensitivity. Even tonight, we’re seeing images far superior than anything we have ever seen with the previous camera,” said Caroline Odden, Instructor in Physics, in regards to the photos taken last Wednesday.

Although the camera will typically be in use from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night, the camera can only be used when it is clear outside, according to Odden. The new Andor Ikon DW 436 camera was purchased to upgrade the previous, outdated camera and Odden hopes that some of the features of the new camera will widen the range of possible projects in the Astronomy Research course and the Astronomy club. “I think we’ll be able to take images through color filters. This allows for the possibility of determining the chemical composition for various astronomical objects,” wrote Odden in an email to _The Phillipian_.

The use of the new camera will not be limited to students currently taking Astronomy Research class. “The camera will be used also by interested students not in the course.  It is not the kind of thing that one can use alone without training, but students will be able to take part in the process,” wrote Odden.

The camera was purchased with the help of a donation by a family of a student in the Class of 2014, as well an Abbot grant applied for by Odden, Brook Bond ’14 and Laurent Joli-Coeur ’15, President of Astronomy Club. 

**Haley Suh contributed reporting.**