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Opinion

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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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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An ode to Dudley Coe

After just over a century, Dudley Coe is on its way out. Perhaps it seems odd to elegize an administrative building many students can’t even identify, but Dudley Coe has played an important role in the history of the College.

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Editorial

On editorial independence

The Bates Student published an article on October 13 concerning unionization efforts among the college’s staff. Later that day, Mary Pols, Bates’ media relations specialist, requested that the story be taken down due to “misleading statements and reporting inaccuracies.” The Student subsequently took down the article and republished it with significant alterations, including several additional comments from Bates administrators that reflected the college’s position in a more positive light.

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Cut YikYak some slack

I can’t imagine that anyone reading this doesn’t know about the app YikYak. Even though its popularity is waning, the app remains controversial on campus. I personally love the impact of the app at Bowdoin, so I wanted to outline why.

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Blueprinting Biden

American Family Plan first

Progressives are trapped between nostalgia for the past and a deep disgust with it. The left’s legislative heroes—Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley—appropriate the language and rhetoric of a bygone era of American politics for their progressive agenda.

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Editorial

Keep the tables and chairs on the quad

Bowdoin groundskeeping has assisted in creative uses of Bowdoin spaces by placing tables and chairs throughout campus, especially on Main Quad. The hallowed ground at the College, Main Quad’s well-manicured lawns and picturesque buildings create a beautiful landscape that is arguably unrivaled on Bowdoin’s campus.

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Ending unemployment benefits was premature

Despite the rationale behind terminating extended unemployment benefits, there is little evidence to prove that it will lower unemployment. In response to the COVID-induced economic recession, the federal government increased unemployment benefits. Under the Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits program, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered a $600-a-week federal bonus to the unemployed on top of existing state-level benefits.

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Reflections from an old Polar Bear

Why would a 78-year old Bowdoin Polar Bear have the audacity to agree to write an opinion piece for the Orient, one of the nation’s finest college newspapers? Well, my family legacy gives me some Bowdoin credit: my great-grandfather; grandfather; son and granddaughters all call Bowdoin their alma mater.

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Editorial

On Academic Readjustment

Week three of the semester is when things start to get busy. First papers are due, you have a standing date at a professor’s office hours, and you’re starting to question why you took microeconomics in the first place.

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The raise in minimum wage came after years of struggle

On August 26, 2021, Bowdoin College announced they would raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour for hourly workers ten months earlier than the expected date. According to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Matt Orlando, the accelerated raise in minimum wage reflected changing labor conditions in Maine.

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To Bowdoin trustees: remove Jes Staley

In the fall of 2019, behind closed doors, Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees reviewed Trustee Jes Staley’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and unanimously decided that there was “nothing in Jes Staley’s actions or behavior that warranted the Board taking any action.” I am calling on Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees to reconsider this decision.

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Could Bowdoin have done better

I think every sophomore has had this conversation with a junior or senior about a million times: “So, if you had to give it a number, what percentage of the real ‘Bowdoin experience’ are we at right now?” When faced with this question myself, I threw out 70 percent as a ballpark estimate.

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Do not neglect labor

Over the past three years, I have witnessed a change in discussion about labor, unionization, workplace ethics and the like. While unions might have been a hard topic to approach a couple of years ago, it is becoming more common to hear them brought up in conversation, though people are not always in favor of them.

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I wish I was told

As the Class of 2022 begins our last year at Bowdoin, many of us find ourselves thinking back to how much has changed since first year. I’m no exception, despite feeling like an exception much of my time at Bowdoin.

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Sophomore Disorientation

I am sure that I am not the only one who felt that returning to college after more than a year away from school was daunting. As I packed my things and prepared to drive to Brunswick once again, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the memories of isolation and confinement from last fall.

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Our bodies and tech: a journey through pain and healing

By the end of my first year of college, I suffered from chronic pain in my wrists, neck and back—pain that curtailed my activities as an athlete, musician and student. For some of you, this may sound familiar: a late night cram-session hunched over a laptop coupled with an hour of scrolling on social media and texting friends can do a number on your body.

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Renaming and power sharing

I originally posted sentiments expressed in this op-ed several weeks ago as an anonymous comment to Emily Ha’s op-ed “Rename the Orient.” At the time, the semester was at a particularly strenuous point for me, exacerbated by the emotions around the March 16 Atlanta shootings and the ongoing anti-Asian violence around the country.

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Saffy Says

To freedom

After four long years, I can say that I am glad that I came to Bowdoin. I was able to learn about something I never would have been able to learn anywhere else: the way white people live.

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Editorial

Reflect and rebuild

When we began our time at Bowdoin, none of us could have imagined it would end like this. This is not the Bowdoin we signed up for—we never thought we would finish the semester in little Zoom boxes, eating take-out from the dining hall or living at home again.

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Mental Health

It’s time for Bowdoin to be proactive about campus mental health

This past summer, right around the pandemic’s six-month mark, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their annual young adult mental health report. Of the 5,470 participants, a record-high 40.9 percent reported struggling with depression or anxiety, a statistic evidently not jarring enough to push Bowdoin to hire an appropriate number of counselors and psychiatrists.

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Afia Tells All

Liberal. Activist. Girl boss. The complicated nuances of popular labels that often go unpacked

Our society has an obsession with labels. Because of this, I believe that there are certain labels that are misused, or that carry certain meanings, associations and implications that cause more harm than good. As of late, especially on social media, I have found irksome the overuse of the following terms: liberal, a word so broad that it now has a wide range of less-than-positive associations; girl boss, a term that became popular despite its negative implications and activist, which is commonly misused.

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More from Mina

Creativity does not replace capital

Colleges often make the misinformed assumption that all students understand what resources are available to them and how to use them. Office hours, writing centers, “Q” (quantitative-reasoning) tutors and even libraries are a few of the many “resources” that are commonly advertised to students, but how can they be useful if all students don’t know what they are or how to use them?

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Thoughts in passing

Is this our identity?

It sucks believing you’re the smartest Black person in the room. And it sucks even more having people believe that because you’re the smartest Black person in the room, you must be an exception to the norm, a deviation from your race, a “white” Black person.

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Afia Tells All

No rest for the weary: emotional exhaustion as a Black woman, from last summer to the present

I did not come to campus last semester eager-eyed and bushy-tailed. Instead, I came anxious and afraid. Of course, starting college in a literal pandemic did cause some anxieties to arise. I knew that academics would be more difficult online, and I expected that socialization would be more awkward, as I am already a pretty introverted person.

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Editorial

Looking beyond the bubble

This semester, particularly for those of us living in Brunswick, it has been easier than ever to confine our perspectives to campus. COVID-19 has altered life at Bowdoin in ways that have made it seemingly impossible to talk about anything else—new updates have been released daily all semester, and every announcement of an expedited vaccine timeline or relaxed restriction spawns passionate conversations.

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Saffy Says

The dangers of hypervisibility

There has been a distinct increase in visibility for Black people right now. Whether it be campaigns by major corporations, the emphasis on “buying Black” or the onslaught of Black death on the internet, there is no denying the fact that Black people are being placed in the spotlight for various reasons.

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Context speaks: why I stand firm on renaming the Orient

Last week, Bowdoin alum Kevin Ma posted a response to my op-ed, “Rename the Orient.” Ma makes some excellent points about the need for people to truly hear Asian stories and voices. I wish to elaborate further on these points, as well as address his and others’ arguments against my piece.

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Editorial

Your vote matters

In an especially unusual year in the College’s history, Bowdoin students have had a lot to say. Our representatives to the administration, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), can fill a crucial role in communicating the needs of students in this unprecedented situation and leading us on the road to, hopefully, a more normal college experience.

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More from Mina

Let Black women exist

To be a Black woman in America is to suffer from the intersectionalities that make up your identity. Amongst many things, it is to be medically disposable, aesthetically fetishized and subdued in order to make others comfortable.

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BSG

BSG Candidacy Statements

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES Ryan Britt ’22 Hello everyone! Throughout my time at Bowdoin, I have had the privilege of serving as the BSG Chair of Student Affairs and as Class President. As a first-generation/low-income student in student government, I focused mainly on supporting our Counseling Center and creating programming for first-generation/low-income students.

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Thoughts in passing

Is it just a dream?

Thinking back, I feel like I’ve never truly evaluated the effects that racial trauma—derived from instances of racial bias, abuse and discrimination—have had on my life. Strange, I know. Sure, in passing I’ve been able to monitor my mental health, assessing how much I need to remove myself from heavy social media use to not become overwhelmed with constant racial violence.

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Editorial

A risk we don’t condone

This has been a semester of calculated risks. In devising rules and guidelines for the campus community, administrators were tasked with creating a system allowing for a fulfilling Bowdoin experience for every student while still minimizing the potential for a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.

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Forget renaming the Orient, just take us seriously

Since the publishing of the article “Rename the orient,” I have been closely following the comments, discourse and Letters to the Editor regarding Emily Ha’s opinion piece, both on the Orient website and on Facebook. As a Chinese-American with a degree in Asian Studies who is also finishing a masters in Chinese Language and Culture, I take enough personal interest to engage with members of the Bowdoin community on this topic.

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Black Lives Matter

The myth of the absent father

On Sunday, 10 miles from the courthouse where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd, Kim Potter, another police officer, shot and killed Daunte Wright. As he was being pulled over, Wright called his mom to tell her he was getting pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rear view window.

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The PRO Act

The PRO Act represents an important step for every worker, both domestic and overseas. Given the importance of the United States on the global scale of politics, passing more pro-organized labor legislation could contribute to a further shift towards unions in the rest of the world.

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More from Mina

Let’s be real: it’s bigger than temporary solidarity

Social media has made it so that a number of people can now see the many injustices committed against our people on camera, including the many assaults, cases of harassment and murder. However, in recent events, as many Black people continue to fight for their lives, a lot of those who like to portray themselves as allies use the Black Lives Matter movement as a mere trend.

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Thank you

In the last week, Bowdoin has provided the student body with access to vaccines through Mid Coast Hospital and, in response to recent cases, upped the testing protocol to three tests per week for all students.

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Thoughts in passing

Is it a secret?

How does one measure collegiate eliteness, and how is said eliteness communicated to the pool of applicants for our nation’s top colleges? I suppose this question of measurement could be answered by statistical evidence—placing student selectivity, academic rigor and financial endowment as determinants of prestige.

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Rename the Orient

February 19, 2019; The Walker Art Museum. A birthday party of sorts, celebrating the Museum’s 125th year. I was standing in a throng of people in the lobby, half-listening to a speech about the Museum’s opening.

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Afia Tells All

“Social justice burnout”: the burden of the expectation to frequently post diversity-related content on the internet

Last summer, Black Lives Matter (BLM) finally got the attention of white America with the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of police brutality. Like many other Black people who felt directly connected to the issue, I took to social media to post frequently about BLM, as well as to express my pain in hoping for a better America.

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Editorial

More than a moment

On Monday, students received an email from President Clayton Rose detailing one of the College’s new virtual initiatives: Mental Health Moments. Designed by nationally-renowned mental health advocate Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas ’89, Mental Health Moments is a program in which students receive weekly mental health tips in the form of an email from Assistant Director of Residential Life Celeste Hynes.

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OP ED: Why is Mr. Potato Head making national news?

I never thought we would hear the words “Mr. Potato Head” and “canceled” in the same sentence. For those unfamiliar with the backstory: two weeks ago, the toy manufacturer Hasbro announced, in the name of gender inclusivity, that it would drop the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” honorifics from its “Potato Head” line of toys.

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Mental Health

OP ED: We need a break

Editor’s Note 03/31/21 at 5:30 p.m.: A word in the article has been edited, both for accuracy and to reflect the author’s original intentions. The author initially wrote that Counseling Services had not received “adequate” funding to meet the current demand. 

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OP ED: Collins, Nossel part of problem, not solution

Two weeks ago, President Rose announced a series of speakers who will each discuss an aspect of American democracy in light of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. While the series is laudable, Bowdoin has invited two figures who offer right-of-center opinions or votes that most Bowdoin students should consider problematic.

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Editorial

Common good for uncommon times

When applying to Bowdoin, students inevitably hear the phrase “Common Good,” whether through the Offer of the College or the Admissions Office. The “Common Good” is an essential part of the Bowdoin experience. Now, during the pandemic, we are focused on creating a “Bowdoin Bubble” rather than breaking out of it, but what does that mean for Bowdoin’s “Common Good” commitment?

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Editorial

An empty highway

After clicking the red “Leave Meeting” button for the third time in a day, your door locking behind you is an inviting sound. You don a coat, hat, mask and the hope that you won’t slip on the ice again.

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2021: The year of the labor movement and unions

On February 2, healthcare workers in Myanmar announced their intention to strike against the recent military takeover. On February 3, they took to the streets. By February 9, many hospitals shut down and other workers joined the strike, including the Teachers’ Federation, which has over 100,000 members.

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Saffy Says

Who are you to call for my death?

“Stand back and stand by.” On September 29, 2020, the 45th President of the United States told his followers to fall back for now but be ready for his call to arms. As per usual, most people in the white community, whether it be in the media, in Congress or online, took note of his threat but doubted anything of concern would happen.

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Mental Health

We are not okay.

[Content warning: Eating disorders.] I am not okay. I’m 20 years old—I’m supposedly in my prime. And I can barely leave my room. I combat crippling social anxiety when I try to preserve my sanity through socialization.

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Editorial

The hardest part is yet to come

Many of us are looking forward to the end of “Hibearnation,” galvanized by the fact that only two cases of COVID-19 have been recorded among students living in residence, the end of Bowdoin’s intense restrictions appears to be in sight.

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Our environment is the common good

In December, Bowdoin received approval from the Brunswick Planning Board to cover at least 15 acres of a state-listed critically imperiled natural community with solar panels. The resulting loss of sandplain grasslands, documented in only four places in Maine, greatly diminishes the environmental benefits of Bowdoin’s otherwise laudable investment in renewable energy.

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The Mandalorian and the Disney problem

The Mandalorian, having begun its second season on October 30, has taken the internet and Star Wars fandom by storm, provoking discussion and debate among many community members and casual enjoyers alike, including myself. As a show, The Mandalorian is, in the barest sense of the word, good.

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The case for eSports

Believe it or not, before getting into college became my top priority, my dream was to become a Call of Duty eSports player (eSports = Electronic Sports). I worked relentlessly for this dream. I played every day, fueled by a can of Monster, until I was good enough to join semi-professional teams.

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Saffy Says

Please, take a break

This semester was a doozy to say the least. For those of us on campus, we not only battled a pandemic that was annoying for some and completely terror-inducing for others, but we also had to balance an academic load more rigorous than many of us were expecting.

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OPINION: On prescribed equality of outcome

On October 23, President Rose emailed a “Racial Justice Update” to the community, expanding on his September 2 email in which he described the two pillars of the College’s work toward racial justice. I am grateful for these emails, and for the College’s commitment: we need to address systemic prejudice in the United States and the continued pain and suffering it causes.

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OPINION: The video games in our houses

For the gaming enthusiasts, Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of the most anticipated titles of the year. Meant to be released in May 2020, it was further delayed to November and then even to December. At this point, we are not sure whether or not we will play the latest creation by CD Projekt Red, a Polish game developer, by the end of the year.

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Saffy Says

OPINION: Don’t stop now

On Saturday November 7, around 11:50 a.m. EDT, most major news networks called the election in favor of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, who received the most votes of any presidential ticket in U.S.

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Editorial

EDITORIAL: It’s Not Just November 

Each year, as the weather gets colder, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) kicks off a month of anti-bias programming dubbed “No Hate November” where students, faculty and invited guests give lectures and host events aimed at addressing intolerance on campus.

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The Pinko Dispatch

Biden Conservatives and Trump Progressives?

I was among the majority of voters in Portland, ME who approved a number of progressive ballot measures on Tuesday. We voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years,  require time-and-a-half hazard pay during states of emergency, ban facial recognition technology, protect tenants by implementing rent control, establish a new board to review other potential rent increases and require real estate developers to utilize green technology and provide additional pay and training to workers in what was termed “A Green New Deal for Portland.” These ballot measures reflect political trends and commitments that extend beyond Portland.

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