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Opinion

What grief can be

I had been working at Bowdoin for exactly seven days when my only niece, Emily, was killed in a traffic accident. She was 20. I was 2,000 miles away. My bosses and colleagues said “go, go now,” and that’s what I did.

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Don’t fear the turf!

Bowdoin is committed to sustainability and responsible stewardship of the environment and always prioritizes the health and safety of our students and community when we make decisions about materials for capital projects. Lately, these commitments have been blurred by misinformation and conjecture about our plans to improve the Pickard fields for our students.

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History works best unsanitized: from Woman King to Jefferson Davis

The year 2022 was a thrilling year for Black film fanatics to enjoy empowering representations of Black or African excellence, from NOPE to Black Adam to Woman King. Woman King was a particularly special full-length feature that presents Dahomey women soldiers (often dubbed the Dahomey Amazons) who, in actual history, shocked French troops with their discipline and military might, defied Western European notions of female gender roles and showed promise of potential gender equality before French colonization thwarted it.

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We should have November 8 off

Packed into the Bowdoin van aptly named “the Votemobile,” on November 8, I drove alongside other students to cast my ballot. While there was a general aura of anxiety, it was quickly apparent that our worries were not caused solely by the important election at hand.

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Letter to the Editor

LTE: More informed and balanced views on Russia/Ukraine

To the editors, I see the college is hosting a series of lectures on Russia-Ukraine, the first of which was already held (virtually) on October 27 when Ukrainian scholar Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed delivered “Russia’s War On Ukraine: Culture, Memory, Politics.” I missed the lecture, so I can’t be sure how much the Orient’s coverage omitted, but I was troubled by Shpylova-Saeed’s neglect of historical context.

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Editorial

A permanent “polar pause”

At 7:05 p.m. on November 4, 2021, the sound of applause rang throughout Thorne: a wave of relief cascading across campus as the student body checked their emails. At that moment, President Clayton Rose’s extension of Thanksgiving Break was necessary for a College processing tremendous grief.

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Letter to the Editor

Thanks for voting!

To the Editors, We want to thank everyone who came out and voted on Tuesday. This year was vital for Maine and national politics, and it was more imperative than ever for us to drive progressive thinking and activism at Bowdoin and in our community.

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Don’t buy Black Rifle Coffee

The Bowdoin C-Store is one of the central hubs for buying goods on our campus. From drinks to snacks to some basic groceries, hundreds of students pass through every week. Aware of this, the College works thousands of Polar Points into student dining plans and encourages each student to spend their $150 each and every semester.

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Editorial

Winter is coming

As daylight saving time comes to a close, Bowdoin students are adjusting to the realities of 4 p.m. sunsets and fast-approaching winter gusts. As heavy coats become necessities and daylight becomes increasingly scarce, it is important to find ways to support each other as we enter darker, colder days.

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Does the name Shingo Matsumoto mean anything to you?

It happened on a cold December night in 1995. A twenty-one-year-old Bowdoin student had just left Helmreich House and was crossing Maine Street when a truck accidentally ran him down, killing him. That student was Shingo Matsumoto, and we would do well to remember his name and how he died.

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Think this election doesn’t matter? Think again

“I voted in 2020 when it mattered.” “Why should I vote here when I’m not from here?” “The Democrats are going to win in Maine, so my vote doesn’t matter.” We’ve heard it all. Throughout the country, Democratic candidates have been dragged down by an enthusiasm gap following record turnout and engagement in 2020.

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Editorial

Filling in the bubble

This Tuesday many Bowdoin students and Brunswick community members will gather at the polls. Whether you’re born and raised in Maine or only intend to stay for four years, your presence here matters, as a vote or as a voice.

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The life cycle of the semester

As unpopular as it might be, there is something that I love about the end of the semester. Even in the face of the all-consuming stress of exams, papers and final projects, those last few weeks of both December and May last year were undoubtedly some of my favorites.

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Exercise your right to vote

These have been incredibly difficult years, unsettled by the ongoing pandemic and increasing political polarization. You may feel like voting is too much work, useless, or not worth the trouble, and we get that. You have a right to be jaded.

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Bowdoin needs harm reduction programs for drug use

A 2019 study found that 11.3 percent of people ages 18 to 25 have used cocaine at some point in their lifetime and 5.3 percent reported using cocaine within the past year. That same study found that 5.3 percent of people in this age group reported illicit opioid use within the past year.

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Editorial

A visual reckoning

If one were to teleport onto the Main Quad fifty years ago, it would look familiar. The visual language of the College has remained strong. Similar lamps still line the paths between patches of grass. Squirrels still bury their fall acorn stashes under the same—if now slightly bigger—oak trees.

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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: “Upgrades” to Pickard Field

To the editors, The proposals for the redevelopment of Bowdoin’s Pickard Field complex sent to members of Friends of the College a week or so ago are both surprising and troubling: surprising because I am coming to think of Bowdoin as an environmentally-conscious institution and troubling because the proposals set the College back several steps in the community trust earned from solar and geo-thermal installations.

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Finding Time

On the need for busyness in our lives

So many times this semester, overwhelmed with the pace of everyday life, I have found myself filled with the desire to hit the pause button. “If I had a week, or even a couple of days just to catch my breath,” I think to myself, “I would finally be able to get ahead on work, get enough sleep and see all the friends I’ve been meaning to.” As much as I like to hold this idea in my head, I know deep down that it’s ultimately a lie.

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Effective altruism: helping those who need it most

Bowdoin doesn’t need our donations. There are other people who do. This is a school of future scientists, leaders and one-percenters. We have the opportunity to make an impact on the world, and we should take advantage of that opportunity to improve the lives of others to the greatest extent possible.

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Editorial

The fight in the dog

In a world where oatmilk lattes are ordered online and to-go orders are taken through the Toast app, it’s concerningly easy to lose the humanity in these seemingly small interactions. The pandemic has exacerbated difficulties in the already-difficult service industry, resulting in a world where customers interact less with workers and more with websites.

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The perils Bolsonaro poses to Brazil

As I approached the polling center in New York City on the first Sunday of October, a frenzied scene of political discord was afoot. A sea of the iconic yellow Brazilian soccer jerseys, a symbol now co-opted by the Brazilian incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, occupied one side of the street.

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The privilege of medical leave

Trigger warning: This op-ed contains content relating to mental health disorders and treatment. While no explicit details are discussed, descriptive language is used. “Hi, I’m Meredith. I use she/her pronouns, and I’m in the Class of 2023, but I intend to graduate in 2025.” This is the phrase I’ve settled on when people ask what year I am.

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Editorial

Fielding harm: no to PFAS

In its Offer of the College, Bowdoin promises students the opportunity “To count Nature a familiar acquaintance.” In keeping with this goal, Bowdoin has served as a leader in environmental protection in a variety of ways.

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Maybe you saw it, maybe you didn’t

Eyewitness testimony is one of the most persuasive forms of evidence used in America’s criminal justice system. It is also one of the most unreliable and contributes to the grave injustices that plague our nation. False eyewitness testimony has led to innocent people like Jarvis Jay Masters being stuck on death row for decades.

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Editorial

To be in community

The smiles of cardswipers and dining staff are some of the first to brighten our days as we swipe in at breakfast each morning; we often pass housekeepers in the hallways of our dorms, and we breeze past staff at the library front desk on our way to study.

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Finding Time

Time, attention and love

In my photography class a few weeks ago, we were discussing a chapter from novelist Anne Lamott’s book “Bird by Bird.” Titled “Looking Around,” this chapter argues that in order to write or, more broadly, engage with any form of art, you have to learn to love and revere the smallest details of both yourself and the world around you.

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Sophia Rosati ’24 artist’s statement

I am the creator of the art installation outside of the Bowdoin chapel, titled “God’s Body God’s Choice.” This is a pro-choice piece for VART 3503 and the prompt was “Small but Mighty.” Important context for my art is represented in my artist’s statement below.

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BSG candidate statements

Cheng Xing ’23 Hello hello, I am Cheng Xing, and I am running for the position of the President of the Class of 2023. Having served as the Treasurer of our class and on the board of the Student Activities Funding Committee, I have learned several important principles regarding student leadership roles and communication on the behalf of the student body.

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Editorial

Demystifying Covid in the new normal

Coughing, sniffling, sneezing—this is the current soundtrack to the College’s dining halls, classrooms and study spaces. Since the pandemic began, it has become harder to decipher whether these cacophonies are due to Covid-19, “the Bowdoin flu” or simply allergies.

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Editorial

Who cares?

Imagine having the chance to be neighbors with your congressional representative; to see the President grocery shopping; to grab coffee with the mayor. In the larger political world, this level of accountability and accessibility is hard to come by.

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Our Responsibility

After more than six decades of unconditional aid to and diplomatic protection of Israel, I guess support for Israel has become a reflex reaction for U.S. officials. The spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, John Kirby, probably not remembering why he has to be an apologist for Israel, said in reaction to Israel’s offensive against Gaza last month: “We remain unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security and will continue to work to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israeli partnership.” He further reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense against Gazans.

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Editorial

The Traditional Path

With just one class who experienced a pre-pandemic Bowdoin remaining on campus, it is easy to take for granted some of the newer cultural changes on Bowdoin’s campus. Often, older students might regularly complain about the “good old days”—literally just Ivies—but it is important to understand that these post-pandemic changes have ushered in the normalization of a new type of Bowdoin student: those on a non-traditional collegiate path.

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Editorial

Digital inexcellence

Bowdoin considers itself a champion of equity—and in many ways, it is. The College has boasted a need-blind admissions process for US citizens since 2008, and earlier this year, it extended this policy to international students.

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Let’s Expand Maine Broadband and Make it Affordable

Early in the 20th century, America’s cities were booming. The era of electrification brought new jobs and opportunities to hubs like New York, Chicago and Boston. Unfortunately, America’s rural areas didn’t see the benefits of these modern technological advancements; in fact, only ten percent of rural households had access to electricity by 1930.

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Letter to the Editor

Bowdoin, treat your Muslim students better

To the Editor: Just this past Sunday, I woke up to the chapel bells. The church bells wake me up every Sunday, serving as a reminder that I’m a foreigner in this land. No matter how many years I’ve been living here, no matter how many friendships I’ve made, no matter that I speak a colonizers’ language better than my mother tongue, the bells tell me that I do not belong.

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The way life should be?

Two Oronos, two Maines

Although I’ve discussed the idea of two Maines being the difference between northern Maine and southern Maine, in my experience there has been an attempt to create two Maines in my own hometown. Where I’m from in central Maine, Orono, is thought to be a fairly bougie part of the region, which may seem like an oxymoron.

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Thoughts on time and the undergraduate experience

Alexis de Tocqueville, author of “Democracy in America,” had the insight that people living in the democratic age suffer from a paucity of time. He wrote how life “is so practical, so complicated, so agitated, so active” in “centuries of equality,” that “little time remains to them for thinking.” “Private life,” he described, “[is] so agitated, so filled with desires and work, that hardly any energy or leisure remains to each man for political life.” As the second quotation points out, what causes this lack of time and leisure (loisir, in the French, means free or spare time), is work.

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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the editor: the experiment worked

To the editor: Usually, I am happy when my experiments work. If they do, it affirms my initial assumptions and supports the story that I constructed around the available data. This is called hypothesis testing. But with Covid-19, I’m not sure I need to test the idea that masks prevent transmission, and I’m not sure I need to test my concepts of common sense.

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Editorial

Looking ahead

On Tuesday, April 19, President Clayton Rose announced his plans to leave the College following the 2022-23 academic year. Rose, Bowdoin’s 15th President, will depart after an eight-year tenure. This transition is a vital opportunity for the College to reflect on the meaning of the presidency and broaden its view of what a college president should embody.

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A veto to Wabanaki sovereignty is history on repeat

The Penobscot Nation made a bid for tribal sovereignty in 1833. Tribal leaders traveled to Boston, which had power over Maine land at the time, to meet with state politicians. In her book “The Name of War,” historian Jill Lepore said, “The Penobscots’ claims were largely ignored, but while the delegation was spurned at the State House, it was welcomed in the theater district.

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A World to Come

What does it mean to write?

What will seem like illegible rambling will, hopefully, embody some of the turbulent currents hidden underneath language. Like any good free-write session, its prose will upset the preconceptions about language that are ingrained in us since our first experiments with language—when well-intentioned teachers taught us how to use periods and what words go with which other ones.

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Exposed

You’re (all) my type

Pornography reflects consumer desires because titles and genres are crafted to attract the largest viewership. The distinction of race as categories implies fetishization because it is recognized enough that porn sites made accessing it easier. Fetishization is the objectification of a person based on some aspect of their identity.

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The way life should be?

At home in all lands

As of 2013, the median family income of a student from Bowdoin is $195,900, and 69 percent of students come from the top 20 percent of household incomes in the U.S. This means that for over two thirds of the student body, in the four years they are at Bowdoin they will feel they share a space with students who come from a class background similar to their own.

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Thinking through carbon pricing myths

In my six years of advocating for Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation to address climate change, I’ve come across a lot of very thoughtful concerns about the impacts and effectiveness of carbon pricing schemes. Some of these have made me really have to think and research about whether Carbon Fee and Dividend is the bright spot of hope for a safe future that I thought it was.

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A World to Come

Moving towards a languid feeling of modernity, pt. I

Social acceleration theory, coined by German sociologist Hartmut Rosa in his essay “Capitalism as a Spiral of Dynamisation,” offers a possible explanation for an inherent flaw in capitalism. “Even if [capitalism] runs smoothly,” she argued, “it leads to a limitless game of escalation that throws even the winners into misery for it commits all their energies to that single telos—the struggle to maintain competitiveness.” The implications of capitalism in its accelerated contemporary state are felt throughout late-modern society in the ‘misery’ felt in all sectors of society as the complications of an unhealthy system.

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James Bowdoin promoted settler-colonialism

Before he became the second governor of Massachusetts, and before his son named a college after him, James Bowdoin II was a financial magnate who started a war so he could steal Wabanaki land. In this reading of his life, Bowdoin was not just complicit in continuing what Penobscot scholar Donald Soctomah refers to as “the world’s largest genocide”—he and his business partners, supported by the British military, provoked a deadly war against Wabanaki people.

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Are students heard? A case for a real Ivies

By now we have all heard about Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Dean Lohmann’s intentions for the upcoming Ivies. In its last issue, the Orient reported the details of meetings that Dean Lohmann held with several different student groups on campus to vet her plan with students and receive any feedback.

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Rise up for RISE

Many campus events have taken a back seat due to pandemic restrictions, including RISE. An annual production sharing the personal narratives and experiences of Bowdoin women, RISE will take place in person for the first time since February 2020 on Saturday.

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So long, and thanks for the all the fish

On Friday, February 25 the best of what Bowdoin can be was on full display. Professors Laura Henry, Page Herrlinger, Reed Johnson and Mira Nikolova guided students, faculty and staff—all packed like sardines into Searles 315—in grappling with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The way life should be?

LePage, back on stage?

Paul Richard LePage could potentially be Maine’s governor again. Lepage is the man who vetoed Medicaid expansion seven times and who bragged about an evidence binder of racially-targeted crimes that he falsely claimed showed more than 90 percent of the drug dealers arrested in the state were Black or Hispanic.

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Is it really equity, Clayton?

When I first heard about the new MacBook initiative, I was thrilled. As a member of the first group of students to receive and benefit from the school-wide iPad initiative, it was heartwarming to hear that future Polar Bears would have access to the same, and more, technology they needed to succeed in their education.

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Exposed

Trick or treat: how pornography shapes desire

As Cady Heron says in Mean Girls, “in girl world, Halloween is the one time of year a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girl can say anything about it.” The sexualization of Halloween has become somewhat of an unsaid expectation among celebrants, so much so that Spirit Halloween offers an online costume category called “sexy women’s Halloween costumes.” The category features their “No Rules Referee,” “Say Ahhh Nurse” and “Lieutenant Misbehave” costumes.

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Speaking out on Arthur Brooks

Rich people can claim that money doesn’t bring happiness. Poor and working class folks know that it can and does. Their understanding is backed by extensive social science research that overwhelmingly demonstrates a strong association between life satisfaction and access to material resources, particularly in the lower two thirds of the income distribution.

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Fortier column gets it right

I’m writing for two reasons. The first is to re-introduce myself to the Bowdoin community as a candidate for office, and the second is to commend Emma Fortier for her spot-on column emphasizing the universality of both the opiate and housing crises.

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A World to Come

On the V-word: there will be two wars

Frantz Fanon wrote “Concerning Violence,” the opening chapter to his final book, “Wretched of the Earth,” in 1961 against the backdrop of the Algerian War of Independence. What Fanon invoked against the cacophony of overlapping voices—endless unique hermeneutics of the social and historical phenomenon of decolonization—was the existence and centrality of violence in this specific social process.

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Letter to the editor: a case for campus party innovation

To the Editor: As Shakespeare would say: what’s in a name? That which we call a handcuff party by any other name would still perpetuate unsafe power dynamics. Sitting in my new seat of community-level sexual violence prevention work, I opened The Bowdoin Orient and was chagrined to see that “champagne shackles” has resurfaced.

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The way life should be?

“From away,” here to stay?

It’s not uncommon for those from out-of-state to have their opinions about Maine shut down for the simple reason that they are “from away.” In the eyes of Mainers who are especially territorial, no matter how long your residency here has been, if you’re not born here, you will never know what you’re talking about when you speak on any aspect of Maine.

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Consider attending the mental health meetings

Over my last four years at Bowdoin, I have come to understand two consistently contradictory narratives that exist on our campus surrounding the issues of mental health and wellness. I’m sure everyone on this campus has heard statements such as, “our institution is not doing enough for our mental health or doesn’t care,” or its counterpart, “the institution has plenty of mental health resources and programming,” and we all hold our own ideas and opinions about how we feel about these statements.

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A World to Come

Reading walkways like emotional webs

Free associative writing brings out something in us that we never really found before, but it takes a lot of nonsensical rambling to actually get anywhere. It does so in the same way that talking nonsense with hometown friends can lead to world shattering epiphanies—ones where you realize where you really are.

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Professor Yarbrough should turn down the Salvatori Prize

The Claremont Institute presents the Henry Salvatori Prize each year to an individual “who has distinguished himself or herself by an understanding of, and actions taken to, preserve and foster the principles upon which the United States was built.” In December 2021, Professor Jean Yarbrough received the prize.

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Why I am running for state congress

I was thirteen the first time I found someone I love unconscious, overdosed on the floor. I have since realized that no one is immune to addiction—anyone can lose their life. Every one of the 100,000 fatal overdoses in the United States last year was someone’s mother, father, sister, brother or child.

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Getting tested: a common courtesy

This week, DataMatch, an online, survey-based matchmaking service created by students at Harvard College has taken the campus by storm. Nearly half of the on-campus population (42.6 percent) has created DataMatch profiles as of Thursday evening, the highest proportion among all 40 participating institutions.

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The way life should be?

A look outside the Bowdoin bubble

As a Bowdoin student from central Maine, I have begun to realize that, in many ways, Maine is like two different states. To the Bowdoin students who are used to the liberal and welcoming politics of Brunswick and the greater Portland area, there is confusion as to how someone like Paul LePage was able to become the leader of such a seemingly open-minded state.

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Carbon fee and dividend: a promising climate solution

As rain continues to fall in New England in January, and as global climate negotiations fail to meet necessary targets, the future of our climate may not look bright. But the good news is that we still have a chance to enact policies that will help the climate, the people and the economy.

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Exposed

Please, stop watching porn

I never received the birds-and-the-bees talk from my parents, but one day in elementary school, I remember mysteriously finding American Girl’s “The Care and Keeping of You” on my bed. The book detailed the oddities and awkwardness of puberty: growing body hair, periods and buying bras.

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How to negotiate a higher salary

Driving a 2002 Honda to work, you stop for gas and search for the remaining pennies you have in your pocket. You never pump to a full tank, allowing only a couple of gallons to get you to work and back home for the rest of the week.

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Editorial

Giving thanks as we move forward

As we begin a new semester with more takeout containers and freezing walks to Farley, we want to take a moment to recognize those that keep this campus alive. The staff members and faculty that keep our campus running are also putting themselves and their families at risk when coming to work.

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A World to Come

Women wearing balaclavas marching through Wall Street

The immigrant experience offers new windows to peer into the living conditions of the most hegemonic empire to ever exist. Sociology majors should recognize this as the concept of the “outsider-within.” I am, however, very hesitant to call myself an outsider in any sense of the word, especially when those who live outside of the so-called West, with a capital “W,” outnumber those within.

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Blueprinting Biden

A Phantom President

On November 19, Joe Biden pushed his expansive, unapologetically progressive domestic agenda through the House on a party line vote. By Christmas, universal pre-K, price controls for prescription drugs and an unprecedented investment in renewable energy are likely to be signed into law, along with new funding for child care, elderly care and affordable housing.

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The pro-choice movement could learn from anti-choicers

Content warning: This article contains references to sexual violence. With the future of Roe v. Wade in doubt, the pro-choice movement could learn from the political strategies of anti-choicers. If the recent Texas and Mississippi abortion cases brought before the Supreme Court can teach us anything, it should be that now is the time to radicalize the pro-choice movement.

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PeaceWorks highlights word choice

To the editor: PeaceWorks members were glad to see the article you posted in early November about the work we’ve been doing since 9/11/01. It’s good to feel connected. The title, though, got our attention: “Local Group Fights for Peace.” Actually, we prefer to say that we “Work For Peace.” Splitting hairs?

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Responding to Orient coverage of the fencing team

I’ve just read the article the Orient published about us last Friday: “No coach, no problem: fencing club is going strong.”I have objections. I’m Joanne. I can be found bossing new fencers around Buck 213, carrying more fencing equipment around Smith Union than my knees and back think I can handle or generally making a nuisance of myself badgering people about fencing.

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There is always a light

Throughout my time at Bowdoin, there have been many moments when I faced immense challenges, stress and grief that have felt incredibly overwhelming. I know I am not alone in these thoughts and feelings. We have all gone through a lot in our time as students at Bowdoin and continue to struggle and hurt for many reasons, and in many ways, within this institution.

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Editorial

To the Bowdoin community,

To the Bowdoin and Brunswick community, The passing of our friend, classmate and community member has rocked our lives in unfathomable ways. We are trying to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our acquaintances and our colleagues.

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Students are scared of freedom

Some time ago, a liberal arts education grew laborious: the labor of academic work, the labor of extracurriculars, the labor of planning one’s future. As students of Ancient Greek know, the word ‘school’ comes from a Greek word antithetical to labor: schol?, meaning “leisure.” We lose a great deal of wisdom by ignoring this etymology.

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Blueprinting Biden

Biting the bullet on structural change

This week isn’t going well for the Biden administration. The President’s approval rating is in freefall. West Virginia Senator and Democrat Joe Manchin won’t budge on his $1.75 trillion cap for infrastructure spending, and (unlikely) rumors are floating that he’s prepared to switch parties if the budget deal goes south.

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A yes on one is bad for Maine: why I’m voting no

Voting yes to reject the CMP corridor is not the environmentally friendly solution that you’ve been sold. In 2018, Massachusetts passed a law to expand clean energy for the state. To achieve this, the state made an agreement with HydroQuebec to supply hydropower: this required crossing state boundaries, so an independent arrangement was made with Central Maine Power (CMP).

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AOC’s performative activism misses the mark

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) viral Met Gala dress sucked. Every year, uninvited celebrities spend $35,000 to attend the Met Gala, an event inspired by fashion and decadence. This year’s theme was titled “American Independence,” and routinely, Hollywood stars, fashion designers and models pulled out all the stops.

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