Where in the universe is Penguin Nation?
Oswald, Clark’s beloved penguin mascot, loves to travel. Luckily for Oswald, Clark College alumni and friends do amazing things in some very interesting places. And they rock their Penguin pride wherever they go. In remote corners of the globe, members of Penguin Nation don Clark T-shirts or pose with flat Oswald—a highly portable, jet-setting version of Clark’s beloved mascot. Read about their adventures here. And then submit your own photo with flat Oswald … wherever you may be. Download flat Oswald.
Chelsea Utecht ’11 took flat Oswald to the old part of town in Tbilisi, Georgia. “Tbilisi” comes from the word for warm, because of the sulfur springs behind them in this photo. “You can see the bathhouses including the famous Chreli-Abano (blue tile building), classic Tbilisi architecture and even the minaret of a mosque. However, there are always new buildings going up, so no Tbilisi view is complete without a crane,” Utecht wrote. She said she fell in love with learning languages while studying Japanese at Clark College. She teaches at an American school in Tbilisi and writes speculative fiction on the side.
Dick Shamrell is a retired Clark physics professor who hopes for cloudless nights at this time of year so he and Oswald get a clear view of Jupiter from Vancouver, Wash. From the Pacific Northwest, Shamrell advises scanning the southern evening sky for what looks like a super- bright star. That’s Jupiter. Viewed through a small telescope, one might see four star-like objects which are actually Jupiter’s large moons. Ahead of Jupiter, in the west, what looks like another bright star is Saturn. “And trailing in the east is a very bright orange-red Mars, where two SUV- sized rovers explore and prospect,” he said.
Ron Shuman ’06 spent time with three-dimensional Oswald in New York City, where Shuman has lived for the past seven years. They stopped at Washington Square Park’s iconic arch. Shuman attended Clark right after high school, then got an internship with Disney and left college to work in marketing. As an adult, he returned to Clark to launch a career in human resources. Shuman got married in 2021 and lives with his husband in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. That’s just three miles as the crow flies—or a 10-minute subway ride for a flightless bird like Oswald—from Washington Square Park.
Oswald is flat but he’s not idle. Even while sightseeing in the picturesque mountain village of Ronda, in southern Spain, Oswald found time to work on this magazine. Ronda is known for its spectacular views because it sits atop a rocky hillside. The Guadalavín River cuts a deep gorge through the middle of the town and is spanned by three historic bridges. The largest, Puente Nuevo, was built over 34 years and completed in 1793. An earlier version of the bridge collapsed in 1741, killing 50 people. Ronda is also home to an 18th century bull-fighting ring that is believed to be the first in Spain.
Michelle Slavin ’97 brought Oswald on a tuk-tuk ride through Bangkok, Thailand. The three-wheeled vehicles are used in Slavin’s neighborhood of Phrom Phong, which she said is known for its “busy bars, great restaurants and heaps of traffic.” Slavin works as director of programming and training for Peace Corps Thailand. Previously, she lived in Uganda, Jamaica, Costa Rica and the Philippines. Slavin is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a Native American tribe with homelands in the Great Lakes region that was forcibly removed to Oklahoma. Her mother, Kathy Slavin, worked at Clark College for 27 years.
By Lily Raff McCaulou whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian and Rolling Stone. Visit her online.