Joe SherlockNumber of articles: 36
First article: February 22, 2013
Latest article: April 15, 2016
ASA will not host fashion show, club shifts away from recruitment
In a change from past tradition, the Asian Students Association (ASA) did not host its annual fashion show as part of this year’s Asian Week. This marks a shift in ASA’s programming; the fashion show had been a staple of Asian Week since the 1980’s.
“One of the biggest changes we made was, our previous mission statement was that the purpose of our club was to serve the purpose of diversity recruitment and part of [how we accomplished that] that was the Asian Fashion Show,” said Son Ngo ’17, Co-Vice President of ASA. “We’ve realized that’s not what we want to do and that we want to focus more on identity, community and on bonding between members and the community.”
Co-President Jeffrey Chung ’16 explained that the change to Asian Week’s program reflected an attempt to turn away from presenting Asian cultures to campus and focus more on different views of all Asian and Asian American students.
In place of the fashion show, Asian Week will culminate with comedian and Bowdoin Alumnus Hari Kondabolu ’04 performing at Pickard Theater tomorrow night. Last year, Kondabolu was scheduled to perform, but he had to cancel due to illness.
In order to expand the diversity of programming, ASA has partnered with other multicultural groups on campus such as the African American Society, the Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program and Anokha—the College’s South Asian student association.ASA, which boasts a membership of about 180 students, has coordinated a wider variety of programming because of these collaborations.
On Tuesday, MacMillan House hosted “Panda Bear Tales” where students of all different ethnicities told stories about their personal experiences and identities. Ladd House hosted “An (Asian American) Portrait of the Artist” with writer and poet Jenny Zhang on Thursday night.According to Ngo, these shifts in programming have helped make this year’s Asian Week more successful than in years past.
“There’s been great turnout so far. People seem to be more interested in the things we’re doing,” said Ngo. “We’ve seen a lot of participation we haven’t usually seen.”
Students prepare for upcoming caucuses
While it is unclear whether the hype on campus about the presidential election will translate into students actually turning out to caucus this weekend, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) has estimated it will be shuttling 42 students to the Brunswick caucuses. Five Republicans are signed up to attend the Saturday Republican Caucus, and 37 Democrats are signed up for the Sunday Democratic Caucus. Other students may also be walking or driving to Brunswick Junior High School where the Democratic caucus is being held.
“I think it’s really going to be a [problem], especially if there’s partying this weekend—people won’t want to go if they’re hungover,” said Nick Walker ’16. Walker is a leader of Bowdoin Students for Bernie, a student group that supports Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s candidacy for president.
Maine is one of only 13 states whose parties use caucuses instead of primaries. Voters must show up to their meeting place—Brunswick Junior High School for Democrats and Greely Middle School in Cumberland for Republicans—where people will give speeches for and against candidates.
Republicans vote via ballot while Democrats will publicly stand in different parts of the room depending on who they support. Based on these votes, the number of delegates allocated to that caucus will be divided in proportion to the support that each candidate has received. If a candidate has too few supporters to qualify for a delegate, those voters have an option to switch candidates.
Student organizers on both sides of the aisle worry that the unique nature of the caucus system may ward off or confuse students and reduce participation rates.
“It’s sort of how you would elect third grade student council,” said Emma Kane ’18, a Hillary Clinton supporter who will be caucusing in her hometown of Portland.
While both polls and student organizers are unsure which Democrat will win in Maine, both Walker and Kane indicated that the youth vote will be a major factor in deciding the election for Sanders or Clinton.
Kane thinks that the youth vote will tilt Brunswick toward Sanders, but she’s hopeful that other towns with older voters will help secure Maine for Clinton.
“I would be super excited if we could get maybe a fourth [of Bowdoin students voting in the Democratic caucus]. It’s very hard to tell. Hillary Clinton supporters have been quieter in this election,” said Kane. “I don’t know how they’re feeling up north—they vote really strangely up there.”
Jack Lucy ’17, chair of the Bowdoin College Republicans, explained that while he has heard many students will be driving themselves, the BSG-sponsored voter shuttles are integral to student turnout. Lucy expects between 10 and 20 caucus goers.
Another Republican student, David Jimenez ’16, will be caucusing as the captain for the John Kasich campaign. He said that the race will be determined by turnout, which he estimates will be anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 statewide.
Jimenez was demure about Kasich’s popularity on campus, referring to his support on campus as “basically just me wearing Kasich attire all the time.”
Bowdoin Democrats has not officially endorsed a candidate yet. Co-President Amanda Bennett ’17 said that the group’s goal for this weekend is just to get students to turn out for the caucus in big numbers.
Same day registration to vote in the caucus is legal in Maine, but student organizers have urged students to register beforehand or submit an absentee ballot if possible.
“The Brunswick caucus has one of the largest democratic lines in the state, and that line is almost always students registering last minute as Democrats so they can vote in the caucus,” said Kane.
Dr. Hill speaks of Dr. King, calls post-racial America ‘a fictional narrative’
For Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, the fact that Oprah Winfrey owns a television network, that Tyler Perry has a TV show, and that Barack Obama is the president is not enough to make 2016 a post-racial moment in America. Hill was quick to dispel that idea when he spoke last night in front of a large audience in Kresge Auditorium.
“I think [a post-racial America] a great narrative, it’s just a fictional narrative,” said Hill. “Chaos cannot be resolved by the fact that one black man is in really nice public housing in D.C.”
Hill railed against many of what he perceived to be prevailing crises affecting African Americans—from food deserts to poverty to unaddressed, unconscious racism.
A professor at Morehouse College, Hill was invited to speak as part of the Black History Month speaker series, sponsored by numerous groups including the African American Society, the Africana Studies Department and the Student Center for Multicultural Life.
Hill’s lecture, entitled, “Fighting for Freedom in an Hour of Chaos,” was devoted to the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout the lecture, Hill was quick to emphasize that King was an often disliked radical whose life has been romanticized.
“Everyone loves King in ’63 when he’s telling negroes to get hit with bricks,” said Hill. “But in ’67 when he said that the same sensibility of pacifism isn’t just negroes getting hit by police, it’s also [about] Vietnam, they told him to stay in a negro preacher’s place.”
Hill said that King had many reflections and reconsiderations in the year after his 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including a reflection in 1967 that many Americans may be unconsciously racist.
Hill, who sat down for a student dinner at Helmreich House earlier in the day, tied in issues that are taking place at the College into his lecture.
“In the post-racial world, sometimes we’re faced with even more racism, sometimes in the form of exclusionary practices, sometimes in the form of microaggressions, sometimes in the form of tequila parties,” said Hill.
Hill spent a portion of the speech with advice for activists, explaining that King’s strategy was action through coalition building. Hill lamented that while he visits nearly a hundred campuses per year, most activists are poorly organized.
“I go to college campuses, there’ll be 50 black people, 25 organizations, everybody is president and vice president,” Hill joked. “The legacy of King is about brave action, which means you can’t always be in charge, where you might not get your way.”
Carolyn Brady ’19 explained that while she thought Hill was a very well-spoken intellectual, she said she was disappointed that many of the actions and areas of progress that he spoke to are not taking place on Bowdoin’s campus.
“He is incredibly informed on the issue, so I will take his opinion with a lot of weight,” said Brady.
During the question and answer session after the lecture, Hill answered a question about freedom of speech on college campuses, explaining that while universities exist for the debate of dangerous, provocative ideas, certain expressions should not go without consequences.
“The constitution does not allow you to do things without consequences. If I run to my boss’s office and curse him out, I can do that under freedom of speech but I’m still violating company policy, and I likely won’t have a job,” said Hill. “I think it’s simplistic and dismissive to say ‘suck it up, that’s not how the real world works’ because that’s not how the real world works…sometimes, what people are doing is not the expression of free ideas but enjoying the extraordinary privilege of whiteness.”
Michele Cyr ’76, P ’12 to serve as new Board of Trustees chair
As colleges and universities across the country are grappling with issues of sexual assault and race relations, Bowdoin Board of Trustees Chair-Elect Michelle Cyr ’76, P ’12 is uniquely prepared for her upcoming role.
Cyr is a professor of medicine and medical science and an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. She specializes in women’s health, particularly menopause.
As former co-chair of Brown’s Sexual Assault Task Force, current chair of Brown’s Title IX Oversight and Advisory Board and a member of multicultural committees at both Brown and Bowdoin, Cyr noted that she is not the conventional pick for chair of Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees.
“I did joke with someone that in the 222 years of Bowdoin, this is probably the first time that an announcement of the new chair of the Board has been associated with the words “sexual assault” and “menopause,” said Cyr. “I think this is a new day for Bowdoin.”
This is not Cyr’s first time breaking into what have historically been male-dominated scenes. She was the only girl on her high school track team and was a member of the College’s second class of women.
Cyr, who attended a public high school, admitted that she was a little worried when she first came to Bowdoin in 1972. At the time, coming from public school to Bowdoin was not common, and that combined with her gender made her even more of a minority. However, she said that the College quickly adapted to being coeducational.
“You had an option. You could be in an all-women’s dorm,” said Cyr. “I decided to go all in, and I went for a co-ed dorm. I was actually in Appleton.”
An art and biochemistry double major, Cyr dabbled in medical illustration after graduation before going on to Dartmouth Medical School and fulfilling her residency at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Cyr is aware that her background is not common on the Board of Trustees—about half of its members have financial backgrounds. She sees this as a strength, especially given the issues that colleges and universities are facing today.
“As trustees we come to the Board as outsiders, so we all bring areas of expertise from our lives,” Cyr said. “This just happens to be my expertise—sexual assault and misconduct, and multiculturalism. I am currently chairing the search for the medical school’s associate dean for diversity and multicultural affairs here at Brown.”
Cyr explained that while her work can at times focus on hot-button issues, it hasn’t been an issue at Bowdoin.
“Some of my work at Brown is in areas of controversy, especially sexual assault. At Bowdoin, I didn’t feel that there was controversy as a member of the Special Committee on Multicultural Affairs. We all agreed that diversity and inclusion are important goals for Bowdoin,” Cyr said.
At Brown, Cyr welcomes Bowdoin medical school applicants personally and tries to make interview days special by inviting current medical students who graduated from Bowdoin to visit with applicants.
“I am on a mission to bring more Polar Bears here to be Brown Bears,” said Cyr.
Excited for her next trip to the College in the spring, Cyr was torn when asked about her favorite dining hall, and while she couldn’t make a final decision, she had an initial reaction. “There was no Thorne when I was at Bowdoin, so I have a spot in my heart for Moulton.”
Talk of the Quad: All alone at the Grand Old Party: the Jim Gilmore story
BSG proposes creation of Multicultural Rep
BSG also agree to request increased safety measures on campus
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) introduced a proposal on Wednesday to hold a referendum to add a multicultural representative as a voting member of BSG. The position was discussed last spring, but not put into a proposal until now.
BSG’s Executive Committee—comprised of President Danny Mejia-Cruz ’16, Vice President for Student Government Affairs Michelle Kruk ’16, and five other vice presidents—recommended the proposal to the committee and the small crowd of students who attended the meeting to support the proposal.
“[The fact that BSG] itself is composed of a diverse set of students does not mean that those students speak on behalf of whatever individual race they look like they are or sexuality that they belong to. It’s just not right and I think that we’re making the right move,” said Mejia-Cruz. “We cannot ask people to serve as something just because of the way they look or the way diversity is perceived.”
Currently, BSG has representatives from the Inter-House Council (IHC), the Athletics Council, the McKeen Center and the Entertainment Board who “serve as advocates of special interest groups on campus,” according to the proposal.
The referendum question would be whether or not the BSG constitution should add a multicultural representative to its specified list of representatives.
Special interest group representatives are not elected by the student body as a whole but are elected or chosen by the group they represent, like the Multicultural Coalition.
BSG will vote on December 2 to decide whether or not to hold a school-wide referendum. If that proposal is approved by a four-fifths majority of BSG, the student body would vote on the referendum from December 9-12. One-third of the student body would need to vote on the referendum for it to be valid and two-thirds of voting students would need to vote in favor for the multicultural representative position to be created.
Mejia-Cruz noted the significance of the proposal and the consequences of a referendum and urged BSG members to campaign aggressively assuming the proposal goes to the student body, explaining that a striking down of the amendment could be a symbolic blow to the embrace of diversity and inclusivity.
“I think a sufficient amount of campaigning will be done, but we will get it,” said Mejia-Cruz.
In light of the recent security concerns, BSG unanimously agreed to request greater availability of shuttle services and increased lighting at the college houses.
Jacob Russell ’17, IHC representative, cited the sexual assault that took place on November 10 at Mayflower Apartments and an incident on November 17 where a student was grabbed from behind near Union Street and Potter street as reason for the requested increases in security.
In response to the continuing questions from Justin Pearson ’17 on the constitutionality of the appointment and subsequent internal election of Emily Serwer ’16 as Vice President for Student Organizations, BSG approved a change to the bylaws in order to “codify” the actions it took.
Pearson disagreed, claiming that the proposal does not codify actions and that the bylaw change is in fact unconstitutional and would have to go to the student body as a referendum.BSG approved the change, though it requires a second vote at its next meeting in order for the bylaw change to be official.
Cambodian exchange enters fifth year
Samphors Kean and Sopoan Keo—two exchange students from Cambodia—are part of a long line of Harpswell Foundation-sponsored students who get to experience “a first-class American college like Bowdoin” in the words of philanthropist and Harpswell Foundation founder Alan Lightman.
Both Keo and Kean explained that, while they were initially homesick and intimidated by coming to America, they are growing more comfortable and engaged with the Brunswick community.
“People smile to me, try to talk to me, and that’s enough. Just smiling is enough—it makes me feel at home,” said Kean.
Since it became an non-governmental organization (NGO) in 2007, the Harpswell Foundation’s mission has been to empower a new generation of female leadership in Cambodia. It has sent two female students to the College every year since 2011.
The foundation has built two dormitories in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, specifically for women so that they can not only attend a university but also have a safe place to live and learn in Harpswell Foundation classes.
“Boys can live in pagodas. They’re allowed to stay there, but for females, there’s no place for them, only renting houses,” said Keo. “It is difficult for them to rent a house. The conditions for those houses is not good. They don’t have the opportunity of classes like we have. They worry about food.”
Lightman, or “Dad,” as Keo and Kean affectionately call him, is an author and Professor of the Practice of the Humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He founded the Harpswell Foundation after a trip to Cambodia in 2004 when he met Veasna Chea, who had graduated from law school while living in the six-foot crawl space between the ground and a building due to the lack of available housing for female students.
Many of the foundation’s students are from extreme poverty, like Chea.
“I like the food at Bowdoin the most actually because I was born in a poor family,” said Kean. “When I was young, I had to share one egg with my sister, so that’s one egg with two people, but right now I can eat as many as I can.”
Both Kean and Keo work at Thorne Dining Hall as line servers, which enables them to work alongside Rany Soeun, a Cambodian immigrant who came to Maine in 2004.
“We work together, sit together, talk together in Khmer [Cambodia’s official language],” said Soeun. “They really love to be here—freedom, respect, feeling safe. I feel the same way, but we all complain about the cold.”
Soeun has been able to maintain contact with past Harpswell students who have gone back to Cambodia via Facebook and was able to see them this past summer when she returned to visit.Leah Alper ’16 was in Cambodia at the Harpswell Foundation this past summer as well, tutoring and teaching students in English and critical thinking.
“I loved it,” said Alper. “I was working with the Harpswell Foundation on a daily basis, living together with the students, doing whatever the women wanted to work on.”
Lightman explained that the partnership between his foundation and the College began when the College bestowed him with an honorary degree in 2005 and he befriended former president Barry Mills. The partnership between the foundation and Bowdoin is being reviewed according to Christine Wintersteen, director of off-campus study and international programs.Alper expressed her belief and hope that the partnership continues.
“Bowdoin has been in it since the beginning. I don’t see them getting out any time soon,” Alper said.
Katie Coleman ’16 also traveled to Cambodia this summer to teach art to young students, mostly boys, thanks to a Global Citizens Grant from the McKeen Center. While Coleman wants to return to Cambodia, her visit was also a trying time.
“Day to day, I had a really miserable time. It was hot, like 100 degrees, 100 percent humidity, my camera was fogging, my film was melting, I couldn’t talk to anyone, I was lonely, I was sick, I burned my leg on a motorcycle, I adopted a cat that was really really sick….and then it died like two days later,” said Coleman.
Coleman noted the culture shock that she experienced in Cambodia and the guilt she felt after becoming desensitized to the extreme poverty.
“I felt guilty about privilege, guilty about interacting with the kids. I felt guilty about leaving,” said Coleman. “I sort of felt like I was taking advantage of the things I was seeing.”
On one occasion, Coleman gave her students disposable cameras to take pictures of things they cared about. Upon reflecting on her own photography, she felt that her pictures couldn’t encapsulate the experience in the same way that the photos by her students could. Coleman’s exhibit, “Barang,” a collection of her students’ photos, is on display at the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance.
“I can’t really claim ownership of the photos [since they were taken by the students], but I think I can claim responsibility… I don’t have a conclusion on that,” said Coleman. “[The photos] are not contrived. They’re really honest.”
Juliet Eyraud ’16, who lived and worked at the Harpswell Foundation the summer after her first year at Bowdoin, has witnessed the evolution of the program and its effects at Bowdoin. Eyraud believes that the Harpswell Foundation is not only a more sustainable model as an NGO than most organizations, but that the community benefits from the students.
Lightman echoed these sentiments, explaining that Harpswell Foundation students have had experiences that few other students bring to the community, as Cambodia experienced a genocidal war between 1975 and 1979.
“Samphors and Sopoan represent the first generation after the genocide—these are the people who are going to rebuild the generation,” said Lightman. “Where they have come to get where they are, graduating university and then attending Bowdoin, is remarkable.”
Kean and Keo said that while there have been definite challenges to changing lifestyles so drastically, experiencing the freedoms of American culture has inspired them to achieve large goals when they return to Cambodia.
“I want to do educational policy and pursue graduate school if I can get a scholarship,” said Keo.
“My big goal—this might be impossible—is to open a university in Cambodia,” said Kean.
No Hate November focuses on bias incidents and diversity
Just two weeks after the sailing team’s “Gangsta Rap” themed party sparked controversy regarding cultural appropriation on campus, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) kicked off “No Hate November”, a month dedicated to shedding light on bias incidents and issues of diversity.
This will be the second time that BSG has dedicated the full month of November to focusing on issues of race and identity.
“We’re really hoping for it to be more proactive than reactive but now it looks reactive....especially considering how low-profile [No Hate November] was last year,” said Michelle Kruk ’16, vice president of BSG.
Kruk, who has worked on developing the No Hate November structure since fall 2013—when the bias incidents that galvanized BSG to create the month occurred—lamented the fact that this November’s programming may look reactive to recent campus incidents, but hoped that the charged conversations happening on campus would spur people to participate in this month’s events.
Vice President for Student Affairs Luke von Maur ’16 noted that one of the biggest shifts in this year’s event planning has been a stronger effort to reach out to different groups on campus, as both he and Kruk noted that minority students may have felt disaffected by a lack of outreach last year.
“Especially after what happened two weeks ago, we’re trying to make this issue more well known,” said von Maur. “I think after what happened at ‘Cracksgiving’ [last year], I think a lot of students felt removed from the event.”
Kruk explained that she hopes the scheduled events for November will cater not only to students who regularly engage with racial conversations, but also those who do not usually engage with issues of race or have been dissatisfied with race relations on campus.
“I think there are a lot of things that happen between interactions between students, faculty and staff that are incredibly problematic,” said Kruk.
Kruk explained that over the past week she has learned of numerous incidents of what she believes would have been considered bias incidents if they had been reported, and that there are “students of color who walk around this campus harboring very deeply hurtful racist instances that are shaping their Bowdoin experience.”
In addition to bringing back the photo installation in the David Saul Smith Union—something BSG organized in 2013 in light of bias incidents—Kruk and von Maur are hoping to assemble a collection of anonymous stories submitted by students who believe they were the victims of bias incidents or micro-aggressions.
In an attempt to better engage with the community on matters of race and identity, members of the BSG executive committee released an open letter at this week’s meeting, announcing some of their plans for the upcoming year. The letter was published in the Orient last week. BSG President Danny Mejia-Cruz ’16 said, “I think one of the problems BSG has is generally people don’t know about us and what we do, while the fact is, we have immense impact, and can have more impact.”
Harry Rube contributed to this report.
Pollitt calls on pro-choice movement to destigmatize abortion
Pro-choice and women’s rights advocate Katha Pollitt made the affirmative case for abortion rights being “good for society” in the kickoff event for Bowdoin’s NARAL [formerly known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League] Chapter last night in Kresge Auditorium.
Pollitt embraced the discomfort that comes with talking about abortion as beneficial medical procedure for society, saying that “if you’re sorry about your abortion, you can talk about it all you want” while women who do not regret their abortions, or had one for a pregnancy that resulted from voluntary sex, are shamed.
In an interview with the Orient, Pollitt noted that her position may “annoy” some people who are pro-life and explained that allowing and vigorously debating opposing and potentially offensive viewpoints is essential to understanding an issue.
“Maybe at Bowdoin, everything is just really great, but then there is the world outside the campus and that’s why I thought ‘what if Bowdoin students started an abortion fund for poor women in Maine?,’” said Pollitt.
“There’s all kinds of things people can do, but I think students are naturally focused on their campus, so if the problem doesn’t present itself on campus in a way that people know about it then nothing happens.”
Uma Blanchard ’17 and Rachel Baron ’17, the organizers of the event and founding members of Bowdoin’s NARAL chapter—which is yet to be officially chartered by the Student Organizations Oversight Committee—echoed Pollitt’s sentiment.
“I think Bowdoin is a little bit weird but there isn’t that much political action around the campus—it’s about consciousness raising and awareness and not that much about political action, which is why this is so important,” said Blanchard.
Pollitt added that part of what may contribute to a lack of activism within a student body is that lack of exposure to vastly different viewpoints may lead to a poor understanding of the issue at hand.
“Being offended is not the end of the world,” said Pollitt. “Maybe [pro-life advocates] do take offense, but they tend not to come to my talks, to my regret.”
Distinguished lecturer Susan Faludi, who helped facilitate the event, noted in an email to the Orient that she has known Pollitt for over 20 years, starting when they were both covering women’s rights issues as journalists.
Baron noted that their decision to bring Pollitt to campus now was timely, given Planned Parenthood’s recent media attention after several sting videos surfaced alleging that the organization has engaged in the illegal sale of fetal tissue.
Speaking directly about these incidents, Pollitt claimed that the videos “play into the stereotype that people have” of abortion clinics as “money grubbing, filthy, horrible places full of awful people.” She added that several major vaccinations were created following research done with voluntary fetal tissue donation.
“I don’t think too many people are going to say ‘I’m not going to let my child have a polio vaccine because that’s how it was developed,’” said Pollitt.
Pollitt, who is traveling around the country promoting her new book “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” explained that part of the reason she wrote her book is that the abortion debate is often “held on their [pro-life advocates’] turf,” and that forces women to justify their abortions.
“Now you find a lot of people saying ‘I’m not a feminist but’ and yet they say they want equal pay, they want reproductive rights, they want to be equal—so want the content of feminism but the word bothers them,” said Pollitt. “I think the word [feminism] bothers them because the stereotype of feminists put forward in the media is hairy legs, bra-burning, birkenstock-wearing, man hating.”
When asked about an April 22 column she wrote on why same-sex marriage advocates were winning legal victories while abortion advocates were stagnating, Pollitt was unsure if victories for the LGBT community helped or hurt women’s abortion and reproductive health rights. She cited her prediction that abortion rights were going to be restricted in Ireland due to conservative backlash after the country voted to legalize same-sex marriage but then realized that it actually galvanized support for abortion rights advocates.
Regarding the 2016 presidential election, Pollitt said that while she has thrown her support behind presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, her politics actually align more closely to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I do think it’s a good idea to think about electability,” said Pollitt. “I have the great fortune of living in New York state where our primary is a little bit delayed—if he [Sanders] is still in the race [during primary season], that would be amazing--that would be really astonishing and then I don’t know what I’d do.”
Textbook service Chegg met with mixed reviews
The College has transitioned this year from selling textbooks through an on-campus textbook center to using Chegg, an online book retailer and renting service. Although the switch was designed to save money and increase efficiency, some students report negative experiences with the platform.This was the first year that the College shut down the Textbook Center, formerly located in the basement of Coles Tower, and required that students purchase textbooks from online platforms.
“We changed the model that had been there for so long,” said Michael Tucker, course materials and general book manager, regarding the transition. Director of Dining and Bookstore Services Mary Kennedy cited the College’s 50 percent reduction in Textbook Center purchases over the past six years as part of a larger trend for book purchasing on college campuses across the country.
While some students were able to find cheaper options through Chegg, particularly when choosing to rent science and math textbooks, many students used other platforms due to cost savings or negative experience with Chegg.
“[Chegg] told me, ‘Oh, it’s a used copy but it’s in great condition,’ but I got it and the first 30 pages rip out and I’m missing chapters,” said Chase Savage ’16.
On Wednesday, Savage had to call Chegg because when he ordered two books for his Theravada Buddhism class, he actually received two books on taxation policies for corporations.
Savage noted that Chegg had helpful customer service who refunded him all shipping charges for his purchases. However, he characterized his overall experience as negative.
“I ordered books in the middle of August and some of them still haven’t come,” said Savage. “I’m definitely using Amazon [not Chegg next semester].”
Kennedy explained that while the College considered Amazon during the process of selecting the new textbook platform, Amazon prefers to work with large institutions that are near their distribution centers.
According to Tucker, the College has been working on the transition with Chegg for the past 10 months.
“As a small college, our limited buying power made it difficult to procure books at competitive rates,” said Kennedy. “We spent the entire summer working with Chegg—they’re committed to making this work.”
While the transition to online-only textbook purchase and rental may be a more efficient choice for the College, some students wish that the Textbook Center still existed.
“I get the whole ‘have an online textbook service’ and that there is an efficiency aspect to it, but I still don’t understand why we don’t have a textbook place on campus to deal with these questions,” said Savage.
Not all functions of the Textbook Center have been made obsolete; periphery materials for science labs, art materials and certain textbooks—usually written by Bowdoin professors—which are not yet available for public purchase have been moved to The Bowdoin Store in the David Saul Smith Union.
New Bowdoin app replaces Orbit, boosts calendar use
Courtesy of the new Bowdoin College Guide app, students now have a multitude of Bowdoin-centric information at their fingertips. The app—downloadable for free on the App Store and Google Play—includes a school calendar, dining menus, laundry and OneCard information, news, maps and other information. Originally developed to aid visitors coming to campus for events like class reunions and Commencement Weekend, the app was upgraded this past spring to serve as a tool for students.
“[The app] turned out to be incredibly successful over the last couple of years. We thought it’d be nice if there was a consistent guide for everyone to use, particularly students,” said Director of Digital and Social Media Holly Sherburne.
Sherburne, along with Senior Interactive Developer David Francis and Technology Integration Specialist Juli Haugen, began to upgrade and rebrand the event app. Additions to the app include “The Bowdoin Guide,” the primary tool for students within the app.
Since its start last spring, the Bowdoin app has been installed more than 2,200 times. The Bowdoin Guide within the app has been installed 1,658 times, with about 600 of those installations coming since August 22. iPhone users represent 85 percent of downloads, while 15 percent of downloads came from Android users.
Additional guides will be available for special campus events, such as Homecoming, Family Weekend, Commencement Weekend, Reunion and First Year Orientation. Guides for Homecoming and President Rose’s Inauguration are currently available.
This work coincided with a request from Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) for the creation of a better student calendar.
“It was something that few students looked at and that faculty and staff just crowded. It served no purpose because no one looked at it,” said BSG President Danny Mejia-Cruz ’16.
“The Orbit was created and it never reached its full potential,” Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze said. “This past year [students said], ‘It comes at 11:11 and I delete it.’”
Mejia-Cruz said that many students complain about the Orbit, claiming that student organizations never use it as was originally intended.
“We want to get rid of it, we will be getting rid of it if it’s the last thing I do,” said Mejia-Cruz. While the Campus Digest still alerts students by email about announcements and events, the app aims to make information—particularly calendars—more accessible and more frequently updated.
“We’re trying to streamline a calendar system so people across campus can look and see what’s going on in Reed House, in athletics, in the government department, all in one location,” said Hintze.
Attempts have already been made to promote app use. Student Activities introduced the app to club leaders at a training meeting earlier this month, while first years could learn about the app at a table set up in the David Saul Smith Union during First Year Orientation. Posters will soon be going up around campus, though Sherburne said she hopes the app will gain traction from word of mouth.
While currently focusing on promoting the calendar, Student Activities and Information Technology shared hopes to expand the scope of the app. The app already overlaps with the popular student dining app, which includes similar features of dining menus and OneCard information.
“The pinnacle would be if we could figure out how to get Safe Ride information on there…so you’ll have the phone numbers for Safe Ride shuttle and Brunswick Taxi right there,” Hintze said.
Students can download the new app at http://bowdo.in/app.
Campus prepares for 150th Ivies Weekend
It’s party time.
Ivies weekend officially began on Thursday night with performances by Tree Farm and Reel Big Fish in Smith Union, but the College has been gearing up all week.
The Meddiebempsters and the Longfellows got in on the Ivies hype, performing an ‘Ivies Kickoff Concert’ on Wednesday evening in the Chapel, as did a group who staged the second annual Bowdoin Night Live on Wednesday evening in Kresge Auditorium.
All week, Ivies was inevitably the subject of many conversations, as students began purchasing apparel and water bottles on Monday and rushed to finish homework before the events officially commenced on Thursday.
The fun has only just begun though. Today, the Student Activities Office is hosting an event on the quad of Brunswick Apartments in the afternoon and a party at the Harpswell apartments this evening. The main event comes tomorrow with performances from The White Panda and Logic, which will take place in Farley Field House for the second year in a row due to unpredictable weather forecasts and a muddy Whittier Field. The doors open at 2 p.m. and performances start at 3 p.m.
Some students expressed disappointment about the concert moving indoors, but the potential bad weather does not seem to have dampened all excitement on campus.
“I’m really excited to spend some quality time with my friends and enjoy great music and the outdoors,” said Devoe Arnold ’18.
“I’m going to be excited, I’m just not there yet—I’m still doing homework,” said Maddie Daily ’16. “Also, [Hatch Science Library] will be open on Saturday because I’ll be working.”
This year’s celebration marks the 150th anniversary of the Bowdoin Ivy Day tradition, but acknowledgement of that milestone or of the event’s history has so far been minimal.
While the Ivies hype is pervasive, some campus organizations have recognized that a drunken, sweaty and crowded concert does not appeal to everyone and have scheduled alternative events. Counseling Services and The Bowdoin Outing Club will hold a self care retreat at the Coastal Studies Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Planning and Changes
The Entertainment Board (eBoard) has been busy planning the Ivies lineup for months. In October, it conducted a survey of students’ preferences, which it used to narrow down the list of possible performers. The eBoard also considered factors such as cost and availability before finalizing contracts and releasing an announcement video in early March.
This year for the first time, there will be porta-potties placed in the parking lot of Brunswick Apartments between apartment units L and M on Friday.
“We have porta-potties at Brunswick Quad, so use them,” said Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze. “There was some damage to doors [last year] for people wanting to get into rooms to use restrooms.”
Hintze noted that there are not many significant changes being made to the different activities and protocols for the weekend. Since the concert was held indoors last year, the College is better prepared to hold the concert indoors if necessary this year.
On Monday, Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols emphasized the importance of safety in his annual “SurvIvies Guide” email to the entire campus.
Nichols wrote that he and the Office of Safety and Security will be focused on mitigating the effects of risky behavior.
“Our goal is always to get through it without any injuries or arrests or worse,” said Nichols.Security has added staff for the weekend and will maintain a sizable and visible presence at and around all of the major events.
Nichols said he expects to spend the night on a cot he sets up in his office. Associate Director of Safety and Security David Profit will be sleep in a hotel in Brunswick to be closer to campus. While Bowdoin students pose a threat for risky behavior, Nichols said that students’ visitors and local residents have traditionally caused the most problems.
As they have in recent years, guests from other schools are required to register with the Student Activities Office and pay $30 for entrance to the Saturday concert at Whittier Field.
Nichols said that this policy minimizes disruptions because it makes students accountable for their guests’ conduct. He added that Security will not hesitate to confront a troublesome visitor.“If we do have a problem with a guest, we take it very seriously. We’ll remove the guest from campus and we’ll also notify their college—if they’re a college student—for any follow up action that they might take,” he said.
The Brunswick Police Department is aware of the event but will not be increasing staffing or patrols according to Commander of Support Services Mark Waltz.
“We do routine patrol unless we get called,” he said in a phone call with the Orient.The College also hopes to mitigate potential health threats by making lots of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.
Super Snack will be closed today and Saturday. This afternoon there will be a snack truck serving tacos and wraps at the Brunswick Apartments Quad and tonight there will be hot dogs and pizza sponsored by BSG in the Harpswell Apartments parking lot.
Dining Services will supply food at the Saturday afternoon concert and BSG is sponsoring a hot dog cart and pizza deliveries for a party at Pine Street Apartments Saturday evening. The College will provide water at each event.
40 students to rally in Augusta for climate justice
On Saturday, Maine Students For Climate Justice (MSCJ) will hold a rally in Augusta to draw attention to issues of climate change and to pressure lawmakers to ensure that Maine’s economic development is environmentally sustainable. MSCJ is demanding that the the state of Maine refrain from building any new fossil fuel infrastructure.
At the time of publication, an estimated 500 students from across the state of Maine are expected to gather in front of the Capitol Building in Augusta. Forty students from the College are expected to attend.
This rally comes a week after Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA), a primary member of MSCJ, ended its sit-in for fossil fuel divestment on the second floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Hall outside President Barry Mills’s office.
While Bowdoin students from BCA, Green Bowdoin Alliance,and Sustainable Bowdoin are among the primary organizers for the rally in Augusta, MSCJ is a state-wide alliance. Other participating institutions of higher education include Colby College, Bates College, the University of Maine, and Unity College.
Michael Butler ’17, a member of BCA and MSCJ, is the master of ceremonies for the event.“All these different schools are coming together and are basically calling on Governor [Paul] LePage to seriously address climate change,” said Butler. “He is such a symbol of climate denialism.”
While anyone is invited to attend the rally, Butler expects most of those in attendance to be college students.
“[The name of the rally is] called Generation Climate Rising, so it’s very focused on our generation— the power that we have to make a change,” said Julia Berkman-Hill ’17.Organizers of the event will be hosting a press conference in the morning and will proceed to march through Augusta, from the Capitol Building to the governor’s mansion, the Blaine House.
“There’s been nothing like this in a very long time and it’s certainly going to galvanize the conversation in Maine,” said Butler.
“There’s going to be a large group of high school students from the Portland area,” said University of Southern Maine student organizer Iris SanGiovanni. “We’ve got buses leaving from Portland, Ellsworth, and Bangor.”
SanGiovanni, who will be liaising between Maine Students for Climate Justice and local police forces, explained that there are no planned arrests for Saturday and that the event is largely to galvanize support.
“We’re here for the long haul, we’re committed, we’re prepared to work with legislators and if things don’t start moving forward, we’re prepared to also escalate,” she said.
Logic, White Panda, Reel Big Fish to perform at Ivies
Ska punk band Reel Big Fish will kick off Ivies on Thursday, April 23, with experimental electronic act The White Panda opening on Saturday and rapper Logic playing later that afternoon.
Student reactions were mixed, with most of the excitement geared toward Reel Big Fish and White Panda, some students were not familiar with any of the acts.
“I don’t know any of the bands that are coming—that might just be me living under a rock,” said Selena Lorrey ’16.
“Honestly, I’ve never heard of any of them… From my understanding the music is not the most important part of Ivies,” said Mac Brower ’16.
According to Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze, the Entertainment Board (eBoard) decided to change the typical Ivies model, which usually features Racer X on Thursday night and two bands on Saturday. The eBoard declined to comment for this story.
“They try to get all the different genres that students like—it seemed like a good thing to try to put the indie-rock act on Thursday night and have the DJ and rapper on Saturday, just to try things a little bit different,” said Hintze.
Hintze expects that there will be between 1,800 and 2,500 students attending Ivies with an additional 500 for the performances on Saturday.
“I’m excited about Reel Big Fish, but I’m guessing I’m in the minority,” said Katie Coleman ’16. “I’m exited to have something different from the past two years—I’m consistently surprised by the choices [the eBoard makes].”
Hintze declined to specify the eBoard’s operating budget or how much any act is getting paid some contracts stipulate that the College cannot say how much the performers charge, he said, adding that the College finalized the contracts two weeks before Spring Break.
None of the performers could be reached by the time of publication.
Notably absent from this year’s performers is Racer X—the professor comprised 80s cover band that has performed at most Ivies in recent years.
“I’m pretty excited [for Ivies performances], pretty sad Racer X isn’t performing because it’s my senior year, but I’ll survive,” said Kristen Nocka ’15.
Professors peek in on student life with Yik Yak
While students largely consider Yik Yak to be a peer-dominated outlet for anonymous posting, faculty members are not naïve when it comes to the “Yakking” phenomenon.
“I’m a little surprised that much of the chatter can fit into three categories,” said Assistant Professor of German Jens Klenner. “The weather, food—in its various stages of production, whether before or after digestion—and sex life on campus.”
Yik Yak is a social media app used for posting anonymous messages that has become popular at Bowdoin over the past two years. Users can view the messages, or “Yaks,” within a 10-mile radius and vote on whether a Yak is good or bad. However, the students are not the only ones drawn to the app.
“You would be surprised by the number of faculty members across this campus that have Yik Yak on their phone,” said Klenner.
Faculty members have found it both enjoyable and surprising to observe the sentiments that unguarded students have expressed.
“It’s really fascinating, you get access to this collective id of Bowdoin,” said Assistant Professor of English Maggie Solberg. “A lot of us study human nature, it’s hard not to be interested in Yik Yak. You’re here—you’re an anthropologist, you’re a sociologist, you’re not going to use this tool?”
Solberg explained that while at times Yik Yak can be too sobering to her view of the student body, it provides an unusual insight into the campus zeitgeist.
“You really put your finger on the pulse of the culture,” said Solberg.
Visiting Instructor in History and Asian Studies Tristan Grunow noted that while he no longer has the app, he enjoys talking to colleagues about the Yik Yak culture on campus.
“When I had it, when we [faculty members] would get together and hang out, we would read through it and be like ‘Oh, that’s kind of funny,’” said Grunow. “I saw a lot of jokes about pooping.”
Despite all the fecal and sex jokes, Solberg explained that after talking to colleagues at other colleges about their Yik Yak culture, Bowdoin’s level of discussion was far more enlightened.
“I remember us junior faculty joking how nerdy the Bowdoin Yik Yak voice is,” said Solberg. “It’s very charming; it’s a very intellectual Yik Yak; it’s often very high minded.”
However, Solberg explained that reading it became too depressing during finals period and she has since deleted the app.
“The level of hysteria during exams? It reminded me of myself as an undergrad and as a high school student, but it’s a part of yourself, as an adult, that you want to forget,” she said.
While he enjoys actively reading the usually clever and humorous Yaks, Klenner noted anonymity can lend itself to abusive language or hate speech.
While Grunow, Klenner and Solberg all explained that they do not Yak nor know any professor who has, Klenner shared a story he heard.
“I’ve heard of one incident where someone [a faculty member] made a comment in response to racial slurs,” said Klenner. “It was before my time here.“
“When I was in college, ‘Yakking’ meant ‘throwing up,’ added Grunow. “It’s almost relieving—these are normal students that have normal frustrations.”
Search for director of center for multicultural life begins
The College will hire a director for the recently-approved Student Center for Multicultural Life by this summer. The director will work to develop and coordinate multicultural-oriented programs and events.
The idea of creating a new multicultural center with a new director began in fall 2013, when Dean Leana Amaez led a committee to reassess her position, its responsibilities, and how it could better serve the College.
“I began working on the center two years ago,” said Amaez. “We met with a group, came up with a proposal, gave it to Dean [of Student Affairs] Tim Foster and he said ‘This is fantastic, but it looks like another job.’”
Once Amaez returned from maternity leave last summer, the conversation picked up again and details were finalized during the fall semester.
The College’s Multicultural Life has traditionally been supportive of student-led programs and activism but Amaez and Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the David Saul Smith Union Allen Delong explained that the College has been looking to have college-led programs.
“Bowdoin continues to evolve in this really beautiful way—if you look at the demographic of the student body and in some ways, you all have evolved quicker with our administrative structures,” said Delong. “We’re good, but we have students come to campus with a really sophisticated vocabulary in their own identities in a way where they didn’t when I went to college.”
The new Center and its director’s office will be located at 30 College Street and will share the space with the Student Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. However, the Center will host some events and programming at the John Brown Russwurm African American Center as well.
“Russworm has a historical place in the College and 30 College Street houses Multicultural life,” said Amaez. “The Center is comprised of two sister spaces.”
The director will serve to centralize and coordinate various programs from different organizations at the College such as the McKeen Center, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center.
“Really, this position will serve as the hub on the wheel,” said Delong. “This person will be the central clearinghouse to ensure that if there are areas that we can improve, then we’ll do that.”
“I can’t tell you exactly how this Center is going to evolve,” said Foster. “But I have no doubt that when we look back on this a year, two, three years from now, we’re going to see a vibrant Center that’s offering lots of programing but also support for the community in ways that are going to be pretty exciting for the place.”
Amaez and Delong intend on posting the position publically and finish assembling the search committee of faculty, staff and students by next week.
“When I think about a year or two from now, I think the question will be ‘what did we do before without this person?’” said Delong.
Public urination a growing problem for College Houses
College houses are struggling to address this year’s increase in urine-related damages in public spaces.
The rugby team’s annual toga party “Epicuria” at Ladd House was the most egregious night for urination in public spaces, according to President of the Inter-House Council (IHC) Jillian Burk ’16.
“‘Inches of pee’ is the quote we were given,” said Burk, referring to a meeting she had with the Office of Residential Life (Res Life).
But according to Burk, “unprecedented amounts of pee” have been discharged in hallways, public rooms, stairwells, and other public spaces in college houses throughout this semester.
“My roommate was at a party in Helmreich House and saw a boy who shall not be named peeing in our trash can,” said resident Mimi Paz ’17.
Assistant Director of Residential Life Mariana Centeno explained that Res Life wants students to be respectful of the living spaces of house members and that urinating on their living space is highly disrespectful for the house members and the College.
Members of the IHC think that the problem is largely due to a shortage of available bathrooms during registered events.
“It is a form of damage to the house, but people don’t often think about it at the time,” said Burk.
According to Burk, the Office of Residential Life informed the IHC that the excessive urination may lead to rodent problems.
“There are mice. I hear them every night,” said Paz. “Over Fall Break, one girl [in our house] saw one.”
Burk explained that there have been conversations about having College Houses have one porta-potty per registered keg, but the idea was dismissed because it would force College House residents to incur high costs for other students’ offenses.
While the College hasn’t created a new policy for addressing the urination, the IHC has encouraged house members to try to get the names of urinating students so that they may be held responsible for the damages.
However, Centeno explained that she has not had any students turned in for their transgressions, though Burk noted that some students were held accountable for urinary damages last year.
“Pee’s nasty” said Centeno.
Student quarantined in Coles Tower for three days
Due to a suspicion that a rash potentially could have been chickenpox, Health Services requested that Maya Norman ’17 voluntarily isolate herself from October 28-30.
“They didn’t really know what it was, but they thought it might be chicken pox—even though I was vaccinated twice when I was younger and I had been very much exposed [to chickenpox as a child],” said Norman.
On Monday, October 27, Norman developed a rash and went to the Health Center where they made an appointment for the next day.
Norman received an evaluation Tuesday morning, was called back several hours later to take a blood test to diagnose her rash, and then was visited later in the day by Director of Health Services Birgit Pols and Lisa Rendall, associate director of housing operations
Pols explained to Norman that while they were not sure if she had chickenpox, the potential for it was serious enough that she would have to temporarily live alone in a crash room in Coles Tower.
“They told me it would take a couple days to get the results back,” said Norman.
Once it had been determined that she did not have chickenpox, Norman was assured that she could move back to her residence immediately.
“They worded it very perfectly I think,” said Norman. “They were like, ‘We don’t want you to leave, but there’s no lock on the door.’”
In an email to the Orient, Pols explained that the College does not quarantine students, but it frequently asks them to “voluntarily isolate themselves,” and will occasionally work with the Office of Residential Life to relocate students so that they do not use a shared bathroom.Norman did not leave her crash room in Coles Tower for three days, and Pols advised her to only allow visitors who had been vaccinated against chickenpox or had previously had the disease.
Once blood test results determined that Norman did not have chickenpox, Pols informed Norman that she could move back to her Ladd House residence.
The next day, Norman went to the Mid Coast Walk-In clinic where she was prescribed medication for her rash, as the College’s Health Center had only provided her over-the-counter prescription medication. The Health Center has since made appointments for Norman with a local dermatologist.
Regarding the process and treatment by the College for her temporary relocation, Norman only had one qualm.
“I definitely feel like they weren’t really investigating a plan B when I was quarantined,” said Norman. “I felt like they could’ve been looking into what else it could be, because the likelihood of it being chickenpox given my medical history wasn’t incredibly high.”
BCA petition overstates student support for divestment
Citing the 1,200 signatures it has collected for a petition that was created in the fall of 2012, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) says that it has a mandate from the student body to pressure the College to divest from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. The Orient took a closer look at the petition and concluded that BCA has overstated student support for this cause.
Last week, the Orient obtained the physical copies of petitions that BCA presented to President Barry Mills on April 18. BCA declined to share its current petition, which it claims has 1,200 signatories. Instead, BCA offered the Orient a list of the signatories who had also pledged to volunteer for BCA’s divestment campaign.
“Normally, petition signatures are meant for the target, which was the College, the president, and the Board of Trustees,” said Matthew Goodrich ’15, a leader of BCA. “We had concerns about privacy.”
When BCA presented the petition to Mills, it claimed that 1,000 students had indicated their support for divestment. After examining the individual petitions, the Orient determined that 923 total signatures were given to Mills. Among these signatures, there were 60 duplicates, four triplicates, 14 crossed-out names, and 16 illegible names, bringing the total number of valid petition signatories to 825.
In addition to numerical discrepancy between BCA’s claims and the actual number of valid signatures given to Mills, the petition—which BCA publicly presented as one divestment petition—was in fact comprised of two differently-phrased petitions.
The petition used during the beginning of the divestment campaign begins with the bolded declaration, “I Believe Carbon Neutral Means Carbon Free,” and uses the word “divest” only once, at the end of the petition. This petition was signed by 469 out of the 923 signatures.The remaining 454 signatures were attached to a statement which referred exclusively to divestment. It states in bold font: “I believe Bowdoin should divest its endowment from fossil fuels in recognition that climate change is a moral issue.”
Goodrich explained that in the fall of 2012, BCA had discussed the feasibility of the College discontinuing its use of natural gas with Mills and after he made it clear that doing so was not feasible, the language of the petition was altered to focus exclusively on climate change.
The Orient conducted two separate unscientific surveys between October 27-29, sending one to signatories of the “Carbon Free” petition and one to signatories of the “Divest” petition. The same question—“Do you currently support the movement for Bowdoin College to divest from fossil fuels?”—was presented to each of the survey groups.
Out of 160 respondents who signed the “Divest” petition, 42 percent responded “Yes,” 26 percent responded “No,” 29 percent responded “I don’t feel informed enough to make a decision,” and three percent responded “No opinion.”
Out of 72 respondents who signed the “Carbon Free” petition, 36 percent responded “Yes,” 41 percent responded “No,” 22 percent responded “I don’t feel informed enough to make a decision” and one percent responded “No opinion.”
In all, 40 percent of signatories stated that they still supported divestment.
Goodrich said that the messages of the petitions are not contradictory despite their different wording.
“I think that people who signed [the “Carbon Free” petition] are calling for a greater mandate—a greater re-evaluation for Bowdoin’s sustainability,” said Goodrich. “I think that those are both divestment signatures. The wording is different but the actual message of divestment is on both.”
After learning about the the survey data, Goodrich attributed the difference in support between the petitions and the survey to the College’s announcement in April 2013 that divestment could cost the College $100 million over the next 10 years.
Since April, BCA claims to have added an additional 200 signatories to its petition, with most of them coming from first-year students, according to Goodrich. The petition now includes signatures from seven class years—2012 to 2018—although only “a handful” are members of the Class of 2012, according to Allyson Gross ’16, a member of BCA.
“Last year, as well as this year, we’ve had 1,000 students who signed our petition,” said Goodrich last week. “The campus community has spoken. We built that support for divestment.”
Goodrich stood behind the petition this week.
“We’re not speaking for anyone. The people who put their names down have, on their own free will, said they support this…this is what they have said. We’re sort of the mediators because we’re the ones who are most passionate about divestment—we’re the ones who presented to the Trustees.”
BCA member Bridget McCoy ’15 said in an interview last week that while BCA speaks for the majority of students, those most involved with the campaign are likely more informed than the rest of the student body.
“Signing onto divestment means you support it, but I’m sure there’s a variety of what people think, said McCoy. “We really want to promote discourse and discussion—we don’t want to trick people or anything like that.”
BCA, which stated in its slideshow presentation to the Trustees that it has a mandate from Bowdoin students to persuade the College to divest from fossil fuel companies, has repeatedly noted the force its petition carries. Last week, Gross referred to the meeting between the Trustees and members of BCA as a meeting 1,200 students had asked for.
“I think the 1,200 number must have had an influence on [Mills’] view on whether or not we had to meet with the group,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Deborah Jensen Barker.A meeting between BCA and the Board’s Student Affairs Committee—organized by Mills—took place on October 17.
Though BCA has said that the petition is representative of student support, the Orient found numerous cases of signatories that were not even students, including two visiting teaching assistants from the Department of Romance Languages, several college employees, and a local business owner who sells hand-crafted jewelry in front of the Polar Express in Smith Union.
“I’d like to highlight the passion that the students have brought to this issue—particularly members of BCA—in addition to the folks that came out to gave the petition to President Mills and the folks that came out to show support with the trustees,” said Goodrich in this week’s interview.
Although the counts of the physical signatures and the survey of the signatories raises questions about the number of students who fully support divestment, there is no doubt that a sizeable portion of the Bowdoin faculty think the College should divest from fossil fuels. In the October 17 issue of the Orient, 70 faculty members published a letter urging the Board of Trustees to divest.
“The faculty letter with 70 names—I think that shows how much this issue has grown,” said Goodrich. “We really wanted the faculty to engage with us; we asked and they did. It shows that this is something that doesn’t just concern the students but also involves faculty members...It’s good to know they have our back.”
The letter was shaped out of two separate draft letters, one primarily authored by Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences Nat Wheelwright, Senior Lecturer in Romance Languages Genie Wheelwright, and Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Hadley Horch with assistance from Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Lichter. The other draft was primarily written by English Professor David Collings.
“I think it would’ve been a shame to have 1,000 Bowdoin students calling for divestment and then have the faculty sit on the sidelines, despite the fact that we teach it in our classroom—the importance of climate change—and not to take any action,” said Wheelwright, who did not know about the Orient’s examination of the petitions given to Mills.
Originally, Collings opposed divestment because he thought that the movement asked for a largely symbolic commitment without inducing a direct economic or environmental effect. He said that his opinion changed once the faculty letter added language calling for action beyond divestment, including carbon taxes, the end of federal oil subsidies, and a call to lobby the federal government.
“That’s a statement of principle—a statement of value,” said Collings regarding divestment. “We’re aligning [the College’s] financial investments with its values. As an ethical and moral statement, it’s completely coherent. I buy it.”
Lichter agreed, citing two people who influenced his decision: professor of economics emeritus David Vail and environmentalist author Wendell Berry.
“David Vail basically said symbolism is important,” said Lichter. “He argued that that’s important—to get public sentiment moving in the right direction.”
Lichter, who published an op-ed in April that called for alternatives to divestment, noted that while he now supports divestment on ethical and moral grounds, students and community members still need to focus on more influential targets.
“They could basically get an appointment with Angus King or Susan Collins when they’re here—they could do it,” said Lichter. “I think there’s good reasons why good people don’t want to do this.”
Associate Professor of Economics Guillermo Herrera, who did not sign the faculty letter, noted that while he is respectful of how the movement has galvanized student activism, he remains skeptical of the notion that divestment could alter corporate or consumer behavior.
“The problem is that carbon emission and fossil fuel use is underpriced by the market,” said Herrera. “I feel like the right action is one that attempts to make the price correct—to align the price with what it should be socially.”
Herrera suggested an alternative solution in which the College imposes a carbon tax on itself in order to reflect the true social costs of carbon emissions. Holding itself to this tax level—determined by a consensus of economists—could affect both the College’s energy and investment decisions as well as corporate and consumer behavior.
“I feel like the divestment path is maybe a second best path,” said Herrera. “There may be better ways to do it. Those deserve some serious consideration.”
Assistant Professor of Economics Stephen Meardon—who did not sign the faculty letter—said that it was inappropriate for professors to advocate contested political and moral positions as representatives of the College.
“What are the appropriate policies, in light of their distributive consequences, is not a scientific question,” said Meardon. “It’s a political and moral question, and it’s contested, and the College should not be weighing in on that.”
Meardon called into question some of the tenets of the faculty letter, specifically citing the letter’s call for divestment as an “important educational gesture.”
“The college should definitely try to help students acquire knowledge and analytical skills that are relevant to understanding the consequences of fossil fuel consumption on climate,” said Meardon. “‘Educational gesture’ is exactly that kind of conflation of scientific with moral; of an academic purpose with an advocacy purpose. I think that those purposes should be kept separate.”
Meardon asserted that not only would divestment from fossil fuels undermine the College’s purposes as an academic institution, it runs the risk of attracting students and faculty only of “like minds” and deterring those who may have differing opinions.
“The faculty should never stand behind students in their political engagement—not on any political action that is contested,” said Meardon.
Wheelwright said that while more forceful action is needed in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, he heard few credible arguments against divestment when meeting with about 20 faculty members to discuss the proposed letter.
“We saw this as joining a broad, energetic social movement that we haven’t seen practically since the Vietnam War, that has some legs and the potential to change the national conversation,” said Wheelwright. “If educational institutions don’t get out in front of this issue, 40 years from now, populations will be half as big as they are today.”
—Ron Cervantes, Natalie Kass-Kaufman and Kate Witteman contributed to this report.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article miscontrued a statement made by Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Meardon. The article said that he found it inappropriate for faculty members to engage in political and moral questions, when he meant that it was inappropriate for faculty members to advocate contested poltical and moral positions as representatives of the College. The article has been updated to correct this error.
BCA presents divestment proposal to Trustees
Last Friday, students from Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) met with members of the College’s Board of Trustees in the Cram Alumni Barn to discuss BCA’s proposal for the College to divest from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies within five years.
Four members of BCA—Allyson Gross ’16, Matthew Goodrich ’15, Bridget McCoy ’15 and Claire Belitz ’17—gave a 25-minute presentation followed by about 20 minutes of questions and discussion with the trustees in attendance.
“I think our presentation couldn’t have gone better,” said Goodrich. “I think it’s a victory alone that we were able to present to the Trustees.”
BCA’s presentation focused on four different topics: climate change, the history of divestment, the financial logistics of divestment and the ethical argument for why Bowdoin should divest from fossil fuels.
Questions and comments from trustees focused on both the consequences of climate change and the Board’s position when considering divestment.
“We had some questions we hadn’t necessarily anticipated,” said McCoy. “Some of them were climate change-related and we were more expecting divestment-related questions.”
Trustees pressed BCA representatives on other issues, such as the extent to which the Board might consider environmental consequences in the rest of its investments, why most institutions have not divested, and the differences between past divestment movements, like the divestment from Sudan.
Most trustees were impressed with the students’ level of professionalism and effort during the meeting, according to Chair of the Board Deborah Jensen Barker ’80 P’16.
“I think it was exciting and refreshing for the Board to see a group learning about a subject, following their passions, and continuing to learn and engage,” said Barker.
BCA is hoping for an answer from the trustees by December, or a vote from the entire Board on divestment by February.
“Barry [Mills] has been an outspoken critic of divestment in the past; things have changed since then,” said Goodrich, referring to the faculty letter published last week in which 70 faculty members gave their support to the divestment movement and efforts to mitigate climate change.
President Barry Mills organized the meeting between the Trustees and BCA last April after being presented with a student petition calling for divestment. Mills chose not to attend the meeting on Friday in order to allow a freer discussion among the students and trustees.
Mills expressed that while his stance on the issue has not changed and that he respects the activism of BCA, the petition to divest from fossil fuels is inconsistent with the College’s precedent for divestment set in 2006 when the College’s Advisory Committee on Darfur set “guiding principles” for considering issues of divestment.
Mills was unsure if the topic will be discussed or voted upon when the Board of Trustees convenes in February and explained that the Trustees always have the potential to address the issue.
“They listened to the students,” said Mills. “The decision to divest is always in the Trustees’ court—it didn’t move, it was always there, it’s always been there.”
The Trustees told BCA the next step would be to consult Mills on the matter.
While various committees of the Board of Trustees normally meet simultaneously, the Student Affairs Committee held this meeting at a separate venue and time in order to allow available trustees to attend if they wanted to. Approximately half of the 44-member Board of Trustees attended.
Upon exiting, the trustees were greeted by a crowd of approximately 60 people holding signs and posters, thanking them for holding the meeting with the students. Barker explained that while the Trustees were not sure what to expect, they were cheered for and thanked by the students and community members outside.
“It was a positive tone to really appreciate the fact that they listened to the 1,200 students who asked for this meeting,” said Gross.
Security increases presence at Epicuria, one student transported
The men’s rugby team’s annual toga party at Ladd House, Epicuria, was more successful in terms of student safety than previous years, thanks to increased security measures from the Office of Safety and Security.
“There was one transport [to Mid Coast Hospital] associated with Epicuria—a first year female student,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. “Two years ago, we had four transports; one is too many but at least we’re going in the right direction.”Epicuria is one of the busiest nights of the year for Security, so a number of new security procedures were put in place this year, including a larger officer presence around Ladd House and an increased number of wellness checks.
In order to keep the event safe, Security added three extra shift supervisors on top of their normal Saturday night staff.
One of the most frequent problems Security encountered at the event was public urination. One student was caught urinating in a Ladd House hallway and has been reported to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
“It was a little ridiculous this year with the amount of urine flowing around,” said Nichols.
The event organizers—the men’s rugby team and Ladd House residents—held several meetings with members of Security and the Office of Residential Life, which is unusual, even for a campus-wide party.
“It was a really bumping party that one doesn’t often see at Bowdoin and no one got into trouble or was unsafe, so it went as well as we could’ve asked for,” said rugby team captain Varun Wadia ’15.
The Office of Student Activities contributed to keeping the event safe as well by renting a taco truck and having it stationed in front of Ladd House. They also provided an inflatable bouncy castle in front of Osher Hall.
“I thought they [Security] did a good job monitoring the event without being overbearing,” said Christian Boulanger ’15, a member of the rugby team’s senior leadership. “Having the taco truck outside was pretty nice, it gave people an opportunity to get out of the heat.”
“That’s a carry over from a strategy we used during Ivies,” said Nichols, referring to the taco truck. “We have found that by providing copious amounts of pizza and other food items, we are able to affect safety in a positive way.”
Despite the several live bands that played during the night, noise levels were kept low enough that the College did not receive any noise complaints from town residents this year, though they have in years past.
“The police did not get a call associated with Epicuria at all this year,” said Nichols. “When you put on a toga, sometimes you act a little differently.”
This year’s Epicuria stood in stark contrast to the infamous 2012 toga party, a night during which the College determined that the rugby team had violated its hazing policy. The events of the party led the president and the vice president of Ladd to voluntarily step down, and to security increasing alcohol security. On the night of the 2012 Epicuria, four students were transported—two from Ladd, one from Coleman and one from the off-campus Union Street house—and two students were cited for underage drinking at Union Street.
Summer construction to boost College’s energy efficiency
Students returned to a more energy efficient campus last week thanks to numerous renovations and upgrades that took place over the summer.
“Some summers [have] more smaller projects, sometimes we have bigger ones and less smaller ones,” said Director of Facilities Operations Ted Stam. “We had a few bigger ones this year.” One of this year’s biggest projects was the renovations of the third and fourth floors of Coles Tower—the first phase of the College’s plan to renovate the entire building. For the next four years, several floors will be renovated each summer until the entire Tower has been revamped.
“A lot of what we did you can’t see,” said John Simoneau, capital projects manager. In addition to renovating the two floors, the College replaced the Tower’s original 1952 electrical system and made numerous masonry repairs on the exterior of the building. Work began June 6 and was finished by August 20.
Thanks to a gift from the Class of 1953, as well as grant from the George I. Alden Trust, the College was also able to refurbish Hubbard Hall’s west classroom, now called the Thomas R. Pickering Room. The room boasts new rugs, desks, lighting and audiovisual technology, and window shades and its acoustics have been improved. The classroom will be officially dedicated on October 20.
Another of the large projects took place at the former Stevens Home at 52 Harpswell Road, when it was converted into chem-free student housing. The building now houses 35 upperclassmen. The College also relocated the organic garden to the back of the property. The building required a complete overhaul—nearly everything but the basic structure was altered. Benches in the hallway of 52 Harpswell were constructed using recycled wood from the benches at the former Dayton Hockey Arena.
After receiving a grant from Efficiency Maine, an independent administrator for energy efficiency programs in Maine, the College was able to replace lighting in 14 campus buildings, including the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, with LED bulbs.
Hyde Plaza, the area around the Polar Bear statue, was widened with new granite pavers and planted flowers.
Off campus, Capital Projects oversaw both renovations and an addition to the Coastal Studies Center.
“We created a dry laboratory space because most of the space was originally designed for marine research with sea water and a corrosive environment,” said Simoneau. “Now if you want to use analytical equipment and things like that associated with your sea work, there’d need to be a separate space where you could take a tissue sample. They’ve got all new tanks for their seawater system.”
Construction for a new administrative building at 216 Maine Street is currently underway and is scheduled to be finished by December.
“It’s going to house Human Resources, the controller’s office and some other administrative offices which we haven’t decided yet,” said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Katy Longley.
Most renovations were started and finished during the summer, with crews often working overtime to complete the projects.
“The work takes place in the summer, the design takes place over the winter,” said Simoneau. The College let companies bid on contracts for most of the projects, rather than completing them with its own staff.
“Once it gets big enough to call it a real project, we hire a contractor,” said Stam.
Mystery comes to an end as Hopkins '14 finds her missing painting
Last week, a Bowdoin student’s painting that had been missing for over a year and a half was returned to its rightful owner.
During the 2012 fall semester, Dana Hopkins ’14 painted a master copy of Georgia O’Keefe’s “Red Canna” for her Painting I class.
“It probably took me about 30 hours to copy it to a stage where I felt comfortable with it,” said Hopkins.
Students in the Painting I classes had their best pieces put on display in an open gallery in the third floor of the Visual Arts Center (VAC).
“Each of us had five to seven paintings in there and there were 12 to 15 of us in that class, so there were a lot of paintings,” said Hopkins
But when Hopkins came to pick up her artwork last December when the exhibit was ending, her master copy of the O’Keefe painting was gone.
“It was the only one that wasn’t there,” said Hopkins. “None of my other stuff was gone so I didn’t really think it was a personal vendetta.”
After Hopkins searched the building, she contacted the Office of Safety and Security about locating the painting.
“At that time, there hadn’t been any cameras around the VAC that actually worked,” said Hopkins. “Randy Nichols was super nice about it and called the Brunswick Police.”
Despite emails from security to students and an article in the Bangor Daily News publicizing the apparent heist, nothing was found.
“I had pretty much given up hope after a month or two. My best guess was someone took it for whatever reason—for aesthetic purposes,” said Hopkins. “My dad likes to say that they were trying to sell it.”
But after a year and a half, Hopkins’ painting showed up last week when a staff member was packing up some of the remaining art supplies in the VAC to move them to the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance.
“[A technician] for Edwards put it with my senior studio stuff and I walked into the room and I was like ‘What?’” said Hopkins. “It was a really nice surprise. I really have no clue what happened or how to find out about it.”
As for who might have been the perpetrator of the theft, Hopkins has her own opinion.
“I feel pretty confident that someone took it and returned it at a separate time just because nothing else was moved from the room; none of my other work was taken, no one else’s work was taken; nothing else was out of place,” said Hopkins. “It was very strange.”
Phipps '14 dons Google Glass as member of "Explorer" program
David Phipps ’14 has been raising some eyebrows this week with his new eyewear: Google Glass. The technology is so new that it is not yet available to the public.
Google Glass is a pair of glasses with a mini-computer mounted in the top corner. The operating screen is activated by voice and by facial and head movements.
Users can take pictures, record video, look up directions, search the web and use other applications on the device.
Phipps is a Google Explorer, meaning that he is one of a select group of people who applied to have early access to Google Glass.
Phipps picked up the new eyewear while on a trip to San Francisco over Spring Break.
“I applied sometime last year. I don’t remember when, and I don’t remember what I said actually,” said Phipps.
One of the most innovative things features of Google Glass is the way it transmits sounds to the user.
“You’ll hear noises when you use [the Google Glass] but you don’t have any headphones in. It vibrates your skull to actually make you hear things,” said Phipps.
Phipps said he has really enjoyed learning how to use the new technology and is excited to keep experimenting.
“The things I’m really looking forward to—I’m in a band and the only bottle neck is that I really have to learn lots of lyrics which is really annoying, so now I might be able to just put them up here,” said Phipps.
“I might try it this Saturday,” he said, referring to the concert tomorrow at 9 p.m. in Smith Union.
Phipps sees potential for Google Glass to become very popular in the future, but one perk is certainly making it popular with him.
“One thing that’s really cool—they also give you free beer at Google,” said Phipps.
When I sat down to interview Phipps, he let me test out his new hardware. I winked aggressively to turn on the camera and take a picture and was also able to test out the maps and compass apps. Wearing Google Glass seems futuristic—like something out of Star Trek or The Jetsons.
The technology is not as intuitive as picking up a cell phone, but learning how the different features operate is part of what makes it exciting. I don’t imagine purchasing one anytime soon—something about it seems a little robotic to me, but they’re a lot of fun to try out and play with.
Students expect to be arrested in D.C. in protest of Keystone XL Pipeline
Protesters will March from Georgetown to the White House
This weekend, students from Bowdoin Climate Action and the Bowdoin Democrats will take a bus to Washington, D.C. to be arrested in protest of the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Matt Goodrich ’15 has been one of the primary organizers of the protest and has been working with 350.org activists since January on the event.
“We’re trying to pressure Obama to keep his promises,” said Goodrich. “We want him to know that we want a climate champion and not a pipeline president.”
“We’re aiming for 500 students to get arrested right now and right now our numbers are at 800 who will attend,” said Goodrich, referring to those students from Bowdoin and other schools who will be protesting.
At least 15 students from Bowdoin will go to D.C., with 10 planning on getting arrested.
Goodrich has been working closely with the D.C. police and does not expect any of the protestors to be jailed or convicted, but to instead pay fines.
Allyson Gross ’16, vice president for the Bowdoin Democrats, will travel to D.C. as an individual, as the Bowdoin Democrats have not officially endorsed the protest. Gross, a native Texan, staunchly opposes the pipeline and refinery in her state.
“TransCanada said there would be one spill in seven years and there have been 12 in the past year,” said Gross. “It goes through the heartland of America—from Alberta down to Houston.”
“Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of people dressed in black and oily colors and stand in front of the White House,” said Goodrich. “The police will give us a few warnings to move and we won’t.”
'Humans of Bowdoin' attempts to shed light on campus diversity
This week, Nick Benson ’17 and Ryan Strange ’17 launched Humans of Bowdoin, an Instagram and Facebook blog designed after the famous "Humans of New York" blog.
“Once I got to campus—I knew I’d probably want to do a project like this,” said Strange. “Then [thinking about] this was going on for a couple months and I was like maybe I should really do this and then I asked Nick.”
"Humans of Bowdoin" operates like other recent “Humans of” blogs. Benson and Strange approach random people on campus or in Brunswick, ask them simple questions, and take their picture. The duo then posts the photo on their Instagram and Facebook page with the quote beside it.
Benson and Strange intend on posting seven photos per week on their web pages.
For Strange and Benson, the goal is to shed light on unspoken thoughts and diversity in the College. Questions have ranged from the lighthearted (“What do you have in your lunch bag?”) to the thought-provoking (“What was the happiest moment of your life?”).
“I think that this is a revolution,” said Benson. “I think that this is a revolution in thought. We are revolting against the misbelief that this campus is not diverse because I think in this day and age, to judge diversity based on socioeconomic status, on race, is very, very misinformed.”
Benson explained that everybody on campus contributes to our diversity, advocating a broader definition of the word.
“How horrible it must be of me to be born into a middle class family,” said Benson. “I’m a white male. I probably have it the easiest of anyone on the planet, but I don’t feel like I don’t have any problems. I don’t feel like I don’t have any issues and I think that people need to be aware of the fact that every single person has problems.”’
Benson and Strange agreed that there is a lack of substantive conversation on campus and that there needs to be a “spark” to create more debate.
“I’m not saying something has to be contentious…but what I’m saying is that there is a line somewhere between ‘fuck this school,’ and ‘I’m going to Moulton for lunch’” said Benson.
The duo has had minor disagreements about how "Humans of Bowdoin" should work but they have made it their goal to peacefully work things out. Strange tends to place more value on the photos while Benson prefers quotes.
Though the website is in its infancy, Benson and Strange are optimistic that "Humans of Bowdoin" can fundamentally change the way students think and converse.
“The banks on the Androscoggin are running high because the revolution is coming,” said Benson. “People are going to realize that everyone has something to offer. People don’t talk enough these days. We got to get it started.”
Dirty laundry: Renaud '16 making clean money from laundering service
In addition to the recent launch of “Chipotle Friday,” another entrepreneurial business on campus has been gaining popularity since its start in January.
Gab Renaud ’16 has recently launched Luigi Laundry, a laundry pick up and delivery service.“One night my roommate and I—well, actually, he pretty much gave me the idea,” said Renaud, referring to his roommate Monty Barker ’16, an owner of the Campus Food Truck.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Renaud. “I think that there’s definitely a demand for that—maybe for people who don’t have close laundry machines like at Pine or Harpswell [or] off-campus [houses].”
Silverman '14 launches "Chipotle Friday" Delivery Service
This afternoon, 162 students are taking part in an entrepreneurial experiment, hoping to receive a rarity on the Bowdoin campus: Chipotle burritos.
“I’m going to be placing a mass order for over 100 Bowdoin students and I’m going to drive down to Chipotle [Mexican Grill] in Portland and come back to school and deliver them throughout the campus,” said Sam Silverman ’14, the man behind “Chipotle Friday.”
Silverman said the idea initially came from a discussion he had with a friend while he was studying abroad.
BSG Update: BSG to sponsor Olympic Games viewings in pub
In their first meeting of the semester, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) authorized funding for Winter Weekend and announced plans to sponsor viewings of the Olympic Games.
The Winter Weekend motion—proposed by the Executive Committee—included approximately $200 for advertising, $1,325 for Campus Food Truck to be provided both at the Ladd House Blizzard Bash and prior to basketball games, and $354.25 for cups that will be given away at the Blizzard Bash. The proposal passed unanimously.
A revival of a tradition dating back to the 1920s, Winter Weekend 2014 started with the Entertainment Board’s hypnotist on Thursday night and will continue through Saturday night, culminating with the Cold War Party, hosted by MacMillan House and Quinby House. The BSG, E-Board, Inter-House Council (IHC), Alcohol Team (A-Team), Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC), and Class Councils are all sponsoring various events for the weekend
Colby College decides to fund rugby teams for at least one more year
The rugby playing Mules will live to scrum another day
The Colby men’s and women’s rugby teams have secured funding from the college administration for the 2014-2015 season.
On November 19, both teams were informed that the college would be defunding the rugby program after the spring 2014 season.
But all that changed on the morning of December 6, after both teams received an email from Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Lori Kletzer stating that the Colby rugby program would be funded for the 2014-2015 season.
Talk of the Quad: When Brunswick dreams take flight
At the end of Coffin Street, where it meets the side entrance of Farley Field House, there is a small tan house on the corner—the residence of Bob Morrell ’47 and his wife, Nan Morrell.
While living on campus this summer, I went out for a short run one late afternoon, after the temperature had cooled. Toward the end of my run, I decided I did not want to continue embarrassing any of the other runners with my breakneck speed, so I began to walk.
I, like many Bowdoin students on a regular basis, walked down Coffin Street and looked over to see Morrell, sitting at the end of his garage, wearing L.L. Bean slippers that appeared to have been converted from an old pair of Bean boots. Exhausted and looking for an excuse to stand still for a second, I yelled over to the man and asked him about what living next to a college is like—which I presumed to be loud, yet entertaining.
Admitted Students decide whether to matriculate after visiting the College
This year, the Office of Admissions changed the way Bowdoin welcomes its admitted students by combining the Bowdoin Experience, a program for admitted students from diverse racial, socioeconmic or geographical backgrounds, with the open houses it has offered in past years.Many of the prospective students who came agreed that it was a successful weekend.
Julie Randolph, a prospective student from New York, said that the weekend was very informative and helpful for her decision.
Randolph has unofficially made up her mind and has chosen Bowdoin over Tufts, Colby, Colgate and Hamilton, amongst other schools.
Gerzofsky talks marijuana, prisons and Bowdoin at Brunswick office hours
State Senator Stan Gerzofsky (D) holds office hours and meets with constituents on the first Saturday of every month at the Little Dog Café in Brunswick. This Saturday, he sat down with the Orient to discuss his history of public access hours, as well as his stance on the legalization of marijuana, prison development and Brunswick's relationship with the College.
“I’ve been doing these for about 12 years and I’ve never missed a meeting because it’s a great way for me to talk to people,” Gerzofsky said.
Gerzofsky is currently serving his third term in the Maine State Senate, representing the 10th district which includes Freeport, Brunswick, Harpswell and Pownal.
Prof. Wheelwright pushes for environmental studies requirement
Professor of Natural Studies Nathaniel Wheelwright is leading the charge to add an environmental studies distribution requirement to the College’s academic regulation. Wheelwright has repeatedly raised the idea at several faculty meetings this year.
“We aren’t fully educating our students,” said Wheelwright. “Climate change is primarily driven by pollution, but there are many different types of pollution. That’s missing from the conversation.”
Wheelwright noted the large attendance at Tuesday’s “Reaching Day Zero: Living Sustainably at Bowdoin and Beyond” discussion that was led by faculty outside of the environmental studies and biology departments. He sees this as evidence that, “we’re entering a new phase where the seriousness of environmental problems is becoming apparent to everyone.”
“Food for Thought” provides fresh perspectives on student interests
The new weekly student lecture series “Food for Thought” is quickly becoming popular with students looking for more lighthearted academic perspectives.
Every week, “Food for Thought” features two students who each speak for 20 minutes about whatever he or she would like. The first six speeches have focused on a range of topics that lie outside the Bowdoin academic curriculum. The first series on February 8 featured senior Daisy Alioto’s description of growing up as a Christian Scientist and senior Carl Spielvogel’s musings about President Barry Mills’ plot to create diabetic squirrels.
Forums are organized by Bowdoin Student Government’s Academic Affairs Committee and held in Hawthorne-Longfellow Library. However, it has been so popular that the event has moved from the first floor Chandler Room to the larger third floor Nixon Lounge.
Students boost local businesses on Maine Street
Despite a struggling economy and a slow winter, many local Brunswick businesses are thriving thanks to faithful customers from the Bowdoin community.
“Surprisingly, things have been great here,” said Sydney Wall, manager of Wild Oats Bakery. “We’re always seeing new people.”
“Even with the seating we have now it’s still not enough,” said Wall, referring to the 2010 expansion of the bakery's seating area.