Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Independent Travel

Harlaxton encourages its students to travel and see as much of Europe in a four month semester as possible.  Class is held Monday through Thursday allowing students a longer weekend.  Though Harlaxton offers pre-organized trips that many students take advantage of, others decide to schedule their own travel with smaller groups.

Like many Harlaxton students, I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad prior to this semester.  I have observed first-hand how much work goes into organizing a successful adventure. 

When planning a trip, there are many aspects to take into consideration.  A student budget is an obstacle that all of us are learning to work around.  When booking a place to stay, choosing a hostel instead of a hotel is a major money saver.  There are some less than favorable hostels which only make the alright hostels seem more lovely. 

Photo from Erin Taylor: Above Carly Berblinger below Erin Taylor find their assigned bunks at St. Christopher’s Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland. provides the available hostels in the destination of choice with a combination of personal reviews and ratings along side the hostel’s information and unique accommodations. 

Figuring out coordinating transportation is usually the most difficult challenge in the planning process.  The least expensive flights on already cheap airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir are in the very early morning, on Fridays.  Therefore many students use Thursday nights for travel via train to airports across London in order to make the early flights on Fridays.  Many Thursday nights have been spent ‘sleeping’ on cold airport floors.

Photo from Jackie Albin: pictured left to right Carly Berberlinger, Catherine Street and Erin Taylor snoozing in Gatwick Airport. is a useful site with a list of airports that are open all night and helpful tips and tricks.  For example, keeping your passport zipped up inside your coat or tangling your belongings around your body so a person can feel if anyone were to grab their things.

Finding a source of nourishment while at the destination gets expensive. Preparing meals by shopping at the local markets rather than eating out at restaurants for every meal is easy on the wallet and a great opportunity to emerge in the culture of the area.

Photo from ErinTaylor: pictured from left to right Carly Berblinger and Erin Taylor find lunch at a market in Nice, France.

Though many of us find thrills in the minor mistakes along the way, it is nice to avoid a hassle that could easily be avoided.  I have found that the more research and behind the scenes work that is put into travel plans, the more relaxed the trip will be.  But just sometimes these small mistakes turn into the some of the most memorable moments.

-Erin Taylor

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Fan Girl’s Dream

England has provided some of the world’s most interesting and most popular characters in modern literature and television.  Harry Potter, written by JK Rowling and adapted to the big screen by four different directors, Doctor Who, the longest running television show in the world, and Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s most iconic character, are three of the most popular characters and stories brought into the world by British writers.

Early in our time at Harlaxton, my friends and I decided that we would like to see the places connected most with each of these important literary figures while we were going to be in England.  The first place we knew we wanted to visit was The Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter outside of London.  When we finally set the date, also hoping to see The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales that same weekend, we sat back and waited for the weekend to come.  

The weekend my friends and I dubbed “Fan Girl Weekend” started with us arriving in London a little late having to run between Kings Cross and Euston Station.  When we made it to Watford Junction, the little village that the Harry Potter studio is located, we walked in the direction that we believed the studio to be.  After taking five or six wrong turns and finally following the buses that shuttle people to the park, we reached the studio with an air of relief realizing we walked eight miles by foot.

The Studio has parts that aren’t allowed to be talked about out of the park which makes the studio a place that every Harry Potter fan should go.  The props, sets and costumes available to be seen were breathtaking.  My favorite was seeing the Great Hall and the costume that my favorite character’s actor wore in the third film.

The next morning, Cardiff was our next goal, our train left early for the two and a half hour train ride to the Bay.  This time finding the Experience wasn’t as hard as finding the Harry Potter studio, with the really weird shaped blue building serving as the home of The Doctor Who Experience.

As a fan of the show, Cardiff is a big must see when visiting England due to being the location of The Doctor Who Experience and the BBC Wales, where Doctor Who and BBC’s Sherlock are filmed, are both located within meters of each other.  The Experience, although like at the Harry Potter Studio the best part is something I can’t talk about, wasn’t as great as it could have been.  The costumes and sets were amazing, seeing David Tennant’s costume and TARDIS is something someone can’t do every day in person but to someone who doesn’t watch more of the modern, Matt Smith version of the Doctor, the Experience isn’t as exciting as it could be.

After realizing that we didn’t have the time the Sherlock Holmes part of “Fan Girl Weekend” was pushed to a later date.  When we finally made it down to London for Sherlock, the series taping of the show, BBC Sherlock is starting to tape its third series starting on the 18th, made our urgency to see the places that we saw on the show and in the movies more real and the places we visited helped make me feel more connected to the show and the character I love from English literature, including the Museum and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital where Sherlock jumped to his “death” in the television show.

Through my time at Harlaxton I was given a chance to visit all the places that I find important to me through my favorite characters and helped me grow as a fan of these literary heroes.  Just like the Ninth Doctor says my experiences with these places have been “fantastic” and now “The game’s afoot!”

-Jen Emlaw

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Student Government Association at Harlaxton College

The Student Government Association (SGA) is a part of providing the Harlaxton experience.  SGA assists in making decisions by voicing the opinions of the students to the faculty and board.  They are there to help better the experience for the students of the college so it can be the best experience possible.  Throughout the semester SGA puts on events which entertain, educate and allow students to interact with one another and the community.  

Being a part of SGA as the treasurer I am pleased to listen to suggestions from the students of Harlaxton.  We push to put the best interests of the students first.  But in every government system there are flaws and strengths this includes SGA.  There have been highlights during this semester along with times of compromising.  

SGA this semester has brought forward opportunities for students to make a difference in the community.  We have put on two fundraisers which have benefited a local charity.  The first fundraiser which was put on was ‘Candy Grams.’  Students were able to purchase a candy and send it to their valentine for only 50 pence.  The fundraiser was such a success there was need to go over the original budget plan for the candy.  SGA decided it was totally worth it to go over the original budget.  The second fundraiser we sold handmade ducks for one pound.  Caroline who works at reception took time to make every duck by hand to help benefit the children.  This fundraiser was another success.  It was the big topic of the day at Harlaxton College to see who got which duck.  

The local charity which both events have benefited is the Action for Children.  Action for Children has 600 services across the U.K.  Their work supports over 250,000 children, young people and parents.  They are out to stop child neglect and abuse.  To learn more about Action for Children and how you can help support this charity visit their website at  SGA has provided students to have the chance to make a difference in their local community from these fundraisers.

We at SGA are here to listen to concerns of the student body.  Such as an event as Meatless Mondays many students expressed their opinions on the subject.  Students were not pleased when waking up and not seeing bacon and sausage at breakfast.  The students received at 8 a.m. a facebook message on the announcement of Meatless Mondays.  The students voiced their opinions on facebook with multiple posts.  It was clear SGA wanted to hear the student’s opinions in person rather than over facebook.  

The original decision for Meatless Mondays was made on February 15, 2013 by the people present at the SGA meeting that night.  Meatless Mondays was planned to help create Harlaxton College a greener place.  The following video explains what they had entailed to making the decision  At the meeting from hearing both sides' views on the topic, the final decision was to delay Meatless Mondays and send out a survey to the students.  The survey would show if the student body was in favor of having Meatless Mondays at all and if so what day would be best to do it on.  The situation was resolved at the meeting on March 4, 2013.

Learning to work together in a collaborative manner helps everyone grow as an individual.  In the end SGA pushes to make them known in the community such as supporting local charities while learning and improving as much as they can to provide the student body with an enjoyable experience at Harlaxton College.  

If you would like to learn more about SGA; SGA meets every Monday at 6 p.m. in the Morning Room of Harlaxton College.  Or you may talk to any of our board members with any questions or concerns.  Our board members are Reagan Wallace (President), Justin Lang (Treasurer), Caitlyn Ricks (Secretary), and Olivia Sharp (Secretary). 

-Justin Lang

Monday, 11 March 2013

Richard III: Hide and Seek for 528 Years

In recent weeks an unlikely story has been very much in the news following the discovery of a body beneath a car park in Leicester.  In August 2012 members of the Richard III Society and the University of Leicester began a search for the remains of King Richard III. An archaeological dig uncovered the remains of a man with distinctive skeletal features which suggested the body might be Richard III. A great deal a lot of evidence had to be tested to prove whether this was the lost king. On the morning of 4 February 2013, Leicester University confirmed that the remains found underneath the car park were indeed Richard III.  

Who was Richard III? Famously, he was portrayed by Shakespeare as an evil tyrant who killed his nephews in order to take the English throne.  Despite Richard’s wicked reputation, members of the Richard III Society have, for many years, argued that Richard’s ‘tyranny’ has been hugely exaggerated. 

Richard III was king of England from 6 July 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485 which ended the Yorkist line of monarchs.  After the battle his body was believed to have been buried in the Church of the Grey Friars in Leicester. However, during the Reformation in Henry VIII’s reign, many churches were destroyed, including that of the Grey Friars in Leicester.  Since the destruction of the church, the town of Leicester has grown over what remained of the church and the grave. 

How can they be for sure that these remains were Richard’s?  A DNA analysis was made using mitochondria of the cells from the skeleton.  These mitochondrial DNA sequences are usually passed down unchanged over many generations.  Scientists working on the project compared the mitochondria from the skeleton with two people who are believed to be direct descendants of the king.  These results confirmed that the body is indeed the king’s.

The question now is whether the body should be reburied in Leicester or back in Richard’s home city of York.

Facial Reconstruction of Richard III’s remains.

-Alexis Niese