Does it matter if HWS has an office downtown?

Yes, it does. I recently noticed an HWS office sign downtown on Main Street. I really think this is a great idea for a number of reasons:

  • the more people working, living and shopping downtown, the more vibrant our Main Streets will become;
  • working downtown means that employees can use their lunch breaks to walk to places to eat or do errands (e.g. post office, public library);
  • there is one less vacant storefront;
  • I think the university is leasing the space, which means that the building owner, in turn, is paying property taxes (note: typically, universities are exempt from local property taxes), and;
  • it seems to me that there is something symbolic about extending the built environment of the campus into the heart of the city. I know that there are loads of great campus / community initiatives, but there is something about a bricks and mortar presence that strikes me as pretty powerful.



HWS Sustainable Community Development Lecture Series

The HWS Finger Lakes Institute is presenting another greater lecture series about sustainable development. The first lecture is tonight and covers two very important issues in upstate NY – the reuse of vacant land and active transportation. This is going to be an excellent event if you can make it.

February 18: Our Built Environment
Susan Cosentini, New Earth Living and Michael Governale, Rochester Subway
7pm at Warren Hunting Smith Library, HWS Colleges

March 11: Energy and Waste
Khristopher Dodson, Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University

April 8: Science and Technology’s Role in Sustainability
Rob Englert, Ram Industrial Design, D-Build, and Adirondack Firestone Company

April 22: Sustainable Community Development In Action

Seneca Falls Still Matters

I’ve been living in Geneva for a year and a half and I keep meaning to write a post about Seneca Falls, NY.  I was reminded of this intention when Obama referenced it in his Inauguration Address this past week.  Here’s what President Obama had to say:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.  Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well….

I was very touched by these words and I was reminded that we still have a ways yet to go.

So what’s the deal with Seneca Falls?  Not 15 minutes from Geneva, the first women’s rights convention was held 165 years ago in 1848. Organized by five women, all of whom were familiar with the antislavery movement and four of whom were Quakers, the convention attracted 300 participants and resulted in the Declaration of Sentiments.  Signed by 100 men and women from the convention, the Declaration states unequivocally that all men and women are created equal.

photoToday, there is a Women’s Rights  National Historic Park commemorating the events that took place in Seneca Falls and celebrating the ongoing movement toward greater equality.

In 1847, just prior to the Seneca Falls Convention, Elizabeth Blackwell was accepted as a medical student at Geneva Medical College (now Hobart and William Smith Colleges).  She became the first woman to practice medicine in the United States.  Another pretty amazing achievement that took place right here in the Finger Lakes.

Until I moved to this area, I was not familiar with these details of history.  I am thankful for the memorials and public art that have at prompted me to learn about the past in this region.  And, of course, I am thankful for those who fought for justice and for those who continue to do so today.

Fantastic Sustainability Lecture

Catherine Tumber, author of Small, Green and Gritty, is going to be speaking in Geneva as part of the HWS Sustainable Community Lecture Series.  Yay!  Patrick Cullina, former Chief Horticulturalist for the amazing High Line park in New York City and Professor Josh Cerra from the Department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell will also be speaking.  Double yay! 

The whole thing is going down on April 2 at 7 p.m. at the Cracker Factory (I keep meaning to write a post about the Cracker Factory.  For now, check out this blog post from The Scout).

Fashion blog comes to town

Check out this blog –  Men In Style Society.  HWS student Shane Samuel is writing a fashion blog!  In Geneva.  No, not that Geneva.  Geneva, NY!

In addition to the HWS-inspired fashion, the blog is interesting in its depiction of Geneva.  The photos look like they’re from a real fashion magazine and Geneva landscapes are clearly recognizable…and yet it somehow feels like it’s somewhere else.

Yay! City lecture series!


Yay!  HWS has launched a sustainable communities lecture series.  The first event is a discussion about the built environment (with a group of Rochesterians — where are the Geneva peeps?!).  Anyway, here are the details:

A Panel Discussion About Our Built Environment

  • Dennis Andrejko – Director of the Master in Architecture Program, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
  • Dirk Schneider – Partner, Chaintreuil | Jensen | Stark Architects LLP
  • Christopher Resig – Vice-President, N.K. Bhandari, Architecture & Engineering, P.C.
  • Moderated by: Jeffrey Blankenship, Hobart & William Smith Colleges Department of Architectural Studies

Monday, January 30th 7:00-9:00 pm
@ The Cracker Factory
2nd Floor, 35 Lehigh Street (Off Avenue E)
Geneva, NY

What do you call a group of doves?

I don’t know either.  The internet had a whole of bunch of answers to this question including “dule” and “dole”, both of which sound fishy.  I’m asking because there seems to be a lot of doves in Geneva.  There is everyone’s favourite restaurant, the Red Dove.  There is a building downtown that says “Dove Block”.  And there is a local brewery called Naked Dove (which is located halfway between here and Canandaigua.  If you’re Canadian and you’ve never seen the word Canandaigua before, trust me, I’m not making it up!).


Once upon a time, there was an artist named Arthur Garfield Dove (1880 – 1946), whose father was a building contractor and brick manufacturer in Geneva.  Dove grew up in Geneva and attended HWS before moving on to NYC.  He eventually moved back to Geneva with his wife, whose nickname was “Reds”.  Dove wasn’t a big fan of Geneva so they only stayed in town for a couple of years.  I learned all of this on the website for the Metropolitan Museum of Art  (phew – good thing it wasn’t censored today!  This joke has to do with an American bill proposal that would censor the internet.  This joke actually isn’t very funny and hardly worth the long explanation.  Anyway.).