Ramapo College’s chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta Literature Honors Society attended the 2014 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention in Savannah, Georgia from Wednesday, Feb. 26 to Sunday, March 2. As a member, I was lucky enough to be accepted to speak on Jane Austen and how we view her characters in contemporary film. Being completely surrounded by undergraduates and alumni who share the same passions as I do was extremely riveting. I came home with more than a job well done under my belt; I came home to the realization of what I have been working toward throughout my Ramapo career, and how much I am going to miss it.
Savannah is gorgeous, and from the moment our shuttle dropped us off at the hotel, I got that homey, small-town feel. Cafes mark every corner, along with casual restaurants and of course, bars supplying beer for on-the-go convenience. I was fascinated by how laid back the people were. Everywhere you went the people of Savannah were welcoming above anything else. By the time we left, I had a favorite diner (The Moon River) and coffee spot (The Coffee Fox), and was enjoying the weather that I instantly longed for the second we landed back in Laguardia airport.
The Convention began with Alison Bechdel, a cartoonist and graphic novelist, who spoke about her graphic narratives “Are You My Mother” and “Fun Home.” Bechdel’s presentation was inspiring, to say the very least, as she explained what it meant to her to be both an artist and a lesbian in today’s society. It was not only a presentation focused on her work, but on why she is who she is and how being exactly that is okay. It came as no surprise that once it was time for her book signing, a line formed around the perimeter of the entire room. Not only did Bechdel bring conference attendees together through the shared love of an artform, she encouraged us to come together as a group of individuals with something to offer one another.
Each attendee had something to offer. During my stay in Georgia, I attended six sessions at the conference. My peers, Monika Lasocha, Audrey Zabohonski, Sarah Galo and Francesca Baratta also chaired or presented at the conference. I was very proud of the work Ramapo students had to offer the Sigma Tau Delta community. Sarah Galo kept up with tradition as her piece entitled “Lacuna” won the Alumni Epsilon Award for Best Creative Paper, making her paper the third Ramapo alumni to win an award over the course of three years. Zabohonski and Baratta also presented their creative pieces, while Lasocha chaired an interesting panel focusing on literature theory. There are so many talented people in this world, but I truly believe Ramapo is home to some of the best.
I will never forget the incredible few days we spent in Georgia under the sun, but what will stand out in my mind when I look back on the memory, will be the rush of passion I suddenly felt for what I have been studying the past four years at Ramapo College. The literature major really is a unique one, filled with professors whose energy can be sensed in each and every class, whose love for literature is apparent and contagious. I left Georgia with a newfound love for literature, and those of us who create it. Once the plane landed back in Laguardia, I realized I had found a piece of myself, a strong inspiration I cannot wait to develop and mold.