“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.
Students launch petition for sanctuary campus
In addition to demonstrations and calls for conversation, Bowdoin students reacted in the week after Donald Trump’s presidential win by creating a petition calling on the administration to designate the College as a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants. As of press time, the petition had 522 signees, which included students, alumni, parents, faculty and community members.
This week, more than 100 colleges have called for the creation of sanctuary campuses, including Harvard, Columbia, UMass Amherst and Wesleyan. The movement is similar to the concept of sanctuary cities, municipalities across the country where local law enforcement declines to release information about undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Trump has promised to mobilize ICE to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Every campus has a different definition of a sanctuary campus, but many include steps which would ensure the safety and privacy of undocumented students.
The Bowdoin petition, among other demands, asks for the College’s immediate assurance of its support of undocumented students, refrainment from voluntary information sharing with ICE and refusal of physical access to campus to ICE. It is addressed directly to President Clayton Rose, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amaez, Director of the Student Multicultural Center Benjamin Harris and Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
Many students also took the post-election political conversation outside of the College, attending protests in Brunswick or Portland.
Jhadha King ’20 gave an impromptu speech at a rally in Portland last Friday.
“I just want to thank everybody for being here because this is the most safe I’ve felt in awhile. Being a woman of color surrounded by this many white people that are all marching for the same cause that I am has made me so empowered,” she told the crowd.
King was surprised by the results of the election but is curious to learn why so many people voted for Trump.
“I don’t just want to be angry or mad or resentful at people. I wanted to understand the other side of it. I didn’t want to base everything off my common misconceptions,” she said.
King said she will continue to protest off campus in an effort to spark more dialogue and keep the movement going. At Bowdoin, she felt that lack of political diversity left her searching for answers about the results.
“It feels like here you have to have a conversation about it … and still go back to your dorm and be surrounded by the unknown of why people would vote this way,” King said.
Daniel Castro Bonilla ’17 attended an on-campus Rally For Love and Strength organized by seniors Hayley Nicholas and Julia Berkman-Hill last Friday and a protest in Brunswick on Saturday and hopes that such events will help those targeted by Trump’s words feel safe.
“A lot of people after Trump’s victory feel they are not safe on this campus, they’re not safe in Brunswick, they’re not safe in the United States,” he said. “When you’re out there demonstrating and rallying up you’re telling others that this is a space where we do support you and we do welcome you.”
At its Wednesday meeting, BSG discussed how it could better support students. Members contemplated the possibility of establishing Bowdoin as a sanctuary campus, though BSG did not create the petition in circulation.
While the number of undocumented students at Bowdoin is relatively small, Class Representative to the BSG Beatrice Cabrera ’20 said that the symbolism of the petition matters.
Representative At-Large Jacob Russell ’17 suggested that BSG could also help with immigration lawyers.
“There is privilege on campus. There are a lot of people who know lawyers,” he said. “We can get immigration lawyers.”
Cabrera said that regardless of political beliefs, students should help one another.
“We are all part of the Bowdoin community and that comes first before who is left and who is right,” she said.
BSG members also thought about how to lead campus conversation about the election results.
“In our position as BSG we can only act as a conduit for conversation at Bowdoin,” said Vice President for the Treasury Irfan Alam ’18.
Alam said his place of privilege and his position on BSG gives him the ability to help others process the results of the election.
“I felt like because I have that privilege, I have a responsibility to use my voice and to fight for those that felt very disempowered by the results of the election,” he said.
Last Friday, BSG hosted an open discussion that used software allowing students to submit questions and comments anonymously that were then projected onto a large monitor. Although students made comments, Alam said BSG still has work to do to encourage students with more conservative opinions to speak up.
“It seems that Donald Trump supporters—and this is not me speaking on their behalf—did still feel like it was a hostile environment,” he said. “Perhaps the anonymity prevented them from feeling like they would be personally attacked, however, they still felt that potentially their ideas would be attacked and that persistent requesting for them to speak up was just people chomping at the bit to jump on an idea that was contrary to theirs.”
Full classes limit students in computer science, sociology
As Bowdoin students register for spring semester courses, many are rushing frantically to get on waitlists after finding themselves shut out from classes. In departments such as computer science and sociology, the problem is particularly acute: there are simply not enough professors for students to take classes they sometimes need for their majors.
“It’s lowkey like ‘The Hunger Games,’” said Beleicia Bullock ’19.
Interest in computer science as a discipline has skyrocketed over the past few years at Bowdoin according to Laura Toma, chair of the computer science department.
“The number of majors quadrupled over the last five years,” she said. “We went from 12 majors a year to now 39 majors a year. And the number of faculty has stayed more or less the same.”
Students must pass Introduction to Computer Science and Data Structures before they can move onto any higher level classes, although some students with programming backgrounds are allowed to skip Introduction to Computer Science. This semester, the department is offering two sections of each class. After the first round of class registration, one of each of the respective sections were full.
The computer science department is also offering six upper-level computer science classes this semester. After the first round of registration, all six were completely full.
Computer Science is not the only department struggling with over-enrollment. For spring 2017, 101 students requested places in a 50-seat Introduction to Sociology class.
Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair Nancy Riley noted that the intro class numbers are a consistent problem.
Last semester, the department offered two 50-student sections of the classes, which still was not enough to meet demand.
“We know that, if we add a section, it will fill. It doesn’t matter how many sections we add—they will fill,” Riley said. “We want that course to be available to as many people as possible, but we only have limited staffing.”
Bullock is planning on majoring in computer science, and has been frustrated by the difficulties of getting the upper-level classes she needs.
“This semester, I did not get into a single computer science class—they’re all full now—and so I had to go to the head to the department,” she said. “The department is super helpful. It’s not even an issue with the class, it’s an administrative issue.”
Bullock recognized the tension between catering to majors and catering to those who want to simply take one or two computer science classes.
“You definitely want people to be able to come in and explore computer science and to be able to have that liberal arts experience,” she said. “But there’s another point where you’re like ‘this professor should be teaching an upper level class.’”
Limited faculty is not the only problem facing the computer science department. They also have difficulty increasing class sizes due to lab space.
“We are bound by the lab size,” Toma said. “So those classes cannot grow beyond 30 because the lab can only sit 32 people.”
Introduction to Sociology is a prerequisite for all upper-level sociology classes, although some classes allow students to substitute Introduction to Cultural Anthropology as the prerequisite. Unlike in the computer science department, only two of eight 2000-level sociology classes have filled.
Department staffing is dependent upon the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs, which announces whenever new tenure track professor positions are available.
“We talk to the Dean’s Office a lot about staffing and they’ve been really good in terms of replacing anyone who’s going on leave,” said Riley. “But the College has only limited resources and we’re not the only department.”
New committee aims to educate faculty, students on disability
In order to better address disability on campus, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Student Advisory Board was established at the beginning of this semester. Under the leadership of Director of Accommodations Lisa Peterson, seven students are striving to educate Bowdoin on accessibility and bridge the gap between faculty and students on disability and accommodations.
“I think that sometimes in higher ed settings there can be a tendency to be doing for and not with students,” said Peterson. “So I thought this was a great opportunity to have students be leading the charge.”
One of the ways the Board hopes to achieve its goals is by appointing professor liaisons to each department. These professor liaisons would undergo a training session with Peterson and student members of the Board on how to help other professors in their department handle accommodation requests. That way, when a student asks for accommodations, the professor has a colleague that can walk them through the process of providing help to students with disabilities.
A major part of Peterson’s current position as director of accommodations involves ensuring there is a clear process for students to request accommodations and checking in on such accommodations.
Peterson also hopes to address how members of the Bowdoin community think about disability and accommodations on campus.
“This student advisory board was a way for me to make sure I’m having the widest reach possible and able to have a lot of talented voices in the conversation about campus climate,” Peterson said.
Peterson hopes to promote what is called the social model of disability, which holds that disability is caused by the ways society functions and not by individual impairments of disabled people.
“The social model is about thinking through what the things in our environment are that we haven’t thought about in a critical way, or might haven’t thought about in a critical way, that could be presenting barriers for students,” she said.
Zoe Borenstein ’18, a leader on the Board, said that professors are often unsure how to handle students’ accommodations requests and go directly to Peterson. She believes that having a liaison for each department will improve the accommodations request process.
“Lisa [Peterson] has so much stuff to do and so many roles, and we think that it would be so much easier for [professors] to have someone in their department to help,” she said.
Borenstein said that the Board aims to organize and focus the work being done by the various separate groups advocating for recognition of students with disabilities on campus. She pointed out that just a few years ago, there was relatively little discussion of these issues on campus.
“Now we have all this stuff happening, and we’re starting to realize that we have to kind of sort things out a little bit more because there aren’t really clear definitions of what particular groups are doing differently from the others,” she said.
She added that student organizations focused on issues of disability have largely emphasized outreach to other students. She hopes that the Student Advisory Board will be more successful in bringing administrators and faculty into the conversation.
Panel and photoshoot reveal everyday prejudices
A group of students of color held a panel at Quinby House to discuss their experiences with racially based confrontations at Bowdoin and beyond in a program entitled “Shit White People Say to POC”—people of color—on Tuesday.
The event was organized by the Asian Student Association (ASA) and the South Asian Student Association (SASA). The two groups also collaborated on a photo exhibit in David Saul Smith Union that went up on Tuesday night highlighting microaggressions against Asians and Asian Americans. Both the event and the exhibit were a part of No Hate November, a month of programming coordinated by Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) that aims to build a more inclusive campus community.
The program, moderated by ASA President Mitsuki Nishimoto ’17, asked seven panelists how they respond to leading questions about their identities—such as, “Where are you from?” and, “If you hate it here, why don’t you go back?”—and led discussion on how their social and academic experiences have been shaped by instances of stereotyping.
Raquel Santizo ’19 raised her qualms with the segregated party scene at Bowdoin. Alexis Espinal ’17 spoke about being both white and Honduran and being marginalized by both groups because of her identities. Olivia Bean ’17 told of being consistently mistaken for a different black student by a professor in a seminar.
Although planning for the event started months ago, and the election of Donald Trump and the subsequent racial attacks across the country have shocked many on campus, the event went on as planned.
“[The event] was [originally] intended to be a small thing like … ‘What Kind of Asian Are You?’ because Asian Americans, we experience different microaggressions,” said Arah Kang ’19, an organizer of the event. “And then we were like, ‘why don’t we expand this?’ Because a lot of POCs feel these microaggressions.”
“We had heavy discussion: do we push this back or go as planned? Especially right after the elections because a lot of things got shut down and things were being pushed back, and I was like ‘No, this is what we needed the most.’”
At the event, seats were scarce, and many students were left standing. Afterwards, students expressed gratitude that the conversation had taken place.
“I was very happy that a lot of non-POCs were here to listen to the talk,” said Bethany Berhanu ’20. “Because I was honestly expecting mostly people of color just listening to the things we were going to go through. So it was really nice that a lot of people came here to be informed about these things that we all go through.”
Xin Jiang ’20 thought the event was very accurate.
“I’m very grateful that they did this,” she said. “As a first year, the other event that they did that touched on race was during Orientation and I felt like that one was more meant as an educational program, while this event was more revealing the actual truths that people of color are going through every day.”
Although the panel discussion evolved to include the voices of different students of color, the photo exhibit is designed to highlight stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans. Inspired by #thisis2016, a hashtag and story series that exposes aggressions against Asian Americans that are not often discussed, ASA attempted to take a more Bowdoin specific angle and include a more diverse set of Asian voices.
“We really wanted to do a photoshoot that kind of addressed stereotypes that Asians and Asian Americans might face and some microaggressions that we’ve experienced or heard from other people,” Nishimoto said.
“I can’t say that I know what the black students or the Latinx students were going through last year, even though we all are students of color, but we did feel that Asian Americans are often left out of conversations, not only at Bowdoin, but also in general in this country.”
ASA hopes to continue its programming by inviting Ben Chin to campus in December. Chin is a Bates graduate who was met with racist attack ads during his campaign for mayor of Lewiston.
“ASA has been pretty dormant over the last few years,” said Kang. “We haven’t had any bad incidents, so we thought this would be a good time to do something.”
“What I loved about ASA was that it created this really awesome community of students who identify as Asian or Asian American on campus,” said Nishimoto. “But something I felt was lacking was kind of like campus activism, if you will, or just kind of making ourselves more present on campus as a community.”
Editor's note, November 27, 4:45 p.m.: This article has been updated to clarify that the panel and photo exhibit were a part of No Hate Novemeber.
College policy unchanged by marijuana legalization
Though Maine voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana last week, Bowdoin students will not be able to smoke freely, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster informed students and employees in an email on Monday.
Bowdoin will continue to prohibit students from using marijuana both on and off campus, Foster said. Allowing drugs on campus could jeopardize federal funding for the College, due to the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1988, which bans marijuana and other drugs at colleges and universities.
Bowdoin employees will also continue to be prohibited from consuming or being under the influence of marijuana on campus, in accordance with the College’s Employee Handbook.
The handbook states that any “employee under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol or who possesses or consumes illegal drugs at Bowdoin is subject to College disciplinary procedures and action, up to and including immediate termination of employment.”
The handbook continues to list marijuana as an illegal drug, based on federal law.
The most recent Orient survey on marijuana use, conducted in 2013, found that 58 percent of respondents had smoked marijuana “at least once to a few times” at Bowdoin, while 31 percent reported smoking “every month or two” or “weekly or more.”
Bowdoin is not the only college having to address marijuana legalization after last week’s elections. Massachusetts voters chose to legalize the drug as well last week, however, none of Bowdoin’s NESCAC peers affected by legalization have publicly announced policy changes. Additionally, the Orient confirmed that students at Amherst, Williams and Colby have not received information about policy changes at those schools. It is unclear whether Bates and Tufts have issued statements to students.
Colleges in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have come up with various policies following marijuana legalization, which generally ban on-campus recreational use and vary with regards to off-campus and medical use of marijuana.
There also remains a chance that legalization will not go into effect in Maine. Different ballot counts found the margin in favor of legalization was between 2,620 and 4,402 votes. On Wednesday, opponents of legalization filed for a recount, according to WMTV-Portland.
Maine governor Paul LePage has also said that he will ask President-elect Donald Trump to enforce federal law, which would mean that people who sell or possess marijuana in the state could face federal charges. President Barack Obama has declined to enforce federal marijuana laws in the four states where marijuana became legal during his presidency.
No new cases of mumps reported
No new cases of mumps have been diagnosed by Bowdoin Health Services or by Mid Coast Medical Group since November 7. All five students who were diagnosed with mumps are no longer contagious and are out of isolation. Unless another case occurs, students who are not immunized can return from exclusion on November 25, 18 days after the onset of symptoms from the most recent mumps case.
Director of Health Services Jeffery Maher said that while there is some concern about students who may still be carrying the virus spreading it to other places over Thanksgiving break, the likelihood of the situation escalating is small.
“The reality of all mumps outbreaks is that the vaccinated herd in the world keeps mumps outbreaks from generally spreading to larger populations,” he said. “The world is pretty safe from the mumps in places where there are intact public health services.”
News in brief: Roux Center plan moves forward
Last week the Brunswick Planning Board unanimously approved an initial sketch plan for the College’s new Roux Center for the Environment. The sketch includes a footprint of the site and the floor plans for the buildings Vice President and Interim Head of Finance and Administration Matthew Orlando hopes that the final design done by early April so the College can begin the bidding process.
“[The architect] Tim Mansfield has been in hundreds of planning boards all over the place, and our [Director of Capital Projects] Don Borkowski does a great job putting together the full package, so [the board] was very impressed with the organization and the comprehensiveness of it,” Orlando said.
Earlier this year, the Programming Committee—led by Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon—met with the architects on a monthly basis to go over updated designs and make suggestions on the initial sketch plan. According to Orlando, President Clayton Rose set the goal to make the building not limited to the scientific study of the environment, but rather a space for interdisciplinary exploration.
“The idea is to have the classroom space in there flexible enough so it can accommodate all sorts of disciplines and not just be focused on scientific research,” Orlando said.
Orlando also hopes that the building will be able to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of sustainability certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“That is a challenge to achieve any time you’re talking about laboratories and scientific research being conducted in the building, so we’re still hopeful that we can hit the platinum goal, but it will be a challenge,” he said.
The College will go back to the planning board in February to share any variations from the sketch plan, which will also be subject to the board’s review.
“There will inevitably be a little bit of shifting here and there. We’re still in the design phase of the building, so we have not approved a final design yet so things could certainly be shifted,” Orlando said.
News in brief: Amtrak adds third train to Boston
Beginning November 21, the Amtrak Downeaster line will run a third daily train between Brunswick and Boston. The new line will leave Brunswick Visitor Station at 11 a.m.
Amtrak is also adding a third train from Boston to Brunswick, which will leave North Station at 6:15 p.m. every day. This later train was made possible by the construction of a new layover facility in Brunswick, which opened in October and allows trains to spend the night in Brunswick, rather than having to return to Portland each night, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Currently, the Downeaster line runs trains from Brunswick to Boston at 7:25 a.m. and 5:20 p.m. and from Boston to Brunswick at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. The train ride takes about three and a half hours.
Concord Coach Lines also runs a bus service between Brunswick and Boston, which leaves from Brunswick Visitor Station at 10:25 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., and leaves Boston for Brunswick at 11:35 a.m. and 5:35 p.m. The bus ride takes about three hours.
After attacks on other campuses, BSG revives Safe Walk system
In response to racially motivated attacks on several college campuses across the United States, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) announced a revamped Safe Walk program to ensure students do not have to walk alone. BSG President Harriet Fisher ’17 informed students of the program in an email on Saturday.
As part of the program, students can sign up to help others, or confidentially request accompaniment and receive contact information of students who have signed up to help.
“There’s one form where you can offer up your time, put in your name, your phone number, your email, what your commute is to campus and what times of day you would be available,” Fisher said. “On the other form, all you have to submit is your email. As soon as I see a request for that, I automatically share that email with all the contact information.”
As of press time, nine students have requested assistance and 74 students have offered their help.
Bowdoin Safe Walk first formed as a Facebook group last fall, after several sexual assaults were reported including an incident in which multiple female students were groped while walking at night.
Fisher said that this year’s Safe Walk system builds off of the momentum of last year’s program, but said that it had a different goal in light of incidents at other colleges following the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.
At the University of Michigan, a Muslim student was approached by a man who threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. A number of African American first-year students at the University of Pennsylvania were added to a GroupMe conversation that threatened a “daily lynching” and made other racist remarks, the Washington Post reported.
“[The Safe Walk program] is in light of the election results. I don’t see it as kind of the same thing [as last year], because I think it serves a new purpose,” said Fisher.
Bowdoin students tie for first in Maine Food Innovation Challenge
Last weekend, a team of five Bowdoin students tied for first place in the second annual Maine Food System Innovation Challenge for their proposal to turn wasted grain from breweries into flour. Bowdoin hosted the event, which brought college students from all around the state to create new ways to reduce food waste in Maine and support the local food production and distribution.
Eliza Huber-Weiss ’17, one of Bowdoin’s team members, explained that much of the grain waste produced at Maine’s craft breweries is edible and can be turned into flour and used for other purposes if processed correctly.
“We talked to breweries about how much waste they were actually producing. We talked to farmers who were taking that waste already and seeing what the issues were,” Huber-Weiss said.
Teams came up with their ideas before the competition, then spent the weekend refining their pitches before ultimately presenting a business plan to a set of judges.
The Maine Food Innovation Challenge first took place last year, bringing college students and community members who had ideas and some experience with production, aggregation, processing and marketing that would help improve local food production.
Emeritus Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Thomas Settlemire was one of the founders and a facilitator of the event.
“The whole purpose of this thing is to try and create awareness within bright minds [of students] as to what this problem is all about, how can we create a new economic incentive to make it work, what’s that economic incentive and do it in a constructive positive way,” he said.
This year’s competition tasked students with coming up with an idea to reduce food waste.
In the United States, it is estimated that about 40 percent of food produced is wasted, according to Settlemire. This is due to several factors including the poor harvesting and losses in the supply chain and in the market.
Huber-Weiss acknowledged that the group’s brewery plan would only make a small dent in the major problem of food waste.
“Our business does not solve food waste, but it does maybe aid in the process of reducing food waste,” she said.
She also felt that the event helped her connect with people outside of Bowdoin who work in the same field she aspires to someday join. She plans to continue meeting with the Bowdoin group, and has thought about the possibility of starting a flour business after she graduates.
Settlemire was also pleased with the event.
“It’s a wonderful way to take a real problem … [and] create an enterprise that Bowdoin students actually run,” he said.
On Second thought: How journalism can recover from flawed coverage of the 2016 election
Pop Quiz: Identify the following quotation:
“Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic.”
A) Friedrich Nietzsche on the BibleB) Richard Nixon on the Vietnam WarC) Jon Stewart on the 2016 ElectionD) You on the Moulton vs. Thorne Debate
Read on for the answer.
It’s a strange, strange time to be a young journalist. Frankly, it’s probably strange to engage in any number of professions at this point in our country’s history, but boy, is it a strange time to be a young journalist.
At 11 p.m. on Election Night, staring numbly at the talking heads pontificating with all their might on the screen before me, I remembered a bit of text from David Brooks’ recent book, “A Road to Character.” In it, Brooks writes, “I’m paid to be a narcissistic blow-hard, to volley my opinions, to appear more confident about them than I really am, to appear smarter than I really am, to appear better and more authoritative than I really am.”
In a letter from 1956, C.S. Lewis wrote to a friend: “That journalists can be saved is a doctrine, if not contrary, yet certainly above, reason.”
Even before then, the always pithy Oscar Wilde wrote: “There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”
I could go on. My point is that journalism has never been immune from public scorn or even from the scorn of fellow journalists. Media-bashing isn’t new.
But if you’re still wondering, the answer to the above pop quiz is B, Richard Nixon on the Vietnam War. Gotcha. Hopefully the answer was fairly obvious, but it says something about the current state of American journalism if you even had to think twice about it, which, if you’re under the age of 35, you probably did.
So disdain for the media isn’t new, but it certainly has changed. Even before these dreaded 18 months of torturous babble disguised as an election got underway, journalism of all types was in a precarious cultural position. Just look at it now.
Perhaps Lewis is right and journalists’ souls are beyond salvation, but what about their profession? If every doctor you consulted told you that that little spot on your back was positively, surely, absolutely nothing to worry about and then you developed skin cancer three months later, you’d probably never go back to those doctors. Even if, after your skin cancer diagnosis, your doctors sent you a deeply apologetic letter telling you that your case alone had spurned them from their ignorant ways and that they were back on the path to medical integrity, you would still look elsewhere the next time you discovered a little brown spot on your back.
So why not do the same to the existing media? In the wake of this massive abnegation of responsibility, is there any hope for the future of news media?
I sincerely hope so. Perhaps the current generation of professional pundits have no hope of recovery, their cultural and intellectual authority having been thrown out along with your Hillary 2016 yard sign. But I am cautiously optimistic about the prospects of the next generation.
If the next generation of political reporters and pundits hopes to regain the trust of even a sliver of the public, we would do well to learn from this current catastrophe.
First, we should follow Brooks in being more upfront about our fallibility. Certainty—even the appearance of certainty—should be avoided at all costs. Pundits should reaffirm their commitment to complicating, not simplifying, political problems.
Next, we should learn our lesson about the limits of data and polling in reporting. Yes, data is important, and polls do offer some insight into the mind of the electorate. But we must learn that even numbers can lie and mislead. We ought to temper our zeal for polling with a sense of the variousness and unpredictability of the human mind. Talking to 20 living, breathing, human beings is sometimes more illuminating than viewing a graph of 30,000 data points.
Lastly, the next generation of journalists and pundits—against the grain of so much reporting today—must inject some empathy back into public discourse. Journalists must recommit to understanding and fairly representing the positions of those all across the political spectrum, and pundits on both sides must redraw the playing field so as not to pit the enlightened and the “woke” against the willfully ignorant and the superstitious.
As Oscar Wilde wrote elsewhere: “In America the President reigns for four years, and journalism governs forever and ever.” Perhaps there will come a day when we should let our understanding of journalism die, but today is not that day. With any luck, these four years will pass. We cannot let responsible journalism pass with them.
mixed reviews: Recognizing our prejudices will lead to progress
This week I had planned on writing about the responsibilities of privileged persons. I wanted to share my opinion that those who are unaffected by discrimination, prejudice and unjust biases are obligated to focus their attention on both thoroughly understanding and dismantling these issues. For whatever reason I was struggling to translate these thoughts to paper. That’s when Ivy Elgarten ’19 saved the day.
For those of you who do not know Ivy, she is a white cisgender Bowdoin student in the Class of 2019. Frankly, she is wonderful and you should all get to know her. This Tuesday, Ivy posted a Facebook status where she admitted to once having attitudes toward certain groups of people that she now recognizes as inappropriate and misguided. She went on ask others who share her position to reflect and address their own inner biases as well. She took accountability for her actions and asked for others to do the same but only after leading by example.
What Ivy did in 751 characters is what we should aim for in dialogue and our overall pursuit of harmony. The purpose of addressing these types of issues should be to generate an understanding of a different perspectives. This often results in an understanding of previously misunderstood issues. We need the receptors of these messages to be as willing to be wrong as Ivy is. For that reason, I think we as a community should applaud Ivy and others like her who submit themselves to the purpose of progress.
However, it is important to recognize that we should not be celebrating Ivy. The only reason to applaud those who overcome their prejudices is because people are not naturally compelled to do so. Not being ignorant should be nothing less than normal. Unfortunately, things are not as they should be. We live in a world full of ignorant influences. As a result, many, if not all, of us hold biased beliefs. For these reasons being educated in this regard is special. This is not to say that people like Ivy deserve more attention and recognition than members of marginalized communities and participants in movements that direct their efforts toward issues of difference as well. We still need to recognize that the leaders of any type of progress are those who are overcoming an obstacle(s). That being said, a pat on the back will not undermine progress altogether.
Acknowledging Ivy’s deed as a good one only encourages further similar behavior. Hopefully, if in the fight against inequality and oppression we incorporate positive reinforcement, more will be accomplished. Now, these are obviously my opinions. I cannot tell others how they must handle those who are ignorant to their situation. I do not feel I have the right to tell anyone how they should or can react to unfair treatment. That being said I do believe inclusive behaviors are more productive than exclusive practices in the grand scheme of things.
Background Noise: In the push for justice, kindness prevails
In 2000, my elementary school organized a mock vote for the Bush-Gore election. I was five and knew nothing about either candidate—except their names, sort of—so I voted for Bush. George Bush reminded me of rabbits; Al Gore reminded me of the Child Catcher (the supporting antagonist of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”). After Bush’s actual election, I saw how dismayed the adults in my life were, and I felt extremely guilty. I was convinced I’d affected the results in some significant way, as if the consensus had depended on my vote. I cried for a few minutes and then forgot all about it.
I assumed I’d have a better voting experience the second time around. Last week, I went alone to Brunswick Middle School and spent all of two minutes casting my ballot. I streamed the election in my room, by myself. I wasn’t overly concerned, mostly because I’d spent weeks assuring my election-obsessed boyfriend that there was absolutely no reason to worry.
“There’s absolutely no reason to worry,” I’d told him, every freaking day. “He can’t possibly win.”
Obviously, I’m no clairvoyant. I should probably stop predicting anything as to avoid jinxing the results. I’ve never considered myself psychically gifted, I’ve just always assumed that basic human rights were at least sort of important to most people. Of course, my surprise is due in part to my privileged ignorance as a white person. Still, I’m horrified that racism and sexism and Islamophobia and homophobia (I could go on) have been validated—no longer just existing, but thriving. Personally, I feel unqualified to discuss political specifics when I have peers more eloquent, informed and diligent than I am. What I can talk about are emotions, because I have them.
Usually, when I’m having a bad week (or two), I sit down in a big chair and open my planner. I love my planner—it’s small and orange and I rarely use it. Often, I’ll find it under a pile of clothes and scribble vague commands inside like “read” or “READ.” Then, I’ll ignore it for three weeks. When I start feeling stressed, I just look at my planner and remember I have the power to put my life back in order.
After the election, I tried to get organized. I was floundering, and I wanted to take back control. I’m an anxious person. I find peace in schedules, in crossing off assignments with red pens. On Saturday, I went to a coffee shop to reflect and revitalize. I ordered coffee. I sat in a big chair with my little planner and watched my boyfriend drink a caramel macchiato. (This is a true story.) Then I tried to make sense of my feelings. I was sad and angry and scared and disappointed and hopeful and ashamed and confused. I wished I was wearing a mood ring.
I hadn’t done anything all week—except eat and sulk—but I was exhausted. I couldn’t focus on anything. I saw a dog who looked like he was smiling—the curled lips, wide eyes—and even though I knew he wasn’t actually smiling, I started to cry. All week, tears seemed to be my automatic response to anything. I would cry without reason—in the library, while sending polite emails to potential employers and professors and grandparents and a friend of a friend who I’d publically stalked on LinkedIn.
To move forward, I’ve looked to the past—instructions from virtually every humanities class. This week last year, I was writing Pet Reviews about my cockatiel, Peter Pan, for money. This week 16 years ago, I was living in general oblivion, particularly regarding politics. I was incredibly lucky to have grown up in a community full of supportive, accepting adults. I did not have to fear for my own safety, nor defend my value as a human being. I did not watch a presidential candidate bully others without reason. I keep thinking about the five-year-olds today who have watched this election through five-year-old eyes—who have understood it through five-year-old brains and felt it through five-year-old hearts. I hate to be gloomy, but this part just kills me.
I do have hope in kindness. Kindness is one thing over which we have total control—treating those around us as allies of the Earth (even if that sounds like the lamest superhero team imaginable). I hope for kindness for each other, and importantly for those who are young and impressionable.
At an interview last month, a man with a cat-sized beard asked me how I want to be remembered when I die. “Sure,” I thought, “I think about this all of the time!” I wanted to explain to him the cases I had prepared for, but instead I just sat there. I couldn’t remember any quotes from famous people, and I’m not good at improvising on the spot (see my previous article).
“I’d like to be remembered for being kind,” I said, eventually. “When it counts and when it’s difficult.”
Then we just stared at each other. I didn’t get the job. Unfortunately, kindness cannot compensate for my lack of quantitative skills. Still, I think it’s more important than anything. Every person deserves empathy and acceptance. I’ve been inspired by the efforts of my peers to spread love and security in the past few days, and I hope we can sustain the push for justice as a community. Please continue to love one another. Please continue to stand up for one another. Please continue to donate to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name—out of the kindness of your hearts.
Editorial: At home in all lands
A petition is currently circulating through the Bowdoin community, in Brunswick and beyond, to make Bowdoin a sanctuary campus. According to the petition, this would mean those documented under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and undocumented peers “are able to remain on campus and focus on their education instead of their fears of being forced to abandon their education and separate from their families.” The initiative comes in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s threat to deport undocumented immigrants from the United States during his presidency.
The petition—addressed to President Clayton Rose, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Leana Amaez, Director of the Student Center for Multicultural Life Benjamin Harris and Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols—seeks to “protect our current and future students from intimidation, unfair investigation, and deportation.” The petition urges administrators to take action prior to Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.
The Orient’s editorial board vehemently endorses the establishment of Bowdoin as a sanctuary campus. In an email to the campus community on November 10, following the debrief of the election organized by the McKeen Center, Rose noted “that Bowdoin is among a small number of institutions in America that are designed and especially well-equipped to engage, understand, and debate ideas, to build the skills necessary to respectfully disagree and bridge differences, and to transform ideas into action.” He continued to note that taking action is “[at the] center of our purpose, and also at the center of our democracy.” Establishing Bowdoin as a sanctuary campus is a way to transform conversations about support into action establishing inclusion.
Many cities, including Portland, Maine, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C, and Seattle are designated sanctuary cities. Sanctuary refers to cities who have pledged to refrain from assisting federal officers seeking to deport undocumented immigrants.
In addition to established sanctuary cities, many campuses across the country have launched similar petitions and staged walkouts over the course of the last week. We believe Bowdoin should join this effort for national action. This is one of many ways the College can take an active, public stance in favor of the Common Good both on and off campus.
Bowdoin as a sanctuary campus not only embodies the Offer of the College, but contributes to the Common Good. Given the nation’s current political climate, working towards the Common Good and ensuring everyone knows that they are accepted and have a true home here is more important than ever. To echo the petition, “This is not a time for silence.”
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Marina Affo, Julian Andrews, Steff Chavez, Grace Handler, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.
- November 11
Holding Fast: The perils of populism: Brexit and America's political landscape
One salient feature of this year’s electoral season has been the resurgence of populism as a potent political force. This came as a shock to many in the United States, but if we look elsewhere in the world we will find that ours is not an isolated case. Last spring, the United Kingdom (U.K.) saw a similar wave of populist resentment sweep the nation in the “Brexit” vote in which the U.K. bid an unceremonious “adieu” to the European Union (E.U.). The unexpected nature and tremendous consequences of that vote have drawn obvious comparisons to our own situation and, for that reason, it might be helpful to look to the U.K.’s handling of Brexit in considering how America moves forward from this election.
The big issue currently facing the U.K. government is how it can obey the will of the people by leaving the E.U. while also following proper constitutional procedure. A recent High Court ruling has thrown a wrench in the government’s plan to start negotiations with other E.U. nations by requiring Parliament’s approval before it can begin. It is a complicated issue. Basically, Prime Minister Theresa May had planned on negotiating the terms of Brexit under the powers of royal prerogative that give Her Majesty’s Government the power to make decisions regarding international treaties. This is how May and her cabinet intended to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and trigger the exit from the E.U. in accordance with the will of the majority of citizens.
But the court’s ruling asserted the sovereignty of Parliament over any action that would affect the rights of citizens. And because Brexit revokes certain rights granted to U.K. citizens under the 1972 European Communities Act, it is necessary for Parliament to give its approval before any negotiations take place. The government had already planned on repealing that act in Parliament, but would have only done so near the end of negotiations to finalize the formal split. In effect, this ruling has allowed Parliament to get involved at the beginning of the process, giving members of parliament a greater say regarding the terms of the U.K.’s exit.
Not many people believe that Parliament will not go through with Brexit at this point. But the ruling does raise some very interesting questions about the role of popular sovereignty not only in the U.K., but anywhere else where the will of the majority bristles against the established rule of law. It is important that constitutional norms are followed, but at the same time Parliament must do its best to respect the will of the people as it promised to do before the vote, no matter how much individual members may oppose the outcome.
The problem with the Brexit vote is that it did not really do an adequate job of expressing the will of the people regarding the terms of the exit from the E.U. The Leave campaign made some misleading promises they knew they couldn’t keep and it appears that those tasked with executing the exit are now the targets of populist resentment. In the event that Brexit doesn’t significantly affect Britain’s immigration levels or remove it from the European common market, it is precisely the politicians who made these promises that will pay the price for betraying the will of the people.
And lest we think that this is only Westminster’s problem, we should remember that the popular mandate to exit the E.U. was not really the will of the U.K. as a whole, but more like the will of England and Wales against the protestations of Scotland and Northern Ireland. In a union already strained by multiple rounds of devolution and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, this divide makes the future of the U.K. even more uncertain. Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish nationalists are already threatening to hold another referendum should the terms of the exit be unfavorable to the parliament in Edinburgh. So in addition to a crisis of legitimacy surrounding its political institutions, the U.K. may be facing an even more pressing threat to its continued existence.
All of these issues may be specific to the U.K., but they can nonetheless serve as a warning to America, which has now seen the same populist forces wreak havoc on an election of its own. Whatever you may think of Trump’s victory, it is hard to deny the importance of the forces he has unleashed in American politics. The will of the people has triumphed over every convention that would normally have prevented this outcome. If we consider the health of democracy at the moment, we can certainly find some good and some bad. It is at once encouraging to see the will of the people prevail and also very alarming to consider its possible impact on the rule of law in this country. We would do well to consider how this has played out following the Brexit vote, and hopefully learn a thing or two about how to deal with the new realities of populism in America.
- November 11
Letter to the editor:
Taking action to combat global warming/climate change is worthy. Without listing all of the reasons why divestment from fossil fuel companies sounds good, but will do nothing in pursuit of the cause, let me suggest that members of Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) join the effort in Augusta to develop Maine state solar energy policy that really will move the needle.
Spending time and energy, so to speak, working with the Natural Resources Council of Maine and other environmental organizations to affect policy change in Augusta that has practical, immediate consequences would be far more effective in achieving BCA’s laudable goals than the one they insist on pursuing.
- November 11
Letter to the editor:
Yesterday, I spent the day listening to colleagues and students react to the result of our presidential election. At 4 p.m., I sat with many of you in Morrell Lounge and listened as students processed their pain and articulated their fears, some pointing to stories of family and friends who have experienced bigotry since Tuesday evening.
President-elect Trump and his campaign trafficked in fear and bigotry, and his election to our nation’s highest office has many, especially people of color, LGBTIQA people, people with disabilities, women, immigrants and Muslims feeling disrespected, unwelcome and unsafe. And while that presents so many painful questions about who we are as a nation, there should be no doubt in the minds of students of what that means about who we are as a college. We are and will remain a place where all students are welcome. We are and will remain a place focused on the common good, inclusion and equity. We are and will remain a community where all students are safe to be their whole selves. Some feel they have no place in President-elect Trump’s America. They should know they have a place here at Bowdoin. Leana E. AmáezAssociate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion
- November 11
The Feminist Manifesto: Not a whisper, but a roar
Our hearts ache. This week, the election confirmed our fears and disappointed us beyond measure. The message that this once familiar country, now an unrecognizable landscape, exists as the land of the free and the home of the brave has dissipated. It once resonated with us but no longer does. The promise of the United States of America does not exist for all people. It never has. But we are here and not going anywhere. We will make America great. Together, we can do that.
This election transcended politics. It was not about Republicans versus Democrats. It was about basic humanity and respect. We are devastated, not only because much of the progress that has been made toward equality for all people is likely to be undone, but because it makes us question whether this progress truly existed in the first place. It makes us question our country and our place within it. But, in the past few days, we have also been inspired.
We are inspired by the displays of love and compassion we have seen on campus this week. We are inspired by the hugs, the kind words and even the tears that follow. We are inspired by the knowledge that we have the power to fight back against misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, ableism, xenophobia and hatred of all shapes and sizes, even if it comes from the White House. Our nation, our home, our safe haven is fractured. It cries for a solution. It longs for a remedy. It demands change. This is the message we need to spread. This is the message that we will chant.
To those who feel threatened by the results of this election, to those who feel that this country does not value them, that it rejects them, know that we stand with you. Not only today, but everyday. To those who no longer feel safe in this country or on this campus, know that we promise to support you in every way we know how. We cannot underestimate the power of reaching out to one another, of checking in, of showing that we will love and stand by each other. There are people who seek to tell us—women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, Muslims and others—that we do not belong in their America. But we will resist this hatred, and this resistance starts with each of us. It begins by asserting to ourselves and one another that we are here. That we will be heard. That we stand together and stand tall. To quote Ranier Maningding, author of “The Love Life of an Asian Guy,” “Promise that your whisper of activism will grow to a deafening roar.” We promise that we will not merely whisper. We will roar.
- November 11
A woman's epiphany of privilege
This is a more grammatically correct version of a text that I sent my parents and sisters Nov. 9, 2016:
I have done so much thinking today while attempting to process everything. I have come to a basic understanding of why and how it happened—something I put my conscious thoughts toward—but the strangest thing was my automatic, subconscious response. I had chills all day, fought back tears at so many random moments and finally let them out at times. However, I could not pinpoint a single conscious thought that had caused the tears and chills (my defense mechanisms were definitely in play).
I got an idea, though, when a female classmate got choked up while discussing “if Trump were a woman,” and I could not stop my own tears from flowing. My realization: for the first time, I truly felt inferior as woman.
I recognized today that, among other things, I took this for granted. Of course, I have always known we women have been fighting a battle for equality and I have also heard countless women’s stories of discrimination, but I quite honestly had never personally felt limited by being a woman. I had never thought that I could not get somewhere in life because I am a woman.
For the first time, I experienced that personally today. It is not a truly conscious feeling, but it is what sparks my innate fear, anger and most of all, disappointment.
However, I am also deeply grateful to you all for making me feel empowered, for allowing me to go 20 years without once doubting that the sky was the limit. I am grateful for our family and for the communities in which I was raised and gained an education.
Other things that I am fortunate for but have taken for granted: the diversity of the communities, which have enabled me to understand other views, sexual/gender orientations, races, religions, you name it, so that I do not fear any of them (even more so, I am able to love them). Because as Lecturer in Mathematics Michael King said this morning to my Linear Algebra class: fear stems from what we do not understand. I have reasoned that the working class in rural America has little to no interactions with those populations. Therefore, they are unable to understand, and ultimately fear, those groups of Americans. Trump ran off that fear.
So, that’s my long way of saying that I realized today how fortunate I am to have been raised in the highly educated, suburban/urban, liberal “bubble;” to have incredible moral values because of my understanding; and to have learned how to think critically in order to make sense of all of this and to see others perspectives, including those that do not yet see my own.
And finally, thank you for enabling me to attend a school that discusses these difficult topics, one where a math professor would spend the entire class today to discuss the election results from a philosophical perspective and actually enable me to make sense of this mess.
Katie McDonough is a member of the Class of 2019.
- November 11
Editorial: When they go low
Bowdoin is in a unique position following the results of Tuesday’s election. People are feeling many things—from elation and joy to pain, sadness and fear. We have an opportunity as a campus to recognize our privilege of living in this intellectual environment, where we are encouraged to think critically and question openly.
For those who want to fight the bigotry of the incoming administration, we must begin to engage actively and productively with those who feel the outcome is the best move for America so that we can demonstrate actively and productively.
This is not a plea to come together and blindly accept the outcome of the election. This is not a plea to suppress the feelings of anger or fear. This is a plea to reform our method of discourse.
If you want empathy from those that did not vote for your candidate, you need to show empathy to those individuals. As difficult as it may be, we must accept that a significant number of Americans feel that Donald Trump’s proposed policies are valid and the change needed for America. While many of us do not agree with this subset of America’s thought process, there are some real fears at the root of the votes they cast.
Dialogue and communication where we listen and fully understand another’s point of view before beginning to respond is how we ought to engage with America’s next four years. In doing this, we can recognize the validity of the fears many Americans feel on both sides of the political spectrum. We can use this understanding to stand up for what we believe in and to fight what we don’t.
For those of us who are disheartened, outraged and otherwise affected by this election outcome, this is the time to mobilize. We can take our better informed discourse and propel it into productive activism. This is the perfect opportunity for different groups to bridge gaps and come together to affect change.
Bowdoin can help provide the skills and tools to push back against the sexism, xenophobia and racism that still runs through America’s veins. Some professors here fought the good fight in the past—our classes can give us the intellectual perspective and speakers and workshops can refine activist skills.
There is a lot to be learned from movements in the 1960s and 1970s in this country that fought for civil rights, women’s rights and against the Vietnam war that can help us ensure that everybody’s civil and human rights are protected, no matter their class, race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc. It’s time to act now.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Marina Affo, Julian Andrews, Steff Chavez, Grace Handler, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.
Tapped out: Lenin's beer may be hard to pronounce, but it's easy to get down
Please note: personal opinions on things other than beer, such as American politics, below.
Guess what Vladimir Lenin’s favorite drink was? Contrary to stereotype, it was not vodka. When I visited Lenin’s well-kept estate where he died (I was in the room where it happened), I learned that Lenin did not care much about food but loved a good beer. His favorite: the Russian-brewed brand “Жигулeвское,” or “Zhigulyovskoe.” It was practically the only mass-produced beer during Soviet times and is still very popular in Russia. Zhigulyovskoe is available pretty much everywhere here, although unfortunately not in America. Lenin’s beer was too interesting not to try.
I bought one liter on tap from the local beer shop in a very utilitarian, undecorated plastic bottle (it was also very cheap—hooray). Pouring it into a glass, I was struck by how thick the head was and also by its light golden color. I was a little worried that the thick foam would get in the way of drinking later, but it was actually not a problem. The smell was probably the best part about the beer; it had a strong, lovely aroma that resembled caramel. This sounds strange, but was true. If this beer were a cereal, it would certainly be those Shredded Wheat squares. It’s light and sweet, with a strong taste of toasted wheat. None of the flavors are over the top and, overall, it goes down easily. The amount of carbonation was perfect, although maybe because it was on draft.
However, I could understand how the sweetness could get annoying if you don’t like sweeter beers. Although it wasn’t spectacularly special, I personally found this beer pleasant, smooth and surprisingly delicious, especially for being one of the cheaper beers—perhaps equivalent to Budweiser or Heineken. in the United States. Go Lenin—although it’s not my favorite beer of all time, I approve of your choice in alcohol.
I actually didn’t plan to write about Lenin’s beer this week. When I was searching for topics to write about, my first Google search was: “beer to drown your sorrows in.” I thought it was appropriate. But then I realized that this was not productive in any way, either for the article or for myself (although I did find out that there is a “Black Galleon Drown Your Sorrows” ale brewed in England and a “Spiteful Brewing Dumb Donald” IPA).
There’s no denying that last Wednesday was shocking and difficult for many. Here in Moscow, it’s both easier and harder to process my distress over the election results because I am not reminded of it every moment. It was an ordinary morning on Wednesday; of course, most people knew about the results, but it was very possible to not be as aware of the consequences. Maybe that’s the hardest part of it all. I need to remember that not only am I, as a Korean woman, my friends, and the U.S. directly impacted, but that the whole world is impacted by a Trump presidency—and that this really is our new reality. I need to be aware—and for me that means, at this moment, I need to be terrified, confused, sad and upset. And awareness is essential, always, in order for any kind of forward action to happen.
So, reader of mine, I propose a toast (and I presume that you will forgive my clichés): here is to not drowning our sorrows. Here’s to swimming in our sorrows. Here’s to remembering. Here’s to mourning, to fearing, to protesting. Here’s to not running to Canada. Here’s to liquid courage found at the bottom of your beer glass. Here’s to still dreaming drunkenly of hope.
Lastly, as always, here’s to drinking responsibly.
Tonight's soundtrack: Started out with "Red" by Taylor Swift (in honor of Lenin), but switched over after 47 seconds to Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks"
Tonight's toast: see above
Conclusions on Zhigulyovskoe:
Bowdoin professors and faculty flock to Ebenezer's for trivia
Having a Ph.D. doesn’t hurt when it comes to trivia competitions.
Every Wednesday night, two Bowdoin faculty teams and one staff team go to Ebenezer’s Pub on Pleasant Street in Brunswick to compete in trivia night with members of the Brunswick community and occassionally students.
Associate Professor of Classics Robert Sobak and Professor of History Patrick Rael, who is currently on sabbatical, lead one of the two faculty teams. Their team includes local community members as well. The group used to go to the trivia night hosted at Byrnes’ Irish Pub in Brunswick, but the group switched to Ebenezer’s about two years ago.
Lecturer in Classics Michael Nerdahl served as a filler for Rael’s team whenever there was an open spot, but due to Ebenezer’s six-person-per-team rule, he started his own team with Lecturer in Mathematics Michael King. Their team includes Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow Ellen Tani and a few professors. Like Sobak and Rael’s team, their group also includes non-Bowdoin-affiliated members.
Social Sciences Research and Instruction Librarian Beth Hoppe, O.O. Howard Papers Digitization Project Supervisor Meagan Doyle, Assistant Director for OneCard, Events and Summer Programs Chris Bird and other staff, friends and family make up the staff team.
Wednesday’s trivia night is hosted by Ryan Sullivan, a local chiropractor. According to Nerdahl, the way Sullivan runs the night has made Ebenezer’s event stand out.
“[Sullivan] really just does a wonderful job,” he said. “Byrnes’ is fun too, but [Sullivan] scratches the itch just a little bit better. He has more categories and doesn’t ask a lot of trivia categories that are totally random where you have to guess wildly because it’s a crazy question.”
In addition, King said that Ebenezer’s trivia night is short and fast, which benefits busy competitors. According to King, Ebenezer’s typically lasts only one hour compared to several hours at other trivia events he’s been too.
At Ebenezer’s, teams compete in eight-week seasons. Each week, the first-place finisher gets three points and the second and third place teams get two and one respectively. The winning team gets to choose the category for the following week.
In the event that two teams tie at the end of the season, they compete in a non-trivia-related tiebreak.
“We tie the staff team a lot,” said King. “There’s tiebreakers, and sometimes they do funny ones, like build a paper airplane and whoevers paper airplane goes the farthest wins. We did one where you have to draw a breakfast-related tragedy, and [Tani] drew an Eggo lodged in someone’s throat sideways. It was very cartoonish, and we won.”
For Nerdahl, taking part in trivia night each week has been the perfect combination for testing his knowledge and creating friendships with the community outside of Bowdoin.
“I’ve always enjoyed answering trivia questions, and I’ve always enjoyed games,” said Nerdahl. “And it’s really good company. There are in-jokes and internal competitions that we have with the people because we know them and we’re friends. It’s more fun to beat your friends than strangers.”
King echoed Nerdahl’s sentiment and encouraged students to challenge their faculty and staff at the 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night event.
“During the week, I’m just in the grind of being in the office or at home working all the time, so it’s nice to have a mid-week break,” King said. “Also, there’s a lot of fun aspects to it. Some of us are competitive, and I get really competitive about trivia. We challenge student teams to come try their hand against us.”
Talk of the Quad: Mike Pence, Indiana and Me
Like many people on this campus, I was filled with shock and dismay as the results of last Tuesday’s election became clear. However, I was already keenly aware of the non-urban, rust belt, working class whites who delivered the Trump-Pence victory. They are my neighbors, former classmates and teachers and, yes, even my friends. I am from the heart of Trump country. In fact, I am from Mike Pence’s hometown: Columbus, Indiana.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Mike Pence and I are similar people. We grew up a few miles from each other. We both attended and graduated from Columbus North High School. And here’s my favorite: we were both president of Bartholomew County Young Democrats. Of course, that misses profound differences. He’s Donald Trump’s Vice President. He crushed teachers’ unions, fought for legalized discrimination against LGBTQ people and signed a regressive anti-choice bill that mandated fetal funerals. I am an environmental studies major with fond memories of driving with my mom around the block over and over again to yell at anti-choice protesters that “Planned Parenthood saves lives.”
Mike Pence and I hold very different values but are both somehow representatives of our shared town and state. Anyone who knows me well is probably aware that I have a complicated relationship with my hometown and it continues to shape me, the person I am and the person I will be. At the same time, I think if you asked my close friends, they wouldn’t hesitate to tell you I really dislike it. They aren’t really wrong. The sight of sunsets over rolling fields will always hold a special place in my heart, but to me, my hometown represents 18 years of feeling out of place.
Though I lived my entire pre-college life in Columbus, most of my neighbors and classmates there would not call me a local. Being a Hoosier is about heritage and values, not birth. In all fairness, I didn’t really consider myself a local either and, when I headed to Bowdoin, I naively assumed that my hometown and home state would be an unimportant part of my identity. I was eager to drive 22 hours to Maine and forget about it all as I moved on to better and brighter days. I was going to my people—the ones I had been waiting 18 years to meet.
At Bowdoin, I have found my best friends in the world but Indiana remains a peculiar part of me. I didn’t know that I had an accent before I came to Bowdoin. I didn’t know that my floormates would think my being from Indiana explained my music tastes. I didn’t think about the fact that I had never skied or sailed. I didn’t realize I would feel compelled to speak up—in class and elsewhere—for the same rural Americans I was bullied by at home.
After this election, I must consider and explain my hometown in a new context. While my peers from the coasts and cities may speak abstractly about the non-urban whites in the rust belt, this suddenly relevant part of our country is something very concrete to me. It is my best friend from second grade who was not allowed to spend time with me after his mom found out I was the ring bearer in a lesbian wedding. But it is also my neighbors who rushed to bring me balloons and a card when they found out I had pneumonia. It is all the kids in elementary and middle school who shunned me when they found out I wasn’t baptized and made certain I was aware I was going to hell. But it is also my high school teacher who still sends me care packages and takes me out to lunch when I go home. While kids in high school hated me for my Democratic political activism, my best friends traveled over 1,000 miles just to visit me for three days during our first year at college. To me, my town is a complex, weird, lived experience. But to others it is the rust belt, the corn belt, tornado alley and now, Trump/Pence country. As many of my peers struggle to understand a part of this nation they have never seen and don’t want to, I feel obligated once again to own and represent a place that is part of me but isn’t really mine.
Nickie Mitch is a member of the class of 2018.
Talk of the Quad: Liberal Arts: not so liberal
I come from a bubble of liberalism. As a New Yorker who attended the same small private school for all 14 years of her education prior to Bowdoin, I had only been exposed to a very progressive, very liberal perspective. I had more openly gay friends than I did straight friends, until recently had never encountered an individual who was pro-life and had only been taught by Democratic teachers. There were four conservative students at my high school and not one them openly shared their opinions with the student body. School-wide assemblies were aimed to figure out how to better participate in the women’s rights movement and class discussions were focused around the intersectionality of identity. My home life was even more one-sided. Since the first Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2008, my mother has donned pink jeans, pink Converse, pink sunglasses and a pink T-shirt with an authoritative portrait of Secretary Clinton on a weekly basis. I was vacuum-packed within my bubble.
Although Bowdoin is a predominantly liberal campus, I come from a community that makes Bowdoin seem conservative in comparison. Bowdoin is my first exposure to living in a community with people who possess fundamentally different views than my own. Difference in political atmosphere is the largest adjustment I have had to make in my transition to college. Despite the fact that it has been engrained into my mind to listen to views that differ from my own, as that is central to progress, I have never had to put that into practice until now.
On the first night of my pre-Orientation trip, outside a cabin along the Appalachian Trail, my group launched itself into a deep conversation about racial inequality. The debate was centered around the validity of the Black Lives Matter movement and affirmative action. Perched in a hammock by the light of a campfire, I was stunned that people could find fault in the efforts of the movement. Although I did speak up, I found myself struggling to form a coherent argument to counter the one with which I so fundamentally disagreed. I had never had to defend my beliefs before. My beliefs had always been the shared by the people around me. There had never been a cause for argument. Upon returning to campus, as the election progressed, I found myself face-to-face with views that women should not participate in combat roles, that there is an age that qualifies as too young to get gender reassignment surgery and, most shocking of all, that Trump should be elected president.
While I was never ignorant of that fact that somewhere in the world there were people whose ways of thinking deviated from that of my community back home, it was never a world in which I lived. Bowdoin’s different environment has caused me to question the roots of my beliefs. Most importantly, while it was obvious before, it is even more obvious now that based on the recent election results, a liberal perspective (my liberal perspective) is not the correct perspective. It is just one perspective among a diverse array of political thought, both on this campus and in the country.
Sara Caplan is a member of the class of 2020.
The WOMEN OF ’75: Competing against tradition
The Orient article announcing Bowdoin’s first-ever women’s sports team is a tiny blurb titled “Hockey Jockettes” tucked away on the third page of the October 15, 1971 issue. It announces the creation of the field hockey team, which was coached by Sally LaPointe—the wife of Bowdoin’s Lacrosse Coach Mortimer LaPointe—on a voluntary basis.
Celeste Johnson ’75 and Stephanie Monaghan ’75, members of Bowdoin’s first coeducational class, both played on this first field hockey team, which was as "ad hoc" as Bowdoin’s first coeducation committees.
“I think they kind of never thought about the idea that girls need uniforms, so we ended up being given the boys’ soccer uniforms,” said Johnson in a phone interview with the Orient.
Women in their class also had options for getting involved in Bowdoin’s “physical education” and “free play” programs. According to Edward Coombs, the acting director of athletics, Modern dance, tennis and swimming, were popular with women during the fall of 1971. In terms of participation in Intramural and Intercollegiate programs, he chose to “adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy,” he wrote in his annual report to Shirley Gray, Chairman of the Committee on Physical Education-Athletics.
Women were also welcome to play in the interfraternity “White Key” teams. A November 1, 1974 Orient article called “Out of the Kitchen: Females Possess the Key” reports on women participating in the interfraternity sports.
“I can’t think of anything where we got told that we were asking for too much,” said Johnson. “It would probably be Sally [LaPointe] pushing the envelope for trying to get us more.”
Bowdoin’s Athletic Department was more prepared for the arrival of women than some other areas of the college, such as health services.
The 1971 annual report of the Committee on Athletics budgeted $9,000 to providing private showers and facilities for a women’s locker room. These changes would be made in time for the incoming Class of 1975. A later request would add hairdryers to the locker room, but the College purchased salon-style over-the-head hair dryers that the women found completely inconvenient.
“There was one time when I was changing in the locker room and a male coach walked straight through the women’s locker room,” said Christa Cornell ’75, who ran recreationally at Bowdoin, in a phone interview with the Orient. “So I went to protest—I had to protest a lot of things.”
Cornell said she spoke to the head of the Athletic Department and his reply was that the coaches are used to the old locker room layout and that she should be careful in case he does it again.
Although the 1971 Report saw no need for an increase in the size of the Athletics staff, the June 1972 report of President Howell’s special Commission on Athletics did see a need.
The President’s Commission wrote that “it is evident that the present staff will not be able to meet the needs of a steadily increasing number of women students.” At the time, the Athletic Department’s female staff consisted of Sally LaPointe in a voluntary coaching position and June Vail, an instructor of modern dance and the wife of an economics professor.
The Commission also designated a $5,000 fund for women’s sports for the 1972-73 year.“The women students have been most reasonable in their requests. It is imperative that maximum flexibility be built into any programs so that the interests of the women students can guide the scope and direction of those programs as they evolve,” stated the Commission’s report.
A March 13, 1973 memo to President Howell from Coombs and Dean of the College LeRoy Greason claims that the Commission’s recommendation to add a woman to the Athletics’ staff full-time “has not yet been implemented,” citing “budgetary considerations” and “a desire to wait for a clearer sense of direction in programs of particular interest to women.”
A September 21, 1973 Orient article counts LaPointe as a new member of Bowdoin’s staff, as Coach of the Women’s Athletic Program, shifting her coaching from volunteer to a formalized position.
Later that semester, an Orient article reported on the seven Bowdoin women’s sports teams, most of which were organized informally and faced challenges such as having only a few opponents—the team would play against the Brunswick Women’s Recreational Center and Brunswick High School. Director of Admissions Dick Merserau was voluntarily coaching the women’s basketball team at the time.
In 1976, the College hired Lynn Ruddy as an Assistant Coach. During that school year, a September 17 Orient article reported that 42 percent of women were involved in athletics. In this article LaPointe cited Title IX as a reason for the growing number of female athletes at Bowdoin, since they arrived at the College with athletic training from secondary school.
It is important to note that although Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments, was passed in 1972, LaPointe and Ruddy claimed it did not greatly affect the operation of the Athletics Department at Bowdoin. In an Orient article on October 8, 1976, Ruddy said this was because much of Title IX deals with athletic scholarships, which aren’t awarded at Bowdoin.
“Here, Title IX is irrelevant,” said Ruddy.
However, Monaghan saw things differently.
“Title IX had gone through, so the College was scared to death about doing something wrong,” she said, referring to the College’s eagerness to accommodate women in athletics.
At the end of that academic year, LaPointe wrote to President Howell in a 1976-77 report that “the female population has risen to over 500, we are trying to handle twelve intercollegiate programs with two full time people while there are twenty-one intercollegiate programs for men with nine full time coaches and a few part timers. I have never felt the need for increasing the help for the women as I have this year.”
In 1979, the women’s indoor track team echoed this need. Team members wrote to the Athletic Director and Deans of the College asking for a separate coach for the women’s track team who can “devote his or her time to their needs.” Today, there is still one head coach for the men’s and women’s teams. However, the team has three other assistant coaches—including Ruddy, hired in 1976, who now coaches high jump and sprint—as well as volunteer coaches.
But in the years between 1971 and today, women have helped to shape a strong athletics department. LaPointe went on to coach for 20 years at the College and died in 2007.
Now, women play 16 varsity sports and three club sports at the College. However, the legacy of an all-male institution lives on. A November 11 Orient article reports that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) found a decreasing gap in the salaries of male and female head coaches throughout the league, although that gap still exists.
Sports for women at Bowdoin today take on a different role, in a balanced gender ratio college setting, than the early teams. For the first coeducational classes, women’s teams were an important refuge from the overwhelmingly male environment of the College.
“When we were out there playing field hockey, we were just elated to be able to have this opportunity to come together around a goal … it was just all us [women],” said Johnson. “As soon as the game was over, we were back in the world where it was the 10-1 ratio again … There was a lot of happiness and camaraderie … I think that was something that we really all cherished.”
Julia O’Rourke ’19 contributed to this report.
Exploring maine: Exploring activism in Brunswick and beyond: our places as political spaces
Our sense of place may be seen as inherently connected to our physical location, but at the same time, we are connected to innumerable places at any given moment, regardless of where we are. I usually write about my explorations of Maine’s beautiful coast—my search for connections in the pebbly serenity of my adopted home state. But over the past week and a half, I have been compelled to reevaluate my sense of place within the historical and present political context of physical and emotional safety in Brunswick.
A presidential election radically shifts our sense of place from the micro to the macro: we become not just Bowdoin students or New Yorkers but residents of the U.S. We become aware not just of the people within our communities but the people living in the remarkably different communities, from this small town on the Atlantic to across the country on the Pacific.
From coast to coast, the U.S. has not recently been a safe place for an incredible number of its residents. It has been some time since we have had a major political leader who normalizes vitriolic language and has built a campaign on the exclusion and hatred of groups of people, but racism—and classism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia, ableism and xenophobia—are American realities and have been American realities throughout national history. To overlook this history in the face of new political concerns is to overlook the generations of people who have been fighting and waiting and struggling.
Here in our Brunswick microcosm, within the first week following the election, I heard stories about aggressive harassment over Hillary Clinton bumper stickers, conflicts between students and town residents and schoolchildren yelling racial slurs out of school bus windows. But in the United States macrocosm, these instances are neither novel nor one-off.
During my three and a half years at Bowdoin, there have been explicit reports of racism, homophobia and sexism manifested through language and violence—not to mention the innumerable moments that go unreported and affect people of so many identities. There was a violent homophobic altercation on Maine Street and many cases of sexual violence, harassment and rape. Within the past year alone, three explicit acts of racial bias occurred on campus. Discrimination, marginalization and fear for personal safety are not new to this place, but neither is the fight and the struggle that many are beginning to participate in for the first time. Privilege—white privilege—is never so clear as when people begin to experience fear for the first time, without realizing that their neighbors, friends and classmates have been experiencing fear—and fighting against discrimination—for their entire lives.
This week, I’m not going to visit any beautiful Maine locations (although that respite is one that everyone should still take, and I could write pages upon pages about my fears and griefs regarding Trump’s environmental policies and the potential for literal destruction of this place I love so dearly). Instead, I’m planning to attend on-campus events about experiences of discrimination, go to Portland for community meetings and join students who are planning political actions. Those are a few of my own ways to understand how hometowns have become even less safe for so, so many people in the past week and to contextualize my sense of place within that reality.
Caught between the micro and the macro, the awful truths of the past and the terrifying realities of the present “place” takes on new, layered meanings. It holds the memories from which we should learn and possibilities towards which we should look forward. But it also carries the physical and emotional well-being of marginalized people across all identities. It carries the fears of people who are being told that places, from their home towns to the entire U.S., will no longer be open to them. As a white woman living with chronic illness, I am looking for ways in which I can continue to be a better ally, a better listener and a better fighter, for everyone experiencing marginalization who have always been fighting. For me, it’s not about making our country great again, but making our places safe—finally.
Snapshot: A Rally for Love and Strength
Snapshot: Eyes on the Pies
- November 10
QuestBridge scholarship program helps pave path towards college
When Simone Rumph ’19 first heard about the Palo Alto-based nonprofit QuestBridge as a junior in high school, she thought the program was too good to be true.
“I thought it was a complete hoax,” Rumph said.
QuestBridge is a scholarship program that helps students from low-income families apply to and pay for tertiary educations at 38 of the nation’s most selective institutions including Bowdoin, Williams, Amherst, Yale and the University of Virginia.
According to its website, QuestBridge looks for “high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges.” Finalists are typically from households that earn less than $65,000 annually for a family of four.
To begin the process, students send applications to the organization’s headquarters for review. Those who are accepted as finalists are eligible to apply to colleges using the organization’s “National College Match” program. This program allows students to choose up to 12 institutions to apply to in early November using a specialized application that seeks to represent students’ financial and familial situations in addition to their academic and extracurricular profiles. QuestBridge students then rank colleges in order of preference and are obligated to attend the highest ranked school on their list to which they are accepted.
Gerlin Leu ’19, who is the Bowdoin QuestBridge chapter liaison said that one of QuestBridge’s most important functions is to expose finalists to a wider range of schools than they may have otherwise been aware of. Leu, for example, attended high school in Texas, and the majority of her peers stayed in-state for college.
“I never would have known about liberal arts colleges in New England,” Leu said. “For me, QuestBridge was the thing that taught me about a lot of these colleges.”
QuestBridge also helps connect prospective students with college-sponsored programs that allow students to visit schools without the concern of expenses, like the Explore Bowdoin program.
Rumph’s experience with Explore Bowdoin is what ultimately led her to rank Bowdoin first on her early application list.
“I came home [after visiting] and I thought ‘I want to go back, because that felt like home,’” Rumph said.
When participants finally arrive on campus as students, they are welcomed by upperclass QuestBridge Scholars, who work to support the first-years as they make the transition to Bowdoin.
The on-campus community of QuestBridge Scholars meets informally now, but Leu is working to create an official club for QuestBridge students and other members of the Bowdoin community who identify as having come from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds.
QuestBridge Scholar Eskedar Girmash ’20 hopes that the establishment of an official club will help forge connections with students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.
“We can reach out to them and share the resources we’ve gained, and I think having regular meetings will allow us to talk about things we face on campus with those who identify with our problems,” she said.
One of Leu’s goals as liaison this year is to create a campus-wide dialogue about issues of socioeconomic diversity on campus, and eventually establish an on-campus center, distinct from the Student Center for Multicultural Life, focused on such issues.
Despite the discomfort that often surrounds discussions of economic difference, Girmash says she believes such discussions are important in helping QuestBridge and other low-income students transition to Bowdoin.
“Once we start talking about it, it will help low income students feel welcome here and help them feel not like a token applicant … but rather that they belong here and have the support that they need,” Girmash said.
- November 10
Like father, like son: professors William and Sean Barker under same roof in Searles
When he took the job at Bowdoin 41 years ago, Isaac Henry Wing Professor of Mathematics William Barker probably wasn’t expecting to one day have his own son as a co-worker.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sean Barker returned to Brunswick three years ago and joined the faculty and his father as a tenure-track professor.
Originally from the New York City area, William Barker began his career at Bowdoin after going to graduate school at MIT and doing a brief instructorship at Dartmouth College. He has worked at the College ever since.
“I almost like every aspect of Bowdoin,” said William Barker. “I’m really, extremely pleased that I’ve been able to spend my career here. I think the faculty, my colleagues and my students are great.”
Growing up, Sean Barker frequently spent time on campus.
“I would often come and meet my dad in his office,” said Sean Barker. “His office was in Adams, somewhere high up, I remember, because I went up the stairs and I recall a couple of times I would use the computer lab at Bowdoin.”
Sean Barker’s interest in computers began early—his dad gave him an old Mac laptop to use when he was three—but he hadn’t originally intended to go into teaching.
“For quite a number of years, I thought I would go into industry because I always liked building things, but as a graduate student I had the opportunity to teach a couple classes at UMass Amherst and I really enjoyed that,” said Sean Barker. “It was relatively late in my time as a student that I decided I wanted to go into academia.”
When Sean Barker began looking at various liberal arts schools to start his teaching career, Bowdoin happened to have an opening, and he and his wife decided to move closer to his family.
Both Sean Barker and William Barker see many benefits of being able to work with one another in a professional setting. Although they don’t often get lunch or have meetings with each other, working in Searles allows them to see each other with some regularity.
“What’s nice is that I get to interact here with him more as an equal colleague,” said William Barker. “It’s not that we meet everyday, nor that we are in the same department. That could have been a little bit difficult. He’s making his career here and he should be free to do that without any of my interference. It is nice to interact with him in this professional way.”
For Sean Barker, his dad acts as a source of guidance and advice on campus.
“Mostly, it’s just nice to have someone who has been at Bowdoin much longer than I have. So it’s nice to ask questions to someone who has been around long enough to have more of a detailed view of the ins and outs of how things work than I do as a relatively new faculty member,” said Sean Barker.
In terms of teaching styles, Sean Barker may be more organized, while his dad brings a level of freneticism to the classroom.
“I know that he has a bit of a reputation for being energetic,” said Sean Barker. “I think he’s known for being a bit off the walls sometimes. I think his style of instruction might be a bit higher energy than mine, but that’s a hard bar to reach.”
Arts & Entertainment
Guerrilla Girls visit builds on campus' social justice conversations
An anonymous woman in a gorilla mask visited campus last night to speak to students about the discrimination found in the art world and beyond. The speaker, a founding member of the Guerrilla Girls—an New York City-based collective of anonymous female artists devoted to combating sexism and racism in the art world—goes by the pseudonym “Frida Kahlo” in order to preserve her anonymity.
Formed in 1985, the Guerrilla Girls are known for their protests of social inequality through humorous multimedia and speaking engagements. Primarily in the form of witty, provocative posters using dry humor and statistics, the Guerrilla Girls generate discussion about the lack of diversity found in major institutions in the United States, such as household name museums and Hollywood.
In her talk, “Kahlo” discussed her experience working as a part of the Guerrilla Girls—what she called the “conscience of the art world”—and described their various projects, including a projection on the Whitney criticizing wealth in the art world that proclaimed: “Art is sooo expensive.”
“We didn’t do it at the Whitney. We did it on the Whitney,” said Kahlo of the projection.
Much of what the Guerrilla Girls aim to do is bring awareness to the gender inequality of art in museums and galleries; one poster they made in 2011 states that less than 4 percent of the artists in the modern art section at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are women, although 76 percent of the nude images in the museum are of women.
“In general, it’s a lot easier to be a male artist than a female artist in terms of being respected and being critiqued,” said June Lei ’18, head of Bowdoin Art Society (BAS). “If the Guerrilla Girls did not do what they did, like in the ’80s, I think we would live in a very different world today in terms of the arts and the way our culture is represented. They’ve done some really important things.”
Through their striking imagery and biting social commentary, the Guerrilla Girls have created major change in the global art society and sparked a new wave of activism.
“I think there’s a whole generation of artists now who are training to be artists and are rejecting the conventional idea of an artist as someone who produces expensive works of art for rich people,” said “Kahlo.” “Now, art students are rejecting that. And they want to use their skills to improve circumstances in the art.”
Lei came into contact with “Kahlo” during the summer of 2015 while interning at the Brooklyn Museum. She said that the issues the Guerrilla Girls address are beneficial for all Bowdoin students and emphasized the importance of engaging arts, not only as a solution, but as an avenue to a more equal society.
Following the For Freedoms initiative—a project that brought the works of the only artist-based super political action committee (PAC) to Bowdoin earlier this year—Lei hopes that the Guerilla Girls’ visit will serve to further bridge the gap between art and social activism on campus.
“I think the arts at Bowdoin can often times feel very removed. My hope is that people see the work of the Guerrilla Girls in the public sphere and they see that it’s a socially relevant thing as a way to get engaged and channel what they are feeling in their experiences of politics and social injustice,” said Lei. “And that they can then use those experiences and create something that speaks to other people.”
Beyond pushing for social change within museums, the Guerrilla Girls also use their hard-edge humor to spark discourse on civil commitment and social change at universities and colleges across the country.
“Last year, there was this whole conversation surrounding race on campus and so that’s really a nationwide student movement that’s happening,” said Lei. “I think that there’s a certain value to bringing in the big leagues and someone who knows what they are talking about and has a lot of experience with this.”
Kinaya Hassane ’19, who organized the program with Lei, thinks that bringing “Kahlo” to speak on campus can also help address issues that are especially salient given the presidential election.
“[The Guerrilla Girls discuss] broader politics and broader issues of gender and race, and I think now that’s especially relevant, given the fact that we have elected Donald Trump as our president,” said Hassane.
“I’m an art history major, so the issue of representation in art has always been important to me,” said Hailey Beaman ’18, creative director of the BAS. “Hearing that there are people who are so impassioned about that issue and have been for so long is really inspiring as a young person hoping to go into the art world in some capacity.”
For Kahlo, the work she’s done over the past 30 years can be summed up in one phrase: “It’s righteous fun.
Meta-theater: 'Circle Mirror Transformation' puts acting class on stage
In a dance studio on the sixth floor of Memorial Hall, five strangers play theater games and make strange noises in a circle. It is here, in student-led theater troupe Beyond the Proscenium’s (BTP) fall show, “Circle Mirror Transformation,” that the audience is required to take off their shoes and suspend their belief as they are immersed in the lives of its minimal cast: a drama teacher, her husband, a divorced carpenter, a former actress and a high school junior.
Directed by Cordelia Orbach ’17, the show follows a theater class at a local community center in rural Vermont. Although the characters lead drastically different lives, their interactions with one another provide relatable snapshots of everyday life.
“Acting is an exercise in empathy. It’s about learning about other people and trying to know them and figure out what makes them tick,” Orbach said. “The world is big and we are just college students. But our lives are real and our struggles are felt, and that’s an important part of this show.”
According to Orbach, the range of character experiences in the show produces an appreciation of the seemingly insignificant: the 16-year-old’s all-consuming desire to be the lead in the school play is felt as deeply as the loneliness of the divorced carpenter.
BTP was founded by Orbach and Sarah Guilbault ’18 in 2014 in an effort to bring student theater to non-traditional spaces on campus. The organization produces most shows in a three-week period, which Orbach said appeals to busy Bowdoin students who want to engage in on-campus theater but might not have time for a seven-week production.
With small cast sizes and intimate venues, BTP also prides itself in its ability to create unity among the cast as well as to break down the barrier between the audience and the actors. With just a yoga ball and a hula hoop for props, “Circle Mirror Transformation” is one of the group’s most personal shows yet.
“Part of the mission of BTP is bringing the audience into the play instead of asking them to opt in,” Orbach said.
According to Jamie Boucher ’19, who plays divorced carpenter Schultz in the show, the cast was able to tap into the messages of the play in order to overcome their greatest obstacle: finding the motivation to rehearse after an intense election week.
Boucher noted that the universal themes of the show—loss and love, fear of death, importance of the individual, among others—were ultimately a comfort for the group.
“It’s a valuable lesson that one can apply to rest of one’s life: everybody’s just human, just futsin’ around, trying really hard all the time,” Boucher said. “No one really knows what they’re doing, and so it’s a lesson to remind people that when it feels like the sky is falling down because Donald Trump has been elected—or even if it doesn’t, even if you’re celebrating—everyone only has two sets of eyeballs out of which they look at the world.”
“So much of theater is learning to be vulnerable and exploring parts of yourself that may really not be you, or parts that are more you than you realize,” added Rowan Staley ’18, who plays the drama teacher in the show. “It’s interesting to both be that person who’s acting and being vulnerable but then also playing someone who is being vulnerable and acting.”
Provocative student art brings menstrual blood, Trump's face in view
Controversial art exhibits have been installed around campus as part of Professor of Art Michael Kolster’s Large Format Photography class. One of these installations—which prompted a response from the administration—involved photos of Donald Trump taped over photos of students in David Saul Smith Union.
In order for students to explore the concept of installation, Professor Kolster asked students to curate an installation anywhere on Bowdoin’s campus. Throughout the assignment, Kolster emphasized nontraditional space, encouraging his students to place photographs in areas where members of the community don’t normally encounter artwork.
Large Format Photography is a 2000-level class in which students harness the large format camera to continue developing skills and themes explored in Photo 1. The camera’s bulk, heft and myriad adjustments result in a totally different photographic experience than that of smaller cameras. Students shoot one negative at a time, slowing down the photographic process.
Students could choose to use their own photographs or the photographs of others for their installations. According to Professor Koster, the goal of the project was for the message and themes of the photographs to take precedence over authorship. He encouraged students to think about the interaction between the space, the audience and the installation.
This assignment resulted in nine different installments around campus. Victoria Pitaktong ’17 attempted to reduce the stigma around women’s periods by hanging images of her friends’ bloody pads in the stalls of the men’s bathroom in David Saul Smith Union.
“I think there’s a lot of taboo around the period—that it’s nasty, people just don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “I find it difficult to hear when men say that women are just whining about their periods when they’re going through pain. You can’t even look at these things directly, how can you say women are weak?”
Nick Benson ’17 produced an equally provocative installment, in which he covered the pictures of students in the hallway of Smith Union with large pictures of Donald Trump’s face.
“I hate looking at his face; it really grosses me out. I think I dislike looking at his face so much because I associate it with his voice and I associate his voice with idiocy,” said Benson. “I was trying to set up an installation for people like me who hate looking at his face but woke up on Wednesday morning knowing that we have to get used to the realization of seeing it.”
According to Benson, the installment was met with mixed reviews: only twenty minutes after he installed it, college administrators moved the pictures to the other side of the hallway. After Benson repositioned them in their original spot, a student ripped up the pictures and threw them in the recycling bin in a matter of minutes. However, this strong reaction didn’t discourage Benson.
“I think the visceral reaction of the viewer is something I was really going for, because we’re going to have to get used to it,” said Benson, “I mean, seeing his pictures in the Union for five minutes is way less painful than having him as our president for four years.”
Despite the varied reactions to the installments across campus, Kolster said he was proud of how the projects turned out.
“There were varying degrees of provocation and varying degrees of things that they were trying to say, varying degrees of social or aesthetic engagement that the installations worked with,” he added. “All of us as image makers seek on some level to have them be seen, to make a contribution to the larger conversation.”
Visiting performance artist showcases female determination
Performance and sculpture artist Kate Gilmore introduced herself to a crowded Kresge auditorium on Monday evening with a series of videos of herself covered in dust. Hammering away at a hardened bucket of plaster stuck on her foot, the Halley K. Harrisburg ’90 and Michael Rosenfeld Artist-In-Residence kicked off her week-long visit with a presentation of her work. One such presentation depicted her with an axe, chopping down a giant, fake-blood-oozing wooden heart.
Gilmore’s video presentations primarily showcased females working through obstacles with relentless determination. In some of her graduate school productions, Gilmore even dressed up as Hillary Clinton as a symbol of female perseverance.
“I’m interested in looking at power structures in society, I’m interested in using art as a means of communication to talk about things that should change and I’m interested in the conversation between art and power,” said Gilmore.
Gilmore, who will spend the rest of her visit with students in the classroom discussing their work one-on-one, emphasized the importance of unity for both aspiring artists and accomplished artists within the art community, specifically in the aftermath of the recent election.
Gilmore said that a majority of the art community is shaken up by the election, although she maintains a hopeful outlook.
“We need to not be isolated anymore, [we need to be] like a community. We should do something better for the world in general … while doing things together and creating personal, lasting relationships,” she said.
According to Anne Curtis ’20, a student who attended the event, Gilmore’s work, particularly her Clinton piece, spoke to the empowerment often found in feminist art.
“Ms. Gilmore was a very engaging speaker who was very passionate about her work and was excited to share that passion with us,” she said. “Her approach to art was very interesting, and she has a very unique method to convey her messages.”
Emily Olick-Llano ’20 was particularly interested in Gilmore’s video of women stomping on ceramic vases full of paint.
“I really enjoyed Kate Gilmore’s video of women stomping on ceramic vases full of paint,” Emily Olick-Llano ’20 added. “It was a scene that [I’d never pictured] when thinking about art, but I loved the uniformity of the color and arrangement before and after the vases were destroyed. It was both unsettling and empowering.”
- November 11
Interdisciplinary artist Anne Walsh discusses art in the context of a Trump presidency
Thursday night, interdisciplinary artist Anne Walsh gave a talk that she revamped the day before in response to the unexpected election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
In an interview hours before her talk, she admitted that “life got in the way” of her plans for the talk when Trump won on Tuesday.
“I felt that it was so irrelevant for me to go across the country and pull out my slideshow and go, ‘Here’s my work,’” Walsh said. “And then I was leaving and … I thought about how I could curate a selection of pieces to show today that would allow me to say something I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about.”
She hoped that in her talk she would be able to say “Here’s how I can move forward, here’s where I’m going to find my faith, and here’s where I’m going to draw courage from to endure.”
Much of the talk took on new, unexpected meaning in the context of Trump’s election on Tuesday, particularly when Walsh focused on one of her pieces featured on The Thing Quarterly, a website that “publishes objects.” The piece displays a solid rubber wedge engraved with a letter Walsh wrote to tennis star Billie Jean King as a young girl after King beat Bobby Riggs in one of the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis matches.
During her talk, she projected the wedge on the wall and read the engraving aloud.
“[Y]ou are my inspiration because you are so strong,” she had written to King. “You are so passionate about equality for girls and women. You won that match for me and for everyone who cares about women’s lib.”
Reading the letter again, Walsh almost began to cry. She said it was a realization that this letter was something that her own young daughter could have written if the Hillary Clinton had won the election.
“Let’s make some doorstops,” she continued. “Let’s keep the door open.”
Walsh said that seeing art in the San Francisco airport before her flight here reminded her of the craft’s importance.
“I don’t know if any of what I’m going to show you today is going to make you feel hopeful or like organizing,” she said. “But the work that I saw today made me feel better. One of the places I have to begin is just by affirming what my values are, and one of them is just that I really deeply believe that all kinds of art need to exist … I’m going to keep making work.”
Much of the content of Walsh’s talk focused on the concept of translation. She played audio recordings from a piece which she and sound designer Chris Kubick produced in conjunction with the Whitney Museum of American Art. They recorded psychic mediums attempting to contact the deceased artist Joseph Cornell’s spirit and “translated” that into audio tours for visitors at the museum.
In her piece “An Annotated Hearing Trumpet,” she began by attempting to adapt the book “The Hearing Trumpet” into a movie. Instead, she has created an ongoing interdisciplinary project including images and writing that will eventually be published as a book.
The project has become like a hall of mirrors that explores what it means for humans to adapt and translate art.
“The book that was gonna be a movie is gonna be a book about a book going to be a movie,” she said.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Erin Johnson was a graduate student of Walsh’s at the University of California, Berkeley. She said she was excited for her own students to get to meet one of her most influential teachers.
“There’s this nice closing of a circle for a moment in which we can all have conversations together that were started in my own life via Anne,” she said. “Thinking about lineage and influence is exciting and important to me as an artist and a woman.”
- November 11
Students revive Professor Robinson's 90s play based on 'Krazy Kat' comic
Professor of Theater Davis Robinson drew inspiration from the early 1900s comic strip “Krazy Kat” when he adapted the story of a dynamic cat and mouse duo for his award-winning theater company. This weekend, Bowdoin students will revive Robinson’s play, bringing it to the stage for the first time in over 20 years.
“Krazy Kat” originated as a newspaper comic strip by cartoonist George Herriman and ran for over 30 years from 1913-1944. Set in the desert of Coconino County, Arizona, the strip centers around Krazy, a happy-go-lucky cat, and Ignatz, a cranky mouse. Ignatz hates Krazy and devises clever plans to throw bricks at Krazy. At the same time, Krazy secretly loves Ignatz and misinterprets Ignatz’s assaults as signs of affection. Before things get out of hand, Offica Bull Pup, a benevolent cop, intervenes, often throwing Ignatz in jail.
The plot for this show, however, has much more depth. The play was created in 1995 by Robinson with his theater company, Beau Jest. Pulling the best scenes out of several hundred comic strips, Robinson worked carefully to put the play together for almost a year and performed it in Boston. It received rave reviews. Now, back with his original design team at Bowdoin, he felt it was the right time to bing the show to campus.
“When I chose this play in the spring, I knew that it would be Election Week,” said Robinson. “The characters are animals, so it breaks away from the bifurcated idea of Republicans and Democrats. We’re all going to want to be throwing bricks at each other at the end of this election campaign. But at the same time there’s a need to heal, to sing, to dance, to be in a room together, regardless of whose nerves were frayed.”
Robinson chose to adapt the show from its original version to highlight current issues, such as gender identity.
“George Herriman never answered the question of whether Krazy is male or female, and he often switches Krazy’s pronouns,” said Robinson. “That issue has surfaced this time around in a whole different way, with our awareness of gender being a more fluid spectrum. Now that we’re in 2016, the actors and I looked through the strip and found scenes that fleshed out that aspect of the plot line further.”
In addition to its sense of humor, the production is unique in its use of sound effects. Conner Lovett ‘19, the sound Foley operator, has worked in tech for previous shows at Bowdoin, but said he has never felt so involved.
“My role in the show is to produce all the sound effects, and there are many important ones,” says Lovett. “Since this show is based off a cartoon, I’m using classic noisemakers, like a slapstick and a slide whistle. For example, every time Ignatz Mouse throws a brick, I can hit a whistle and a knock.”
The audience at Thursday’s premiere seemed to appreciate the dynamic use of sound—Daniel O’Berry was reminded of Looney Toons cartoons throughout the show.
“They really utilized sound to enhance the comedy and the energy of the scene,” he said. “On the whole, it was phenomenal.”
Though the play is based on a comic strip, its humor, themes and characters appeal to both children and adults. Sophie Sadovnikoff ‘19, who plays Krazy in the show, said she loves working on the show and encourages everyone to go for a fun night of comedic release.
“‘Krazy Kat’ is the perfect break from the real world right now,” said Sadovnikoff. “With everything that’s going on, it’s nice to spend an hour or so in a world that’s not so serious, full of joy and without hate.”
“Krazy Kat” will be performed on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall’s Pickard Theater. Tickets are free and are available at the door.
- November 11
Israeli photographer to speak on Jewish identity, masculinity
Acclaimed Israeli photographer Adi Nes will visit Bowdoin on Tuesday to deliver the Harry Spindel Memorial Lecture. His large-format photographs tackle issues of Jewish identity and masculinity, and will be a part of the exhibition “Art and Resolution: 1900 to Today” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Nes was invited to be the lecturer after Harrison King McCann Professor of English Marilyn Reizbaum sent the Museum a proposal for his photographs to be displayed. She is exploring his work in her upcoming book “Unfit: The Jewish Science of Modernism.”
In his lecture, titled “Issues of Identity,” Nes will speak about his artistic style, his use of staged photography and the ways in which his photographs reflect the various facets of Israeli identity.
The exhibit will feature Nes’ photographs, which are large-format staged images that tell fictional stories about Israeli society. According to Reizbaum, the size of the photographs is important as it contributes to the dramatic nature of the images.
She added that by working on the same scale as old master artists, such as French Romantic artist Delacroix, Nes is able to speak to current moments and the ways in which they answer questions of Jewishness.
Ellen Tani, Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral curatorial fellow at the Museum, explained that the images are “references to an ideal utopia and on-the-ground grit of daily life.”
“He works in series and most of the works are untitled, and that’s purposeful because it lets the viewer come cleanly to the work without their own expectation of what it’s about without looking at it,” Tani said.
The larger exhibit, “Art and Resolution: 1900 to Today,” focuses on how artists use their practice to reckon with various challenges of our time.
“When I was putting it together, I was thinking about, in a global sense, what are artists confronting in their world in the last 100 years?” said Tani.
Tani felt as though Nes’ work fit well with the exhibition as it added a new dimension to the conversation about 20th and 21st century artwork.
“The drive of his photographic practice aligns really nicely with that theme and provides a really fascinating angle to which other works in our collection can’t necessarily speak, namely issues of ethnic difference in Israel, within Jewish culture and around issues relating to masculinity in Israeli culture,” Tani said.
Reizbaum, who has been in contact extensively with Nes for her book, expects that students will enjoy hearing Nes speak. According to Tani, the Museum hopes that the lecture and exhibit will allow students to gain new global perspectives on the concepts of difference and conflict, specifically in relation to race.
“So many of our conversations are preoccupied with racial frictions we are familiar with in the U.S.,” Tani said. “I hope that this stretches people’s notions of how this isn’t something that is unique to our culture. The fact that this is a human difference, is something that is experienced worldwide and that has great impact on lives that we don’t necessarily understand.”
“Art and Resolution: 1900 to Today” will be on display at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art fromNovember 15 through April 16, 2017.
- November 11
Japanese professor visits campus, speaks on anti-nuclear protest
After a divisive election, students at Bowdoin were reminded yesterday of the power of democracy and knowledge by a screening of the documentary “Tell the Prime Minister.” Toru Shinoda, a labor politics professor from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, attended the screening and spoke with students about the importance of political engagement. The event was sponsored by the Asian Studies department.
The film was made by a young Japanese sociology professor, Eiji Oguma. According to Director of the Asian Studies Program Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger, Oguma’s intent was to portray the mobilization movement that sprung up among youth in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in 2011.
The Fukushima protests were anti-nuclear demonstrations that took place after the meltdown and were primarily comprised of workers and students. The protesters called on the Japanese government to abolish nuclear power entirely.
Shinoda said that the film screening comes at an interesting moment in American politics.
“We can see in the film how people combine speaking up with an indirect democracy,” he said.
“This is the film of how Japanese people, not just found, but remembered how democracy works.”
The protests were “an energization of a population,” according to Selinger.
After the protests, the government committed to shutting down any nuclear power plants by 2030. Shinoda said that he is surprised the policy is working, considering the transfer of power to the more conservative current government.
“The pledge will be completed since more and more people in Japan think nuclear plants aren’t necessary,” said Shinoda. “We’ve been fine without nuclear plants, in terms of providing electricity.”
The protests, however, weren’t the only factor that caused the Japanese government to change. According to Shinoda, Japanese sentiment toward nuclear energy has also been in flux.
Selinger hopes that students relate to the sense of consciousness that the Japanese protesters had.
“We hope that our students take away engagement in democracy and the multitudinous ways you approach and think about an event like this,” she said. “One of our goals is to have environmental studies reflect on the kind of work we do in the liberal arts.”
The protests, prompted by environmental issues, commented on how politics approximate everyday life, and emphasized how environmental issues are interconnected with political and social life.
“The environmental issue provided an opportunity to people to remember politics and ignite change,” said Shinoda.
Currently, the Asian Studies Department is guiding research projects in the interdisciplinary study of environmental studies and politics. Selinger noted that one student, Michael Amano ’17, spent the summer researching the post World War II exchange of art between students in Santa Fe, Nm. and Hiroshima, Japan.
“I notice this generation of students has a very heightened consciousness about our commitment and agency with respect to the environment,” Selinger added. “I’d like to see this tapped into.”
- November 4
'From a Drop of Seawater': science students make prints with plankton
Before the semester began in August, 12 Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS) students spent a day collecting plankton in Boothbay Harbor. On Wednesday evening, they presented prints they created from images of these plankton at the “From a Drop of Seawater” exhibit at the Visual Arts Center Fishbowl Gallery. The images were a result of the students’ research into the intersection of art and science.
“Part of their course is looking under the microscope and investigating the diversity and functional roles of the different plankton. They are just really cool and pretty to look at under the scopes,” said Coastal Studies Biology Scholar Bobbie Lyon, who led the project with Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Mary Hart.
The students took pictures of the plankton under a microscope and then used those images to make pronto plates. From the plates, they were able to use printmaking techniques to create colorful prints of the organisms.
Each student then created a hand-drawn diagram that analyzed one important aspect of the organism and drew an image to reflect that aspect. They finished the project by writing a short essay about the relationship between the plankton and its environment.
This collaboration arose as a result of both Hart’s and Lyon’s interest in the relationship between artistic and scientific studies. Last fall, the two worked on a watercolor project together and wanted to continue the dialogue by seeking to further understand how the two seemingly different disciplines interact with one another.
“I think especially as students, you are taught scientific thinking and you are taught a very logical stream of thought,” said Hart. “And artists, we are taught to brainstorm and think of multiple solutions and be going off in all directions at once. So that was what I found really interesting about the conversation and I think that the students were starting to think about that in terms of going on in science and how that might inform and enrich their scientific thinking.”
Many of the BMSS students who had not taken any art classes before spoke to the benefit of combining both art and science after doing the project.
“I like doing art, but I’m not an art person,” said Sam Walkes ‘18. “I’ve never tried to combine science and art, so that was something new. I felt like what I was doing was a new way of communicating science.”
Lizzie Givens ’17, another BMSS student, sees combining the two disciplines as a valuable teaching method.
“As an artist studying biology, so much of my style is formed by my observation and that’s something that I’ve learned from science,” said Givens. “In turn, my science is absolutely better communicated and better understood through my ability with art.”
Some BMSS students who hadn’t worked with printmaking before found challenges in the process, but ultimately ended up with successful final projects.
“It was difficult to try to get the layers to stick directly on top of one another,” said Jackie Ricca ’19. “I know that I put a lot of time into making the hand-drawn part and I wasn’t exactly sure that it was going to fit over the microscope image. When I finally lifted up the sheet and it worked, I was pretty happy.”
Hart and Lyon were pleased with the results of the project and impressed with the quality of the students’ work.
“It was really great. It took a ton of time and it was really worth it,” said Hart. “I feel satisfied and it’s always interesting when you do a project and there’s still some questions, you haven’t quite figured it out, and it lures you into the next session of your ideas.”
- November 4
Professor Michael Kolster documents plastic 'fossils of the future'
An interdisciplinary journey through photography, anthropology and geology led Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster to a remote, garbage-ridden beach on Hawaii’s Big Island last March.
It all started after Kolster read an article in the New York Times that described the work of three geologists who traveled to Hawaii in search of a new kind of stone called “plastiglomerate,” formed by discarded plastic fused with rock. Kolster’s interest was piqued by the article’s claim that these artificial stones would become a permanent part of the geological record—a kind of fossil of the future.
“These particular objects will become portraits of us for whoever uncovers them hundreds or millions of years from now, and they will indicate a moment of geological time where humans have begun to alter geological history,” Kolster said.
He contacted the researchers cited in the New York Times article in hopes of seeing the plastiglomerates for himself and discovered that the researcher in possession of the physical plastiglomerate samples was a visual artist. The artist refused Kolster’s request to photograph the objects as she planned on incorporating them into her own artistic project. Not to be deterred, Kolster was awarded a Faculty Research Award to travel to the remote Kamilo beach, known also as “junk beach” for the massive quantities of refuse that wash ashore, where the original samples had been found.
With the help of a local resident, Kolster spent a day photographing plastiglomerates, other trash and the general landscape.
Kolster said that it was the beach’s imperfections that he found most compelling. He hopes his work will encourage viewers to look for beauty and opportunity in places one might consider flawed.
“Places that demonstrate our presence have a certain value and allure, and they deserve our attention and deserve to be taken care of,” he said. “We have pretty much affected or altered every spot on the earth; we tend to neglect the places we’re actually living in and have attachment to, in some ways because of how we’ve changed them.”
Kolster captured the plastiglomerates using the technique of stereography, which, when viewed properly, allows the audience to experience the images in three dimensions. According to Kolster, the experience of viewing stereographs pushes viewers to engage more actively with the images. Additionally, the technique is often employed by scientists when documenting data in order to create a more accurate representation of their subjects.
“I’m not a scientist, but I’m interested in that language and I’m interested in having the pictures become credible and believable,” Kolster said. “That’s an important quality that I want to have in my pictures generally: that if you were there, you could see them, and you could connect with them in a similar way.”
Kolster hopes to publish the project, titled “Chronicle of the Geologic Record Foretold” as part of a larger collection of his work. He said that one of the most rewarding parts of this project was the way in which it connected unexpectedly to some of his other recent projects, including a photographic study of rivers across the country, such as the Los Angeles and the Androscoggin rivers. Both projects represent nature in a singular temporal moment, yet seek to encourage the viewer to contemplate nature’s constancy.
“When you look at a still picture you realize it isn’t life. So then you ask yourself, what is life? Life is change and flux. And a photograph basically stands in relief to that,” Kolster said.
Football team faces familiar woes after winless season
The Bowdoin football team has never had any periods of sustained success. Since 1990, the team has had just two seasons with five or more wins. The team has not had back-to-back seasons over .500 since 1979-80. In 125 years of football, the team has gone 394-516-44—equating to a .436% winning percentage.
Many players point to confidence as the key to turning around the program.
“It’s really a sense of belief, and that comes with a few years of success,” captain Nadim Elhage ’16 said.
Past players, present players, coaches and administrators all believe that, even more than recruiting or coaching, a winning tradition is the most important factor for achieving success.
“Winning and losing are habitual,” Football Head Coach J.B. Wells said.
The difficult part is breaking the cycle. Trinity was often mentioned as an example of a team accustomed to winning. Players can sense the gap in attitudes between programs like Bowdoin’s and Trinity’s on the field.
“The biggest difference is that [teams like Trinity] they expect to win … year after year,” Elhage said.
The top teams in the NESCAC really do win every year. Since 1990, Trinity has had only one losing season. They have also had seven undefeated seasons in that span. Another NESCAC powerhouse, Amherst, had a 21-game winning streak spanning four seasons before they lost to Middlebury this fall.
Recruiting plays a crucial role in determining a football program’s success. The official description of NESCAC recruiting was detailed in a 2005 New York Times article, as well as 2014 articles by both the Orient and the Bates Student.
In football, recruiting essentially entails trying to acquire the biggest, fastest, quickest players, who have the best instincts for the game and the best character off the field, who also won’t fail in the classroom. More than in most sports, size is crucial.
“One of the biggest things you notice when playing against the top teams, is that you see the guys are bigger, like the Trinity offensive line, their boundary side tackle is like 6-4, 320 lbs and a lot of times you would think they’re more athletic,” said Elhage. “I think that has to do with the academic caliber at Bowdoin. Not to make an excuse, but we’re not letting in a lot of the students that a lot of the other schools are letting in.”
The size differences of players—drastic at times—marks the most visible, calculable difference between top NESCAC teams and the less successful teams in the league. In football, size might not be everything, but uneven matchups on the line are tough to overcome.
“The offensive line is the only place where size matters a ton,” said Wells. “They’ve got to sit back and anchor their feet. Offensive linemen are either like sledgehammers or railroad spikes. If you have to get off the ball and hit somebody, you’re like the hammer. But you also have to put your foot in the ground and sit down against somebody running into you, you gotta be able to absorb that. That’s where size matters most.”
For deans and athletic directors around the NESCAC, recruiting is a touchy subject. In a 2014 Bates article on the subject, the Bates Dean of Admissions declined to comment on recruiting, saying that it was against league policy to discuss the process. Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan does not think there are any recruiting differences between NESCAC schools.
“Every institution has essentially the same process,” said Ryan. “There are parameters across the conference that are the same in terms of the overall number of support opportunities … Different schools can allocate those resources as they’d would like across their own individual programs, but there are guidelines in place to ensure the system is consistent across the whole conference.”
NESCAC guidelines allocate two recruiting spots to each team at a school, with the exception of football, which receives 14. However, each college is allowed to decide how these spots and the associated resources are actually spread amongst their individual programs.
Once each team uses up its recruiting spots, the team largely relies on admissions to accept students who play each sport at a high level. Wells suggests that cooperation, as opposed to working outside the system, is the key to acquiring recruits that might be considered borderline applicants by the admissions office.
“I think a lot of people point fingers at the admissions office and they say, ‘they’re too stringent, they’re not giving you the players you need.’ You hear that a lot, they’re not ‘giving you the players.’ Well, it’s not admissions’ responsibility to give us anything really. It’s the responsibility for the offices to work together,” he said.
Wells also noted differences in recruiting at Bowdoin compared to when he was the Head Coach of the Endicott football team.
“The average student at Endicott was probably going to visit three, four, five, times before making a decision,” he said. “Here they might be able to visit one time. So, one of the biggest differences between recruiting at Bowdoin and Endicott is the limited face-to-face contact, the limited times that each recruit gets to visit campus at Bowdoin.”
Ryan does not believe schools lower admission standards for football players in a significant way.
“There may be slight variations, but no institution is going to have members of an athletic program who are considerably outside the range of the rest of the student body,” he said.
This provides an explanation for why Trinity would be able to out-recruit a school like Bowdoin: they have lower academic averages in the admissions process, and therefore have a greater pool of student-athletes to choose from.
Schools like Wesleyan and Tufts are simply bigger. Tufts has 5,000 undergraduates, and Wesleyan has 3,000, so they have a greater pool of admitted students who want to play football, outside of standard recruits. So they have the potential to receive more walk-ons.
Removing Trinity, Tufts and Wesleyan, what explains Amherst’s success? If Amherst and Bowdoin are assumed to be on the same academic level, why are they able to stock their team with more, and bigger, bodies?
“That’s the million-dollar question. If you figure that out, call me. That’s the code [we’re] trying to crack,” Wells said.
An important difference between the schools, in Wells’ view, is consistency in staff. Having the same coaches, year after year, delivering the same message to the players, is important.
“If you don’t have a lot of turnover on your staff, that allows you to improve more effectively, communicate more effectively, teach more effectively,” Wells said. “If you have good coaches that are good recruiters, over a long period of time that helps your team.”
Wells also pointed to communication between offices as a key to success.
“With football, you really have to be vertically aligned. From your players, to your coaches, to your athletic director, to your admissions office, to your president, you all have to be on the same page,” Wells said.
At the end of the day, however, games are played on the field, not at desks. Bowdoin players and administrators have emphasized that, record aside, the team is moving in the right direction.
“There’s never a time when we’re playing a team, and what we’re doing is just completely wrong. For example, Coach Bloom has been great at dissecting opposing offenses … really any time there have been big plays against our defense it’s kids not executing. When we’re doing what we’re supposed to against the best teams in the league, they’re not able to do anything,” Elhage said.
In building a successful football program, the margin of error is incredibly small and a host of factors puts Bowdoin at a disadvantage. Bowdoin does not operate with the same set of rules as Trinity or Amherst. When compared to other Maine schools, Bowdoin actually performs quite well. Bowdoin has traditionally been the best DIII football program in the state and has won the most Colby-Bates-Bowdoin championships, with 20.
Shibles creates her own legacy while honoring former coach
When women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles started coaching, she drew inspiration from her former coach at Bates, Marsha Graef, who passed away last fall at age 61. Years later, Shibles has gone on to inspire many of her own players to take up coaching, forming a coaching tree of her own.
After holding a ceremony to dedicate Bates’ new women’s locker room to Graef, Alison Montgomery ’05—current Bates head coach and Shibles’ former assistant coach at Bowdoin—and Shibles announced that the season-opening Maine Tip-Off Tournament will be renamed after Graef as well.
“Since [Graef] passed last winter, it’s been a real opportunity for the people in the Bates community to honor everything she gave to our community when she was here and also when she passed,” Montgomery said. “And Adrienne said that we had that celebration in October, but she wanted to continue that celebration and honor her again with this tournament.”
Shibles not only appreciates Graef for everything she did for the Bates basketball program, but also for inspiring her to go into the profession at a time when Shibles did not even think it was a career that was open to her.
“I realized that she was leading in a way that I wanted to. Once I saw she could do it, all of a sudden doors were open to me,” Shibles said. “I thought, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ If I did not have her as a coach, I wouldn’t have followed in that path. I wouldn’t have even considered it as a possibility because I had only seen men in that role up to that point.”
Today, Shibles still strives to emulate Graef’s caring attitude toward the individual players.
“Our coaching styles are very different but at the core of her coaching style, there’s the same foundation of caring about the person and really empowering women to be leaders,” Shibles said. “I know she was passionate about the same things I was passionate about.”
According to Montgomery, this passion for players is characteristic of Shibles’ coaching style.
“[Shibles] loves basketball and loves to coach basketball, but she is so invested in the people she is working with,” Montgomery said. “I think she sees this as an opportunity to educate young women, of course about basketball, but having a perspective that there is actually a much bigger picture and her relationship with these young women is really what matters.”
As a coach, Shibles has broken records both at Bowdoin and at her previous school, Swarthmore. According to Shibles, the main reason for the success of her former players and the program itself is the type of player the Bowdoin women’s basketball program attracts.
“I think we search for people who embrace being pushed to be their best self as a leader, and we, with our program, have a shared leading model,” Shibles said. “So we stress that you’re going to have a voice right away as a first year—you’re going to have ownership of the program and you’re going to be pushed to really serve as a leader within this program and you’ll also be encouraged to do so on campus.”
Shannon Brady ’16, who now is an assistant coach at Colby, argues that part of the reason that Shibles is so successful as a coach is the trust that she builds with her players.
“I would go into battle with Coach Shibles any day because I know that she has my back and I have hers,” Brady said. “So it’s that mutual trust that she really instills that makes me want to make her proud so I think it’s a combination of being nurturing and demanding at the same time that has lead to a lot of her success, and I think winning is just a byproduct of that.”
Not only is Shibles inspiring on the court and in the locker room, but also in encouraging players to go into coaching, according to Jill Pace ’12, the women’s basketball head coach at Pomona-Pitzer.
“The way she influenced me as a player and a student-athlete at Bowdoin kind of made me want to give back to the coaching world and also the student-athletes that are now me at Pomona-Pitzer,” Pace said. “I always saw the way she impacted me and my teammates and so after graduation, I was like, why not do this same thing that can impact student athletes’ lives in such a positive way.”
According to Brady, Shibles also was extremely helpful during her job search.
“As soon as I let her know that I was interested in graduate positions and coaching positions, she immediately started looking around, contacting coach friends and looking at different opportunities for me,” Brady said. “So she was helpful right off the bat with that.”
According to Pace, Shibles’ impact is not limited to Bowdoin due to the number of players that have continued in her footsteps.
“I think Coach Shibles can look out and see that there’s a little piece of her, like now there’s a little piece of her out in Southern California, hundreds of miles away from the Northeast,” Pace said. “She’s always influencing people in all the little places where we are."
The relegation zone: Is it time to clean house at the U.S. Men's National Team?
Dating back to World Cup qualifying matches in 2001, Columbus—Columbus, Ohio, of all places—has been the U.S. Men’s National Team’s (USMNT) fortress against archrivals Mexico, with four straight 2-0 wins against El Tri at Columbus Crew Stadium (now MAPFRE Stadium). So, when the USMNT learned that it would be playing Mexico in the first match of the Hexagonal, the final round of qualifying for World Cup 2018, it was only natural that it woul be in the state of Ohio.
Before the match last Friday, the banner unfurled by the American Outlaws, the team’s rowdy supporters group, paid homage to old and new, with the likeness of 18-year old wunderkind Christian Pulisic, stylized as the demon haunting Mexican fortunes, holding up two fingers on one hand and a big zero on the other—that famous Dos a Cero scoreline—over the tagline “Nightmares are Real.”
All good things come to an end though, as the US capitulated to the visiting Mexican side early, then again in the match’s dying minutes, after clawing back to make it one-all. The traveling Mexican support sang out “Dos a Uno, Dos a Uno” as the match ended, casting off 15 years of nightmares and history in Columbus. The 2-1 loss represented not just the end of Fortress Columbus, but also the team’s first World Cup qualifying loss to Mexico on US soil in over 40 years.
If a crushing 2-1 loss to the team’s most bitter rival wasn’t enough agony for one week, the USMNT then traveled to Costa Rica for the second match in the Hex on Tuesday night and were run off the pitch by a rampant Costa Rican side. Johan Venegas’ headed goal a minute from halftime broke the Yanks’ spirits and opened the floodgates for three more goals in the second half and a 4-0 thrashing.
Opening the Hex with two straight losses has left the USMNT adrift at the bottom of the qualifying group and desperately searching for answers. While losses to two of the region’s strongest sides is nothing to be ashamed of on paper, more alarming is how the squad looked without direction for long periods of those matches. The team has seemed generally rudderless for sometime now. Against this backdrop, it’s time for the Jurgen Klinsmann experiment to end as USMNT manager.
Klinsmann has no doubt brought the USMNT great success. His recruiting and scouting efforts have helped to restock the squad’s cabinet with talented youngsters like John Brooks, Lynden Gooch and the aforementioned Pulisic, and the team’s great escape from the “Group of Death” at the 2014 World Cup remains stuff of legend, overexaggerated as that squad’s performance may be. Despite that, Klinsmann has clearly lost the script with the team and it’s doubtful if he will find it again.
One of the selling points of Klinsmann has always been his ability as a motivator and man-manager. It’s those efforts of giving youth a chance and teasing out the best in players that inspires willingness in some players to charge through a brick wall for Klinsmann. The team’s matches in the last year or so have demonstrated that he no longer inspires that confidence in his players though, and if a motivator can no longer motivate, what good is he leading the USMNT?
This rift was on full display in Columbus last Friday, as Klinsmann made the puzzling decision to start the match in a 3-5-2 formation, playing an unfamiliar formation with three at the back against an incisive Mexican attack, leading to Mexican domination and an early goal. As a result, US captain Michael Bradley and ageless warrior Jermaine Jones, the two most vocal leaders in the field at the time, argued openly with Klinsmann about tactics during a stoppage. While the team reverted back into a familiar 4-4-2 formation after the confrontation, the damage was done and the rift between manager and players evident.
Perhaps more damning was the way that the US capitulated against Costa Rica after the half, going into the break just down a goal. The Yanks came out of the break looking listless and without desire in a vital match, showing just how little confidence Klinsmann inspires in his men.
Even the world’s best managers have a shelf life and it looks like Jurgen has reached his with the USMNT. His constant refusal to accept responsibility for puzzling tactical decisions and lackluster on field performance date well beyond the most recent losses (the Gold Cup debacle against Jamaica and CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico, both last year, come to mind). The USMNT doesn’t have another qualifier for nearly 4 months, a match against Honduras that is now a must-win. If he has truly lost the locker room, as it seems, the time is now to make a change and part ways with Jurgen Klinsmann.
Harvard soccer incident sparks campus discussion
After the recent discovery of the 2012 Harvard men’s soccer team’s sexually explicit “scouting report,” which rated Harvard women’s soccer recruits on their physical appearance, several Bowdoin student groups planned a discussion about “locker room talk.” Held on Wednesday night in Ladd House, the talk brought together students and faculty in an effort to reflect on the presence and norms of crude and sexually explicit language on campus.
After reading news about the report, Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV), the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Bowdoin Women’s Resource Center (WRC) decided to address the kind of inappropriate speech found in the “scouting report” from a Bowdoin perspective.
“We hope to talk about how we don’t feel that there is a place for that at Bowdoin,” said Michael Eppler ’17, a varsity soccer player and member of the SAAC who helped to coordinate the talk. “[And moreover] to discuss where we’re at with our norms for not just sports teams [but] for just everyone in terms of language when it comes to talking about some of these topics.”
Attended by mainly male and female athletes, the event’s discussion focused in part on the expectations of being a male athlete and the effectiveness of BMASV’s facilitations.
“People [at the event seemed] to be interested in actually creating change and doing something about it rather than just creating spaces for dialogue, which is also important but is not going to solve all of the world’s problems by itself,” said Dana Bloch ’17, a member of the sailing team who attended the event.
Killian Dickson ’20, a member of the crew and swim teams, was impressed by the number of male athletes who attended, as he believes that “the problem stems” from this demographic.
Other students expanded upon this idea, discussing the stereotypes and expectations about sex and hypermasculinity surrounding male athletes, which often perpetuate ill treatment of women, especially when “locker room talk” is not treated as a serious issue.
Several students praised BMASV, which meets with all varsity men’s sport teams at the beginning of their seasons to combat these expectations. Others, both men and women, took issue with BMASV’s facilitations and questioned the group’s efficacy since talking about sex and physical attractiveness in crude terms is still a problem at Bowdoin.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan echoed Bloch’s perspective on proactiveness.
“It was beneficial to be able to hear perspectives from students about ways that we could be doing things differently to address these issues on our campus,“ he said.
“Maybe in the future they [will] change BMASV training so that it caters to everybody and [so] that everybody feels like they’re getting something out of it, because it seemed like there were some dissenting views on that,” said Rebkah Tesfamariam ’18, who works for the WRC and organized and moderated the discussion along with Eppler.
“I have no idea about what BMASV does with those facilitations [but] now it’s making me consider what my role is as a student director and how I can better appeal to women on campus,” added Tesfamariam.
After the talk, Eppler noted that the discussion centered on athletics and was dominated by voices from inside of the locker room, though at the beginning of the talk he and Tesfamariam clarified that this language may be found anywhere.
“Our overarching goal for this program was to be sort of more … inclusive in terms of the whole community,” said Eppler. “Moving forward I would like to see, sort of, more programming bringing together more parts of campus on this topic.”
Men's basketball embarks on 75th season, Gilbride thinks back on 32 years as coach
The Bowdoin men’s basketball team begins its 75th season today against Southern Vermont. For the 32nd year, the team is led by Head Coach Tim Gilbride. During his tenure, the program has improved considerably. The combined winning percentage of all coaches before him was .378; under Gilbride the Polar Bears boast a winning percentage of .593. The Polar bears have also qualified for the NESCAC playoffs for the last 15 years.
According to Gilbride, much about the program, as well as sports culture in America, has changed during his time at Bowdoin.
“I think what has changed the most is you used to get more two-sport athletes. It is not necessarily that Bowdoin has changed; it’s more that kids now specialize much earlier,” said Gilbride. “You know if they have done that, they are fully invested in your particular sport which is nice, but I also thought it was beneficial to get people that competed in different sports. Maybe they were the star in one sport and they weren’t quite as good in another sport so they learned how to interact in all those roles.”
Gilbride claims one thing that has not changed for him is his admiration for his players, not just as athletes, but as students and young men. The pleasure he draws from working with Bowdoin students is what keeps bringing him back year after year.
“They love basketball,” said Gilbride. “They are committed to playing but they have tons of other interests. They are really inquisitive and want to learn a lot of things. They have so much going for them; the fact that they are so passionate about basketball I find exciting and interesting as a coach.”
The team graduated some of its key members last year. It lost Lucas Hausman ’16, 2015 NESCAC Player of the Year and a First Team NABC All-American, as well as Matt Palecki ’16, the team’s leader in rebounds last year.
Much of the team’s success this year hinges on the performances of underclassmen. 2016 NESCAC Rookie of the Year Jack Simonds ’19 is poised to have an even more impactful sophomore performance. Gilbride hopes that Hugh O’Neill ’19 and David Reynolds ’20 will be able to make a significant impact as well.
As the season begins, the team has been focusing on playing smart team defense, as well as improving their lateral quickness, according to Gilbride. Since NESCAC teams do not start practices until November 1, a full two weeks behind the rest of NCAA Division III, the Polar Bears are at a disadvantage this weekend against non-conference opponents Southern Vermont and University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Still, under the leadership of captains Neil Fuller ’17 and Jack Hewitt ’17, the team is ready for the challenge.
“We are just looking to go in there and play the kind of ball that we have to play to succeed,” said Hewitt. “We can be a very good team that people might be sleeping on. If we keep working hard, we could be one of the best teams in the NESCAC.”
New coaching duo prepares men's hockey team for season debut
This weekend, the men’s ice hockey team will look to start their season off well with new Head Coach Jamie Dumont at the helm. Dumont replaced Terry Meagher, who coached the team for the past 33 seasons.
Dumont, however, is no stranger to the program. He began his assistant coaching career at Bowdoin in 2001, assisting in the recruitment of many All-NESCAC and All-American players until 2005 when he left to coach in Europe, in the American Junior Hockey League and at Division I Bowling Green State University before returning to Bowdoin in 2011. Upon his return, Dumont assisted Meagher in tallying 83 victories and a remarkable .681 winning percentage, as well as two NESCAC titles.
“Dumont definitely has his own style. It’s the same in some ways and different in ways. Meagher is a legacy and will always have a place in Bowdoin hockey, but coach Dumont is definitely bringing his own style this year,” said Sebastian Foster ’19. “He is very into fast-paced practices and has been a little more up tempo this year, and hopefully that leads to good results for us.”
Dumont is not the only coaching change that has been made this season—Eric Graham, former head coach at North Yarmouth Academy, was named assistant coach and is brand new to the Bowdoin program.
“He is a local guy that has done a really good job building up the North Yarmouth Academy program and has had a handle at developing college players,” Dumont said. “His handle on recruiting and networking is outstanding. He has done a really good job stepping in here and having a great relationship with our players.”
While the team is excited about its new coaching staff, the loss of key leaders of the Class of 2016—Chris Fenwick, Matt Rubinoff and Johnny Malusa—calls for new leaders to take their spots this year. However, both the coaches and players alike are confident that this void can be filled.
“We had some really good leadership and character last year from the graduating seniors,” Dumont said. “But if you are graduating some good people, you are doing some good things. The big thing for us, I think, is that those guys were really good role models and really led the way so that our seniors can adapt to that role this year.”
Likewise, the players are confident that they have prepared the team with the leadership, coaching and teamwork needed to have a successful season.
“Dumont understands the history and tradition that the hockey program was built on and that is clear in his approach,” said Camil Blanchet ’18. “As players, we are confident and excited about our first opportunity to play under him on Friday.”
This weekend, the Polar Bears will kick off their season with a double-header at home—facing Williams at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by Middlebury at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Polar Bears hope to sweep the weekend and avenge last year’s season-opening 4-1 loss to Williams.
“Williams is a fast, skilled and disciplined team. They are always tough to play against. We’re excited to see how we match up with them,” Blanchet said. “It should be a good measuring stick for us. Our goal is to get four points this weekend.”
Dumont plans to play many first years this weekend in order to get them accustomed to college hockey. Despite their inexperience, Dumont has high hopes for all of them in their upcoming games and the rest of the season.
“We have some really talented first years, especially on paper,” Dumont said. “We knew coming in that they would have a lot of good qualities, but the rubber hits the road now that they are playing different teams and the referee is on the ice and the clock is on.”
“It will be a challenge for them, but we really like what we see so far,” Dumont added. “There are going to be some growing pains, just like anything else. The big thing about that first year group is [that] their outstanding coachability has been through the roof.”
Looking at the upcoming season, both Dumont and his players are ready to come out strong and battle in each game, just like they have in previous years. Dumont plans to retain the positive culture of the Bowdoin hockey team and capitalize on their past success.
“We have a really good core of leaders in our senior class that have seen what it is like to win a championship their [first] year, and they are certainly eager and ambitious to go out as champions,” Dumont said. “We have a great great nucleus of players. The juniors and seniors are eager to lead and willing to play hard for the jersey and play hard for their teammates.”
highlight reel: This week in sports: 11/11 - 11/17
Four members of the volleyball team—Katie Doherty ’17, Quincy Leech ’17, Erika Sklaver ’17 and Caroline Flaharty ’20—were honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in their All-American selections this week. After an exceptional collegiate career, Doherty was named a Third Team All-American, becoming just the third Polar Bear in program history to earn a spot on one of the three All-American teams. Leech, Sklaver and Flaharty were all named Honorable Mention All-America. The foursome was also named AVCA First Team All-Region last week.
Leading the pack.
Sarah Kelley ’18 and Nick Walker ’17 continued to lead the women’s and men’s cross country teams, respectively, with strong finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships in Westfield, Massachusetts last weekend. Kelley placed eighth overall in the 6K race to earn the best finish for a Bowdoin woman at the regional championships since 2008 and Walker finished tenth overall in the 8K for the best finish for a Bowdoin man since 2013. Their outstanding performances earned both of them qualifications for the NCAA Division III National Championship in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend. The women’s and men’s teams both placed eighth overall, out of 59 and 56 teams respectively.
The sailing team earned their best-ever finish at the Atlantic Coast Championship last weekend, placing sixth in a highly competitive pool of 18 teams after edging out Yale in a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Polar Bears qualified for the regatta after finishing third at the Schell Trophy at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
The women’s rugby team closed out their fall season with an astounding comeback win against in-state rival University of New England in the Maine Chowder Cup. Although the Polar Bears ended the first half down 22-10, they dominated the second half, tying the Nor’easters within the opening minutes and keeping them scoreless in the second half to finish the game 32-22.
Get in line.
Bowdoin men’s ice hockey will face Colby for the 207th time in program history at Watson Arena on Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, November 21 in the lobby of Morrell Gymnasium.
- November 11
NCAA report reveals more funding for men's teams
The annual report on Equity in Athletics shows a decrease in the gap between average annual salaries of head coaches of men’s and women’s sports teams, but a gap still exists.
The report, released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) states that, currently, the average salary of a head coach of a men’s team at Bowdoin is $53,027 compared to $47,232 for a head coach of a women’s team.
Compared to 2014, these averages are down from $53,365 for head coaches of men’s teams, but up from $42,856 for head coaches of women’s teams.
In comparison to other NESCAC schools, Bowdoin has a greater average salary gap than most according to data from 2014, the last publically released data from NESCAC peer schools. Amherst is the only other NESCAC institution with a greater pay gap between men’s and women’s head coaches.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan said there are a number of factors that determine the salaries of each head coach.
“One is level that they bring to the position. Two is the workload associated with the position. While many of our positions are similar in nature, there are differences as you move from one particular sport to another,” he said. “Lastly, the market [small, liberal arts colleges] compete in for hiring staff members and members of our coaching staff has an impact.”
Ryan also said the differences in average annual salary have to do with the number of head coaches in general as there are currently 12 head coaches for men’s teams and 14 head coaches for women’s teams at the College.
The report also detailed data about the College’s athletic expenses by program. The football team received $634,049 in 2015 for their expenses, followed by the men’s ice hockey team which cost $268,700, according to the data.
“A lot of that is the nature of the sport,” said Ryan. The NESCAC has a roster cap of 76 students per football team, yet the comparatively large roster, and thus staff size, drives up the team’s expenses.
According to Ryan, although the expenses seem high, when each team’s total expenses are divided on a per-student basis, football is ranked fifth for expenses.
The funding for these athletic programs comes from a combination of college endowment funds and fundraising.
“The vast majority of our college programs are funded by the College. We raise just under $150,000 a year to help support the operations of our programs from our alumni, parents and friends,” said Ryan.
Additionally, the report states the recruitment funds dedicated to men’s and women’s teams. According to the report, the funding went down for men but up for women, as $15,655 was used for the recruitment of men’s teams and $15,311 for the recruitment of women’s teams in 2015, compared to $15,728 and $14,869 respectively, in 2014.
Between 2011 and 2012 the amount of money spent on recruitment made a significant jump, which Ryan says was due to a change in NCAA rules.
“At the time of that significant increase there was a change in the administration of the recruitment expenses within the NESCAC, which resulted in the College having the opportunity to devote additional resources to recruiting,” said Ryan. “We have been fortunate across our entire department to have broad-based success and that would be reflected in the ways we distributed those funds across our programs.”
Although the total expenses of the athletic programs in 2015 was $4,505,652, the amount of revenue generated was $5,060,614. Ryan says the school typically breaks even—meaning the total revenue usually covers the expenses.
The annual report is in compliance with federal Title IX regulations. The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) requires that all institutions that receive federal funding must report records of their finances in athletics annually.
- November 11
Exploring media impact with Jack Ford
CBS News Correspondent Jack Ford came to Bowdoin last Friday to speak about the connections between sports, the law and the media that he has been able to witness firsthand through his unique career as a journalist, trial attorney, author and teacher.
During his talk and an interview with the Orient, Ford brought up some of the major legal issues facing collegiate sports, such as recruiting, aid and paying student-athletes. He also discussed the impacts the media can have on the development and response to legal cases, citing his experience with the OJ Simpson trial, which he covered for almost nine months.
“With sports at the center, you have the notion of the media shining a light on it and you have the notion of the attacks on the concepts of amateur sports, and also how the media is covering the legal challenges,” Ford said in an interview with the Orient. “They’re all inextricably interwoven and that’s why we’re throwing them all into the mix, into the conversation.”
A key factor in how the media covers legal matters is the ever-increasing presence of opinion in reporting, particularly in broadcast journalism.
“Nowadays when you go on the air you almost always have to be shouting opinions, throwing bombs, and I’m sort of the old school journalism where I look at it as my role is to explain,” said Ford. “Being able to do that for the last 25 years, to me, it just is an interesting opportunity to help people understand the justice system … As long as people understand and respect the process, they might disagree with the result but they’re going to at least accept the legitimacy of the process.”
Ford refers to his career in journalism as an accidental career. He graduated from Yale with every intention of becoming a trial lawyer, attending Fordham University School of Law and then working as a prosecutor and trial attorney. He’s handled a series of notable cases, including the first death penalty trial in the Northeast.
After a live interview about the death penalty case, Ford was invited to be a legal analyst for CBS due to his comfort on camera, which Ford attributes to his experience on his college football coach’s weekly show as well as his appearances on “Jeopardy!” that helped fund his legal education. Ford continued working in television and law for a few years before transitioning to journalism full time.
“It was never a planned progression,” said Ford. “That’s why when I teach, I always say be alert for what’s around the corner because it might be something that you never anticipated … but it might be something that you decide to latch onto and it could change your life dramatically.”
Ford expressed that his time spent as a visiting undergraduate lecturer at Yale is his favorite job because it enables him to have a thoughtful exchange of ideas and perspectives with the students. Through his time in academia, Ford has been able to reflect back on his college experience.
“I was a student during the late ’60s-early ’70s when Vietnam was literally tearing the fabric of colleges apart. In the middle of all this we had the Black Panthers being tried in 1970 in New Haven and there was a sense that that could make the town and the campus explode,” said Ford. “It didn’t because I think people at Yale handled it so well and gave everybody the opportunity to talk and express themselves and do protesting, but safely.”
“So for me, college was a different time,” said Ford. “I showed up at Yale with everything I owned in a single duffel bag … and left four years later with everything I’d need for the rest of my life, and that was because of the college experience.”
- November 11
Volleyball seniors rule record books
The women’s volleyball team’s season ended on Saturday with a 3-1 loss to the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC tournament Tufts (10-0 NESCAC, 24-3 overall). The Polar Bears came out strong, winning the opening set 25-21, but the Jumbos, led by a strong service game, were able to pull away. Caroline Flaharty ’20 led the team with 11 kills in the match and Katie Doherty ’17 had a characteristically impressive defensive game with 26 digs.
This year’s team was never able to put together a sustained stretch of victories even though they dominated across the board, leading the league in kills, digs, assists and hitting percentage.
“It wasn’t our best win-loss record and in ways that was hard for us but I think we learned so much from every loss we had,” said captain Erika Sklaver ’17. “I’ve never seen a team improve every single week the way our team improved every week.”
Despite the early exit from postseason play, some Polar Bears received individual accolades for their standout play throughout the season. Captain Quincy Leech ’17 and Doherty were named to the First Team All-NESCAC and Flaharty was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the Second Team. Doherty also claimed her third NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year award, making her the first athlete in league history to earn the title three times.
Leech and Doherty are part of one of the most impressive senior classes in the program’s history. Comprised of Leech, Doherty, Sklaver and Clare Geyer ’17, the Class of 2017’s impact on Bowdoin volleyball has been apparent over the course of their four years here and will last in the record books for years to come.
Leech ranks second in all-time career assists and finishes her career only 9 away from the record of 3215 set in 2007. She also ranks fourth all-time for most assists in a single season after her impressive campaign last fall.
Sklaver ranks third in career blocks and holds the record for most blocks in a single season, which she earned her sophomore year.
Doherty became the first Bowdoin player to break 2000 career digs. Also, her single season dig totals in the last three seasons rank as the best three in program history and she ranks third for career service aces.
Geyer has been an integral member of the team’s front line, making her presence as a middle blocker known from her first year when she earned .9 blocks per set over the course of the season.
Although this season may be over, the team’s recent success has helped build up the program and Head Coach Erin Cady will have a new recruiting class coming in next season.
“I have no doubt that this program will be so successful in the future. We already have a lot of recruits that are really going to help the program,” said Sklaver.
Sklaver expects this class of graduating seniors to continue the legacy of aggressively supporting the team for years to come even though they won’t be suiting up.
“It’s a really cool tradition that has been started the last few years,” said Sklaver. “I mean [cheering may not be] as fun as playing, but the next best thing is cheering the way our alumni cheer—they look like they have a lot of fun.”