Currently viewing the category: "Our Neighborhood"

Although I often pick up a piece of Fletcher news (or, more often, newsy tidbit), it’s not realistic for the Admissions Blog to cover everything going on here.  Thankfully, blog readers do not need to remain ignorant of interesting events — there are plenty of other sources for you.  Here’s a partial list.

Fletcher’s News & Media page, produced by the School’s communications office.

Facebook pages for the School, Admissions, as well as some offices and student groups, in addition to Tufts University.

Twitter feeds for the School, Admissions, and the University.  Additional Twitter feeds pop up as needed for a conference or other event.

The Tufts Daily — all the University’s news in a student-produced paper and web format.

If you’re a prospective student and you want to know more about the communities that surround the University, most local newspapers have detailed websites.  Though each of these locales actually has more than one news source, here are a few links to start your research on Fletcher’s closest neighbors:  Boston, Medford, Somerville, Cambridge.

Keeping up with all those sites and sources should give you a sense of what’s happening on campus and in our neighborhood.


Sure, it’s already pretty busy inside the classroom, but during the next two weekends a group of students will participate in the Fletcher Mediation Practicum, four days that will equip them with conflict resolution skills.  Once the skills have been acquired, the practicum “graduates” will apply them by mediating actual cases in court.  Though many Fletcher students have a law background, mediation is a related skill that doesn’t require prior experience in a law field.  The practicum is offered by the International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program and MWI, and organizers say it will include, “demonstrations, coaching through simulations, and interactive lectures to impart step-by-step knowledge of the mediation process.  Participants also learn how to handle difficult personalities, ethical dilemmas, and mediator biases, all while improving their personal communication skills.”  Those are skills well worth developing for professionals in or out of international affairs!

Tagged with:

A public service advisory from the blogger-in-chief, in answer to the question that seems to be on every caller’s mind this morning.  What time is the deadline?  The deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5) tonight, January 10. 

And now, we return to our regular content.

My short blog survey last fall yielded many useful topic ideas.  And then there was this one:  breweries.  While I don’t know why someone thought this was a topic of vital importance to the blog, I nonetheless am happy to rise to the challenge and, moreover, to demonstrate the topic’s relevance to the Fletcher community.  I realize this frothy post might not be what you were expecting on the day of our main application deadline, but when better to distract ourselves?

So, breweries.  While Boston is not traditionally one of the main commercial brewing centers in the U.S., we nonetheless have rich local offerings.  To get you started, I’ll note four breweries in particular:  The big guys, Harpoon Brewery and Sam Adams Brewery, both in Boston; and two Somerville-based nomadic tenant brewers, Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project and Somerville Brewing Company.  For a more complete reckoning, refer to the BeerAdvocate list.  A beer aficionado could happily drink local for the length of a Fletcher degree program.

But what if our aficionado wanted to talk beer with other students.  Well, then, membership in the Fletcher Fermentation 101 club would be a must.  The mission and guiding principle of the group is:

Fermented products know neither time nor borders, and have been shared and enjoyed by many cultures throughout history.  Fermentation 101 seeks to create a knowledge-sharing community at Fletcher that teaches and learns about the multifaceted wonders of fermentation.  We explore all of the possibilities of fermentation, which include beer, wine, cider, cheese, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, kimchi, yogurt, and tempeh. Our club hosts popular “beer and cheese pairings” each semester, as well as other events such as sourdough bread making, yogurt making, beer tastings, and private tours of local breweries. All members are encouraged to share a curiosity about fermentation and a desire to be involved in the greater fermentation community around Boston.

Finally, dear blog reader who challenged me to write about breweries, there’s this.  The Boston Globe recently ran comprehensive lists of the area’s best beer bars, and followed up with the honorable mention selection.  Many of these locales are within two miles of campus.

So there you have it.  Breweries and a connection to the Fletcher community, even if the only admissions link is that we could all use a distraction today.

Tagged with:

This is one Monday when I regret that I try to confine chatter about my weekends to the summer, yielding to more significant admissions-related topics in the fall.  But if I were to write about my weekend, I’d have plenty to recommend to current and future students, such as dinner in Chinatown, a trip to see the cranberry harvest on or near Cape Cod, a stroll or bike ride along the Cape Cod canal, dinner at a new Davis Square restaurant, or a bike ride at the new North Point Park.  (Add in some housecleaning and it’s no wonder I’m happy to be sitting at my desk right now.)

But, like I said, there are more significant topics to cover, such as today’s application deadline for January 2013 enrollment.  We enroll only a small MALD class in January, which is just as well since half the staff is currently on the road and our ability to read a mountain of applications would be constrained.  The January application pool is just the right size for the available workforce.  On the other hand, we have a tight timeline — both to enable the admitted students to get ready to join us in January, and because we have our next deadline on November 15 for Early Notification applications.  Heading into the heart of the admissions season!


Summer’s over, and I know it’s time to move on from writing about what I did on the preceding weekend (final summer beach visit, dinner at Upstairs on the Square, wash windows 🙁 ), but that doesn’t mean my enthusiasm for the many things you can easily do in this area is diminished.  And better than my limited activities list is another, which I have written about in the past, but which merits a second post.  Johnny’s Boston Events Insider compiles the most unusual list of area activities and, if you subscribe, emails a list every week (or so).  Here are some highlights from this week’s email.  (Details about each can be found on the Boston Events Insider website.)

Somerville Riverfest
Arlington Town Day
Dancing Under the Stars at Seaport
Dine at Dusk
South Boston Street Festival
Billerica’s Yankee Doodle Homecoming Festival
Wings of Freedom Tour
Civil War Re-enactment
Fish Box Derby Race
Eastern States Exposition
Corn mazes!
Starry Starry Night at Davis MegaMaze
Mercedes Day at the Larz Anderson Museum
The Raven’s Trail: A Walking Tour of Poe’s Boston
MassCann Freedom Rally
Squash Showdown@Symphony
Lebanese Day
Adventure Race – Hosted by Single Fit People
South End Open Studios
Battle Road Homes Open House and Historic Trades Day
Norwood Day
Harvard Fall Festival
stART on the Street
Endless Summer Waterfront Festival at Nantasket

As you can see, whether you want to stay local (Somerville RiverFest) or take a drive into Massachusetts farm country (corn mazes), there is something here for you.  You may wonder, “Who is Johnny?”  I have no idea.  A guy with blonde hair who has made a mark by compiling a list of events.  In the area?  Check it out.


I’ve fallen behind on my favorite topic — reporting on my weekend activities.  There were two weekends spent with the students we hosted (quite a bit of shopping, a trip to the beach, a boat trip to George’s Island), and more beach on a beautiful morning this past Sunday, but recently the weekends haven’t seemed blog-worthy.

This coming weekend, though — definitely worth a mention.  For the second year, Boston will host a visit by world class cliff divers.  Yes, Boston — a city that barely rises above sea level at its highest point — is the host of the world series of cliff diving.  How? you wonder.  The divers leap off a platform on the cantilever roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art.

I would really like to go — partly because I like to watch diving, but mostly because cliff diving in Boston is a crazy idea.  Alas, I won’t be able to be there, so I need a blog reader to go and tell me about it.  Or don’t tell me about it, but go anyway, because it’s got to be something special.  That’s why I’m writing about it on Tuesday — to give you the best chance to organize your weekend around the diving Saturday afternoon.  (Send pix, please!)

Tagged with:

One of the activities that has kept me busy in each of the last three summers has been hosting students from Iraq who are in the U.S. for a program on leadership.  The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program lasts about a month, including a week in Vermont, a week in Washington, D.C., and about two weeks in home stays in one of several American cities, accompanied by U.S. students.  My daughter, Kayla, participated three summers ago, and interned with the program this year.  The students just left Boston yesterday, following a farewell meal we were able to arrange for the 12 participants and five host families at Tufts on Sunday evening.  (The program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Embassy in Baghdad.)

During their month in the U.S., each of the students is asked to consider writing a blog post, and this was the entry of one of the Boston-based students, though not the one who stayed with us.  I thought blog readers might be interested in this unique view of the area’s history.


Is it possible that I have not yet waxed rhapsodic about the farmers’ market this year?  I went, as I always do, to the Davis Square market yesterday and there was a real August-worthy bounty awaiting me.  The piles and variety of produce increase week-by-week until there is truly more variety than a shopper could need.  The market is located close to campus but, more to the point, convenient to the parts of West Somerville/North Cambridge where students tend to live.  For those in other neighborhoods, there are markets all over the area.  In fact, there are several other markets that I could (and sometimes do) shop at, but the one at Davis is my favorite.

The vegetation wasn’t the only highlight yesterday.  I also ran into two Fletcher friends — Elke, a PhD candidate, and Lauren, a recent MALD graduate.  Such a treat to catch up in my favorite Wednesday location!

Because I haven’t managed to post earlier this week, and prospects aren’t looking good for tomorrow, either, I’ll run through a quick update.

♦The Admissions Office will soon be back to full staffing.  We have spent a lot of time interviewing jobs candidates and I look forward to introducing blog readers to our newest colleagues soon!

♦The pre-session starts Monday!  Required for incoming MIB students but available to interested students in other programs, the two weeks of the pre-session are filled with serious study in a somewhat relaxed summer atmosphere.  Here’s the description of their course:

The pre-session folks tend to cross through the Hall of Flags without drawing much attention, but we know they’re there — and that the full crop of incoming students will follow only two weeks later.

Tagged with:

Summer time is construction time on the Tufts campus.  I stepped out of the office to capture the projects closest to Fletcher’s front door.  Happily, there’s not as much disruptive activity this year as there was in July/August 2011, but it’s still not hard to find a piece of construction machinery.  If you happen to be Tufts President Anthony Monaco, the construction is your front lawn.

Though Gifford House is only marginally accessible at the moment, the objective, once the project is complete, is to improve accessibility for all.

Walking down the brand new sidewalks for a few more yards beyond Gifford House, and we have the redesign of the intersection of Packard Avenue and Professor’s Row.  Because Tufts is not walled off from the surrounding community, anyone driving or biking in the neighborhood might travel on one of these streets.  A new raised intersection should improve safety.

These and the other projects on campus are due to be complete before Orientation, meaning more eyes that those in Fletcher Admissions are watching the calendar to be sure we’re ready for the return of students.


What’s better than talking about my weekend?  Talking about my vacation, of course.  Last week, I was blog-postless while enjoying some time on Cape Cod.  Not being a Massachusetts native myself, I don’t have stories of generations of family all vacationing on the Cape, but we’ve started our own tradition of occasional summer visits to Eastham.  People often compare the shape of the Cape to an arm making a fist.  Eastham is well along the arm, but south of the fist itself:

I would describe Eastham as offering just the right amount of nothing.  That is, there are several restaurants and a couple of motels, but when Kayla wanted to find a public spot with Wi-Fi access, she needed to bike to Orleans, the next town to the south.  What Eastham does offer is beaches along Cape Cod Bay, ocean beaches that are part of the National Seashore, and a few fresh-water kettle ponds.  Making it easy to go from one to the next are two great bike paths — the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and a path to Coast Guard Beach.  Could we need anything more to keep us busy?

We entertained a small but shifting cast of characters in a rental house for a week, and managed to take advantage of all the things that we consider attractions, in addition to the usual beaches.  We went to Wellfleet twice — once for the Wellfleet Drive-In, and once to walk through the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp at Marconi Beach.  (Marconi having sent the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission originating in the U.S.)

Americans usually learn that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and Plymouth certainly played its important role in U.S. history.  But, in fact, the Pilgrims first landed at the tip of the Cape, near Provincetown.  Our week included two treks to Provincetown, where we mixed a bit of shopping with trips up the pier to drop one of our visitors at the ferry.

If you’re at Fletcher this fall (or a future one), you can easily experience a bit of Cape Cod with a day trip.  An hour’s drive will take you to Sandwich, where you can bike along the Cape Cod Canal.  Or perhaps you’d prefer to relax on the ferry to Provincetown.  If you bring a bicycle onto the ferry, it’s easy to get around Provincetown, though even traveling on foot allows you to cover a lot of territory.

My week’s vacation is behind me now and it took me all day yesterday to clear the email and other stuff that awaited me.  I’ll return the blog to admissions topics later this week.


Spam prevention powered by Akismet