“15 Villainous Fools,” Maggie Seymour ’16 and Olivia Atwood’s ’17 two-woman clowning adaptation of Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors,” was recently picked up by the People’s Improv Theater (PIT) in New York City. The show will be performed at an Off-Off-Broadway venue for two months this summer starting in July.
The 75-minute performance tells the story of two sets of identical twins and their adventures following a boat crash. There are 15 characters in the play, with Atwood and Seymour acting as half each.
"It's just a whole Shakespeare classic dilemma,” said Atwood. “It's a comedy so by the end everything gets sorted out and everybody gets married.”
Seymour’s became interested in Shakespeare during her sophomore year at Bowdoin after taking an acting class with Sally Wood, who made Shakespeare’s voice accessible and understandable. Then, when Seymour was studying abroad in London fall of her junior year, she had the opportunity to see a production of “The Comedy of Errors” at the Globe Theatre.
“It was amazing. The control of the language, the accessibility of the show and the sheer joy that everyone was having was something I was very passionate about and wanted to explore,” said Seymour.
Through “15 Villainous Fools,” Seymour is able to find an intersection between her love of Shakespeare and clowning, a term used to describe physical theater that is rooted in actors finding their inner child or inner joy.
During an improv class Atwood and Seymour were in together, Seymour enlisted the help of Atwood for her honors project, which ultimately became “15 Villainous Fools.” It was first performed at Bowdoin on November 20, 2015 and then put on twice more as part of Seymour’s honors project. The duo further reworked the play and put on one more show for Admitted Students Weekend last April.
"We were revamping the show for the summer tour,” said Atwood. “Having another show at Bowdoin was another really good test run.”
Then, last summer—with the help of Axis Fuksman-Kumpa ’17 as a technician—Atwood and Seymour took “15 Villainous Fools” on tour, participating in fringe festivals. Fringe festivals are week to month-long theater festivals held in various venues across the country.
“It's a place where people mount their shows,” said Atwood. “Most people do one fringe festival per summer. We decided to do five.”
Atwood received a Micoleau Family Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts from Bowdoin, which helped fund the tour, and both Atwood and Seymour contributed their own money to finance travel expenses. Over the summer, the duo performed “15 Villainous Fools” first in Portland, Maine before continuing on to San Diego, Washington D.C., Rhode Island and New York City.
"The hardest one [to get into] by far is FringeNYC. The application is impossible. You have to submit a cover letter, resume, a video or trailer of your shows, reviews if you have them,” said Atwood. “It's a super selective process. We ended up getting up waitlisted and then we got in. That is the reason this play was discovered.”
Atwood and Seymour performed five shows during FringeNYC over the course of a week, four of which were sold out.
"We got stellar reviews and having a nearly sold-out run is pretty impressive with 200-plus shows at the festival” said Atwood.
The success of the “15 Villainous Fools” at the festival caught the attention of the PIT and in December, after Atwood met with the artistic director, the PIT picked up the play. It is slated to begin the first week of July.
Unlike last summer, Atwood and Seymour will stay in New York City all summer to perform their show at the PIT, allowing them more stability and the benefits of having a homebase venue. The duo will be performing 13 shows as of now.
“We’ll be moving in New York in June to start rehearsing in the space, meeting people, starting to market more in the area, building up toward opening night and trying to sell out all the houses if possible,” said Atwood.
Currently, Atwood and Seymour are working on revamping their image, working on graphics, marketing and creating a more professional-looking website. In the summer, the duo will start to focus more on the logistics of the show and figuring out lights, costumes and more.
“Baseline [the show is] the same feel, but I think in a lot of ways it's going to be different just because we won’t be travelling,” said Seymour. “I think we're putting in a lot of work reimagining it but also cleaning it.”
Looking ahead, neither Atwood nor Seymour is sure what will happen with “15 Villainous Fools,” but the prospect of the show being optioned to go off-Broadway is exciting.
While Atwood was attending the National Theater Institute the summer after her first year at Bowdoin, she received a piece of advice from a speaker and often thinks back to what he told her.
“He said that if there isn’t a space for me in theater, I can make a space for myself,” said Atwood.
"I think the ultimate goal is to keep doing theater because that's what we both love to do,” she added. “And we're going to do whatever we can to keep making that happen.”
Editor’s Note: Olivia Atwood ’17 is an associate editor of the Orient but was not involved in the production or editing of this article.
Professors confront politics in the classroom
In response to polarizing actions by the Trump administration, certain professors who teach courses related to American politics are implementing rules of engagement and providing students with relevant historical context in order to confront such charged issues in the classroom.
Associate Professor of Government Jeffrey Selinger, who teaches classes in American government, has accepted discussions about current political events as inevitable in his courses. As such, he has developed several rules to help guide discussion.
“One rule of engagement is that there must be a generous and fully legitimated and comfortable space for politically conservative students of various descriptions, whether they call themselves libertarians, whether they call themselves more social or religious conservatives, or something else,” Selinger said. “When they are in the numerical minority, my standard operating procedure is [that] I will, in argument, side with the minority.”
In an Orient survey prior to November’s election, 6.6 percent of student respondents identified themselves as Trump supporters.
In an effort to avoid alienating students whose political beliefs align with the president’s, Selinger tries to focus discussions critical of the president on Trump himself, not on his supporters.
“We have a clearer sense of what we’re talking about when we talk about Trump [himself] because he’s one person,” Selinger said. “We don’t have a very clear idea of Trump supporters because it’s a diverse lot of people. It’s 46, 47 percent of the voting public.”
Selinger also acknowledged that students’ emotions matter because politics can be deeply personal.
“It could be very constructive if feelings were treated as fodder for analysis,” he said. “It may happen to be therapeutic but that’s not the purpose. The purpose is to get some kind of mutual understanding. It’s a public purpose.”
Selinger stressed that professors should not avoid difficult subjects out of fear of being political.
“Faculty would do the College community a terrible disservice if we used apolitical, ‘balanced,’ or euphemistic language to sugarcoat a reality that we all should find deeply troubling,” Selinger said.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Government and Environmental Studies Divya Gupta spoke of a similar need to present the facts in her course, Earth Justice: Global Climate Change and Social Inequality.
“Telling [students] the science behind [climate change] and the history and the policies that have been building up to address this issue—I do not hold back on sharing those realities,” said Gupta. “At the same time, I have to make sure that I frame the message in a way that I do not come off as somebody who is being partial or biased.”
Assistant Professor of Government Maron Sorenson agreed on the importance of discussing current political events, but expressed the desire to do so in the context of her specific curriculum. In her constitutional law class, she presented students with Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and had students use the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause case law to determine the order’s constitutionality. In Sorenson’s judicial politics class, students take turns preparing 15-minute presentations on a current event, usually in relation to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
“My obligation is to provide the students a framework to critically engage with current events,” said Sorenson. “I won’t turn my class into a discussion of currents events or supplant what would be the baseline learning for a discussion of current events, because absent the academic structure—the reason they signed up for the class—they are not engaging with current events in any way that is different than they would have had they not been exposed to this material.”
Sorenson believes that objectively linking the curriculum to political events can work to eliminate partisanship in the classroom.
“The very easy way to avoid being partisan is to follow the tack of ‘here’s the scholarship, let’s apply the scholarship,’” she said. “Framing current events and forcing students to place them in decision-making models is, in and of itself, a generally non-partisan way of approaching [issues].”
John F. and Dorothy H. Hagee Associate Professor of Government Laura Henry also prioritizes addressing recent politics through the framework of her curriculum. She strives to strike the balance between students’ eagerness to discuss current events and her role as a professor to provide the historical, political, economic and cultural contexts that her courses intend to teach.
“The challenge that any professor has is to provide the necessary context and analytical frameworks that help us ask the best questions and not get distracted by the absolute onslaught of information that comes out of Twitter and Facebook and the 24-hour news cycle,” Henry said.
This semester, Henry is teaching two classes, Post-Communist Russian Politics and Society and Social Protest and Political Change. In both classes, she uses current events—such as Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March and representations of Russian politics in the news—to “help [students] guide how we can ask good questions and how we can compare to the past.”
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell asserted that professors are not required to respond to the current political situation in their teaching.
“From a professional standpoint, as of today—and I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so the answer could change—the current American political situation does not mandate American historians, or any academic, to respond, or to respond in a specific way,” he wrote in an email to the Orient.
However, much like his colleagues, Purnell feels he may be able to provide historical context to help students understand the present. To this end, he has developed a new course, U.S. History, 1877-1945: The Making of a Superpower, which will debut in the 2018-19 academic year.
“I wanted to teach courses focused specifically on the nation’s history that, in part, answered the question, [of] what social, cultural, political and economic history brought us to our current national situations and conditions,” Purnell wrote.
While students generally found political conversations in class to be beneficial, many noted that a class discussion can cross a line and leave some students feeling excluded. Jacob Russell ’17 said that in one of his classes last semester, there was at least one contentious moment regarding current political events.
“Though generally discussion has been very good and open, in one class it was clear a professor and a majority of students were on the same page,” said Russell. “I think there were a couple of students who were more likely to be Trump supporters and felt like they didn’t have a space to share their opinions.”
Emma Newbery ’19 spoke highly of the atmosphere that Associate Professor of Religion Elizabeth Pritchard has set in her Marxism and Religion class.
“Professor Pritchard has struck a really good balance between supporting students, contextualizing the curriculum in the current American political climate and feeling free to talk about the readings and get an escape from everything that’s happening,” Newbery said.
Man barred from campus after Cleaveland Street incident
On Saturday night, the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) issued a criminal trespass warning barring Robert Emmons, a Brunswick resident, from College property. The warning was issued in response to an encounter between Emmons and several Bowdoin students that occurred outside 17 Cleaveland Street, a student off-campus house, shortly before midnight on Saturday.
BPD also issued a disorderly conduct warning to the occupants of 17 Cleaveland in response to a separate noise complaint early Sunday morning.
According to student witnesses, Emmons used derogatory language towards women and pushed a Bowdoin senior male to the ground. The student was not injured.
A Bowdoin shuttle driver who was at the scene called the Office of Safety and Security, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. Then, Security placed a 911 call to BPD to report a fight in progress, according to BPD Commander of Support Services Mark Waltz.
While BPD officers were en route, they were told that Emmons had left the scene. The officers then encountered him at 85 Federal Street.
According to Nichols, Emmons admitted in an interview with BPD officers to shoving a student when he was directed to leave the party that was taking place.
Waltz is not aware of similar recent incidents in which fights have occurred when non-students are asked to leave parties.
Michael Walsh ’19 had been at the party at 17 Cleaveland for about 20 minutes when the encounter occurred.
“I was a little uncomfortable,” said Walsh. “He just was being very verbally abusive to these women.”
According to Walsh, Emmons asked several Bowdoin women where they lived and followed up by asking where they were from. When Emmons was told to leave the scene, he obliged.
“He didn’t touch anyone else, but when he left, he started punching cars,” said Walsh. “I thought it was going to escalate because he was making threats to come back.”
Walsh said the male student who Emmons pushed did not initiate the physical contact.
“Apparently he’s a really nice guy, so I don’t think he was looking for a fight in any sense of the way,” said Walsh.
Sadie LoGerfo-Olsen ’19 was also at the 17 Cleaveland party. However, she entered the scene as the events was unfolding, only seeing the male Bowdoin senior on the ground and not the build up to the physical encounter.
LoGerfo-Olsen took a video recording of Emmons’ interaction with Bowdoin students, which she emailed to Security when they arrived at the scene. The recording helped the officers identify Emmons.
“I feel like that’s the thing to do now. Like, if you see [potentially harmful] interactions, you should film it,” said LoGerfo-Olsen.
Nichols confirmed that what he had seen on LoGerfo-Olsen’s tape was consistent with the statements he had received about the incident.
LoGerfo-Olsen was rattled by the type of words exchanged during the interaction and Emmons’ parting words.
“I would say that the scariest part of the interaction was a) the language he used—very aggressive. And then b) one of the girls [said], ‘Oh, it’s fine. It’s over. He’s gone. It’s fine.’ And then you can hear him say, ‘Yeah, but I’ll be back.’ And I [thought], ‘Oh. That doesn’t seem good,’” said LoGerfo-Olsen.
Security asked BPD to issue a criminal trespass warning to Emmons, barring him from all campus property for a one-year period, although the incident on Saturday night actually occurred off campus, on public property.
Nichols also released a security alert to the Bowdoin community because of the physical nature of the encounter.
“When we issue a trespass warning for the campus, we’re not alleging that the person was on campus property. In this case, he wasn’t. It’s more of a preventative measure,” said Nichols. “We have a situation here where not only inappropriate language was alleged to have been used with a number of our students, but there was actually some physical contact which constitutes an assault, and that’s completely unacceptable and this person has lost his privileges.”
As of press time, charges have not been filed for assault and the student who was pushed is not likely to press charges, according to Nichols. If the College still does not want Emmons on its property after a year has passed, Security has the opportunity to extend the trespass warning.
“[Bowdoin Security] has done that a number of times with people whom we’ve had real, serious concern about,” said Nichols. “But, generally speaking, as long as there are no problems over the course of the year, we let them expire.”
In the midst of discussion about the encounter between Emmons and Bowdoin students, Security learned that BPD had received a noise complaint about the 17 Cleaveland Street property. Once the officers had dealt with Emmons, BPD issued a disorderly conduct warning because of the noise complaint.
“They were related, but I think when the person called, all they were concerned with was the noise and they didn’t realize what was really happening,” said Nichols. “There were no charges filed and the students were really good at keeping the noise down for the rest of the night.”
On Thursday afternoon, Nichols met with Emmons.
“Emmons was cooperative and apologized for his conduct. I reemphasized with him the constraints of the criminal trespass warning and he fully understands,” wrote Nichols in an email to the Orient.
Rose, panelists contemplate significance of common good at the College
A panel on Wednesday evening contemplated the meaning of the common good at Bowdoin, and the existence of the philosophy as a means to easy self-gratification versus a legitimate way to give back.
The panel, held at Howell House, included President Clayton Rose, Director of the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good Sarah Seames, McKeen Fellow Marina Affo ’17, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Bob Ives and Assistant Professor of Education Alison Miller.
“I think it’s important [to have conversations like this] because Bowdoin definitely uses the common good as a way to advertise the school to the world,” said Kay Torrey ’19, a McKeen fellow who helped organize the panel.
Torrey said that, despite her work at the McKeen Center, she and other McKeen fellows felt that they did not have a clear understanding of what the common good is.
Seames described the common good as a two-part conceptual framework of discussing the common good and then putting it into action. Rose said he found the common good to be more of a journey rather than a specific set of actions and emphasized the importance of sincere work.
“If we don’t engage in the work that we do with respect to the common good with a pure heart, is it really for the common good?” he said.
Ives defined the common good through the lens of religion and spirituality. He hypothesized that Joseph McKeen brought the idea of the common good to the College from religious texts.
The panelists were asked to respond to a wide variety of queries and comments, including how they would respond to “someone who tells you that Bowdoin uses the common good as a means of easy self-gratification rather than to selflessly give back.”
“I am really interested in thinking about—instead of students being selfless about what they do—thinking about their work in terms of reciprocity,” said Seames.
She added that thinking about reciprocity also means students must contemplate their own privilege.
“If you think you’re being altruistic … you’re still thinking of yourself as having something that someone else doesn’t,” she said.
The moderators also asked panelists where they see the common good at Bowdoin.
Miller said that she sees the common good in what Bowdoin students choose to do outside of the College.
“When I see our teachers who are out in communities … choosing to go and teach in underserved communities and really take a difficult path beyond Bowdoin,” she said.
Oratile Monkhei ’20, who attended the panel, questioned how the common good manifests at Bowdoin outside of the McKeen Center.
“Beyond just saying we have, for example, the McKeen Center, and that’s the area for the common good, how does that same conviction of integrity play out in other departments?” she said.
Students said they found the discussion interesting but wished more students had attended.
“The panel was very transparent in their feelings and sentiments,” said Monkhei. “I just wish or desire that more people had come to hear it … [I] started questioning as to who self-selects to come to such talks.”
Despite having a small crowd, those who did attend said the panel was informative and engaging.
“I thought that it was an incredibly interesting and incredibly relevant topic,” said Sara Caplan ’20.
News in brief: Deaths from drug overdose in Maine hit all-time record
Three hundred seventy-eight deaths due to drug overdose were confirmed in the state of Maine in 2016, an all-time high and a 39 percent increase from 2015, which previously held the record, according to a release by the state Attorney General’s Office on February 2.
Opioid drugs were responsible for the majority of deaths. One hundred twenty-three deaths were attributed to heroin or morphine and 195 were attributed to non-pharmaceutical fentanyl, according to data from the University of Maine-Orono. While heroin deaths only increased by 15 percent since 2015, fentanyl deaths increased by 127 percent in 2016. Fentanyl is a schedule-II prescription drug that is between 50 and 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Last Thursday, the Maine State Legislature voted unanimously to create a task force to address the opioid crisis. The panel is expected to come up with recommendations for the legislature by April 30.
Harriet Fisher ’17 spent last summer mapping arrests in Maine as part of the Gibbons Summer Research Program. She found that many arrests across the state were due to possession, trafficking or consumption of opioids.
“[The opioid epidemic] is so omnipresent in Maine,” Fisher said. “I realized it cut across so many different demographics in Maine. You can see in the maps that it is really is all over the state, but … it isn’t something you see a lot at Bowdoin.”
News in brief: No construction on bridge over Androscoggin until 2019
The Frank J. Wood Bridge—the green bridge over the Androscoggin River that connects Brunswick and Topsham—will not undergo construction until at least 2019. The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be investigating several alternative project options first to ensure compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, the Times Record reported last Friday.
An inspection on the bridge last summer found “rapid deterioration of structural steel,” and the bridge was downgraded from “fair” to “poor” condition in August. The bridge currently has a 25-ton limit, which means heavy commercial trucks are barred from driving on it.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is still looking into the effects of different project options on the surrounding historic properties. In a draft report released on February 2, the FHWA outlined five options for the bridge—two that called for its rehabilitation and three that suggested constructing a new bridge. The options will be evaluated based on several factors, including environmental impact, ease of construction, impact on traffic and cost.
Additionally, the FHWA will be considering the impact of the bridge project on historic properties, even though the report found the bridge itself does not qualify as a historic landmark, as some community members had suggested in the past.
“The Frank J. Wood Bridge … does not represent emerging technology, nor is its construction associated with a significant event or person,” the report said.
However, several properties on both sides of the river are eligible for the National Historic Register, which means that the FHWA must consider the impact of the bridge project on these surroundings.
The FHWA is accepting public comments on the report until March 6.
Students working to form group for women in finance, investing
Citing a lack of opportunities for students to learn about finance at Bowdoin, a group of female students are working to start a chapter of Smart Woman Securities (SWS), a national organization committed to providing an undergraduate community with resources for women interested in investing and personal finance. Currently, SWS has chapters at large research institutions and women’s colleges; the Bowdoin chapter would be an atypical choice for the organization.
Bowdoin SWS is in the soft launch process this semester and if successful, will be officially chartered next fall.
The chartering initiative is spearheaded by a founding team of four students across class years: Jiaqi Duan ’17, Leaf Ma ’18, Carina Sun ’19 and Ruilin Yang ’20. The students wanted to teach women at Bowdoin about finance, and according to their Facebook page, provide them with the, “[s]kills necessary to make investment decisions through global market education, exposure to industry professionals, and real-world financial experience.”
Duan wanted to bring SWS to Bowdoin after her involvement with the organization during her junior year away at Harvard University. She is familiar with being in the female minority in economics classes and finance internships—one of her economics classes at Bowdoin had three women in a group of 30 students. She found Harvard’s branch of SWS to be useful and empowering.
“I realized how much I had benefited from SWS when I was at Harvard—I just thought it would be an amazing opportunity to bring here to Bowdoin,” Duan said.
Sun explained that because learning about the basics of finance is difficult at Bowdoin, she wanted to start the organization to teach other women these important skills.
“You probably just want to deal with personal finance, manage your money, invest in stocks. There is no path for you to get involved in finance if you are not an economics major,” said Sun.
Around 100 people signed up for the group’s mailing list and about 20 came to its initial information session. However, there has been some concern about the group’s presence on campus.
The Bowdoin College Finance Society, which states that its primary purpose is to help students launch careers in finance, is largely male-dominated. This led to concern that starting a female finance group would further divide men and women interested in finance on campus. However, Sun disagreed, noting that nothing stops students from participating in both groups.
“There isn’t a lot of overlap, especially in terms of the events or the frequency of meetings,” Sun explained.
She added that the groups have different goals. While the finance society is more career-oriented, Sun said that female empowerment is a crucial focus of the SWS mission.
The organization must become nationally chartered before it can formally charter with the College. The process of chartering with the national organization has been complex and takes a year to complete. In December, the students submitted a 10-page interest application. After passing that round, they submitted a 30-page document in January explaining their plans for the soft launch process this semester.
During the soft launch process, the founding team is provided with funds and holds weekly conference calls with the SWS national organization. During this process they are required to put on three events and provide the national organization with weekly updates.
The three events planned for the semester are an investment-themed “Jeopardy” night, a panel discussion on personal finance and an asset allocation simulation workshop.
At the end of the semester, the group will submit its final chapter prospectus—a reflection and evaluation of its work over the semester. If the charter is approved, SWS will start with a 10-week seminar series in the fall.
The seminar series will be based on materials provided by the national organization. The founding team hopes to bring speakers, preferably professionals in the finance field, to lead the discussions. It hopes that the lectures will be both enjoyable and instructive, and has high hopes for the organization’s future success at Bowdoin.
“We want it to be something that is of a really high standard, that people know is going to be somewhat of a time commitment, but if they put in the time, they are going to get so much out of it,” Duan said. “They are going to know that when they put it on their resume, this is going to be something that has a lot of recognition, and it does.”
Amaez visits BSG, discusses campus inclusivity, merge of centers
During its Wednesday night meeting, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) welcomed Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amaez to discuss how BSG can facilitate conversations and promote a positive climate with respect to difference on campus.
“Your obligation is to the process, not to anyone … not to neutrality … it’s holding a process that allows for everyone’s voices to be heard,” said Amaez. “And that’s going to be more important in this context than ever before.”
Vice President for Student Government Affairs Reed Fernandez ’17 asked Amaez for her advice on BSG’s role in promoting a diverse and inclusive environment on campus, especially in lieu of the presidential election and recent hate-related incidents across the country.
Multiple BSG members brought up the recently announced merger between the Women’s Resource Center and the Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Although Amaez is not scheduled to begin supervising the reconceptualized Center for Gender and Sexuality until July of this year, members raised questions regarding why the merger happened, what Amaez’s new role will look like and other impacts of combining the centers.
“We’re not looking to replace [specific offices] and only do something that’s intersectional … That’s not by any means the way we’re planning on approaching it,” said Amaez. “The idea was that those spaces need to be collaborative and at the table together, because sometimes they’re stepping on each other’s toes in ways that are counterproductive.”
Amaez added that hearing stories from students who identified with more than one student center was another reason for the merger.
“People have been saying we program and talk about issues in way that pulls people’s’ identities apart … in a way that does not feel authentic,” said Amaez.
BSG members responded positively to Amaez’s visit, saying that they had a better understanding of their role in promoting inclusivity on campus and were more encouraged to collaborate with Amaez.
“I think BSG is very important for these kinds of issues on campus … I’m glad she came,” Fernandez said in an interview with the Orient. “I think it was a productive discussion.”
In addition to inclusivity on campus and the merger, BSG members also discussed planning for Ivies, an upcoming student government event with other NESCAC schools, a “Human Library” event and new developments concerning tampon dispensers and picnic tables.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.”
- February 17
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.
Editorial: Fulfill our responsibility
What is the common good to you? This a question that is asked of Bowdoin students to the point of exhaustion, at panels like the one on Wednesday night and in every-day dining hall conversations. But the question persists for good reason. Bowdoin is an institution that is dedicated to educating students who serve the public good; it has a responsibility to help students understand how this can be done.
We feel that Bowdoin is inadequately fulfilling this responsibility. At Bowdoin today, there are very few ways that we engage with the common good outside of the McKeen Center for the Common Good. As a result students lack a conception of how they can truly serve the common good in ways other than direct community service.
The McKeen Center does an incredible job organizing community-based work that both has real and positive impacts on communities and educates students about their roles and ability to serve the common good. The McKeen Center recognizes that common good means more than just community service and there are a number of programs they put on that demonstrate this broadened understanding, from alternative break trips to What Matters discussions to the Leading for the Common Good program.
However, we believe it is critical to translate that understanding to the larger campus community.
The McKeen Center organizes a Community-Engaged Courses program incorporating a community-learning component into classes each semester. This program provides a vital opportunity to teach students different ways in which community engagement can lead to the common good, beyond merely community service. They provoke reflection of personal responsibility and address intersectional issues through working directly with local groups or municipal governments.
For example, in the past, students in earth and oceanographic science classes have applied their in-class learning to studying nearby Maine environments, and environmental studies courses have collaborated with non-governmental organizations to make maps using geographical information systems (GIS).
This semester, there are eight such courses, but half of them are in the education department. This program should be expanded to include more courses and more departments.
However, our dedication to the common good should surpass our academic careers and the local Maine community. Fulfilling our responsibility to the common good means keeping it as a priority in our lives even as we leave Bowdoin. This means factoring it into our career choices, what we choose to do with our income, how we spend our free time and our day-to-day decisions as citizens. If the College serves the common good, it has a responsibility to follow through with the ideals it promotes and help students transition from a common good defined at Bowdoin to one that is applicable to the greater world.
Learning about our individual roles and responsibilities within the greater communities we inhabit is critical to discovering how we as students can have an impact beyond Bowdoin. This means moving the message beyond the walls of the McKeen Center and into classrooms, dining halls and dorms—and then into our workplaces, homes and families.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Julian Andrews, Harry DiPrinzio, Jenny Ibsen, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.
Adele’s victory reveals racial biases in the entertainment award system
The talk of the country last week was Beyoncé’s Album of the Year snub at this year’s Grammy Awards. The impact of Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade” was one of many shining moments of 2016, but Grammy voters thought “25” by British pop star Adele was more relevant, despite the glaring truth that “Lemonade” had far greater significance. In “Lemonade,” Beyoncé proved her versatility as a genre-hopping vocalist—jumping from reggae to rock to R&B to country. Secondly, it can only be fully appreciated as a visual album. After all, it was more than just a collection of songs; it was the art, the visuals, the dance and the powerful messages of heartbreak, loss, forgiveness and self-love. For me, “Lemonade” was the album of 2016 because it had an unmistakably black female narrative that empowered generations of black women across the world. Many of the lyrics in the album became popular slang (cue the “boy, bye” line, the iconic “Becky with the good hair” lyric and the huge surge of memes about taking your man to Red Lobster). Fun fact: Red Lobster’s sales spiked to 33 percent after Beyoncé’s song “Formation” came out with her “Red Lobster” lyric. This album’s significance in popular culture alone surpassed that of all the other nominees in the Album of the Year award category.
The “problem” with “Lemonade”, at least for some white audiences, was that it was the most political, unapologetic, pro-black project Beyoncé has ever released. She pushed aside European sacred images in favor of African pantheon like the Yoruba water goddess Oshun. In “Hold Up,” she wielded a baseball bat with such swagger while wearing a yellow Roberto Cavalli dress, channeling Oshun, who is often portrayed in yellow. She dared to present cameos of black mothers holding pictures of their dead sons, lost to racially motivated violence. She even featured a twerking Serena Williams, an emblem of black strength, excellence and body positivity. These bold presentations of black womanhood were not meant to appeal to white tastes.
In hindsight, I should not have been surprised that Beyoncé lost Album of the Year. Only two years ago, I was arguing with my friends when the Album of the Year went to “Morning Phase” by alternative rock artist Beck, over Beyoncé’s iconic eponymous album “BEYONCÉ.” While Grammy voting panels do not base their votes on album sales, Beck’s album was the lowest-selling album of the nominees that year and the lowest-selling winner of this award category since 2008. Many of the people watching that year’s Grammys show did not seem to know who Beck even was; #WhoIsBeck was trending on Twitter.
To many black Americans, Beyoncé’s latest snub follows the trend that black art cannot be fully embraced if it does not pander to white audiences. Frank Ocean, who recently boycotted the Grammy Awards, wrote an open letter to the show’s producers on his Tumblr, saying that the show has “cultural bias and general nerve damage.” Even Adele said, in her acceptance speech, that she was undeserving of the Album of the Year award because the “artist of [her] life is Beyonce.” While I appreciate Adele’s symbolic gesture—breaking her award in half to share with Beyoncé—this does not make up for the countless times that black artists have been robbed of awards and overall recognition for their artistry. The Grammys’ issues with race bring to mind the 2015 hashtag #OscarsSoWhite that caught people’s attention for two years in a row. Still, the problem is bigger than the Grammys, the Oscars and all the other entertainment award organizations in America. We live in a society in which mostly old, white men determine what is quality art, so maybe these award voting panels will have to diversify before black art finally gets its long-overdue appreciation.
While Beyoncé deserved the Album of the Year in my eyes, her real victory was in producing a magnum opus that was intended for—and inspired by—black people. In the process of recovering from utter disappointment, I relearned a valuable lesson from Beyoncé: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Osa Omoregie is a member of the Class of 2018.
Zero chill: Combining resource centers ignores two unique histories
Last week, The Bowdoin Orient published a letter from the student staffs of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) protesting the merge of these two institutions into the Center for Gender and Sexuality. I am entirely in agreement with this viewpoint, but I wanted to add an additional justification in arguing against the merge. The decision to create the Center for Gender and Sexuality is profoundly ignorant of the historical legacy of the experiences of both women and queer students at Bowdoin. Doing so serves to put the issues that women and queer students face and have faced at Bowdoin into the same pot, when the reality is that both of these groups have experienced discrimination in distinct and meaningful ways.
Women were literally excluded from attending Bowdoin until 1969; the College became fully co-ed in 1972. Emily Weyrauch’s recent series on the “Women of ’75” has captured the difficulty of the transition to co-education at Bowdoin: a history that includes inflammatory comments and acts rejecting co-education. The creation of the WRC is directly tied to this history of sexism. In a study of women at Bowdoin conducted by Gender and Women’s Studies 280 in Fall 2011, the students address how the WRC became a place for both inclusion and academic learning. Linda Nelson ’83, one of the founders of both the WRC and the Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance, explained during this study that “Somebody tried to burn it [the WRC] down at one point … we did receive threatening phone calls kind of on a regular basis. Some of us were followed around campus.”
The WRC is a monument to the success of co-education at Bowdoin, but also a continuing reminder of the lack of inclusion women originally faced and continue to face. While today issues of exclusion may not be from the college itself, they can still exist in specific academic departments and social spaces on campus. Taking away the WRC as its own independent entity disregards this history of all women’s struggles at Bowdoin. The removal of the word “women” from the new center is an extra insult to the legacy of women who fought for greater inclusion at Bowdoin and who continue to face such issues on campus today.
Marginalization of queer identities has occurred differently from sexism at Bowdoin, particularly in the erasure of these identities from the College and in its history. In 2012, The Orient published an investigation called “Queer at Bowdoin.” This article details numerous examples of ways that both the Bowdoin administration and community acted to remove evidence of queer identities at Bowdoin. In “the 1950s…a student was expelled for ‘lascivious carriage,’ an anachronistic legal term referring to queer sexual behavior. In the 1970s, faculty members who were not seen cavorting with members of the opposite sex were suspect. And Bowdoin kept mum about the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.” Alfred Kinsey of the Class of 1916, originator of the Kinsey scale, has not received the public recognition that some other of our influential alums have received. Queer identities have historically been quieted at the College, an issue that should not be forgotten or assumed to have been solved today.
The 2012 Orient article further details hate crimes against queer individuals that occurred in the past few years—a concern that is still relevant. A June 2016 New York Times article’s headline reads, “L.G.B.T. People Are More Likely to Be Targets of Hate Crimes Than Any Other Minority Group”—a finding by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the Times notes as true even before this year’s shooting at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida. It is important to continue the legacy of a center that is specifically designed to help deal with this contemporary reality, in a way that the WRC may not be able to.
Further, combining the centers is ahistorical when looking at approaches to issues of both groups. Both women and queer individuals have historically participated in ways that contributed to the oppression of one another, such as a history of heteronormativity among feminist groups or a history of misogyny among queer men. Both groups also can and have historically been productive allies to each other—and understanding of both women’s issues and queer issues should strive to be as intersectional as possible. But the conflation of the two groups comes at the erasure of these historical differences and precludes an understanding that work needs to be done to make both centers as intersectional as possible. Even if conflation is not the professed goal of the administration, combining the two centers essentially has the same symbolic meaning and should not happen.
Out loud: Navigating selfhood amidst compulsory heterosexuality
For me, that phrase defines more than just who I love. It impacts who I hang out with and who I trust. It determines the kinds of spaces I inhabit and how I inhabit them. It affects all of my relationships with others, regardless of how out and open I am with them. It’s who I am. But for the longest time, I refused to use that label.
For most of my life, I never thought about my sexuality. In middle school, I actually took pride in the fact that I wasn’t interested in boys and at times even considered myself superior to all the boy-crazy girls I knew. But I think I always assumed, at least on a subconscious level, that it was something I would grow out of as I emotionally matured. Of course, I never did. It wasn’t until midway through my high school career that I first realized I might be attracted to girls. This realization marked the beginning of a years-long journey that I still haven’t completely finished. Coming to terms with the fact that I like girls wasn’t the whole picture; I also had to figure out something else. Did I actually like boys too?
After that first spark, I was reluctant to identify as anything other than straight. I was “heteroflexible,” I was “open-minded,” I was “straight with one or two exceptions.” From there, as I started to understand that this newfound attraction was not limited to just a few specific individuals, I toyed with many different labels. I knew I liked girls, and as my social circles and knowledge of the world broadened I began to include nonbinary people too, but what I didn’t know was whether I liked boys.
By writing this, I am in no way intending to discount individuals who do identify as bisexual or pansexual or to imply that they are “confused” or “lying to themselves.” Every person has their own experience, and many people truly are attracted to multiple or all genders. This article is only meant to reflect my own story, and my own personal struggle to come to terms with the fact that it’s OK for me to be more exclusively gay.
But why was this realization so hard to come by? The answer lies in the way I was raised, the society I live in, the cultural messages I have absorbed my entire life and, ultimately, in a phenomenon called compulsory heterosexuality. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it essentially means that our society enforces straightness as the norm and pushes this on people as the only natural form of existence. One effect of this for me was that I convinced myself that I was attracted to boys because I assumed it had to be true and that there was no other way to be.
I remember choosing boys seemingly at random to have crushes on and convincing myself and others that my attraction to them was real. I remember insisting that I would find a boy I liked someday, that I just wasn’t ready yet or that none of the boys I knew were good enough. I remember seeing boys and wondering if they were attracted to me and deciding that if they were, then I would like them back. Finally, though, I started to realize that it didn’t have to be that way. I didn’t have to like boys back just because they liked me, I didn’t have to wait until I met a good enough guy to prove that I wasn’t attracted to him (or any man) and I didn’t have to pretend to be in love with people I didn’t know just to be normal. It was liberating.
Heteronormativity isn’t created on its own, however. It requires people to participate and uphold it, whether knowingly or unconsciously. For queer women and woman-aligned nonbinary people, some of the biggest obstacles to overcoming this heteronormativity are those put in place by straight women. I don’t believe that all straight women are homophobic or that they are even fully aware of their actions, but the point still remains that they are unknowingly complicit in the enforcement of compulsory heterosexuality. From the flicker of false hope I feel whenever a straight woman refers to a friend or acquaintance as her “girlfriend” to the media’s labeling of potentially (or even confirmed) queer women as “gal pals” or “close friends,” rather than romantically involved, these types of attitudes are everywhere.
Dismantling the systems of heteronormativity is no simple task, but each and every one of you reading this can take small steps towards helping the queer people in your lives. Be aware of your hypocrisy when you encourage straight women to be intimate with their friends and yet, at the same time, voice your discomfort with queer women simply existing near you. Be aware of the language you use and how your words may resonate with others. Be aware of the implications of your actions. Be aware, be prepared to listen and be ready to learn and to do your own research sometimes. Remember that this is only the first step, but don’t let that deter you from taking it.
Embrace debate on campus
We have a problem here at Bowdoin. We are ostensibly preparing ourselves to lead the fight for the common good, to charge head on at the engines of oppression, injustice and inequity and fight without cease until they have been razed to the ground. But in our hurry, I believe we have failed to consider the best means to wage our war. Our fearless floral leader has pointed out a flaw, but he meets resistance. He calls for fearlessness, and I think he’s exactly right.
When was the last time you had a discussion of abortion rights at Bowdoin? I mean a real discussion, in which people actually disagreed. It’s terribly good fun to say, “Abortion should always be free and easy, right?” and hear your friend say, “RIGHT? Oh my god the Republicans! It’s disgraceful!” But this is not a discussion. Think back to the last time you sat down and really thought to yourself, “When do I really believe that a fetus has become a person?” or “What sorts of rights does the father of a fetus have over its fate?” or “Are people on the other side of this question thinking about it in the same terms that I am?” When was the last time you engaged with somebody else who disagrees with your answers to those questions? I haven’t done that at Bowdoin and I don’t believe I’m alone.
These are questions that need answers, and they are still up for debate as far as the rest of the country is concerned. The views that prevail at Bowdoin are not the only ones. Professor of History Patrick Rael brought up an invaluable point that must not be ignored, but these are not questions about whether the Holocaust happened or why there are still monkeys if I “evolved” from one. (Checkmate, atheists). There are dozens of live, unsettled questions being debated by our society. Hate speech, gun control, the nature of religious rights or gay rights or trans rights, police violence, national security, privacy, trade deals, financial regulation, the Electoral College, who should be president—all these questions are not settled yet. They seem settled at Bowdoin, and that should be cause for worry if you believe (as I do) that there are right answers to these questions and that these answers matter.
A fighter trains in many ways. She runs, she lifts, she practices her form, she watches “Rocky.” She punches a punching bag. Most importantly, she spars with a real, live human opponent. This is essential, because a punching bag will just hang there and let you hit it. A human will block your blows, dance around the ring and strike back at you. At Bowdoin, we are woefully short of intellectual sparring partners. This will stop us from being the best fighters we can be.
To give an example: there are people on this campus who voted for Trump. The ones I’ve met didn’t do it because they hate everyone who’s not white and straight and born in this country. I have fundamental disagreements with them and with the president. Nobody is served by creating an atmosphere in which they’d rather just shut up. If we are to affect positive change in places where there aren’t OneCards, we will have to convince people. Better by far to start to practice that skill here and now than there and then. We will have to understand arguments we disagree with, consider our opinions as subject to change and believe the same in other people.
Educating people is a very hard thing to do. I hope no one reads this piece and thinks that I don’t respect the work put in by all the people that make our Bowdoin experience possible. I believe the above outlines a flaw, but I would be remiss not to acknowledge that our education is one of the best anyone has ever received. This is not an easy problem to solve, and I contribute to it myself. I believe that acknowledging it is an important first step. For God to win a just trial, the devil needs to be provided a good lawyer.
James Boucher is a member of the Class of 2019.
Holding Fast: Debunking misconceptions about conservative values
In this column two weeks ago, I tried to write about my understanding of the relationship between conservatism and the mission of the College. At the risk of harping too much on the subject, I want to expand a bit on that column and be a bit more specific about what I mean by “conservatism.” There are a lot of misconceptions and unfair caricatures surrounding the term, no thanks to our current commander-in-chief, and I thought it would be helpful to clarify for the sake of improving dialogue between the left and right.
At the outset, I should note that conservatism is not a single political ideology. According to British political theorist Michael Oakeshott, it is a disposition which inclines people to prefer “certain kinds of conduct and certain conditions of human circumstances to others.” The vagueness of this definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation in particular cases, but there are some defining characteristics of the conservative disposition that remain more or less the same.
Conservative thinker Russell Kirk drew some of these traits from the intellectual tradition he carefully traced from Irish statesman Edmund Burke to T.S. Eliot in his seminal book “The Conservative Mind.” These include adherence to custom, belief in the principle of prudence and the preference of voluntary community over forced association. At its heart, the conservatism Kirk describes is not inherently political but is a way of seeing the world that intimately informs the way we live and act within it. This has definite political implications, but these are always secondary to conservatism’s primary concern for ordered and peaceful life.
When these general traits are applied to more specific political programs, it should not be a surprise to see some variety and disagreement. In fact, this is one of the great strengths of conservatism. There is room for those who put an emphasis on liberty and classify themselves as libertarians, as well as “crunchy cons” like “American Conservative” blogger Rod Dreher who place more value upon the communal and traditional side of conservatism. Because there are no thought police to enforce uniformity among its ranks, conservatism has always thrived on vibrant debates over its foundational principles.
Of course, if you think I am painting too rosy a picture of conservative unity, then you are correct. It would be a stretch to say that all conservatives are equally devoted to the principle of prudence in politics, for example. But my point is not to justify what every conservative believes or says as a legitimate expression of conservative principles. Rather, I wish to give a slightly more personal take on conservatism and why I think it is so important to recognize the virtues of that self-identification.
For me, the most important aspect of conservatism is its tendency to approach politics with caution and not to endow it with the characteristics of a life or death struggle. There is a temptation in modern politics to engage in a “politics of the eschaton” where every battle will lead either to salvation or Armageddon. In contrast, the conservative recognizes that politics is a necessary but secondary realm of human activity. It is not important as an end in itself, as if political action could save souls or usher in the Kingdom of God. Rather, it is necessary as a means to living a peaceful collective life, where every individual is left with a sphere of freedom in which he or she can live out a moral and meaningful life.
This is an especially important outlook to have in today’s political climate. It allows us to focus not on the grand political schemes but to turn the light on our own souls to determine whether we are using our freedom in an appropriate manner. As the recently departed scholar Michael Novak noted, there are two kinds of liberty: “one precritical, emotive, whimsical, proper to children; the other critical, sober, deliberate, responsible, proper to adults.” If the former type of liberty dominates among a population, no amount of state control can maintain order. But if the latter does, then order can be maintained with a limited amount of state action and the individual can be truly free to pursue the good life for him or herself.
So as a conservative, I am far more interested in cultivating the virtues in my own life that are conducive to sustaining a free society and in assisting my neighbor in doing the same. I have no grand vision for society that I would like to impose on everyone else. Contrary to popular perception, being a conservative does not mean wanting to bring society back to some “golden age” where everything was supposedly better. I know that history is always far more complicated than the narratives we build to explain it, so I don’t have any illusions about the dangers of naïve nostalgia. But if reclaiming the virtues necessary to sustaining our republic means going back in time to determine how we can be better citizens, I am all for using the wisdom of past ages as our guide.
With these brief thoughts on my own political inclinations, hopefully I have at least done a little to reclaim some intellectual respectability for conservatism. Given the current political climate, I think that’s a necessary first step to improving political dialogue on campus.
Africanxious: Boys don't cry: society must address the issues arising from toxic masculinity
Much of the literature surrounding gender emphasizes the ways in which women are often disadvantaged by varying forms of masculinity. In these contexts, we focus on how women should deal with pernicious displays of manhood—how they can fight against it—but we do not tackle toxic displays of masculinity at their core. Instead we expect women to cater to these fragile masculinities.
It is far less common for us to worry about men and the very narrow box of masculinity that confines them. We don’t pay much attention to masculinity exclusively, reasonably so, given its privilege and power. We do not police masculinity. Conversely, society fixates on regulating the construct of femininity. This blatant indifference for the status of manhood has lent itself to toxic masculinity, a variation that exaggerates the conventional notions of manhood. At the hands of toxic masculinity, we all lose. Some of us, however, lose more.
To clarify, “masculinity” in this context refers not to inherent male traits but to the social construction of manhood. When we talk about the harmful effects of toxic masculinity, we are not criticizing men, but rather calling attention to the unfair standards imposed upon them. Some of the characteristics of toxic masculinity, to name a few, include: the suppression of emotions, aggression and misogyny.
Toxic masculinity has colored my experience as a man with social anxiety: I have often been made to feel ashamed of my meekness (often equated to unmanliness) and I have often been told to be more aggressive (this word is often used interchangeably with masculine). In that vein, I have been reminded that boys don’t cry one too many times (the rare moments in which I do cry, I often find myself feeling guilty). I have regularly been excluded from conversations among other young men, particularly in high school when the substance of these conversations regarded sex. I usually had little interest in talking about my sex life (or lack thereof). Talking about sex, particularly heterosexual sex, can often be a communal experience among young males. The issue that arises within these conversations is the tendency to dehumanize the women involved. Of course, these men are often merely sharing details of their sexcapades as grounds to warrant their masculinity; however, these conversations plant seeds of misogyny (a symptom of toxic masculinity).
I was often ostracized by male peers who had no interest in tainting their burgeoning masculinity with anything considered “unmanly.” The endless pursuit of young men to be more masculine coupled with the blatant indifference to this phenomenon is troubling.
Our culture does a disservice to men when it expects them to adhere to these notions of toxic masculinity—while ignoring the harm it inflicts on all genders. The way in which our culture has normalized negative male behavior is disconcerting.
Although we commonly discuss definitions of femininity, we are still relatively ignorant about masculinity in its various forms. When we do recognize the potential harms of toxic masculinity, we don’t take the necessary steps to address it.
Like many, I am still trying to unlearn the corrosive notions of masculinity that I internalized while growing up. However, the lack of societal discourse regarding positive notions of masculinity is appalling. Without positive displays and much-needed conversation on the subject of toxic masculinity and the way in which it affects men, this cycle goes undisturbed.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.
Learning for learning's sake: auditors take classes for enrichment
Bowdoin courses are not always limited to Bowdoin students. According to the Office of the Registrar, between 50 and 70 auditors register each semester. With professor approval, auditing is free for community members; professors also determine the extent to which auditors participate in class discussion.
There is a wide variety of auditors who learn at Bowdoin, including community members, retired professors, alumni, high school students, Bowdoin students and current professors.
“When I found out they had courses you could audit when I moved up here, I started right off the bat,” said Joe Andrew, a 90-year-old Harpswell resident. Andrew, who is currently auditing Introduction to Opera with A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music Mary K. Hunter, has relished the opportunity to continue his lifelong passion for learning.
Auditing is one of many things Andrew does to maintain his youthful energy, in addition to painting, sailing, writing poetry and learning to play instruments. He came to Bowdoin over four consecutive summers between 1959 and 1962 through a government program, earning a master’s degree in math. Though he was a math teacher for decades, his Bowdoin courses have covered a vast range of topics: Italian language, poetry, linear algebra, government, philosophy, music and Shakespeare.
“I am one of the fortunate 90-year-old people who still have their heads around, who enjoy living … and when I think of what’s happened in my 90 years, it astounds me to think what might happen in the next 90. Which gives me a goal … I want to live long enough to see what’ll happen.”
Over her 23 years at Bowdoin, Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch has had a particularly wide range of auditors, many of whom have become regulars.
“You’re here for long enough and you teach something like film, people pass through your door,” she said.
Her auditors have included a chef, a barbershop singer, an art historian and many former professors and teachers. Welsch appreciates the challenge that their presence brings.
“You think, ‘Oh, they’re watching my pedagogy. I better be on it,” she said.
Sometimes, Bowdoin professors audit each other’s courses, taking the opportunity to gain a new academic lens. Professor of Philosophy Matthew Stuart, who is currently on sabbatical, is auditing Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences and Chair of the Biology Department Nat Wheelwright’s Ornithology course. When he is not poring over the writings of Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid for his sabattical research, Stuart is skinning and stuffing birds, identifying species and memorizing their Latin names.
“It’s quite different from the very abstract, dense, technical stuff that I work on. It’s abstract and dense and technical in its own way, but it’s a different part of my brain,” Stuart said.
Last semester, Wheelwright audited Associate Professor of Art James J. Mullen’s Drawing I course. In picking up the pencil and putting down the scalpel, he gained a new passion.
“I’ve got art under my skin now,” he said. “It changed my life.”
When Welsch audited an Italian class, she was reminded of how challenging being a student can be.
“You learn that you can be a really crappy student in the same ways that irritate you about your [own] students,” she said. “It’s funny to see how easy it is to lose your thread, to forget the homework, all of that.”
Bowdoin students tend to audit because they want to explore an academic interest or continue learning from a specific professor, but cannot take on the extra load of a fifth course. Maddie Wolfert ’17 is auditing her first course this semester, Science, Magic, and Religion, with Professor of History Dallas Denery.
“It’s especially relevant to me because a lot of material that’s being covered in the course pertains directly to the honors project that I’m working on,” Wolfert said.
Denery is ending the course with a unit on Margaret Cavendish—the subject of Wolfert’s honors project—and has encouraged Wolfert to share her expertise.
Wolfert emphasized that senior spring has brought about a particular panic.
“This is my last opportunity to take a Bowdoin class,” she said. “I have to fit in everything that I can.”
A large portion of auditors are retired community members. Welsch, Stuart and Wheelwright each expressed that the knowledge, wisdom and personal experiences accumulated over a lifetime can make for invaluable contributions to class discussions. Stuart once had a 92-year-old auditor in his “Death” course.
“That really changed the temperature of some of our conversations about euthanasia and end-of-life care,” he explained. He added that her views on the subject were particularly meaningful in a room full of 18 to 22 year olds.
David Treadwell ’64 has watched the College evolve since his days as a Bowdoin student by auditing courses.
“It’s fascinating to see what the students are doing, how they’re thinking [and] what professors are teaching.”
In taking the classes he never got to take in the 60s, he has noticed that the classroom environment is much more discussion-based today. Treadwell has also taken courses at the Midcoast Senior College.
“I much prefer the energy of this younger environment,” he said.
Punnie Edgerton frequently audits alongside Associate Professor of Education Emerita Penny Martin. They confer on which courses to choose at the start of each semester, and their friendship has strengthened through their shared classroom experiences. They are currently enrolled in Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell’s class The Wire’: Race, Class, Gender, and the Urban Crisis. Edgerton has fully committed to the workload in each of the 16 courses she’s taken, but she said she cannot imagine multiplying the workload by four.
“That’s very nuts,” Edgerton said.
Bottom of the Barrel: Hungover Sunday in Woodstock is as magical as you would imagine
Have you ever woken up in a bunk-bed in a Vermont cabin accompanied by great friends and a pain in your head? Well your esteemed columnists sure have. A couple weekends back we ventured over to the Green Mountain State for no real reason at all and found ourselves in the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont. Per the recommendation of a dear friend and Woodstock regular, we stopped in at the famed FH Gillingham & Sons general store to see what they had to offer. Gillingham did not disappoint in its wine selection, containing delightful bottles both Old World and New. We thought, to commemorate our Grand Excursion, that we ought to get something that reflected the local terroir.
Putney’s Apple Maple Wine presented itself as a truly Vermont vino. When one who has spent relatively little time in the state thinks of Vermont, he thinks of apples and maple. Rumor has it that some who spend lots of time in the state think of apples and maple when they think of Vermont. While the verdict isn’t out on what makes this wine a wine and not a cider (many of the options stoked at Gillingham were marketed as ciders), your reviewers were very excited to try this bev and look back on our idyllic weekend spent slightly south of where we currently are.
We uncorked the bottle on a calm, unseasonably warm Monday night, dreaming of cross-country skiing, taking the kids on a sleigh ride and chopping pine on a Saturday afternoon. The wine pours clear and looks like a golden, grape-only white wine. We believe this color is almost certainly derived from the apples. Apple cider is sort of golden, right? There isn’t much of a nose to the wine, but the legs show just from the pour. Not able to smell a whole-heck-of-a-lot, we dove right into our tasting.
This wine does not taste like a grape-only wine. This wine is, upon initial contact between beverage and tongue, dry. This wine, seconds after this initial contact between b and t, tastes spicy. This wine has a kick. This wine probably has a kick from the maple. These reviewers question whether the maple was added before or after fermentation. The kick may derive from a spicy post-fermentation addition of maple. The kick may derive from the fermentation of honey producing a drying-out quality. Interestingly enough, this wine is mild in the booze department, clocking in at a calm and tender 10 percent. This kick, this spice, is mysterious.
In theory: we are fond of this wine. It is an interesting application of local resources to create a product representative of a space and time. It is clear from visiting the winery’s website that the vintners are passionate about producing a quality product in a place that they love. At the end of the day, that’s a great thing. While the wine may not be to our tastes, were we to open a bottle shop (currently seeking investors), it’s a product we’d proudly sell.
Tonight's Soundtrack: Phish, live: August 20, 1993 - Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado
Justin: "Vermon is cool, not quite Maine cool, but in my live ranking of New England states it has surpassed Rhode Island. Also Boston—it was always cooler than Boston. “
Will: “It’s foolhardy to talk about the Vermont beverage industry without making reference to its incredible craft brewing scene. Speaking of beer, if Jae-Yeon Yoo [’18] and Nick Benson [’17] of the Orient’s Tapped Out column want to review my homebrew, I wouldn’t stop them."
An Autistic's guide to autism: Navigating a world where some people just don't seem to get autism
When I was 17, I had to go to the local eye doctor for an emergency check up. My eye had been bothering me for several days because pressure had built up in it (which I would find out about later was possibly related to seasonal allergies). Because my eye was so sensitive, and because of my already rocky relationship with sensory input, I had a difficult time letting the doctor take a look at my eye. My mother had come with me, and we both explained to the doctor that I was autistic so that he would understand when I had difficulty with some of the more physical tests I would have to undergo.
At one point, he had to measure the pressure in my eye, and to do so he had to touch the surface of it with a finely-tuned instrument. I already do not normally like people touching me, much less a metallic probe poking around in such a sensitive area. After trying repeatedly to sit still without flinching, the stress of the situation began to overwhelm me. The strain I was putting on my body to not instinctively pull away made me start to cry. It was at this point that the eye doctor told me, “you don’t have to make a scene for your mother.”
Although this story requires a lot of context before it can be retold, I like to use this as an example of when someone just doesn’t understand autism. Even after being told about my sensory issues and seeing first-hand how the testing was affecting me, the eye doctor told me—a young man close to adulthood—to not make a scene, as though I were a child upset that I was not getting my way.
This kind of situation is a familiar one for many autistic people and their families. Whether a medical professional, a teacher, a neighbor or a friend’s parent, there is always someone in an autistic person’s life who doesn’t quite understand what it means to be autistic. These are the people who have challenged me when I say there are certain foods I can’t eat, claiming that I would “grow into them,” or the people who told my parents when I was young that if they had just raised me better, then I wouldn’t act the way I did.
For some people, this lack of understanding correlates with a lack of awareness. Many people just don’t know what autism is or may have never even heard the word. Without any context for my or other autistics’ behavior, we can seem like odd and unpredictable folks. At times, this lack of understanding stems from a more basic level. For some, the intense world of the autistic person is so far from their own experience that even with an awareness of the topic, they lack the instincts necessary to predict and manage autistic behaviors.
While both of these kinds of deficiencies are understandable given societal levels of awareness about autism, it can make life difficult for those who are autistic. Having to justify behaviors that to us are natural can be difficult, and at times impossible. This is especially true for children. However, there is a bright side. The vast majority of people whom I talk to about autism and my experience of being autistic have been supportive and if anything just curious about what it’s like to be me. Thankfully, curiosity is something I can handle.
Behind the Name tag: Italian Teaching Fellow finds valuable lessons in her teaching experiences
Italian Teaching Fellow Angela Lavecchia’s passion for learning foreign languages—she knows four in total—has turned into a passion for teaching them. She has used her linguistic skills to learn more about other cultures as well as to develop her own ideologies regarding immigration in the various countries where she has lived.
Originally from a small town in Southern Italy, Lavecchia worked as a teaching fellow at Bowdoin during the 2014-15 academic year. Upon returning to Italy, she taught Italian and English to immigrants for a year before she had the opportunity to return to Bowdoin once again as a teaching fellow. After this year, she hopes to attend graduate school in America and then continue her teaching career.
“Coming to Bowdoin [for the first time], I was not really convinced that I wanted to teach,” she said. “But then when I was here, I discovered that it was really something I wanted to do, so it has kind of changed my life.”
Lavecchia believes that teachers can learn a great deal about themselves through teaching.
“I like the exchange,” she said. “That you’re not just telling people how to do things or teaching them but you also learn a lot about yourself and about people and how to behave with different people, so it’s really something that opens your mind. It can change you a lot.”
Lavecchia believes that international teaching fellows are a valuable resource for Bowdoin students.
She said that the people she has met over the course of her studies have changed her life by presenting her with opportunities for study that she would not have considered before. As a teacher she hopes to do for her students what her teachers have done for her.
“Studying is important not only to get a good job, or a well-paid job but just for yourself, for you own enrichment,” she said, regarding one of the many lessons she hopes to pass on to her students.
Lavecchia attended a linguistic high school where she took courses in French, German, English and Italian. She found a passion and pursued Arabic and comparative literature at an Italian university.
“I [chose] Arabic because I wanted to study something that was really different from my own culture,” said Lavecchia. “It was a time when, because of the terrorism, we always heard things about Islam and Muslims and extremism, so I was puzzled,” she said.
She explained that she wanted to learn more about Islamic culture in order to gain a new perspective.
“I was like … there must be something we’re not talking about. There must be something we don’t get to know about,” she said. “I have discovered a whole world, and that helped me to have more respect, and that also helped me to try to get as [much] information as I can, [to] not [be] satisfied with what [I heard] at first,” she said.
“When you get to study a new language to a certain level, you actually have to change your mind setting,” said Lavecchia. “Even if you don’t really study the culture ... you have to switch to a different system, so it helps you be more open-minded and more flexible.”
Lavecchia has enjoyed having the opportunity to continue her language studies at Bowdoin. She studied Arabic two years ago and she is currently taking a German course.
She added, “I’ve also taken Italian classes here, which might sound strange, but it’s interesting because they study Italian here from a very different perspective, so it gives me a comparative view of my own language and culture and literature.”
If she does not get into an American graduate program, she will return to Italy to continue her work with immigrants.
“The refugee-immigrant situation is difficult in Europe now, but working in these kind of situations, you really [do] something to make integration possible, you know what I mean? It’s like, you don’t only help the immigrants, you also help the people around you to understand what it is like to be a refugee or an immigrant in such a situation.”
When the language school for immigrants first responded to her application to work there, she was nervous about what her job might be like.
“It was challenging at first because I felt like I had a lot of things to do to be good at my job, but then these people, they really wanted to be there. They really wanted to do something to improve their lives, so their attention, their commitment to studying, was amazing, and I’ve learned a lot,” she said.
“There are also exchange programs [for Bowdoin students] to go to France or Italy to teach, and it’s good because maybe students who didn’t think about it, [when] they come to our classes, they see that our experience here is so good, and they feel like they want to do that … so they think like, I can go abroad, work, improve my language skills and also travel.”
Studying foreign languages has encouraged Lavecchia to be open-minded.
“There’s always more … If you know more, you can get new perspectives. You can really get your own idea without being too influenced by what everybody says.
Looking back and looking forward at 24 College
24 College has been a part of the Bowdoin community for 37 years. The upcoming merger between the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) marks a new, contested chapter of a rich history.
The house at 24 College was inaugurated as the WRC in the spring of 1980, about a decade after coeducation and almost immediately after the former Young family residence was acquired by the college. The Bowdoin Women’s Association, created by students in the early years of coeducation to advocate for more female faculty and equality in the infirmary, moved from its office in Coles Tower into the building and established a 300-volume library of books written by or about women.
LGBTQ students found a home at the center as well: they had a room at 24 College in the late 1980s and briefly in the mid-1990s prior to the creation of the Queer-Trans Resource Center in 2004, which later became the RCSGD. After 2004, both the WRC and RCSGD shared space within 24 College.
According to a campus-wide email from Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, the newly merged center will be a chance for the College to “think broadly about difference—including race, ethnicity, religion, class, first-generation status, gender, sexuality, disability, and political ideology.” Nonetheless, student workers in both centers expressed frustration with the change.
Bowdoin students are not without a history of thinking intersectionally—the very same semester that 24 College opened its doors, students created a new intersectional and progressive student publication called To The Root.
According to their first issue from February 6, 1980, To The Root was “a bi-monthly political newsletter sponsored collectively by the Afro-American Society, the Bowdoin Energy Research Group, the Bowdoin Women’s Association, and Struggle and Change.” By the second issue, the Gay-Straight Alliance had added their name to the publication.
To The Root tackled issues such as nuclear proliferation, feminism, lesbianism, the Persian Gulf and the draft in its first few issues. In its second issue, it praised the new WRC as a place for all Bowdoin students.
“The major goal of the center will be to serve the entire community, men as well as women,” the magazine wrote.
Bowdoin follows several peer schools in integrating its LGBTQ and women’s centers: Amherst has the Women’s and Gender Center, Carleton has the Gender and Sexuality center, and Macalester has the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center. Bowdoin will soon have its own Center for Gender and Sexuality. Current director of the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity Kate Stern and Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amáez will lead the venture.
Still, other schools such as Swarthmore, Tufts and Middlebury, however, have all maintained distinct centers. At Texas A&M University, the LGBTQ and women’s centers were merged together in 2005 but split apart only two years later.
"Though it was logical to merge the two departments to create a safe haven on campus for women and LGBTQ students, the visibility of the LGBTQ community as its own independent entity had been diminished, and there was a concern that the focus of the Women’s Center had been diluted as well,” reads the Texas A&M website.
In 1988, a minor in Women’s Studies was established, followed by a major in 1992. Prior to 2009, Women’s Studies faculty members had their offices in 24 College.
In 2000, a minor in Gay and Lesbian Studies was added. When the Gender and Women’s Studies major became the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies major during the 2015-2016 academic year, the minor was folded into that program.
The WRC and RCSGD will officially merge on July 1. Next academic year, Stern and Amáez will take the positions of associate deans of students for diversity and will supervise 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.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.”
- February 17
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.”
- February 17
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.”
- February 17
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.
Arts & Entertainment
Black hands, white sounds: Bruce Hornsby's cultural exchange
I’ve loved Bruce Hornsby ever since I first heard “Gonna Be Some Changes Made” in the background of a Lowes commercial when I was 10. The main piano riff plays while children run amok in the paint aisle of a Lowes store, scribbling on walls, stroking a display of paintbrushes and huffing open vats of paint. The commercial itself was pretty unremarkable; however, the song was absolutely haunting. Though at the time I didn’t even know the name of the song, the melody stuck in my mind like an earworm.
One day I asked my father, “Dad, do you know the name of the song that goes ‘do do do, do do do, do do?’” Miraculously, he knew exactly what I was talking about. From out of his black leather-bound CD storage binder (which in my eyes was the Ark of the Covenant) he pulled a bright red cassette disk with the words “Halcyon Days” emblazoned across the front in big, pink bubble-letters and told me that the song I was looking for was the opening track. Delighted, I took the disc and disappeared into my room with my Walkman.
That’s the first time that I ever sat down and actively listened to an album from start to finish. The entire thing was completely arresting. Hornsby sang with the lyrical honesty and imagery of Townes Van Zandt and played the piano like his hands were on fire. His songs moved with a rhythm that was familiar yet felt fresh and original. Beyond all of that, however, there was still something that I found indescribable about the sound. I was drawn to it for reasons that I did not understand.
Eventually I came to realize what was special about Hornsby’s music. It seemed to lay somewhere in between the music I was exposed to by my father–The Gap Band, Stevie Wonder, Teddy Pendergrass–and my mother’s Van Morrison, Celtic Thunder, and Fleetwood Mac. Hornsby’s music displays a lot of characteristics of black music; the syncopated rhythms, cross-beats and jazzy chords that fill “Halcyon Days” seem like they’d be more at home on a Duke Ellington record than peppered throughout this collection of Randy Newman-esque Americana tunes. That is not to say that “Halcyon Days” is “black music,”—in fact, I once played it for one of my roommates and he responded with “cut that gluten-free, vanilla Wonder bread-flavored mayonnaise shit out.” So even though Hornsby’s music is not “black music” per se, it does benefit from its interpolation of black musical aesthetics. I’m not the first person to notice this: Hornsby’s sound has been dubbed “the Virginia Sound” and has been lauded for its fusion of jazz with the stereotypically white musical traditions of country and bluegrass.
One might argue that this constitutes an act of appropriation. In my time at Bowdoin, I’ve seen how the notion of cultural appropriation has entered into and become a dominant theme in racial discourses on campus. I had never heard the term “cultural appropriation” until the infamous “Cracksgiving” debacle of 2014, but after the “tequila” party happened last year, you’d be hard-pressed to find a student on campus who didn’t have a strong opinion on the subject. Sadly, those strong opinions caused the conflation in many students’ minds of the ideas of cultural appropriation and exchange. As I have come to understand it, appropriation comes from a place of exploitation, whereas exchange come from a place of appreciation. Moreover, appropriation happens from the top down—one culture clearly dominates the other—whereas an instance of exchange leaves room for ideas to travel back and forth.
I’d argue that the incorporation of black music aesthetics into Hornsby’s sound is an example of cultural exchange. Though Hornsby uses the conventions of black music, he does not exploit black culture in doing so. In fact, he made it a point to address systemic racism in what is undoubtedly his most famous song, “The Way it Is.” Shortly after that song was released, 2pac sampled it to make “Changes,” E-40 used it to make “Things’ll Never Change,” and Mase used it on “Same Niggas.” This kind of back-and-forth is exemplary of cultural exchange.
As a young biracial child, I’m sure that this exchange comforted me on an unconscious level. Growing up, sometimes I felt like I was mixed with water and oil. Hearing music that borrowed from the sonic traditions of both of my heritages proved to me that a harmonious marriage of blackness and whiteness was possible.
Productive disruption: Trump effigy challenges campus complacency
In the days immediately following November’s presidential election, Emily Simon ’17 felt that the student body had already begun to move on from its disappointment.
“I had a premonition that was grounded in past experience at Bowdoin. Today sucks, and maybe tomorrow will suck, but after that we’re all just going to go back to business as usual,” Simon said.
It is this political complacency that inspired her, alongside Haleigh Collins ’17, Kenny Shapiro ’17 and Laura Griffee ’17, to create a giant sculpture of President Donald Trump’s head.
Students may have already taken note of the unnamed and unfinished piece, which has been in the Lamarche Gallery since Saturday and will be on display until the first week of March. The piece is crafted mostly from recycled cardboard boxes. It will ultimately include videos projected onto the sculpture depicting reactions to the election of Bowdoin students and others.
The artists hope that the piece will catch the attention of the members of the Bowdoin community and encourage them to engage with political issues that they may not otherwise consider on a day-to-day basis.
“[Our goal is] disruption but in a productive, nuanced and thoughtful way,” Collins said.
The students came up with the original concept for the installation immediately after election day in A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Art Mark Wethli’s “Abstractions” class.
“We felt that people had already moved on,” Shapiro said. “[The piece] was definitely born out of our frustration and anger with a very targeted demographic.”
Though the four students consulted with several faculty members as well as former Sculptor in Residence John Bisbee, they created the piece outside of the classroom. This independence of their work and separation from the institution of Bowdoin is part of the project’s appeal to Simon.
“The most exciting thing for me has been working on something that challenges the need to protect our comfort in the status quo at Bowdoin,” she said.
The ways in which the artists chose to address the politically provocative sentiments they hope the piece will represent have changed over the months after the election. During this time, they have considered different political perspectives and the variety of ways in which students might be impacted by the Trump presidency. The final product seeks to explore the political climate in a manner that is serious rather than flippant or absurd.
“We recognize that there are a ton of people at Bowdoin and elsewhere who are dealing with this issue on a very serious level,” Griffee said. “As artists, we have been struggling to try to be very careful and respectful of that possibility.”
The team’s original concept for the piece’s video component focused solely on the perspectives of the Bowdoin community. When Griffee invited students to give video testimonials, she was disappointed to receive only seven responses. She decided to use internet sources for the perspectives of strangers, however, ultimately providing a valuable opportunity for both the piece and for Griffee personally. It allowed her to engage with a diversity of identities and opinions.
“I got really excited and sucked into the different video reactions and testimonials,” she said. “I was really interested in listening to other viewpoints that were not my own and humanizing this group of people.”
The students constructed the base of the piece in the garage of Shapiro’s off-campus residence and transported the assemblage of boxes three blocks to David Saul Smith Union on Saturday. The artists said this transportation process was one of the the most rewarding moments in the process of creating the piece.
“Moving it from spot to spot was just so crazy and fun and disruptive and weird,” Shapiro said.
Griffee estimates that around 20 passing students stopped to to inquire about the piece or help her, Shapiro, Collins and Simon lift it over the glass wall separating the gallery from the rest of Smith Union.
“A lot of people were excited that it was naughty on some level, which was exciting, because I didn’t think Bowdoin students had that in them,” Simon said.
In addition to political conversation and heightened awareness, the artists hope their exhibition will generate student engagement with art as a mechanism of political and social discourse.
“Art is something that anyone can literally approach and consider,” Simon said. “It speaks in its own way, and I hope that we’re making a case for public art here.”
Collins, Griffee, Shapiro and Simon aim to complete the piece before the start of next week and encourage members of the Bowdoin community to contact them with questions, concerns or interest in participating in the project.
Animal-inspired printmaker Nancy Diessner to collaborate with students
Marvin Bileck Visiting Artist and printmaker Nancy Diessner’s artwork starts with a photograph—most recently of taxidermy animals—that depicts the natural world. Diessner combines the photograph with abstract imagery to create work that Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Mary Hart calls “very beautiful and very distressing at the same time.”
The Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project, set up in memory of printmaker Marvin Bileck, brings a guest artist to Bowdoin every semester for a week to produce work with students. Diessner was chosen particularly for the way her work connects to that of Bileck.
“Bileck was primarily an intaglio printmaker [of] a very specific type of printing and Nancy is also an intaglio printmaker,” said Hart. “Her way of doing it is very contemporary and uses all these materials that weren’t available when Marvin Bileck was doing his work. I like that idea of progression in this very traditional form of printmaking.”
Diessner will spend time in Printmaking I and II classes next week. She plans to teach students her technical printing process, which uses photopolymer plates based on her photography and aluminum plates etched with copper sulfate to create an abstract painting-inspired effect.
“[The students] will be experimenting with printing color over color, maybe printing the plates side by side, so they’ll be doing a lot of experimentation,” said Diessner. “It’s a low-toxic way of etching aluminium. And that’s a very painterly process. I think it’ll be fun for them.”
In addition to engaging students in a different printing process, Diessner hopes to promote non-toxic printmaking practices. Printmaking processes and materials are often toxic due to poor ventilation, excessive use of solvents and various other contaminants.
Diessner was invited to Bowdoin by Visiting Professor of Art Mary Hart, who teaches printmaking. The two met at a summer workshop at Zea Mays Printmaking, a studio and workshop that is dedicated to non-toxic printmaking methods.
Nontoxicity is a focus at Bowdoin, too.
“[Associate Professor of Art] Carrie Scanga’s been working on making the studio better and better in terms of efficiency and nontoxicity,” said Hart.
“When I went to college—and I’m not alone in this—there was no ventilation,” Diessner said. “You would just use your hands, no gloves. You cleaned your plates with kerosene. Lots and lots of solvents. There were a lot of serious health problems with printmakers in this generation.”
Diessner’s artwork is a reflection of her experiences across mediums through painting, photography and printmaking. Her interest in the arts began with painting, which she studied at Bennington College. She did graduate work in painting and sculpture at Hunter College.
“My prints are very informed by my painting. When I was a painter, I would make my paintings by [using] lots and lots of transparent, translucent layers of color,” said Diessner. “And that was very much how many of my prints, in the last year and a half, have kind of evolved to [have] many plates, [and] different colors in every layer.”
“Whether photo-based or not, I hope they’re enthusiastic about the possibilities, because there are so many,” she added. “I’m really just opening the window for tem, and they can see all around and go in many directions. I hope they connect with it.”
Diessner will deliver a lecture on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Beam classroom in the Visual Arts Center.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.”
- February 17
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.
Women's basketball advances to 17th consecutive NESCAC semifinal round
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.
Women's hockey looks to recover in playoffs
After tying one game and losing the other to Trinity (9-12-3, 8-6-2 NESCAC) this past weekend, the women’s ice hockey team (12-8-4, 7-6-3 NESCAC) finished sixth in the league and will be traveling to No. 3 Hamilton (14-7-3, 9-5-2 NESCAC) this weekend for NESCAC conference quarterfinals.
While the rankings favor the Continentals in the matchup, the Polar Bears are confident about their prospects.
“We know that we’re better and we can beat them,” said captain Jess Bowen ’17. “We want this weekend to go out there and play our best and show them we’re the better team.”
When the two teams last faced each other, they split the series as Bowdoin took a 2-1 win in the first game and Hamilton pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory in the second.
Bowdoin’s play this past weekend featured a number of the team’s strengths, including its unique on-ice strategy.
“We play a system that’s just a little different than a lot of teams play,” Bowen said. “We play with three defensemen and two forwards so I think just that system is a little bit different and allows us to kind of catch teams off guard and gives us more opportunities offensively and makes our defense even stronger.”
The team is coming off a disappointing series against Trinity, in which Bowdoin dropped from 4th to 6th and gave up home-ice advantage after the tie and loss.
“I think that it was definitely a disappointment and a struggle just because we know we could have done a lot better than we did,” captain Kimmy Ganong ’17 said. “I think we were just really hyper and frantic, which was unfortunate. We play 100 percent better if we stay composed and calm and collected.”
An unusual lack of composure affected areas of play that are usually the team’s strengths, making the team feel that it did not play to its full potential over the course of the series.
“We just weren’t there mentally,” said Bowen. “I think we were making a lot of mistakes, we weren’t as a team winning all the one-on-one battles which we would normally win, and we’re a team that takes pride in our one-on-one battles. As a team we were just a little bit off, which happens, but we’re not going to do that this weekend.”
The team is confident going into the Hamilton game, and Ganong believes that it has the skill to beat the Continentals.
“I’m really excited to go to Hamilton,” said Ganong. “We’ve been there before and we know that we can absolutely beat them. We beat them on Friday night when we played there and we should have beat them on Saturday when we went into overtime.”
A key difference in playoffs will be that the teams play one game as opposed to a series, which Bowen sees as an advantage based on the team’s performance this season.
“[When] we played [Connecticut College], we didn’t play them back-to-back,” said Bowen. “Those were the only two league games we didn’t play back-to-back and we beat them both times so I just think to mentally only have to prepare for one game and know that you’re giving your all to that one game makes our team come out even stronger.”
However, the postseason adds additional pressure because the team only gets one chance to win.
“I think we have to know that it’s such an important game and that everyone else in the conference is at 0-0,” Ganong said. “No one has any wins or losses—it’s a clean slate. It’s just about believing that we can win and winning on Saturday to continue this season.”
New student group focuses on racial diversity in athletics
A lack of racial diversity on Bowdoin’s athletic teams has prompted the creation of a support and discussion group for student athletes of color.
Hannah Cooke ’18 has been one of the people involved in creating programming surrounding race on teams since last semester. She spearheaded the creation of the group, which hopes to provide a space for athletes to discuss their experiences and the meaning of diversity in sports.
Student athletes of color are underrepresented in the Bowdoin community, which can shape those students’ experiences significantly as well as affect the way teams are viewed on campus.
“I felt like I could make an impact by bringing people of color together to talk about their experiences because I know mine is not the same as everyone’s,” said Cooke. “While I love my team and they’re some of my best friends, there’s still three people of color on the basketball team. My first year I was the only one, then my second year there were two and now there’s three, and every year it’s been a different experience because of that.”
According to Cooke, athletic teams are unique social spaces on campus for several reasons. Athletes do not choose their teammates, yet they are locked into spending hours every week with them due to the large time commitments practices demand. It is also essential for athletes to have positive relationships with their teammates, which can make bringing up sensitive topics like race difficult.
“The relationships between you and your teammates are so precious and mean so much to the success of the team and to your happiness, a lot of the time it does make you act a particular way or let things go,” said Cooke. “It’s just a really interesting space that I thought needed to be explored more than it was, especially because there are some teams that don’t have any people of color—how do we get teams like that thinking about the presence they have on campus?”
Cooke said that because of her background in a mixed family—her father is black and from Jamaica and her mother is white and from Connecticut—she is very used to talking about race. But she realizes that this might not be the case for other people. Cooke also said that a lot of people who quit athletic teams are people of color.
“I have friends that I know specifically left sports teams because of reasons related [to race], and it’s those stories that I want people to hear,” she said. “Not just people who are on the teams but people who left and what it meant to them and why they had to make that decision was something that was really important to me.”
Cooke is also helping to organize a panel on race in athletics for the whole athletic department as part of the “Winning Together: Intersections between Race and Athletics” program that was started last year.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan acknowledged the importance of having diverse athletic teams and said that more work needs to be done to make teams more racially diverse. The athletic department declined to share the exact racial makeup of the teams, but it is clear that athletes of color are underrepresented relative to the rest of the student body.
“The more closely our athletic programs mirror the greater student body, that’s only going to be a positive thing,” Ryan said. “And when you think about conversations that take place on our campus and every campus across the country about issues of a potential divide between people who are on teams and people who are not on teams, when teams are reflective of the greater campus community, I think that helps to alleviate some challenges that may develop along those lines.”
Along with supporting efforts by Cooke and others to support student athletes of color, the athletic department is also actively looking to bring more diversity to its teams, according to Ryan.
“We are being very proactive in looking to identify students who may have an interest in Bowdoin, who may have an interest in participating in one of our athletic programs and a student who would also be able to bring additional diversity to our entire campus community but to our athletic programs as well,” said Ryan.
“We have been fortunate with some adjustments to the recruiting guidelines in our conference [that give] greater flexibility to coaches to cast a wider net across the country in terms of areas they’re able to recruit in [and] the financial resources that we have to support coaches in those efforts,” he added.
Kings of the court: a look into 75 years of men's basketball
With the end of the men’s basketball season comes the completion of the 75th year of the varsity program at Bowdoin College. However, the first team that came together in 1941 is notably different from the team that runs the court of Morrell Gymnasium today.
When a squad of 18 Bowdoin students tried out for Coach George “Dinny” Shay in December of 1941, they played in Sargent Gymnasium on a non-regulation-sized court, with old backboards and only a few weeks to prepare for their first game against the University of Maine. Without any funding from the College, Shay and his team of rookies were forced to play all away games and the players had to provide their own trunks and shoes.
Despite these setbacks, the program started and stuck, in large part due to the persistence of Malcolm Morrell, the College’s director of athletics at the time. Morrell advocated strongly for the creation of a team since Bowdoin was one of the only colleges in New England that did not sponsor a college basketball team. In addition, the NCAA was pushing many colleges at the time to continue adding new teams despite the wartime efforts that took students and resources from the programs.
The College already had in place fraternity leagues as well as a freshman team that competed against local high schools, which gave Shay a solid pool of interested athletes when it came to building his roster.
The first varsity squad played six away games over the course of the season against fellow Maine schools Colby, Bates and the University of Maine. Though the team lost all six matches, a few close games and a high degree of demonstrated interest solidified the existence of the program for the years to come.
A few years later, the program had developed significantly. The team began its first formal campaign after the war years led by captain Edward “Packy” McFarland ’48, while his infant son Edward “Bo” McFarland Jr. ’69, now a volunteer coach with Bowdoin’s men’s basketball team, crawled around the floors of Sargent Gymnasium.
While the creation of the team and the facilities available lagged behind many of Bowdoin’s peer schools in the program’s early years, in 1965 Polar Bear basketball leapt ahead of the rest of the league with the unveiling of the “new gym”—Morrell Gymnasium.
Bo McFarland came to Bowdoin in the fall of 1965 in time for the unveiling of the new gym and remembers the standard it set across the league.
“It was a big deal,” he said. “When Morrell Gym opened up, I remember as a freshman going in there and every afternoon you could see hundreds of guys playing pick-up games—I mean hundreds. It was state-of-the-art and it’s still one of the more enjoyable places to go watch a game.”
Building the new gym was a leap of faith by the College since the basketball team had gone 23 years without a winning season. Yet only two years later the 1967-68 team achieved Bowdoin’s first winning season with a record of 15-6.
“From that moment on, [basketball] teams began to win at Bowdoin,” said McFarland ’69. “Just picture the Morrell Gym with standing room only and people lining the sidelines watching games. We used to pack the place in and it was a lot of fun.”
Bo McFarland became captain the following year, improving the team’s season to a record of 16-5 and entrenching himself in the Bowdoin record books. He was the first Polar Bear to reach the 1,300 career points benchmark and his career points per game average of 21.9 remains the best in Bowdoin history today.
Since 1969, the program has been relatively consistent in performance and staff. The team has only had two head coaches in the last 55 years—Ray Bicknell and current Head Coach Tim Gilbride.
However, as Bo McFarland has seen over his lifetime, the game played in Morrell Gym today is very different from that of his father’s era.
“I remained close to the program because of my father’s experience there,” said Bo McFarland. “You get to know a lot of the people over the years. They would come to our house and reminisce about the days of basketball, how basketball was changing so much. If they were alive today they would be astonished as to what basketball looks like today versus what it looked like in the 40s and 50s.”
And today’s team is still different in a number of ways, the most visible being the size of the players.
“Even in 1965 and when I graduated in ’69, we only had one guy who was 6’5” and he was our only tall guy,” said Bo McFarland. “Whereas this year’s roster, I think we had seven, maybe eight guys who were 6’5” and over. So that’s a huge difference in terms of the style of play, because the speed of the game has increased and the size of the players has increased, and the athletic ability of the players is better, quite frankly.”
Changes in style of play have been accompanied by rule changes that have drastically impacted the game. Major shifts include the addition of the three-point line, which was implemented by the NCAA in 1986, and the establishment of a 45-second shot clock in the mid-1980s.
The program’s recruiting process has developed and changed significantly over its history as well.
“The biggest shift has been in the amount of time that you have to spend out of season recruiting,” said Gilbride. “When I started, a lot of coaches—most coaches—were doing two sports and you had to recruit for both sports, but it wasn’t to the amount of time and energy and effort that you have to put into it now. You don’t have enough time to be recruiting all year for one sport and recruiting for another sport.”
Across the nation, the timeline of recruiting has shifted to earlier in students’ high school careers and has become more intensive during summers. This year-round commitment aligns with another national trend in collegiate athletics: specialization.
“It’s becoming harder and harder for men and women to do two sports in college, and even in high school,” said Bo McFarland. “If you’re going to be a basketball player, you’re playing basketball all year long, you’re on a team and you’re playing in the summer months.”
This present-day practice is drastically different from the 1970s and earlier, when playing more than one varsity sport was so common it dictated the College’s participation, or lack thereof, in postseason tournaments.
During Bo McFarland’s time on the varsity basketball and baseball teams, the programs were not permitted to compete in any sort of postseason play even though the team’s performance was strong enough to qualify. It was seen as dangerous to the students’ academics and a disadvantage to the subsequent season’s teams.
“The concern was that dragging these seasons on was going to affect our performance in the classroom,” said Bo McFarland. “For instance, the nine starters on the baseball team all played another sport—every one of us—and the feeling was, if you were in a tournament, like a basketball tournament, and your baseball season was getting ready to begin, that [it] would be unfair to the academic side of the house.”
While there are no limitations on Bowdoin teams participating in postseason tournaments today, maintaining a balance between athletics and academics is a task that has challenged Bowdoin athletes of all eras.
Although the facilities, rules and recruiting have evolved over time, there are some aspects of the sport that have stayed the same.
“Watching college basketball is still a favorite pastime of mine,” said Bo McFarland. “I love it, and to this day I believe [Morrell Gym] ranks way up there in terms of a good place to watch a game and to play a game.”
Men's ice hockey looks for big upset in NESCAC quarterfinals
Having lost 11 of its last 14 games, the Bowdoin men’s ice hockey team (8-15-1, 5-12-1 NESCAC) will travel to Hamilton (17-3-4, 11-3-4 NESCAC) this weekend for the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament.
In order to keep its season alive, Bowdoin will have to accomplish something that only one team—No. 6 Tufts (11-10-3, 9-8-1 NESCAC)—has been able to do all year: defeat the Continentals on their home ice.
The Polar Bears finished eighth in the conference this season, comfortably ahead of Connecticut College (4-16-3, 2-13-3 NESCAC) and Middlebury (3-19-2, 3-15-0 NESCAC). Still, Bowdoin enters the NESCAC tournament as the lowest-seeded team as only the top eight teams in the league qualify for the playoffs.
Though the Polar Bears face a formidable opponent, they can draw inspiration from the fact that there have been several instances of eighth seeds upsetting first seeds in the NESCAC quarterfinals in recent years.
Tufts has done it the past two seasons, beating Williams in 2016 and Trinity in 2015. Wesleyan did it in 2011, when it crushed Hamilton 5-2; and No. 8 Colby gave Bowdoin a scare in 2010, though the Polar Bears eventually escaped in a 2-1 overtime victory. If nothing else, these examples show that the NESCAC tournament is an opportunity for a fresh start.
Captain Mitch Barrington ’17 sees parallels to his first season on the team, when Bowdoin won the NESCAC title as a fifth seed.
“It was kind of a similar year in that we didn’t have the best regular season, but we came together and started playing our best hockey at the right time,” he said. “And that’s what we are going to try to do this year. It’s kind of taken a little bit longer than we had hoped to get things together, but we feel pretty good about how we’ve played, and obviously our seniors have plenty of playoff experience.”
There are also more concrete reasons to believe that Bowdoin can take on Hamilton this weekend. The last time the teams played each other in early February, the Polar Bears showed they could keep pace with the Continentals as the teams entered the third period tied 1-1. Ultimately, Hamilton broke away in the final period to prevail 3-1.
“They came out strong in the first period and took it to us, but we battled back and tied the game up,” Barrington said. “And I think a few plays didn’t go our way, maybe some calls that didn’t go our way and they were able to capitalize late. We definitely feel good about how we have played them this year.”
Yet when the Polar Bears played Hamilton, in early January, the game resulted in a 6-3 Bowdoin loss, with a similar third period breakaway. However, the game was almost two months ago and the team believes it has developed significantly since then.
The team will need to turn things around fast. During the final 14 games of the regular season, the Polar Bears allowed an average of 4.6 goals per game and scored an average of only 2.1. The team will need a special game plan to stop the Continentals and will also need to limit their mistakes, especially on the defensive end.
“I think our guys are really anxious to get another crack at the top team in the league,” Head Coach Jamie Dumont said. “Our motto going into it is that it’s tough to beat a team three times in one year.”
The quarterfinal starts at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Hamilton and is available to stream on http://www.nsnsports.net/colleges/hamilton/.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 2/17 - 2/23
Leaps and bounds.
The men’s indoor track and field team placed fifth overall at the New England Division III Championship at Tufts last weekend. Joseph Staudt ’19 led the team with a first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles, making him Bowdoin’s first New England Division III champion since 2014. His time of 8.24 was a personal best in the event, breaking his own school record for the third time this season. Staudt also placed seventh in the high jump.
In the books.
The men’s swimming and diving team placed sixth overall at NESCAC championships last weekend, with a number of outstanding performances. Karl Sarier ’19 won two individual NESCAC titles over the course of the meet, setting a new school record in the 200 individual medley and lowering his own school record in the 200 freestyle. The team went on to break 10 school records over the weekend and three Polar Bears—Michael Netto ’18, Mitchell Ryan ’19 and Sarier—earned All-NESCAC honors this week.
Men’s squash placed third in the Conroy Cup (D-Division) of the College Squash Association team nationals after going 2-1 on the weekend. The team’s performance earned it a 27th place finish in the nation as it closed out the season with 6-3 win over Tufts and a record of 6-15. The team also earned a pair of All-NESCAC honors this week as Ben Bristol ’17 and Ian Squiers ’19 were both named to the Second Team.
On to nationals.
Women’s squash heads into the College Squash Association team nationals this weekend with a record of 7-10. The team will look to build off of strong individual performances from this season, such as a standout campaign by Sarah Nelson ’17 that earned her All-NESCAC First Team honors this week. The Polar Bears will compete in the Walker Cup (C-Division) as they are ranked 19th nationally and will open play against No. 22 William Smith College at 10 a.m. today.
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.”
- February 17
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.
- February 17
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.