SASHP Artists Collective

The SAS Honors office building (located at 35 College Ave) holds many events throughout the week; they are all listed in the weekly newsletter. One of them is the Artists Collective: a coffee shop-esque gathering where anyone is invited to perform a song,  recite poetry, or anything else you want share with the world. Sometimes, the scene shifts from a performance art stage to a visual art gallery that displays students’ artwork or photography.

On Friday September 18, the SAS Honors Program Artists Collective held an exhibition for Shannon Gilbert’s photos from her recent spring break 2015 trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. She is a sophomore in the SAS Honors Program and is majoring in Economics and History. To her, pictures help others see the world as she sees it and spread the history of the places she’s visited.

The Yucatan trip has been occurring for the past five years or so. This spring break opportunity allows SASHP students to see the wonders of the ancient Maya. Students spend a week traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico seeing ruins, going on adventures, and making new friends. It’s not difficult to snap yourself an Instagram-worthy picture while in the Yucatan, for it’s a gorgeous place to be, and impressively, all of Shannon’s pictures were taken with her iPhone or GoPro.

The header photo was taken during sunrise from the beach at Puerto Morelos, home of the world’s second largest coral reef. The photo is gorgeous and looks like one of those backgrounds that come preprogrammed on your computer. Here are a few of her favorite photos that are currently on display at the Honors building:

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This is an underwater photo taken while snorkeling in the coral reef at Puerto Morelos.

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This photo was taken while swimming at Cenote-Ik-Kil. A cenote is a natural sinkhole filled with water, which attracts those who enjoy swimming.

A picture of the famous Maya ruin: Chichen Itza

A picture of the famous Maya ruin Chichen Itza.

During this past trip, Spring 2015, the SASHP travelers visited an elementary school for the first time since the Yucatan program started. When they arrived at the school, the elementary students surprised them with a home cooked lunch. Our fellow Rutgers students learned some of the Mayan language, which is expressed in hieroglyphics. Shannon explained that the school teacher translated the Mayan into Spanish and Dean Nazario translated the Spanish into English, like a game of linguistic telephone. The students used their knowledge from the classroom to make crafts designed with both Mayan and Spanish and sell them to tourists to raise money for their school.

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Rutgers Honors Program students sat in on a lesson and were taught a little bit of the Maya language.

Shannon recounted one night when they slept in hammocks after exploring Kaxil Kiuic, a biocultural conservation. James Callahan, a professor who worked at the site, warned them to keep their windows closed because it will get really cold at 4am. She and her roommates were skeptical because it was still hot out when they went to sleep, so they did not heed his warning. At 4am on the dot, everyone woke up shivering and they rushed to close the windows and grab their blankets.

Although that is not the most action-packed memory, it’s different, new, and something unique to remember from that trip. It’s something that you would not be able to experience here in the States. That’s the beauty of travel — you get to see the world, meet new people, expose yourself to different cultures, and do things that you wouldn’t be able to do any where else in the world.

I went on the Yucatan trip in 2014 and I am telling you, if you are wondering how to spend your spring break, I highly recommend going to the Yucatan. It’s such a wonderful opportunity at a decent price. Not only do you get to explore a culturally rich part of the world, but you get to do it with a fantastic dean and other students, with whom you will form friendships with. Take advantage of the other trips that the Honor Program has to offer. No one I know has ever come back disappointed. So seriously, promise me that you will try to go on a trip, okay?

The Artists Collective is a way for anyone and everyone to show off their passion, meet other honors students, and have nice conversations with the people around them. Keep an eye out for more Artists Collectives in the future and if you’re free, try to go to one. It’ll be a nice way to spent an couple hours.

To see the rest of Shannon’s Yucatan pictures, stop by the SAS Honors office building. Her exhibition will be up through October 16.

If you want to talk about the Yucatan trip, travel in general, or anything else, feel free to email me or leave a comment! 🙂

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