Student spotlight: performer and activist Gricelda Ramos
As February approaches, Dartmouth students begin preparations for V-Day, the global movement to end violence against girls and women. Many talented and dedicated students come together during the month of February to support the cause and promote gender equity through V-February, Dartmouth’s version of the global movement. One of these students is Gricelda Ramos ’18, a geography modified with Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean studies major. As a student with passion in both theatrical performance and social issues, Ramos will be directing the V-Feb program. According to Ramos, despite the fact that she is not a theater major, her passion for theater is immeasurable.
“No matter what I study, no matter what country I go to, no matter what I do, I’ll always end up at a theater, and I’ll always end up performing,” Ramos said.
Ramos said her focus is particularly in the performative aspects of the program — the direction of various student-run events including Upstaging Stereotypes, Vagina Monologues and Voices. The role is a large responsibility, and Ramos was hand-picked for the job.
“I had been nominated [for the job] by [the Office of Pluralism and Leadership] … My name came up because of my involvement in the arts and my commitment to social justice on campus,” Ramos said.
Social activism, one of the reasons Ramos believes she was chosen for her role as the director of V- Feb, is something she believes is her responsibility.
“As a woman of color ... within each one of us as humans, we all have the responsibility to understand what other people are going through and think about how we can [best] help,” Ramos said. “I think that’s a responsibility we have as citizens of the world.”
As a result, Ramos does her part for social justice through her faith community. Ramos said that she centers her work not around rallies but around peaceful discussion and understanding of one another. This term, she and some of her friends gathered together to create a group that seeks to spread social awareness messages through faith.
Ramos’ theater contributions at Dartmouth are also an important factor in landing her the role as director for V-Feb. Similar to her social activism, Ramos said her acting began at a young age with small skits coordinated at her local church.
“I never went to any professional schools [for acting],” Ramos said.
However, though Ramos admitted to a lack of formal experience prior to coming to Dartmouth, she landed one of the lead roles for the play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” a thesis project by Carene Mekertichyan ’16 According to department administrator for the theater department, Maggie Devine-Sullivan, Ramos’ character shows in her powerful performances.
“There’s a courage and determination and infectious optimism about her,” said Devine-Sullivan, reflecting on Ramos’ acting in “For Colored Girls.”
Similarly, Celeste Jennings ’18, who worked closely with Ramos in various theater productions as a costume designer, noted that each of Ramos’ performances were an extension of her own story and personality, making her acting even more resonant.
“I think [Ramos] is always going to put a little bit of her story in everything,” Jennings said.
As Ramos developed her acting career dramatically in her time at Dartmouth, Ramos faced her challenges as well.
“I think every performer, no matter how confident, has this internal fear that ... at the end, no one will applaud, or the show ... won’t be moving,” Ramos said. “So I think the biggest challenge is knowing that the hard work you put in will pay off and going on stage totally confident that everyone will enjoy the show.”
With time and experience, Ramos learned to let her love for performing itself help her overcome this challenge. According to Ramos, her secret to success has been to simply enjoy acting and act out of her love for acting rather than a desire to impress the crowd.
“I see it as an invitation to the audience and the cast members to have this intimate moment,” Ramos said. “Where actors can show you what they’ve been working on, and the audience can give you feedback on it.”
Ramos’ involvement in student culture doesn’t end with social activism and theater. She is currently also a Rockefeller Leadership fellow, a War and Peace fellow, a drill instructor for Spanish and a mentor for students in the First Year Student Enrichment Program.
Devine-Sullivan said Ramos’ warmth and passion is inspiring for others, making her ideal for the mentorship and leadership roles that she takes.
“She supports the work of everyone in the room,” Devine-Sullivan said. “She’s touched so many people.”
Due to Ramos’ vibrant activity in multiple areas, Ramos shows promise in various areas.
“I heard her say before she’s going to be the mayor, and I’ve also heard her say before she’s going to be on Broadway,” Kelleen Moriarty ’19, who directed Ramos in “Medea” last fall, said. “And neither of these things surprise me. She’s going to make the world a better place.”
Jennings added on that Ramos has also written musicals and directed productions.
“[Ramos] always has all these ideas, some of them are theater projects, some of them are community work projects,” Jennings said. “She just has so many of them ... and I think that’s a really cool thing about her.”
As Ramos faces her last couple of terms at Dartmouth, she and those around her reflected on her time here, commenting on all of her accomplishments.
“I think the legacy I want to leave is that I did all things, not only with a smile, but with the best intent for other people,” Ramos said.
Currently, her main focus is putting on a successful and impactful V-Feb, as it represents causes that she passionately believes in.
“I think the value of V-Feb lies only in its core values ... [that] we’re trying to promote [like] gender equity and [diminishing] gender-based violence,” Ramos said. “But it’s a moment for all kinds of women and men on campus to come together under a single mission.”