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.
I remember my first year, I found it strange that meritocracy was used as a criterion for students to belong at Bowdoin. Meritocracy is the basic idea that those who succeed earn their fate via merit, while those who don’t succeed earn their failure due to lack of hard work and skill.
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.
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.
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).
It is time to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour to ensure that more low-wage workers have enough money to cover basic living expenses. Federally, the minimum-wage is currently $7.25 per hour and has been like that for the past ten years.
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.
To the Editor: Recently, I have been receiving emails from Bowdoin’s development office inviting me to donate to the recently established “Leaders in All Walks of Life Fund.” This is a “commemorative fund that supports financial aid for women students” and celebrates 50 years of women at Bowdoin.
To the Editor: President Biden set the ambitious goal of reducing US carbon emissions to 50 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this is in line with the necessary global emission reductions needed to keep warming to 1.5 degrees for a relatively safe future.
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.
By now, I’m sure most sophomores (and Bowdoin students in general) have heard the words, “your major does not matter.” For some people, this can be true. But for others, this saying comes off as incredibly naive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joe Biden is a progressive icon. There, I said it. You’re cringing, I know. The typical Bowdoin student’s reaction to Joe Biden is an oxymoron: hard-lined apathy. If you’re politically aware, then you’re haughtily unimpressed by the President’s so-called accomplishments.
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.
Most people and businesses use surveillance technology unawares, largely a result of how surveillance has “crept” into technology. What I propose to call Surveillance Creep operates in three phases. First, a company decides to collect information about its users.
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.
To President Rose, members of the College, and the Class of 2025: One year and 110 days ago, the Class of 2020 received our diplomas and raised a toast to the culmination of our Bowdoin journey, watching our names roll across screens like movie credits.
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.
Content warning: This article discusses sexual violence on Bowdoin’s campus. In April 2021, Safe Space distributed a survey to gauge the student body’s opinions on sexual violence on campus, the administration’s response to instances of sexual violence and continued sex education at Bowdoin.
To our readers: In the three years we have spent working on the Orient, the two of us have seen many opinions printed in these pages. A crucial aspect of any newspaper, the opinion section showcases the perspectives of students, staff, faculty and community members.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This piece is the third in a series written by members of the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) Student Officer Team and individuals within the BOC student leadership. Our goal with these pieces is to share the work we have been doing to examine racism in outdoor recreation and the BOC’s role in creating more inclusive outdoor spaces.
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.
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.
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.
Last week was International Week at Bowdoin—a week when the international student community celebrates its members’ cultures while reflecting on unique struggles that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. In an Orient feature covering International Week, many international students voiced concerns about a lack of sufficient support from the College.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Editor’s Note 05/10/2021 at 2:19 p.m.: Due to glitches that were allowing comments in violation of the Orient’s policy to appear below without having been approved, commenting has been disabled for this article. Comments that previously appeared that violate the policy have been removed.
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.
To the Editor, As a journalist, I commend the current editors of The Bowdoin Orient for the care and thought they are bringing to the discussion of changing the paper’s name. There is a simple solution that honors multiple perspectives.
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.
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.
This piece is the second in a series written by members of the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) Student Officer Team and individuals within the BOC student leadership. Our goal with these pieces is to share the work we have been doing to examine racism in outdoor recreation and the BOC’s role in creating more inclusive outdoor spaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So here we are again. Another Black person killed by an agent of the state. This time, the excuse was that the officer thought she had grabbed her taser, but instead, she not only took off the safety, but also fired her gun, shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright in the chest and taking his life.
Band-aid on a bullet hole: the plight of the forgotten off-campus, low-income first years this semester
“Greetings, The committee has reviewed your application to live on campus for Spring 2021. Unfortunately, your application has been denied. Please be sure to reach out to campus resources to develop and reinforce strategies for success in your spring classes.
This piece is the first in a series written by members of the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) Student Officer Team and individuals within the BOC student leadership to share the work we have been doing to examine racism in outdoor spaces and the role of the BOC in creating more inclusive spaces.
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.
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.
To the Editor, We write to you in support of the name of the Bowdoin “Orient” as former Editors in Chief of this “Oldest Continuously Published College Weekly.” Tradition and history do have a place in forming connections to a shared past and continuing a worthwhile journey with common bonds.
To the Editor: As former editors-in-chief of the Orient, we want to commend and voice our support for Kate Lusignan ’21 and Nina McKay ’21, who have begun considering changing the name of the paper we oversaw last year.
To Bowdoin students, alumni, faculty and staff; Orient staff members past and present and members of the Brunswick community: When we joined the Orient nearly four years ago, we, along with many other then-first-year staff members, had questions about the name of the paper.
To the Editor: To the guerrilla artist who leaves painted stones on campus: THANK YOU! I find myself walking across campus looking for new stones and surprising myself by how much I enjoy discovering a new piece of pebble art.
When I was younger, I would slightly bend the pages of the book I was reading and tap them with a pencil to stay focused. This habit of mine occurred often; I would rush through my classwork so I could get back to reading books I was actually interested in.
To the Editor: The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the college recruitment and selection process for the majority of graduating high school seniors. We have relied on so many unconventional approaches to research colleges and athletic programs.
“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.
On Tuesday evening on March 16, eight people were shot in three massage parlors in the “red-light districts” of Atlanta, Georgia. Six of those murdered were Asian—all of whom were women—and two were white. Four of the women were confirmed to be of Korean descent.
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.
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.
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.
During the fall semester, Bowdoin only housed a third of its student body. Yet, many students decided to live in Brunswick and its surrounding towns in an effort to maintain their connection with friends and the greater Bowdoin community.
We wake up, pick up our phones and check the to-do lists on the well-designed apps we have carefully picked from the virtual store. There were plenty to choose from, but each promised to make our lives more productive and to render us in control of them.
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.
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?
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.
“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.
Although the COVID-19 world can sometimes make us feel isolated, the pandemic has also forced us to recognize our role as part of a global environment and reinforced the importance of cross-cultural communication and collaboration. One lesson learned from the pandemic should be the essential role of study abroad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fall break, for many, was not a break this year. Students felt overwhelmed with the work assigned—time meant for rest, rejuvenation and the Maine outdoors became time for catching up on copious amounts of work, last-minute papers and even exams.
Yesterday I had to call the bank because I lost my debit card and needed to replace it. I had to spend 35 minutes on the phone listening to a representative repeat that they could not send me a new card because my information wasn’t in the computer and that I should call back in 24 hours.
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.
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.
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.
The Bowdoin Chapter of the AAUP recognizes importance of non-violent protest in defending Common Good
In light of ongoing efforts to subvert democracy, such as attempts to block the counting of votes and false claims of voter fraud, we, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), reiterate President Rose’s statement concerning the importance of civic engagement and the democratic process.
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.