Women’s basketball (21-3, 8-2 NESCAC) extended its winning streak to nine games with a decisive 72-47 victory over Connecticut College (16-9, 4-6 NESCAC) last Saturday in the NESCAC quarterfinals. With the win, the Polar Bears will progress to the semifinals this weekend where they will face a dominant Tufts program (24-1, 9-1 NESCAC) that is currently ranked 2nd in the NESCAC and 3rd in the nation.
Bowdoin last played Tufts in January, where it lost a close game, 46-43. At the time, the Jumbos were still undefeated and Bowdoin made them fight for the win. The three-point difference remains the smallest margin by which Tufts has won all season.
“Last time we went against Tufts at Tufts, we lost by three, which was obviously kind of a heartbreaker because it’s so close, you’re right there,” said captain Rachel Norton ’17.
However, the team is finding motivation in its strong performance against such a formidable opponent.
“We were right there in a position to win against, at that time, the number one team in the country at their gym,” said Head Coach Adrienne Shibles. “Our team isn’t coming in under any illusions that it’s going to be easy, but we’re really excited for the opportunity to match up with them again and do that at a neutral site.”
Bowdoin has found success by focusing on its own strengths: pace and pressure, depth and its offense. The team hopes to improve upon these strengths and believes its fast-paced, yet balanced offense will be integral in beating Tufts.
“I think the key to beating Tufts is execution on offense and being fearless on offense because their strength as a team is on the defense,” said Shibles. “If you look at their box scores, they don’t put up a lot of points. They definitely have good players who score, but they beat teams because they keep their opponents to very few points.”
Heading into its 17th consecutive NESCAC semifinal, the Polar Bears are excited for another chance to face the Jumbos. The team feels it is stronger than when the teams last met.
“Between the Tufts game and now, we’ve grown so much,” said Norton. “Everyone is playing minutes, we’re so deep, we love to run, we love to tire teams out, so everyone is prepared to fire from all directions. I think it’ll be a battle, but I think it’ll be a great game.”
The team hopes to build off its dominant performance in the quarterfinals against Connecticut College. Although the Camels seemed to have the upper hand during the first half of the game, Bowdoin outscored them 21-6 in the third quarter and held a sizable lead to win the game. Marle Curle ’17 led the team in scoring with 13 points for the Polar Bears.
“We came out a little slow on the first half, [the Camels] were hitting a lot of shots,” said Shibles. “But at halftime I just talked about being a little more intense on defense while continuing to keep the pace really fast, because Conn. wasn’t able to rest their key players in the first half—they just didn’t have the depth to do it. I knew we could wear them down if pushed harder on defense and wear them down on offense and that’s what we did.”
Bowdoin will take on Tufts this Saturday at 4 p.m. at Amherst.
Working group forms to address housing
Data reveal demographic disparities among students living on, off campus
A working group of students, faculty and staff will be gathering community input this semester to develop recommendations for a new policy regarding off-campus housing that addresses both the financial impacts of off-campus housing and its effects on Bowdoin’s community and social scene. The group plans to submit its recommendations to Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Matt Orlando by the middle of April.
The group’s formation follows an announcement by Foster in January that the College will only permit 200 students to live off campus for the 2017-2018 academic year after 217 students lived off campus this year. The percentage of students living off campus—currently 12 percent—has trended upward in the past two years after holding steady around eight percent between 2011 and 2014, according to the College’s Common Data Set.
Foster also cited a loss of over $500,000 in revenue for the College based on the number of students living off campus this year compared to the average between 2008 and 2015.
In an email to the student body on Monday, Foster listed several statistics which highlight the social disparities that exist between on-campus and off-campus housing. 81 percent of the students living off campus are white, while only 19 percent are students of color and international students. According to the College’s Common Data Set, 64 percent of Bowdoin’s student body is white.
Just 28 percent of students living off campus are recipients of student aid, compared to 44.7 percent of the total student body being on aid.
Foster also noted the disparity in off-campus housing across gender and between athletes and non-athletes. Sixty-one percent of the students living off campus are male, though the Bowdoin student body is split equally in terms of gender. Fifty-five percent of students living off campus are varsity athletes, while 34.6 percent of the student body is on a team, according to the U.S. Department of Education Equity in Athletics Report.
“The working group is really to look at the development of an off-campus housing policy. We wanted people who are going to speak to different perspectives,” said Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Meadow Davis, who is leading the group.
The group plans to meet with student organizations, conduct open forums and send a survey to the student body to inform recommendations.
“We’ve already developed some ideas of groups that we should talk to … BSG, the Alcohol Team, Peer Health, ResLife,” Davis said. “But then there are a lot of students who aren’t connected to the natural groups, so wanting to make sure we hear from students who are living off campus this year [and] students who are planning to live off campus next year. So [we plan on] specifically inviting those groups of students to come in and talk to us.”
Parker Sessions ’18, who is a member of the working group, highlighted the importance of student engagement with the group’s process.
“Bowdoin [is] going to make an off-campus housing policy,” Sessions said. “I wanted to be able to contribute my point of view and hope that we can get to a meaningful [and] fair compromise.”
Such a compromise is expected to include a limit on the number of students permitted to live off campus as is the policy of most NESCAC schools as well as incorporating improvements to on-campus housing.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to tweak some of the College policies that will incentivize kids to live on campus,” Sessions said.
He cited the lack of washers and dryers in Harpswell Apartments and Pine Apartments as opportunities for the College to improve amenities in upperclass housing.
The working group is comprised of Davis, Sessions, Irfan Alam ’18, Esther Nunoo ’17, Carlie Rutan ’19, Reeder Wells ’17, Professor of Economics Ta Herrera, Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch, Director of Capital Projects Don Borkowski, Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols and Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Education Christian van Loenen.
Snow cancels class, brings joy and inconvenience
This past week Bowdoin was hit by a series of snowstorms, the worst of which occurred late Sunday night and continued through Monday morning. They were accompanied by high winds. As a result, classes were cancelled Monday, the first weather-related cancellation in almost 10 years and the second in close to 40 years, according to a 2007 Orient article.
While many students were excited by the cancellation and headed outside to enjoy the snow, Bowdoin’s essential employees from Facilities and Dining Service set to work clearing the roads and sidewalks and preparing meals for all on-campus students and staff.
“This [storm] was of particular concern because of the rapidity of the snowfall and the fact that there [were] blizzard conditions in conjunction with it,” said Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance Ted Stam.
Stam said that one of the biggest challenges his department faced this week was having to remove the massive amounts of snow in such a short window of time. In order to keep up with the snowfall, all 20 of the College’s grounds department employees found themselves plowing, shoveling, applying salt and sand and operating the College’s assortment of trucks, plows and snowblowers.
In addition to the work done by these employees on the central campus, outsourced contractors brought larger machines to clear farther-away areas such as the Farley Field House parking lot.
Stam also noted the necessity of maintaining power throughout such weather emergencies. Director of Dining Mary Kennedy said that this was also a major concern of Dining Service.
“That’s why I’m here,” said Kennedy, in response to the possibility of a power outage. “Operationally they don’t really need me, but if something happened and people just couldn’t get here or we lost the power, then people [would] be too busy getting the food out to be making [special] arrangements.”
In order to make sure that as many dining employees as possible can make it to work during serious storms, Kennedy explained that the College makes reservations for the employees to stay the night at the nearby Brunswick Inn.
“We spend a lot of time with who’s coming from where, [and if they] can get home at the end of the shift,” said Kennedy. “Usually they don’t want to stay; usually they want to go home, but then they realize it’s bad, so many of us stay [at the Inn].”
Kennedy said that one employee who needed to be at the dining hall by 5:30 a.m. was given a ride to work by a man plowing her neighborhood. “He saw her in her driveway trying to get out and he said ‘You think you’re going somewhere?’ and she said ‘I have to go to work!’”
In addition to causing some minor complications for commuting employees, not all students were thrilled with the storm.
“I’ve grown up all my life just in sun and I used to complain about the sun, but I would take that over this any day,” said Amanda Rickman ’20, who is from Jamaica.
Other students took advantage of the lack of classes.
“I saw some people sliding down the steps of the museum while on trays, and it actually worked,” said Clare Murphy ’20. “There was an excited vibe on campus, and I could tell people were really happy about having the day off.”
Kennedy picked up on this positive atmosphere at Thorne Hall on Monday.
“People came in much more leisurely … [and] I didn’t miss the 1:10 p.m. rush when everyone comes in,” Kennedy said. “Everyone was pretty laid back, just having a good time chatting.”
Cold War party will continue without wall
MacMillan House and Quinby House will co-host their annual Cold War party this Saturday, despite the Inter-House Council (IHC) Executive Committee’s recommendation to cancel the event. The party, held annually, features MacMillan as the Soviet Union and Quinby as the United States. In past years, students have constructed a wall out of snow between the two houses, but members agreed not to construct a wall this year because they deemed it inappropriate given the discourse about walls in current American politics.
Tessa Westfall ’18, President of the IHC and former member of MacMillan, said that the IHC objected to the party theme based on the recent actions of the Trump administration.
“The goal of the Houses is to serve campus,” said Westfall. “A lot of people on this campus are directly affected by new executive orders … that the presidential administration is performing, [so] I think that a performative nationalism party is not in the best interest of campus.”
Officers from the executive committee, who lead the IHC, offered their opinion to the IHC, which includes the vice president and programming director from each College House. However, the Houses themselves were ultimately responsible for deciding whether to hold the party.
Last Thursday, MacMillan House hosted a discussion in order to receive student input on its intention to have the party.
“We said ‘hey, we’re thinking about doing Cold War, what are the thoughts of the campus?’ And if there was enough concern, if we found people were seriously upset about it, we were definitely interested in changing the theme,” said Michael Lee ’19, vice president of MacMillan. “No one came to that talk, so we were like, ‘Alright, we’re going to go through with it.’”
According to Quinby House Vice President Jon Luke Tittmann ’19, only members of MacMillan and Quinby attended the discussion, although the small turnout may have resulted from a lack of advertising.
“For me, the most compelling argument against having the party was that America stands for a lot of different things now, due to the political climate, than it did a couple months ago, and some of those things are … negative things that attack people’s identities,” said Tittmann. “And so the idea of having a lot of drunk people in a college basement chanting ‘USA’ might inherently seem exclusive to people who think America stands for something that is not inclusive right now.”
But Tittmann suggested that the party will not necessarily have a negative effect.
“However, it’s also dangerous to assume that people will feel that that’s exclusive,” said Tittmann. “It’s hard to choose whether or not we should have this party, I think, because so many people identify themselves and identify what America means to them in such different ways. So my idea is that we should throw the party but … have a really mindful party and try to be as inclusive as possible.”
Kinaya Hassane ’19, a member of MacMillan, was not concerned by the party’s theme and supports the Houses’ mutual decision to host the event.
“As someone who is personally affected by the election of Donald Trump and whose family will be affected by the policies that he wants to put in place, a Cold War party, which is obviously supposed to be satirical and funny, is really small in terms of the scale of things that I could be hurt by with respect to things that Donald Trump could actually do as president,” Hassane said.
Following their discussions, MacMillan and Quinby decided to discontinue the tradition of building a snow wall between the two houses this year.
“I think walls stand for a lot of things this year that they didn’t stand for last year, and in previous years,” said Tittmann. “And so the question is, again, do we need the wall? If we have the wall, would that imply certain inherently exclusive ideologies and things like that?”
“In the actual party, I don’t think the wall is going to make that much of a difference, so I think that’s an actionable thing that we can get rid of to make the party seem more inclusive,” he added.
This is not the first time that the Cold War party’s theme has been a topic of discussion.
“I’ve always found the party to be questionable, especially two years ago when I was living in Mac, just because it is based off of a war,” said Mitsuki Nishimoto ’17, Quinby House proctor. “It’s not really something to celebrate, and I always thought that there were better ways to showcase this rivalry between Mac and Quinby.”
Nonetheless, Nishimoto was pleased with the conversations that led to the Houses’ choice.
“Ultimately, I want it to be the Houses’ decision, and I think it was really great that a lot of critical conversations came out of the planning.”
Jessica Piper contributed to this report.
Muslim Mainers talk life and activism under Trump
Four Muslim immigrants and refugees from Portland and Lewiston shared concerns as well as messages of hope about living in Maine under President Trump’s administration at a panel discussion on Tuesday. Over 70 people crowded into Howell House to hear them speak.
Opinions among the panelists were divided, with some more optimistic than others.
“I believe that things are OK,” said Abdullahi Ahmed, assistant principal at Deering High School in Portland. “I think that this is a time when people—with this crisis—will come together and move forward, and I think that good things will come out of this.”
Pious Ali, Portland City Council member and the first African-born Muslim to hold elected office in Maine, spoke about how Islam has never been fully accepted in the United States despite its long-standing history in the country. However, he agreed that there was reason to stay positive, pointing to the increase nationwide in Muslims who ran for office in 2016, especially compared to the number who ran when he was elected to the Portland Board of Education in 2013.
Other panelists did not fully share Ahmed and Ali’s optimistic outlooks. Writer and Muslim scholar Reza Jalali addressed the possibility of Muslims being fingerprinted, documented or sent to camps in the months to come.
“Please don’t blame us for being frightened,” said Jalali. “At times I find myself pleading and asking my students and others that if I should be registered, would you also stand up with me and demand to be registered?”
Panelists also discussed their personal experiences with protesting and gave advice on mobilizing against Trump. Fatuma Hussein, founder of United Somali Woman of Maine, recalled the racism that she and other Somalis encountered when they first moved to Lewiston.
Reflecting on her own experiences protesting against Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald and Maine Governor Paul LePage, Hussein addressed the need for Americans to be allies with the Muslim community.
“We really have to do a lot of work and create a foundation that’s not jeopardized by fear,” said Hussein. “In American culture, many people are against what they see, but you don’t see them rise and speak up. We need to break that silence and speak up for the vulnerable.”
The event was organized by the Muslim Student Association and moderated by Salim Salim ’20 and Mohamed Nur ’19—both of whom come from immigrant families living in Maine. Nur decided to organize the event to humanize the discussion about refugees and immigrants in the current political climate.
“I wanted to have something on campus to talk about Muslim refugees and immigrants in Maine,” Nur said. “I think that when we think of immigrants and refugees, they’re nameless, faceless, and that really isn’t true.”
Attendees said the event allowed them to better understand the experience of being Muslim in Maine as well as how to be a better ally to the immigrant and refugee communities.
“Before [the panel] I had been a general ally to the cause, but I hadn’t figured out [how] to channel that energy and direct it to something specific,” said Rayne Stone ’18. “I think the panelists gave me an idea of how to use my privilege to get involved in these organizations and the political process.”
Eskedar Girmash ’20 echoed this sentiment.
“We talk about issues on campus, but we never really go out and push ourselves to change these things, and I think that’s something we should strive to do,” said Girmash.
Intergroup Dialogue accepts half of applicants for spring
Sixteen students—only half of those who applied—were accepted for Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) for the spring semester. The program consists of seven two-hour sessions during which students discuss issues surrounding race and identity.
Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amáez said that the reasoning behind not accepting all applicants hinges on a need for small groups, which are more conducive to having in-depth conversations.
“Not every student jumps on public speaking, and so for students that really hang back and wait it gets harder and harder to find your way into the dialogue if there are too many people in the room,” she said.
When IGD began in 2014, only one group of students participated in the program. Since two groups of students participated during the fall semester, this academic year will see three groups of students go through the program. Amáez said that an increase in the number of faculty, staff and administrators trained to lead these conversations allows the College to run more groups.
At the end of the program, participants have the chance to decide if they want to undertake another four-hour training session and become certified to facilitate conversations for other groups on campus, such as athletic teams or College House members.
Esther Nunoo ’17 took part in IGD during the fall of 2014, and remembers the program as a safe and positive environment to have uncomfortable conversations.
“I think what I appreciated about it the most was that before they sent us out to facilitate discussions, it made me uncomfortable on many different levels, which is something that I didn’t expect to happen to the extent that it did, because I like having hard conversations. So I like that it put us through that,” Nunoo said.
However, Nunoo believes that not all students who go through the program should end up as facilitators, a sentiment that Dean Amáez echoed.
“I think that the expectation seemed to be that they had to facilitate, and I don’t want students to sign up just because they really like to be facilitators and leaders,” Amáez said. “I want some students who really do, and I want some students to sign up just because they want to be part of a seven-week dialogue on race.”
Looking to the future, Amáez hopes to increase the number of conversations led by students who have completed IGD. Although the program has had no problems finding applicants, she believes that more can be done to encourage student groups to take advantage of trained facilitators in single-session workshops.
“Part of that is thinking about how we do some outreach to groups to let them know that these workshops are available and that this is what you do to sign up for a workshop and this what it would look like,” she said.
She also sees the role of IGD as something that might change going forward and believes the program’s format can be used to help students have meaningful conversations focused on issues other than race and identity.
“I think there’s a lot of potential to use [the IGD] model for other things,” she said. “We consistently hear from students that we don’t talk enough about class.”
College Houses scrap affiliate requirement, MacMillan House receives most applications
College House applications, which were due on Sunday, allowed students to apply to any house, regardless of their first-year affiliation.
Two-hundred and ninety students applied to live in College Houses this year, up from 270 last year, but still well short of the 341 students who applied in 2012. There are 201 living spaces available in the College House system, split among the eight houses.
MacMillan House received the most applications of any College House for the 2017-2018 academic year with 61. Baxter House was the second-most popular house, followed by Quinby House.
In previous years, students could only apply to live in a house if a member of their block was affiliated with that house as a first year. House affiliations are determined randomly by first-year floor, with the exception that all chem-free floors are automatically associated with Howell House.
Housing decisions will be announced in early April. The results are non-binding, meaning that students are not required to live in the house that they are accepted to, a departure from the policies of previous years.
Assistant Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Mariana Centeno was one of the people who administered change to the application and decision policy.
“One of the major reasons I decided to make that [change] is that you’re always struggling to make your block, which meant that sometimes people would end up blocking with people they didn’t really know because they just really wanted to live in Ladd,” said Centeno. “The benefit of the decision to allow people to move outside their affiliations is that it puts the power in the students to say where they want to live.”
Like in previous years, students were allowed to list houses they would like to live in beyond their first choice. But this year, ResLife will create a waiting list for each house, which could allow students to gain a spot in a house if other students decline.
“The waitlist is now more formalized will create a really robust round two,” Centeno said.
Rhianna Patel ’20 wants live in a College House for the shared living space.
“I like the camaraderie of a [first-year] floor, and from what I’ve heard from upperclassmen, if you choose to live in, say, Stowe Hall, you don’t interact with many people outside of your roommates,” Patel said.
Tessa Peterson ’20 said positive experiences with College Houses as a first year influenced her decision to apply.
“I participated in BOC Leadership Training in the fall, and a lot of my closest sophomore friends live in College Houses and have [had] a really positive experience there, so I felt very welcomed into the College House fold,” she said. “I enjoy the small insular community and living with my friends. There are drawbacks like the lack of privacy or the responsibility for the space, but otherwise I was able to see a lot of positives. Having a space to hold events and be a community ... was a pretty big deal for me.”
BSG discusses College climate action, carbon neutrality
On Wednesday night, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) welcomed Coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson to update members on the College’s progress and goals in its sustainability efforts, specifically Bowdoin’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020.
At the meeting, Payson explained that the College is seeking to reduce its own emissions from electricity, fuel combustion and other onsite sources by 28 percent by 2020, and account for the rest of its emissions through renewable energy credits. The initiative began in 2008.
Payson reported that as of 2016, the College had reduced its emissions by 19 percent. This figure represents a smaller reduction from 2008 levels than Bowdoin has reached in the past. It reached 22 percent in 2012.
Despite this setback, Payson and the Office of Sustainability are continuing efforts to reduce carbon emissions, with ongoing projects such as increasing solar energy usage and a new water turbine that generates six percent of the College’s electricity. Payson also outlined possible future actions to achieve Bowdoin’s original goal including insulating old buildings on campus and incorporating more hybrid cars in the College’s fleet.
Payson said another significant aspect of the College’s climate action initiative is reducing waste. Bowdoin has been successful in this area: in 2016, it diverted 50 percent of its waste from landfills and incinerators, the highest waste diversion ratio ever achieved by the College. This waste was recycled (42 percent) or composted (8 percent).
Nevertheless, the College produced over one million pounds of trash last year. Projects to further reduce trash include increasing composting opportunities and offering reusable containers for to-go food.
Overall, Payson cited behavior changes as a critical factor in reaching the goal of carbon neutrality. Two projects recently initiated by the Office of Sustainability—the Green Living Commitment, in which individuals pledge to change their habits, and an eight-week competition between residence halls to reduce energy use—aim to encourage students to make simple changes that reduce their carbon footprint.
“This is just another opportunity for students to engage in thinking about how to conserve energy,” said Payson. “When you leave Bowdoin, once you have your first apartment, when you’re paying that electric bill, or you’re paying that heat bill, you’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember those things that I learned at Bowdoin that I can implement now.’”
In an interview with the Orient, Payson said that while she didn’t have a specific agenda for BSG involvement, she is open to fostering a relationship with the assembly, perhaps through funding and publicity.
“I would love [BSG’s] support in helping to promote both our carbon neutrality goal and our dorm energy competition, our Green Living Commitment—any of those projects that we’re working on that engage with students,” Payson said. “Or if they’re working on something and they see an opportunity to connect with what we’re doing, I welcome that.”
The BSG meeting continued with an overview and discussion of BSG’s upcoming events and proposals.
One proposal is a campus-wide party that addresses the perception that Bowdoin’s social life has been moving more toward off-campus residences, raising concerns about security and inclusivity.
The event, a competition of parties between Baxter, Ladd and Quinby—each of which will team up with various other campus groups such as a cappella groups, varsity sports teams and cultural student groups—aims to bring different parts of campus together and demonstrate how “College Houses can be a fun, all-inclusive place to party,” according to Vice President for Student Affairs Ben Painter ’19, who introduced the idea to the committee and lives in Quinby House.
Other future plans for BSG include hosting a panel of professors to discuss class at Bowdoin, a Social Hour for faculty, staff and students in Jack Magee’s Pub from 5 to 7 p.m. this evening and Winter Weekend festivities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, this weekend.
News in brief: College restates support for affected students amid immigration concerns
In an email to students and employees on Tuesday, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amáez wrote that she will serve as Bowdoin’s “point person” for students’ immigration-related issues. Amáez also reiterated the College’s commitment to supporting students affected by the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.
Amáez’s email cited deportation actions by federal immigration officers that made news last week as cause for “a heightened state of anxiety for vulnerable communities,” including members of the Bowdoin community. She noted, as President Clayton Rose has previously stated, that the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs has been in contact with students who could be affected by the policies, and continues to provide “appropriate support,” including access to legal resources.
On Tuesday, several major national news outlets reported that a 23-year-old man named Daniel Ramirez Medina, who had been protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program under the Obama administration, was arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Seattle.
Under DACA, individuals who were brought to the United States undocumented as children could register with the government and receive permission to work or attend school, as well as a two-year relief from deportation. About 750,000 immigrants are registered with DACA nationwide.
In an executive order on January 25, Trump expanded the categories of immigrants who are considered a priority for deportation. Under the Obama administration, deportation priority was mostly reserved for individuals who were convicted of a serious crime or were deemed a threat to national security, but Trump’s executive order expanded this label to include people who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” and gave immigration officials more discretion in deporting individuals.
Full data on the immigrants arrested by ICE since the executive order have not been made public.
- 5 days ago
College cancels all classes due to snowstorm
Tomorrow marks Bowdoin's first snow day in almost a decade
The College has cancelled all classes for tomorrow, February 13 due to the winter storm that is bringing strong winds and up to two feet of snow to Brunswick and the midcoast region tonight and tomorrow. This is the first time Bowdoin has cancelled classes for weather-related reasons in nearly 10 years.
In April 2007, an unexpected wintry mix left campus covered in snow and without power for almost seven hours. The day of this storm, April 5, was the College's first official snow day since the 1970s, according to an Orient article published after the blast.
Tomorrow, dining halls may be short-staffed and open for fewer hours than usual. Libraries will remain closed until the afternoon and campus services will also be impacted. Only "essential personnel" are being asked to staff the College's operations tomorrow, according to a weather emergency posted to the Bowdoin website. Updates about dining will be posted to the Dining Service website.
Scott Hood, senior vice president for communications and public affairs, said the decision to cancel classes stemmed from concerns about losing power on campus.
"The current forecast for heavy snow and high wind is a recipe for power outages and unsafe conditions," Hood wrote in an email to the Orient. "The decision to cancel classes is based on this forecast, and speaks to our responsibility to do what we can to ensure safety for members of our community."
A winter storm warning is in effect until 7 p.m. tomorrow for Brunswick. As of press time, the expected snow accumulation is 16 to 24 inches and winds are expected to hit "20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph," according to a National Weather Service alert posted this afternoon.
The announcement to cancel classes was made through a weather emergency posted to the College's website and later emailed to all students by Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.
- February 10
Changes at 24 College frustrate student leaders
The College is moving forward with a controversial plan to merge the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and the Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity (RCGSD) in spite of widespread opposition from student directors in both centers.
The two centers—which currently share the space at 24 College Street—will become the Center for Gender and Sexuality starting on July 1. Its directors will be Kate Stern, associate director of student affairs and director of the RCGSD, as well as Leana Amaez, associate dean of students for diversity and inclusion. In their new positions as associate deans of students for diversity, the two will oversee several other centers as well. Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced the changes on Tuesday afternoon via a campus-wide email.
Current WRC student director Diamond Walker ’17 expressed concerns that the merger decision was made by administrators without student input.
“If they were really concerned about the needs of women on campus and the needs of LGBTQ students on campus, they would have come to us and asked us what would be best for us instead of talking to each other,” said Walker.
Last fall, administrators held a meeting with student directors from the WRC and the RCGSD to solicit input on the issue. Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the David Saul Smith Union Allen Delong was present along with Stern.
“It became really clear that students were committed to maintaining the model that we have and that’s really hard—that’s hard for everyone because we’re moving towards a new model,” said Delong.
In his email, Foster expressed hope that the merger would be an opportunity for the College to better address issues of gender and sexuality in an intersectional manner.
“Leana and Kate have distinguished themselves as leaders on the topic of diversity and inclusion, as educators, advocates, trainers, role models, and mentors. This realignment of responsibilities allows them to work with a talented team of professionals to think broadly about difference—including race, ethnicity, religion, class, first-generation status, gender, sexuality, disability, and political ideology,” he wrote.
Pat Toomey ’17, a former RCGSD student director, expressed concern that the merger was wrongfully conflating two separate issues.
“There’s a problem with assuming that women’s issues and issues of gender should automatically be lumped into a box with queer issues,” Toomey said.
Walker also expressed concern that the merger posed a threat to student identities.
“The identities of all the students involved would be at risk,” said Walker. “It’s sort of like if we were just going to merge LASO [the Latin American Student Organization] and the Af-Am [African American Society]. You can’t do that.”
Delong said that the merger will increase the availability of administrators to students as Stern moves from a part time position to a more full-time one.
“There will be more staff time committed to the center than was available [before],” he said.
As part of the new merger, Stern and Amaez with be supervising the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Student Center for Multicultural Life, and Upward Bound in addition to the newly reconceptualized Center for Gender and Sexuality. Those offices will retain their current directors, while Stern and Amaez will serve as the directors for the Center for Gender and Sexuality.
Amanda Spiller ’17, a current WRC student staff member, expressed concern about how the center will be run.
“Dean Amaez and Kate Stern will be leading all the centers on campus and reconceptualizing a whole new center? It seems like too much work,” she said. “It’s hard to get an appointment with Dean Amaez now … she has so much to do already.”
Amaez, however, is enthusiastic to take on her new role.
“We have this really exciting moment in time,” she said. “To look at the Women’s March and the message of solidarity—it was incredibly intersectional. And the recognition that in order to move forward on an agenda that respects the rights of women, you have to also respect the rights of other [minority] groups.”
With the WRC currently receiving around twice as much money as the RCGSD, there are questions about what funding will look like going forward.
Stern unequivocally affirmed that there will be no loss in funds.
“Is there going to be less money? No,” she said.
Spiller was also displeased by the lack of transparency throughout this process.
“We had no idea what the structure was going to look like until Dean Foster sent out that email—and we’d been asking. That’s a problem,” said WRC staff member Amanda Spiller. “The administration just moves forward with things at Bowdoin that students aren’t a part of when students are the most integral aspect of these corners of campus. The administration has not given us answers.”
Toomey, who had expressed concern that the integration of the two centers would alienate gay men on campus, felt ignored during and after the meeting with the administration last fall.
“I felt that our student concerns were being totally ignored by the administration and—especially as a gay male—I felt really not listened to and marginalized,” he said.
Other students disagreed. Adam Glynn ’17, a student director at the RCGSD, sees the more intersectional approach as a step in the right direction.
“It’s a given that there are just so many different subgroups of what queer is. It’s famously been said that there are as many genders as there are people,” said Glynn. “And if we were to have a student group for every different sexual and gender identity and if we had every student group for every nuance we would have a lot of student groups.”
While Glynn still expressed disapproval with the manner in which administrators went about making the decision, he sees name changes as ultimately not that important.
“I feel sometimes that the queer community at Bowdoin is lacking [but] I don’t feel like it’s up to a room or a title of a center or one administrative staff to change that—I really think it’s up to the students,” he said.
Meg Robbins contributed to this report.
On Second thought: Alternative forms of activism given the inefficacy of protesting
In this column two weeks ago, I discussed a tendency within 21st-century American liberalism toward self-satisfied smugness. I argued that this smugness, aside from being intellectually lazy, actually stands in the way of pursuing a serious liberal agenda by coaxing those on the left into a cozy haze of cerebral self-righteousness rather than encouraging them to take concrete action in the political sphere. It is this passive aloofness that remains the target of President Donald Trump’s frequent censures of “empty talk.”
I was encouraged by the feedback that I received in response to this piece, and not only because I now know that at least someone reads these things. A fair number of my peers enthusiastically agreed with my sentiment, commenting that they, too, are frustrated by the smugness and inaction on campus. This response in itself, along with the remarkably large attendance at the discussion of ideological diversity on Feburary 3 moderated by Professor of Government Paul Franco, raises a number of interesting questions about political diversity on our campus.
Another handful of readers approached me to ask what would qualify as meaningful forms of political action on campus. What about protests, walkouts, petitions and the like? These questions got me thinking, and I figured they warranted a proper response.
At the end of my previous column, I encouraged students who feel dismayed at the lack of socioeconomic diversity to apply for a summer internship in the Office of Admissions. I hope that the importance of this type of action was not lost behind the rhetorical flourish. On a small, geographically isolated campus like our own, involvement within the College is a tremendously important mode of political engagement. The opportunities for student engagement within the infrastructure of the College are vast and, I fear, underutilized. Run for Bowdoin Student Government. Work as an assistant in an administrative office. Conduct policy-focused research with a professor. The opportunities are myriad.
Outside of the strict purview of the College, we should take greater advantage of our extracurricular organizations. Political groups like the College Republicans and Democrats are a good place to start, especially in election years that focus on get-out-the-vote efforts and campaigning. Additionally, the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good lists 28 student-led service organizations on its website. Imagine the political effect on the College if every single Bowdoin student were involved in one of these 28 organizations.
The same goes for life as a private citizen. Instead of interning at Bain and Company over the summer, respond to constituent mail in your congressperson’s district office. Go canvas during an election. Hell, run for public office. How many recent Bowdoin graduates do you know who are public servants compared to, say, financial consultants?
The big question, especially as of late, hovers over protests. What are the role of mass protests in the emerging political milieu? What makes for an “effective” protest? Considering that college students continue to both populate and organize protests, this question intimately concerns us.
In my mind, we ought to recognize protests as, at best, a double-edged sword. As David Frum recently observed in the Atlantic, “With the rarest exceptions—and perhaps the January 21 demonstration will prove to be one—left-liberal demonstrations are exercises in catharsis, the release of emotions. Their operating principle is self-expression, not persuasion.” In this cathartic capacity, protests promote the smug inaction that I addressed in my last column.
Beyond simple catharsis, protests can draw attention to a cause. But attention on its own rarely translates into action. In an article in New York Magazine, Fabio Rojas, a professor of sociology at the University of Indiana is quoted saying, “There are some people that think that protests solve everything; you just have a protest, it’s going to make everything change...That’s not true—it is a tool that does a very specific thing, and you have to understand that when you start out.”
These objections represent fairly standard critiques of protests. But elsewhere, Frum has offered a more insightful and pressing concern, arguing that short of being simply ineffective, protests might be counterproductive in the Trump era. Frum writes, “Civil unrest will not be a problem for the Trump presidency. It will be a resource. Trump will likely want not to repress it, but to publicize it … Immigration protesters marching with Mexican flags; Black Lives Matter demonstrators bearing anti-police slogans—these are the images of the opposition that Trump will wish his supporters to see. The more offensively the protesters behave, the more pleased Trump will be.”
Frum’s observation is important to bear in mind, especially on college campuses. I vigorously support opposition to any policy of the Trump administration that infringes upon the civil liberties and rights of Americans, but students should think twice about the role of public protests in today’s political atmosphere. We ought to be weary of the self-fulfilling prophecy: the right lampoons the liberal and academic elite for being snobbish and out of touch, and in turn we protest to urge our college president to meet a list of demands that the College has already been meeting. Trump and the press in turn point to these protests as proof of academia’s snobbery and isolation, and the cycle continues.
Although vocal opposition to public protests has long been a favorite in the playbook of the reactionary right, desperate times call for desperate measures, and the left would be wise to be more hesitant before taking to the street. So while we should encourage opposition to Trump’s unconstitutional measures in as many forms as possible, we should think twice before picking up the megaphone.
Sons of liberty: Fearing patriotism: land of the free; home of the afraid?
Are Bowdoin students really “at home in all lands and all ages,” as the Offer of the College asserts?
Tomorrow night Quinby and MacMillan Houses host the perennial favorite Cold War party. In prior weeks, concerns were raised relating to the party’s theme. Some feared the “patriotic nature” of the party might “trigger” students. After contentious house meetings, a panel discussion and guidance from Inter-House Council, the theme was left intact. Yet many involved were left wondering: are Bowdoin students proud of, or even comfortable in, their own land?
Patriotism is defined: “love and loyal or zealous support of one’s country” In America, that means a commitment to stand by, have pride in and promote our Constitution’s purposes: to establish justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare and the blessings of liberty for all. Patriotism does not require backing the current administration, supporting our entire history or chest thumping chauvinism. Patriotism is not partisan; it is an adherence to your country, an outward sign that one cares about the current and future welfare of our nation and its people. We all strive for and believe in idealistic forms of America; in working for and holding such goals we are all patriots. So why are some afraid to demonstrate their pride and reluctant to be around others displaying their own?
Bowdoin students’ angst toward public displays of patriotism is representative of growing ambivalence across progressive America. Richard Rorty, the self-proclaimed liberal philosopher, asserts, “there is a problem with this [new] left: it is unpatriotic. In the name of ‘the politics of difference,’ it refuses to rejoice in the country it inhabits. It repudiates the idea of a national identity, and the emotion of national pride.”
National pride connects citizens to one another and to larger causes outside their own individual and material pursuits. The larger cause of America is the pursuit of equal rights, freedom and opportunity for all, which all Bowdoin students seek.
Some claim they cannot rejoice in our national mission due to numerous atrocities in the past or shortcomings in the present. Repudiating patriotism does nothing to heal these scars. Rather than a sweeping defense of our entire history, patriotism is the realization that this country is striving for greatness. While acknowledging the problems of the past, we must also celebrate the progress made and the sacrifices it required. The imperfections of the American memory should never limit the potential of the American destiny.
Many take issue with American patriotism on grounds that it is arrogant and connotes superiority over other nations. Pride in one’s country allows appreciation for the pride others have in their own. Patriotism is like parenting; only when we have children of our own will we appreciate the love our parents had for us. Furthermore, the best parents comprehend their child’s strengths and weaknesses and, with unceasing love, nurture the former to overcome the latter. Without devotion no child reaches their potential. America is a young country, still maturing; with our nurturing and devotion she will grow.
Some students see the patriotism wielded by the current administration as an effort to promote a homogenous and exclusionary vision of America. Patriotism is the greatest unifier of our country with the singular capacity to include all Americans. Communities and identities generally gain relevance by separating “us” from “them.” There are no identities, passions or hobbies all Americans share. This country was not founded with a shared ethnicity, religion or ruler. We are bound together by our values and beliefs: liberty, equality, justice. Patriotism, unlike other identities, unites rather than divides Americans. Labeling patriotism as exclusionary is fundamentally inaccurate and weakens the country’s ability to unify and cooperate for our shared values and beliefs.
Our generation is a fortunate one; little personal sacrifice has yet been required from us. When future challenges arise one must wonder whether current Americans will muster the conviction to sacrifice. The original Sons of Liberty, our veterans, abolitionists, suffragettes and many alumni found strength in patriotism and would be dumbfounded, if not offended, by the perceived “threat” of patriotism on campus today.
We are living in the midst of the American experiment. While fallible, the successes of representative self-government, separation of powers and respect for the individual have changed the course of history for better at home and abroad. Warren Buffett asserts, “The luckiest person ever born in the history of the world is the baby being born in America today.” We possess an immense—and unique—American privilege. It is such a privilege that people risk their lives crossing oceans and deserts for a chance at it. Let us look to the past and be grateful; let us look to the future and be hopeful. Let us realize the successes we enjoy exist due to the passion, perseverance, love and sacrifice of past Americans. The potential of the experiment is known, our commitment to it is not.
At the party tomorrow and for the rest of your life be the first to wave your flag. Reclaim the pride your country deserves and appreciate the tremendous opportunity you have to craft the future of this mighty nation. The torch has been passed and it is our responsibility to preserve for posterity the freedoms we hold dear. President Obama believes, “a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.” The time is ours. May we be worthy.
President Rose on intellectual fearlessness, reasoned deliberation
In an op-ed in last week’s issue of The Bowdoin Orient (“Challenging President Rose’s political stance on ‘intellectual fearlessness’”), Professor of History Patrick Rael shared his views regarding the role of the academy in evaluating the merit of ideas and his thoughts on a concept I have been promoting since my inauguration: that Bowdoin must foster an environment of vigorous and respectful intellectual engagement on the most challenging and uncomfortable ideas, where students question their beliefs and develop the skills, knowledge and disposition to become “intellectually fearless.”
It may be that the current political environment has given pause to those who hear me advocate for “intellectual fearlessness.” While I understand the effect of this moment, my charge is not motivated—as Rael suggests—by a “preferred stance in responding to the present political climate.” I have been talking about this in various ways since I arrived at Bowdoin in 2015, including in my inauguration address, at Commencement, at Convocation, in my welcome to the first-year class and in an interview with Bowdoin magazine. This is an articulation of my longstanding view.
That said, I am grateful to Rael for thoughtfully and publically wrestling with these ideas because they are exactly what our community should be discussing. I hope others will jump in and add their voices to this discussion.
I agree with much of what Rael wrote in his op-ed—in particular, that not every idea has equal value. Far from it. As Rael reminds us, history is filled with questionable ideas and ideas that are just plain wrong. A central mission—if not the central mission—of the academy is to create and nurture the environment, the capability and the insight to parse the good from the bad, the right from the wrong. In what Rael calls the “processes of reasoned deliberation,” we are able to understand which ideas are worthy of further engagement, and which demand no further attention. And as Rael points out, this process is taking place in our classrooms, our labs and in the library—indeed, all across our campus.
I have said on many occasions that “intellectual fearlessness” is about the ability and sensibility for each of us to engage in thoughtful, honest, respectful and rigorous debate and discourse about the most challenging and important issues of our time, and with ideas that make us uncomfortable or may offend us. In my view, “intellectual fearlessness” does not presume, as Rael suggests, “a fear of ideas.” Rather it seeks to avoid an unhealthy certitude and complacency.
A critical challenge for each of us is to step out of our echo chamber and engage with others with whom we disagree in a thoughtful, reasoned way. This is a challenge in our society—a society driven by a cable television and social media mentality of only listening to and engaging with those views that reinforce what we already think. To have effect in the world, to really make a difference, we must not only understand the nature of opposing ideas, we must also test our own ideas in order to make them stronger or adjust them in the face of new data, evidence and perspectives that are persuasive.
As a great institution of higher learning, we are responsible for developing insights, creating data, finding fact and engaging, as Rael writes, in the “processes of reasoned deliberation” that informs the work of separating good ideas from the bad, the wrong from the right. Engaging with ideas does not, in and of itself, lend credibility to those ideas. The academy is uniquely positioned to examine and test many different ideas, to develop a reasoned view of which are credible and which are not and to expose the flaws and falsehoods. The ideas of intelligent design and climate change denial have been exposed and debunked through engagement and the use of facts and data, not by pushing them aside. Critically, we are also responsible for developing in our students the sensibility and skills that equip them to engage all manner of ideas wherever in life they find them, long after they have left Bowdoin. How do our students do this without the engagement necessary to develop the tools to have their ideas prevail? To this point, I have been deeply impressed by the desire in our students to work with one another and struggle on their own to engage in this work.
Rael and I agree on a number of things, and specifically on this: bad and wrong ideas, once understood and discounted, should be pushed aside. But, in my mind, this requires that they be confronted and evaluated. It requires both a “processes of reasoned deliberation” and “intellectual fearlessness.”
This is an important topic. I am grateful to Rael for his thoughtfulness and his willingness to share his views, and I look forward to continued discussion.
Letter to the editor: Career Planning Center does not always show bias towards lucrative fields
Responding to Rachel Baron’s column from last week entitled “Career Planning’s misguided prioritization of lucrative fields:”
I felt that the article relied heavily on anecdotes and I wanted to share a counter-anecdote. Personally, I am hoping to pursue comparatively low-paying jobs in public service. I have met with my Career-Planning advisor periodically and they have never in any way pressured me to pursue corporate positions. The only time they pushed me in any direction was when I asked if I should consider applying to some corporate jobs alongside the public sector positions I was actually passionate about. They immediately reminded me that I was not interested in corporate jobs and encouraged me to pursue my passions. I completely acknowledge that this anecdote does not disprove the claim that Career Planning prioritized lucrative fields, but I do believe that it demonstrates that this subject requires further inquiry. I would love to see an investigative piece that looks closer at the services the Career Planning Center provides; I would propose that they are more balanced than they immediately appear.
Jacob Russell is a member of the Class of 2017.
Editorial: Promote off-campus inclusivity
In an email on Monday, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster notified the campus of the formation of a working group focused on developing a policy for off-campus housing and improving upperclassmen housing options. The email included a demographic breakdown of students living off campus.
The data presented by Foster reveal inequity between students who live off campus and the student body as a whole. The numbers indicate that these students are more likely to be male, wealthy, white or a member of a varsity team. Of the students living off campus, only 28 percent receive financial aid, which is considerably lower than the 44.7 percent of the total student body that receives aid.
The College is right to be transparent about these statistics (and we encourage the same degree of transparency with respect to other spaces on campus, such as the College Houses and the athletic department). The data presented in Foster’s email confirm many of our suspicions about the skewed demographics of off-campus housing, and they highlight a need for a proactive off-campus housing policy that remedies the demographic imbalance among students living off campus.
As this group moves forward there are important dynamics it should be aware of.
An inclusive off-campus housing policy would ensure that students who receive financial aid have an equal opportunity to live off campus as those who do not. In most cases, the College factors the cost of living off-campus for students receiving financial aid into the total billed expenses meaning students who receive financial aid and live off campus don’t pay the college room fee. However, many students receiving financial aid are unaware of this policy and assume that living off campus is not a feasible option for them. Just as the College holds information sessions for students who want to study abroad, the College should hold information sessions for students who express interest in living off campus, where information about financial aid is transparent.
The off-campus lottery, as it was implemented this January, is biased towards accepting large groups. According to an email from Director of Housing Operations Lisa Rendall, a student who is accepted to live off campus will be able to “pull” the rest of their group into their house. This means that the larger a group, the more entries it effectively has in the pool. These large groups have the ability to create exclusive social spaces that dominate campus culture.
Finally a cap on off-campus housing has the potential to inadvertently cause off-campus rent to rise, perpetuating the bias of off-campus living toward wealthier students. If there is a constant demand for students to live off campus, coupled with the limited 200 available spots, it is possible that landlords will raise rent prices to match or exceed Bowdoin’s housing fee.
Moving forward, the College has to recognize that students will continue to live off campus. If Bowdoin intends to regulate the off-campus housing policies, it is the College’s responsibility to develop a policy that makes off-campus housing as accessible as possible to prevent further social divide.
- 1 days ago
Background Noise: Recognizing your inner know-it-all
An unrelated PSA: to whom it may concern, the toilets in Buck have a flush button for a reason. I may not know everything, but I know the unflushed toilet is a fitness epidemic that must be stopped.
- February 10
Editorial: Academics in action
In the wake of the election, some professors have confronted our political landscape in and out of the classroom, modeling healthy discussion, writing letters to President Trump and incorporating current events into their curricula.
Last Friday, Professor of Government Paul Franco moderated an event where attendees discussed the value of ideological diversity on campus. This Thursday, a panel of professors from the government and legal studies department offered their perspectives on Trump’s election and its implications.
In January, Professors Mark Battle and Madeleine Msall partnered with physics professors across the country to pen a letter to Trump advocating he take widely accepted ideas about climate change into account when making policy.
In an Orient op-ed this week, Professor of History Patrick Rael argues that a fierce commitment to politically neutral yet discerning academic values is more important now, in an era of alternative facts.
In addition, we have noticed some of our professors are integrating discussion of current political events into classes, giving an example of how the knowledge and skills we are learning can be used to analyze, understand and influence the world.
For example, Assistant Professor of Government Maron Sorenson’s Judicial Politics course has left parts of the syllabus open to address the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks. A class in the gender, sexuality and women’s studies department has routinely been leaving time at the beginning of class to discuss news and current issues. A few classes addressing executive power and political regimes have highlighted historical connections with the present.
In discussing the recent actions of our professors, we have been reminded of the oft-repeated alumni line: “Bowdoin taught me how to think.” Likely, our professors have been teaching us “how to think” since we stepped foot on campus, but the immediate link between current events and professors’ actions has made that much more apparent. We are learning to confront and evaluate ideas that oppose our own, to use our knowledge to encourage political action and to use information and methodologies from the classroom to solve problems other than those posed in homework assignments.
While we have enumerated several positive examples, there’s a sense on campus that many professors aren’t engaging substantively with current issues. Making time for this type of learning is especially important in this new age. Professors should find a way to connect academics and current events, whether it be in or out of the classroom. Doing so shows us that our learning is relevant, giving us the intellectual tools to engage with the world using deeper frameworks of knowledge.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Julian Andrews, Harry DiPrinzio, Dakota Griffin, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.
- February 9
Voices against the merging of marginalized identities
We, members of the student staffs of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity (RCGSD), do not support the administration’s decision to merge the two centers. Queer students and women have strived to create safe, independent spaces; administrators would be remiss to consolidate them with one top-down decision. This decision was made without input from the affected students. We believe that this merge will hinder inclusivity, advocacy and visibility, reduce resources in leadership and confound the missions of two marginalized groups. We request that the administration reconsider the decision to combine the Women’s Resource Center and Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
Combining the WRC and the RCGSD would obscure the focus of each center: to serve and provide spaces for women and queer students. We recognize that these identities are intertwined and intersectional and we support efforts to increase co-programming and collaboration between the two centers. However, we strongly believe that meaningful and successful programming must be specific. While gender and sexuality are intertwined concepts, they require distinct needs for two different experiences of oppression.
The merge will diminish the visibility of queer people and women on Bowdoin’s campus. The centers will lose resources fundamental in supporting students, such as professional and student staff and identity-specific programming. The director and coordinator of the RCGSD and WRC, Kate Stern and Stephanie Rendall, respectively, have been instrumental in providing individual support to students. However, merging the leadership of the WRC and the RCGSD means losing identifiable and confidential staff members who serve distinct communities. Furthermore, the newly proposed positions of Dean Leana Amaez and Kate Stern as associate deans of students for diversity and inclusion will place enormous responsibility on these leaders. This may consequently limit their role in supporting students navigating queer and women’s identities. Supporting intersectionality should not result in the consolidation and disintegration of support, spaces or services. If the decision to merge reflected the needs of affected students, then the administration would foster collaboration between the WRC and the RCGSD, rather than merge the two.
The proposed changes hinder efforts to increase inclusivity within conversations about gender and sexuality. Although the merge seems to prioritize “inclusion” and “intersectionality,” it abandons the aims of each individual center to promote inclusive and intersectional programing. As separate entities, the WRC and RCGSD already face challenges in reaching diverse segments of the student population. Thus, moves to consolidate these centers while continuing to address issues of diversity and inclusion are overly idealistic in their scope. In fact, the merger may have the unintended consequence of repelling those who do not feel comfortable approaching their gender and sexuality as integrated identities. Therefore, merging centers will come at the cost of effective outreach to and engagement with groups that are already marginalized at the respective centers, particularly women of color, queer people of color, people of different religious groups and gay men. As such, we do not recommend the merging of these two symbolic and functional spaces any more than we would the merging of the African American Society and the Latin American Student Organization.
The name chosen by the administration for the proposed center removes “women” from the title, which erases the foundational history of women at the College. The WRC was founded in 1980 to support students during the shift to co-education. The original aims of the WRC, founded as a home base for the Bowdoin Women’s Association, included addressing sexism at Bowdoin, increasing the number of women faculty and serving as a sanctuary space. In the past 37 years, the WRC has built upon its original mission, becoming a center that produces an extensive range of programming. It is a historical center, a political center and a space for grassroots thinking and organizing. The RCGSD was created more recently to address issues specific to the LGBTQIA+ communities that were not found within other spaces. For many of us, these centers have been our refuges and our homes. In merging the two centers, these spaces and their respective parallel foci—to support, program and advocate for women and queer students of all backgrounds—are lost. This merger represents a misguided notion of “intersectionality” that prioritizes breadth of inclusion in rhetoric over depth of purpose and efficacy of service in practice.
The decision to merge the WRC and RCGSD demonstrates a lack of understanding of the needs of the student body as a whole. The Bowdoin administration should be committed to valuing and respecting input from our student body and those minority populations that feel marginalized on our campus. In response to Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster’s e-mail, we are ready to share our ideas and begin this conversation. We have common goals with the administration to continue the support necessary for all students on this campus, but we ask that this be a collaborative effort. We believe the proposed deans offer valuable leadership to the various centers on campus, but each unique space requires individual attention. The WRC and RCGSD must remain separate entities and deserve to be staffed with the appropriate support.
This article was written by: Amanda Spiller ’17, Scout Gregerson ’18, Rebkah Tesfamariam ’18, Patrick Toomey ’17, Paul Cheng ’17, Aliya Feroe ’17, Anuoluwapo Asaolu ’19, Kendall Schutzer ’18, Adira Polite ’18, Harriet Fisher ’17, Diamond Walker ’17, Brooke Bullington ’17, Sophie Sadovnikoff ’19, Juliana Villa ’19
- February 9
Challenging President Rose's political stance on "intellectual fearlessness"
President Clayton Rose has offered “intellectual fearlessness” as our preferred stance in responding to the present political climate. The appeal of this formulation is clear. It seems politically neutral, enjoining all to engage in a wide range of ideas. It suggests that especially those in majority positions should practice the tolerance they preach. And in making the realm of ideas the terrain of debate, it forestalls challenge. Who, after all, would take up the banner of intellectual fearfulness?
No one, of course; and this is the problem. “Intellectual fearlessness” presumes that our central challenge is overcoming a fear of ideas. This inaccurately characterizes the concerns that have been raised about the politicization of academic life and it diverts our attention from the real challenge.
I do not fear ideas—not of those who deny anthropogenic climate change, nor the Holocaust nor human evolution. Scientific racists and white supremacists, young-earth creationists and anti-vaccers are all ripe targets for reasoned discourse. I relish the opportunity to engage any of their arguments through our academic disciplines and I am confident that in any rigorous, methodologically sound exchange, such notions would be swiftly debunked as the pseudo-academic nonsense they are.
The only thing I fear about such ideas is lending them a credibility in academic discourse they in no way merit. I fear that it is not intellectual fearlessness that drives campuses to acquiesce in promoting inflammatory anti-intellectualism out of a concern for “balance,” but fear of political pressure from those outside the academy who seek to exploit its very openness to attack reasoned conversation in the pursuit of their own power.
“Intellectual fearlessness” as yet offers us only two choices: we can run from ideas or we can engage them. As I have not heard calls on campus to cower from ideas we find too frightening, perhaps we may all then safely consider ourselves fearless engagers of some sort.
The question, then, is not whether we will engage controversial ideas, but how. All ideas cannot deserve the same consideration, after all; otherwise every crackpot seeking a forum would be entitled to one on campus, regardless of the absurdity of their reasoning, the cost of bringing them or their lack of social significance.
A vast range of possibility remains to be parsed—from offering Milo Yiannopoulos ungodly sums of cash for delivering a prominent and widely promoted evening lecture in Kresge, to classes in which small groups of students and faculty subject close readings of his speeches to critical analysis.
The good news is that we are well positioned to do this work. Distinguishing between the relative merits of arguments, and deciding whether or how we wish to address them as an academic community—that is what faculty members trained for and what we are charged to teach. It is our exact purpose.
Are Richard Lynn’s claims that race maps IQ differences best taught in a biology course on human evolution, or an anthropology course on the development of scientific racism? Should we study Holocaust denial as one among many plausible historical interpretations, or as a manifestation of antisemitism? What exactly does it mean for human evolution to be a “theory”? Can we study the impact of Christianity in our history and in our lives without being Christians, or endorsing Christianity? What about Islam? Is it possible to discuss scientific evidence on climate change without being “political”? What social effects of immigration policies are measurable? As scholars and educators, our daily lives are consumed by such concerns. We can even apply our academic training to studying this very connection, between politics and academics, which I am discussing now.
Engaging ideas happens not in a moment, but through a process. It begins in the classroom, the lab and the library. Only sometimes need it land on the front page of the Orient, or the Washington Post. We may never reach consensus on innumerable matters in dispute. But in the process we will have learned and honored the basis of all academic life: ideas should be judged not on whether we like them or not, but on how they emerge from processes of reasoned deliberation.
College campuses are languishing sanctuaries for these difficult, unfashionable values. We are here because generation upon generation of humans learned the hard way that when information becomes the property of the mob, the authoritarian or the oligarch, terrible outcomes ensue for humanity and the planet.
Principles like academic freedom stand as testimony to previous generations’ hard-won wisdom: ideas serve us best when they emerge from reasoning processes that are ultimately independent of politics. We learned that the earth revolves around the sun even if the church disagreed; we learned that the idea of human “races” served primarily to enslave, oppress or exterminate those defined as inferior.
We do not treat all ideas equally, and not simply because we lack the resources to promote them all. The standards of our disciplines tell us that some ideas deserve to be exposed as unreasonable and unworthy of further consideration, except as studies in the ways power corrupts the development of knowledge.
The truth is that we stand for the remarkable proposition that all ideas are not equal, and that through discipline and training, we can develop tools for usefully distinguishing which deserve our commendation, which our scorn and which our utter neglect.
Nothing about this is intellectually fearful. Amidst a public culture steadily retreating from the rigors of rational debate, we are committed to valuing knowledge as more than a tool of power. We are fiercely dedicated to working through methodologies that are explicitly apolitical. We commit to that because we know that we as individuals are not.
- February 9
Zero chill: Career Planning's misguided prioritization of lucrative fields
In November, I was particularly struck by a poster produced by Bowdoin’s Career Planning Center (CPC). The poster was for an event titled “Consulting Across Sectors.” While the message in itself may not immediately appear harmful, its subtext screams, “Don’t worry humanities majors! You too can get a consulting job.” The poster’s headline is ironically titled “Broaden Your Perspective,” and I would suggest that the CPC take some of its own advice.
Despite the CPC’s pronouncements that they will give advice on all professions, the reality is a little more skewed. As the poster suggests, regardless of what you are interested in, the CPC will suggest you take a finance or consulting job. In the CPC’s video featuring last year’s graduating seniors—a video which current seniors attending the virtually mandatory sessions have now seen twice—most of those interviewed had a job in one of these two areas. A disproportionate number of CPC events address professions in these fields, and a quick scroll through eBear will confirm this is the type of job listed most regularly. It is abundantly clear, despite the CPC’s protests otherwise, that the CPC’s vision for most Bowdoin students is a corporate one.
The reason for this seems obvious and at first-glance may seem unobjectionable—jobs in finance and consulting give graduates frequently prestigious, well-paying jobs right out of college. I am not claiming here that jobs in finance and consulting jobs are necessarily immoral or that people who take these jobs are greedy. Of course, people who wish to take consulting jobs can do so and should look to the CPC for advice.
Instead, my issue is with what I see as a one-sided approach. Recently, a friend of mine who is interested in political non-profit work visited the CPC for advice. Rather than helping her, the CPC representative told her the office was advising people interested in this area to consider finding jobs in corporate responsibility instead. This was reinforced in the recent Non-Profit Symposium the CPC held in which the keynote speaker was from JPMorgan Chase and spoke on “corporate philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.”
The issue with this is that corporate responsibility and non-profit work are not synonymous terms. They have different aims and ends and should not be conflated. Both types of work may aim to improve society, but non-profits’ structures and goals can be vastly different than corporations—and often may take aim at assumptions that corporations hold dear. Further, the reason to push corporate responsibility seems to have a reason similar to the push for finance and consulting: these jobs will most likely be higher paying. Again, the desire for a job in corporate responsibility is entirely reasonable—but blurring the lines between non-profit and corporate work is a disservice to students who are interested in taking another direction. Not all “do-gooder” jobs are interchangeable.
While fortunately this Bowdoin student did not take the CPC’s advice to heart, I cannot speak for others. Particularly because in order to ever be able to use eBear to apply for jobs as a senior, students must meet with a CPC representative. This creates an environment where students who are forced or are pressured into meeting with a representative may be pushed in this particular direction when their actual interests lie elsewhere.
The CPC should work to expand the range of its programming and services. If it fails to do so, it should make its various events optional. It may be fine to promote a viewpoint that is focused on finance and consulting, but only if listening to this viewpoint is voluntary. Ultimately, the CPC is supposed to be here to serve us, and it can only do so by accurately reflecting our interests.
Japanese Students Association plans remembrance of internment
Next week, the newly formed Japanese Students Association and the Student Center for Multicultural Life will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of Japanese-American internment during World War II. With themes of remembrance and commemoration, the week will focus on a student-created exhibit representing the dehumanization of Japanese Americans and a lecture by Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies Connie Chiang to provide important historical and cultural context to Japanese-American internment.
February 19 marks the 75th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which ordered the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps in response to growing anti-Japanese legislation and racism in the U.S. and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
In years past, events commemorating the Day of Remembrance have been smaller in scale. This year, however, students felt that the event was even more important to mark given the current political climate.
The Day of Remembrance exhibit will be installed in public spaces such as the dining halls on Bowdoin’s campus. It is based on a similar project by artist Wendy Maruyama on display in the University Art Gallery at San Diego State University. Maruyama created thousands of tags similar to the ones Japanese Americans were forced to wear when taken to the internment camps. The students working on the project were inspired by the striking visual and wanted to recreate it at Bowdoin.
“A travel tag for luggage makes sense but a travel tag for a person is dehumanizing,” said Kiki Nakamura-Koyama ’17, one of the interns at the Student Center for Multicultural Life and an organizer of the project. Organizers plan to install the tags in the dining halls, where they cannot go unnoticed.
As with Maruyama’s work, the approximately 400 travel tags made by students will commemorate the incarcerated Japanese Americans by displaying their names, relocation centers and assigned identification numbers.
Another key part of the commemorations will be Chiang’s talk. Mitsuki Nishimoto ’17, co-president of the Asian Students Association and a leader of the Japanese Students Association, invited Chiang to speak on the event because of her expertise on Japanese incarceration.
“We thought that she would be a great person to not only educate the campus about the history and legacy of that but also to facilitate a conversation of what remembrance means in the present day,” Nishimoto said.
In her talk, Chiang will discuss the broad history behind the Japanese incarceration, highlighting the fact that the incarceration of Japanese Americans during the war was the culmination of years of federal and state-sanctioned anti-Japanese sentiment. She will also talk about the impacts of the incarcerations and the parallels to today’s xenophobia and politics.
“This is not something that happened in just three years, it actually started much earlier and continues to this day,” said Chiang.
“It has had a very long-lasting impact on the Japanese-American community specifically but I think Asian-Americans more broadly,” said Chiang.
In the second half of the program, Chiang will facilitate a discussion. She plans to bring documents, such as a copy of Executive Order 9066 and a “loyalty questionnaire” for attendees to look through and discuss.
Chiang said that she hopes that students of all backgrounds will find the talk interesting, regardless of whether or not they have an immigrant background or have a personal connection to the historical events.
Nishimoto said that while it has always been important to remember the internment of Japanese Americans, this year it felt particularly pertinent.
“Remembrance, I think, takes on even greater meaning in this current political climate,” Nishimoto said.
Nishimoto added that President Trump’s recent executive order barring immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and his proposed Muslim registry offered significant parallels to the events of the World War II period.
Chiang plans to touch on the parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II and Trump’s recent executive order.
“I think there are real substantive differences but also uncanny parallels as well,” Chiang said.
Nakamura-Koyama hopes that the talk and installation will encourage people to notice the contemporary relevance of the incarcerations.
“We forget so easily that we had discriminated against an entire people just because they had the ‘face of the enemy,’ she said. “That is the message that I want to get out, remembering that America’s history is not as pure as we’d like to believe and that we’re very vulnerable, in times of fear like right now, to making this mistake again.”
The art installation will be set up on Sunday, February 19, and the lecture will take place the following Wednesday.
Home for how long? Bowdoin students feel impact of immigration policies
On Saturday, January 29, Bowdoin students joined 4,000 Mainers at Portland International Jetport (PWM) to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. While no one was being held at PWM, the protest was carried out to stand in solidarity with people trapped both at U.S. airports and around the world as a result of Trump’s executive order.
While many individuals who attend political protests may not feel immediate fear, some Bowdoin students do. We spoke to four students who have been directly impacted by our president’s actions: Mohamed Nur ’19, Giselle Hernandez ’19, Anu Asaolu ’19 and Hayat Fulli ’19.
Nur is the son of Somali immigrants. His parents fled the Somali civil war in the 90s and arrived in Portland in 1993. While there are now thousands of Somali people living in Portland, Nur’s parents were some of the first to come to Maine.
“We’ve been trying to get my mom’s side of the family, our grandfather, some of our uncles, to come to the US for years, and now that’s no longer going to be an option anymore [now that Somalia is on the list of banned countries],” said Nur.
Many of Nur’s friends from home in Portland have had similar experiences.
“[The order] was absolutely insane, because there are so many people that I know in Portland who are from Somalia, who are from Iraq, Iran, Syria. All my friends are from those countries, and every time I call home or text friends from home, something new has happened,” said Nur.
“Whether parents are stuck in Iraq, or their sick grandma who’s been trying to come to the U.S. for decades can’t come here anymore and now she has to stay wherever she is and continue to be sick, it’s just really devastating and difficult to hear.”
Asaolu immigrated to Minnesota from Nigeria in 2001 and while Nigeria is not one of the seven countries on the ban, she is nervous about the possible expansion of the order.
“Nigeria is not on the list, [but] Somalia and Libya, other African countries, are on the list and Muslim territories and if you don’t know, the northern part of Nigeria is Muslim, [and includes] Boko Haram terrorists,” said Asaolu.
While she would like to take some sort of action, Asaolu has also felt the need to monitor herself.
“I shared [a petition] on Facebook, then that night my mom called me she said, ‘Why are you doing this—you don’t want to draw more attention to yourself than you need to,’” Asaolu continued. “There’s a lot of fear because I want to be active, but at the same time she is right. I can’t put myself in the open.”
Hernandez is more personally concerned about Trump’s Mexican immigration policy and his proposed wall. Her mother immigrated illegally from Mexico and she knows people will not stop attempting to enter the country.
“A wall will just make it more dangerous for people trying to pass.” said Hernandez. “Hundreds of people, hundreds, have died in the past decade coming into the U.S. And [the wall] is just going to increase those numbers. It’s not going to keep people out, it’s just going to make it more dangerous for people to come.”
As Hernandez noted, coming to the United States legally is not a realistic possibility for some immigrants.
“People say, ‘You just have to do it right, you have to [immigrate] legally,’” Hernandez continued. “Sometimes, that’s not an option … If my mom had been waiting, it would have taken her 26 years, [like it did for my aunt] to become a legal resident.”
Instead, Hernandez’s mom crossed the border to the United States illegally in 1990. She became a legal resident 23 years later in 2013, not because her paperwork was finally processed but because her eldest daughter turned 21.
Like Nur, Fulli was born and raised in Portland. Her parents are from Ethiopia and, while she too worries about the extension of the immigration ban, its immediate and unexpected arrival has left her disoriented.
“I don’t know, I think it’s hard just because I feel like I haven’t even processed it. So sometimes especially with the conversations at Bowdoin I’m fearful it will be expected that I have all these answers and kind of have all these experiences that I’m just supposed to share when in reality I just don’t really know what it means for me,” said Fulli. “I have these certain emotions but I don’t really know what that looks like, and [what] actions [to take], or what that means.”
The escape Bowdoin offers Fulli can be relieving, but the lack of any casual conversation about the ban on campus has also been worrying.
“I think there’s this false security that I feel at Bowdoin that sometimes I lean on but at the same time makes me feel a little incomplete, because at home, 40 minutes away, it’s just a different environment.”
Hernandez has found strength in Bowdoin’s tightly-knit community.
“The people that I associate with, the people that I’m friends with, generally have all expressed the same thing: ‘No ban, no wall.’ That’s really reassuring,” she said.
Nur, though, has also noticed a difference in tone between how his Portland community has reacted compared to Bowdoin, and is frustrated by Bowdoin’s lack of daily dialogue on the subject.
“My high school that I went to, they’ve been protesting left and right … It’s really inspiring to see high schoolers getting out there, protesting, marching and knowing that they’ll stand up for their friends … I wish, at least here at Bowdoin … we were more vocal or just as vocal as them because if they can do it why aren’t we.”
Asaolu also believes the student body can do more.
“How much people are not talking about [the ban] really freaks me out. There are select target populations of people speaking about it … but there are so many people who claim to be liberals on campus who don’t view this as something to be discussed,” she said.
Nur agreed, noting, “I want more people to talk about it. Because there are definitely people on this campus who are being directly impacted by [Trump’s actions]. I want people to be able to attach a face to a name, to humanize this issue.”
Bowdoin students bridge gap between liberal arts and public health
Students interested in public health and medicine have stepped off campus to volunteer at Oasis Free Clinics in order to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on practicing health care and supplement their experiences in the classroom.
Oasis is an organization in Brunswick that offers free medical care to the uninsured and low-income members of the local community.
Sarah Steffen ’16 started volunteering with Oasis during her sophomore year at Bowdoin. She graduated last semester and has been an employee at Oasis since January. Steffen said that her work with the organization has equipped her with a unique perspective on medicine and public health that correlates with her experience as a student in a liberal arts institution.
“I originally wanted to be a biology major, but once I started taking sociology classes I was hooked, and I couldn’t go back,” Steffen said. “I love that Oasis works with a vulnerable population and shows that there is a combination of social factors that influence health.”
As an employee at the clinic, Steffen coordinates Oasis’s events, manages its social media and is in the process of conducting a community-needs assessment to evaluate how the clinic can improve its care for patients.
“It can be hard to find opportunities to get your foot in the door in public health because Maine doesn’t have a big centralized public health program,” said Steffen. “But if you find a mentor at a hospital or a smaller clinic that can be a really good way to meet other people … who are really passionate about what they do.”
Julia Michels ’17 has worked with Oasis since the beginning of her junior year at Bowdoin. She said that shadowing physicians and interacting directly with patients has been the most rewarding part of her volunteer experience.
“A lot of patients have mental health issues or unhealthy habits, and the doctors really respect that and try to make them healthier, happier humans,” she said. “There’s never any judgement for their actions or their history or their past.”
Students are not the only Oasis volunteers with Bowdoin ties. Director of Health Services Jeffrey Maher volunteers at Oasis once every three weeks and is enthusiastic about helping connect students with Oasis. Maher became involved with the clinic before working at Bowdoin after being frustrated with his inability to treat patients without health insurance. He describes the community need which Oasis seeks to fill as endless.
“Until a decision is made at a macro level to insure everybody, my best response is a micro level: what can I do to help in the time that I have,” he said. “It’s a challenge to think of that every day, but you do the best you can.”
Anita Ruff, executive director of Oasis Free Clinics, emphasized the importance of volunteering for students interested in medicine.
“You may be doing a wide variety of things that may not seem interesting or fulfilling to you, but every opportunity is a chance to learn,” she said in a phone interview with the Orient. “Whether it’s learning about public health directly or how to be a good teammate or what it means to run a good program.”
The opportunity to complete a rigorous education in a variety of disciplines while still pursuing a career in medicine is part of what drew Ilana Olin ’20 to Bowdoin. She hopes to start volunteering with Oasis.
“I also really like philosophy, and not being on a strict pre-med track where every [first year] is doing the same thing, I have the opportunity to take the classes I want to and get a liberal arts education,” she said.
Olin is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and worked as a member of an ambulance crew during high school. At Bowdoin, Olin is part of the Public Health Club and volunteers at Partners for World Health, a Portland-based organization that sends unused medical products to developing countries. She is looking forward to joining Steffen in volunteering at Oasis, which she hopes will provide her with yet another perspective on what it means to work in the field of public health.
“I think the more exposure I get to different areas of medicine, the more interested and more passionate I become,” she said.
Oasis is not the only place where Bowdoin students have found an outlet to gain experience in public health.
Mason Bosse ’18 believes that working or volunteering with medical organizations is critically important for students interested in careers in medicine or public health. Bosse is also a licensed Advanced EMT and works on ambulance crews based in both Lisbon and Lewiston, Maine and works as an instructor for United Ambulance in Lewiston. He leaves campus almost every weekend, departing on Friday and returning Monday morning.
“There is a big problem with physicians and physician assistants in the medical field who are very scientific but aren’t very good with people,” he said. “Volunteering, getting involved and actually getting hands-on experience can really open your eyes to whether or not it’s the right field for you.”
Maine Street Sweets brings Brunswick old-fashioned treats
When Brunswick residents Julie Marshall and her business partner and boyfriend Paul Giggey saw a brick and timber store-front with large windows at the end of Maine Street, the couple knew they had found the ideal property for Maine Street Sweets, their old-fashioned candy shop.
The store sparks nostalgia and stays up to date with a wide selection of sweets; from classic peach ring candies to bright modern-flavored jelly beans for children.
“Paul and I are kind of old souls anyway—so that’s why we [have] the nostalgics,” said Marshall.
In their search for potential locations, Marshall and Giggey felt strongly that the space should dictate the type of business and not the other way around.
When the space on Maine Street was finally put up for sale, its old-timey feel charmed the couple, who felt the space was perfect for a candy shop. The dream came to fruition as Maine Street Sweets had its grand opening last month.
More than just inspiring an idea, the distinctive, antique feel of the space has also played a major role in other decisions, such as decor and inventory.
Marshall and Giggey designed the store as a nod to the past: a contemporary spin on an old-fashioned candy shop.
Marshall said she hoped that the store’s antique interior and collection of candies will make customers say, “remember when…”.
Marshall, who is originally from Virginia, has lived in Maine for twenty years. She and Giggey, who works as a schoolteacher in Lisbon, attended both high school and college together. The long-time friends started dating five years ago.
The couple’s decision to open Maine Street Sweets was prompted by Marshall—an accountant by trade with the long-term aspiration of becoming a business owner. She explained that the prospect of owning a store of her own only recently became tangible.
While she is currently keeping her day job, Marshall also decided to follow her longtime dream of owning a shop. She is thrilled to begin a new chapter in her life.
“I [said], ‘What do I want to do for the next ten years of my life? Well, [I thought] I better do it now because when I’m older I’m not going to be able to. So I started looking around,” she said.
As for Marshall herself, owning a Brunswick business has been an exciting change of pace.
“All the jobs I’ve had have been in bookkeeping. Everything was behind the scenes, in the backroom where you don’t see people,” she said. “Just to have people come in and say, ‘Wow, this is so cool’ is the most satisfying thing.”
Tapped out: Midas Touch offers a tipsier insight into ancient Greek history
“I’d dump any girl who cared about Valentine’s day,” quoth Nick, as we festively sat drinking beer and grumbling about our English papers on a fine Tuesday evening aka Valentine’s day aka the evening before our beer article is due. But do not fear, dear Reader, that our Tuesday was lackluster, for our beer was pretty out of the ordinary—and educational to boot.
Just like last week, we headed over to Uncle Tom’s for some inspiration, where Dan, the owner, told us a fascinating story about an “ancient ale” called Midas Touch. Pro tip: ask Dan about beer—he knows his whole stock and gives stellar recommendations.
As we checked out, he told us, “This one has a history behind it—when they did an excavation of King Midas’s tomb [Midas being the greedy guy in Greek mythology who got his wish fulfilled, which was that everything he touched would turn to gold—he didn’t meet a happy end], they found the broken remains of what looked like a wine urn. They micro-analyzed the pottery pieces and found the ingredients of the urn’s contents.”
Voila, that was the recipe for our beer of the night. @BowdoinClassicsDepartment, please take note of our dedication to the ancients. As we sat down, both of us were immediately aware (and truth be told, scared) of the sediment floating around in the beer. The beer is advertised as containing “Muscat grapes, honey, and saffron,” so perhaps there were grape fragments still in there—nevertheless, it was intimidatingly chunky. Only Midas knows. When poured into a glass, the beer’s color was bright orange, like plastic Halloween pumpkins, with zero head on top. The sediment surprisingly cleared out when poured and neither of us were bothered by it while drinking. The smell was a combination of normal toasty wheat and sweetness that was pleasant but not particularly noteworthy.
Then we got around to tasting the beer. True to his mathematical roots, Nick drew a graph of the taste scale, which Jae-Yeon tried her best to represent in words: the first split-second tastes of nothing before a deep hoppy bitterness kicks in briefly. There is fleeting acidity as the taste transitions into honey sweetness; the sweetness increases exponentially with every second that passes, making for a very interesting and very extended finish. This is not your usual saccharine sweetness that comes from high fructose corn syrup or its equivalent but something tangier and more unusual. The mouthfeel was rather flat, without much carbonation, and the strong taste definitely prevented this beer from being one to “smash.” And yet, at 9% ABV, it was remarkably light. With its unique flavoring and light body, Midas Touch would make a great starter beer for anyone looking to step outside of the Lager/IPA comfort zone. It was like the love child between a traditional honey mead and a lager; the more we drank, the more we felt the honey seep through all else. And for a beer with such a rich and ancient history, it was surprisingly modern.
Even if you do not end up liking this historic beer (although we did), at $3.55 it’s cheaper than going to a museum, and it will get you tipsy. Concluding remark? Worth it—after all, we Bowdoin students are wont to pursue academic knowledge purely for the love of learning, inside and outside the classroom.
Talk of the Quad: Bowdoin Bachelors and Bachelorettes
I have recently found a new solace for my brain in Bowdoin’s constant parade of raucous academia: “The Bachelor.” This is not my first interaction with ABC’s reality dating show where one person simultaneously dates 25 roommates in a month long scramble to find love. I attempted to get on the bandwagon last year, but found myself unable to stomach the premise. For me, it represented a total abandoning of healthy relationships and finding real love. One year later, I decided to give it a shot, recognizing that despite the tag as “reality television,” this is not how life works. However, as I watch more and more episodes, I have begun to notice ways in which the scripted Bachelor/Bachelorette culture of romance has seeped into reality, even here at Bowdoin.
Upon reviewing candidates on seasons of both the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, there is only one true constant: they are all wickedly good-looking people. While this makes for more profitable TV, it reinforces the narrative that the most important factor in any sort of romantic relationship, from making out to marriage, is physical attraction. I think that it is safe to say that there is not a ton of emotional discovery on the shows. By the time contestants are proposing, they have spent maybe five hours of one-on-one time together.
While I don’t believe that the Bachelor/Bachelorette are the social artifacts that drive the core of our romantic culture here at Bowdoin, the framework of these shows provides an extreme that can make our own behaviors a little more apparent. While most of the people here aren’t planning on going from meeting to matrimony in five short weeks, there is a culture of romance that relies disproportionately on the physical, and sidelines any sort of emotional connection as an added bonus.
The first time I became aware of this at Bowdoin was a Friday night out last year. Personally, I really value weekend nights and going out as an opportunity to meet new people and maybe to spend more time getting to know my smile-n-wavers: people that I’ve been introduced to and say hello to, but have never actually talked to. I was in a basement and saw someone spill their drink all over one of my smile-n-wavers. I went up to ask if she was alright, and she cut me off in the middle of my inquiry to give me the once over before informing me that she was “not interested in hooking up with me.” At the time I was largely thrown off and walked away, because this person apparently had a very goal-driven night.
Except perhaps the brusqueness, I don’t think that this is a wholly uncommon interaction here. I think that people view their nights out as a condensed version of the Bachelor, where the goal is to find love through physical attraction. The fact that the first thing this person thought was happening when someone approached her was that they were swooping in for some undisclosed physical mouth assault is troubling. Dating and romance were things that had never crossed my mind with regards to this person. Her once-over scan deemed me not a physically apt enough candidate to engage in any sort of romance.
What is troubling here is that I believe that there are huge parts of attraction that originate in people’s personalities, their humor and whether you enjoy being around them. I don’t want to deny that being physically attracted to someone is important in physical intimacy and that there are plenty of physically intimate situations that don’t necessitate a deep emotional connection. But I think that approaching your romantic life based solely on a lustful desire of pure physical attraction is really damaging. Many people go into spaces that have potential for finding some iteration of romance, filter out potential partners based on the presence, or lack thereof, of immediate attraction, and hope that perhaps over a conversation at breakfast the following morning they might find some emotional overlap.
Additionally, although my experiences as a straight male have been with women here at Bowdoin, this is absolutely a phenomenon that goes in all directions. I honestly don’t think that any group is necessarily guiltier than another, and that everyone could benefit from thinking about this a little more.
I believe that many more people could find the sorts of relationships they are looking for if, as a campus, we separate ourselves from considering the Bachelor/Bachelorette as television that represents reality. Thinking someone is physically attractive may not have any bearing on what one looks for in relationships (most people choose friends, people they like spending time with, based on traits other than physical attractiveness). But looking for someone who you emotionally connect with, and finding that attractive, will most probably result in a stronger foundation for anything from a hook-up to a committed relationship.
Simon Cann is a member of the Class of 2019.
Talk of the Quad: Streetwear and street work: the fashion hustle
About a week ago in my urban crisis class with Brian Purnell, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, we had a lively discussion about “hustling” in “The Wire” a popular TV show based in Baltimore revolving around the narcotics world. Central to this world is “the hustle”—drug users hustling drug sellers by using fake money, drug sellers selling a diluted brand to maximize profit and sellers secretly accumulating their own stash from the supplier’s pot. We came to an understanding that “hustling” is an exploitative practice with the intent to maximize profit, usually with a manipulative undertone. One party discreetly benefits more from an unequal exchange. It was at this time that I thought about a hustle that I was once a part of, one that got people camping out on streets for the supply to be distributed, one that preyed on an almost unwarranted obsession and has a huge return—the fashion hustle. And yes, it was perfectly legal.
The hustle is founded in the resale market of the fashion industry through big brands with high exclusivity. For example, Supreme, founded in 1994, went from being a skateboard company with a relatively small following to outfitting the biggest stars, from A$AP Rocky to Neil Young. Now that celebrities are wearing it, being “cool” had a marked-up price tag bigger than ever. To have a Supreme hoodie in 2017 means being seen in the same clothes or with the same sense of style as these celebrities, and it is not easy dressing like these celebrities. Supreme’s online store opens occasionally with outfits exclusive to that season, and their stores do not allow cameras. Even if you have the means to afford a piece of cloth with the Supreme logo on it, you need an “in,” either having the time and knowledge to camp out during their exclusive drops at selected stores, knowing someone who has a connection to Supreme or knowing someone that had a lot of Supreme clothing before its popularity. Exclusivity drives this market, and from this comes a new group that flourished: the middleman in the resale market, where the majority of the hustling in the fashion world occurs.
The resale market occurs mostly online, through easily recognizable names like eBay and Craigslist. Other means include social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram or various blogs online like WordPress. People post a picture of the product, list the selling price and communicate with each other about the exchange online.
Hugh Mo is a prominent fashion icon on campus who runs @_mostyle_, a fashion blog on Instagram with over 11,000 followers. Although Mo wouldn’t call himself a hustler, he does understand the resale market in the fashion industry very well and once profited from it. This past summer, he camped out for a pair of Fear of God jeans, which he purchased for $1,800. Two days later, he resold the jeans for $3,500.
“Good money is involved, and some items crescendo in value. It’s about predicting the market, like stocks. For example, the first Yeezy 350 low tops, when it first came out, people were not sure if it was worth $400-500 resale price from a $200 retail price. Now they are worth $1,700-$1,800 brand new. If you were smart then, you bought as many pairs then as possible,” explained Mo.
This practice seems simple, enticing and extremely profitable, but there are many barriers to entering this market.
Moe said that to join the market, you either have to have a lot of capital to begin with or you can start by hustling anything you see, starting with socks, newspapers, anything—and build up to sneakers.
In addition to having the means to join this market, one must have the smarts and knowledge of the market prices in order to avoid being hustled. Not knowing the market price could lead you to overpay for a product. Lack of experience could lead to a faulty purchase, where the product could end up being fake or not showing up in the mail. Sometimes, even some of the more seasoned fashion bloggers get hustled.
Mo has been hustled before, which he said is a necessary learning curve for people starting out in the business. People are intent on making money, and such practice opens doors for the inexperienced to be hustled. Mo said his reputation is worth more than a couple of scams.
Simon Chow is a member of the Class of 2019
- 1 days ago
Polar eyes: Order up
- February 10
Swanson '18 turns family scenes to artful screens
Television screens in trees may seem unusual, but for junior Nevan Swanson, it was just part of the artistic process. Titled “Screens,” Swanson’s summer photography project aims to explore associations with screens, their content and their environment. The project is currently on display in the Edwards Center for Art and Dance.
Over the course of the project, Swanson recorded videos on his family’s old camcorder once used for home movies, treating it as a “visual diary.” He played the videos on television screens in different locations, which he photographed by either freezing certain frames or doing long exposures.
Through the images, he attempts to show a layering of time and the overlap of moments that took place in the past as they may appear in the present.
“Life in the present can be different because of the context,” Swanson said.
Swanson took his photos with a medium-format film camera, which allowed him to create high quality images without the comfort and immediacy of a digital camera. The images were shot primarily in Maine—around Lisbon Falls, Brunswick and Bar Harbor—and also in his home in Connecticut.
At the start of the project, Swanson was unsure of what direction to take and was driven to try a variety of options.
“I was trying to experiment as much as I could with what I wanted to do, the types of pictures I wanted to take and how I wanted to take them,” Swanson said. This opportunity was both rare and valuable.
According to Swanson, the freedom to experiment was liberating.
“I can’t do that all the time here. I don’t have the ability to break away from one certain idea and just go off on that idea for a long time.”
Swanson received the Patterson Research Fellowship last year, which supports student research over the summer months. The funds allowed him to spend his summer in Maine pursuing an independent photography project under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster.
Charlotte Youkilis contributed to this report.
- February 10
Bottom of the Barrel: Zum Martin Sepp Rosé 2012 proves to be a 'cool guy' wine
Schweller: Moulton Light Room breakfaster, grew a mustache all summer, has a pretentious major, has worn his beanies super far back on his head, doesn’t eat meat, brews his own beer, the little-known Bowdoin Don Dada of the Birkenstock clog, lives in Cleave
Ramos: Sneaky theater guy, listened to Vampire Weekend in ’07, thinks La La Land is straight hype, macaroni art enthusiast, not as crunchy as Will, lives in Cleave
A lot of the time, we sacrifice for you folks. We drink duds so that we can create amusing musings tangentially related to said duds so that you can read them out of sympathy for us, but you never leave the exchange between author and reader feeling like you want to go out and buy the duds and drink them and share in our experience. This week your columnists were feeling like ~cool guys~, and ~cool guys~ don’t buy just any old dud. So we made a trip towards Tess’ Market over on Pleasant Street for some ~cool guy~ wine.
And ~cool guy~ wine did we find in the Zum Martin Sepp Rosé 2012.
This pale, pale, pale, rosé wine is mysterious. Elusive. Found covered in dust on the floor of a narrow row in the back of Tess’ Market, the bottle is shaped weirdly relative to your standard Hanny’s fare. The bottle is squat, probably a 1-liter. Instead of a cork, it had a beer cap, which to Will suggests some sort of small-time, back-alley secret—like this wine was quickly bottled and then hidden away. The label is simple, slightly faded and torn. The wine is advertised as an Austrian rosé, and the label bears a street address in Vienna. Perhaps that of the vintner who so carefully stashed this bottle on Pleasant Street for us to find. Described on the back of the bottle as a dry red wine reminiscent of Pinot Noir, the Zweigelt grapes promised to create a wine complex, spicy, suggestive of times spent discussing Das holländische Gruppenporträt with Riegl before the War. The fact that the wine was called simply Rosé should have been a suggestion that we were in for light fare, but regardless we were surprised as all get-out when we poured a liquid the color of a pinkish-yellow fit for a nursery.
We first tasted the wine very lightly chilled. It smelled big. In your face. JNCO jean big. It tastes, upon first sip, like a summer spent in Brunswick Apartment K3. It tastes like keeping the windows open at night even though folks are outside milling about, making all kinds of noise. It tastes like jumping into Sewell Pond from the rope swing and stopping at DQ on the way back. But, FR FR, it only tastes like this for like a millisecond. Then it tastes dry. Like licking a dog’s bone two seasons after it buried it dry. Clean. Like straight booze, sucking the moisture out of your mouth. But in a good way. It makes you think. Several friends who sipped this sweet (sweet only in the sense of “sweet juice” being a common turn-of-phrase, and common turns-of-phrase [not to mention overly complex sentences] [or semi-niche hip-hop references] being our bread and butter [see what we mean]) juice commented on their fondness for it.
Public Service Announcement: wine is good. Being sick is bad. One of the reasons being sick is bad is that it makes wine, which is good, taste bad. For our sniffling and sneezing columnist, Justin, this ~cool guy~ wine had a lot of anticipation. But ultimately it tasted like dry water with a boozy after taste. So, for those afflicted with the common cold, leave the ~cool guy~ wine for another time.
Tonight's Soundtrack: "LOL :-)" by Trey Zongz feat. Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy Tell 'Em
Justin: "Hot take: being sick is not a ~cool guy~ move."
Will: "This is honestly the first wine that I want to buy multiple bottles of to drink. Really, genuinely, liked it, no poorly conceived jokes needed."
Arts & Entertainment
Masque & Gown's 'Blown Youth' puts women on center stage
The Masque and Gown mainstage welcomed several new members last night as it debuted Dipika Guha’s 2015 play, "Blown Youth." The cast of the production is all women, the majority of whom are women of color and the rest of whom are OutPeers. It is entirely composed of people who have never been in a Masque and Gown show.
Bringing more kinds of people into Bowdoin’s theater community is a focus for director Mackenzie Schafer ’19. This was reflected in her selection of "Blown Youth" when applying to direct the Masque and Gown spring production, as well as the decisions she made casting the production.
“There hasn’t been a single person of color in a Masque and Gown show since I’ve been on campus,” said Schafer. “I could feel the frustration of different friends who feel like they weren’t getting cast because there were no roles for them because the shows that kept getting selected were, like, white family dramas that were very heteronormative.”
While the process of finding the perfect show was neither easy nor quick, Schafer is looking forward to showing "Blown Youth" at Bowdoin.
“It took me so long to find the show, but I was really excited to find it because it offered a lot of roles for different types of people,” she said. “I feel like so many people are so underrepresented in theater, especially people of color and queer people. I also thought that we had a really strong community of actresses on campus and I really wanted to showcase that.”
"Blown Youth" tells the story of seven women living in and around an all-female intentional community. The play is divided into three parts: one with the characters five years out of college, another with them in their 30s and a third section that is a flashback to their time in college. According to Guha’s website, the play asks “what happens to the universe if a woman is at its center.”
At its core, "Blown Youth" is about the experiences of women navigating the world as real, complicated, multidimensional people.
Sophie Sadovnikoff ’19 plays Celia, an aspiring actress who, despite her passion for it, cannot act. She goes to auditions, but never makes it into the casting room, always running out before her name is called.
“The three phrases I use to describe [Celia’s] story are ambition, mental illness and loss,” said Sadovnikoff. “That is a lot of the work I’m doing in the show. It’s telling the story of a person who is overcome by mental illness and wasn’t able to achieve the things she wanted to.”
The show deals with many heavy and timely themes, which the cast has spent a lot of time discussing, but the rehearsal process has remained positive.
“It’s been a tiring experience—there are some really intense moments in the show. I think our cast does a really good job of turning it on when we’re working and turning it off when we don’t need to be,” said Sadovnikoff. “We have a lot of fun together as a cast, we spend a lot of time kind of goofing off and singing and being weird, and I think that lightness and energy to the cast has really helped keep us out of a place where we’re constantly in our heads.”
The cast of "Blown Youth" contains several members who have not acted at Bowdoin—or at all. This has presented challenges but also opportunities for the cast to grow together and learn from each other.
“It’s definitely changed things, but in such an exciting way," said Aziza Janmohamed ’19, who plays Margaret in the show. "It’s really fun to get people who have never done it before because they have these new and different perspectives that you may not have and I think one of the most helpful things for me has been the questions that they ask ... With them especially, it’s been really fun to watch them and help them and have them help me also. There’s an honest connection there.”
Schafer and other members of Masque and Gown worked hard to recruit a diverse group of people for auditions, which ultimately gave them the flexibility to cast the show in the way they did. Having brought new people into Bowdoin’s theater community, and a play to campus unlike many of the other ones that have been produced, the question now is how to keep the momentum going.
“I think it’s really important for the theater community at Bowdoin to continue to keep these really open minds and to continue to look for different stories and unique perspectives that may or may not be told. That doesn’t mean you can’t do what’s been done in the past. There’s something really great about older playwrights and the things they have to say, because those are stories too, but then also looking for new things,” said Janmohamed.
The cast of "Blown Youth" is excited for their run and for what the show means for campus.
“It’s so many firsts in so many ways. It’s all women, written by a woman of color, directed by a woman, we all are sort of going through this new pathway and I hope it’s a trend that continues. Not just for Masque and Gown but for theater at Bowdoin in general,” said Janmohamed. “It’s nice to be able to bring this story to the forefront and be like, this is what’s happening, we’re here, we also live in this world and we’re here to tell our stories.”
"Blown Youth" will be performed tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Pickard Theater. Tickets are $1 for students and $3 for non-students and are available at the David Saul Smith Union Info Desk.
Voraciously readable: James Baldwin confronts race relations through time
When I approached Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Judith Casselberry at the end of class and asked her for the name of the book that has most influenced her, she had an instant response. When I asked why, she called her choice—"The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin—revelatory. “Hallelujah,” she said.
"The Fire Next Time" pairs a letter, entitled “My Dungeon Shook,” that Baldwin wrote to his nephew on the 100th anniversary of Emancipation along with his essay “Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in my Mind.” Published in 1963, "The Fire Next Time" is philosophy, theology, sociology and a cultural history of American race relations. It is also voraciously readable: Baldwin’s brilliance is both sociopolitical and linguistic.
He writes about the experience of being a black Christian man in the 1960s with elegance and a surprisingly lilting sense of hope within his clear condemnation of American society: “The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass, and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can.” To a reader, Baldwin’s language is beautiful, heart-wrenching and indicative of the similarities between 1963 and 2017.
James Baldwin was born in New York City in 1924. “Down at the Cross” covers his experiences as a young black man in Harlem, exploring religion as an alternative to the perceived depravity of life “on the Avenue,” and to the snarling realities of American racism. My class with Professor Casselberry, Spirit Come Down: Religion, Race, and Gender in America, cuts to the heart of intersectional scholarship by centralizing black women in narratives of black American religion. Both pieces in "The Fire Next Time" have a decidedly male perspective. Even while Baldwin writes about the female preacher who inspired his own religious conversion, he is writing to the male experience. But Baldwin, a gay black man, brings his own angle to the themes of identity and sexuality that inform his discussion about race and religion.
“My Dungeon Shook” is only twelve pages, but its intimacy shook me almost more than the entirety of the book’s following essay. Writing to his nephew in the 20th century, Baldwin is speaking directly to the history and lived experience of black men. His words on American race relations and identity find ironic prophesy in their applicability to our time.
Speaking of the racism of white people toward black people, Baldwin tells his nephew: “Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of their identity.” He strikes to the heart of the current ongoing conversations at Bowdoin and nationwide about the importance of "showing up" and decentralizing the emotional responses of white allies.
"The Fire Next Time" is beautiful in its lucidity and its calm perceptiveness. I found it thought-provoking both personally and academically, recommended by a professor who has deeply impacted many of my classmates. "The Fire Next Time" stretches from the personal to the classroom to the wide world, from history to the present and into the future. This book is literary nonfiction at its best, rightfully considered one of the most important books on American race relations, and a testament to the lasting power of James Baldwin.
Susan Faludi confronts estranged father's gender reassignment in new book
Susan Faludi, Pulitzer Prize-winner and research fellow for Bowdoin’s Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Department, read excerpts from her new memoir, “In the Darkroom,” to a packed audience in Massachusetts Hall on Wednesday.
Published in June after 12 years in the making, “In the Darkroom” details Faludi’s reunion with her estranged father, Stephanie—formerly Steve—Faludi, who had undergone gender reassignment surgery.
Brock Clarke, professor of English and organizer of the event, said that the reason the novel is unique to him is because it is “difficult to pin down.”
“If you start describing it one way, you realize you’re leaving out a bunch of other things,” said Clarke. “It’s about her reuniting with her [father]. It’s a travel book, it’s about the Jewish diaspora after World War II, it’s about what it’s like to live in Nazi-occupied territory during World War II.”
Focused primarily on Stephanie Faludi’s various identities throughout her lifetime, the memoir begins with an email from Faludi’s father titled “Changes,” in which Stephanie Faludi informed Susan Faludi of her gender reassignment.
“My father had been silent for so many years,” said Susan Faludi in an interview with the Orient. “As a young child, I had always been pressing her for stories about life and would get nowhere.”
“My father was kind of an identity zelig; one way of looking at her life is a lifelong struggle of era-defining identity crises,” Susan Faludi said during the event.
Stephanie Faludi was a wealthy Jewish child in Hungary before World War II. During the Holocaust, she survived by passing as Christian with false identity papers and a Nazi armband.
After the war, she went to the U.S. at a time described by Susan Faludi as “the height of very traditional gender roles and assumed the posture of the all-American commuter, suburban dad with a barbecue grill and big Christmas tree."
Afterward, she reinvented herself again by moving back to Hungary and supporting the right-wing regime, before traveling to Thailand for gender-reassignment surgery.
Susan Faludi added that writing about her father was the most challenging journalistic assignment she has ever taken, but she felt that she needed to write about this experience for herself, as both a writer and as a daughter.
“I’m a writer and that’s how I come to terms with things I don’t understand,” she said in an interview with the Orient. “Whether it got published or not, to figure it out in my own life, figure out my relationship with my father.”
Susan Faludi said that her journalistic approach to the experience of reacquainting with her father served well as a buffer for her and for her father to get comfortable with each other once again.
“It was a way for my father, who was a pretty closed person, to open up, and [it] gave me comfort, as someone who knows how to be a reporter,” she said on Wednesday afternoon. “In the end, I had to accept the fact that I was as much as participant as observer in this story.”
Beyond coming to terms with her own experience, Susan Faludi’s specialty is in gender research.
“I felt that I couldn’t continue to write honestly about gender without admitting to my own experience,” she added.
“I see a lot of connective tissue between my father’s story and the books I’ve written earlier,” she added. “All of my books are grappling with the ways gender mythologies distort and damage people’s lives. This was just a very vivid, personal, individual window into that."
Faludi said that in order for her to understand her father, she needed to understand the broader political and cultural background of each era in which her father lived.
“At every step, there are deep historical dynamics at work that I needed to understand to understand how my father perceived each of these roles,” she said. “All of these were essential to my grappling with my father’s struggle and to grapple with the larger question in the book, which is the question about the meaning the of identity.”
From portraits to DNA, Allie Wilkinson '11 returns to debut ink and graphite exhibit 'Within'
Allie Wilkinson’s ’11 artwork, she says, is all about humanity. She discussed her exhibit “Within,” which is filled with ink and graphite pieces ranging from a portrait of her friends to a horizontal depiction of DNA yesterday afternoon in the Lamarche Gallery.
“My art really focuses around the things that we share as human,” said Wilkinson. “Whatever political views or differences we have, we all love, we all have fears, we are all insecure. It’s what unites us. I think that’s where art has the potential to be very profound.”
Wilkinson’s father is a sculptor and although she grew up surrounded by art in New York City, it wasn’t until she took a drawing course during her first year at Bowdoin that she realized she wanted to pursue art as a career.
“I’ve been making art my whole life, but it really took off here,” said Wilkinson at her talk.
Through her professors and her senior studio, Wilkinson learned lessons about perseverance and the importance of continuing to make art regardless of circumstance.
“Motivation is a lie. Motivation is not going to strike you and come out of the sky and motivate you for the rest of your life,” said Wilkinson. “That message to keep going and keep persisting was really valuable to me.”
After graduating with an interdisciplinary art history and visual arts major, Wilkinson soon became discouraged with the professional art spheres. She put art on hold and began teaching English in France. However, she eventually decided she needed an outlet for creative expression and began to draw portraits of her friends.
Wilkinson continued to draw portraits and produced a collection of nine portraits of her friends in 2016. The collection, titled “Hiding,” is on display in the Lamarche Gallery as part of “Within.” In it, she used colored ink for the first time and found that she enjoyed the medium.
Wilkinson primarily works with ink and on denril, a type of paper generally used by architects. All of the pieces showcased in exhibit are done on denril.
One of the pieces, called “Connect,” was created specifically for the Lamarche Gallery and is the first piece Wilkinson has done horizontally. “Connect” features a strand of multi-colored DNA on two layered sheets of paper.
“All of my pieces are very rooted in the figure,” said Wilkinson. “[DNA] just seemed like a great thing to explore abstractly.”
Two of the other works of art shown in the Gallery, “Fall” and “Rise,” were done in 2014 using graphite and ink on denril. The pieces are influenced by some of the work Wilkinson did at Bowdoin. During her senior year, she had a solo art show in the Visual Arts Center called “Wanting.” It featured large pieces of paper with two figures, one drawn in Sharpie and the other obscured behind it, similar to the figures explored in “Fall” and “Rise.”
Like many of her pieces, “Fall” and “Rise” capture the human experience and examine the ways in which we hide from ourselves and others.
“I made them at a point in my life where I felt like there was a disconnect between what I was showing the world and what was going on inside me,” said Wilkinson. “I think that’s something a lot of people experience and I wanted to capture that with these pieces.”
- February 10
In new book, Kolster captures legacies of once-polluted Atlantic rivers
What started as simple curiosity turned into a meaningful adventure for Associate Professor of Visual Arts Michael Kolster. His new book, “Take Me to the River,” explores four rivers’ stories of contamination, neglect and restoration.
Environmental photography and history are not new topics for Kolster. Originally from the West Coast, he has worked on projects examining natural transformations in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Around 2008, he became particularly interested in the Androscoggin River, which runs through Brunswick and would become the eventual inspiration for the book.
“At first, I felt like by studying the Androscoggin, I could get the know the place I’m living in a little bit better,” said Kolster. “The Androscoggin was one of the most polluted rivers in the United States, and now it’s a place full of life, where people are frequently spending time.”
Kolster’s fascination with the Androscoggin led him to find rivers with similar stories. His search took him all the way down the Eastern seaboard as he documented the three other rivers that are also featured in his book—the Schuylkill in Pennsylvania, the James in Virginia and the Savannah, which defines the border between South Carolina and Georgia.
“These rivers were sewers,” said Kolster. “Nowadays, they are cleaner, but perceptions are slower to change. It’s an interesting moment in their transition where they’re just starting to become noticed as valuable property.”
To capture these rivers perfectly through a camera, Kolster used ambrotypes, positive images formed on an 8-by-10 inch glass plate. The process is done completely by hand and is quite laborious—Kolster had to bring a portable darkroom to the riverside with him, where he poured chemicals on the wet plate to prepare, develop and varnish the image. But the final product, he said, is worth the extra effort.
“People say, ‘Why bother? You can make things with a phone.’ But there were these imperfections that would speak back to me as I made the pictures,” he said. “It reinforces this correlation between the unstable and dynamic qualities of subject that I was photographing and the actual images themselves. It was a wet process photographing a wet subject.”
For this project, Kolster teamed up with Bowdoin Associate Professor of History Matthew Klingle to collect oral histories from Maine residents about the Androscoggin.
After conducting dozens of informal interviews in order to understand Mainers’ relationship to their environment, Klingle wrote a series of essays for the book that were heavily influenced by these stories. Most notably, Klingle observed the generational divides between older people who thought of the river as polluted and younger people who saw its pristine beauty in the community.
Although the release of this book represents the end of a journey that started in 2011, Kolster not leave the rivers he visited. His next project will take him to Hawaii for another work focused on environmental history, but for now, Kolster can look out towards his backyard and marvel at the Androscoggin.
A panel and discussion was held last night at Kresge Auditorium in celebration of the book’s release. Panelists shared their thoughts on the making of the book and its larger significance in the community.
- February 10
R&B artist ELHAE to perform for Black History Month
R&B and hip-hop artist ELHAE will perform at Studzinski Recital Hall tomorrow night in the first collaborative show put on by the African-American Society (Af-Am) and WBOR, Bowdoin’s campus radio station.
This concert is a part of Black History Month programming.
“We’re hoping to be able to draw a lot of people from different parts of the campus to get together and try some new music out,” said WBOR’s concert director Nick Benson ’17, who co-planned the event.
The choice to hold the performance in Studzinski was both a practical and atmospheric one: it has an almost 300-person capacity and the auditorium lends itself to a more calmer, more controlled setting.
“At this point, [my music is] very melodic, chords-driven. I love dark chords and very ambiance, vibe-y tracks on top of hard hitting drums,” said ELHAE, which stands for “Every Life Has An Ending,” in a phone interview with the Orient.
“ELHAE is a slower type of music. It’s not fast paced or anything, it is a little more R&B, so I think there will be good vibes,” said Af-Am minister of public relations Lydia Godo-Solo ’17.
Although Studzinski generally hosts classical and jazz concerts, the auditorium was designed to accommodate various music styles. Depending on the performance, curtains can be deployed to absorb sound reflection and shape the response of the room.
“For instance, for something like ELHAE’s performance, which will be a little more percussive—and it’s contemporary music styling—we tend to dampen the reverberation of the room,” said Chris Watkinson, adjunct lecturer in music and recital hall technical director.
In terms of a visual aesthetic, artists perform on a bare stage with minimal light and backdrops. This contributes to the small, intimate feeling of the auditorium.
“We try to let the artist present themselves in their own right as best they can,” said Watkinson.
For ELHAE, this means performing what he knows best: songs from his first album, “Aura,” which he released as an EP in 2015.
“Nine times out of 10 that’s where a lot of people have heard me from,” said ELHAE.
He also plans to perform a few songs from his most recent album, “All Have Fallen,” which debuted last March.
ELHAE compared the process of writing songs to his childhood hobby of coloring.
“When I was a child, I used to have my coloring books and I would trace the lines first with a crayon and then once I had the lines perfect, that’s when I would go in and color in the picture,” said ELHAE.
For him, tracing the picture is equivalent to murmuring in the studio. Once he develops a melody from that murmur, he begins to write the lyrics. The lyrics are him coloring in his picture.
ELHAE grew up in Georgia and has always been interested in pursuing music—both his mother and grandmother sang in church choirs. He began writing songs when he was 12 and then started working in the studio a few years later.
“I always knew that I was going to do something with music. I didn’t know what it was going to be—either behind the scenes or in front of the camera,” said ELHAE. “I had no idea, but turns out I’m in front of the camera.”
Following a successful release of “Aura,” ELHAE plans to debut the sequel, “Aura II,” at the end of this month. Ultimately, ELHAE hopes that people will be able to relate to his music and connect with the personal situations he talks about in his songs.
“Helping people through my music is what I’m here to do,” he said. “So hopefully making that on a bigger scale, a grander scale—getting the music heard globally is the end goal.”
ELHAE will perform tomorrow in Studzinski Recital Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are free and available at the door.
- February 10
Black keys, black music: notes on cultural heritage and sound
One of my first memories of making music involved me sitting on my grandmother’s lap in front of her drawbar organ when I was about five years old. Whenever I’d visit her, I would stand in her living room, basking in the glow of the light reflected off the varnished and oiled wood panels of the majestic Hammond M3. When I was feeling bold, I would sit at the bench and play with the pearlescent switches, keys and knobs, unsure as to what I was controlling but engrossed in the fantasy that I was making music.
Eventually, the day came that my grandmommy sat down with me at the bench. The first thing she showed me was how to make a C-major scale out of the white keys. That was simple enough, and once I could do that, she went on to show me how to “make it good and bluesy.” She pointed out which black keys I could “tickle” in order to change the aesthetic character of the music to something more soulful.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this exchange represented the passing down of a diasporic cultural tradition from one generation to another. When Africans were first brought to the Americas as slaves, they brought with them a rich and nuanced musical tradition. This tradition included musical concepts and approaches to music making that hitherto had not been explored in Western music. Among these are the idea of call-and-response, the use of syncopated rhythms, an emphasis on lyrical and musical improvisation and the extensive employment of blue notes. In showing me which black keys to tickle whilst playing in C major, my grandmother was in fact teaching me how to incorporate blue notes into my music making, thereby passing down an important tradition that goes all the way back to Africa.
Throughout the history of American culture, black music has acted as the vessel in which certain facets of African culture and artistic expression have been retained. Rather than letting their cultural identity be erased by the institution of chattel slavery, the Africans who were forced to come to America preserved their cultural identity through song and dance. Eventually, these Africanisms found their way into the mainstream musical consciousness and became jazz, gospel, blues, rock and hip-hop. These Africanisms were central to the development of nearly every kind of American music genre.
For example, rock ‘n’ roll music (and all its derivative genres) is based heavily off of blues music. Blues music, in turn, is characterized by its emphasis on the use of blue notes. The blues scale (a minor pentatonic scale with the addition of a blue note in the form of a diminished fifth) is foundational to rock music, and without the blue note, it does not exist.
Similarly, Africanisms can been found at the core of contemporary innovations in music. The presence of a hype man in the background of a hip-hop track (à la Waka Flocka Flame shouting “Brick Squad” or making gun noises in the background of all of his songs) is a fairly recent development. This is a great example of call-and-response, where the claim of the artist acts a call, and the affirmation and echoing of the sentiment by the hype man acts as the response. Moreover, the now-famous and much-lauded “Migos flow” is another contemporary innovation rooted in Africanisms. The group’s style is unique in that it is based around cross-rhythm (another Africanism)—lyrics are delivered in bursts of eighth-note triplets over beats that are generally in duple meter.
My grandmother has been dead for about 10 years now, and that beautiful Hammond M3 that I had hoped to inherit was eventually repossessed by the bank. However, the impact my grandmother made on me at that keyboard was profound and has stayed with me ever since. She introduced me to a musical tradition that stretches back hundreds of years and thousands of miles.
- February 3
Sister act: Purity Pact diversifies campus comedy scene
In an effort to bring comedic dialogue around femininity and politics to campus, Callye Bolster ’19 has established Purity Pact, an all-female stand-up and sketch comedy group.
The club was chartered with the College at the end of last semester. There are already 16 members, all friends and classmates Bolster recruited. She is not planning on holding auditions to expand the group this semester.
Bolster got involved in comedy while she was living in Chicago last summer. While attending various improv and stand up shows, she noticed how male dominated the comedy world is. She wanted to start an all-female group to push against this norm.
"An all-female group is a political statement in a way," Bolster said. "It gives you license to do more edgy, controversial humor.”
Purity Pact is one of three student-run comedy groups established within the past year, following the improv group Office Hours and Bowdoin Stand-Up, which is currently the in the process of being chartered.
“We have a pretty good comedy scene on campus,” said Bolster. “But it's pretty apolitical for the most part. We should talk about things that matter to us outside of Bowdoin, so I'm excited to bring that kind of comedy to campus.”
Millie Vergara ’19, a member of Purity Pact, recognizes the importance of comedy in current politics and wants to create an environment where students are able to interact with the topic.
“I think comedy is a really important medium and it's really useful in spreading messages and ideas,” Vergara said.
"I'm excited to have a space for more political comedy on campus, because I feel like, right now, a lot of Americans get their news or at least a good portion of their news from comedy,” Bolster added.
Purity Pact is currently in the midst of writing sketches and skits, most of which focus on issues of gender and politics. Bolster is hoping to host comedy pub nights on campus beginning at the end of the month.
"There's definitely a strong theme around gender that is coming up a lot in the context of campus, but also in bigger ways,” said Bolster. “Because we are an all-female group, that definitely comes up a lot, but I do think that we'll move beyond that as time goes on."
Ultimately, Bolster hopes that creating Purity Pact will give women on campus a platform to share their stories, thoughts, and feelings in a humorous manner.
“I think that this is going to be another way … that signals to first-year women that [Bowdoin] is a place where women's voices matter and where they are listened to and where women are funny,” said Bolster. “A lot of people don't come from places where that is the case."
- February 3
Worth its weight in words
“There once was a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always.” So begins "The Phantom Tollbooth," Norton Juster’s 1961 classic, and the book I have concluded has influenced me more profoundly than any other.
The question seems deceptively simple: what is the book or other work of literature that has most influenced you? I believe everybody has at least one—even self-proclaimed non-readers—but I also think they can be hard to spot and even harder to talk about. The works we choose to read reflect our individual psyches within our social and intellectual worlds.
"The Phantom Tollbooth" is one of the most literal explorations of an individual person within his social and intellectual realms, and that is perhaps why I love it so dearly. As Milo travels through the city of Dictionopolis, through the Doldrums and towards the Sea of Knowledge, he finds the world anew through intellectual engagement, heavy sarcasm and pure whimsy. He sees the beauty of the princesses Rhyme and Reason, he comes to term with expectations and he crunches on the tasty, delicious letters in the Word Market.
We, like Milo, are surrounded by words, and those words are taking on new shapes: memes and lengthy opinion pieces flash across screens, the news is stuffed with “alternative facts” and online self-publication is an ever-growing tool for disseminating information. Being an engaged, thoughtful and critical reader is continually more and more important. What we read can shape our ideas, opinions and understanding of the world. Princess Rhyme says it best: “It’s not just learning things that’s important. It’s learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things at all that matters.”
The written word responds to its reader like a painting responds to its viewer; every reader draws her own meaning from a text or her own particular emotions from a story.
I first read "The Phantom Tollbooth" some time in elementary school. I was hard-pressed to choose it for this column over other books that have been incredibly influential in my life: Albert Camus’ "The Stranger," "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison, Anne Frank’s incomparable "The Diary of a Young Girl." The runner-up was "Communion: The Female Search for Love," by bell hooks, which transfixed me with its masterful rendering of gender politics and intersectional feminism. I have recommended that book to so many people that my personal copy has long since fallen into others’ hands.
But my infatuation with "The Phantom Tollbooth" can be summed up in one quote. That quote frames my vision for this column, which will focus on coercing other people into giving me book recommendations (including from childhood!), and then reading those books, thinking about them, (hopefully) enjoying them and writing about them.
Some recommendations I’ve gotten for this column so far include "Bossypants" by Tina Fey, "To The Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf and "Holes" by Louis Sachar. They are as different as their recommenders, and all deserving of a good read.
My favorite quote is as follows: “You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and not get wet.” That sea encompasses "Communion," "The Stranger" and so many other works of literature. My conclusion in this mixed-up world is that reading is good, and learning is good and giant clock dogs are also really good. If you haven’t read "The Phantom Tollbooth," it is wryly funny and charming and could possibly change your life—try it.
- February 3
Take me to the costume shop: an inside look at theater's wardrobe wonderland
Behind the intricate designs and bright lights of every Bowdoin production there is a little-known outlet that makes it all happen: the costume shop.
Located on Federal Street and originally operated by student theater troupe Masque and Gown, the costume shop is home to an extensive array of costumes including frock coats, tuxedos and Victorian-era clothing—which is now too fragile to wear on stage, but provides designs for the shop's handmade period costumes.
Manager Julie McMurry, who has managed the shop for the last 13 years, oversees both the management of the shop and its costume production. Oftentimes, if the requested costumes are contemporary in style, the shop will first purchase the outfits and then do specific alterations depending on the show.
If the costumes require specific detail or are based on a time period other than our own, student employees at the shop will create the costumes themselves, sometimes from original patterns.
For student employees like Axis Fuksman-Kumpa ’17, a shift at work can include drafting pieces, sewing and fitting, in addition to painting, stitch work, lacework and appliqueing.
“Getting to see [the work] as part of a production is just an incredible experience because we work for so long on these pieces,” she said.
A costume shop employee for the past three years, Fuksman-Kumpa is no stranger to the inner-workings of Bowdoin productions as she has been an outfitter of hair and makeup for almost every mainstage production during her time at Bowdoin.
Fuksman-Kumpa's time at the costume shop has brought her a great sense of satisfaction, specifically when viewing her work as an opportunity to add depth to the characters on stage and bring them to life.
“[It’s] so incredible … getting to see people wear [my costumes] and getting to see them become art,” said Fuksman-Kumpa. “Just seeing it [all] come to fruition is such an incredible and powerful experience for me.”
Fuksman-Kumpa has also utilized her experience at the costume shop to conduct her own independent study with the theater department, in which she made her own creature-themed costumes and expanded her interest in special effects makeup.
In a series of short videos chronicling fictional creatures in nature, Fuksman-Kumpa pursued an unconventional approach to costuming that she felt is underrepresented in many of the theater department's productions.
"I wanted to really try to push myself to do more creature costumes [and] more prosthetic work,” she said.
Although working at the costume shop is a lesser-known employment opportunity for students, McMurry emphasized that there is no experience necessary.
“Across the board [our student employees] seem to really enjoy working here, because it uses a different part of [their] brain, and even though it's definitely work, it’s very creative and they can talk and be social in this environment,” said McMurry. “I just love the enthusiasm that students bring when they come and work here.”
"There's always zany stuff going on. I've spent a lot of nights at the theater washing fake blood out of stuff after murder scenes, I've had to make wigs out of yarn and clothes out of curtains for certain plays. I've had to make little blood packs and prosthetic wounds," Fuksman-Kumpa added.
The costume shop will be providing costumes for Masque and Gown’s "Blown Youth," which will be hosted at Pickard Theater from February 16-18, as well as for the theater department's show "Eurydice" that will be hosted at Wish Theater from March 2-4.
Women's swim and dive shatters records at NESCACs
This weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team put forward a number of record-breaking performances as 11 teams flooded the LeRoy Greason Pool for NESCAC championships.
The meet was highlighted by a number of accomplishments, from 12 new Bowdoin records—10 swimming and two diving—to Diving Coach Kelsey Willard being named NESCAC Diving Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“Receiving that award, it’s really nice that my other peer coaches in the NESCAC recognize what goes into it,” said Willard. “But I can’t take too much credit because the work that the athletes are putting in is what gives me that award. Having three of them in the top eight—they’re contributing the most points out of any of the other divers to the team and that’s where that award comes from.”
Divers Christine Andersen ’17, Thea Kelsey ’20 and Rebecca Stern ’19 all placed in the top eight in both diving events, a main goal of Willard’s and the team’s for the season. Andersen’s dominant performances not only garnered second-place finishes in both the one-meter and three-meter dives but also set new school records in both events, breaking Victoria Tudor’s ’06 scores from 2006.
For the past few years, NESCAC Championships have been a time to set many school bests. Last year the women’s team broke 14 Bowdoin records at the meet.
“Records are made to be broken,” said Willard. “They are always aware of the records, but being able to see that they can surpass them gives them just the sense of accomplishment that is the whole point of being able to break a record. It’s not necessarily about the number more than that self-assurance that they’re capable.”
While breaking records continues a trend for the program, a particularly noteworthy record was broken this year by Marshall Lowery ’20—Ruth Reinhard’s ’93 200 backstroke time of 2:05.27 from 1993—the oldest remaining team record.
“One of my favorite parts about breaking that record was knowing that it is representative of how amazing a coach we have because it was the last record that [Head Coach Brad Burnham] had not seen set,” said Lowery. “Now that I’ve broken that record, he has coached every single record holder on the Bowdoin women’s swim team, and I think that’s pretty impressive.”
In addition, Andersen, Lowery and Sterling Dixon ’19 earned NESCAC All-Conference recognition for their top-three finishes in individual events.
Though the team has seen improvement each year, the Polar Bears remain in the middle of the league, finishing sixth at NESCACs for the second consecutive year. According to Head Coach Brad Burnham, the team’s unchanging overall finish correlates with the entire sport getting faster.
As the team looks ahead to potential NCAA qualifications, striving for big goals is one aspect of team culture that can help propel the program into the upper echelon of the conference.
“Training with people who have big goals helps you have big goals too,” said Lowery. “I am hoping that having those goals and fostering a team that has similar goals to me will help create a team where everyone is invested and people are very ambitious, and fostering a team like that would help us move up in the NESCAC rankings and have more of a national presence.”
While the swimmers will have to wait until next week to find out if they qualify for the NCAA championship, the process for diving is notably different and four of the five members of the women’s and men’s dive squads have already qualified for the regional meet that precedes Nationals, a new high for the program.
Women's basketball to open postseason on eight-game win streak
The Bowdoin women’s basketball team (20-3, 8-2 NESCAC) hopes to carry the momentum of its eight-game win streak into the first round of the NESCAC tournament this weekend. The third-seeded Polar Bears will face off against sixth-seeded Connecticut College (16-8, 4-6 NESCAC) at home in a rematch of last weekend’s game.
While Bowdoin is the favorite in the face-off as the upper seed and has averaged 74.9 points per game to Conn College’s 68.1, Conn has won eight of its 12 away games this season and will be looking for revenge after losing to Bowdoin 68-49 last weekend.
In the Polar Bears’ dominant performance last Saturday, Lauren Petit ’18 played particularly well, scoring nine points in addition to having two rebounds and two steals.
“I thought [Petit] had a really solid weekend,” Head Coach Adrienne Shibles said. “She’s really stepping up for us as a leader and someone we can count on.”
Despite the win, however, Shibles believes that the team didn’t perform its best due to the emotions surrounding the senior weekend game. She believes the team has room to improve on Saturday.
“We have five phenomenal senior leaders so whenever you have a strong group like that there is a sort of propensity towards everyone wanting to do their best for the seniors,” said Shibles. “There were times when our offense didn’t flow just quite the way it normally does.”
The team seeks to constantly improve and not remain complacent. The Camels’ leading scorer Mairead Hynes ’18 did not play last weekend yet will return in time for the first playoff game and the Polar Bears will restrategize to counter the center’s big presence.
“Now we begin a whole new chapter in our season,” Shibles said. “We can’t just rest on our laurels on what we did before. The importance of this week is staying focused on what we can do to improve.”
This year is the eighth time in the past nine seasons the team reached 20 wins under Shibles, a clear mark of her contributions to the team’s work ethic and chemistry.
“We look for selflessness and hard work,” Shibles said. “We look for overall character in our recruits we bring to Bowdoin, so that’s the first step—getting the right people. And from there we are pretty intentional about what we do. We talk a lot about our team values, try to emphasize them during practice and we do a lot of team bonding exercises. Those things are really responsible for our team chemistry.”
The players echo the same sentiment and stress the importance of supporting each other.
“We always have each other’s backs on and off the court and I think that’s what really unites us. When we are on the court, we can go through anything together,” captain Marle Curle ’17 said. “Moving forward, that becomes even more important as the season gets longer and the games get more important, it is important to have one another’s best interests at heart.”
The team began the season with a record of 8-0 before losing a nail-biting 46-43 game against Tufts (23-1, 9-1 NESCAC) in January. The game was not only the closest matchup the Polar Bears have had all season, but was the smallest margin the Jumbos—No. 3 in the nation—have won by this year.
According to Curle, it was strong senior leadership that pushed the team to get back on their feet and keep moving forward after the loss. Shibles agrees that the seniors’ presence on the team has been indispensable.
“I think the only reason we are here is the five seniors we have on the team,” Shibles said. “They have just exemplified the values of our program and contributed to the larger Bowdoin community in amazing ways.”
Besides strong team chemistry and leadership, the team, at 16 players, has the numbers to outlast its opponents.
“That’s a huge strength because the depth allows us to run on teams the whole game, to pressure teams the whole game,” said captain Rachel Norton ’17. “Most teams don’t play as many players as we do so at the point in the game when they get tired we have another layer of players to throw at them.”
While the team’s strong performance this season bodes well for this weekend, the players enter the playoffs taking it one game at a time.
“At this point nothing is guaranteed,” said Norton. “You have the game in front of you and you have to win to move on, so we are definitely not looking past Connecticut College coming here Saturday. Especially as a senior, this is my last go around and I’m super excited and don’t want this to end. I just want to keep playing as long as possible.”
Women's hockey seeks home-ice advantage
The Bowdoin women’s ice hockey team (12-7-3, 7-5-2 NESCAC) beat Connecticut College (13-7-2, 9-5-0 NESCAC) 2-1 in a close league matchup on Saturday, handing the Camels their 5th loss of the regular season and causing them to drop from first to third place in the league. The Polar Bears are preparing to face Trinity (8-12-2, 7-6-1 NESCAC) today and Saturday in its last two regular season games.
Although the team had already beaten Conn this season during the Frozen Fenway matchup in January, captain Madeline Hall ’17 said that against such a competitive opponent, the players had to put the win out of their minds and focus on the game at hand.
“We really wanted to separate our last win against them at Fenway and our game on Saturday,” she said. “We had to make sure that we knew that Conn would be a very different team than the one that we faced at Fenway. I don’t think we saw Conn’s best game there. They were very much out for revenge [this weekend].”
The two teams were tied at the end of the second period, but Bowdoin took advantage of a five-on-three power play to pull ahead of Conn and win the game in the final minutes.
“We gave ourselves the lead with three [minutes] to go and then did an incredible job of staying composed, keeping the puck down their end and trying to limit their opportunity to take our goalie out,” Head Coach Marissa O’Neil said. “We tried to have a really good style of play, patience and discipline. We struggled with that the previous weekend against Hamilton and a week later, I guess everyone figured it out.”
According to O’Neil, the main factor in the team’s success this season and ability to perform well in key matchups is the team culture.
“We’ve won, we’ve lost, we’ve tied, but we’ve done it as a team, and that’s all you can hope for,” she said. “If you have that foundation you can rely on no matter what, it’s easier to bounce back as a team than a group of individuals. In a game, period-to-period or weekend-to-weekend, they are able to be resilient because they know they have the support of their teammates.”
Looking ahead to Trinity, Hall believes that the team cannot afford to underestimate the Bantams because of their sixth-place standing.
“Trinity has been one of the teams that have been on the bottom of the pack this season,” she said. “They had a tough first semester playing Middlebury and Amherst back to back but they’ve definitely come back up the rankings as the weeks go on. So we definitely can’t take them lightly, but at the same time, we know we can beat them twice if we’re playing our game.”
Last week, Trinity’s goalie Sydney Belinskas ’18 was named NESCAC co-player of the week. However, O’Neil believes that the team can take measures against her in order to win.
“One, being deceptive in your shot taking, put pucks on nets and get rebounds,” she said. “You may not score on the first shots, but the second and third chance opportunities are the ones we need to capitalize on. Two, puck possession in their zone. If you don’t have the puck in their zone, then it is tough to score goals.”
Although Bowdoin has clinched a NESCAC quarterfinal berth, the games against Trinity will determine its final standing.
“Right now, we’re sitting tied in fourth, but we could end up as high as 2nd and as low as 7th,” O’Neil said. “You can’t go out there afraid to fail. We’re not worried about how low we could drop, but instead we’re thinking ‘Alright, we’re in fourth right now, but we could go to second.’”
If the team maintains or improves upon its fourth-place ranking this weekend, its quarterfinal game will be at home.
“Our players already know, just given the parity in the league, how tight it is. It’s not just going to come down to the last weekend, but the last game to determine [whether we play at Watson],” O’Neil said. “We can win games on the road, we can lose games at home, but it would be nice to earn the right to host a game.”
Hall agrees that the prospects of hosting add pressure to the team’s last two games. However, the players are using the higher stakes as a source of motivation.
“We want to win every weekend obviously, but this just has more on the line,” she said. “Having one more home game, especially for the seniors, would be amazing so that definitely just adds more emotion to it.”
The women’s hockey team will travel to Trinity for its final series today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 4 p.m.
Men's swimming and diving hopes for individual bests at NESCAC championships
This weekend, NESCAC championships will draw all 11 men’s swimming and diving teams in the conference to Wesleyan for what is sure to be a highly competitive, three-day meet.
“In general we are prepared to see people on all these teams to drop incredible times and swim lights out,” said captain Tim Long ’17 said.
As the first meet in tapered, championship season, a number of team members are looking for big performances in individual events and hopefully NCAA qualifications.
Karl Sarier ’19, already named a NESCAC Performer of the Week for his two individual first places in the meets against MIT and WPI in November, is the defending NESCAC champion and top seed for the 200 yard freestyle. Diver Mitchell Ryan ’19 is seeded 2nd for both the three and one meter dives, and Stephen Pastoriza ’19, Michael Netto ’18, Drew Macdonald ’20 and Daniel Williams ’19 are also poised for impressive swims and potentially qualifications this weekend after strong performances this season.
However, the team will have to perform at its full potential this weekend as the meet is sure to draw a very competitive field of athletes.
“All 11 NESCAC teams will be in one place in one weekend in peak shape and well-rested, so it will be a good apples-to-apples comparison of the swimmers,” said Head Coach Brad Burnham. “The pool is crowded with a lot of guys who want to go fast so they will definitely be some impressive performances.”
The team has a 3-3 record, which is identical to the team’s record last year going into the conference championships where they placed 6th.
“I don’t think we are going to move up or down in the team rankings too much, swimming is a little too predictable that way,” said Burnham. “But I think the guys have trained better. They seem to be at a better place and have a much greater understanding of how they want to approach their races. I think they worked harder this year.”
Typically, the NESCAC championship meet is much faster than regular season meets. According to Burnham, the swimmers are usually about two seconds faster per 100 yards. Such an improvement is partially due to the swimmers being well-rested, but also due the to electric atmosphere of the meet.
“Two-hundred and fifty guys on deck all screaming their heads off plus another 500 or so fans in the stands gets quite loud,” said captain Michael Given ’17. “It really does make a difference.”
The men’s team is also riding the extra motivation of witnessing the women’s NESCAC championships, which were hosted at Bowdoin last weekend.
“We got to volunteer a little bit but also just go and be on deck for [the women’s] meet,” said Long. “It gave everyone, especially the first years who have never experienced the NESCACs before, a kind of primer for this weekend. It just got everyone pumped up.”
The Polar Bears will take to the pool at 10 a.m. today for the first preliminary session of the three-day meet.
MLS expansion may spell death for promotion/relegation dreams
Major League Soccer (MLS) is just a few short weeks away from kicking off its 22nd season. It will start the season, fittingly, with the additions of its 21st and 22nd clubs: Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC. Despite teams continually adopting European football naming conventions (looking at you, Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC), the league and its commissioner Don Garber have repeatedly stated that they will not adopt one great bastion of the European leagues that the MLS emulates aspires to be—promotion and relegation.
Promotion/relegation (known as pro/rel) is the standard operating model in European football. In the Premier League, the bottom three teams each season fall through the relegation trapdoor into the second division—the Championship—with three teams climbing the ladder from the lower tier to take their place. The cycle continues down to lower leagues, creating a constant churn of clubs through the leagues.
Even the mention of instituting this system in MLS raises blood pressures in U.S. soccer circles. Supporters of pro/rel, like the owners of clubs in the United Soccer League (USL) and the North American Soccer League (NASL), the two lower leagues in the U.S., see the system as a gateway to the top tier and the prestige and increased revenues that come along with it. Similarly, the fans gravitate toward the excitement that comes along with a promotion push or fight to avoid relegation—a full 88 percent of U.S. soccer fans surveyed by Deloitte last year said that pro/rel would increase quality of play across the board.
In that vein, supporters argue that the system incentivizes pouring both time and money into increasing the standard of play and investing in player development, and adds excitement to otherwise meaningless late season MLS matches between league bottom feeders. In his exhaustive “U.S. Promotion/Relegation Manifesto” in Howler Magazine, former MLS and NASL executive Peter Wilt writes that the risk of relegation “would ensure pressure on [cellar-dwelling MLS] teams to improve and win, even if the prospects of winning a championship that year are bad.” That pressure would catalyze fan interest and create exciting narrative, much as it does in England and across Europe.
There’s also a certain romance to a provincial lower league side investing wisely in the club and capturing lightning in a bottle to climb the ranks. Who will forget Leicester City’s promotion climb, then furious fight to stave off relegation in 2015, only to win the title in 2016? Or even Sunderland’s annual great escape to avoid the drop?
But MLS owners and United States Soccer Federation (USSF) executives don’t deal in romance. For them, the economics of pro/rel are not worth it for a team that has already attained MLS—and thus top division—status. USSF president Sunil Gulati has argued that it fundamentally changes the rules of the system MLS owners bought into, saying that “if you make an investment today and the next day the government—in this case, us—changes the rules completely and changes the value of your investment? That’s going to lead to some serious problems.”
To be sure, it makes little economic sense for an MLS investor like Robert Kraft or Stan Kroenke, or even David Beckham with his nascent Miami project, to risk losing most of their investment value overnight. In 2016, Forbes valued MLS teams at an average of $185 million; most NASL and USL teams are worth less than $10 million. That gap would close somewhat in an open system, but the difference is still massive.
Further complicating and, in my mind, ending the debate at least temporarily is the oncoming expansion. Last week, MLS fielded bids from 12 cities—Cincinnati, Charlotte and St. Louis, to name a few—for four expansion teams by 2020, to bring the league to 28 teams. Spots 23 and 24 are reserved for the Los Angeles Football Club and the future Miami team. The expansion fee is expected to be a whopping $150 million.
Expansion should put the pro/rel debate to rest at least temporarily for two major reasons. First, even with the exorbitant MLS-set expansion fee, there are 12 ownership groups in place willing to buy into the league, which signals excess demand for MLS franchises. MLS and these investors are not going to upset the status quo in the short term. With an expansion, part of what these ownership groups are investing in is exclusivity. If there is an avenue other than expansion, like promotion, into MLS, the fee the league commands for that exclusive right vastly diminishes along with the value of the franchise.
The other stumbling block is the sheer size of the league. With 28 teams on the horizon and both USL and NASL occupying an odd parallel second-division status thanks to the recent USL jump from third-tier status, it’s a logistical headache to institute a pro/rel system with that many clubs and interests at the table, at least in the short term.
While many fans (myself included) would appreciate the competition and increased incentives to invest in on-field performance and player development that promotion and relegation would bring to the U.S. soccer landscape, with MLS expansion looming and pent-up demand to join the league, pro/rel remains a distant pipe dream.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 2/10-2/16
Paige Pfannenstiel ’17 was named to the second-ever class of Rugby All-Americans by the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) after an outstanding season as a flanker for the Polar Bears. The class of 31 comes from the 14 colleges that competed in the inaugural 2016 NCAA League season. This year, NIRA additionally named 12 honorable mentions, which included captain Cristina Lima ’17, who played prop and No. 8 for Bowdoin this fall.
On the fast track.
Indoor track and field traveled to Boston University last weekend for the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, where the women’s distance medley relay team of Meghan Bellerose ’17, Caroline Corban ’17, Demi Feder ’17 and Sara Ory ’19 placed fifth overall. The season-best performance has them currently ranked fifth nationally in Division III. Brian Greenberg ’18 is also in the top five nationally in the triple jump after his standout performance at the Maine State Meet. While it is still early in the season, the high rankings bode well for NCAA Division III qualifications.
Men’s squash heads into the College Squash Association (CSA) national team championships this weekend at MIT with a record of 4-14 after a 6-3 loss to Colby last Friday. The Polar Bears will compete in the Conroy Cup—the D-division of the tournament—as they are ranked 27th nationally and are joined in the bracket by fellow NESCAC competitors Conn College, Hamilton, Tufts and Wesleyan. The team will open play against No. 30 Stanford at 2:30 p.m. today.
Fight to the finish.
Men’s ice hockey (8-14-0, 5-11-0 NESCAC) will face conference opponents Tufts (10-9-3, 8-7-1 NESCAC) and Conn College (4-15-2, 2-12-2 NESCAC) as it looks to turn around a three-game losing streak to close out the regular season. The weekend carries the added pressure of determining conference playoff berths since Tufts, Bowdoin and Conn College are currently seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the league and the top eight teams qualify for the postseason. The Polar Bears will face the Jumbos at 7 p.m. today and the Camels at 3 p.m. tomorrow in Watson Arena.
- February 10
Record numbers at girls in sports day
On Sunday, a record number of more than 300 girls from midcoast Maine flooded Farley Field House for the College’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day program. The theme of the day, as Assistant Coach of Women’s Soccer Ellery Gould ’12 said, was empowerment.
The girls rotated through 11 different stations run by Bowdoin student athletes. Many tried sports such as sailing, field hockey, track and field, soccer, rowing, rugby, ultimate frisbee, basketball, tennis, lacrosse and softball for the first time.
The athletic department has organized the program for the past 15 years to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day and to bring Bowdoin student-athletes and community members together through sport. According to Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan, community interest has continued to grow every year.
The surge in interest in the event is likely related to an increase in advertising and outreach through local schools and social media, an effort Gould identified as one of the main goals for this year’s program.
The early session brought over 200 girls in kindergarten through third grade and the afternoon brought an additional hundred girls from fourth to twelfth grade, in addition to the many Bowdoin athletes and coaches that helped organize and run the stations.
“I was only anticipating maybe 200 girls [in total] so I think the fact that it’s grown so much is great,” said Gould. “And the more that we can grow it and get more girls involved, the better.”
The day provides girls in the surrounding community an opportunity to both try new sports and learn more about familiar sports in an enthusiastic and engaging setting, while also gaining positive role models. This year’s turnout bodes well for the development of the program.
“In order for this event to be successful you need all teams to participate and to participate with full enthusiasm about their sport,” said Mettler Growney ’17. “That happened and that’s why we were so successful and have been so successful. It really starts with us and we have the ability to get younger girls in the area interested.”
The tone for the day was set early on, with the girls bringing eagerness and excitement to each station.
“The energy was really high and I think that came from the girls just being really excited,” said Gould. “And then our students did a great job being engaged and showing their passion for their sport and their knowledge for their sport, so they fed off the energy of the little girls.”
“It was pretty organic. We weren’t super rigid and it just flowed really well. On the day, we had 200-plus girls running in, so much energy, they’re bouncing off the walls and then we just brought them all together and from there it ran itself because of the students and how well they were able to work with the little ones,” she added.
Growney noted the importance of sparking interest in girls when they’re young—especially as similar experiences led her to play both field hockey and lacrosse at Bowdoin. However, according to Growney, the young girls aren’t the only ones benefiting from the day.
“It’s such a great opportunity to give back to the sport and younger girls in the community,” said Growney. “It feels good to give that back and to get more girls excited and to kind of pass the torch down. It’s a really rewarding experience to see these girls all excited about a brand new sport and having learned from other girls and women in the community.”
Gould found it gratifying to grow interest in female athletes and to see girls of all ages feel empowered to try new things.
“At the end of the day, I just felt really accomplished,” said Gould. “[The girls’] confidence stepping right into this new sport, grabbing a frisbee for the first time or running into a rugby pad and jumping with a rugby ball—to see these young girls come in with so much energy and confidence was really rewarding and exciting for the future of women’s athletics.”
- February 10
Women's basketball enters senior weekend on six-game win streak
On Tuesday, the women’s basketball team extended its win streak to six games and improved its overall record to 18-3 with a 96-65 win over Husson (17-3). The dominant performance by the Polar Bears set a new Bowdoin record with 15 three-pointers in a single game. The team is currently ranked 3rd in the NESCAC and 20th in the nation.
There have been many stand-out performances by the Polar Bears over the course of their win streak. This week, Maddie Hasson ’20 was named Freshman of the Week by the Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association after shooting 10 out of 10 from the floor for 22 points last Friday at Hamilton (10-10, 3-5 NESCAC). Taylor Choate ’19 has led the team in scoring in its last two games, racking up 12 points in each.
Much of the team’s success comes from its fast tempo and fierce press, which is only possible because of its impressive depth and team chemistry.
“It’s incredible because we’re so deep and so we have a lot of fresh legs so we get to push the ball in transition a lot, which is a huge strength of ours,” captain Marle Curle ’17 said. “Our team chemistry and our ability to connect with each other off the court has definitely led to much of our success this year.”
Whenever someone makes a big stop on defense or sinks a deep shot, the Polar Bear sideline erupts with celebration. Building this camaraderie is very important to Head Coach Adrienne Shibles and greatly influences her recruiting policies.
“I think we try to identify student athletes in the recruiting process who are really selfless, and passionate about the game and being a great teammate,” Shibles said. “The people that we brought in have formed this special bond and combined with the strong leadership of those that have been in the program for four years. It’s something that’s really truly unique in college sports today.”
Heading into senior weekend, the team will host fellow NESCAC competitors Wesleyan (7-13, 1-7 NESCAC) and Connecticut College (16-6, 4-4 NESCAC). The team hopes to continue to improve its rebounding and defense in order to secure two victories this weekend.
“We want to put our best foot forward this weekend since these are two great teams,” said Shibles. “They are also two big teams so rebounding is going to be a major focus. Keeping them off the glass will definitely be necessary for success.”
Two in-conference wins would set the Polar Bears up well for the NESCAC championship, where they hope to qualify for the NCAA Division III championships for the fourth straight year. As undefeated Amherst leads both the league and the nation, followed closely by Tufts (21-1, 8-1 NESCAC), the NESCAC tournament will undoubtedly be hard-fought.
With such stiff competition, the team has found continued success by honing in on its own strengths.
“I just think moving forward and in postseason play, it’s important to play for your team and to not pay attention to who the other jersey is,” Curle said. “If we just play our game, I’m sure we’ll do great.”
The team will first face Wesleyan at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by Conn College on Saturday at 3 p.m.
- February 10
Men's track takes silver at Maine State Meet
At the Maine State Meet last Saturday, the Bowdoin men’s track team was unable to defend its title despite outstanding individual performances, falling to Bates by nine points.
“Being close doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Sometimes it hurts more,” said Assistant Coach Damon Hall ’09. “There were a few events that could have gone our way. Track is where hundredths of a second and inches really make a huge difference, and we have to do what we really need to do to make sure we have those next time around. We look forward to seeing [those teams] again.”
“Last year we won, this year we got second,” said Brian Greenberg ’18. “And that’s especially brutal because every individual person on the team feels like they could have made the difference.”
While the meet’s result was disappointing, the team put together a number of standout performances on the weekend. A strong showing from Greenberg earned him the Peter Goodrich Award for Outstanding Field Athlete for the second year after winning the triple jump and placing second in the long jump.
“[Greenberg] had a great performance,” said Hall. “A personal best in the triple jump, a really outstanding performance—he was really fired up, and he definitely deserved that award. He gets everybody involved; the entire team gets behind him and supports him. The jumps are usually one of the first things that start the meet, so he can be a good catalyst for others performing later in the day.”
In addition to Greenberg, the team’s 4x400-meter relay won its race and John Pietro ’18 won the shot put and placed second in the weight throw.
“There were a few things that we did really well,” said Hall. “I was pretty happy with the performance of our throwers—we outscored the competition overall in the throws, and we were happy to see that. The hurdles were another great event for us, so those were the two areas where we particularly excelled.”
Although the team did well, the meet highlighted areas that still need improvement, and the team hopes to better capitalize on future meets.
“The state meet was an opportunity that we might have let get away, and we don’t want to repeat that in the future,” said Hall. “So, I think that we’re going to maximize or do more to fully reach our potential this outdoor season and the coming season as well.”
This weekend, the team will travel to Boston University for the David Hemery Invitational as they gear up for championship season.
“We just need to work to make sure that we’re prepared,” said Hall. “We need to bring along the younger guys. The top athletes need to show their talent when it most matters in these big meets, so track is kind of a sport where you build to the season and peak at the right time. We just have to make sure that everybody who is trying to peak is there and ready to go.”
- February 10
Women's swimming and diving opens postseason with NESCAC championships at home
The women’s NESCAC swimming and diving championship splashes into the Leroy Greason Pool this weekend, and the Polar Bear women look to build upon a strong season and break personal records at home.
“I’m really excited for the team to come together and really bring extra energy and excitement at home,” said captain Erin Houlihan ’17.
The team, which won three of its four NESCAC dual meets this season, is anchored by captains Houlihan and Isabel Schwartz ’17. The team also features Mariah Rawding ’18, Sterling Dixon ’19 and Sophia Walker ’17, who all qualified for NCAA Championships within the past two years.
Earlier this season, Dixon was named a NESCAC Performer of the Week for her three first-place finishes in the meet against MIT and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. While her season has featured current best times of 25.46 seconds in 50-yard freestyle and 1:53.33 in 200-yard freestyle, Dixon is still looking to improve this weekend.
“[Dixon] had very strong season in a number of races,” said Head Coach Brad Burnham. “For her, she still wants to drop a quite of bit of time.”
Looking at its results over the course of the season, this year’s team is very similar to last year’s, which placed sixth at NESCACs. However, the makeup of the squad has shifted with more middle and long distance and stroke swimmers.
“We try really hard to treat it as a team, like this is the 2016-17 team,” Burnham said. “Expectations are always there to really see how much you can improve and race every race you can but not compare too much to what we have done in the past.”
Even though the team graduated five swimmers last year, the Polar Bears continue to find success through strong performances by first-year swimmers.
“We gained many important first years who are integral to the team,” Houlihan said. “A lot of people stepped up and took leadership roles and really have been working hard in practice every day.”
Two of the team’s top swimmers, Dixon and Walker, have been dealing with injuries throughout the season but hope they will be ready to go this weekend.
“We have a few nagging injuries, but [our swimmers] have done a fantastic job of working around it,” Burnham said. “We are not going to lower our expectations because of that.”
Two weeks ago, the team started tapering in preparation for the upcoming championship, meaning they are gradually swimming less and resting more. On Wednesday, the team plans to bring in Dr. Tiff Jones, a sport and psychology consultant hired by the College, in order to boost team chemistry and mentally prepare before the meet.
The three-day, trials and finals meet is taxing physically and mentally, and the team is honing in on getting the most out of this weekend.
“We teach them to figure out what gets them ready to race, give every race 100 percent effort and try to recover as quickly from each one as you can and spend the rest of the time supporting teammates,” Burnham said.