News in brief: Students compete in language contests
Bowdoin students competed in The Chinese Bridge Speech Contest for University Students in New England held at the Confucius Institute at University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston on April 19 for the first time in the competition’s six-year history. Bowdoin students ranked highly at the competition, with Eduardo Jaramillo ’17 placing third among advanced level contestants and Louis Frumer ’18 placing second at the beginner level. Jaramillo was also chosen as one of six contestants to be a Cultural Ambassador, resulting in an all-expense-paid trip to China, taking place in June.
Twenty-one students from the New England area competed across three different levels of Chinese proficiency—beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students were judged on two performances, one for their speech and language proficiency through a self-written composition piece and another in an entertainment category, featuring cultural performances. Visiting Senior Lecturer in Chinese Language Lisa Ahnert emphasized the students’ achievement.
“Bowdoin students are always busy, so we only had the chance to rehearse together three times before the actual competition,” said Ahnert. “The entertainment piece was especially challenging, as we do not have the resources of a larger department, such as the Confucian studies center at UMass, in the form of costumes and music.”
Ahnert hopes Bowdoin’s strong showing will entice more students to take courses with the Chinese department, and also encourage current Chinese language students to take part in next year’s contest.
Bowdoin students also performed very well at this year’s Japanese Language Contest, held at the Consulate General of Japan in Boston. Of the nine available essay prizes, Melissa Miura ’19, Poy Pholcharee ’18, Heidi Cao ’16 and Claudia Knox ’19 won four. Bowdoin students have now placed first and second in the essay portion of the competition for three years in a row.
Bowdoin Consulting Group works to reduce food waste in Thorne
The Bowdoin College Consulting Group’s Dining Project has been working alongside the Dining Service to try and decrease the amount of food waste at Thorne Hall, in an effort focused on increasing awareness of the food students consume.
The group has undertaken a number of audits—two in April and one yesterday—to assess how much waste is accumulated in an average Thorne dinner.
“We make sure the menu is the same each time, to keep the process fair,” said Phillip Wang ’18, a member of the group. “So far, we have found an average waste of 0.24 pounds of waste per person.”
The findings also indicate an increase in waste from 18 to 25 percent for those who use a tray versus those who do not. However, Associate Director of Dining Service Ken Cardone emphasized that few students actually use trays.
“People eat with their eyes, so they tend to pick up more food if they have a tray. Then we see full pieces of fruit, or uneaten sandwiches,” said Cardone. “The amount of students using a tray is decreasing every year, though.”
“Bowdoin Consulting Group found 80 percent of students rarely use a tray, and 60 percent of students never use one,” added Mary Kennedy, director of Dining and Bowdoin Stores.
Currently, the waste from Thorne is used in different ways. Some of the food waste is sent to a company called WeCompost. Bowdoin then buys back the compost at a reduced rate and uses it in some of the college gardens. At least one source of food a day is sent to the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, while some leftovers are used at Super Snack. However, the consulting group still believes food waste at Bowdoin is too high.
“We are implementing a number of strategies to try and reduce food waste,” said Wang. “Our main strategy is advertisement. Our first batch of posters will go out this week, and they emphasize being mindful of food waste and creating awareness.”
The group was also involved with the recent updates to the Bowdoin Dining app. Students can now see if the dining halls are busy, using a color code of red for busy, yellow for not too busy and green for quiet, based on how many students have swiped into each dining hall.
“We had a hunch people would get more food if the dining hall was busy, as they would be less inclined to want to line up again. We worked with Ruben Martinez ’15 to develop the changes; however our main problem right now is that people haven’t updated the app.”
The group hopes to add a banner to the app reminding people to be mindful of food waste, in addition to auditing more dinners in Thorne.
“Our next project is to look at the amount of waste with line servers as opposed to without line servers,” said Whit Seaverns ’18, a member of the group. “We will audit dinner on November 12 without line servers, then repeat the menu but with line servers on December 10. We are also developing a portion guide for line servers, which will hopefully equalize portions.”
“It will be very interesting to look at these results, as it is something we haven’t audited before,” said Kennedy. “The Bowdoin Consulting Group has been very helpful in providing us with data, which helps us to assess the amount of waste we have and how we can reduce it. They are a very talented group of people.”
The group has been around for many years, but was revived in the fall of 2014. Their other projects on and off campus include a networking project and a Chegg project.
“A different subsection of the group is currently working with Chegg, to see how we can most efficiently provide textbooks to students. There will be a survey out shortly to assess how students feel about Chegg,” said Wang. “We also have a networking project, in which members of our group are assigned Bowdoin alumni contacts in the consulting field. Not only are we making connections with them, but we are using the data we collect to provide information to Career Planning about different firms, experiences and contacts within consulting.”
LGBTIQA alumni events foster connection between ‘Bowdoin Then and Now’
The Office of Alumni Relations has organized three events for LGBTIQA alumni and students around the country as part of a continued effort to support and engage Bowdoin’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and allied community.
“The world has changed, and so has Bowdoin,” said Associate Dean of Student Affairs Allen Delong. “We have openly gay faculty, staff and students. We wanted alumni to see the changes we have made. For some people, their experience at Bowdoin was frozen in time as a place where they couldn’t be who they needed to be. This was the perfect way to find out who they became and for them to reintroduce themselves to the college.”
The first event was in New York City, followed by one in San Francisco. The third will be in Boston in March 2016.
The most recent event featured a panel titled “Bowdoin Then and Now”, which was comprised of alumni from each decade and a current student, Julian Tamayo ’16, who reflected on their experiences, both positive and negative, at Bowdoin.
Tamayo said the events highlighted the achievements that have been made in creating a progressive, accepting community at Bowdoin.
“Panelists shared really profound stories of their experiences at Bowdoin, of both their dark times and their less negative times,” said Tamayo. “By the time it was my turn to speak, I thought of the panel not as ‘Bowdoin Then and Now,’ but as ‘Bowdoin Then Through Now.’ I realized the tiny yet substantial victories made continuously across the decades have contributed to making Bowdoin a much more inclusive place for people like me today.”
Karl Reinhardt ’15 attended the San Francisco event and believes it allowed him to reflect on his own experiences.
“For me, the event provided an essential historical context of what it was like to identify as LGBTIQA (openly or not) while attending Bowdoin over the past few decades,” said Reinhardt in an email to the Orient. “The sharing of experiences of queer Bowdoin alumni who have graduated across many decades truly put my own experience at Bowdoin into perspective.”
These events were designed to provide a space for alumni to meet people who shared similar experiences and help encourage them to see what Bowdoin is like today.
“It has been heartwarming to connect with out Bowdoin alumni spanning six decades, some of whom are reconnecting with the college for the first time,” said Kate Stern, director of the resource center for sexual and gender diversity. “I have been inspired by our alumni and have enjoyed sharing with them what campus is like now for our LGBTIQA students.”
“It was interesting to see that many people wanted to run from Bowdoin,” said Tamayo. “For these alums, to hear what the likes of Allen [Delong] and Kate [Stern] are doing for the school can help restore their love for Bowdoin.”
Kate O’Grady, assistant director of alumni relations, helped organize the events, but she emphasized that the idea was driven by the Alumni Council Diversity Committee.
“We hope [Boston] will be very well attended among both students and alumni, as Boston has the largest number of Bowdoin graduates in one area,” said O’Grady. “Both the NYC and San Francisco events had around a 65 percent turnout rate among those invited, which is fantastic. We are confident Boston will be the same.”
Despite Boston being the last panel discussion for the time being, the College will remain involved in fostering inclusion both on campus and off, according to O’Grady.
“The alumni office will still help organize programming, but we want the alums to direct what’s meaningful to them,” O’Grady said. “In the future, our aim is to create a network of LGBTIQA alumni who will be accessible to current students to support them in various different ways, whether that be navigating life at Bowdoin or life after Bowdoin.”
IP3, professors ask faculty to support September teach-in
The joint student and faculty campus group Intersections: People, Planet and Power (IP3) will make a proposal at the upcoming May faculty meeting to hold a teach-in on September 17, dedicated to tackling issues of social and environmental injustice.
“The teach-in would provide an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to inform themselves,” said Associate Professor of Romance Languages Nadia Celis, a key orchestrator of the IP3 movement. “The aim of IP3 is to create a space and series of events in which we can begin to think about concerns of exploitation of nature and human beings, and see how the addition of one thing to another aggravates the problems.”
According to Courtney Payne ‘15, one of IP3’s student leaders, the group is led by a core of approximately 15 students and 15 professors. She says she’d like to see the teach-in reach a part of campus that the group’s messages have not yet reached.
“Our events have had good turnouts, but we’ve seen the same faces,” Payne said of IP3 events that have included a social justice panel and facilitated conversations instructing on how to improve difficult conversations. “The teach-in is our particular mission because we believe that more students who don’t normally engage in these conversations—don’t have time to or don’t choose to, for whatever reasons—would have a chance to get involved.”
Hunter originally proposed the teach-in at the last faculty meeting. The proposal is also not asking for permission to hold the teach-in, but rather asking for the endorsement of the faculty.
“We are asking the faculty to make a statement about the importance of this day, and we are asking them to assume responsibility for addressing the needs and wants of the students on campus,” said Celis.
While the format of the teach-in is yet to be formalized, Celis believes it will be an event in which students can participate as much or as little as they want.
“The teach-in will not be about cancellation of classes,” said Celis. “We have designed it in a way that would allow several levels of participation, as we are intentional about respecting everyone’s position.”
The proposal currently combines panel discussions with open classes across the College. The open classes would be co-taught by faculty in different fields, so as to provide a co-curricular opportunity for students to learn.
“Our focus will be on utilizing the resources available to us here, rather than bringing in outside experts,” said A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music Mary Hunter.
According to Celis, over 50 faculty members and 70 students have given feedback to and assistance with the event.
Hunter is not certain as to whether the proposal will pass, but she is hoping her peers will officially recognize the importance of the event.
“This is something a lot of students are definitely very passionate about,” said Hunter. “We are crossing our fingers that the proposal will pass.”
The IP3 teach-in already has the support of President Mills, but Hunter believes it will all depend on the faculty turn out on the day of the meeting.
“There will be between 120 to 140 faculty voting, some more passionate about these issues than others,” said Hunter. “It will really depend on how many people come to the meeting. Some faculty will come just to vote; some will really want to vote but be unable to attend.”
Celis believes it is Bowdoin’s responsibility to address these issues, and believes the teach-in is a great way to do so.
“If we are driven by the desire of the Common Good, this teach-in is the very embodiment of what our role is,” said Celis.
Men’s squash finishes season at CSA Nationals
The men’s squash team ended its season last weekend after finishing 22nd at the College Squash Association (CSA) National Team Championship held at Wesleyan University.The Polar Bears lost their first match of the championship to Brown 9-0, with only one of the individual matches going to five sets. However, the team then bounced back to defeat Hobart College 8-1 the next day.
With the win against Hobart the Polar Bears paired up against Colby in the 21st place match. The Mules won fairly easily, with none of their six match wins going to five sets. The loss marked Bowdoin’s third loss to Colby in its underwhelming 5-16 season.
“Our hopes always are to play our best squash of the season at nationals,” said Head Coach Tom Fortson. “Unfortunatelywe only achieved that partially. The entire team played very well to avenge a loss to Hobart during the season.”
Despite the weak showing, there were still a number of bright spots for the Polar Bears over the weekend.
“Against Colby, a few of our players played very well,” said Fortson. “However, the three winners, [Captain] Andrew Ward ’15, Benjamin Bristol ’17 and George Cooley ’18, played excellently. Ward was a hghlight, playing great in his last collegiate match.”
The win in his final match meant a lot to Ward.
“It was a great to end my career with all of my teammates, family and some recent squash alums there supporting me,” said Ward, crediting the influence of teammates, both past and present, in his victory.
“The captain of the team my freshman year, Barrett Takesian ’12, told me before I started that I needed to play with no fear and tonot hold anything back, which is exactly what I did,” said Ward. “It was awesome to beat the Colby player that I had lost to two weeks before.”
Although 22nd place is not the result the team was hoping for, Fortson is optimistic about next season.
“We currently have a young team,” said Fortson. “We expect our players to improve significantly.”
Lecture brings mental health to foreground
In an effort to shed light on issues of mental health on campus, a number of organizations, including Bowdoin Student Government’s Good Idea Fund, Peer Health and the women’s rugby team sponsored a lecture by nationally renowned mental health advocate Jordan Burnham. The talk, entitled “Stop the Stigma, Start the Conversation,” was held in Kresge Auditorium on Monday.
MaryBeth Mathews, the head coach of women’s rugby, said that addressing mental health issues is important to both her and her team.
“I used to be a dean here, and I am therefore so passionate about the health and happiness of the students,” said Matthews. “A big feature of the rugby team is that we all look out for each other. I think the best thing we can do to attack the stigma of mental health is simply care for each other and be aware of the signs we need to look for.”
Burnham, who suffers from mental illness himself, works with the organization Active Minds to promote mental health awareness in the United States—particularly among younger generations.
“I felt Burnham was a great choice to come to campus because he is similar in age and experience to Bowdoin students,” said Sam Hoegle ’17, a student who helped organize the event. “We need to make mental health less taboo and more accessible and understandable to students.”
Burnham’s talk focused on the lead up to mental illness and its diagnosis. He told the story of his illness’s progression, mentioning that college can be a big factor in the development of mental illness.
“One in four college students will suffer from mental illness at some point during their education,” he said. “Many people don’t recognize their feelings as part of a bigger problem, but college is full of possible triggers.”
At Bowdoin, the Counseling Services estimates that over a four-year period, approximately 40 to 50 percent of Bowdoin students will seek them out for some level of support or consultation.
“This past year, Counseling Services provided individual psychotherapy and psychiatric services to 27 percent of the student body,” said Bernie Hershberger, director of counseling services. “This does not take into account our group, workshop and retreat offerings.”
There are also multiple students who take medical leave based on mental health. Last year, Counseling Services assisted with 18 mental health related medical leaves. In the 2012-13 school year there were 23 mental health medical leaves.
Nationally, the American Psychological Association found that anxiety is the top-presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).
Burnham suggested that one of the main causes of mental health issues on campuses is lifestyle-driven.
“When I was younger, it became a competition between friends to see who could survive on the least sleep,” said Burnham. “This, combined with the way students use alcohol to relax, have fun or release inhibitions, is not a healthy lifestyle.”
Burnham believes that the stigma surrounding mental health is still prevalent on campuses across the country. He explained that many students feel they cannot express their emotions because they fear that their feelings are not justified—even in spite of institutions being in place to support them.
Andrew Cawley ’17 agreed that there is such a taboo.
“I don’t believe the institution of Bowdoin itself has trouble addressing mental health issues,” he said. “It is easy to feel like you’re the only one feeling upset or emotional. And while on a rational level we know this isn’t the case, we have trouble addressing it.”
Burnham addressed this issue by saying we need to look after ourselves better, take initiative and work through it.
“You have a responsibility to look after your mental health as you would your physical health,” he said. “Recovery is a long process, but it can only begin after we seek help. Finding the right therapist is half of the struggle.”
Between the large student attendance and high number of questions posed at the lecture, it became evident that many people on campus are disappointed with the way mental health is viewed at Bowdoin.
“I think it is so important to promote further discussion within students,” said Cawley. “We want to be closed off from mental illness, but if we let it out and discuss it, hopefully the stigmatization will come to an end.”
BPD arrests alleged campus marijuana dealer
In early December, Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and Bowdoin’s Office of Safety and Security executed the arrest of an alleged marijuana dealer suspected of selling to multiple Bowdoin students. The BPD announced the arrest, which took place on Pine Street close to Bowdoin housing, on January 22, according to an article published in the Bangor Daily News.
Justin Elwell, a resident of Bath, had been selling marijuana on campus for years, the Bangor Daily News alleged. The original investigation commenced several months ago after Randy Nichols, director of safety and security, brought the matter to the attention of BPD and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA).
According to the Bangor Daily News, the MDEA seized half an ounce of marijuana upon Elwell’s arrest. Sofar, several students have been identified for buying drugs from Elwell, however they will not face charges from the BPD.
For Elwell, however, “the decision on charges is ultimately made by the [District Attorney’s] office and not us,” said Commander of Support Services for the Brunswick Police Department Captain Mark Waltz.
At this point in the case, Waltz believes all students involved with Elwell have been identified. “I don’t believe any further charges are coming, although I cannot speak to what the College may or may not do,” he added.
In regards to the College, Waltz hopes that the arrest of Elwell, and subsequent charges, will reduce drug use on campus.
“Many factors go into a student’s decision to use drugs,” said Waltz. “Probably the most significant implication for a student using drugs is that even a conviction for drug possession makes a student ineligible for federal student aid.”
Although what punishment these students will receive from Bowdoin is unknown, official campus policy states that, “Students whose illegal drug use comes to the attention of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will generally be referred to the Counseling Service or another drug treatment program. Depending on the circumstances, the student may also be subject to disciplinary action.”
Waltz, a Bowdoin alum himself, said that whilst he cannot address the problem of drug abuse at Bowdoin, he can speak for the rising use of marijuana in today’s society.
“In society, in general, with the medical marijuana crowd and the push to legalize, usage has less of a social stigma and seems to be increasing,” he said. “Marijuana use does have consequences for learning, as it takes away one’s drive to succeed. We’re giving our youth the wrong message encouraging it’s use for medical purposes and attempting to legalize it.”
Edtior's note: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Captain Waltz said that students involved with buying drugs from Elwell would be punished by Bowdoin College. Waltz did not say this and the article has been updated to reflect this fact.
Rugby stays undefeated as it battles through to semifinals
The women’s rugby team advanced to the D-II semifinals for the first time in seven years after wins over Rutgers University (29-23) and Marist College (22-14) last weekend in the regional finals held at Dartmouth College.
After an undefeated season with more than seven wins with over 50 point margins, the weekend’s opponents proved tougher matches.
“The weekend was challenging,” said Head Coach Mary Beth Mathews. “Both Rutgers and Marist College were fierce competition, but our team had the poise, patience and discipline necessary to win.”
The second round match against Rutgers proved particularly difficult. Down 13-10 early in the first half, the team faced its first deficit of the entire season. Rutgers held the lead until five minutes remained when Bowdoin scored a try to take a 27-23 lead.
“[The Rutgers game] challenged us in a number of ways. We were in the lead, but then the opposition came back and played different defensive styles–ones we hadn’t encountered before,” said Mathews. “However, the Polar Bears managed to bring it back. Marist were also a big, strong, well-coached team who played their hearts out. It was a terrific game.”
“Last weekend was very tense, but fun at the same time,” added Maddie Lemal-Brown ’18. “The atmosphere was electrifying as the other teams were also very fast and strong and put up a good fight.”
The team is especially excited fot the semifinal appearance after it lost in the American Collegiate Rugby Association/USA Rugby (ACRA/USAR) quarterfinals in last year’s tournament.
“We are always a strong team, and we always make the post-season,” added Mathews. “Yet this is the first time we’ve made it to the final four since 2007. It will be an exciting weekend for all.”Bowdoin will be competing against Winona State University, last year’s national champions, in the semifinals held in Palm Crest, Florida during the weekend of December 5-7.
The Polar Bears are the only small college team attending the ACRA/USAR DII 15s Championship. Alongside Bowdoin and Winona State University, Notre Dame College and Kutztown University will also be playing in Florida.
“The biggest goal for this season was to go to Florida, so we are all very excited to play in the final four,” added Lemal-Brown. “Plus, we finally get to wear shorts again.”
Impressively, while the team has had repeated success over recent years, the first time most of the players every played rugby was after arriving at Bowdoin.
“Most of our players come to Bowdoin having never played rugby before,” said Mathews. “We pride ourselves on having a team of mostly new players. They do so well because of the team culture and the leadership.”
Mathews has high hopes as the team moves to the national semifinals, and she is very pleased with her team’s undefeated play so far this season.
“I am very proud of the captains and women on the team this season, not just for their on-field performance, but their commitment, energy and discipline. They are a terrific group of women.”
Month of relationship programming begins
If you’re looking to spice up your love life, November is the month. As part of its campaign against sexual assault and domestic violence, Alliance of Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) has organized November Been Kissed, a month of programming aimed at promoting healthy relationships.
Unlike Date Month in previous years, each week this month’s program is dedicated to a different stage of a romantic relationship. This past week was dedicated to meeting new people. Next week’s events will explore the ins and outs of hooking up and how to navigate no-strings-attached relationships. The week of November 17 will be based on “DTR”: defining the relationship, and when and how to do this. Finally, the week of the 24th will explore what comes next—the break-up, the make-up, the long-distance and then the long-term relationships.
“These changes [from last year] reflect how different people define relationships differently,” said Molly Rose ’15. “We are hoping to destroy stereotypes and strengthen the belief that there is no right or wrong way of dating.”
Rose, Jackie Fickes ’15 and Kaylee Wolfe ’15 are the leaders of ASAP and have planned November’s events.
“We are trying to emphasize that it doesn’t matter what type of relationship you choose to pursue, as long as it is healthy and both people are happy,” said Fickes. “Last year was focused on getting people to know each other in one-on-one settings, whereas this year we are expanding to show all the stages a relationship can experience, not just the initial.”
The first event of the month took place in Jack Magee’s Pub and Grill on Tuesday evening, where students mingled over games of Jenga and Catchphrase. Next up is the Masquerade Ball at Ladd House on Friday night.
“There will be a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres, and we hope it will encourage people to look beneath the surface when getting to know people,” said Rose.
In past years, Date Month has been received positively by students, and ASAP is hoping to replicate this with November Been Kissed. In addition to the events on campus, local restaurants will be offering discounts to Bowdoin students for the month.
“We are working hard to promote November Been Kissed, as it is promoting healthy relationships,” said Fickes. “Anything promoting healthy relationships is the antithesis of sexual assault and violent relationships.”
SAFC threatens, postpones budget cuts to student organizations
The Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC) recently decided to strictly enforce the funding limit of $1,000 per semester, per organization for Expert Instruction. This decision will primarily affect two groups on campus: the Polar Bear Swing Club and the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble, each of which hire instructors not affiliated with the College.
Blindsided by the sudden implementation of the new budget, leaders of the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble Kate Herman ’15 and Sage Mikami ’15 appealed the decision in early September. Enforcing the policy would cut the group’s funding in half, and Herman and Mikami had little time to deal with the consequences.
“We were upset, as we had followed all the SAFC’s instructions on having more performances on campus, and improving our publicity, just to have our funding taken away,” said Herman.SAFC Chair Ryan Davis ’15, however, said that the decision to enforce the policy was made in the name of equality.
“There is no way we can say yes to every request,” he said. “When we say no, it is because the premise is unsustainable. While this isn’t personal to these two groups, there is no reason they should get more than any other clubs. If anything, we are trying to be more fair, as these clubs in the past have been an exception to the rule.”
After much deliberation, however, the SAFC decided on Tuesday to fully fund the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble for a one-year grace period, restoring their budget to $2,000 for the year.
Herman said that Davis hoped the grace period would enable the dance ensemble to find a more affordable coach for next year or figure out another solution that would put it in compliance with the $1,000 Expert Instruction cap.
Had the appeal not gone through, it would have had serious repercussions for the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble.
“If our funding was cut in half, we would only have been able to have five sessions a semester, in contrast to the 10 we currently hold,” Herman said. “We have worked very hard over the past two years to expand the organization, and both our regular and irregular members would be likely to disperse if we were to hold only five sessions. It would render everyone’s efforts and hard work wasted.”
Davis argued that this change was to be expected, as the guidelines have been in place for many years now.
“The guidelines stay constant, just different people implement them in different ways,” he said. “The SAFC is made up of completely different people from last year’s SAFC, and we may make different decisions than previous committee members, based on what is the best way to allocate money effectively and sustainably.”
Davis said he believes funding should be proportional to the number of students an organization reaches.
“Nearly every student on campus goes to an [Entertainment Board] sponsored event, or is involved with the [Bowdoin] Outing Club in some way, therefore the fact they get a lot of funding is justifiable,” said Davis. “This cannot be said for many of the other student groups on campus. As small organizations, the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble and the Polar Bear Swing Club don’t affect as many students as the E-Board or the Outing Club, for example—therefore more funding would be unjustifiable.”