Bowdoin cuts Cambodian exchange program after six years
Visiting artist Lily Bo Shapiro '12 joins student dancers in annual winter dance concert
BSG opens public comment time to address presidential election
Mock Trial advances in national championships
Harvard soccer incident sparks campus discussion
Mock Trial advances in national championships
For the first time, Bowdoin’s Mock Trial A Team advanced past the regional tournament of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) national championship to earn a spot in the second round. When the team was first notified of its bid on Tuesday, however, there were questions about the team’s ability to obtain funds to travel to the competition. Since then, funds from the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC) will allow the group to travel to New York for the next round of competition.
At Bowdoin, Mock Trial is a chartered club and receives funding from the SAFC, a branch of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG). Unlike many groups that receive funding from the SAFC, the team competes in inter-collegiate tournaments and must pay for travel and overnight lodging. Additionally, SAFC guidelines do not allow funding for events that occur over Spring Break, when the next Mock Trial tournament is scheduled. The team had to respond to the bid within 24 hours to ensure its spot.
On Wednesday, SAFC unanimously voted, by email, to make an exception for its Spring Break policy and approved funding for Bowdoin Mock Trial, and the team will go to Central Islip, New York for the next round of competition from March 17 to 19.
Chair of SAFC and Vice President for the Treasury of BSG Irfan Alam ’18 said that the SAFC wanted to support Mock Trial’s unique opportunity to represent the College at a national level.
“I think it’s great that they’re here and that we can support them because they represent Bowdoin like any other athletic team would, and they dedicate a ton of their time doing the work that they do,” he said.
Alam, who was a member of Mock Trial during his first two years at Bowdoin, did not participate in the vote.
Both the A team and the B team attended the regional tournament in Boston last weekend. They competed against other colleges’ teams for points in a mock court case dealing with age discrimination. In each round, they were randomly assigned to act as the defense or the prosecution. The A team won five ballots and lost three, placing ninth out of 24 teams from New England-area colleges.
Jacob Russell ’17 and Allisen Haggard ’17 founded Bowdoin’s Mock Trial Club as first years and were excited to see the team’s progress over the past four years. When they started the group, their goal was to advance past regionals by their senior year—an objective they have now achieved.
“We just wanted to make sure [the program] continued for four years and we could leave a team that we felt comfortable with,” Russell said.
As one of only a few competitive academic teams chartered by the College, members said the team struggles to find its place on campus.
“The most frustrating part ... is that it can be really hard to coordinate because there isn’t really a place for a competitive academic teams to go at Bowdoin, because there [are] varsity sports and then there [are] clubs,” said Emilie Montgomery ’18, president of the Mock Trial club.
By competing in the next round, Bowdoin’s Mock Trial team could become nationally ranked by AMTA. Haggard thinks that the team’s advance “could only be advantageous” for the College.
“I think we are an academic team on campus that has the potential to really gain some momentum,” she said. “We’re hoping the school will support us in getting there.”
Russell emphasized that, like athletic teams, programs like Mock Trial allow colleges to compete and gain recognition.
“I think there’s something meaningful about competing against other educational organizations in an academic competition,” he said.
Grace Cawdrey ’20, a member of the B Team is new to Mock Trial this year. She values the skills she has learned from competition, such as public speaking and improvisation.
“Whether or not one pursues a degree in law, it is so important to be able to present, to marshal evidence in support of your argument and to do so in a way that is confident and easily digestible to those who are listening,” said Cawdrey. “I mean, I can’t think of a profession wherein that would be irrelevant.”
BSG discusses College climate action, carbon neutrality
On Wednesday night, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) welcomed Coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson to update members on the College’s progress and goals in its sustainability efforts, specifically Bowdoin’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020.
At the meeting, Payson explained that the College is seeking to reduce its own emissions from electricity, fuel combustion and other onsite sources by 28 percent by 2020, and account for the rest of its emissions through renewable energy credits. The initiative began in 2008.
Payson reported that as of 2016, the College had reduced its emissions by 19 percent. This figure represents a smaller reduction from 2008 levels than Bowdoin has reached in the past. It reached 22 percent in 2012.
Despite this setback, Payson and the Office of Sustainability are continuing efforts to reduce carbon emissions, with ongoing projects such as increasing solar energy usage and a new water turbine that generates six percent of the College’s electricity. Payson also outlined possible future actions to achieve Bowdoin’s original goal including insulating old buildings on campus and incorporating more hybrid cars in the College’s fleet.
Payson said another significant aspect of the College’s climate action initiative is reducing waste. Bowdoin has been successful in this area: in 2016, it diverted 50 percent of its waste from landfills and incinerators, the highest waste diversion ratio ever achieved by the College. This waste was recycled (42 percent) or composted (8 percent).
Nevertheless, the College produced over one million pounds of trash last year. Projects to further reduce trash include increasing composting opportunities and offering reusable containers for to-go food.
Overall, Payson cited behavior changes as a critical factor in reaching the goal of carbon neutrality. Two projects recently initiated by the Office of Sustainability—the Green Living Commitment, in which individuals pledge to change their habits, and an eight-week competition between residence halls to reduce energy use—aim to encourage students to make simple changes that reduce their carbon footprint.
“This is just another opportunity for students to engage in thinking about how to conserve energy,” said Payson. “When you leave Bowdoin, once you have your first apartment, when you’re paying that electric bill, or you’re paying that heat bill, you’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember those things that I learned at Bowdoin that I can implement now.’”
In an interview with the Orient, Payson said that while she didn’t have a specific agenda for BSG involvement, she is open to fostering a relationship with the assembly, perhaps through funding and publicity.
“I would love [BSG’s] support in helping to promote both our carbon neutrality goal and our dorm energy competition, our Green Living Commitment—any of those projects that we’re working on that engage with students,” Payson said. “Or if they’re working on something and they see an opportunity to connect with what we’re doing, I welcome that.”
The BSG meeting continued with an overview and discussion of BSG’s upcoming events and proposals.
One proposal is a campus-wide party that addresses the perception that Bowdoin’s social life has been moving more toward off-campus residences, raising concerns about security and inclusivity.
The event, a competition of parties between Baxter, Ladd and Quinby—each of which will team up with various other campus groups such as a cappella groups, varsity sports teams and cultural student groups—aims to bring different parts of campus together and demonstrate how “College Houses can be a fun, all-inclusive place to party,” according to Vice President for Student Affairs Ben Painter ’19, who introduced the idea to the committee and lives in Quinby House.
Other future plans for BSG include hosting a panel of professors to discuss class at Bowdoin, a Social Hour for faculty, staff and students in Jack Magee’s Pub from 5 to 7 p.m. this evening and Winter Weekend festivities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, this weekend.
Bowdoin cuts Cambodian exchange program after six years
Bowdoin has decided to end its partnership with the Harpswell Foundation—an organization that seeks to empower young women in Cambodia through education—at the end of this academic year in order to allocate money elsewhere. Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood confirmed the change.
Both the Bowdoin and Harpswell students involved with the program have expressed disappointment since hearing the decision, noting that the exchange brings a unique global perspective to campus and provides access to education that is otherwise unattainable for women in Cambodia. Juliet Eyraud ’16, a former tutor for the program, created a petition that gathered 250 student signatures encouraging the administration to continue its partnership with the Foundation and sent it to President Clayton Rose over Winter Break.
Since 2011, the program has brought two Cambodian women to the College each year on full scholarships provided by the College. They have received support from the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) and the Office of Off-Campus Study.
Hood was not involved in the decision-making process and had no knowledge of the petition that Eyraud sent to Rose. Hood noted that the exchange has been re-evaluated by the College on a yearly basis since the relationship began in 2011 under former President Barry Mills. According to Hood, Rose wanted a chance to evaluate the program himself. Rose could not be reached for comment.
In a phone interview with the Orient, Executive Director of the Harpswell Foundation Alison Pavia called the decision “very disappointing” from the Foundation’s perspective, but both Pavia and Founder of the Harpswell Foundation Alan Lightman said they respect the result of the College’s cost-benefit analysis.
Hood stressed that the decision was primarily a budgetary one and not a reflection of the Cambodian students’ contributions to campus. The College, Foundation and students all emphasized that the exchange has been valuable for all parties.
Though not given as a reason for ending the relationship by Hood, Lightman said the College has expressed concern with the Harpswell students’ English proficiency over the course of the partnership.
Lightman said that Cambodian students who have spent a year at Bowdoin have gone on to pursue important projects in Cambodia, such as investment management and teaching English to young Cambodian students. He believes that the Bowdoin community has benefited from the exchange program as well. He has appreciated Mills’ and Rose’s support of the partnership.
“These Cambodian students have suffered enormous hardships and obstacles to get where they got,” Lightman said in a phone interview with the Orient. “And they come from a war-torn country, they come from poverty, and I think their life stories—I hope their life stories have been inspiring to the Bowdoin students and community.”
Harpswell Scholar Keavatey Srun, who was on campus for the 2014-2015 academic year, described her experience at Bowdoin as “life-changing” in a Skype interview with the Orient.
“In the United States I learned to be open-minded, to step out of my comfort zone and to experience new things, meet new people and learn to communicate, learn to ask for help,” Srun said.
Another Harpswell Scholar, Sopoan Keo, who spent the 2015-2016 academic year at Bowdoin, was saddened and surprised by the College’s decision. Keo lived in Howell House, participated in an Alternative Spring Break and joined the Asian Students Association (ASA) during her time on campus.
“I feel I lost something significant,” she said in a Skype interview with the Orient. “You probably might meet a lot of privileged people at Bowdoin … but the girl who got the scholarship or the girl who’s living in Cambodia right now, most of them are underprivileged … And if they could get a scholarship to go to Bowdoin like me, I think it would be the best experience for their life.”
Theo Hurley ’20, a tutor for the Harpswell Harpswell students currently on campus, echoed Keo, saying that the Harpswell students bring a valuable international perspective to campus that would not necessarily be represented on campus without the help of the Foundation.
Both Keo and Srun, however, experienced issues adjusting to a new environment—in particular the language barrier and living away from home. According to Eyraud, though Harpswell students take classes in English in Cambodia, the style of education differs from that of the classes at Bowdoin.
“English is not my mother tongue, it’s my second language, so it was a bit hard for me to catch up with the lessons,” Srun said. “So I would often go to office hours and also had a tutor to help with my lesson and also my English. Though it was challenging, I was very grateful that I had so many people around me to have and support along the way so that I could get through it better.”
“I think definitely a lot of Harpswell students struggle in class, but that’s to be expected, especially … for any first-year student—that’s not that unusual. Obviously the language barrier poses the greatest challenge,” Eyraud added.
As a result, the College re-evaluated the implementation of the exchange program every year to “ensure a more positive experience for the students,” explained Christine Wintersteen, director of International Programs and Off-Campus Study and the administrative liaison of the partnership between the Foundation and the College. This reevaluation has resulted in an increase in English tutoring and the inclusion of Harpswell students in first-year orientation programming among other changes, according to Wintersteen.
Eyraud said she has noticed that Harpswell students’ English has been better upon coming to campus each year during her four years with the program. English for Multilingual Students Advisor Lisa Flanagan also noted that the students have showed tremendous improvement between their first and second semesters at Bowdoin.
Still, she noted that the first semester in particular takes a toll on the students psychologically.
“[In] some ways it may be almost cruel to have put them in an environment where they are so outmatched,” Flanagan said.
She also said that a school like University of Southern Maine with a dedicated English language bridge program could provide an additional layer of support that Bowdoin does not offer.
Despite the outcome, Lightman is grateful for Wintersteen and Flanagan’s dedication to the program.
Though both Harpswell and Bowdoin students said they hope the partnership will be renewed in the future, there are currently no plans for reinstatement of the program.
After delivering her petition, Eyraud met with Rose to discuss Bowdoin’s commitment to making campus more diverse on a global scale. She cited the importance of having socioeconomic diversity within the international student population at the College.
“It would be awesome if Bowdoin could have a more global campus… [but] President Rose and the admissions team might find that it’s really hard to do without the help of NGOs,” Eyraud said. “If there are students that have similar backgrounds to the Harpswell students that have little access to this type of education, they’re going to need just as much funding.”
Visiting artist Lily Bo Shapiro '12 joins student dancers in annual winter dance concert
Both experienced and novice dancers will debut their semester’s work this weekend at the annual December Dance Concert. Featuring a wide variety of repertory styles, the concert will also showcase the abstract work of visiting artist Lily Bo Shapiro ’12.
Senior Lecturer in Dance Performance Gwyneth Jones hopes that students will come to see their peers perform and recognize that the dance department includes dancers of all levels.
“I think that’s a pretty terrific thing to realize,” she said.
According to Nick Walker ’16, a dancer in the Modern II: Repertory and Performance class, energy between movements can differ, even within a single piece. He is dancing in a four-movement piece with five other dancers.
“The first and the third [movements] are just slower, more thoughtful, and then the second and fourth are a little more energetic,” he said.
Walker has taken three dance classes at Bowdoin and noted that his performance this year features the individual dancers’ creations more prominently than in the past. He and his peers were able to choreograph much of the routine.
Lucia Gagliardone ’20, also a dancer in Modern II, will make her dance debut this weekend. She said she thinks the dance, which involves partner and group work, offers the audience a different perspective of dance and interaction.
“Movement in an ensemble is really about trusting each other and working together,” she said, “There’s not a hierarchy. It’s all about the ensemble.”
“I do think that it’s an art form that is often taken for granted. I hope more people will start to love it too by seeing it,” Gagliardone said.
Students will share the stage with Shapiro, whose visit comes as part of an ongoing effort by the dance department to bring alumni to campus to perform for and connect with the students.
“[It’s a nice way] for students to see that alums are dancing outside of Bowdoin,” said Jones, who also produced this year’s concert. “And I think when you have exposure that’s also more personal—like they’re going to get to work with her—I think it’s … something you’ll remember for much longer.”
“It feels really good to come back to Bowdoin with a purpose or with a job: to be teaching, to be performing, to come back and have a really specific engagement with students and faculty and community,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro said that alumni and other guest artists can demonstrate the opportunities and possibilities that dance can open up to students.
“There are ways that dance or performance or art making can continue in one’s life or as a career, as a life practice,” she said.
The other three pieces in the concert come from the Making Dances class and the Modern I and Modern II: Repertory and Performance classes. Two of these classes, Making Dances and Modern I, are introductory-level, and their performances feature students who may have never danced before an audience.
Shapiro also encouraged students to participate in and attend live performances on campus.
“It’s important for the students to have opportunities to perform,” she said. “It’s also important for folks to go see live performance … It’s ritualistic, it’s religious, it’s spiritual, it’s community oriented, and I really do think that live performance can change lives.
Harvard soccer incident sparks campus discussion
After the recent discovery of the 2012 Harvard men’s soccer team’s sexually explicit “scouting report,” which rated Harvard women’s soccer recruits on their physical appearance, several Bowdoin student groups planned a discussion about “locker room talk.” Held on Wednesday night in Ladd House, the talk brought together students and faculty in an effort to reflect on the presence and norms of crude and sexually explicit language on campus.
After reading news about the report, Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV), the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Bowdoin Women’s Resource Center (WRC) decided to address the kind of inappropriate speech found in the “scouting report” from a Bowdoin perspective.
“We hope to talk about how we don’t feel that there is a place for that at Bowdoin,” said Michael Eppler ’17, a varsity soccer player and member of the SAAC who helped to coordinate the talk. “[And moreover] to discuss where we’re at with our norms for not just sports teams [but] for just everyone in terms of language when it comes to talking about some of these topics.”
Attended by mainly male and female athletes, the event’s discussion focused in part on the expectations of being a male athlete and the effectiveness of BMASV’s facilitations.
“People [at the event seemed] to be interested in actually creating change and doing something about it rather than just creating spaces for dialogue, which is also important but is not going to solve all of the world’s problems by itself,” said Dana Bloch ’17, a member of the sailing team who attended the event.
Killian Dickson ’20, a member of the crew and swim teams, was impressed by the number of male athletes who attended, as he believes that “the problem stems” from this demographic.
Other students expanded upon this idea, discussing the stereotypes and expectations about sex and hypermasculinity surrounding male athletes, which often perpetuate ill treatment of women, especially when “locker room talk” is not treated as a serious issue.
Several students praised BMASV, which meets with all varsity men’s sport teams at the beginning of their seasons to combat these expectations. Others, both men and women, took issue with BMASV’s facilitations and questioned the group’s efficacy since talking about sex and physical attractiveness in crude terms is still a problem at Bowdoin.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan echoed Bloch’s perspective on proactiveness.
“It was beneficial to be able to hear perspectives from students about ways that we could be doing things differently to address these issues on our campus,“ he said.
“Maybe in the future they [will] change BMASV training so that it caters to everybody and [so] that everybody feels like they’re getting something out of it, because it seemed like there were some dissenting views on that,” said Rebkah Tesfamariam ’18, who works for the WRC and organized and moderated the discussion along with Eppler.
“I have no idea about what BMASV does with those facilitations [but] now it’s making me consider what my role is as a student director and how I can better appeal to women on campus,” added Tesfamariam.
After the talk, Eppler noted that the discussion centered on athletics and was dominated by voices from inside of the locker room, though at the beginning of the talk he and Tesfamariam clarified that this language may be found anywhere.
“Our overarching goal for this program was to be sort of more … inclusive in terms of the whole community,” said Eppler. “Moving forward I would like to see, sort of, more programming bringing together more parts of campus on this topic.”
BSG opens public comment time to address presidential election
On Wednesday evening, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meeting was dominated by public comment time, when the doors of Daggett Lounge opened for students to share their post-election thoughts with student leaders. Over a dozen students attended and voiced their opinions about BSG’s performance so far and offered suggestions for how to continue to operate in the aftermath of the election.
Afterwards, BSG announced in an email to the student body its plans to hold further town-hall style meetings and to use technology that will allow students who might feel unsafe sharing their opinions to comment anonymously.
“Obviously the election is on people’s minds, so why don’t we bring it to campus in a non-partisan way and say, ‘Come and talk to us about your thoughts on the election,’” said Vice President for the Treasury Irfan Alam ’18. “And then it sort of changed into this idea of what can BSG do in its role to continue … whatever is going on in the conversation.”
One of the first ideas posed by a student was a request for BSG to make a statement to the campus on the outcome of the election, sending the message that BSG does not condone the normalization of comments that President-elect Donald Trump made during his campaign, many of which targeted minority groups.
In response, Joe Lace ’17 noted that a statement ought to address action, not just feelings.
“I hope, if you’re going to send an email [with a statement on the election], normalize something other than being sad and depressed about this,” he said. “Political action is hardly motivated by depression.”
BSG also discussed holding further forums for students to share their thoughts. However, several students puzzled over how to encourage students holding minority opinions on campus to speak out in such events.
“Town halls are great and they serve a great purpose, but … they aren’t very productive if they’re one sided,” said Vice President for Student Government Affairs Reed Fernandez ’17.
Students and BSG members weighed in, proposing collaboration with the Bowdoin College Republicans, holding informal gatherings and ways to facilitate anonymous commenting for students. After over an hour of public comment time, BSG President Harriet Fisher ’17 invited students to stay to aid BSG in planning another post-election event.
In an email to students on Thursday afternoon, Fisher affirmed BSG’s opposition to some of Trump’s statements and offered further opportunities for the campus to engage in political dialogue.
“We do not stand for some of the rhetoric, ideas and opinions mobilized throughout this election cycle that are in profound opposition to the fairness and equality we hold deeply as a Bowdoin community,” she wrote.
BSG created a form where students can submit their feedback confidentially. Additionally, BSG will hold an open discussion at 1 p.m. today with anonymous live-polling.
ELECTION 2016: McKeen Center helps register over 200 students
For the first time, the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good facilitated voter registration efforts among Bowdoin students. After tabling efforts, the Center submitted about 200 voter registration cards to the Brunswick Town Clerk, according to Associate Director of the McKeen Center Andrew Lardie. This number does not include cards that students took away for themselves or any registrations through absentee applications.
Liam Gunn ’17, the McKeen Center’s first-ever election engagement fellow, was pleased with the efforts.
“Bowdoin has actually never had a campus-wide Get-Out-the-Vote or registration effort,” Gunn said. “So I think it was a huge success.”
The Center will also be running vans to Brunswick’s local polling station on election day, Tuesday November 8. Gunn noted that, for students who might find voting on Tuesday inconvenient, it is also possible to vote early at Brunswick Town Hall.
Beginning in September, volunteers tabled in Smith Union to register voters in Maine as well as provide absentee ballot applications to students from other states. The McKeen Center also hosted several events, such as a debate watching party for the first presidential debate and a discussion about a Maine ballot measure which would tighten gun background checks.
Lardie felt it was important that the McKeen Center be a resource to help students with all aspects of voter registration.
“I feel like there is an understanding on campus that if people have questions about getting registered or how to proceed, the McKeen Center can help them,” he said. “We’re not willing to tolerate having students be unregistered and not get to the polls.”
However, he also emphasized that the McKeen Center, as a part of the College’s administration, should not have to play too large of a role in what he believes should be a “student-led initiative.”
“For students living in a residential liberal arts college setting, I expect that to be conducive to more energy being mobilized around politics,” he said. “We would love to see a very robust student presence around this stuff. And just be able to support them.”
Gunn added that students’ civic participation is relevant beyond the scope of the current election.
“No matter who gets elected, even if it was somebody who you were supporting or not supporting, there’s still ways to get involved after the election, and it’s important that you do get involved and keep [the elected officials] accountable,” he said.
Visiting author recollects family WWII narrative
Prominent German author Uwe Timm will visit Bowdoin on Tuesday to read from his semi-autobiographical novel “In My Brother’s Shadow.” The book recounts Timm’s struggle to understand the life of his older brother, who volunteered in 1942 to join Hitler’s Schutzstaffel and died in Ukraine a year later. Timm was only three years old at the time.
Currently in the United States as a guest of the Goethe-Institut and a presenter at the Boston Book Festival, Timm was invited to campus by Assistant Professor of German Jens Klenner. Klenner took advantage of Timm’s proximity to campus to invite the award-winning German author to read and interact with students.
“He tells really good stories, but at the same time they’re stories that’ll leave you thinking for a very long time,” Klenner said. “That is something that I admire about Timm’s work.”
Besides the discussion, the event will also encourage student participation in the reading. According to Chair of the German Department Birgit Tautz, the event offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in a different format of dialogue with a living author.
“It is also a fantastic opportunity for students to get in touch with an artist or with a writer who they would only meet otherwise on paper,” said Klenner.
Both Tautz and Klenner admire Timm’s use of historically and culturally relevant events in the novel. Though it is derived from a personal narrative, the novel also serves as a reflection on Germany during World War II.
“It is a very German story,” said Klenner. “It is about Germany in general, dealing with the atrocities of the war, the complicities of the ordinary German in the war crimes, the question of, ‘How could this have ever happened?’”
Tautz also emphasizes that although the event is sponsored by the German department, the event is open and relevant to all students because engaging in discussions about history, literature and international perspectives is a key mission of the College.
“I think [events like Timm’s reading] speak to the nature of the College,” said Tautz. “This is really, I think, an event that emphasizes that the College is not just this place. It’s really in dialogue with the world and with different aspects of the world.”
Timm’s reading and discussion of “In My Brother’s Shadow” will take place next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Shannon Room of Hubbard Hall.
Men's rugby opens season under new head coach
Gary Devoe, the assistant men’s rugby coach for 30 years, has stepped into the role of head coach this fall. Rick Scala, who was the head coach for all of Devoe’s time as assistant, remains on staff as an assistant coach. So far, this shift in the team’s leadership has been well received by players as they head into a game against Bates this weekend.
“It’s been a smooth transition since [Devoe] has been coaching us the whole time,” said captain Ellis Palmieri ’17.
Before coming to Bowdoin, Devoe coached several other collegiate teams, including Bates and Colby, as well as the Portland men’s and women’s teams. He discovered his love of rugby after playing football for over a decade and has not looked back since.
In particular, Devoe cited the camaraderie of the sport, even between opponents, that makes rugby unique and keeps him involved year after year.
“The way the sport is played—you play hard, you play uncompromising, but fair, and you meet [the other team] after the game. You go and sit and talk with your opponent,” said Devoe. “[That] doesn’t happen in a lot of other sports.”
Players expressed similar feelings of unity about the team. Since many players have never played rugby before they step onto the field at Bowdoin, most are drawn to join for the team’s balance of competitive spirit and sense of community.
“We work with our first years to make sure they feel comfortable. Not only in the field but in school [too],” said captain Jaime Quirante ’18.
“That’s sort of the beauty of rugby—that everybody has to play, everybody has to be a good teammate,” said Devoe. “And the nice thing about this group is they’re also good teammates off the field… And the younger guys know that they can look to the older guys to find some help if they need it.”
The players are hoping to continue to develop their chemistry in order to come back from a disappointing loss to Colby in their first league game on September 17. Palmieri believes that once the new players have played more, the team won’t face the miscommunication errors that cost it several plays in the game.
“You have to be able to read what’s going on in the moment and know where you have to be as a result. So it’s kind of hard to teach that in practices,” he said. “It comes with experience.”
The team is looking forward to its match against Bates this weekend and hopes to retain the Lindbergh Cup. Named for the late Greg Lindbergh ’91, the cup is awarded to the winner of the Bates v. Bowdoin matchup every year and has been won by the Polar Bears for the past five years.
Despite the Polar Bears’ previous success against the Bobcats, Bates is having a successful year so far. The team beat the University of Maine at Farmington, who finished second last season in the National Small College Rugby Organization Champions Cup, and lost by one point to UMaine Orono, last year’s first-place team. Though the match will be hard-fought, the Polar Bears are still optimistic.
“I’m hoping that Bates is coming into that game a little overconfident, given that we lost our first game and that we can hopefully surprise them and come away with the win,” said Palmieri.
Looking to later in the season, Quirante and Palmieri hope the team will return to the playoffs. However, Devoe is more concerned with teaching new players and watching them improve.
“It’s nice to win,” said Devoe. “But I don’t care what the scoreboard says if they’re playing better than they did the week before and executing better than they did.”
Lark Quartet innovates classic compositions
The Lark Quartet will make a stop at Bowdoin this Saturday to perform for students and members of the Brunswick community as a part of its celebratory 30th anniversary tour. A string quartet based in New York City, the group is acclaimed for its performances and commissionings of chamber music that fuse the western tradition with international influences.
Founded in 1985, the Lark Quartet is currently comprised of violinists Deborah Buck and Basia Danilow, violist Kathryn Lockwood and cellist Caroline Stinson. Though the original members have left the quartet, the current four continue to uphold the group’s tradition of showcasing the music of American composers.
“I’ve always been impressed with [the Lark Quartet],” said Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department Vineet Shende, who, along with Concert Manager Delmar Small, invited the group to campus.
Shende believes that the performance will offer an opportunity for the audience to discover a more modern perspective of the traditional string quartet, one that goes beyond music from the 18th or 19th centuries.
“It’s a different aesthetic from when you hear Beethoven or Haydn,” said Shende. “You appreciate [that kind of music], but at the same time there’s this rarified idea that it’s something from the past. It’s almost like you’re looking at something in a museum as opposed to something that’s living and breathing and has something to do with the world that we’re living in today.”
In its performance on Saturday, the Lark will demonstrate this new perception of string quartets by combining music by composers of today, including Aaron Jay Kernis, Andrew Waggoner and Chinese-American composer Zhou Long with the iconic 1893 compositions of French composer Charles Debussy.
The Debussy piece, however, also deviates from the classical western idea of string quartet music, with influences from Javanese music that Debussy heard at the Paris World Fair.
“It’s almost like [the group is] presenting this world of where concert music is today, with the myriad of influences that we have," Shende said. "We see that moment where things kind of open up, and it becomes no longer something that’s just about western European elite culture, but really has all these other influences in it.”
“Commissioning new works is now more standard than it used to be,” said Stinson in an interview with the Orient. “Most groups do it in some way, but I don’t know of another quartet that has been as consistently committed to commissioning new works as the Lark.”
Lark members work to keep the group’s history alive by performing pieces that the group has previously commissioned in an attempt to establish a repertoire that will have an enduring presence on the music scene.
“Everybody benefits when a piece has an extended performance life and people are exposed to it," Stinson said. "Audiences get to know it. Other groups can hear something, pick it up as their own. [It can] lead to new points of view, new takes on things, new interactions between groups and performers.”
Music performed and commissioned by Lark has been very well-received. “Sarabande Simple; Sarabande Double" from String Quartet No. 2 "Musica Instrumentalis" by American composer Aaron Jay Kernis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1998.
Stinson remarked that the group’s program may not seem very streamlined at first glance.
“Nothing sounds like anything else, but everything has wonderful interrelationships,” she said.
In addition to the concert on Saturday evening, the Lark Quartet will host a master class for Bowdoin students, which is open to the public to watch. The members of Lark will listen to students play and offer advice and suggestions.
“At Bowdoin we have a vibrant chamber music program,” said Shende. “It’s nice that whenever the music department brings in groups like this in—highly regarded professional groups—we get them to work with students, too. It’s not just putting on a concert.”
The Lark Quartet's master class will take place in Kanbar Auditorium in Studzinski Recital Hall on Saturday, September 24th at 10 a.m. The group’s performance will take place in Kanbar Auditorium later that evening at 7:30 p.m.