Inaugural poet Richard Blanco visits campus, speaks on nostalgia & poetry's role in America
When President Obama cold-called Richard Blanco and asked him to be the 2013 inaugural poet, he gave the poet three weeks to write three potential poems. Working from his home in Bethel, Maine, Blanco said he circled and circled until he landed on the first line of “One Today,” the poem he read to over one million people at Obama’s inauguration last January in Washington, D.C.
“I kind of compare it to tuning an instrument, where you hear that right chord and something amazing happens—and, for me it was that first line, ‘When the sun rose on us today,’ which was when I was watching the sun rise over Bethel and the mountains, or the pines actually,” he said. “From there, the poem sort of started writing itself.”
Blanco visited campus last Friday, October 25, headlining Family Weekend with a day that included a student poetry workshop, public book signing, and an evening reading that filled the seats of Pickard Theater. His visit was funded by the Office of Student Life, Office of Multicultural Student Programs, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and the Latin American Studies Program.
College proposes state’s largest solar power farm
At the time of its founding, Bowdoin was the easternmost college in the country and the first to see the sunrise. Now, in a pending collaboration between the College and California’s SolarCity Corp., Bowdoin stands to power the majority of its athletic facilities with these same rays.
The proposed solar complex would be the largest in Maine, offsetting about 8 percent of the College’s annual electricity usage and generating 1.6 million kilowatt- hours (kWh) of power, according to President Barry Mills. The system would be sited on land the College acquired from the former Brunswick Naval Air Base as well as on the roofs of Farley Field House and Watson Arena.
The Board of Trustees signed off on the proposal last Friday, though it now awaits approval from local, state and federal governments including the U.S. Department of Education, which was furloughed for much of the past few weeks.
Funding shutdown spares Bowdoin campus, hits alums
Despite the termination of nonessential government funding after Tuesday’s budget deadlock, Bowdoin expects no direct financial impacts.
“The College has drawn down the funds it needs for student loans and grants so we don’t expect any financial issues in the near term,” wrote Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Katy Longley in an email to the Orient.
Though the National Science Foundation is currently closed to funding requests, campus research on grants already procured will continue, according to Longley. For these grants, the College pays research expenses up front and seeks reimbursement later.
Jen's world: local breakfast joint primed for reality television stage
When Robi Hutchinson left his job as a producer in Hollywood and moved home to Brunswick two years ago, he knew he had to find a good breakfast haunt.
"I got on the Internet and the only place that had any kind of ratings was Jen’s Place," he said. "This was the spot."
Jen’s Place is tucked inside a low one-level corrugated metal building on Brunswick’s Stanwood Street. It is neighbored by the Northern Chi Martial Arts Center, sidelined by the railroad tracks, and across the street from a fleet of lawnmowers parked on the grass outside of the Brunswick Home and Garden Shop. The restaurant serves breakfast seven days a week and opened its doors four years ago this month. It is frequented by Bowdoin students, but tucked just far enough from campus that most of them come via car or bike.
Orientation: Eat this up: A food primer for Bowdoin and Brunswick
BOWDOIN EXPRESS: Colloquially known as the “C-Store,” this convenience store on the lower floor of Smith Union is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the weekends. Swipe your OneCard for late night pita chips and hummus or ice cream (try Maine’s own Dolcelino cookie sandwiches), stay to replenish your stock of basic medications, or get another package of just-add-water pad thai or brownie mix.
THE CAFÉ: Upstairs in Smith Union. Check the board for daily specials and seasonal drinks, and try the Sunrise Smoothie with a shot of espresso for an afternoon pick-me-up. Opens at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, closes during the dinner hours, then continues to caffeinate most nights until midnight. Accepts Polar Points, OneCards and cash.
JACK MAGEE’S EXPRESS: Cash in on a OneCard meal credit between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. (weekdays) to select items for a quick bag lunch. Rotating entrees include veggie Caesar salad wraps, pepperoni focaccia pizza, and burritos; all lunches include chips, fruit, cookie and a cup of soda.
Summer roundup: professors reflect on NSA secret surveillance
Commentary and analysis from the Bowdoin community
In light of the recent revelations about the National Security Agency's (NSA) extensive and controversial surveillance programs, the Orient turned to our resources at Bowdoin for analysis and comment on the situation. We reached out to members of the Bowdoin community who specialize in related areas of government, media studies, computer science and information technology.
While the focus of these conversations is primarily national, we heard from Mitch Davis, Bowdoin's chief information officer, about the administrative protocol for accessing student email on campus.
College emissions decline 24% since 2008, report finds
Bowdoin has decreased its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ahead of schedule, putting the College on track to pass the benchmarks of its 2009 Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan, according to a Sustainable Bowdoin report released by last week. The 14,467 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent that the College released in fiscal year (FY) 2012 was 17 percent below the predicted level of 17,437 metric tons. Since FY 2008—when 19,153 metric tons were released—the College has decreased its emissions by 24 percent, and has surpassed expectations for emissions reductions since 2010.
Divestment: Initiatives seek to hold students, College accountable on sustainability
New student-run environmental initiatives on campus aim to give students the chance to stand behind more than just their ballot votes next week.
Endowment returns 2.6%, declines to $902.4 million
Bowdoin’s endowment performed comparatively well in fiscal year (FY) 2012, with a 2.6 percent return on investments as of June 30, 2012. The endowment stands at $902.4 million, down from $904.2 million in FY 2011, when Bowdoin reported returns of 22.3 percent. Though 2.6 percent is significantly lower than the College’s projected return of 7 percent, Bowdoin fared much better than most peer institutions; Cambridge Associates, a firm that tracks endowment performance in the U.S., found that the mean for college and university endowment returns nationally was -1.0 percent in FY 2012, according to the Bowdoin Daily Sun.
Thorne’s basement meat shop provides hand-cut chow
The day before this year’s annual back-to-school lobster bake, Michael Rodrigue single-handedly cut and trimmed 440 steaks for the meal. Rodrigue is Bowdoin’s designated meat cutter, responsible for ordering and preparing the pork, beef, chicken breasts, and sausage served at Thorne and Moulton dining halls.
Talk of the Quad: Bike thieves and summer trees
The talk of the Quad is different in the summer, when the lines that separate Bowdoin and Brunswick, tourist and town resident, student and visiting scholar, become even more blurred.
Facebook mass deactivation experiment hits College
College students propelled Facebook to popularity, and at Bowdoin, they are now experimenting with deactivation en masse. Last Monday, Tyler Patton '12 and Ruiqi Tang '13 launched massdeactivation.blogspot.com, the site of their self-proclaimed "social experiment" that urges Bowdoin students to disable their Facebook profiles from February 8 to March 8. During this time, profiles will not be deleted but dormant, allowing students the option to resume their presence on the social network after the trial period.
Ed Lee ’74 wins mayoral election in San Francisco
Bowdoin students may recognize newly-elected San Francisco mayor Ed Lee '74 from his flashy web campaign ad, which featured rappers M.C. Hammer and Will.i.am, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Giants closer Brian Wilson, among others. Lee's November 9 victory made history: he is the city's first mayor of Chinese descent. A third of San Francisco's population identifies as Asian American.
Occupy Bowdoin kicks off; direction to be determined
The international Occupy Wall Street movement hit the College Tuesday night when posters advertising "Occupy Bowdoin" appeared in Smith Union. Robbie Benson '15 is the self-proclaimed "kid behind the posters," the driving force for a group that he hopes will heighten discussion about social class and socioeconomic inequality at the College.
Talk of the Quad: Letterpress roadtripping
In the Independent Film Channel show "Portlandia," Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live fame said anything can be art if you just "put a bird on it." He was referring to art in that other Portland, my hometown, that "alternative universe" somewhere north of California where "young people go to retire" (thank you again, "Portlandia").
Remembering A. Leroy Greason, former president of the College
For many in the current Bowdoin community, the name Greason may only evoke the image of the glossy tile of the College's swimming pool. Yet the man behind the name—A. Leroy Greason, former Bowdoin professor, dean and president—died in Brunswick on August 28, leaving a legacy that continues to influence the lives of many individuals and the College itself.
IT and SWAT launch the ‘Orbit’ to mixed reviews from students
After a year of work, Information Technology (IT) and the Student Web Advisory Team (SWAT) have officially launched the redesigned student digest, the Bowdoin Orbit. Although still in its trial period, the Bowdoin Orbit will eventually phase out the Student Digest. It will be married with a gateway that boasts discussion boards and a newsfeed compilation from student blogs and websites.
‘I Am Bowdoin’ continues work to put an end to bias on campus
Since the birth of the "I Am Bowdoin" effort six weeks ago, student leader Nylea Bivins '12 says the campus is in "a place that I've never seen it in before." Following the Sunday night community meeting on March 6 and the "I Am Bowdoin" rally on March 10—both in response to the March 1 Coles Tower bias incident—students and the administration have aggressively worked to raise awareness about issues of bias.
‘Proud of My Whole Self’ Day connects identity, expression
The arrival of the weekend and warm spring weather will not be the only thing celebrated on campus today, as the second annual "Proud of My Whole Self" Day will honor connections between identity and expression.
Community reacts to new NYT online paywall
Under the recently instituted New York Times (NYT) website paywall, news comes at a price. Yet for members of the Bowdoin community, access will be subsidized. As of March 28, the NYT capped free online access at 20 articles per month and began charging $15 a month for unlimited computer and smart phone access. However, through the NYT Campus Newspaper Readership Program and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), anyone with a Bowdoin email address is eligible for unlimited access at a discounted price of $11.28 a month.
A community reacts in the aftermath of the March 1 Coles Tower bias incident
On March 6, approximately 200 students, faculty, and staff attended an open discussion in Daggett Lounge about acts of racial and sexual intolerance both at Bowdoin and in the broader Maine community. Triggered by the March 1 bias incident in Coles Tower, the meeting was organized to shed light on these events and provide a productive forum to generate ideas.
Bowdoin Brief: ResLife announces decisions on 2011-2012 student staff
The 145 students who applied for a position on next year's Residental Life (ResLife) staff received final decisions yesterday afternoon in their mailboxes. With only 71 spots available—33 first year proctors, eight house proctors and 30 residential advisers—this year's application process was the most competitive in the history of the College.
Recent alums find success in diverse career tracks
The Orient checked in with some recent alumni to see what they have been up to since leaving Bowdoin. For Nathan Chaffetz '08, the Bowdoin Cable Network segments he sent in with his resume landed him his first job post-college. "I primarily rant[ed] about things I didn't like at the school," he said, but it "definitely got me my first job, and I'm very thankful for it." This first job was in Los Angeles, where he booked people and organized shoots for Showtime's "Penn and Teller Bullsh*t!" a libertarian-leaning documentary television series that aimed to debunk misconceptions, popular fads and pseudoscientific ideas.
Bowdoin Brief: Class of 2012 selects Jules and Pinette in special election
For the first time in Bowdoin history, an entirely new class council will lead the junior class through the spring semester. In a special election for Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), Jenessa Jules and Melanie Pinette were elected President and Treasurer, respectively, of the Class of 2012.
College rents apartments on School St. for next year
The School Street apartments will live up to their name beginning next fall, when the College will absorb the property as campus housing. The School Street building is a freestanding house that is currently organized into four apartments and rented by Bowdoin students as off-campus housing, but the change will allow the College to offer the units in the Residential Life housing lottery.
Edwin Lee ’74 elected mayor of San Francisco
The first Asian-American mayor of San Francisco discusses his life as a student at the College
In a city where one-third of the population is of Asian descent, Edwin M. Lee '74 made history when he was sworn in as San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor. Elected by the city's Board of Supervisors, Lee will serve out the remaining 11 months of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term. Newsom left office after being elected as Lieutenant Governor of California.
Student flu shot demands decrease
Flu immunization is not high on the to-do list of most Bowdoin students. The Health Center reported that an uncommonly low number of students sought vaccinations this semester. Typically, by Thanksgiving Break, 500 to 600 students request the shot; only 200 students have been vaccinated so far this year.
COACHE ranks Bowdoin's faculty development
At Bowdoin, it is not just the students who are happy. On Monday, Harvard University's Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) released its ranking of colleges and universities with the highest levels of pre-tenure faculty job satisfaction. In the baccalaureate category, Bowdoin qualified as "exemplar" in three out of eight categories: Nature of Work (Overall), Nature of Work (Research) and Nature of Work (Teaching).
Students exploit anonymity, gossip on College ACB site
With the creation of anonymous online gossip forums, old-fashioned bathroom wall graffiti—joking, well intentioned, or derogatory—is effectively transmitted to virtual stall doors worldwide. College ACB is the newest college gossip site, which came to the formal attention of the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Affairs late last week when a student who was discussed on the site reported it. The increase in student posts over the past two months has triggered student backlash.
Bowdoin science featured at D.C. festival
Eight Bowdoin students and three faculty contibuted to Larry Bock's effort to "[bring] science back to center stage," with the College's delegation manning both robotics and neuroscience booths at the festival in Washington D.C. last weekend. Executive Director Larry Bock '81 founded the first-annual US Science and Engineering Festival with the firm belief that "society gets what it celebrates."
Mock interviews prepare seniors for job applications
When employers recruit at Bowdoin, they are consistently impressed by students' striking accomplishments on paper, but according to Career Advisor Meg Springer, "we have heard repeatedly...that during the interview, [students] are basically blowing it because they haven't practiced and aren't presenting themselves well." As a result, "jobs are being left on the table."
Racer X headlines Taryn King Memorial Benefit at Fenway
This Saturday, 430 people will pay homage to Taryn L. King '07 at the third annual "Go Big or Go Home for TLK" benefit for the Taryn L. King Memorial Scholarship Fund. At this $75 per ticket celebration, guests will consume 1980s hits and "Fenway Franks" at Boston's famous stadium.