Talk of the Quad: Sister act
Bowdoin might have been the best thing to ever happen to me. Honestly, I said that in a job interview a few months ago but it’s true. Growing up in the cultural wasteland that is South Florida, I never really fit in. Florida felt hot and vain and materialistic and old. Fulfilling my cultural stereotype of the overeager and overly anxious suburban girl who thinks she’s “alternative” and “special,” I spent the entirety of senior year of high school wishing that I could leave the humidity of South Florida for a liberal arts college with the kind of artsy and intellectual crowd that was so different than everyone I knew and had ever met. I set timers for 11:11 every day and every night, just to make sure some greater power knew how much I really wanted “The Perfect Liberal Arts Experience."
Bowdoin the Reality was even better than Bowdoin the Dream. I ate sundaes every Sunday and Wednesday and took classes in philosophy and went streaking at Farley Field House and fell in love with a boy and with my friends and with myself. Sometimes I cried to my mom on the floor of my dorm room and stressed about deadlines and had Snapchat-induced FOMO. Even then, I loved Bowdoin and I loved how it let me grow.
Bowdoin quickly became more than just an Institution of Higher Learning; it was symbolic of my entry into adulthood. So when my younger sister decided she was following me to Bowdoin, I mostly just panicked. I was working to become my own person, but now I was going to have to do it under the watchful eye of my little sister.
Our parents, of course, were thrilled about the idea of us going to college together. They constantly reminded me that I would have someone to sit with at Passover Seders in Main Lounge and take care of me when I got sick, or was more likely being a hypochondriac and had a “concussion.” The eight hours it took to get home wouldn’t be so unbearable when I had Molly to share candy and magazines with and won’t it just be so nice to see your sister walking by?
Molly and I are two halves of the same whole. We share a mom and a dad and a bedroom. Our birthdays are five days apart, even though the doctors thought we would share one. We drove to school together every day, we drove home together every day. We went to summer camp together and shared a closet and even sometimes deodorant. I talked and talked and talked, Molly listened. We fought a lot, mostly because I tried to steal her clothes. Sometimes it escalated to physical violence, but that was pretty rare.
To say the least, I had mixed feelings about sharing Bowdoin with my sister. I worried that when she set up her dorm room, she would unpack parts of me that I was trying to leave at home.
I worried that she would be friends with my friends and watch me DFMO and maybe see me drunk. I worried that she’d think I didn’t have my life together (of course she would, I didn’t…) or tell my parents the embarrassing things I did. Most of all, I worried that she wouldn’t like me in my new habitat.
Bowdoin felt too small for both of us to figure our shit out.
So I went abroad, to take some time for myself and let Molly get her bearings here without me. The distance was mostly good for us. Molly could choose her classes and her friends and her life without my (unwanted) input. While I posed in front of the Duomo and stuffed my face with gelato, I would loan Bowdoin to Molly so that she could carve out her own Bowdoin, under the pretense that it would still be my place when I returned.
My transition back to Bowdoin in the spring felt strange, mostly because it felt more like Molly’s than it did like mine. Unlike a lot of first years who stumble through their first semester, Molly flourished. My little sister wasn’t so little anymore. I had been so obsessed with the idea that she would impede on my turf, not let me “Become Who I Am,” that I failed to see that I was the one hovering over her.
Even though it took us a while to learn how to coexist, having Molly here has been one of the best parts of my Bowdoin experience. We share friends and get dinners sometimes and FaceTime our grandparents together. We fight about whose job it is to book flights home and where to eat when our parents visit. We laugh about our mom’s failed attempts to watch us on the Thorne Live Feed. We bring each other snacks in the library. Now, we live close enough that I can see the light on in her room every night when I go to sleep. It’s not the same as the pillow talk we had as kids, but it’s close enough.
Rachel Snyder is a member of the Class of 2016.
Denouncing SJP’s one-sided narrative
The Bowdoin chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has called for an “academic and cultural boycott of Israel,” as evidenced by senior Christopher Wedeman’s March 27 article entitled “Israeli academic institutions treatment of Palestinians worthy of boycott.” We are writing to condemn this boycott and strongly urge the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) to reject the resolution. Instead, we call upon Bowdoin students and all members of the Bowdoin community to initiate an informed conversation that is respectful to all sides.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a campaign that advocates for political and economic sanctions against Israel to effect change in the region’s current status quo. To accept the boycott of Israeli academic institutions would be to miss the benefit that a small college provides, namely, the ability to engage all voices present in our community. Before considering a resolution or a tactic, it is important to understand not only the historical narratives of both peoples, but also the competing need for security in Israel and justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike. We must also recognize that Israelis and Palestinians both have a valid right to self-determination. In doing so, we support both Israel and Palestine’s right to exist, but not at each other’s expense. Only after this foundation has been established can there be an open dialogue between the two sides.
We applaud SJP for bringing awareness to an important global issue through their Justice for Palestine Week, but we denounce the one-sided narrative the group presents. Completely absent from their rhetoric is Israel’s right to exist. Chasing students down the Smith Union hallway to pitch a misleading narrative for the purpose of collecting signatures belies Bowdoin’s academic integrity. Signatures on a petition are devoid of meaning when the signatories are minimally informed.
BDS and SJP miss the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue. Rather, the movements seek to assign absolute blame to Israel. Both claim to challenge Israel’s “system of oppression of the Palestinian people,” but the weak framework of the proposed boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions will in no way help BDS and SJP realize this goal.
SJP claims the BDS movement has been sweeping college campuses across the nation. However, the group ignores that many of the resolutions brought to colleges and universities have already failed. This most recent proposal is the second attempt by SJP to have Bowdoin boycott Israeli academic institutions. President Mills stood against the Academic Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott last winter, stating that “rather than stifling discussion and the free exchange of ideas, Bowdoin seeks to serve the common good through direct and open engagement with and collaboration between researchers, scientists, teachers, and artists across the globe.” Similar boycott efforts have failed at Colby, Amherst, Bates, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Boston University, and MIT. We applauded these decisions then and continue to support them now as we seek to promote fair and balanced dialogue.
Bowdoin’s Academic Honor Code and Social Code calls students to “uncompromised intellectual inquiry.” Instituting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions is antithetical to Bowdoin’s core values and silences debate over an important and nuanced issue. We disagree with the BDS movement, and hope that, in recognizing the need for an open discourse, the Bowdoin community does too.
Zachary Albert, Evan Eklund and Rachel Snyder are members of the Class of 2016.
Quints and quads kick off housing lottery
The 2013 housing lottery commenced on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Daggett Lounge with quads and quints, Students filedthe 377 beds available.
In addition to the new regularly updated web file showing availabilities, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) once again sent text messages and tweets to help the process run smoothly.
Ninety-five rising sophmores in 18 blocks entered the quints lottery to secure a room in Stowe Hall or Stowe Inn. No quints were passed on as the first ten groups to be called were able to claim spots in Stowe Hall. Blocks 11 and 12 were forced to opt for Stowe Inn.
Students help local organizations through McKeen’s Weekend Service Trips
This weekend, the McKeen Center for the Common Good will send service trips to The Carpenter’s Boat Shop and Camp Sunshine, local community service organizations, as part of its Weekend Service Trips (WST) program.
WST began in 2009 after the Center noticed Bowdoin students showing increased interest in service programs like the Alternative Winter and Spring Breaks, and Pre-Orientation trips, but couldn’t dedicate the lengthy time commitment those trips require.
“Those programs have six pre-trip meetings as opposed to the one weekend that leading a Weekend Service Trip involves,” said Jess Caron ’13, the McKeen Fellow in charge of the WST.
Bowdoin dining serves up local cuisine
Bowdoin Dining is making locavores of us all with its commitment to promote sustainability by providing food from local vendors.
On Wednesday, Moulton Union and Thorne Hall each featured a menu of local Maine foods in order to call attention to Bowdoin’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the locavore movement, which urges people to consume food that is produced locally—rather than transported across long distances—to increase environmental sustainability and reduce carbon footprints.
Additionally, Bowdoin appointed a Sourcing and Menu Manager, Jonathan Holmes, whose position includes outreach to local farmers to increase the number of locally-grown items served in the dining halls.
Seven new members named to the J-Board
Seven students were chosen to join the Judicial Board (J-Board) for the 2013-2014 school year last week. J-Board advisor Dean Laura Lee notified the Bowdoin community of the new members via email on February 25.
The J-Board selected Maggie Acosta ’16, Kendall Carpenter ’15, Lonnie Hackett ’14, Margaret Lindeman ’15, Christopher Nadeau ’16, Ujal Santchurn ’15 and Duncan Taylor ’14 from a pool of 39 applicants.
Next fall’s Board will be composed of 13 students. Five senior J-Board members will graduate in May, and three rising members will be abroad in the fall, so seven new members were selected to ensure that there were enough members on the Board on campus at any given time.