Despite initial debate about the event’s purpose and execution, Thursday’s teach-in, “Intersections: Making Connections, Moving Forward,” was met with generally positive reactions from organizers and participants alike.
The teach-in featured plenary panels at the beginning and end of the day, panels on various topics, open classes, a dance performance, slam poetry and a music performance. All the panels featured Bowdoin professors, students and staff talking about various aspects of the intersection between climate change and social justice.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. I feel really honored to have been able to learn alongside our students and to have been taught by both our students and faculty,” said Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amaez, who helped organize the event. “I hope the conversation continues because it has been remarkably meaningful for me and hopefully the rest of the community.”
Echoing Amaez’s thoughts, Briana Cardwell ’17 said she was “very overwhelmed and happy that things went the way that they were planned. At first I was like, ‘Is this Bowdoin? What school am I at?’ because I was happy to see the different people that came.”
Earlier this week, A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music Mary Hunter—an initial proponent of a teach-in—told the Orient, “My bar is that people learn something that they couldn’t have learned without the day, and that they converse in a way that they would not converse without the day.”
Some students’ responses mirrored this sentiment.
“Initially I was skeptical about how valuable an event like this could be, but I think I went to a few interesting events and was exposed to topics that I hadn’t really thought about before and interacted with,” said Julian FrareDavis ’17. “I think the really good thing about discussions is that it makes you think about what’s being discussed and work within your mind instead of just being talked to.”
Though reactions have been positive, some students and faculty did not or could not attend and the full extent of the event’s impact is not yet clear.
“I think it was a start,” said Director of the McKeen Center Sarah Seames. “I think it’s hard in a one hour panel, with an audience that big, to be able to help people get into what their specific interests are, so that’s why it’s important that people continue talking and exploring how whatever they’re passionate about can relate to broader policy issues.”How the teach-in came about
Although introduced and proposed to faculty and staff last year, in December and February, respectively, the idea to have a day dedicated to climate change has been in the works since former president Barry Mills signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007. Mills then organized a group of faculty, staff, students and alumni to come up with ways to be more sustainable here at Bowdoin. The committee announced in 2009 that the College had a goal to be carbon neutral by 2020. Following the announcement, Bowdoin had a festival that “rallied around issues of climate change,” according to a 2009 Orient article.
Madeleine Msall, a professor in the physics department, was a member of that committee. Following the rally, Msall says that motivation lagged. “There was a sense, after some years into the carbon neutral commitment, that we kind of lost our impetus to make the harder choices.”
According to Msall, then-President Barry Mills told her that he believed the best course of action needed to be faculty initiative. Msall rounded up a group of faculty and discussed what faculty leadership issues on climate issues would look like.
“One of the suggestions was that we should have a teach-in. We should make a moment where we took the idea of that this is so important that we need to focus lots of campus energy on it,” said Msall.
The week the teach-in was presented was also the week police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Student leaders of multicultural groups held a vigil in remembrance of Brown and the events happening in Ferguson.
“On the faculty floor, it was very passionate when people said, ‘We understand you’re very active about climate change, but if we’re going to have a teach-in at Bowdoin we need to have a teach-in about racism and all the ways it affects all of us both on campus and the greater world,’” said Msall regarding the initial presentation in December.Professors divided
Since its conception, the teach-in has been a point of contention among professors. The content, format and timing of the event were all fervently debated at faculty meetings as well as in private discussions.
“It’s creating divisions amongst people that really should be working together. It has created a certain amount of hurt feelings,” Associate Professor of English Ann Kibbie said before the event.
Chair of the History Department Dallas Denery was concerned about the politicization of the day.
“We’re here to challenge students, we’re here to improve critical thinking, we’re here to open up horizons,” said Denery. “But I don’t know if it’s our responsibility to use our position as faculty to push specific political agendas that often have nothing to do with our professorial expertise.”
Although the faculty supported the teach-in by a majority vote, they did not support a campus-wide cancellation of classes. In an email to the student body, Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon and Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster stated that the teach-in is not a “Bowdoin event.” Scanlon and Foster also stressed that “lack of participation in the teach-in should not be read as lack of concern for the issues of social, racial and climate justice that affect us all.”
Professors and staff who did participate in the teach-in seemed to be pleased with its outcome. Associate Professor of History and the Director of Africana Studies Brian Purnell, who co-taught a class about urban landscapes, says he was impressed with how engaged students were.
“Students asked hard questions about urban inequality and what role they will play when they leave Bowdoin and they go out into the world and probably live or work in cities. They asked some pretty tough questions about what they should do or how they should think about experiencing urban inequality as graduates, workers and homeowners, and that was powerful.”
Purnell was also excited to have heard from his fellow faculty on such heavy issues.
“It was great to learn from other colleagues. It was exciting to feel alive and learning in such a dynamic way, and that’s how I felt participating.”Students React
Many students who had been skeptical about the day’s events felt the opening plenary and the panels and classes that followed exposed them to ideas they had not thought about previously. First-year Emmett Ulian attended the opening plenary and felt that he left with a good understanding of the connection between climate change, race and social justice.
“I was a little bit curious how those three issues related, and I thought that that opening was a good way to illustrate all the connections between the three issues,” he said.
Senior James Jelin also attended the opening plenary and was impressed with how well the issue of climate change and its intersection with other aspects of society was addressed.
“The idea of climate change intersecting with race is interesting because it’s like an exacerbating factor,” said Jelin. “We know that race affects every aspect of life and it affects people unevenly and I think just reminding us all that that is true a well for lack of resources due to climate change, like homes going under water, that that affects people differently based on race, income, et cetera.”
Senior Matthew Williams was skeptical about the intersectionality of the topics covered by the events. By the end of the day, however, he had attended three panels on a variety of topics from science fiction to portrayals of Hurricane Katrina in writing.
“I thought the teach-in was really effective and something that was really powerful. It made me think about things that I would never have thought about before, like if the oceans get cooler it can change water currents which could change weather patterns which could change everything about the way we live in society. There were just so many great intersectionalities.”Marina Henke ’19 was also impressed by how the event came together in a cohesive manner. She attended the opening plenary and commented on how interesting it was to be discussing so many different, but related topics.
“As I was sitting there and the people next to me were sitting there, we were talking afterwards about how it was a very unique experience to hear a discussion about polar bears and their social influence and commentary on the United States’s environmental understandings, sitting right next to a lecture on Ferguson and racial tensions in the Unites States, which was connected also to a climate change, science lecture,” she said.
Others were impressed with the dialogue that occurred throughout the day.
During one panel, “Is the US Political System Broken?,” first-year Francisco Navarro and Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Government Cory Gooding went head to head.
Gooding recited a poem by Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again,” and argued that because America had historically only benefited certain individuals, it was never truly “great.”
Navarro—a Cuban-American born in Miami and raised in Yucatan, Mexico—disagreed as someone familiar with multiple political landscapes.
“You said, ‘When exactly was America great?’ That bothers me,” Navarro said to Gooding at the panel. “I can see how privileged and how unappreciative we are of our democratic system. My problem with Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ is that America is already great.”
Gooding replied, “What makes America great is our ability to keep trying to attain the greatness that we proclaim—but for someone who was just shot dead in the street by the law enforcement that was supposed to protect him or her, I’m not sure how much he would advocate for the greatness of the country.”
“I caution us against beating our chests so boldly that we don’t recognize the work that still needs to be done,” Gooding added.
“I was very appreciative of [Navarro’s] question,” said Emiley Charley ’17. “I really liked that dialogue. I felt as though that was what I came out to see. To see conversations start around people who don’t see eye to eye.”
Franco Sasieta ’16, who attended a panel about public health and how it relates to issues of social justice, liked the broad range of perspectives present.
“It provided a local, national and scattered global view of different public health issues which I was not fully aware of,” he said.
Junior Jennings Leavell was glad to be a part of the teach-in.
“Events like these are important and I’m thankful that my professor cancelled class so that I could attend, because engaging a community on issues like this is important.”
The McKeen Center will be hosting a debrief of Thursday’s events over lunch at 12:30 p.m. today in Daggett Lounge. All are encouraged to attend to reflect on the teach-in and explore ways of continuing effective dialogue.
John Branch and Joe Sherlock contributed to this report.
Snapshot: 9/11 flag tribute
On this day: On Monday, 2,977 flags were planted on Coe Quad as a tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks—among them ...
Architect imagines campus of the future
The recent renovation of the first-year brick entrances is just the first step toward a broader redesign of the entire College. The creation of a new entrance to Moulton Union and renovations to the Longfellow School are next on the agenda. Facilities Management will work with private architectural firms to develop the renovation. Stephen Stimson is one architect working with the College to design these renovations, who made several recommendations for improvement to campus.
District 66 candidates speak at Quinby House
Last night the three candidates running for the District 66 seat in the Maine House of Representatives spoke at a forum held in Quinby House. Democrat Matthea “Mattie” Daughtry, Republican Grant Connors and Fred Horch of the Green Party are vying to represent the district, which comprises most of the College.
In light of high damage costs in 2011-2012, College increases penalties
The College is cracking down on vandalism this year, implementing stricter disciplinary sanctions for alcohol-related property damage. The change comes after nearly 80 percent of Bowdoin students responded that the College should respond to alcohol-related property damage with stricter disciplinary sanctions in last spring’s alcohol survey.
Anonymous online forum seeks to broaden debate
Off-therecord.com, a new website billing itself as an anonymous online forum to debate controversial political and social issues, launched exclusively for Bowdoin community members on August 29.
Security warns campus of two local men
Just weeks into the new semester, the Office of Safety and Security has already sent two alerts warning the community about suspicious individuals.
Mills reminds entrepreneurs: education should be priority
In his convocation address, President Barry Mills urged student entrepreneurs to prioritize a College education over their own projects, a remark that caught the attention of Bowdoin entrepreneurs on campus and those taking time away from school.
- 1 days ago
Students, faculty and alumni to participate in annual Common Good Day
- September 7
Obituary: Remembering Leslie Shaw, professor of anthropology
Visiting Assistant Professor Leslie Shaw, who taught anthropology at the College since 1998, died unexpectedly on the evening of August 29 following complications from surgery. She was 57 years old.Shaw will be remembered for her tremendous spirit, influential work, and role as a mentor, colleague, and friend.
“Leslie quietly set a high bar for service, excellence and collegiality, qualities that we each hope to achieve with some measure of grace but which she embraced with seeming ease,” Christle Collins Judd, dean for academic affairs, wrote in an email to the Orient.
Shaw demonstrated a clear passion for her work that was evident to students and colleagues alike. Professor Susan Kaplan, chair of the sociology and anthropology departments, said Shaw brought quiet, but palpable energy to the departments.“She’d come into a room and she’d be a powerful presence,” Kaplan said. “Very quietly, not grandstanding.”
- September 7
New system to change College House affiliation
On Wednesday, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced that the current system of affiliation between first-year bricks and College Houses will come to an end next fall, when each College House will instead be affiliated with floors from various first year bricks.
Editorial: Floor by floor
Bowdoin’s plan to change chem-free living will dramatically alter College House affiliations, but we should support its efforts to diversify the first-year experience.
Next fall will mark the start of a two-year trial program that will re-imagine first-year-College House affiliation. Each house will be affiliated with four or five floors from different bricks. Howell will remain a chem-free College House and will be affiliated with floating chem-free floors.
- 1 days ago
Whispering Pines: Forecast on climate change appears hazy
The debate about anthropogenic climate change can no longer focus on whether or not it is happening; this has been settled for some time now. As journalist and environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote in his July 19 Rolling Stone article, the U.S. “broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records” in June.
- 1 days ago
First years should discover legitimacy of stereotypes for themselves
Op-ed columns are usually just exercises in narcissism. So let’s cut through the bullshit. Today’s column is all about me. I’m a Bowdoin student and I’m important. I do things at Bowdoin and I’ll be doing things in the world one day.
- 1 days ago
After Troy Davis, students should continue fight against death penalty
As a fresh arrival to Bowdoin a year ago, I was struck by the passion exhibited for the case of Troy Davis, a man convicted of killing a police officer in Savannah, Ga. Davis was held on death row for 15 years and maintained his innocence throughout. Countless people across this country and around the world protested on his behalf, but all of these voices did not stop his execution, which went ahead on September 21, 2011.
- September 7
Editorial: The Offer of Bowdoin.edu
Anyone who wants anything has a choice: build or buy. Do it yourself, or have someone do it for you. In the field of web development, the choice can be particularly difficult. This week, the College and the Orient are launching new websites. Independently, we have both chosen to build.
- September 7
Romney’s campaign to court female voters is all about making appearances
Here’s the thing: while it’s impossible to deeply engage in women’s issues without a woman present, it’s entirely possible to have a woman present and still lack meaningful engagement with women’s issues.
- September 7
J-Board breaches honor and social codes
I hold that the members of the Bowdoin administration and of the Judicial Board are guilty of breaching the College’s Academic Honor and Social Code. Their crime is one of coercion. They use the implied threat of dismissal from the College to force students into signing an agreement and—by making them sign in groups—to use social pressure to prevent dissent.
- September 6
Half-Assed: Bookending Bowdoin: first years and seniors reign on campus
If you see a terrified person walking around the Bowdoin campus, it’s probably a first year or a senior. The first years have no idea what they’re going to do in this place; the seniors have no idea what they’re going to do once they leave.
- August 27
Editorial: A message to the Class of 2016
Orientation is dizzying and overwhelming—the days are long and laden with programming, you encounter a wide variety of people and remember very few names, and you travel constantly with your floor. It's a marathon meet-and-greet that will make the first few days of classes seem simple in comparison.
- May 4
Editorial: Staring at the Sun
The Bowdoin Daily Sun’s trivial posts reflect poorly on the College
On Tuesday, the Bowdoin Daily Sun posted an article lauding three Bowdoin students who secured internships at Goldman Sachs this summer. On Wednesday, the post was deleted from the site after drawing criticism for distastefully trumpeting the well-known fact that Bowdoin students often land prestigious internships, glorifying the financial industry, and neglecting to acknowledge two other students also interning at the bank.
King’s former students describe him as a measured statesman
When Roy Atkinson, a graduate student at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, heard that Angus King was running for the Senate, he got in his car and drove roughly 900 miles to Brunswick.
Talk of the Quad: Hot Dam: the river gets a makeover
The tension in the room is stifling. I, along with fellow intern Matt Gamache ’13, am sitting in on a conference call with our supervisor at the Nature Conservancy in Maine. Visibly nervous, Kate is negotiating with staff from two other large environmental orgaizations.They’re blowing up a dam.
From bankrolling to lobster rolls: Luke’s Lobster ships Maine to NYC
When Luke Holden opened the first location of Luke’s Lobster in Manhattan’s East Village in 2009, he was still employed full-time at Cohen & Steers investment bank. The company has steadily expanded over the past few years and Luke said his immediate goals are to reach Boston and Philadelphia. The long-term plan is to see Luke’s outposts in San Francisco, Chicago, and L.A.
Talk of the Quad: Late for the Race
On Saturday morning, I decided to go for a short run before meeting a friend for brunch. I started off crossing Park Row towards Maine Street. Before I knew it, I was being stopped at the crosswalk at the end of Page Street.
Robbie Deveny ’13 works for catering company in Aspen, meets world’s VIPs
It is an honor to score an invite to the Aspen Ideas Festival, where participants like Katie Couric and retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal gather in the Colorado mountains for a week of debate on issues ranging from democracy to the societal roles of professional athletes.
Trip report: A bioluminescent midnight hike with the BOC
For most students, Sunday night means holing up in a favorite study spot to crank out work, but two weekends ago, 12 of us in the Outing Club took advantage of the waning moon to head to the Coastal Studies Center (CSC) for a moonlight stroll.
- 1 days ago
Samantha Garvey ’16 gets shout-out from Obama at DNC
When President Obama recalled meeting inspiring Americans in his address at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, Samantha Garvey '16 had no idea she would be mentioned.
Garvey met Obama last January when she was named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, one of the country’s most prestigious science competitions for high school students, for her research on the defense mechanisms of mussels.
- September 7
Record harvest means Maine lobstermen get raw deal
Maine’s seafood celebrity, the lobster, made national headlines this summer when fishermen across the state brought in record hauls of the crustacean, leading to low market prices and frustration in the lobstering community.
- September 7
‘Conning Harvard’: New book on Adam Wheeler will hit shelves this month
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, sifting through hundreds of documents, conducting countless interviews and even spending a night at Bowdoin, Zauzmer sheds new light on how Wheeler was able to game the system.
- September 7
Beer and boys: My first college party at Bowdoin
This brings me to the first lesson I learned about college parties: if you actually want to party, being cool and fashionably late is not always the way to go.
Arts & Entertainment
Snapshot: Dog Days are Over
Benh Zeitlin’s ‘Beasts’ is magical, but lacks coherence
“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” directed by Benh Zeitlin, is one of those films that demands a second viewing—if only so viewers can wrap their minds around it. In his first feature film, Zeitlin tells the story of six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and her father Wink (Dwight Henry) as they struggle to confront what appears to be the unraveling of the universe.
Maine Pro Musica performs, brings Classical to campus
Maine Pro Musica, a thirty-two piece orchestra based in Rockport, Maine, performed at Studizinski Recital Hall last Saturday afternoon in the final show of their four-concert summer tour. Saturday’s program consisted of traditional classical works by child prodigies spanning several genres. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Overture to the Marriage of Figaro,” Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, no. 3, op.37, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4, op.90, were performed.
Pioneering photographer Day featured in exhibit
With the debut of a new surrealist photography exhibit, Wegman’s Weimaraners now have to share space with their artistic ancestors at the Museum of Art. On September 6, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art opened “Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic History,” chronicling the life and work of Boston photographer Fred Holland Day.
Cover band Suck My NESCAC to perform at Epicuria
Tomorrow night, the men’s rugby team will host Epicuria, its 23rd annual toga party at Ladd House. For the second year in a row, the event will feature Suck My NESCAC, a pop-punk cover band made up of seniors Hunter Rusack, Phil Cuddeback, Robbie Deveny, and David Raskin. I spoke with the band earlier this week about their tunes, their history, and their hopes for the future—especially tomorrow night’s performance.
- September 7
“Hello Nature” shows Wegman beyond Weimaraners
Indeed, though there is nothing awe-inspiring about the scale of Wegman’s work, the exhibit is compelling in its ability to create a narrative that explains the artist’s lifelong fascination with nature. Wegman’s work is playful but incredibly sincere. There is a refreshing innocence to his exploration of nature; in its simplicity, his work captures a sense of childhood reverence for the wilderness.
- September 7
With profs. on sabbatical, Racer X tradition on hold
There was a notable absence in the line-up of bands during last year's Senior Week. Racer X, fronted by Bowdoin professors Vineet Shende and Aaron Kitch, was replaced by DJ Sex Ray Vision, leaving many students disappointed. Although the controversial change led to whisperings of money disputes and miscommunication amongst students, Shende attributes the band’s absence to simple miscommunication with a Senior Week coordinator.
- September 7
Boeding ’14 captures summer scenes
James Boeding ’14 spent this summer taking more photographs than most other students do in their lifetimes. As a recipient of the Visual Arts Department’s annual McKee Photography Grant, Boeding completed a series of photos entitled “The Weekender: Millerton to New York City.”
- September 7
Women’s Rugby sets sights on Nationals
After a 10-3 season last year, the women’s rugby team hopes to continue its success this season despite having graduated six seniors last spring.
- September 6
Alum turns from biology to New York art scene
When Ian Trask graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in biology, he was not the one to bet on to become an up-and-coming sculptor. He now regularly sells artwork around Brooklyn and Chelsea, and is preparing for his first solo show in New York this November.
Women’s soccer undefeated after sweeping first three games
The women’s soccer team emerged triumphant from their first conference match of the season last weekend, besting the Wesleyan Cardinals 1-0. On Wednesday, the team silenced Bates 3-0, improving to 3-0-0 (2-0-0 NESCAC).
Ex-investment banker Tim Ryan brings unique skills to leading the athletics department
When Jeff Ward stepped down this summer after 14 years as director of athletics, it fell to Tim Ryan ’98 to assume the position of interim athletics director.
A talented baseball and football player who went to Wells High School in Maine, Ryan says he chose Bowdoin because it was “the best academic school that [he] could get into and continue to play one or both sports.”
After first week, Volleyball undefeated at 5-0
With a 4-0 sweep of the Endicott Invitational last weekend and a victory over the University of New England (UNE)at home on Tuesday, the volleyball team shows no signs of slowing down.
In first scrimmage of the year, football loses star wide reciever
“I looked up and saw a defensive back [Jaibril Coy ’15] explode after his interception for 70 yards. He was in the end zone in a blink of an eye,” said Bryan Hurley ’15, one of the fans at the Bowdoin football team’s intrasquad scrimmage this past Sunday. Fans, players and coaches alike had the opportunity to assess the progress of the team at the preseason game.
Athlete of the Week: Melissa Haskell ’13
Senior volleyball Captain Melissa Haskell had a groundbreaking start to her final season at the Endicott Invitational this weekend. She left the tournament with a total of 30 kills, 14 aces and 32 digs, while helping her team establish their undefeated record.
- 2 days ago
Tennis teams start strong opening tournaments
Following deep runs into the NCAA tournament last year, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams hit the courts this past weekend for their first tournaments of the season.
In two weeks, the men’s tennis team will play in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Invitational at Williams College. The women's team’s next tournament is at the University of Pennsylvania September 21.
- 2 days ago
Field hockey starts season 2-0 on rookie and veteran efforts
Bowdoin’s field hockey team handled NESCAC rival Wesleyan 3-1 in Saturday's season opener.
Bowdoin’s next matchup is against non-conference Wellesley College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
- 2 days ago
Men’s soccer rebounds, defeats Southern Maine 8-0
After a 2-0 loss to Wesleyan in Saturday's season opener, the men's soccer team rebounded on Monday with an 8-0 win against the University of Southern Maine.
Bowdoin will face the University of Maine–Farmington in a home match at noon this Saturday.
- 3 days ago
Women’s rugby posts two shut-out victories in first tournament
In their first tournament, the women’s rugby team amassed 86 total offensive points, limiting three different opponents to zero tries and a single field goal.
The Bowdoin women’s rugby team cleaned up at last weekend’s Beantown Rugby tournament at UMass-Amherst, beating Williams, Amherst and Smith Colleges with scores of 59-3, 12-0, and 19-0 respectively.
The Polar Bears are now two-time defending Beantown champions and have won six straight matches at the tournament since 2010.
- September 7
Former Athletic Director went beyond coaching for 14 years
As the Fall athletic season builds momentum, the Bowdoin community adjusts to the departure of Jeff Ward—Bowdoin’s athletic director since 1998—who announced in early June that he would not return this fall.