Furman students have a tendency to shorten phrases into acronyms.  We call the Dining Hall “the D.H.” we call the physical activities center “the PAC,” and we call Culture Life Program events “C.L.P.s”  So what is a CLP?

According to the Academics page on the Furman website, “The Cultural Life Program (CLP) is a collection of events throughout the year that introduce you to new ideas, issues, and artistic expressions you might not have otherwise encountered. Our professors and student organizations sponsor these events, and you’re required to attend 32 CLPs before you graduate. You might listen to a panel discussion about politics, watch a Latin dance performance, or hear a lecture on the science of malaria eradication.”

While 32 CLPs might seem like a lot, it is very doable because Furman offers an average of 5-7 CLP events a week.  This past week, I attended two CLPs.
The first CLP I attended this week was entitled, “Trude Heller:  A Personal Story.”  Trude Heller’s late husband, Max, was a former mayor of Greenville, and as a native, I was familiar with their story.  However, getting to hear Trude recount her life experiences was an absolute privilege.  Trude and Max are natives of Austria and fled the country when they were teenagers as Hilter and the Nazis were coming to power.   As Jews, Max and Trude, who had only briefly met the previous summer, were now refugees.  Max had meet a girl from Greenville, South Carolina in Vienna a year before and they had exchanged addresses.  Max wrote to this girl who then arranged for him to move to Greenville and work in a local shirt factory.
The path to Greenville, was a bit more complicated for Trude.  Her family was forced to live a ghetto in Austria.  Her father was able to escape to Belgium, but it took Trude and her mother 7 weeks of hiding in order to escape Austria and arrive in Belgium.  Once in Belgium, Trude’s family was working to leave Europe.  They secured a place on ship bound for Chile, but the night before they were set to depart, they discovered that their visas had been revoked.  Initially, her family was devastated.  However, once they learned that the ship bound for Chile sank in the Atlantic Ocean, they felt they had received a miracle.  Eventually, Trude’s family was able to make it to New York City.  Once in America, Trude reconnected with Max; they married and live happily ever after.
Trude Heller’s spirit of perseverance is awe-inspiring.  Rather than letting the discrimination she endured harden her, she responded with love.  She ended her talk with a Mother Teresa quote that said, “That if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Max and Trude Heller
photo courtesy of http://www.jhssc.org/Trude_Max_Heller_Bio.html

The second CLP I attended this week was the Furman University Gospel Ensemble (FUGE- yet another acronym) Fall Concert.  The vocals were superb!  My FRAD (Freshmen Advisor- another acronym), Hyeri, was in the ensemble did a fantastic job!  FRADs are upperclassmen that live on freshmen hall to serve as mentors and help with the adjustments that college life brings.

Great job, Hyeri!

Hey, prospective students- what do you want to know about the freshman experience that I haven’t written about yet?  Please email me at laura.woodside@furman.edu with your questions!  I look forward to hearing from you!
Until next time,


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