“15 Villainous Fools,” Maggie Seymour ’16 and Olivia Atwood’s ’17 two-woman clowning adaptation of Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors,” was recently picked up by the People’s Improv Theater (PIT) in New York City. The show will be performed at an Off-Off-Broadway venue for two months this summer starting in July.
The 75-minute performance tells the story of two sets of identical twins and their adventures following a boat crash. There are 15 characters in the play, with Atwood and Seymour acting as half each.
"It's just a whole Shakespeare classic dilemma,” said Atwood. “It's a comedy so by the end everything gets sorted out and everybody gets married.”
Seymour’s became interested in Shakespeare during her sophomore year at Bowdoin after taking an acting class with Sally Wood, who made Shakespeare’s voice accessible and understandable. Then, when Seymour was studying abroad in London fall of her junior year, she had the opportunity to see a production of “The Comedy of Errors” at the Globe Theatre.
“It was amazing. The control of the language, the accessibility of the show and the sheer joy that everyone was having was something I was very passionate about and wanted to explore,” said Seymour.
Through “15 Villainous Fools,” Seymour is able to find an intersection between her love of Shakespeare and clowning, a term used to describe physical theater that is rooted in actors finding their inner child or inner joy.
During an improv class Atwood and Seymour were in together, Seymour enlisted the help of Atwood for her honors project, which ultimately became “15 Villainous Fools.” It was first performed at Bowdoin on November 20, 2015 and then put on twice more as part of Seymour’s honors project. The duo further reworked the play and put on one more show for Admitted Students Weekend last April.
"We were revamping the show for the summer tour,” said Atwood. “Having another show at Bowdoin was another really good test run.”
Then, last summer—with the help of Axis Fuksman-Kumpa ’17 as a technician—Atwood and Seymour took “15 Villainous Fools” on tour, participating in fringe festivals. Fringe festivals are week to month-long theater festivals held in various venues across the country.
“It's a place where people mount their shows,” said Atwood. “Most people do one fringe festival per summer. We decided to do five.”
Atwood received a Micoleau Family Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts from Bowdoin, which helped fund the tour, and both Atwood and Seymour contributed their own money to finance travel expenses. Over the summer, the duo performed “15 Villainous Fools” first in Portland, Maine before continuing on to San Diego, Washington D.C., Rhode Island and New York City.
"The hardest one [to get into] by far is FringeNYC. The application is impossible. You have to submit a cover letter, resume, a video or trailer of your shows, reviews if you have them,” said Atwood. “It's a super selective process. We ended up getting up waitlisted and then we got in. That is the reason this play was discovered.”
Atwood and Seymour performed five shows during FringeNYC over the course of a week, four of which were sold out.
"We got stellar reviews and having a nearly sold-out run is pretty impressive with 200-plus shows at the festival” said Atwood.
The success of the “15 Villainous Fools” at the festival caught the attention of the PIT and in December, after Atwood met with the artistic director, the PIT picked up the play. It is slated to begin the first week of July.
Unlike last summer, Atwood and Seymour will stay in New York City all summer to perform their show at the PIT, allowing them more stability and the benefits of having a homebase venue. The duo will be performing 13 shows as of now.
“We’ll be moving in New York in June to start rehearsing in the space, meeting people, starting to market more in the area, building up toward opening night and trying to sell out all the houses if possible,” said Atwood.
Currently, Atwood and Seymour are working on revamping their image, working on graphics, marketing and creating a more professional-looking website. In the summer, the duo will start to focus more on the logistics of the show and figuring out lights, costumes and more.
“Baseline [the show is] the same feel, but I think in a lot of ways it's going to be different just because we won’t be travelling,” said Seymour. “I think we're putting in a lot of work reimagining it but also cleaning it.”
Looking ahead, neither Atwood nor Seymour is sure what will happen with “15 Villainous Fools,” but the prospect of the show being optioned to go off-Broadway is exciting.
While Atwood was attending the National Theater Institute the summer after her first year at Bowdoin, she received a piece of advice from a speaker and often thinks back to what he told her.
“He said that if there isn’t a space for me in theater, I can make a space for myself,” said Atwood.
"I think the ultimate goal is to keep doing theater because that's what we both love to do,” she added. “And we're going to do whatever we can to keep making that happen.”
Editor’s Note: Olivia Atwood ’17 is an associate editor of the Orient but was not involved in the production or editing of this article.
Harriet’s Writing Room to open next week, house celebrates historical recognition
On May 9, Harriet’s Writing Room, the public space in the recently renovated Harriet Beecher Stowe House, where “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was written in the early 1850s, will be open to the public for the first time as part of a celebration of the house’s designation to the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program. The Network to Freedom program documents locations on the Underground Railroad.
This open house event is the culmination of a long journey for the house, which the College purchased in 2001. For approximately 12 years, the house stood vacant, falling into disrepair, while the College searched for a proper use for Stowe’s former home. Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English Tess Chakkalakal, who studies Stowe, has been invested in the house since she came to the College eight years ago. Two years ago, she asked Katie Randall ’16, who is interested in historic preservation, if she would want to do a research project on the house over the summer.
Randall’s work that summer produced a digital timeline that details the complete history of the house, dating back all the way to its construction in 1806. Randall described her work that summer as something akin to activism, getting people to pay attention to the old empty house and doing research on the Stowe family.
In her research, Randall drew primarily from structure reports completed in 2008 and the work of Professor Susanna Ashton of Clemson University. Ashton is writing a biography on John Andrew Jackson, the former slave Stowe hid in her home one night while he was fleeing to Canada after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 put his freedom in jeopardy.
This fall, Randall revisited the house and completed an application to the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom. In order for the house to become part of the Network, Randall submitted a 37-page application that proved the house served as a part of the Underground Railroad and recounted the house’s history since then.
“In this case, we have Harriet talking about it in a letter and John Andrew Jackson referring to it in his autobiography. The two corroborate each other,” Randall said. “We have definitive evidence that this house was, for one night, a stop on the Underground Railroad and that Harriet Beecher Stowe helped someone there.”
The house is now one of three places in Maine that are part of the Network to Freedom. The Abyssinian Church in Portland and the Heuston Burying Ground in Brunswick are the other two sites.“The long term goal is to connect the Portland Network to Freedom with the Boston Network to Freedom to create a New England Freedom Trail and to make Bowdoin College part of the Freedom Trail,” Chakkalakal said.
“The other really important thing about getting this house on the Network is that it links ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ with Harriet Beecher Stowe not only writing a novel, a work of fiction, but also breaking the law, practicing what she preaches,” Chakkalakal said. “That’s an important link because it kind of changes the story of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’ It makes the work not only a work of fiction, but also something that she’s doing in her everyday life in Brunswick.”
After Randall completed the timeline in 2014, the Stowe Committee, which was assembled by former President Barry Mills and former Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd, managed to secure the necessary funds to renovate the house. The committee, which included members of the administration, representatives from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, representatives from Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and Assistant Professor of Art History Dana Byrd as well as Chakkalakal, still had two problems to solve—what the renovations should entail and how the house should memorialize Stowe and her work.
In the 165 years since Stowe lived there, the house had been renovated many times, from aesthetic renovations in 1855 to more major changes when the building was turned into an inn in the latter half of the 20th century. By the time the College bought it, the only similarities between the house and the house Stowe had lived in were the physical location and the layout of the rooms.
The committee determined that the most cost effective and historically accurate way to renovate the home would be to restore it to its 1855 appearance. Since there is no comprehensive description of what the house looked like then, some aspects of the house, like the color of the shutters, are more representations of what was popular at the time than exact replicas of Stowe’s home. These renovations were completed in 2015.
As far as remembering Stowe’s life and work there, the committee had to take a less conventional approach. A traditional museum, full of objects from the past, was not an option since so little of what had once belonged to Stowe remained in the house. The committee decided to create Harriet’s Writing Room, which Randall thinks of as “a space where people can think about what Harriet did in that house.”
The room, which is accessible off the porch, features a large wooden table with benches, a stand-up writing desk, an antique chair and a gorgeous hearth. Pictures of Stowe and information about her life and the house adorn the walls.
“People can be in this house, where she wrote ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ and think about the written word, what that book did, what words they might have, what issues they might care about,” Randall said. “They can be inspired by her story and the thing that she did in that house to maybe write something of their own.”
Chakkalakal sees the room as both a historical destination and a bridge connecting Brunswick and Bowdoin. “The town gives a lot to Bowdoin and Bowdoin gives a lot to the town. [This room is] a kind of symbolic reciprocity between the town and Bowdoin.”
Groups from the local schools will be able to visit the room, and Chakkalakal hopes the room becomes a center for collaboration where writing groups could meet, conversation could be held and classes could occasionally be taught.
“One of the amazing things about this room is that a lot of people converged here—Longfellow was here, Chamberlain was here, Stowe’s sister Catharine Beecher was here and of course John Andrew Jackson was here. In this space, literature happens. I think we too often forget that Bowdoin College is the birthplace, in my opinion, of American literature,” Chakkalakal said. “This is a place that has inspired historical collaborations. I would like to see students collaborating with professors the way Katie and I did; that’s what made the house happen—a series of collaborations.”
The open house will run from 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday, with remarks by President Clayton Rose, Chakkalakal and Randall at 3 p.m.
Harriet’s Writing Room will be open to the public from noon to 3 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, following the open house. During these hours, a student will be onsite to talk about Stowe, her book and the house and to answer any questions.
Mills’ portrait to be unveiled May 17, will hang next to Edwards’ in Hubbard Hall
On the second floor of Hubbard Hall—what former President Barry Mills jokingly refers to as the “Dead Presidents Hall”—13 of the College’s past presidents look down on students and passersby from framed portraits on the walls. On May 18, a 14th will join them, as Mills’ portrait is hung next to that of his predecessor, Robert Edwards.
The only people who have seen the portrait so far are Mills, his wife Karen and the two artists who produced it—photographer Lucia Prosperi and painter Warren Prosperi. It will be unveiled to the public at a reception in the Shannon Room on May 17.
Mills’ portrait will depart from several traditional features of the College’s previous presidential portraits. Unlike Bowdoin’s last seven presidents, Mills is not wearing academic dress. Though almost all of the past portraits (except Edwards’) feature no distinct background, Mills’ includes a setting of particular importance to him during his tenure at the College: the lobby of the Walker Art Building, home to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, which he helped renovate and expand from 2005 to 2007.
“As president of Bowdoin, the transformation of the Museum was pretty special, and it’s a pretty special space,” Mills said. “There’s a door in that space that looks out over the Quad, and the Quad is probably the most special place to me on campus. [Having the portrait set] in that spot with a door that opens a vista onto the Quad says a lot about how I thought about the College.”
The painting is done in the Prosperis’ preferred tradition of Optical Naturalism, which is based on how the human visual system perceives light.
Mills chose the Prosperis as the artists for his portrait after receiving a recommendation from a friend who was familiar with the large mural and 20-plus portraits they produced for Massachusetts General Hospital.
The Prosperis have painted several college presidential portraits before—including Adele Simmons of Hampshire College, Vartan Gregorian of Brown University and five College of the Holy Cross presidents—as well as numerous privately and publicly commissioned pieces. Their work has been shown in a number of museums across the country, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Their painting “Epiphany III” is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
“I looked at their work, and I was particularly impressed because I was looking for someone who was going to do this in a rather traditional, classical style,” said Mills. “Warren paints sort of in the style of Sargent and Zorn and that attracted me, so I met with them out in their studio outside Boston, and we hit it off.”
Mills said that although he felt comfortable with the Prosperis, the process of having his portrait painted was somewhat difficult for him.
“I’m a pretty out-there person, but I was very self-conscious about this idea of someone painting me,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy it, and it certainly was easier to do than I expected it would be, but I was pretty self-conscious.”
Before the Prosperis painted Mills’ portrait, they visited campus with him in the fall to get a sense of his relationship with the College. Throughout this trip, Lucia Prosperi photographed Mills and various settings of the College to serve as references for Warren Prosperi’s painting. The photographs Lucia Prosperi took served as sources for Warren Prosperi as he went to the easel, but the portrait is by no means a copy of any of them.
“By the time you get halfway through the painting, often, the photograph is set aside and I continue to alter and develop the likeness from my feeling for the person,” Warren Prosperi added. “We want to keep it as much as we can based on the person’s experience of the other person, not on any interim image between the painting and the person.”
While visiting the College with Mills, the Prosperis were particularly struck by the way Mills interacted with students.
“I would say eight out of 10 students that we passed on the Quad came running up to him, and he knew their name, he knew their cousin’s name or if their mother was ill or has she gotten back from Brazil,” Warren Prosperi said. “For every one of those eight people, he seemed to know them like a friend, and he did that consistently. It was completely unplanned. I don’t know how many presidents of universities get treated that way and who respond that way to the students in the school, but it was certainly marked.”
As the Prosperis planned the portrait together, they decided to focus on the idea of Mills as a listener.
“It just seemed like the right thing,” Warren Prosperi said. “His concern for the students and his attention to them seemed to be the center of how he related to the school, so the particular gesture that often resulted while he was listening seemed to be the right gesture and expression to put in the painting.”
In the portrait, Mills looks as though he is listening to somebody speaking to him in the lobby of the Museum, according to the Prosperis.
“The expression is subtle and hard to characterize,” said Warren Prosperi. “It’s not a big smile, it’s not a very serious face, it’s a very subtle combination of things which struck us about Barry.” Despite feeling self-conscious throughout the portrait’s production, Mills is pleased with the final product.
“It will be interesting to see what people’s reactions are,” he said. “I think it reflects who I am, and given the limitations they had because of the subject they were dealing with—namely, me—I think he did a good job. And I hope people will think it reflects who I am.”
The College would not comment on for the cost of commissioning the portrait. The funds for the painting came from last year’s presidential transition budget, according to Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood.
College shifts leadership as Ganong ’86 steps down
Rick Ganong ’86 P’17, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, will be leaving Bowdoin at the end of the College’s fundraising year at the end of June. Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn will take over leadership of that office at the request of President Clayton Rose, and Whitney Soule, director of admissions, will succeed Meiklejohn as dean.
Ganong, who declined to be interviewed for this article, is leaving to pursue “business interests beyond the College,” according to a May 2 email to faculty and staff from Rose. “I think [the changes] represent that President Rose is thinking really carefully about the staff that he would like to have in place,” said Soule. “With Rick Ganong’s decision to leave, that opened up a chance to look at the staff who is here and I think he’s taking advantage of skills that some of the internal people possess and the relationship and commitment that they already have to Bowdoin.”
Meiklejohn said that though he is sad to leave admissions, he sees parallels between his current job and his new one.
“I have always thought of these jobs as being pretty similar and both offices are doing highly individual work with huge numbers of people,” he said. “This office involves telling a lot of Bowdoin stories—so does that office.”
Meiklejohn has worked in several capacities for the College over the past twenty years and began his career at Bowdoin working in development and alumni relations. He became dean of admissions in 2009. During his time in admissions, Bowdoin saw its highest-ever applicant totals and levels of selectivity.
Despite the response of some alumni to campus events such as the “tequila” party this year, Meiklejohn said he thinks the relationship of the College to its alumni remains strong.
“I’m not worried about that for Bowdoin’s future. We’ve had other decisions that the College has made over time that not everyone agreed with,” he said. “The depth of [alumni] four-year experiences here and their classmates, professors and friends—those are the things that dominate their feeling about what Bowdoin means and what it is in the landscape of higher education more than is there something in this week’s headline that isn’t right or isn’t going well.”
Soule said that she hopes to continue the work that Meiklejohn has done in terms of increasing the overall diversity of the student body.
“The trend of increasing diversity is really an institutional principal, and it’s really fundamentally important for education,” she said. “While it may look like a trend it’s really an absolute as part of our work. I think that as the complexity of our population continues to grow and change that will continue to be represented in our prospect and applicant pool and in the class we enroll.”
Soule also said that while she does not plan on making any major changes in admissions, the admissions office is always working to make decisions to strengthen their applicant pool.
“I think that we are really attentive to the demographic shifting that’s happening in the United States, the decline in the high school population and thinking about adapting our recruitment methods and our selection methods to continue to find the very best students for Bowdoin while understanding that the population is changing and shrinking,” she said.
Nicole Wetsman and Emily Weyrauch contributed to this report.
News in brief: Conflict over College Street property may result in legal action
In a case that could be brought to court, Bowdoin seems to be pushing back against the $1.6 million dollar asking price for 28 College Street, the last remaining non-campus property on College Street. Bowdoin has denied that the property is the place where Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” despite the owner’s claims. According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, Arline Pennell Lay, the owner of the property, was notified by her attorney last week that the College plans to file a lawsuit to make Lay adhere to a 1996 agreement with the College. The agreement states that the College can buy the property at 125 percent of its appraised value if the owner dies or puts it on the market; with the appraised price at $154,300, the College should only pay $192,875 for the house. However, Lay and her attorney, Sean Joyce, claim that an attorney was not present at the time of this agreement; Bowdoin’s attorney claims otherwise, according to Joyce. The College has said that it will leave the issue up to its lawyers.“We’re investigating whether or not [Lay] had representation and [whether] it was, essentially, unequal bargaining,” Joyce told the Bangor Daily News.
The high asking price of the house is attributed to Lay and her family’s claim that Stowe rented a room on the second floor between 1850 and 1851 where she wrote much of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” However, the College has pushed back against this claim over the years with evidence that Stowe wrote the novel at 63 Federal Street, her home from 1851 to 1852, and Appleton Hall, where her husband had a study.
The property is listed on the National Register of Historic places. However, according to Joyce, the College attributes this to the property’s other historical significance. According to the Lay family, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned a poem, “The Old Clock on the Stairs,” about a grandfather clock in the house. Norman Rockwell also apparently modeled his painting, “Freedom from Want,” after members of Lay’s family, Alice Lay and Richard Coffin. The real estate listing states that, “Other famous people such as President and Eleanor Roosevelt, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Chris Wallace and William Cohen have stayed at this home.”
BowdoinOne Day finishes short of goal, but remains second-best year of campaign
This year, BowdoinOne Day, the culminating day of a month-long fundraising campaign, finished with a total of 2,994 gifts, or $770,000, from alumni, parents and students. 32 percent of these gifts came in on One Day itself, which took place on April 28.
While this year’s One Day campaign finished about 1,500 donations short of its goal of 4,500, it was still the second best year of the campaign’s history, according to Director of the Alumni Fund Aric Walton.
“We set the goal that we did in hopes of matching last year’s accomplishment which was an incredibly audacious goal given that last year was extraordinary,” said Associate Vice President for Annual and Leadership Giving Brannon Fisher.
Last year, the campaign reached an all-time high of 4,314 gifts by the end of the month. Anonymous donors gave $2 million to be used for student financial aid after the campaign surpassed its goal of 4,300 gifts.
In explaining the anomalous success of the previous year, Walton called it a “perfect storm.”“President Mills was nearing the end of his term… We just had Clayton Rose announced, so there was a lot of energy...in the Bowdoin community,” said Walton. “[This year] we had more dialogue going, or just as much, it just didn’t translate into the same number of gifts.”The Alumni Fund recruits over 700 alumni to help fundraise year-round. The contributions received through the BowdoinOne Day campaign were among the 6,891 received this fiscal year thus far, which ends on June 30.
In addition to the help of alumni volunteers, BowdoinOne Day also relies on social media to publicize the campaign and connect Bowdoin alumni from across the globe.
“The students were pretty instrumental in helping get that hashtag out there and raising the awareness of the day,” said Walton. “The social aspect is really important. It’s a window back into Brunswick for one day to see what’s going on.”
Though BowdoinOne Day this year received no matching donations, the overall alumni participation rate of 39.6 percent is still similar to that of other years.
“[A matching donation] just didn’t materialize this year, and looking back, that’s going to be a good thing. We want people to authentically think about supporting Bowdoin. It’s a great place to support,” said Walton. “We don’t take alumni support for granted—we know that we have to earn it every year.”
In addition to BowdoinOne Day, the Senior Class Gift Campaign (SCGC) is another major ongoing fundraising effort of the College. The campaign just reached 58 percent participation this week, a mere two percent away from unlocking a $10,000 match donation.
“[The SCGC] is an effort to educate people on how to be alumni,” said Kiefer Solarte ’16, one of five SCGC directors. “It’s a big switch going from senior year to not having the same relationship that you had with Bowdoin…[the SCGC] is about getting people to engage, not only this year but for the future as well.”
With a goal of 85 percent participation, the campaign will continue until June 30. “We really don’t look at a monetary goal at all,” said Margaret Webster ’16, another director on the SCGC team. “When we get a gift, there’s always been a conversation about what that means. We’re very fortunate that the amount of that gift doesn’t matter and that participation is so important.”
This year, the money raised by the SCGC will support a scholarship for a student in the Class of 2020. While the Class of 2016’s SCGC is the fifth to donate its efforts toward a scholarship, it is the first to graduate a member of its own class who was supported by the SCGC fund of another class.
Snapshot: Commander in Kayak
News in brief: Colby's solar installation to be the largest in Maine
Bowdoin will no longer have the largest solar project in Maine. In the coming year, Colby College will install 5,505 solar panels, exceeding Bowdoin’s 4,420. While Bowdoin’s solar panels provide about eight percent of the College’s electricity (with a capacity of 1.2 megawatts), Colby’s panels will produce 16 percent of the college’s energy, at 1.9 megawatts. Led by NRG Energy Inc., work will begin on the solar panels now with the estimated completion date at January 2017. In 2015, Colby was ranked the highest NESCAC college for sustainability and second in North America, compared to the 260 colleges that participated in STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System), a system that assesses college sustainability efforts.
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Approval ratings: Spring 2016 approval ratings survey results
This week the Orient sent out its biannual approval ratings survey, which asks students about their opinions on various institutions on campus. 518 students responded to this semester’s edition of the survey, and while many of the institutions received similar scores as they did last Spring and this Fall, a few results stood out. The percentage of students who strongly approve of Bowdoin dropped by 10 percentage points in the last five months, and the percentage of students who disapprove and strongly disapprove of Residential Life also increased fairly dramatically. A slightly smaller percentage of students approve or strongly approve of President Rose compared to approval of President Mills last spring, and while there was a 10 percent bump in students that strongly approve of the town of Brunswick compared to this fall, it is still 10 percentage points lower than last Spring’s ratings. Also, over two percent of respondents have no opinion on Bowdoin’s faculty.
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More shifts coming to Bowdoin's leadership team
Meiklejohn to take over as SVP for finance and alumni relations; Soule to take over as dean of admissions and financial aid
Following the departure of Rick Ganong '86 at the end of June, Scott Meiklejohn will take over as senior vice president for development and alumni relations and Whitney Soule will replace Meiklejohn as the dean of admissions and financial aid. The moves will coincide with the departure of Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Katy Longley '76, who announced recently that she would be leaving the College for the Jackson Laboratory.
Meiklejohn began his career at Bowdoin in the development office in 1997 and has been the dean of admissions and financial aid since December 2009.
“There is no one better equipped than Scott to take on this critical role for Bowdoin,” said President Clayton Rose. “He knows our alumni, donors and trustees, and he understands Bowdoin’s values, traditions and aspirations. I am very excited about our partnership and the work ahead.”
Soule, who is currently the director of admissions, will join the College's leadership team. She joined the admissions office in 2008.
“Whitney is among the most talented and respected admissions professionals in the nation,” Rose said. “She has demonstrated a deep understanding of what it takes to attract, admit and matriculate gifted students who will thrive at Bowdoin and who make our community stronger year after year.”
Ganong began his role in development in January 2014, replacing Kelly Kerner who had been in the job since January 2012. He is leaving in order to pursue business interests beyond the college.
- April 28
Faculty salaries rise, Bowdoin remains fifth-highest paying NESCAC institution
According to a report from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), professor salaries at Bowdoin, not adjusted for inflation, rose by 4 percent for full professors, 4.1 percent for associate professors and 5.9 percent for assistant professors. Within the NESCAC on average, salaries rose by 3.38 percent, 4.32 percent and 4.64 percent respectively. In comparison, overall salaries across the country rose by an inflation-adjusted average of 2.7 percent.
The College determines raises for its professors using its “4-5-6” policy. This policy bases raises on the raises given by other colleges in Bowdoin’s peer group—specifically, the salary increases based on the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-highest-paying institutions of the 18 schools. The Board of Trustees determines this comparison group each year.
Paying full professors an average of $138,400 per year, Bowdoin’s ranking in the NESCAC has remains the fifth-highest paying institution in the 11-school conference.
The AAUP attributes part of the national salary increases to a change in how faculty are classified—more and more schools are shifting full-time, tenure-track positions to part-time adjuncts, which are not included in the calculations.
“We are in an enviable position at Bowdoin where that is not a practice that we engage in,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon. “We do certainly hire, we have some lecturers, we have some adjunct faculty, but for the most part our non-tenure-track faculty are visitors to the College, so they are replacing faculty members who are on sabbatical.”
Mindless Pontificating: Final thoughts for Bowdoin: a word of thanks—and a plea
Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Kennan, Henry Kissinger—these men are regarded as the architects of the “American Century.” In popular memory, we understand them to be the great defenders of the world against totalitarian threats. They are credited with ensuring peace, freedom and prosperity at home and abroad. Their leadership is offered as proof of American exceptionalism. Such assertions are not without merit and I must confess my own deep sympathies to this narrative, born of my patriotic fervor and my emotional over-reliance on nostalgia as a history buff and conservative. After all, I did start an organization this year called the “Eisenhower Forum.”
Thanks to my history courses with Roger Howell, Jr. Professor of History Allen Wells, however, I would soon discover the limits of my approach to such men. Having a class with Wells is an experience impossible to forget. You can observe visible, though not alarming, mood swings based on the recent performance of his New York Mets. Even now, after many years here in the whispering pines of Brunswick, his thick Brooklyn accent will resurface on rare occasions. His passion for Latin American history is absolutely contagious, born out of his own family history of a Jewish father who escaped Nazism as an immigrant to the Dominican Republic. To observe his lectures is to witness a dramatic theatrical performance, an actor bringing alive the story of Latin America.
In classes, Wells brought up without reservation the United States’ less than exemplary treatment of our Latin American neighbors. While he avoided self-righteous, ideological interpretations of history, Wells forced his students to ask uncomfortable questions about the abuses of American power. We looked at the role of America’s 1954 CIA-backed coup in Guatemala in contributing to the violence and poverty that still cripples the country. We confronted the mixture of tacit acceptance and silence of the State Department towards the Dirty War of the Argentine military dictatorship. Our classes wrestled with the dangerous misjudgments of the Reagan administration in Central America. I did not cease to hold respect for many of the figures I previously mentioned or the real accomplishments of our nation during the Cold War, but Wells forced me to truly consider the darker, ambiguous side of American’s role in the world.
My studies with Wells will stand out for me as one of the most exemplary parts of my time at Bowdoin. It was a moment when I was required to confront informed beliefs very different from my own. When I was asked to revisit settled orthodoxies and established opinions. When I had to put aside my own prior ideological or emotional commitments in the service of Truth with a capital T. Whatever our political or philosophical orientations, all Bowdoin students have at least one professor who, in the spirit of Socrates exemplifying the Western tradition in its finest moments, invited us into a place of rigorous intellectual debate where cherished loyalties and assumptions needed to be set aside.
Alexis de Tocqueville once remarked that he knew “of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” Whatever the merits of his observation, it is increasingly the case in American, if not Western, university life. The spirit of Wells’ classroom, of critical engagement in pursuit of truths, is becoming ever dimmer at too many colleges. Its decline is often accelerated not so much by aged progressive faculty, who still remember the repulsiveness of censorship and speech codes from their glorious days as activists in Students for a Democratic Society and various groups, but by supposedly open-minded millennials. Only a few anecdotes here would suffice. Speakers like Charles Murray, Jason Riley, George Will, Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have been disinvited by colleges. Instead of taking the opportunity to respectfully protest and ask legitimate questions about New York City’s policing tactics, Brown University students’ heckling forced the end of a lecture by former police commissioner Ray Kelly. Professors like Marquette University’s John McAdams have lost positions at universities for simply public stating socially conservative views. It is now a microaggression in the University of California system to say that America is a “melting pot” or “land of opportunity.” Threats by students shut down a debate on abortion at Oxford University. In one of the most surreal moments of this new campus Jacobinism, a University of Missouri journalism professor called for more “muscle” to silence a student journalist.
Perhaps these are the most extreme examples. But they point to a large problem that many students frequently do not fully wrestle with opposing viewpoints, particularly those from conservative, libertarian and center-right perspectives. This was brought to life by two conservative professors Jon A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr. in their new book “Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University.” Their systematic study avoids the apocalyptic tone of much conservative punditry on the topic and showed an unexpected degree of satisfaction and wellbeing among conservative intellectuals in the academy (prompting right-wing critics of the book to call the authors victims of “Stockholm syndrome”). Nevertheless, their work raises alarming questions about the loss of campus intellectual diversity. In their research into Ivy League social sciences and humanities departments, they identified no conservatives at Columbia and Cornell, one at Dartmouth and Brown and two at Yale (any guesses for Bowdoin?). In interviews with over 150 self-identifying conservative and libertarian professors, they found that a third remained quiet about their political views until they received tenure. About a fifth apparently discourage conservative students they work with from entering the academy. Most memorably, a professor was denied tenure after a colleague denounced him as an “appalling Eurocentric conservative” for calling North Korea the aggressor in the Korean War. The cause of marginal conservative or libertarian representation in the academy is complex and cannot be entirely blamed on bias or discrimination. However, as Dunn and Shields point out, schools like Emory, Notre Dame, Harvard, Baylor, Boston College and Claremont McKenna have done an exceptional job at fostering exceptional spaces for thought through a vibrant presence of conservative and libertarian academics. In other words, colleges and universities might have more agency than they might recognize or acknowledge in creating a more intellectually open culture.
What path will Bowdoin take? Will it participate in the twilight of reason and the triumph of group think and progressive pieties? Will it stand by the spirit of teaching exemplified by Wells and countless other scholars here? I have not personally found Bowdoin to be an Orwellian nightmare. As both a conservative and Christian, it was a joy sparing with progressive, atheist, agnostic and even the occasional Marxist classmates and professors, and I would not trade my four years here for any other. But enormous work lies before us in creating a rich, substantial campus discourse we can be proud of, one worthy of students following in the path of Longfellow, Hawthorne, Chamberlain, Canada and countless others. I hope my column this year played a small part in that project. Thanks for putting up with my “mindless pontificating” this year. It, like all my time at Bowdoin, was an unmerited grace and blessing.
Editorial: Modeling discourse
Wednesday night, an overflowing audience watched as five professors on stage in Kresge talked about their views on freedom of expression—how it comes into play nationally, on campus and in the classroom at Bowdoin. The conversation consisted of nuanced ideas from professors speaking clearly and argumentatively about the types of discourse allowed on campus and various forms of marginalization—here and in America overall. After each professor spoke, snaps and claps echoed from different parts of the audience.
It was a diverse crowd of attendees and a diverse group of faculty modeling a conversation for them. The conversation was heated—it got tense and even angry at points. Ultimately, it was messy and left the audience with many more questions than it answered. But, as challenging and inconclusive as it was, it was a space on campus for a public conversation about restrictions to expression.
Self-censorship happens in the world and on this campus in particular, not that it is a good or a bad thing. And, especially this year, absent or silent voices have even further impacted the course of dialogue. Claims have become defensive and the campus is more divided than we have seen it in our time at Bowdoin. Letting down our guard and allowing for some messy interpersonal engagement is not easy to do, but taking the risk of being imperfect and wrong is exactly what members of the Bowdoin community need to do more.
Classes end on Wednesday, and a week and a half after that we will leave Bowdoin, the majority of us coming back, at the soonest, three months later. We’ll say goodbye for now, and many of us will have the luxury of stepping away from the debates that have occupied Bowdoin this year. A controversial Facebook post will pop up here and there, but, otherwise, most of our communications will stop.
For all of us, including seniors preparing for their journey into the so-called ‘real world,’ we are presented with a challenge and an opportunity in each moment we confront the world: how do we defend our beliefs while being open to the fact that others think differently? It’s not easy to critically examine personal beliefs, but it is only through being challenged and pushing others that we grow as thinkers, as learners and as generous enthusiasts. Wednesday’s talk was beautifully chaotic. Each person was respected but their views were nevertheless debated unforgivingly. Let’s do more of that.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Julian Andrews, Jono Gruber, Meg Robbins and Emily Weyrauch.
On (the) edge: Bias incidents revisited
By taking punitive measures, the College hinders genuine progress
It’s been eight months since this column began. Needless to say, a lot has happened since then. Most of my commentary has centered around the minority experience—topics have ranged from the first year transition to natural hair.
Though I have enjoyed writing this column, it has made life a bit more complicated. My thoughts have been both time-stamped and documented; thus, while most people are free to change and reshape their opinions at will, I feel tied to mine. My opinions have naturally shifted over the past year, but I have been hesitant to express any variance. This week, I’ve decided to push through that hesitation. I want to make one thing clear: I stand by the cruxes of each article that I have written. I still find the “gangster” party and the “tequila” party problematic—this will never change. However, I have grown increasingly concerned about the way our campus handled these incidents. When the first incident occurred, I was more than willing to participate in dialogue. I considered it a learning experience for all. When the second event occurred, I agreed with those who called for punitive measures. Fed up, I called for swift and harsh “justice.” Though I still believe that action must be taken in these instances, I fear that these actions have decimated conversation.There are two major problems with Bowdoin’s course of action. By simply condemning and punishing those involved, the College alienates a large section of the student body. Those involved are not inclined to listen if they feel that they are being unjustly disciplined. Though the persistent lack of understanding is both perplexing and aggravating, I do not believe that punishment without sufficient education benefits either side.
Many would argue that the campus has already provided ample educational opportunities of this sort—in fact, this was the central argument in favor of punitive action. On this note, I agree. Any student who wishes to learn about racial and cultural issues can easily do so. Unfortunately, many do not. Almost every campus event regarding race is attended by the same crowd of people. A significant proportion of the student body has little to no incentive to attend, so they don’t. We all know this. Though their absence at those events is aggravating, it is no longer surprising. Simply hoping that these students educate themselves is fruitless—we know that current action is failing, yet we stand by.
Because white students can easily evade the topic of race, many first grapple with racial issues only after they have been accused of offensive behavior. Because some lack a basic understanding of the subject, they cannot comprehend the problematic nature of their behavior. If one is operating within this mindset, they are understandably miffed by punitive responses. Frustrated, they tune out completely, impeding any further attempt to engage them. The punishment may decrease the likelihood of future occurrences, but it does so at the expense of potential conversation. If the College desires legitimate inclusivity and understanding, forcibly educating these currently disengaged students should be the College’s first priority.
The havoc wreaked by an emphasis on punishment—and a lack of effective and formal education—also impacts many students of color. Currently, the burden of educating “wrongdoers” continuously falls on the shoulders of minority students. To say that this is unfair would be an understatement. Like everyone else, we are here to get an education—enlightening our white peers was not a part of the admissions contract. The aim of affinity and multicultural organizations centers around community building and support—addressing incidents of bias and discrimination is neither their goal nor their responsibility. Yet, each time a racially charged controversy arises, these groups are expected to act. During times of crisis, friends of mine have spent more time in administrative meetings than in the classroom or library. Many involved have grown weary—in fact, “I’m done” has become a common sentiment. Thus, both sides of the debate are beginning to abandon the possibility of discussion and understanding. It has been both alarming and disheartening to watch this divide grow.
By punishing the offending side and pushing the burden of education on minority students, the College is hindering genuine progress. Though punitive measures may slow the occurrence of ill-themed parties, this course of action merely produces surface-level progress and heightened animosity. A lesson on cultural sensitivity and inclusion should be a part of each student’s Bowdoin experience—we cannot expect penalties to lead to understanding and growth. Bowdoin put effort into diversifying the student body. Now, the College—not its minority students—needs to grapple with that newfound diversity. The College—not its minority students—needs to address the inherent biases present in the student body. As of now, it is simply veiling them. If the College continues down this track, the chasm currently splitting the student body will continue to grow.
Being on (the) edge on this campus can be taxing. Fortunately, because of this column, this year was fairly exhilarating. I have grown immensely since this work began—I end it both wiser and more self-assured. I guess I have Yik Yak to thank for the latter. “AP” out.
Running from racism: black youth and their relationship with the police
A couple of weeks ago, by coincidence, I had the pleasure of meeting Deputy Commissioner Robert Turner II of the NYPD. I explained to him that I was writing an article about the police and black youth for my school, and he was intrigued.
For the brief time we talked, he was kind enough to give me some of his thoughts on the matter. He said to me that young black men and women always walk with a chip on their shoulder. I told him that growing up, it took me some time to understand why my mother told me to be extra careful around police or why she lectured me before I went out with my friends. One thing that radiated in my mind was when he told me that he, the deputy commissioner, feels nervous at some points around police. We talked about other aspects of the issue, but when he said that to me, I was almost oblivious to everything else he said.
I thought on it for a while, and I guess the funny part was that it wasn’t that surprising after all. When I think back to all the times I’ve heard of black men getting pulled over or harassed by the police, why should the deputy commissioner be an exception if they don’t recognize him? Just the other day, a car rolled up to me, yelled “niggerfaggot” and then sped away. At the time I didn’t realize it, but I felt just like I did whenever a police car drives past me and slows down. I was angry, nervous, but most of all, calculating. I had to think about whether or not I was going to have to fight or even if I should because self-defense against an officer doesn’t play out well if you are black.
It was disturbing to think that I even felt the same way in both instances. The topic of police brutality and harassment against black youth has been debated on for some time, but I think what gives me a unique perspective on it is being in college.
One of the most socially conscious people in regards to racism and police brutality in the world is a black college student on a predominately white campus. My mother always taught me about black history because she didn’t think I learned enough about it in school. I remember rolling my eyes when she would make me read about Harriet Tubman, Crispus Attucks or the Civil Rights Movement. But through high school and up to now, it is something I cherish.
After taking courses from Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Judith Casselberry and learning in depth the details and struggles in black history, I find that it’s part of what makes me angry when I hear about police harassment of my people. After everything so many leaders and movements have accomplished, black youth still have to second guess all their movements when we go out or when we are around illegal activity.
After some thought, I find myself not only angry at corrupt police or the people in the car that shouted at me but at something bigger. I’m not sure whether to call it institutional racism or simply say that’s just how the world works.
Chaz Phillips is a member of the Class of 2018.
Say It Like It Is: On decolonizing Bowdoin, welcoming people of color and women
In the past week I’ve had several people ask me if it was worth coming to Bowdoin. “Do you regret it? Did it become your home?”
Four years ago I chose to come to Bowdoin because I wanted it to be my new home. I wondered if it could be my home. “Where is home?” isn’t an emotional or existential question. It is a political question. As a bisexual, immigrant Latina woman with no money, I wondered if this country, if this state, if this college, was a place for me.
As soon as I got to Bowdoin, my existence here felt odd. I didn’t want massages during finals, chocolate-covered strawberries for special events and talks about self-care. I wanted to see myself and what I cared about here. I didn’t want men to grab me at college house parties without asking me. I wanted to feel like a respected individual in my own Latina woman skin. The majority of buildings, named after white men, with the exceptions of Russwurm and a few women, did not seem welcoming with their elegance. They seemed imposing. As I walked through the second floor of Hubbard Hall and saw paintings of all the important white men at Bowdoin and pictures of soldiers who had fought in the Middle East, I wondered what it would be like to see something else. What if there were paintings of radical women of color all across Hubbard Hall? What if there were pictures commemorating non-U.S. citizens who had died at the hands of U.S. soldiers? It would seem out of place at Bowdoin. And that is a problem.
We need to recreate Bowdoin as if we were engaging in a deep decolonization project. We need to embrace the people of color who came here and their wisdom and contributions to the world. We need to include the voices of people of color and women in all our departments, not only in Africana studies, Latin American studies, Asian studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. I don’t just want representation—a text or picture of one person of color who managed to become powerful and rich. I want to hear and feel the struggles of people of color and women across the world. Only then will we be able to say that Bowdoin is a home for people of color and women, but right now these walls at Bowdoin are silencing with their overwhelming whiteness.
Next year many first years will be coming here and they will be asking the same question: can this be my home?
What will be Bowdoin’s answer? It doesn’t matter that we say “welcome” with words if in action, we are saying that this is not the place for people of color and for women. No fancy food or destressing event is going to calm this hunger down and answer the home question in a satisfying way.
I don’t regret coming to Bowdoin, but I don’t feel like it is my home. Like many people of color and women on this campus, I’ve carved out spaces, had fun times, and made demands, but to say this place is my home now would have a strong and positive political meaning that Bowdoin doesn’t match up to. Bowdoin is not there yet, but it can get there.
Expression, debate and the importance of free discourse at Bowdoin
Freedom of speech has clearly been a defining issue on campus this year. I think for many years we have all been complicit in creating a campus culture that discourages open discourse. Specifically, students have felt uncomfortable sharing dissenting views around issues of race and class. This has caused a very one-sided discussion. At all of the multicultural discussions I have attended on campus, socially liberal students have dominated the discussion. However, there are clearly other voices on campus, which are not present at these discussions. I am the first to admit that Bowdoin is a vocally liberal campus, one which is often unfairly suppressive of conservative voices. I hope that in the future liberal students like myself can work on creating spaces that are more inclusive to differing opinions. However, I would also say that the concern that other students will disagree with you is not an excuse to completely remove yourself from the campus dialogue.
I recognize that it is difficult to open yourself up to a conversation in which you are the minority and most people will disagree with you. As a privileged straight white male I felt uncomfortable attending conversations in which I would have to question my own privilege, so I completely understand the hesitation. However, I think that this fear of disagreement has caused students to only engage in discussions with like-minded individuals. It is my opinion that liberal students on campus tend to meet together and support each other’s liberalism and conservative students tend to meet with other conservative students and support each other’s conservatism. I completely admit that I am guilty of this, but I would still implore all of us to push ourselves to go out of our comfort zone. If you feel like you tend to only engage with white students, go to a dinner at Russworm. If you feel that you tend to only engage with liberal students take a class with Professor Yarbrough.
With all this said, I think it is important to remember that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism. Ideally, we would all be able to speak our minds freely without fear of administrative punishment, but that does not mean that our peers may not criticize us. Moreover, criticism can be a good thing. I would hope that disagreement happens respectfully, but criticism is a crucial part of free speech. As Justice Holmes famously wrote in his dissent in Abrams v. United States, “persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical.” Our community is improved by a “free trade in ideas.” For example, I think it is great that Jesse Ortiz published a controversial article about athletics and Bowdoin and I think it’s fantastic that Seamus Powers wrote such a measured, well thought-out response. This discourse represents Bowdoin students at our best. It is not a problem when members of our community speak out in opposition to one another; it is a problem when members of our community turn their backs to the views and needs of other students.
Lastly, I want to clarify that the Articles of Impeachment submitted against two members of the BSG were not, in my opinion, an attempt to suppress free expression. The two members of the BSG in question voted in favor of and expressed no opposition to a statement that defined “cultural appropriation” as “a power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systemically oppressed by that dominant group, perpetuate racist stereotypes, and/or misrepresent people’s culture,” and which states that “such behavior will not and should not be tolerated.” I feel as though the “tequila” party and the conduct that occurred there fell within this definition and therefore it would be hypocritical not to do something about it. Conduct and speech are not interchangeable concepts and members of the BSG general assembly engaged in conduct that they had voted to condemn. As elected representatives, we have a duty to follow the standards we attempt to set for campus. I do not believe that the individuals involved are bad people, nor do I believe either of them are racists. Many people, including myself and the Bowdoin college administration for that matter, have supported things that look much like cultural appropriation. However, on October 28 we voted not to tolerate these acts and it would be hypocritical not to hold our own members to the same standards we hold the rest of campus to.
This does not mean the debate is over. There is room at Bowdoin to argue that the “tequila party” was acceptable. I standby what I did and I welcome the heavy criticism I have received. Recently a student said over Yik Yak that they would transfer if I was elected to BSG. This is a valid comment and it is important to have voters hear how strongly some students feel about opposing my candidacy. Additionally, it is fine if you feel that the impeachment was an attempt to censor free expression. I disagree, but, as I have said, disagreement is OK.
There is no question that this has been a difficult year for campus. Many students of color I have spoken to plan to transfer or wish that they could due to racially hurtful incidents, and other students have felt antagonized by “PC culture.” As I have been reflecting on this year, all I can say is that a lot of really important issues have been raised and I believe the only way we can address these issues as a campus is both to freely talk and disagree with one another and to actively listen to all members of our community.
Jacob Russell is a member of the Class of 2017 and the Interhouse Council Representative to the Bowdoin Student Government.
Solarize Bowdoin: moving our campus toward carbon neutrality
That Bowdoin College has found the resources and the conviction to defray the cost of college for students brings our country closer to a more equitable society and a broadly represented campus. Those who do accept the concept of social responsibility should not stop short when it comes to burning fossil fuels. What greater social responsibility do we have than stopping global warming—a predicted and now documented event that will affect all aspects of society and welfare of our planet? So it is a contradiction to me when even the less conservative leaders everywhere are asked to make a significant shift in the economics and daily practice of fossil fuel extraction and burning—they do far too little—and then challenge requests by saying that a solution is too expensive. It makes little sense in the long term to ignore the warning signs, as doing too little now will cause a loss of what we do choose to invest in now.
So how should we proceed? It seems generally accepted that investment in solar and wind infrastructure at the local level can have a dramatic impact upon CO2 emissions. Approximately 80 percent of our consumption at Bowdoin is for heating, provided mostly now by natural gas burned on campus. Natural gas by some estimates generates as much greenhouse gas as does oil due to the release of methane, and so is nota solution. Electric-based heat pumps do, however, work, and an installation of these in buildings, along with support from solar, would make a significant impact. Bowdoin College could increase its solar capacity by tenfold and drastically reduce its consumption of fossil fuel. We have the space on the Brunswick Landing property. Are there other barriers? Yes, but these can also be addressed with enough effort, imagination and attention at the state level. Students,faculty and administrators can make this change happen IF we feel strongly enough. Part of this paradigm shift includes a financial plan that extends not five years, but 10 or 15 years. It also includes support from alumni and our endowment. With this extended outlook, solar becomes cost effective, if not a saving enterprise.
What else can we do? Lead by example. Build net-zero carbon buildings. Ban cars on campus. Reduce travel to far-away sports games. Be active in changing legislation at the state and federal levels. Take a bus or train home rather than flying. This shift does not necessarily mean a wholesale ban on fossil fuels, but rather a severe reduction. We have a choice. Some on this campus have made great efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, but they have now reached a barrier where the next steps are harder. Business as usual, recycling and only changing lightbulbs will force us to make dramatic changes within decades because of the inevitability of an induced climate change. A wholesale change in how we generate energy NOW will permit us to continue the way of life we have become accustomed to with indeed little real sacrifice. We can’t leave it to others to solve this problem, as the problem is ours.
Bruce Kohorn is the Linnaean Professor of Biology and the Chair of the Biochemistry Program.
Left of lipstick: So bye, Bowdoin: reflecting on my columns and takes on campus events
Yesterday I went to Fat Boy with my coven of SWUGs. Five of us piled in my car after class. It was chilly. My toes were damp from rain that had seeped in the crack of my boots. As we dipped our fries in our milkshakes, it occurred to me—this is the best thing in the world.
This is my last column, and I’m sad about it. I doubt I’ll ever have a platform with this leniency again. I’ve been able to write about Marxism and Miller High Life, pubic hair and gun control and etiquette and Plan B.
There have been some public growing pains. That one time when my column was quoted out of context in Cosmo (OK, I actually got off on that). When I was asked if I “had ever heard of sex positivity” after I condemned dance floor make outs (DFMO) as symptoms of the patriarchy. Somehow, the DFMO piece is still my most widely read column. For the record, it’s my least favorite too.
But on the whole, I’m proud of my takes. Trader Joe’s and the minimum wage and crisis pregnancy centers.—they matter. Writing my thoughts has helped me develop my politics. I’ve been touched when people—friends, professors, the two sophomore women at my Snow Pants or No Pants party, Linda in the recital hall, an alum who added me on LinkedIn the other day—have mentioned my columns. It is heartening to know that the things I’ve written haven’t entered the void.
So thanks, y’all, for reading (or skimming or whatever). Thanks to my dad for being my first and best reader and to my brother for not tuning me out when I talk about the patriarchy and capitalism. Thanks to my SWUGs. Thanks to the faculty and staff of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. Thanks to my radical brain trust. Thanks to my mom, who never got to read my column but shaped it more than anyone else.
Fuck you to whoever stole my denim jacket at Ivies.
Since my first year, the Orient opinion section has gone from the boring domain of a few white guys (sorry—it’s true) to a vibrant space where all kinds of Bowdoin students discuss ideas. I’m proud to have been a part of that, and I know it will continue.
I hope the College continues to become an institution that I’m proud to have attended. Divesting from fossil fuels would help, as would increasing wages for staff. But I think we’re headed in the right direction.
So bye, Bowdoin. There are a few weeks left before you recede in my rear view mirror. I think they’ll be good weeks. Lots of champagne. Maybe a few tears. Let’s try not to miss each other too much.
Letter to the editor: On the master plan
To President Rose, Dean Scanlon, the Bowdoin Board of Trustees and the Campus Planning Committee, The Campus Master Plan is an opportunity to dream big about the Bowdoin that we bequeath to future generations. As Campus Planning Committee member Grace Butler ’16 summarized, this is an opportunity in which we consider “our values as a community and how [they] translate into the built environment.” Knowing that continued reliance on fossil fuels will cause enormous economic disruption, social destabilization and ecological catastrophes, we should place sustainability at the heart of all building decisions. We urge you, the leaders of campus development, to make deeper investments in sustainable infrastructure. The College has committed to carbon neutrality by 2020. This commitment is beyond debate, but reaching that goal is very challenging. The surest way to avoid failure is by requiring that every addition to the campus adds no carbon. Such “net-zero” buildings are increasingly common and represent a minimum standard for Bowdoin to adopt in ground-up construction. Bowdoin exists to educate its extraordinary students and serve the Common Good. Bowdoin is much more than a collection of buildings, but net-zero buildings can be superb educational tools. Simply by existing and being overtly carbon-free, these buildings will raise awareness and instruct. If Bowdoin chooses a less sustainable path forward, we’re also educating our students, but with lessons inconsistent with the Offer of the College. We applaud the new Roux Center for the Environment as a site of interdisciplinary collaboration and, in President Rose’s words, “new and enhanced engagement with… stewardship of the environment.” The Roux Center itself is part of that engagement and must reflect the highest standards of energy efficiency and low carbon. LEED Standards do not meet this need. Instead, the Roux Center should be built as the first net-zero facility at Bowdoin and one of the first in New England. We live in a crucial time for both the College and society as a whole. We look to you for leadership.
David Vail, Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics, EmeritusNathaniel Wheelwright, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences /Chair of the Department of BiologyTricia Welsch, Professor of Cinema StudiesMadeleine Msall, Professor of PhysicsBruce Kohorn, Linnean Professor of Biology and Biochemistry /Director of Biochemistry ProgramMary Hunter, A. LeRoy Greason Professor of MusicHadley Horch, Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and Director of Neuroscience ProgramLaura HenryJohn F. and Dorothy H. Magee Associate Professor of Government/Acting Chair of Russian DepartmentNadia Celis, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and LiteraturesMark Battle, Associate Professor of Physics
- April 28
Editorial: Put it into practice
The sun is shining, the weather is (arguably) nice, the quad is sparkling green after a brief snowy coating and Randy Nichols is filling his polar bear water bottle and gearing up for a big weekend. It’s Ivies, baby.
This fall, the 2015 NESCAC Alcohol and Drug Survey results were released, revealing Bowdoin students’ attitudes on Bowdoin’s alcohol policies and bystander intervention. The survey was first conducted in 2012, and in the three years since then, Bowdoin students have shown improvements in their self-reported “sense of responsibility” to intervene in difficult situations involving intoxicated friends. Bowdoin students have increased 10 percentage points across the board in terms of intervening in the case of a friend driving drunk, vomiting, passing out, harassing others, threatening students, threatening to injure their self, embarrassing their self or drinking to “escape” emotions.
One of the biggest jumps was in sense of responsibility to intervene if a friend was “too intoxicated and might ‘hook up’ with someone.” Whereas in 2012, only 49 percent of students reported that they would intervene, in 2015, 67 percent of Bowdoin students claimed that they would get involved. This increase is encouraging, especially considering the widening of conversations that Bowdoin has been having about sexual assault. It correlates to the increase in Bystander Intervention trainings through Associate Director of Health Promotion Whitney Hogan, which every upper-class student leader is required to participate in.
The survey asked about “sense of responsibility,” and the results show that the majority of Bowdoin students feel very responsible to step in in a variety of potentially dangerous situations involving alcohol. Now, it’s Ivies! While some of Randy Nichols’ “best memories of Bowdoin” happened during Ivies—we’re very excited for our pictures with you, Randy—it’s also the time of year when we hear most from Randy about drug and alcohol safety. We receive “Survivies” and other protocol emails throughout the week, and Security is present all throughout the weekend. Many Bowdoin students will be choosing to imbibe in some way this weekend, and some of the scenarios presented in the survey may come up. This weekend offers a great chance to put these values into practice and step up when these situations occur in real life. The majority of Bowdoin students claim to feel responsible to do so, and now is the time to make good on those promises.
Ivies can be super fun. We can nap, we can laugh, we can cry and we can nap. And, it’s a time to, thankfully, be ourselves; our attitudes and sense of responsibility have improved greatly, and it’s important to keep it that way.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Julian Andrews, Jono Gruber, Meg Robbins and Emily Weyrauch.
Race on Campus
Several students of color candidly discuss the impact of race on their experience at Bowdoin and in Brunswick
Under the tenure of former president Barry Mills, Bowdoin saw a substantial increase in the racial diversity of its student body. For the 2001-2002 school year, just 21 percent of Bowdoin students identified as a race other than white; this year, according to the College’s Common Data Set, that number was 37 percent.
The experiences of students of color at Bowdoin are varied and diverse, and cannot be explained by any statistic. At the same time, many students believe that recent conflicts—the “tequila” and “gangster” parties, Cracksgiving, racially-charged verbal attacks on students in town—highlight the College’s continued struggle to make Bowdoin a welcoming place for people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
“When all these things happened and people refused to understand why this hurts a lot, that’s when it got to me,” said Cesar Siguencia ’18, who identifies as Latino. “That’s when I realized my race started to become a problem on this campus.”
Skyler Lewis ’16, who identifies as black, said he is no longer surprised by racial issues on campus.
“I’ve dealt with a whole bunch of stuff,” he said. “At first it used to really bother me, being called the n-word or someone saying some really stupid racist stuff, and eventually I just got to the point where I’ve come to expect it almost.”
Ryan Strange ’17, who identifies as black and biracial, noted that students of color have been more vocal about racial issues this year than in the past.
“There are a lot more students of color who are speaking out. And I guess that’s uncomfortable for some people,” he said.
But whether students of color speak out or stay quiet, their race nonetheless can impact their experiences throughout their time at Bowdoin.
Many students of color first saw the College through Explore Bowdoin or Bowdoin Experience, admissions programs that encourage low-income and first-generation students to apply and matriculate to Bowdoin. These programs have a greater representation of students of color than the actual student body.
“The Experience and the Explore programs that I did, which I loved… helped me so much and I’m very appreciative because it got me to where I am now,” said Dylan Goodwill ’17, who identifies as Native American. “[But] it seemed so diverse when I came and then I was very surprised when I came and I was like, ‘It’s not as diverse as I thought.’”
Lewis voiced a similar sentiment.
“Both of the weekends that I came up seem like they’re more for minority students so you walk around campus and there are a whole bunch of minorities, especially during Experience weekend,” he said. “And you leave and you show up [for college] and you’re like, where’d everybody go?”
Raquel Santizo '19
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As students of color arrive on a campus that is less racially diverse than they had anticipated, many gravitate towards peers of similar racial and ethnic backgrounds. Affinity groups, such as the Asian Student Association (ASA), the Native American Student Organization (NASA), the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the African American Student Organization (Af-Am) provide one mechanism for students to connect with others who feel the same way.
“I think it’s natural to kind of gravitate towards people who are similar to you, especially culturally,” Lewis said. “And that doesn't have to be based on race but often times it is. I live in Coles Tower with three other black males....we have similar cultural backgrounds, we listen to the same stuff, we came from similar areas.”
Michelle Hong ’16, who was born in Texas to Korean parents and identifies as Asian-American, is the current co-president of ASA. She joined the group her sophomore year after realizing that she did not know many Asian students at Bowdoin.
“I joined ASA my sophomore year because I think I started wondering why I didn’t have any Asian-American friends at Bowdoin,” she said. “[I realized] there were parts of my identity that I was missing by doing what the majority of Bowdoin students do.”
Like Hong, many students of color struggled to find and maintain their racial and cultural identities as they adjusted to Bowdoin.
Goodwill, who is Sioux and Navajo, has found it difficult to preserve her cultural practices at the College. She also notices herself adjusting her language and behavior to fit in.
“I always knew I did code switching,” she said. “[But] I now notice it a lot more. I don’t talk in my normal slang or in my normal accent at all.”
Jeffrey Chung '16
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Jeffrey Chung ’16, who identifies as Chinese-American and is also co-president of ASA, noted that affinity groups can help create community among students with similar racial experiences.
“Michelle and I have been working a lot to change the identity of the club... to reflect more on the community and identity of the students within the club rather than promoting an image of ‘Asian culture’ to the rest of campus,” he said.
While affinity groups are a supportive environment for some students, options are more limited for students whose racial or ethnic identification is not shared by as many Bowdoin students.
Irfan Alam ’18, who identifies as South Asian and Muslim, wants to create a formal group for South Asian students to connect.
“We have a reasonable South Asian student population. I think like probably twenty-five,” he said. “We’re hoping to try to make an organization sort of like LASO, sort of like ASA, Af-Am, things like that, but for South Asian students,” he said.
NASA currently has six members and no faculty adviser. Goodwill, one of its co-presidents, said such small numbers made it difficult for Native American students to respond to racial incidents on campus.
“Cracksgiving happened my first year here and I was so surprised that nothing was being done about it because I was really offended, but there was only me and two other girls on campus who were Native,” she said. “And they were like, well, this has been happening and like there’s only three of us, what can we do?”
Although some students find kinship befriending others of their same race or ethnicity, many students of color voiced concerns about racial segregation on campus.
“Maybe because it’s such a predominantly white institution, that people of color tend to stay together because they’re a part of the minority,” said Strange. “Maybe it’s on both sides...I guess people of color and also white people need to push ourselves to try to get to know people outside their own comfort zone.”
Michelle Hong '16
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This division along racial lines has reached most aspects of Bowdoin social life. Several students of color said that race impacted their dating and hookup experiences on campus.
“Gay men of color most of the time are separate from gay white men,” said Strange. “I don’t know why that is.”
Chung, who grew up in New York City, found that the trope of Asian-Americans as perpetual foreigners created separation for him in Bowdoin’s relationship scene.
“It dawned upon me as I approached the hookup culture and as I approached the party scene here that I—however much as I could identify as an American—I still couldn’t completely fit in or I still couldn’t completely be seen as strictly the same,” he said.
Simone Rumph ’19, who primarily identifies as African-American but also Greek and Brazilian, added that Bowdoin’s dating and hookup scene made her worry about being exoticized because of her race.
“You can see it in the way people approach you. They don’t approach you in a way that other girls will be approached,” she said.
Many students notice that the parties hosted by College Houses and by affinity groups—both of which are open to the entire student body—tend to have different attendees.
“Af-Am, whenever they have parties, it’s usually people of color that go,” said Strange.
“I didn’t really process immediately that [when I] went into a College House party as a freshman I might be the only Asian person that I could see,” Chung said.
Racial divides at College Houses and other campus events lead some students of color to question whether Bowdoin’s campus is self-segregated. Strange noticed this phenomenon at some of the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) hearings following the “tequila” party.
“After the meeting at BSG, I noticed how segregated it was,” he said. “People of color stood on one side and then there were all white people on the outside and it was just so interesting to me. I don’t know how or why that happened. And it happens in the classroom too, I notice. And I don’t know why.”
The impact of race is not limited to social groups or student government meetings. Instead, students of color say that race sometimes influences their academic experiences and their relationships with professors.
Many students expressed that the scarcity of students of color at Bowdoin places a burden on individuals to represent everyone of their racial background.
“Sometimes you feel like the class looks to you to act as a spokesperson for black students,” Lewis said.
Some students also worry that their personal behaviors might unintentionally reinforce or inscribe racial stereotypes at Bowdoin and beyond.
“I find that I do very well at academics here at Bowdoin, which is fine,” Chung said. “But I think that at the same time there’s this sort of lingering thought in my mind: Am I sort of just perpetuating the stereotype of the model minority? Like do my peers only think I’m doing well because I’m Asian or do they actually recognize all the work that I’m putting into academics?”
Dylan Goodwill '17
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In addition to peer-to-peer interactions, race sometimes informs students’ interactions with faculty. While 37 percent of Bowdoin students identify as minorities, only 14 percent of faculty members do, according to the College’s Common Data Set.
“I try not to put race as a factor… [but] the professor that inspired me the most to date on this campus was a professor who identified herself as Latina,” Siguencia said. “Although she helped me so much in the field of study that I was in the class of, we talked so much about our experiences because it just correlated so much, saying that we understand the struggles that we’re facing because no one else here on this campus does.”
Student experiences with race and faculty are not always positive, however. Goodwill said she has encountered several instances of overt racism from professors.
“It was comments,” she said. “And one of them was last semester but then one of them was my freshman year. And being a freshman in your first-year seminar, and it’s your first time on campus it’s like how do you deal with that?”
Other students expressed that their families’ backgrounds—especially financial ones—have added pressure to succeed academically at Bowdoin. Siguencia said he feels he cannot become too involved in Bowdoin’s party or drinking scene because he fears his academics will suffer.
“What if—worst-case scenario—what if I were to fail? What do I have to fall back on?” he said.
Despite the importance of academics, several students commented that the burden of dealing with racial issues can be overwhelming and distracts them from their studies.
“It’s like you come to a place where you’re supposed to be safe and you’re supposed to be able to focus on your studies and you’re experiencing all of this other stuff as well, all this extra emotional baggage,” Hong said.
For many students, racially-charged campus events only added to this emotional labor. Several students expressed that they wished their professors would give greater acknowledgement to events like the “tequila” and “gangster” parties.
“You know that there are students on this campus who don’t even want to go to class because they’re so hurt by this,” said Hong.
“I am a student in your class [who] is clearly being affected by everything that’s going on,” added Raquel Santizo ’19, who identifies as Latin American, more specifically Peruvian.
While students did not expect their professors to coddle them, several said that they wished their professors would acknowledge the difficulty of the situations or facilitate discussions around them.
“My professors are fully capable of giving us not information, but facilitating thoughtful conversation the way they do in a normal class,” Alam said.
Even with the absence of faculty attention, Alam added that he felt campus discussions about race were worthwhile.
“Although [the “tequila” party] has caused a lot of tension and all these different things, I do wholeheartedly believe that it created a lot of important dialogue,” he said. “I think that we should be able to do that without having it be prompted by incidents where people become upset or offended. So proactive engagement with these issues is important.”
Hong added that campus conversations make her more aware of racial issues in the outside world.
“I identify being a person of color more than I used to and I used to not group Asian-Americans in with people of color. And so now that I do I think I care more deeply about national issues that are going on, like the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “I think it would be easier to ignore if I didn’t identify as a student of color… I’m more present I guess for conversations about race than I was when I first got to Bowdoin.”
Racial issues still exist when students of color leave Bowdoin’s immediate campus. According to 2010 census data, the population of Brunswick is 93 percent white, a fact that can be jarring for students who grew up in racially diverse environments.
Santizo, who grew up in Los Angeles, noticed these demographics as she prepared to move in last fall.
“My mom said: ‘Raquel, I think you’re the only Hispanic girl in this whole state,’” she said.
Alam noted that, while he had not personally encountered racism off campus, several female Muslim students had.
Off campus interactions serve as a reminder that, while the outside world may not discuss race as often as Bowdoin students do, racial issues nonetheless continue to play a role in the lives of students of color.
“When I graduate, part of it will be easier because I won’t be constantly faced everyday where we are so engaged and I’ll probably be able to just go about my daily life,” Hong said. “But I think once you’re conscious about race and you’re conscious about the implications of race you can’t really ever forget that.”
Talk of the Quad: What I did for love
A fun fact about me is that I spent my middle school and high school summers at musical theater camp. I wasn’t very good—directors and teachers and my mom liked to tell me that I had “a really great stage presence!” which means that I could fake it pretty well, even though my voice was closer to the bottom end of average.
My tenure as a thespian left me with a dusty box of stage makeup, a rather awful pirouette and an only-slightly-secret love for musicals. My favorite parts of musicals are their finales. I like the way that they’re joyous, even when they’re sad. Finales feel like endings—solid, with-a-bang, close-up-the-story endings. I like endings. I read the last five pages of a book when I’m only halfway through. I like end-of-the-year banquets. I liked the view out the back of the car driving up the road on the way home from camp. Endings are romantic and solid, simple and comforting.
It’s May of senior year, and I’ve been thinking about endings a lot. I picture the way the Quad will look at graduation, my cap and gown and white dress on the museum steps. I’ve thought about the places that I will want to go on campus and the things that I will want to say to people before I drive across the bridge out of Maine. I want those moments to feel a certain way. Take a bow, curtain falls, resolution.
I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago about what the end of Bowdoin will be like. It will be frenetic, he said. You graduate, and then you’re torn between parents and friends on the Quad, and you can’t find all the people you want to see, and there’s lunch and dinner and last-minute packing, and then you just sort of leave. Bowdoin fades off—an ellipsis, not an exclamation point.
That’s weird and scary. Four years of snow and exams and College House parties and housing lotteries should not just fizzle out and fade to gray; they must deserve more. But to deserve a romantic ending, Bowdoin would need to be finished. The plotlines would be tied up and the questions would be answered and the reprise would be swelling in the background. And that’s not the case.
It’s easy to forget in the midst of the nostalgia induced by impending graduation, but I was really unhappy for my first two years here. It wasn’t Bowdoin, not really—my unhappiness was temporal, not spatial. But panic attacks in the back row of chemistry aren’t fun, regardless of why they happened.
I took my first antidepressant in the back corner of Smith Union in April of my sophomore year. It was one of the scarier things I’ve ever done—suddenly, the messed up stuff in my brain materialized as a real thing that I couldn’t get rid of on my own. Meds were not going to fix me, but they could clear the fog enough to pinpoint what I needed to wrestle with. It’s been two years of that. I was going to stop my prescription this month. I was going to be done by the time I got my diploma. But I’m not ready, not yet. I’m not quite done.
Here are other things I left undone after four years: I never quite got back in shape after a knee injury; I didn’t master statistics. I’ve told a lot of stories in the Orient, but I didn’t tell them all, and I didn’t tell some as well as I should have. There are a few first drafts of essays on my computer that needed second drafts. There are people I should yell at; there are people I should thank.
There are a few weeks left until graduation, and there’s no way that I’m going to tie up all of those loose ends. I can see them flapping behind me, a strange checklist of consequences and failures and unanswered emails. They feel comfortable, though, like old friends. That’s what I’ve learned best in four years—to let things go unfinished.
Here is what Bowdoin has taught me: I can be happy without being okay, and I can be proud of something without it being perfect. Maybe it wasn’t Bowdoin that taught me those things; maybe it was just four years away and four years of getting older. Regardless, those are the lessons I’m leaving with, and I think they’re the ones I needed. Even without a final trumpet blast, I feel good about walking away.
Nicole Wetsman is a member of the Class of 2016.
About Town: Maine Street’s new king: Adrian Reyes thrives with new hair studio
I had to wait for my interview with Adrian Reyes, barber and owner of Kings and Queens Hair Studio on Maine Street. My wait was more comfortable than inconvenient—his lobby is warm, adorned by well-stuffed black leather couches and new issues of Allure. His business, known as the only barbershop in Brunswick with the skills to cut ethnic hair, is booming. Reyes embraces the busyness and his energy was tangible, translated into upbeat engagement with each person who walked through his doors.
He fit in the interview while working with a new customer, who hadn’t gotten a haircut since arriving months ago to work at Bath Iron Works. He was referred to Kings and Queens by a friend.
“I used to be a chef at Bowdoin College, and the students were asking me who was cutting my hair,” Reyes explained. “At the time, I cut my own hair. I knew there was a niche, I knew there was something up here that was special because no barbers here could do what I do.”
“I was the first one cutting Bowdoin College’s hair, African-Americans, Hispanics—I’m Puerto Rican,” Reyes said. Hailing from Florida, Reyes found Maine to be “a culture shock” when he moved here with his family as a teenager. Upon moving, he, like many Bowdoin students, could not find a hairstylist.
“A lot of seniors are like, ‘Oh man, the freshmen are so lucky that they have you here now!’ They used to have to wait to go home [to get their hair cut]. The only time they actually looked good was actually right after breaks. Now, they can maintain their style.”
Yet, he refuses to be pigeonholed. “If you look on my page, at Facebook, I can do black, white, Puerto Rican, Chinese—any hair, I can cut it.” While I was in the shop, a white man in camouflaged uniform gave a big thumb’s up, saying “I would drive anywhere to get my hair cut by Adrian.”
Although there are few other hairstylists with the skills to cut ethnic hair, Reyes also stands out with his individual attention to clients. “As a barber, man, we get a lot of clients who really feel with us. We’re their shrink, we’re their best friend,” he said. Reyes is as close with his clients as he is his family, who were visiting him in the shop at the time.
His grandmother (who calls Reyes “sugarplum” and hugged me before leaving) was present throughout the interview, along with his mother. “[My mom] is my manager, she’s the one that takes care of all the boring stuff,” Reyes said, smiling. “I learned humility from my mother.”His mother, who had been listening to our interview while she swept, interjected here: “He’s been humble since he was born,” she said. “He was a sweet, calm child.”
“I was a punk,” Reyes countered. He had a son at 18 and has since separated from his son’s biological mother. “She took a different path,” he said, “I’m a family man.”
Adrian immediately brightened upon mention of his son. “He loves reading. We read to him at nighttime, we have to. Do I want to, no, I’m tired, but I have to, to get him where he needs to be. As his parent, it’s my responsibility.” Adrian lives in Yarmouth, now, because it is a better place to raise kids than the Portland suburb in which he grew up.
“My favorite part about being a dad is to guide my kids, give them things I didn’t have, guide them where I didn’t have guidance when I was younger. When I said I was a punk, I was a punk. I had to land in jail to get where I am, it was a complete 180,” Reyes declared.
He tries to relate this guidance to some of his younger customers. “They see the success, but they don’t see the struggle I went through.”
Reyes works long days, and coaches baseball Wednesday nights. Each day is packed with work and preparation for his new daughter, Julianna, who is due in two weeks. Potential surrounds Reyes, and he’s meeting it.
“My dream was to be ready by the time she was here, and I am,” he said.
The Freshman Fifteen: ‘Freshman fifteen’ to SWUG: a look back at four years of Bowdoin
“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Tangled,’ but when my parents left me all by my lonesome on the prestigious Bowdoin campus two weeks ago, I felt pretty much how I imagine Princess Rapunzel did when she left her tower: struck by a mix of horror and absolute freedom.”
At the beginning of my freshman year at Bowdoin, I wrote these words for my first article in The Orient. It was the start of “The Freshman Fifteen,” a column where I talked about my experience as a first year at Bowdoin. In many ways, this column was empowering because in a new environment, where I was totally unknown, I had an outlet to make a name for who I was going to be on campus.
The column four years ago was very light humored. I wanted my voice to be quirky and satiric because that is who I was and it is who I still am. To me, my column was wonderfully silly and dorky (take for instance the controversial “to Bean boots or not to Bean boots” debate of 2012). Still, I cannot help but realize that a lot of my column was trying to embody some sort of college stereotype of what I was supposed to be going through instead of speaking to what I was really going through.
I never mentioned that month-long period when I felt borderline depressed. I was ten pounds underweight due to health issues. My grades second semester weren’t quite matching up to the ones I had made my first. My roommates, who once had been good friends, now were barely speaking with me. Bowdoin is awesome, but not always. I definitely think one of the most difficult parts of my first-year here was that I was afraid to admit to people when I was unhappy. Somehow that felt like admitting some sort of defeat.
Luckily, those hard times were equaled by happy ones. Like when I decided to join the crew team and found a niche of people who I really clicked with, or getting a solo in BOKA and singing Little Talks by “Of Monsters and Men” with Nick Walker, or finding an eclectic German study group and forming the JJJ/three musketeers club. Also, just the German department in general. Seriously, it’s the best department at this school.
Reading the column, I am reminded of the ways in which campus has changed. Four years ago, the biggest scandals at Bowdoin were related to hazing and goldfish instead of race and cultural appropriation. Yik Yak did not exist—nor did President Clayton Rose.
I am also reminded of the ways in which I have changed. When I was a first year, I made sure to start any paper a week in advance. I was that kid that got ahead on homework every Friday and Saturday and did every single reading. I wore a lot of cute 50s style dresses with tights even when it was the middle of winter. I bought a coat because it was the same one that Zooey Deschanel had and not actually because it was warm. I wrote an article about how stressful Ivies seemed, because I didn’t understand how to get all of my work done and party at the same time.
Now, I’ve realized that skipping readings to enjoy a weekend hike or even just a late night conversation with roommates is completely okay. I remember the first paper I wrote without actually reading the book. I got an “A” even though my previous paper, in which I had read the book was graded a “B.” I garnered the power to write papers at the last minute and noticed the outcome was sometimes better because I didn’t overthink things. All of a sudden what “being a good student” meant was really confusing.
At this point in my Bowdoin career, I’ve embraced SWUG culture and love to wear oversized sweatshirts and all that. I can eat alone in the dining hall for dinner and feel like a boss. Going to a party completely sober and dancing like a weirdo is better than those parties where I spent a lot of time on my outfit and tried to act chill. Reaching the point of not caring is both an extremely freeing and somewhat frightening moment. When I try to offer these insights to the current first-years here, I notice a lot of them already know these things and are already way cooler than I am.
As I speak about senior year, I realize I’m brushing over a lot of the hard moments I have had this year. But, I’m also not quite ready to talk about them in this column, so perhaps you will have to wait another four years for the real scoop.
Now the end is nigh and I feel all the cliché mixed feelings about being ready to leave, and yet also not wanting to say goodbye. I am excited by the idea of gaining my financial independence, but have no idea how to pay taxes. Seriously, can someone teach me? What is more, I can’t help but notice that as much as I’ve changed, my prospects looking forward may not actually be so different from where I started. I ironically find myself once again “struck by a mix of horror and absolute freedom.”
Navarro ‘16 a world-famous Robocup referee
Little do most Bowdoin students know, a world famous celebrity is in their midst—in the world of RoboCup, that is. Dan Navarro ’16 has earned a spot as a referee for the Robot Soccer World Cup.
The event is exactly what it sounds like—autonomous humanoid robot soccer players made by computer scientists compete in international competitions. The RoboCup tournament was founded in 1997 with the hope that by 2050, someone will have assembled a team of robot athletes that could beat the human FIFA World Cup champions of that year. However, Navarro sees this as an overly ambitious goal.
“Maybe one day in a hundred years it’ll happen, but we’re not even close,” said Navarro. Still, the event has generated a lot of hype globally. Navarro lists Iran, Australia and Germany as some of the world’s biggest RoboCup fanatics. In Germany, it’s broadcast on national television.Navarro only found the sport during his sophomore year at Bowdoin.
“My [first] year, I came in thinking I was going to be a physics major, but I was undeclared,” Navarro said. “My roommate was a computer science major, and he badgered me over and over again to take [Introduction to Computer Science]. I think I took it my sophomore fall.”At the end of that year, Navarro was unable to find a physics research position, so he asked to do research with Professor of Computer Science Eric Chown. Chown invited Navarro to work with Bowdoin’s RoboCup team for the summer.
Although Navarro enjoys the work of programming the robots, he said that he prefers to referee RoboCup tournaments.
He started by reffing games within his own pool. Navarro and his referee partner, Daniel Zeller ’15, practiced in those early games and came up with techniques that not only worked but also stood out. There are three types of referees in RoboCup: game controller, head ref and assistant ref. Navarro typically works as the game controller.
“The game controller and the head ref have to be in really good communication,” said Navarro. “If [Zeller]—who was the head ref—said anything, I would always announce it back to him to confirm that I did it. A lot of teams don’t do that, and they have a lot of miscommunication.”Miscommunication draws a frightening amount of anger from the diehard fans. According to him, the tournaments’ crowds noticed and appreciated Navarro’s efficient and audible communication skills. Their high approval ratings granted him the position of the assistant referee at the semifinals in Germany during his first year reffing and head referee in the final game in China his second year.
Navarro finds the high pressure environment of the Robot Soccer World Cup to be thrilling. He said that many programmers at the event are writing their Ph.D’s on robotics and have a lot on the line.
“It’s really competitive,” he said. “Imagine a kid’s Little League game where the dads are shouting on the sideline times a million. These robots are people’s babies.”
Navarro noted an instance when the pressures from the crowd felt intense. A fellow referee had made an incorrect call; the rules on how to proceed were unclear. The correct call would have allowed Chile’s team to win the game and qualify for playoffs.
“Instead, they didn’t leave their pool. Thad a huge fit. They were screaming and shouting at [Zeller.] I swear, they wanted to kill him,” Navarro said. “His shot at reffing in the finals was lost, so he was really sad. He was really scared of what they’d do to him.”
Despite the intense pressure and ceaseless shouting, Navarro said he enjoys reffing.Recently, Navarro has stopped participating in RoboCup due to his busy schedule, but he hopes to return to it some day.
“I’ve always said that my ideal job would be to get a fellowship to be a professional ref for the league,” said Navarro.
Tapped out: Beers from home and away: Long Trail and Oskar Blues beers
As we reach the final installment of our beer-reviewing saga, the time has come to pay homage both to the temporary home state that has treated us so well and to the states that made us each who we are today. This week we decided to celebrate our favorite Maine beer, sample brews from William’s Green Mountain State of Vermont and try and save face for Shan’s home state of North Carolina and show that it is known for good beer and not just bigotry and being an international civil rights embarrassment. #WeAreNotThis. Shan: For the beer sticklers out there who will try and call me on this, I will start with a disclaimer: I am aware that Oskar Blues was originally founded in Lyons, Colo. (and, fun fact, is the current employer of the esteemed Mr. Polar Bear Class of 2016 himself, Ben WooChing). However, in 2012, Oskar Blues opened a branch in Brevard, N.C. and quickly established themselves as a brewery that made itself at home in the fast-growing N.C. beer scene. Over the summer, while working part-time in a restaurant in my hometown in Durham, one of the highlights of the night was sitting down at the bar after a long shift and enjoying a freshly-poured glass of Oskar Blues’ Pinner Throwback IPA. The name “throwback” is somewhat misleading, as it’s more along the lines of a session American Pale Ale, but any downsides of the beer end there. It packs an incredible amount of hop flavor and aroma, but has an amazing citrusy tartness that more than makes up for its relatively-low 35 IBUs. Combining its incredible taste with its light mouthfeel, I may have to give it a leg-up on last column’s session ale favorite, the Founders All Day IPA. Pinner is truly a beer that makes me think of warm Bull Durham summer nights whenever I taste it. William: Brewed in the rural town of Bridgewater, Vt., Long Trail stands as one of the Green Mountain State’s most popular beers. This brewery is about as local as it gets for me, as I live in the bordering town of Woodstock, exactly 8.6 miles from Long Trail headquarters. Unsurprisingly, I am quite biased. Ever since I was a first year, I have bragged to friends about the enjoyable malts and hops of this beloved Vermont company, trying to convince them to give Long Trail a try. All to no avail. Long Trail’s Limbo IPA is one of their better beers, a double IPA that brings 80 IBUs and 7.6 percent ABV. Those of you who are true IPA gurus will know of the legendary Vermont double IPA, Heady Topper. Limbo is Long Trail’s response.When we cracked open the Limbo and poured into our special glasses, we were perplexed by its aroma. Shan and I discussed long and hard about what we thought the smell reminded us of, until we agreed upon caramelized peaches. With 80 IBUs, Limbo brings with it a quite bitter taste, especially at the end of the sip. Compared to the Pinner, the Limbo had little of the tart, grapefruit taste. Instead, we found that the caramelized peach smell also imbedded itself in the flavor. Although Shan and I have enjoyed Limbo in the past, it did not shine in comparison to the Pinner. It physically pains me to admit it, but Vermont didn’t hold its own in our tasting. Shan & William: It was with misty eyes and nostalgia in our hearts that we set about deciding on a beer that could signify the love we feel for the state that has treated us so well over the past four years. But when push came to shove, we knew that there was only one beer that captured both of our hearts: Lunch. Maine Beer Company opened up in Freeport in 2009 but has quickly become a common name in circles of beer aficionados across the country. Lunch, a 7.0 percent ABV IPA, was the first beer that put them in the big leagues. First brewed in 2011, the first two batches sold out so quickly that Lunch soon gained national recognition as one of the country’s most sought-after craft beers. Five years later, while Maine Beer Co. has increased their production of Lunch so that it is more frequently available, it still hasn’t lost its reputation as one of the best IPAs out there. We first became acquainted with Lunch in the Beer Tent over Homecoming Weekend. Once we had enjoyed our third or fourth glass of the free Lunch that was served on tap, it was clear that we had found a special place in our hearts for this delicious IPA. We opened our Lunch as the final beer in our tasting. After dipping our noses with great ceremony into our glasses, we came away smelling a quite piney and citrusy aroma. The full-bodied taste held the perfect blend of pine, bitterness and citrus, and has a substantial mouthfeel that lives up to the gravitas of Lunch’s street cred. Compared to our two hometown heroes, Lunch struck the perfect balance of the full-bodied bitterness of Limbo combined with the pleasant drinkability and refreshing citrus of Pinner.
In their unique and distinctive ways, each of these beers tasted like home, and we thank our lucky stars to able to feel a connection with each brew and its birthplace. And they were all better than wine.
Katherine gives advice: Cry in the car and reminisce; a step-by-step on graduating
Dear Precious Readers,
There comes a time in every young advice columnist’s life when she, herself, is in need of some wise thoughts. When she finds herself at a loss for how to proceed. When she needs advice. What does she do?
Advice to myself on how to graduate:
1. In the fall, don’t think about it. Ever. Have lobster bakes, and go hiking and lay in bed. You have so much time. You have all the time in the world.
2. Go to the mandatory Career Planning meeting. Bring a matcha latte. Laugh when they make you do the handshakes. The handshakes are ridiculous.
3. Fill out your Intent-to-Graduate form in November. Think perhaps you should panic. Go to brunch instead. You have so much time.
4. Find a job in a foreign place. Drink cheap champagne. Picture yourself in Europe. The picture is a little bit lonely.
5. Drink beers with friends instead of reading. Drink too many beers. Fall asleep in your friend’s bed by accident because you don’t want to leave, because you can’t stand to be alone. Wake up at five in the morning. Walk home.
6. Cry in the car listening to Adele. You feel ridiculous. You are ridiculous. You aren’t sure if you are sad, or if you just want to be.
7. Go on spring break with your friends. Sit on the deck of a beach house in California and drink wine and eat goat cheese. Laugh. Laugh harder.
8. Come back. Fight with a friend about relatively nothing, preferably at a party, preferably while you are drunk. Say, “Why are you so anxious!” Hear, “You’re projecting.” The next day, buy each other boxes of raspberries and never speak of it again.
10. Order your cap and gown. Panic. You thought you had so much time.
11. Picture yourself next year, eating pastries sitting on a dock by the sea unable to eavesdrop on strangers speaking a language you don’t understand. Look around the Moulton Light Room. Wonder if you are tired of eavesdropping anyway. Wonder if you are tired of a lot of things.
12. Finish your last essays. Suddenly feel that Matthew Arnold and James Joyce and Charles Dickens aren’t really that important anymore. Why did you used to believe they were so important? Hand in the essay. Receive a B-.
13. Cling to your books. Reorganize them ten times in your room, which you will pack up in only a few weeks. Reread passages from Hawthorne and Whitman and Gawain and Virginia Woolf. Pour over the timestamps of the ones from the library. Wonder who checked out The Bostonians in 1986. Wonder if they ever kissed anyone on the museum steps.
14. Sit in your car as you’re about to drive away from a party. Look in at the lights of the house spilling through the windows. See people inside. They laugh, they talk, but you cannot hear them. You love these people. But you can’t go back in now and it’s getting late, and you’re already going, and so you’re gone.
Talk of the Quad: Just listen
Throughout my childhood, he was a “functioning alcoholic.” Sometimes he held a job in music, and sometimes he was available as a father. I saw his addiction as a thing of the past; my father used to be an addict, but now he’s better. Whenever addiction was brought up in grade school, I felt proud to say my dad used to be an alcoholic, but don’t worry because it happened before I was born. I was the kid who had addiction “in the family.”
It is so incredibly draining to be let down time and time again. I believed every excuse he told me. I trusted him and helped him keep it up. First alcohol, then pills. I now understand why he shuttled me around to various doctors for his back problems. I was a moving piece in his game, an innocent target. Now I know addiction does not end—it is a daily battle.
Today, my father is homeless. He lives in a warehouse where his failed motorcycle business used to be. He sits in an office chair fixing guitars from the Internet that he hopes to sell for “big bucks.” His companion is a pit bull. They sleep on the couch together and eat the same foods—I am thankful he has company.
I do not know what his day looks like or whom he interacts with in the real world. I pray he is not drinking or playing poker with his friends or spending time with his old mistress. He turned 54 a few weeks ago, marking the 11th month since I have seen him.
Parents are expected to be there for you, love you and teach you. They brought you into this world and are responsible for helping you navigate it. For me, it’s different. At Bowdoin, I put on the façade of a normal student, one who worries about her next paper or dinner plans. Yet I carry this unbearable weight on my shoulders. And I know others do the same. We try to hide our anxieties, our fears, our past, our present, but it’s important to be open about them and to speak about them, because this façade is not healthy. It is not real.
Last semester, I read an article titled, “9 Signs You Have a Toxic Parent.” Number five hit me hard. “They refuse to let you grow up.” It is impossible for me to be a woman in my dad’s mind because that means I have become an adult worthy and willing to fight back. Saying this feels right but neglects to take into account his sickness. I can scream and yell at the top of my lungs how sad I am, how depressed I am mourning the loss of my parent to addiction, but it won’t make a difference until he decides to change the course of his life. I constantly ask myself, “Why am I or why is my brother not a good enough reason for him to get healthy?” I cannot apply reason to these questions because he is incapable of being rational. I think back to the time he called me from jail when I was at a Baxter affiliate night during my first year or the time I got a text in the Pub when he told me he was thinking about killing the pit bull puppy. Every time I would tell my friends and laugh it off. I was oblivious to the unhealthy extent at which he confided in me as a teenager and then young adult. No kid knows the protocol when a parent wants to kill a pet or be picked up from jail.
Another element is the constant struggle of sharing or not sharing. I often wonder, “Do I want this person to know this part of my life?” “How will their perception of me change?” “Am I scaring them by sharing my father’s story?” I thought about these questions for a long time before writing this article. I ultimately decided that knowing such an intimate part of my life is essential to knowing me.
We do not know a person’s journey prior to Bowdoin or what they are currently experiencing. I believe that many are often quick to judge and categorize others based on appearance and secondhand stories. We see the girl with the Canada Goose jacket and may think, “That’s an expensive jacket. I bet she also has a beach house.” We see the boy not going to Cabo for Spring Break and wonder, “Why? Isn’t he rich? He hangs out with all the other kids who are going.” We do not always have the whole picture, only bits and pieces. Why make the rest up?
I strongly believe we do not deserve to know just because we ask. Our stories are ours, and we get to decide what to do with them. I am sharing my story with all of you because without it, you cannot fully grasp my identity and my perspective. My reality is that I have a toxic parent, and silence won’t change that—being open is my preferred mode of coping. As Bowdoin students, we are encouraged to share our opinions, but it is also important to just listen.
No matter what age, gender, sexuality or class you identify with, it is our duty as kind peers to be there. I urge whoever is reading this to just sit and listen to your friends. Personally, having someone simply sit with me and physically be present is more than enough if I can’t quite sort my emotions yet. I hope they will do their best to be there for you too. Life is full of surprises, and it’s a missed opportunity if you write someone off based on superficiality or something you heard over brunch.
Abby Motycka is a member of the Class of 2017.
- April 28
Students start financial literacy group to educate campus
At a place like Bowdoin, chances are high that you will find more than a few students who can do calculus and talk about classical literature, but have no clue how to do taxes or what a 401(k) is.
A new Financial Literacy Group on campus is looking to solve this problem by helping to educate students on managing personal finance, a skill often not acquired from a Bowdoin education.
The group, founded by Jessica Gluck '18, aims to educate students through a series of speakers and newsletters.
Gluck’s inspiration for starting this group came over the summer when she was part of a mentorship program with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which deals with corporate and investment banking.
“I [asked myself], ‘How am I learning about finance as a career and managing other people’s money when, personally, I don’t know about finance for myself, personal finance?’” she said. Gluck had heard her friends and peers express similar concerns and decided that creating a club would help herself and others learn about personal finance at Bowdoin.
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster praised the group’s decision to tap into an area of concern for many students.
“Seniors identify [that] the thing they feel least prepared for as they leave Bowdoin is managing their personal finances,” said Foster, referring to the annual survey sent to graduating seniors.“For some of our students, personal financial management is something that is a well-developed skill before they ever set foot on campus,” Foster explained. “For other students, it’s not something they’ve had to spend a lot of time thinking about or planning for, and as they get ready to leave, it becomes apparent that they’re going to be managing their own finances.”
The group’s first event, which was on April 18 in MacMillan House’s living room, featured alumnus Emily Lao ’11. Lao, a financial wellness coach, spoke to a group of approximately 20 students, covering topics from budgeting to saving to negotiating salaries with employers and fielding questions throughout her presentation.
“She was really, really engaging—someone who I think would be great to come back,” said Dave Berlin ’19, the group’s vice president. “Especially for college students, it seems like something that would be really, really dry and uninteresting, but she made it really interesting.”
Next semester, the group plans on holding similar events and will begin emailing articles explaining aspects of personal finance to its members. Gluck and Berlin encourage anyone interested in joining to contact them.
Editor's note (Friday, 5/6/2016 at 2am): This article originally featured a sentence that was misidentified as a quote by Jessica Gluck '18. The quote attribution has been removed and the sentence has been clarified.
- April 28
Doublethink: Your Ivies horoscope
In this, our last column of the year, we tinkered with the idea of writing something sentimental: something about the ephemerality of transitions, and how this temporal space affords us pause to feel our feelings. But then, Tessa got snubbed by Polaris, Carly got the stomach flu and it snowed. So we decided to go in a different direction.
Looking forward to the weekend that is sure to be our Bowdoin social peak (fingers crossed), we couldn’t take any chances. We turned to the hard sciences for guidance. Respected for millennia by ancient Mesopotamians, Shakespeare and Neil DeGrasse Tyson alike, our choice was clear.
Astrology. We raked through the Bowdoin archives and found pages of zodiac forecasts dating back to 1865, the year our fine Ivies tradition commenced. Just as the Ancient Mayans predicted the world’s end in 2012, so too does this Star Chart provide promising insights into Ivies 2016.
Read your own, read them all. We humbly report: Ivies Horoscopes.
Aries (March 21-April 19)In the event that a travelling performer who abstains from milk of cow appears on campus, heed his call to “Go Hard in the MotherF***ing Paint.” As the sun in the sky sets, the sun beneath your feet will appear to enliven your dancing spirit.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)The gravitational pull of powerful Pluto will find you unexpected romance. Ivies Bae could be for now or could be forever, but beware the Winds of Finality blowing from the East: they could strain this cosmic pairing.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)While passion might tickle the pink cheeks of Taurus, beware, Gemini! Venus is setting for you this week. Instead of falling in love, you are likely to fall into the beckoning arms of Somnus, keeper of sleep. Be sure not to nap in an unseasonable snow bank.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)Searching of sustenance in the form of cylindrical meat products, venture to the land beyond the graves. Neptune will kindly cast an umbra to guide your path.
Leo (July 23-August 22)Jupiter’s moons stumble out of alignment for you, Leo. You have spent weeks agonizing over the perfect Brunswick Quad ensemble, yet alas! Best laid plans run amok. Embrace your zodiac lion heart and rally.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)Congratulations, Virgo! Juno, queen of the gods, will spot you losing steam from her perch on a passing asteroid and leave you a gift. One bottle of Andre will hold her Elixir of Stamina for you and you alone--your only challenge is to find it.
Libra (September 23-October 22)Allow the balance inherent to your star sign guide you over the course of this emotionally fraught weekend. Step on glass and make a friend. Shed a tear and have a laugh. Everything that goes in, must come out again. This you know.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)Lillith, the most powerful energy vortex in the Sun-Earth-Moon system, will cause illusions to your vision. Scorpio, you may believe that a tiny Danish hipster sings before you, but have the strength to resist this trickiness.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)In a shocking twist of fate brought on by mischievous Mercury, your elders decide to pop in for a surprise visit this weekend. Be sure to remind them that you are not only studious, but fun.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)Lucky Capricorn will discover an inestimable boon! The convergence of shooting stars in your sign will drop a fanny pack filled with snacks on your doorstep. Be grateful, be decisive.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)Aquarius, while under the spell of solstice, your hubris gets the better of you. You commit a bit too hard to dancing during the guttural Earthsound musical festivities. By moonlight, take care of yourself.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)The ever-present swirling of the planets becomes too much for the muddled Pisces. In attempt to keep up with concentric rotations of the Earth and of the party, you will accidentally perform a séance. Fortunately, the ghosts of Donald B. MacMillan and Thomas B. Reed are in high spirits. Offer them a drink and enjoy the weekend.
Arts & Entertainment
Art exhibit celebrates graduating visual arts majors’ studio work
An exhibit of work created by 17 seniors opens today in the Edwards Center for Art and Dance until today. There will be a reception tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Students worked on their pieces as part of Senior Studio, a course, which is designed to provide seniors with an opportunity to create their own individual body of work.
“All of a sudden, they’ve gone from having set structure and set assignments to really having to be their own driving force behind what they’re doing and why they’re doing it,” said Assistant Professor of Art Jackie Brown, who is leading the studio.
Throughout the semester, students developed their own works with the media of their choice. Students frequently critiqued each other’s work, and faculty were asked to give commentary on several pieces before their completion.
“[Each student], at the beginning of the semester, had a definite interest, and they had kind of honed in on that,” said Henry Austin ’16. “Then through the semester with critical feedback and conversations, they were able to open up and expound on some of those ideas that were very important to them.”
Students used a variety of media in the creation of their works, including projectors, suspended strings and old cars.
“All my work right now is surrounded by these objects that I found in a dump site in the woods nearby,” said Anna Reyes ’16. “[I was interested in] the strange role of me being kind of a rescuer for them but then also taking them out of their final resting place and that weird kind of tension.”
Not all students worked individually. Cody Stack ’16 and Hector Magana ’16 worked together on a series of works investigating experiences and concepts in nostalgia.
“I don’t think the challenge was me and Hector collaborating; it was actually taking the best of the two things that you do and making them work together,” said Stack. “I think we struck a really nice balance between Hector’s linguistic, photographic and pop culture knowledge and skills and how we relate that to the world around him and then some of the things I kind of aesthetically obsess about and the materials I like to play with.”
Many of the artists are excited about being able to display their own culminating work and to see the final projects of their peers.
“It’s been an incredible semester because the variety and breadth of the artwork that’s represented in this show is astounding,” said Austin. “It’s so much more valuable and so much more interesting if the people around you are approaching it and making work that is completely different, [work] you would never dream of making yourself. That’s been one of my favorite parts about this.”
‘Macbeth’ on the steps: Trevor Murray ’16 independent study
Trevor Murray’s ’16 independent senior project culminates this weekend with two performances of Macbeth that will take place on the steps of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. No stranger to the theater, Murray serves as director and costume designer for the show.Murray, who has worked with the theater and dance department throughout his time at Bowdoin and studied Shakespeare while he was abroad, decided to revive a forgotten Bowdoin tradition of “Shakespeare on the Steps” after seeing old pictures of the performances dating back to the early 1900s.
While the production has received funding from Masque and Gown and support from Beyond the Proscenium, a student theater group on campus, most of the work has been within the production. The cast began rehearsals after Spring Break, and so far, weather has been one of the biggest challenges.
“We couldn’t be on the steps Monday, and it’s supposed to rain on Saturday as well, so we have some rain locations which would still be disappointing because it’s really cool to use the steps,” said Murray. “It’s definitely a lot of work to try and pull a show together without a full production team.”
Despite difficulties with the weather, the director and cast have enjoyed the perks an outdoor stage adds to the play. Nick Funnell ’17, who is playing Macduff, expressed his excitement about the setting.
“It’ll be really cool because there’s a long tradition of Shakespeare being outside with Shakespeare in the Park, or even Globe Theater originally,” he said.
“I think having it on the Museum steps does give it a very different vibe, somewhat more gothic,” added Jenna Scott ’19, who plays one of the witches.
With the help of his friend and fellow Shakespeare enthusiast Jamie Weisbach ’16, Murray was able to produce a shortened cut of the play tailored for the Bowdoin audience.
“I think Shakespeare’s really done best when it’s an hour and a half or under,” said Murray. “You’re going to get Shakespeare nerds who will sit down for a three-hour performance and love it, but I think it’s hard for Shakespeare to be that accessible for that long.”
With the cut script, Murray focused on bringing out the theme of time within his rendition.“So Macbeth is the shortest of the tragedies, and time is mentioned very extensively in the script,” said Murray. “You have mentions of when—now, tonight, tomorrow, yesterday—and it’s about Macbeth trying to seize the future [and] put it in the present, so I wanted to capture that aspect of the cut and really try to make it this relentless hour and 15 minutes.”
Some members of cast feel they have benefited greatly from the production being entirely student-run.
“I feel like I’ve become a better actor learning from other actors who will do a production and direct a production,” said Sydney Benjamin ’19. “It’s a lot easier to connect with the director and the other people working on the production because they’ve all been where I am right now.”Others who have worked with Murray before had equal appreciation for his work and dedication to the production.
“[Murray’s] an awesome director for an actor,” said Funnell. “He’s way more about focusing on individual acting, how you see your character and your impulses and what your attitude is behind it.”
“As a director, I think about what story I want to help these actors tell,” said Murray. “I have my own ideas about how certain characters are thinking, so I can try and give that to the actors, and they do with that what they will and tell their own story based on that.”
Spring Dance Concert showcases individuality through modern dance
In a synthesis of modern dance disciplines, the College’s Department of Theater and Dance presents their annual Spring Dance Concert this weekend. Featuring a blend of introductory, intermediate and advanced level classes, the concert explores student individuality through the lens of repertory, choreography and improvisation.
“Dancing is always personal in the sense that we’re dealing with an essentially abstract art form,” said Paul Sarvis, chair of the theater and dance department. “But the forms are human beings, who obviously have biographies. When we work with the students, we’re building the dances around that particular collection of people in that moment of time.”
The production includes a variety of performance, including a student-produced screendance and an advanced-level repertory piece directed by Visiting Artist Laura Peterson.
“[Peterson] has a singular voice in the modern dance scene,” said Sarvis. “She’s working in a way that’s very rigorous and linear and demanding. You can sense a kind of polish and aesthetic sensibility that’s really distinct from the other courses and what typically goes on in the department.”
According to Sarvis, another unique facet of the show is simply the diversity of student performance background. Because Bowdoin does not currently offer a dance major, the department attracts a distinct blend of both experienced and inexperienced dancers.
“We’re not attracting people who want to pursue careers in dance,” said Sarvis. “The program is a balance between giving [the students] a novel experience and having some idea of audience in mind so that what serves the students is also interesting to watch… It’s delightful teaching the range of students who come to us, partly because Bowdoin attracts smart people and people who are curious.”
For several students, their preparation for the Spring Concert has provided an unlikely avenue to explore movement and art in both an academic and recreational light. Maddie Lemal-Brown ’18, a student in the introductory class Making Dances, noted that as a rugby player, her involvement in dance at Bowdoin has challenged the ways she views herself.
“It was an interesting transition into exploring my body in new ways, and it not just being a tool to go faster or be stronger,” Lemal-Brown said. “It’s really about what your body is, how many combinations can you use it for and not just using it for the same combination over and over.”“[Sarvis] said at the beginning of the course that this is ‘serious play,’” Lemal-Brown added.
“That resonated with me. Getting to run around and act like a kid but also allow your own creativity to come back and tying it into academics—it makes you think in a lot of different ways. You have the freedom to think the way you want to… It’s not just dance, it’s reflection on art—on what is art, what is movement and what is the body.”
For Morgan Mills ’16, who choreographed and is performing in a piece called “Dreamscape,” the concert is both a presentation of her semester’s work as well as space to return to an art form she practiced throughout her childhood.
“I never thought I would be able to choreograph my own dance,” she said. “The dance program here gives students the opportunity to learn and pick it up so quickly. I used to have a very set definition of what dance consists of, but that has been expanded so much since coming here.”
“What we aspire to, in the department and the College and I would even say in society as a whole, is the embrace of diversity within a common goal,” Sarvis said. “It’s really a matter of the personalities and establishing a feeling of fluidity and openness. I hope that the audience leaves with an empathetic energy from the dance, but also that they see the articulation of bodies in a way they haven’t before.”
STREET SM(ART): Beyond global art activism
On Wednesday, the artist and activist Atena Farghadani was released from prison in Iran. She was incarcerated about a year ago for creating a political cartoon advocating for reproductive rights and against members of the government. It was her second release. After her first one, the 29-year-old Farghadani made an online video that detailed her experience in prison—including solitary confinement and brutal violence—which landed her in jail once more. In addition to these two convictions, Farghadani has also been charged with threatening national security, insulting the Iranian government and even partaking in “indecent contact” upon shaking her lawyer’s hand after trial. Although international art unions and activist groups alike have stood behind Farghadani through the duration of her ordeal, she plans to remain in Iran. Despite past persecution, Iran is her home. Her attorney, in a statement, wrote that Farghadani’s lifelong dedication to art and activism comes at a “great price;” yet, a vital one in the face of humanity and peace.
Activism often comes from a place of love: one cannot hope for improvement without deep and shining optimism. Perhaps this care relates to Farghadani’s decision to remain in Iran. Concerning her practice, her art exists most poignantly within its initial state: in interaction with contemporary Iranian politics. Placing the work—and her physical self—outside of Iran’s political system impacts its significance, as well as her own identity. Art, as a mediation between the activist self and its author’s society, strikes several complex balances. This is not a new liminality to artist/activists, who straddle multiple boundaries simultaneously. Perhaps the most famous character of this specific duality is China’s Ai Weiwei, who has become somewhat of a posterboy of contemporary art as a reaction to the imposing Chinese government.
The visual language of activism, understood as a reaction to injustice or violations to human rights, is powerful and constantly in flux. Its associated artworks thus shift dramatically regarding national context. In developing rigid, authoritarian governments, artists are first are foremost and heavily oppressed: art is an unknown fear that is emblematic of “free speech,” of anti-censorship. Art represents each power, voice and vehicle. This perhaps explains the shared persecution of Atena Farghadani and Ai Weiwei, who differ by their countries of origin and their respective attributes. There is a distinct and inadmissible difference regarding their international position in relation to the world, but also, in relation to us.
We read global art activism from a Western perspective, and specifically an American one: our enormous and diversely complicated nation often considers itself a form of mediation upon the entire world. This is not quite true, as mediation implies a certain equality and peace. America’s contemporary identity arises out of both idealized values and great oppression, and it is historically, socially and economically distinct. This being said, our country is in interaction—a past, present and future interaction—with every other nation in the world, and it maintains an immense amount of capital. An example of this took place last month when the United States Senate bi-partisanly and unanimously voted to ban the import of Syrian art objects and artifacts trafficked to likely finance terror groups. America’s global and economic power is enormous, and thus, we have an enormous responsibility to respect the national identities of both ourselves and others.
This can be done through the immeasurably powerful weapon of the arts, necessary now more than ever. Art is an imperative force in our changing world. In this column throughout the semester, I have sought to explore the intersections between art and society: particularly within the insular places of Bowdoin and America. I wanted to argue a fundamental importance of arts, but I found that arts courses are all important things by default. In some ways, I tried to prove something I already knew: human nature is contingent upon the arts, which remind us of the interconnectedness of all things.
Curtain Callers presents ‘Into the Woods,’ utilizes unique venue
With finals approaching and the days flying by until Bowdoin students will return to their respective homes, stress is descending on the College. If you want to escape these stressful times for a few moments, allow Curtain Callers to take you “Into the Woods.”
“Into the Woods” is a musical directed by Cordelia Zars ’16 and Max Middleton ’16, with music by Stephen Sondheim. The two worked together on “Sweeney Todd” last semester and paired up this semester for another production.
Unlike most student-produced theater, the musical will be performed in the Bowdoin Chapel. Actor Railey Zantop-Zimlinghaus ’19 said, “I’m really interested to see how it ends up looking in the chapel because it’s not a very typical space.”
She went on to explain that because of the tall ceilings the chapel acoustics are different than those in more common spaces like Pickard Theater, which should make for a unique musical experience.
In order to account for issues with acoustics, some of the show’s blocking goes off the stage and onto the carpeted area bringing it closer to the audience, explained Zars.
In addition to the unique acoustics, the chapel provides for another unexpected obstacle.Zantop-Zimlinghaus explained that there is no backstage in the chapel, so the actors will be in the pews next to the audience when not on stage.
While the chapel is not typically used for theater, the cast has learned to work with these new challenges.
“We really had to work around [the different space], which has both been a really frustrating process and a cool one because we’ve gotten to be more creative with our show,” said Zars.“The staging is minimal, we’ve made everything ourselves with scissors and tape,” she said. “We’re not pretending that it’s a huge production with elaborate sets and elaborate sound systems, it’s just us on stage.”
When asked what her biggest challenge has been as a co-director, Zars said that the show has been a huge time commitment.
“It’s kind of like the best and the hardest that it takes a lot of energy, but when you’re so immersed in something like that it gives a lot of energy back,” she said.
She said that the biggest challenge the group faced as a whole was finding a rehearsal schedule that could work for everyone. As Bowdoin students often tend to be overcommitted, having a cast of 19 busy actors provided for a special challenge.
The challenge seemed to be worth it, however, for the additions that each member brings to the stage.
“We have a really talented group of cast members that we are very lucky to [have] and they’ve just put so much time into it,” said Zars.
For Zars, the musical was a rewarding project in more ways than one.
“Devoting that much time and energy to understanding somebody else’s emotions, somebody who doesn’t even exist...getting your imagination and your levels of empathy to that point is just the most beautiful thing about the show and art in general,” she said.
Zars added, “I think we have made a pretty cohesive and beautiful project and every member of the cast has committed a lot of their emotional and mental energy into making this show really come to life.”
- April 27
One-act by Maddie Lemal-Brown ’18 wins playwriting competition
In a society still dominated by heteronormative outlooks and assumptions, the relationship issues that non-straight people go through can often be overlooked. However, “Rose and Psyche,” a one-act play written by Maddie Lemal-Brown ’18, depicts some of the problems that queer students can encounter as they navigate relationships and their families. Lemal-Brown’s play won Masque and Gown’s One-Act Festival on April 8.
Lemal-Brown wrote “Rose and Psyche” over the course of about two weeks in February. It is about Sam and Hannah, a lesbian couple attending a college similar to Bowdoin. The play picks up a few days before Valentine’s Day when Sam’s very religious and traditional parents pay her a surprise visit. As a result, Sam decides that she wants to come out to her parents and introduce them to her girlfriend.
The play focuses on one’s struggles to successfully come out and the consequences that arise from being true to oneself. Lemal-Brown explained that her work explores the difficulties in deciding whether it is best to risk losing the people that you love if they fail to accept you for who you are or neglect to accept your own self.
“There’s my own story, my friends’ stories and just general experiences that we’ve had. It made me really think about the spectrum of acceptance that we receive for being non-straight,” she said.
Before picking up creative writing again at the start of this year, Lemal-Brown had not written creatively since she was in high school.
Upon seeing a poster for the festival in Thorne Hall, she decided that writing and submitting a one-act play was a feasible challenge to set for herself. Her play went on to be one of the few selected and was assigned a director, James Jelin ’16, and actors.
Lemal-Brown was excited to be able to watch her play come to life.
“You get a huge adrenaline rush,” said Lemal-Brown. “It’s...a lot of things you will never [expect to] see outside of your own room or your own laptop, and to see it as a fully formed experience was really, really cool,” she said. “Being in the room with people who knew the story I was telling a lot better than most people just gave a lot of weight and responsibility to the words. It made me feel like I had a lot of power that I had to make sure I was careful with.”
Once her play became a reality, even Lemal-Brown acknowledged certain aspects that she had not previously noticed.
“It didn’t occur to me how educational it was until I saw it,” she said. “It does shed light on issues that a lot of Bowdoin students don’t have to think about or have never come across. I’m really happy that the play is doing something to give more visibility to queer students.”
- April 27
nETFLIX AND STRESS: From page to screen: ‘Game of Thrones’ and the adaption process
I can guarantee that if you are a fan of “Game of Thrones,” you know at least one person who constantly compares the show to the books it is based on. Unfortunately for my show-only friends, I am that person, arguably more obnoxious because I binged all five books after watching the last season. To those who are endlessly frustrated by the incessant “Well in the BOOKS…,” I extend an apology. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is finely-crafted, introspective and an incredibly engaging narrative, and because the novels are of obscene length, it’s easy for the reader to become invested in the story. But that doesn’t mean that “Game of Thrones” is an unengaging story, or even that it’s a bad adaptation. It’s an excellent TV show with quality writing, production and acting. The adaptation process itself is why critique is so readily available.
The novel is a purely conceptual medium. All imagery and perception from reading happens within the confines of the consciousness. This means readers can get inside the heads of characters without overt voice-overs. One of the most gripping facets of “A Song of Ice and Fire” is the internal dialogue of the chapter characters. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different set of protagonists, and much of the chapter is their internal narrative and perspective. It’s a fascinating way of understanding the implication of these massively dramatic events on a personal scale, and it allows for some of the most compelling characterization I’ve ever read.
“Game of Thrones” has to tell a different kind of story, as film is a visual experience. The novels it’s based off of thrive not just on internal narrative but also rich exposition and history. It’s difficult to make these things visually compelling, which the show pretty much has to be if it’s going be an entertaining filmic experience. Thrones justifiably sacrifices much of the lore in the literature in favor of spectacle and combat. In doing this, the show maximizes its visual pleasure; the costuming is extravagant, the fight scenes are brutally choreographed and environments are breathtaking. It also succeeds in adapting the books’ compelling dialogue and characterization, helped along by incredible casting. Picking and choosing is always a tough way to adapt, but smart choices make “Game of Thrones” something fans both fresh and old can enjoy.
As a series and not a film, Thrones also has a huge advantage in the adaptation process. One of the largest obstacles standing in the path of the adaptation process is length. Novels are long and meant to be tackled over time. Movies are a one-time, 90-to-200-minute commitment. How do you fit 600 pages of intricate storytelling into a two-hour experience? The short answer is that you can’t, and you just have to show the best possible filmic narrative in those two hours. This often ends up with fans of the original material being disappointed in whatever version of the book ended up on the screen. The series is a simple solution to this problem—by quintupling the time you have to work with, you can track much more of a novel’s plot. Subsequently, the more time audiences spend with characters, the more invested in and knowledgeable of these characters they will be. This also makes television a prime candidate for adapting character-rich novels.
As a fan of both works, it is simultaneously difficult and imperative to refrain from comparison. They are two separate entities, and at this point, their narratives are becoming so far diverged that it’s much more fun to embrace the stories than to try and hold one to the standards of the other. Sometimes I may be frustrated with the show killing off a cool book character who never got his or her due, but at the end of the day, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are still putting out the best fantasy on television.
- April 27
Student band & DJ to perform at Ivies
With the recent results of this year’s Battle of the Bands and DJ Contest, coupled with the addition of house music producer Baauer, has brought student excitement for Ivies to an extreme level. Student band Duck Blind and student DJ Nadim Elhage, who are set to open for Waka Flocka Flame and Baauer, respectively, noted their excitement to open for the two anticipated acts.
“Be ready to have fun,” said Nadim Elhage ‘16. “I’m going to play a lot of stuff that you’d want to dance to and then mix in music that you would want to have fun to. It’s engaging.”
Student bands Duck Blind, Pulse, Gotta Focus and Treefarm competed in the annual event to be the opening act for Ivies 2016. Pulse won second place and will play before Elhage’s set on Saturday. Duck Blind, featuring Harrison Carmichael ’17 on lead guitar, Kyle Losardo ’17 on rhythm guitar, vocals by Mike Paul ’17, Sam Azbel ’18 on bass and Stephen Melgar ’16 on drums, claimed victory and the opportunity to open for Waka Flocka Flame on Thursday night in Smith Union.
“It was cool opening for Logic last year, but I’m excited to be playing in Smith which I think will be a more fun environment to be playing in, especially with the hype around Waka,” said Carmichael.
Judged by Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende, Senior Lecturer in Music Frank Mauceri and President Clayton Rose, Azbel described how different it was to appeal to the judges as opposed to playing just for students.
“We were kind of focusing on what the judges wanted to hear as opposed to what the students wanted to hear,” said Azbel. “We’re usually not nervous for shows, but we were definitely a little bit nervous about Battle of the Bands because we were playing for definitely some really knowledgeable judges.”
“The feedback you get from the judges is also just great,” added Paul. “They tell you all about the technical things you’re doing right and wrong.”
Carmichael, Losardo, Paul and Melgar have played together for three years. Azbel filled in for the band’s bassist last year and has become a permanent member of the band this year.Having won second place at Battle of the Bands last year, Carmichael said the band was hoping to win first this year.
“We’ve just been making a lot of time for practicing this past year,” said Carmichael. “I think we’ve just been very conscious about our song choice and making sure we have songs down that we really enjoy playing.”
Elhage, who has been DJing since his first year at Bowdoin, said his style has progressed to include fewer mainstream artists and more unexpected samples.
“I shy away from mainstream music because I feel like it loses the artistic touch that the music I listen to has,” Elhage said. “I want to stick to the style that [Baauer] has. I don’t want to be too radically different but have some surprises in there.”
Similarly, Duck Band has shifted from playing country music and has been finding a slightly different sound.
“We’re exploring our differences musically,” said Paul. “I’d say we are all so different in the genres that we like, so we were kind of delving deeper into figuring out what we want to play.”
- April 23
Snapshot: Office Hours Improv with Clayton Rose
- April 22
STREET SM(ART): Assumptions of whiteness in indie: a personal account of artistic expression
A couple of weeks ago, I overheard a student in the Brunswick Junior High School class I tutor complain about her piano lessons. Although seventh-grade sentimentalism often confronts me in that classroom, nothing had struck me like this remark before. I turned to her. I couldn’t stop myself. Be grateful for those lessons. I had them too. Then I thought of my younger self, who was awkward amidst variations of heights and stages of puberty at a magnet school in Manhattan. I thought of what playing piano brought me then. My school was also predominantly white— although Upper-East-Side-white, not Maine-white— and all of the strange spaces I ended up coursing through at 13 (as a result of the piano) were white too.
At 13 years old, I found myself the keyboardist of an indie pop all-girl band. This band was a lot of things, but at its core it was a DIY art project that argued cuteness and youth in music could be revolutionary and feminist. In two years, I went from performing recitals to dark bars on the Lower East Side to comedy shows to concert venues on a European tour with my favorite singer. It was special. I became young and musical and privy to a world that seemed far away from that of my classmates. I thought indie music gave me a way out of the averageness and awkwardness of adolescence. In some ways, it allowed me to grow up quickly. In other ways, it did not let me grow at all.
I left my project of two years because touring did not agree with public school. But I left indie because I could not fit its world. Even if I was a good musician, I would never be lithe and pale enough, which I felt deeply as a personal fault. Despite the girl-power and riot-grrrl aphorisms I touted, indie provided no guidance to navigating my identity, which was lonesomely darker and different from those of my bandmates and everyone around me. My Asian-ness pushed boundaries and thus I could feel the edges of the indie’s racial structures. Racism is strange this way. It pervades subcultures that are committed to artistic integrity and nurturing the independent spirit outside of commercial media. In all of that good, insidious individualism and prejudice still distort the world like light through a prism.
I did love music, although I did not love what surrounded it. Something that my friends at Bowdoin remind me of—over three-hour dinners at the vertical tables in Thorne—is that artistic remarkability is not unique here. Many of us have dabbled in different worlds—art, acting, modeling, dance—and still end up here. This is not to say that performing arts careers are sacrificed for education. Rather, the worlds of art can be compared to a world like Bowdoin, where issues of racism and shifting demographics often take the center slot on the front page of the newspaper and the implicitness of being white is challenged by students of color. These are the skills an artist of any sort needs to navigate a world as systematically white as indie, not as an anomaly but as an extraordinary.
An exemplar artist of color in indie is Hari Kondabolu ’04, who spoke candidly about his experiences at Bowdoin last weekend. Kondabolu’s rise to comedy stardom can be attributed to a couple things. Firstly, that he is a good comedian. Secondly, he confronts issues of race humorously and head-on, which he learned to do at Bowdoin, and has spoken about in the Orient. This was of interest to me, seeing as Kondabolu and I performed at the same types of comedy clubs in 2010, but nowadays, he is on the stage of Pickard Theater and I am in the balconies first tier. Perhaps that is a measurable value for spending time in a world like Bowdoin.
This means that there is also an argument to be made for the liberation of indie music. Last week, I watched the Japanese-born Asian American musician Mitski’s first video, and was deeply overcome by her clear engagement and discussion of race. It has been a long time coming, but Asian American indie artists are gaining recognition by the nature of identities which is something I wouldn’t have believed could happen years ago. This is particularly moving to me as I think back to my seventh grade self, who toiled at the piano and believed for a while that she would never forsake music for college, let alone a tiny one in Maine. Then again, it is easy to sign a life away before you know what it will hold. I am glad to feel the world shifting and changing beneath my feet.
Men’s rugby Head Coach Rick Scala ends 30-year career on a high note
This October, men’s club rugby Head Coach Rick Scala announced that he would step down at the close of the 2015-2016 season, after thirty years at the helm of the program.Scala’s coaching position has not yet been filled for the fall season.
Scala hopes to continue to work with the team in the fall in a reduced role. Still, it marks the end of a longstanding and successful era for the team.
Scala is known for his effective blend of coaching players and teaching the game of rugby. He has had great success in bringing in players who have never played before and teaching them the game. According to current players, Scala focuses on getting players to love and enjoy the sport, which breeds a sense of devotion among players.
Scala reflected on his time at Bowdoin and his favorite parts of coaching over the years, emphasizing that the relationships he created with players and coaches have been highlights, providing him with many lifelong friends.
“More than I can count,” said Scala.
One of the most important elements to the rugby team is its network of dedicated alumni. Under Scala, the program has created an atmosphere of team camaraderie from the first week of practice well into each player’s life after Bowdoin.
Coach Scala went out on a high note with an outstanding team performance at the Beast of the East tournament on April 23-24. The team fought hard all weekend, earning a runner up finish in the event. The semi-final victory against Colby, a major rival, was a highlight of the weekend.
The Polar Bears started the tournament strong with a commanding victory over Massachusetts Maritime. In game two, the team jumped to an early lead against Babson and had to withstand a late surge by the Beavers to hold on to the win. The two wins on the first day earned the Polar Bears a spot in the quarterfinals the following day.
The next day the team managed a convincing win versus Western Connecticut for the third straight win of the tournament.
Next up was Colby. After a hard- fought match the contest remained tied at the final whistle and went to sudden death overtime. In the second five-minute period, Zeph Williams ’19 found space on the outside and, about to score the winning try, was taken down when a Colby player tackled him illegally around the neck. The Polar Bears were awarded a penalty try and won the match 17-12.
The weekend was a real capstone for Scala’s tenure as head coach.
“This spring we had a relatively inexperienced squad that really rose to the occasion,” said Scala. “Usually it takes some time before the players get to the level where they can compete on the championship level, and they ended up being runner up in the largest collegiate tournament in the world.”
Of the final four teams in the tournament, three are from Maine.
“I think that the Maine league is better top to bottom than most of the other leagues,” said Scala. “A lot of the other leagues may have one or two really good teams, but it drops off quickly. There is not much of a falloff in Maine.”
Scala noted that the strength of the competition in Maine is great for the team because it fosters an excellent environment for team-wide improvement. Every game forces the team to work hard to meet the high bar of competition and, with Scala at the helm, the team enjoyed remarkable success this past year.
Men’s lacrosse edges Wesleyan to enter NESCAC semifinals for first time in four seasons
After a nail-biting loss in overtime against Wesleyan during the regular season, the third-seeded Polar Bears avenged themselves against the sixth-seeded Cardinals this past Saturday on their own turf. The win over the Cardinals vaulted Bowdoin into the semifinal round of the NESCAC playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Going into the postseason, Bowdoin had racked up six NESCAC wins—with narrow wins over tough opponents such as Williams, Middlebury, Trinity and Bates—making the team a frontrunner entering the NESCAC tournament.
“We had some good wins and started playing very well and carried that momentum through,” said Head Coach Jason Archbell about regular season play. “The overtime win against Middlebury was big, as well as the win against Bates. These two wins against two particularly good teams, who were in the top 10, were key. We just started clicking and connecting, and that’s important.”
The Polar Bears came in strong in the first quarter by starting the game with a goal by Daniel Buckman ’18 just 50 seconds in. The Cardinals quickly answered with a goal less than a minute later, evening the score.
The first quarter continued with multiple shots on goal by Sam Carlin ’19, Buckman, Clayton Wright ’19, Alex Osgood ’17, Matthew Crowell ’18 and Sean Offner ’16. Success came for Bowdoin when Brett Kujala ’17 scored off an assist from Shawn Daly ’18, putting the Bears once again in the lead.
Following Kujala’s goal, Daly scored back-to-back goals giving Bowdoin a 4-1 edge over Wesleyan. The Cardinals would not, however, go quietly. In the last four minutes of the quarter, they scored two goals to end the first quarter with a tight score of 4-3.
The second quarter started off with a back-and-forth as the ball seesawed between the Cardinals and Polar Bears. Bowdoin struck first when Crowell found the back of the net three minutes in. After a goal by the Cardinals, the Polar Bears went on a three-goal surge, with a pair of goals from Kujala and one from Wright. Despite continued attempts on goal from both sides, Wesleyan was able to find the back of net twice—cutting the Bowdoin lead to 8-6 going into halftime.
The second half was tight, with both teams taking many shots on net.
“The second half was more of a defensive battle,” Archbell said. “Both teams were adjusting, and we had some shots on goal but just didn’t sink them.”
Peter Mumford ’17 made a number of outstanding saves in the second half, making the difference and allowing the Bears to maintain their lead.
“Mumford has been playing really well and played well the entire game. He really stepped it up,” said Archbell.
The game remained tight when Wesleyan scored a pair of goals, while Osgood added another goal, leaving Bowdoin with a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
The last quarter was a battle, but the Polar Bears proved resilient with a strong defensive line and an aggressive offense that produced many tough shots on goal. With only 2:56 left in the game, Kujala snuck another one in the net, leaving the score at 10-8 and giving the Polar Bears an insurance goal and a ticket to the NESCAC semifinals.
Bowdoin will face off against Middlebury this weekend. Earlier in their regular season matchup, the Polar Bears shut out the Panthers in overtime.
“Middlebury is very fundamental—there is nothing particularly flashy about them,” said Daly. “However, there are also no big strengths or big weaknesses. We have to go out strong and be very aggressive.”
After a successful season, the Polar Bears are looking forward to nothing less than a NESCAC title.
Bowdoin will play against Middlebury tomorrow in the NESCAC semifinals at Tufts at 3 p.m.
Women’s tennis follows historic win with surprising loss, NESCAC playoffs ahead
The weekend after the Bowdoin women’s tennis team (12-5, 5-3 NESCAC) defeated Williams (16-3, 6-1 NESCAC) for the first time in the program’s history, the Polar Bears lost 7-2 to Tufts (11-6, 5-4 NESCAC) on Saturday. This marked the first loss to the Jumbos in the past four years.
“It’s hard to say exactly what happened, but we came out flat,” said Sam Stalder ’17. “I think we were definitely riding the high of the Williams win, and we may have come out a little bit relaxed, not as focused.”
Captain Tiffany Cheng ’16 attributed the loss to the team not being fully present.
“We were definitely looking into NESCACs and Nationals, and we didn’t really mentally prepare ourselves to play Tufts and grind it out,” said Cheng. “We almost had too much pressure on ourselves from the weekend before. We just weren’t mentally prepared for the match.”
Stalder was one of the singles winners, joining Kyra Silitch ’17 in adding to the Polar Bears’ points. While pleased with her individual win, Stalder was quick to comment that she could have done more to help her team.
“I should have fired up my teammates more—gotten them going,” said Stalder. “I personally was doing well, but I didn’t do a great job spreading that fire.”
Heading into the NESCAC tournament first-round match against Wesleyan (10-4, 6-4 NESCAC) today hosted at Bates, Stalder remains confident despite the loss against Tufts. “I’m not worried, per se, but I also know that we have to play better than we did this past weekend. I know we can do that,” she said.
The Polar Bears beat the Cardinals 5-4 earlier this season in a tough series of matches.
“They’re a good enough team that every single match is pretty evenly matched in terms of talent and skill levels, so every person has to be playing to their capabilities to win,” said Stalder. “No one has an easy match.”
Cheng anticipates a fight from the top of Wesleyan’s ladder.
“They have a tough lineup at the top, and it’s always been a battle,” said Cheng.
“I think we’re definitely kicking ourselves in the butt right now for this past weekend—we’re not happy. We’re pretty pissed. I think that should motivate us going into this weekend,” said Stalder. “I don’t think we’ll let that happen again going into this weekend at NESCACs.”In preparation for the matches, Cheng said the team has been working hard this week to be mentally prepared for the fight against Wesleyan and for the hopes of a match against Williams on Saturday.
“We do something called ‘Doubles Therapy’ where our doubles partners talk together before the matches,” said Cheng. “We do as much as we can, but ultimately, it comes down to each person and how much they really want it.”
The team’s NESCAC tournament draw to play Wesleyan this weekend was unaffected by its loss to Tufts. Looking forward, developing players have also improved over the course of the season, giving the team an additional boost heading into the weekend.
“I think we have the best possible draw that we could for NESCACs,” said Cheng. “We’ve beaten Wesleyan—it was close last time, but we’ve got players who have really upped their game and stepped it up the past couple of weeks...So the sooner we take care of business, we can play Williams, and we know we can beat them as well. We’re really excited and pumped up for this weekend.”
The team is trying to take each match one at a time heading into the weekend.
“We definitely learned from this past weekend how looking too far in advance can hurt us,” said Cheng. “Honestly, we’re just thinking point-by-point.”
Cheng hopes that her team will rally for the weekend, as she remembers how the team fell to Emory (23-5) in out-of-conference play just before coming back to win against Williams.
“We were able to regroup and push forward against Williams, and I’m hopeful that will happen [again]. Unfortunately, it does take some losses to appreciate the wins,” said Cheng. “I think we’ll be ready for this weekend.”
Men’s tennis confident heading into NESCACs
The men’s tennis team closed out the season with a close-fought loss to Tufts as it heads into the NESCAC playoffs this weekend. The Polar Bears enter the tournament as the second seed, which earns them a first-round bye as they wait to play the winner of the third-seeded Williams and sixth-seeded Amherst match.
While the Polar Bears started off leading 2-1 after the doubles matches, they ultimately fell to the Jumbos 5-4, with the final match decided by a two-point margin.
“We competed to the best of our ability and were as focused as possible given the conditions. It’s hard to be proud of any loss, but I think it’s really healthy to encounter adversity,” said captain Luke Trinka ’16. “This is a match that we walk away from not feeling like there are a bunch of things we could’ve done to win the match, but like we did everything we possibly could that was in our control to try and achieve the best possible result, and it just didn’t go our way.”
While ending the season with one of the only two losses for the program this spring is disappointing, the team looks to use this loss as motivation to work hard and stay focused going into the postseason this weekend.
“If we needed any further validation that no team is good enough to simply show up and win, that’s it,” said captain Chase Savage ’16. “It’s probably the best dose of reality from the standpoint of just knowing that we have to bring it every single match, both in terms of energy and also finding a way to play our best.”
Tufts, ranked fifth in the NESCAC and 13th nationally, is only one of the formidable opponents in the NESCAC tournament this weekend. All six competing teams are ranked in the top 15 nationally. While decisive 8-1 and 9-0 victories against Williams and Amherst respectively during the regular season bode well for the team’s success, the players refuse to take their position for granted.
“It’s really easy to look at box scores and say we’re going to walk in and waltz our way through Saturday. We’re not going to,” said Savage. “It’s going to be a grind. If we play Williams, I guarantee they’re going to come at us and come at us hard. If it’s Amherst, they have to win NESCACs in order to make NCAAs this year, so all their guys are going to come out and swing from the hip. So we can’t by any stretch look past Saturday.”
This year, the team enters the tournament as the second seed, matching the highest seeding in program history, and closes out the season with a record of 14-2, the strongest regular season record in recent team history. Head Coach Conor Smith noted that one critical difference with this year’s team is much stronger doubles play.
“With previous teams, we had been playing pretty consistent top-10, maybe even top-five, singles, but you couldn’t say that about our doubles,” said Smith. “If we evaluated our fall results, we had a good fall singles-wise, but we really didn’t doubles-wise. We still had a long way to go, and the guys did a great job of committing themselves in the off season to improving that and getting prepared for the season.”
From the off season to playoffs, hard work and commitment have enabled the players to continue improving in all aspects of their play and progress to the dominant force they are today.
“This team’s work ethic is pretty unparalleled to any former Bowdoin tennis team that I’ve been on,” said Trinka. “It’s not just the hours that the guys spend on the court or that people spend in the gym. There’s a lot of mental preparation that goes into the sport as well, and that has been one of the major reasons why we’ve done so well so far.”Bowdoin plays its first match at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at Bates.
Softball falls short of NESCAC playoffs after third place divisional finish
Despite a 21-15-2 overall record, the Bowdoin softball team missed the NESCAC playoffs after finishing 6-6 in conference play. Both the players and the head coach pointed to inconsistency as a main reason for missing the postseason.
“We were inconsistent at the wrong times,” Head Coach Ryan Sullivan said. “We had some average weekends, and some of those average weekends came against conference teams.” “We weren’t able to string all the parts of the game together at one time. That was our biggest downfall this season,” said Emily Griffin ’17.
According to Sullivan, in addition to general inconsistency, the team struggled with communication, especially during the first part of the season.
“In Florida, we weren’t communicating well on defense, and as hitters, our pitch selection wasn’t great,” Sullivan said.
Griffin agreed that communication was the Achilles’ heel of the team.
“Communication killed us at the beginning of the season,” Griffin said. “Teams got a few more infield hits than they normally would.”
However, after a rough start to the season in Florida, the team began to improve, especially offensively. According to Sullivan, the team’s batting average went up 40 points after Florida, ironically against better pitching. Despite these improvements and a promising lineup, the team wasn’t to make the postseason.
“We have such an enormous amount of talent and more depth and talent in the lineup than in past years. We thought we had it,” Griffin said.
Despite a disappointing season, the team ended on a high note. Last Saturday, after losing the first game of a double header to Trinity at home, 3-2, Bowdoin won in extra innings on a walk-off home run by power-hitting infielder Marisa O’Toole ’17.
“That was an amazing moment,” Griffin said. “There were several people, including myself, crying and hugging her after the game.”
The team will lose three impact seniors in Julia Geaumont, Katie Gately and Nicole Nelson. Geaumont leaves Bowdoin with her name firmly etched in the school record books. As a hitter, she graduates as the single-season home run leader, with eight in 2015, and in the circle, she finishes second all-time in career wins with 46 and third in career winning percentage at 0.767.
She also won the most games in a single season for a Polar Bear pitcher with 16 wins last year. In 2016, she led the conference in innings pitched with 125 and was third in earned run average at 2.35.
Gately will graduate as one of Bowdoin’s top all-time home run hitters.
Sullivan emphasized that the team will miss the seniors.
“They were great captains for us. They were incredibly committed to themselves, to the program and to their teammates,” Sullivan said. “They were all in about what we’re trying to do as a program. It was really a gift to the coaching staff.”
Looking to next season, infielder Natalie Edwards ’18 and catcher Claire McCarthy ’18 will play key roles on the team next year in replacing the offensive production of Geaumont and Gately.
The Polar Bears also hope that Caroline Rice ’19 can repeat her impressive performance as a first year this season. She finished second in the NESCAC in batting average, hitting an even 0.500.
“[Rice has] hit unbelievably this season,” Griffin said. “We have a joke with her that she’s the queen of doubles. She only hits doubles.”
The NESCAC playoffs will start today at Williams, with Trinity facing Williams and Amherst facing Tufts.
Baseball misses playoffs for third straight season
Despite fighting its way to a 20-13 record with a slate of weekend games left before the end of the season, the Bowdoin baseball team could not overcome its NESCAC East foes and missed the playoffs.
The Polar Bears came out of the gate strong during their annual trip to Florida in March, winning their first seven games and heading back north with an 8-3 record. Things began to unravel from there, however. In their first NESCAC matchup against Trinity, the Polar Bears gave up three unearned runs in the first inning and lost to the Bantams 4-3 despite holding Trinity to only two hits.
For shortstop Sean Mullaney ’17, this loss was a negative turning point in the team’s season. “It’s a game we should have won,” said Mullaney. “Defensively, we didn’t make all of the plays. We blew that game, and since then, we’ve struggled in the NESCAC weekend series.”
Bowdoin lost the next day 4-0 but finished out the series with a 5-2 win in Hartford. This became a pattern for the Polar Bears, as they took one of three games in all four NESCAC weekend matchups they played. While Bates and Colby went 12-20 and 11-22 respectively, Bowdoin could not muster a series win against either team.
One bright spot for the team appeared against the top of the conference. Playing within earshot of Waka Flocka Flame and Baauer during Ivies last Saturday, Bowdoin dropped the first game of its doubleheader against Tufts 16-0. The Polar Bears nevertheless managed to rebound in the second game, taking it 5-2 behind seven strong innings from senior Michael Staes.
The Polar Bears’ win, which came during their final game of conference play for the season, spoiled the Jumbos’ perfect NESCAC East record and dropped them to 25-6 (10-1). The Jumbos finished out their NESCAC season with a win against Bates in a rescheduled game, so the Bowdoin loss remains their lone blemish in conference play.
In their final game against Tufts, the Polar Bears managed to solve offensive woes that plagued them throughout the season in conference play. While Mullaney noted that their pitching and defensive play generally kept them in games, he believes that the offense held back the team at points.
Bowdoin worked its way to a .263 team batting average and a .342 on-base percentage.
However, there was a significant gap in runs scored between conference play and non-conference play. During non-conference play, the Polar Bears exploded for 6.05 runs per game. The numbers tell a different story when they were playing against the tough competition of the NESCAC East, though. Bowdoin scored 2.83 runs per game while allowing 5.92.
“It’s just been frustrating because we have a really good overall record, and we couldn’t put it together the weekends that we needed to,” Mullaney said. “As coach would always say, we were always one pitch short or one hit short.”
While the season may have not ended on the note the team hoped after its impressive Florida trip, there is hope for the future. Due to injuries, most notably to catcher and captain Chris Nadeau ’16, and the graduation of some big contributors in 2015, first years and sophomores were forced into important roles on the team. Brandon Lopez ’19 shined on both sides of the ball, hitting .282 and pitching a 4.21 ERA. Luke Cappellano ’19 smacked the second most RBIs on the team at 16, and outfielder Joe Gentile ’18 led the team in batting average at .379.
With all of this talent coming up the ranks, the team looks to improve in conference play and make a deep run into the playoffs in the 2017 season.
- April 29
Bowdoin hosts, takes second place at Robocup US Open
The robots had issues detecting the ball, which was black and white this year. The ball had been bright orange in previous years.
An impressive performance by the Bowdoin RoboCup team last weekend earned them a second place finish at the U.S. Open. They look to build off of this success as they prepare for the World Championships, which will be held in Germany this June.
The Northern Bites are a part of the Standard Platform League (SPL), in which teams compete using five humanoid robots on small, indoor fields. Because all of the teams use practically identical robots that operate completely autonomously, each team’s strengths are based almost entirely on software.
“The goal is by 2050 that a RoboCup team will play the FIFA World Champions using pure human rules in a regular game of soccer,” said Faculty Adviser and Professor of Computer Science Eric Chown. “So every year we make the rules a little bit more like our regular soccer rules—the field gets bigger, we have more robots, eventually we’re going to move outdoors.”
These changes present daunting challenges each year to the teams, forcing them to adapt their code and approach to the sport to accommodate the new rules.
This year the game changed from using a small orange ball to a regular black and white soccer ball. Previously the ball was usually the only orange item on the field, allowing many teams to identify it by its color. However, with various black and white objects surrounding the robots, from the robots themselves to goal posts and field lines, color becomes a much less reliable indicator. Thus for many teams, altering their ball detection techniques was the biggest challenge of this season.
“We’ve seen a lot of teams have trouble detecting the ball,” said aptain Megan Maher ’16. “Actually one of the reasons that the winning team, UT Austin Villa, won is because they had such a great ball detection method, so they wouldn’t lose it that often.”
While the team ultimately fell to a very strong University of Texas team in the championship match, their progression from a shaky 0-0 start to a 2-0 win against University of Miami in the semifinals made the weekend a definite success for the program.
“We started from a position this weekend where it didn’t seem like we could do anything and by the end of the weekend we had finished in second place,” said Chown. “The first half of the championship game was a legitimately great game. Our goalie had been spectacular, he’d made a couple of really great saves and our defense was really solid, we just weren’t getting any offense.”
“We definitely performed a lot better in our last game than in our first game,” said captain Nicole Morin ’16. “Which is good for us because it means we were really great at improving stuff in between games and identifying our weaknesses, which is what the U.S. Open is all about, finding where we need to grow for this summer.”
Looking ahead, the league is constantly pushing itself to achieve the seemingly impossible.
“When I was in graduate school, to get a robot to walk on two legs was almost unheard of and it certainly would involve several Ph.D.’s,” said Chown. “Now our robots walk, and if we’re going to continue to move forward towards real soccer, we need robots that can run. It’s hard to imagine right now since there are I think two robots in the world that have ever run and they’ve been the result of millions of dollars of research.”
The walk engines that control most of the robots are just one example of the numerous technological advancements RoboCup has prompted over the years. In the program’s 11-year history, Bowdoin has stepped up to these challenges at every point, even as one of the only completely undergraduate teams and one of the smallest schools in the SPL.
“Bowdoin students are the second best team in the United States right now. The biggest thing for me is showing Bowdoin students and also people at other schools that our students are capable of anything,” said Chown. “You give them an opportunity, and they will succeed at the same level as these graduate students from around the world who’ve had more training and have more time to work on this and everything else. To me, that’s the pinnacle of the RoboCup experience.
- April 29
Men’s lacrosse enters NESCAC playoffs with high hopes
The Bowdoin men’s lacrosse team (11-4, 7-3 NESCAC) earned the no. 3 seed in the NESCAC tournament after losing to Tufts (13-2, 9-1 NESCAC) 20-10 in its final regular season game on Wednesday. The team has drastically improved since last season, when they finished second to last in the NESCAC with a 2-8 conference record and 3-12 overall.
According to Captain Peter Reuter ’16, this exciting change “speaks volumes to the school.”
However, after the team’s nine game winning streak, they appear to have stumbled a little bit in recent games. Bowdoin will enter the playoffs having lost three of its last five.
The result against Tufts is probably the most concerning, though. The team’s other two recent losses—against Keene State and Wesleyan—were both by only one goal.
Captain Adam FitzGerald ’16 explained that the loss to Wesleyan was actually encouraging.
“We were down four goals with maybe three to four minutes left in the game, and then we were able to claw back and take it to overtime,” said FitzGerald.
Although Wesleyan took the win in the end, Bowdoin took it in stride. According to Reuter, the majority of the team’s recent games against Wesleyan have gone into overtime, making it a consistently exciting matchup for the Polar Bears.
“They’re always kind of a fun team to play,” FitzGerald said. “We always have the best games against them.”
The team’s recent success can be attributed to both the players’ health and focus on individual improvement.
With everyone focused on bettering their own game, the team has been able to improve its results substantially.
“We don’t really rely on one or two guys,” said FitzGerald. “Everyone’s contributing.”
Reuter and Head Coach Jason Archbell pointed to goalie Peter Mumford ’17 as a key player this season. According to Reuter, Mumford’s role as the backbone of the defense has caused a positive chain reaction, impacting all areas of the team. In addition, midfielder Sam Carlin ’19 has been consistent in winning face-offs for the team.
“Just being able to have more possessions has really been the key for success,” said FitzGerald.
In addition to goalkeeping and face-offs, the team has made other improvements on both the offensive and defensive ends.
“We’re defending a lot better than we were before which has been a huge emphasis for us,” said Archbell. “And on the offensive end, we put a lot of onus on shooting better. Our shooting percentage has increased, and we’re getting a lot more high percentage shots closer to the goal.”
According to Reuter and Archbell, the sophomore class as a whole has played a huge role in the team’s success. Many of the sophomores gained experience by starting all of last year. Furthermore, they have been working hard to better themselves.
“They have really good practice work ethics,” said Archbell. “I think that when you have talent that’s working really hard, you’re going to be pretty good.”
The team has been healthy this season, with only a few minor injuries. FitzGerald credits off-season preparation and the work of the training staff for this strength.
Despite the immense growth of the team, Archbell believes there is still room for improvement going into the NESCAC playoffs.
“We’ve probably had too many turnovers and not enough ground balls,” said Archbell. “Certainly, it’s starting to come together.”
Although many of the sophomores gained experience last year, the team is a young one overall and is still learning.
Going forward, the Polar Bears plan on preparing for the tough NESCAC competition they will face in the playoffs. Although the team will consider the “x’s and o’s” to prepare, the players will put more emphasis on making sure the team is doing everything it can to improve.
“We’re trying to look inward and focus on what we need to do to get better, and hopefully that’s enough to overcome whatever opponent we have,” said FitzGerald.
The team is in a good position heading into the playoffs. Reuter noted that the general improvement of the team has been rewarding for the players to see.
“There’s just a sense of excitement that’s kind of flowing throughout the team right now,” said Reuter. “I really do think we have a special group of guys and a special bond that’s been created this year.”
Bowdoin will play its first home playoff game since 2012 tomorrow at 1:00 P.M against Wesleyan.
- April 29
Women's lacrosse concludes middling season with loss to Tufts
The Bowdoin women’s lacrosse team (7-8, 2-8 NESCAC) failed to qualify for NESCAC tournament play for the first time since 2009 after falling to Tufts (9-6, 5-5 NESCAC) 17-8 in the team’s final regular season game on Wednesday. It’s only the second time that Bowdoin will miss the tournament in the NESCAC’s fifteen year history.
Going into Wednesday night, Bowdoin needed a win and a Williams loss (5-10, 2-8 NESCAC) to surpass the Ephs in the NESCAC and grab the eighth and final spot in the tournament. Though Williams lost to Middlebury (14-1, 9-1 NESCAC) in overtime, the Polar Bears were unable to capitalize on their opportunity.
Bowdoin was on its heels from the start, conceding the first five goals of the game. The teams entered the locker room at the half with a 12-2 Tufts advantage.
Though it is a disappointing end to the season, it is worth noting that the NESCAC is extremely competitive this year, with seven teams ranked in the top 20 nationwide.
“Every NESCAC game is a battle,” said head coach Liz Grote. “It makes it exciting… every day you know you need to bring your best game.”
Despite little success in conference play, the team has produced several positive results down the stretch after a difficult start to the season. The Polar Bears’ two conference wins both came at home earlier this month. The first was a back-and-forth 14-12 game against Connecticut College on April 9 and the second was an equally thrilling 11-10 victory over Wesleyan on April 16.
The team also brought the intensity on Senior Day this past Saturday, as Bowdoin crushed Wheaton College 16-3 for of its most convincing wins of the seasons.
“The win against Wheaton this weekend was an absolute, complete game,” said Grote. “That was satisfying, to see the efforts that the team put in that week in practice to really pay off and head into the Tufts game on Wednesday.”
Captain Sophie Janes ’16 says that the team had recently been working most on getting the basics down—passing, catching, ensuring solid 1-v-1 defense, making the right cuts and seeing open space—rather than players individually working to fulfill their own goals.
Janes also noted that the 12-9 loss to Trinity on April 2 was a key game in helping develop the team towards the end of the season.
“We didn’t beat Trinity, but we played very well against them,” said Janes. “I think that was kind of the turning point in our season, in regaining confidence, knowing we can really challenge other very strong teams.”
Unfortunately, the women have had many injuries throughout the season. However, this has given the first years and younger players the opportunity to step up into those roles. Janes noted a key first year has been Natalie Rudin ’19 in the midfield, who has risen to the occasion tremendously.
In addition, captains Emma Beecher ’16, Lindsay Picard ’16, Megan O’Connor ’16 and Janes have been some of the team’s most consistent performers. Janes also credited Mettler Growney ’17 on attack for always bringing the intensity and energy needed and Kayli Weiss ’18 and Erin Morrissey ’19 for staying strong in goal.
“I would say our attack as a unit has been one of the most consistent parts of the game—the pressure that our attack puts on the other team when we don’t have the ball,” said Grote.
One of the team’s main goals recently was increasing its shooting percentage, and it has had success in this category of late. Against Wheaton, for example, Bowdoin scored 16 goals on 29 shots.
- April 28
Women's tennis captures first victory against Williams in program history
The Bowdoin women’s tennis team (12-4, 5-2 NESCAC) sent a message to the rest of the NESCAC with a historic 6-3 victory over second-ranked Williams (14-3, 5-1 NESCAC) on Saturday. The win marks the Polar Bears’ first-ever victory over the Ephs after losing each of the previous 28 meetings.
“I expected a hard match,” said Joulia Likhanskaia ’17 who plays first singles for the team. “I didn’t know who was going to win going in, but we all just really pushed ourselves to the limit and got a great result.”
Bowdoin showed toughness early on, as two of the three doubles teams had impressive comeback victories. The team of Likhanskaia and Tiffany Cheng ’16 found a way to rally back from a 4-1 deficit and win the match 8-6. The pair of Pilar Giffenig ’17 and Maddie Rolph ’19 also dug themselves out of a 4-1 hole to win 9-7. Tess Trinka ’18 and Kyra Silitch ’17 won the other doubles match by a score of 8-5.
“Winning all three doubles matches was huge, but what wasequally huge was the way that we won them,” Likhanskaia said.
In singles, the Polar Bears displayed grace under pressure for the rest of the afternoon. Sam Stalder ’17 came back from losing the second set 6-1 to win an intense third, 7-6. Likhanskaia also won a hard fought three set match, and Cheng won a close two-set match 7-5, 7-6. Stalder was the first player to win her singles match, which brought the Polar Bears within one win of defeating Williams for the first time. Cheng’s win clinched the victory and also took pressure off of Likhanskaia, which allowed her to put the match further out of reach.
“I think the talent levels in almost of all of the matches were very even,” Likhanskaia said. “We just willed ourselves to the win.”
Another factor that drove the team to its victory over the Ephs was the enthusiasm of the large crowd in attendance, many of whom were alumni returning for reunion weekend. Bowdoin fed off this energy and remained resilient even when Williams began to chip away at the Polar Bears’ lead.
“The fact [that it was] during reunion weekend was amazing,” Likhanskaia said. “We had a huge crowd and all of these alums cheering which really helped motivate everybody right until the end.”
Still, the victory was far from a sure bet after Bowdoin’s disappointing performances the weekend before. The Polar Bears lost to NESCAC rival Middlebury 7-2 and top-ranked Emory 8-1. Following the defeats, Bowdoin fell to 11-4 on the season.
“We regrouped after the losses to Middlebury and Emory. We all sat down and had a long talk with each other,” Likhanskaia said. “I think that talk really helped put us in the right mindset on Saturday…Everyone was playing for each other.”
Though the victory against the Ephs was an upset, the gap between Bowdoin and Williams has been narrowing in recent seasons. Two years ago, the Polar Bears lost 7-2, and last year, they lost by only one match in the regular season.
“We’ve definitely been progressively gaining on Williams over the past couple of years,” Likhanskaia said. “So far, this has been our best performance as a team, and I think we’ve kept on improving throughout the season to get to this point.”
“I can’t speak for everyone on the team, but I think this is probably the most satisfying win that I’ve had at Bowdoin,” she continued. “The win reminded us how good we are this year, and it really gave us our confidence back.”
The team got an extra day off to savor the big win, but they will face a difficult Tufts team on the road this weekend.
“We need to remain aware that Tufts is better this year, and we should expect a hard match,” Likhanskaia said.
Bowdoin has won its last four contests against the Jumbos, but this year, Tufts is much improved.
The team will return to action against Tufts at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The Polar Bears will also have to prepare for the NESCAC playoffs, which start next weekend.