There’s been a lot of good news recently in the spoken-Latin world, and SALVI had a chance to celebrate it last weekend at our 20th Anniversary Party at Claymont. All around the country, we’ve seen steadily increasing interest in communicative approaches to Latin. In the past year, we’ve run eight different events in four states (California, New York, West Virginia, and Minnesota). Plans are afoot for programs in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Colorado in the next year as well, and for perhaps as many as six (!) Rusticationes. We’re hearing from universities too, and this fall plan to roll out a new day program for colleges and universities. As president, one of the most common things I hear nowadays from people is, “I have a proposal for another SALVI program.”
Besides the excitement this is creating among lovers of Classics, there is also a very palpable sense of community that gets better every year. And it’s spreading too. Our most recent Rusticatio featured participants from six countries and more than a dozen states. And the bigger the community gets, the happier people seem to get – it’s just more people to talk to. I spoke about this during my introductory address at the 20th Anniversary Party. I had heard a Latin teacher saying to his colleagues, “It’s a great time to do what we do,” and I thought of how amazing (and unusual) it was to hear a Humanities teacher say something like this. And hearing speech after speech and toast after toast from friends and colleagues that night on Claymont’s verandah, talking about how much SALVI has meant to them, I knew exactly what that Latin teacher was talking about. There’s an energy and sense of purpose and societas happening right now which really is remarkable.
We were also able to publicly celebrate some special news: the announcement of the 2018 Rusticatio Australiana, the first-ever Latin immersion week in Australia (in Kangaroo Valley); and the 2018-9 Rusticatio Africana, our second Latin event in South Africa. And for people who find Rusticatio hard to afford, some wonderful news: an anonymous donor has pledged $8,000 to bring our Amy High Fund over $50,000, fully endowing the fellowship in perpetuity.
But with this expansion come some difficulties. 2018 may see us running as many as thirteen different events in three countries with an all-volunteer staff and no overhead. Even putting out the deposits to rent all of the spaces stretches us a bit financially; and there is the simple fact that eventually we will be needing administrative assistance to run an operation of this size. And so I’d like to announce a new way to support SALVI, what I’m calling the President’s Initiative. Through Paypal, you can now become a SALVI subscriber, and support us with monthly donations – as little as $5 a month (the cost of a frappucino). I know that many of SALVI’s biggest fans are hardly wealthy. But together we really can make a difference: a hundred people giving $10 a month will allow us financial room to expand, and perhaps pay for some part-time administrative assistance. (Three hundred people would give us a whole Spartan fighting force, but that’s for the future.) Right now we’re starting from zero (I just created the subscribe button on our webpage), so anything you can give is a help for us.
And if you need some convincing that money put toward SALVI is money well spent, take a look at some of the testimonials we’ve been getting in the past few years. Here is just a sampling:
“My expectations were very high, and it met all of them perfectly – to have community, to speak Latin, and to learn so much in a place of beauty.”
“All people that want the classical languages to survive should really be doing these kinds of courses.”
“Rusticatio has changed my life – it was such an awesome experience. It not only enriched me as a person and increased my love of Latin (I didn’t know that was possible), but it gave me ideas to improve my teaching and I have taught Latin for 33 years now. Who says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”
The best thing overall was… “The passion of the people. Passion to teach, to learn, to enjoy life. It was all here.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to share this special week with so many awesome people. Latinitas is in good hands. Because I am the only Latin teacher at my school – this experience has been like rain in the desert. I am sure the blossoms will appear repeatedly from this week.”
“I never thought I could speak in Latin only for a week. Now I don’t want to leave.”
“The program has shown me that I can learn to speak Latin.”
“Everyone who knows Latin should come to Rusticatio at least once. It will change the way you see the language.”
“It was so great, waking up every morning wanting to learn. I wanted to seize the day. You all made the experience absolutely astounding. It could not have been better. I never want to leave.”
“I almost cried today. This week has been one of the best – I’m sorry – the best, in my entire life. I can’t even explain in words how much this means to me and will forever mean to me. You all will forever be in my heart.”
“I just want to thank you ex corde meo for the opportunity granted to me to be part of this wonderful experience. This course is without a doubt the most valuable course I have attended in my academic career.”
“I believe that everyone who has a passion for Latin should attend at least one.”
“This was one of the best experiences of my LIFE. No exaggeration.”
“I loved everything. Except leaving.”
“This was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences I have ever had. I cannot wait to use what I’ve learned in classes.”
“This course changed the way I think about learning and teaching a language.”
“Latin is not a dead language. It lives in SALVI.”
“I learned so much more than I ever thought I could in a week.”
“Being immersed was hugely helpful in making Latin part of me, not just something I study.”
“There is no professional development more useful to teachers of Latin. The experience is profound and superlatively useful and applicable.”
“This program has totally rekindled my love of the Latin language.”
“It felt like a giant Latin-speaking family. I loved it.”
“I have never laughed so much with the same people for seven days straight before.”
“I feel so much more connected to Latin than I have in 15 years.”
“Rusticatio is the best place on earth.”
“I think I finally understand how I can use spoken Latin in my classroom.”
“Rusticatio is the most supportive and effective learning experience I’ve ever had.”
“Coming to Rusticatio, it felt like I finally found my village.”
“This has changed my life.”
I have hundreds more of these. You can find more on our testimonials page.
So please consider supporting SALVI at our donate page here – even if your wallet has a few cobwebs in it (like Catullus’). We can make it go far. And feel free to forward this message to supporters of the Humanities and explain who we are – more people need to hear our good news. And please join us at one of our programs next year – in New York or West Virginia or even Africa or Australia. I can assure you: cenabis bene apud nos. It’s a great time to do what we do.
Praeses (President), Septentrionale Americanum Latinitatis Vivae Institutum
The North American Institute of Living Latin Studies