The United States has one of the worst passenger rail systems in the world. Excluding the Acela route, Amtrak trains are infrequent, expensive and more prone to delay than their European and East Asian counterparts. In rankings of high-speed rail network length, the United States falls in 11th, just behind Sweden, which has a population roughly the same size as North Carolina’s.
Dear fellow Polar Bears, There is much joy at the beginning of a new school year, from Lobster Bake and O-Trips to reunions with friends. These fond memories feel so recent—it’s hard for me to believe that I am now closer to my five-year reunion than to my class’s graduation!
This November, Mainers who go to the polls will be asked to vote on Question 3: whether or not to establish the Pine Tree Power Company (PTP), a nonprofit, consumer-owned utility company (COU). A “yes” vote will transition energy away from Central Maine Power (CMP) and Versant and back into the hands of Mainers to ensure a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable future for Maine’s energy infrastructure.
As a recent alum and government major, these past few weeks have been bittersweet. For the first time in four years, I don’t get to walk into Hubbard ready to talk politics. Instead, I logged into Microsoft Teams from a brutalist building in Washington, D.C., coffee in hand, ready to talk climate policy.
When talking about Maine’s differences from the rest of the country with my new acquaintances, I have spoken frequently about division. I have spent much of my time explaining how Brunswick was “one Maine” and Lewiston was “another,” and how that caused our academic neighbors at Bates to have a different relationship to their hometown.
Finals week. As the mid-December snow falls on campus, the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library is abuzz with chatter. In between bites of library-provided lemon bars and sips of late night coffee, students cram for their exams. Hunched over their laptops, looking over stacks of books, students in study groups find fleeting academic respite in conversation amongst themselves.
Amid the usual chaos of move-in and last-minute class registrations, many Bowdoin students found themselves dealing with an unexpected challenge last week: a heat wave that sent temperatures soaring, particularly in non-air conditioned campus housing. During the first week of classes, humidity-adjusted temperatures climbed into the 90s, leaving numerous students, including me, living in rooms much hotter than anticipated.
Next Thursday, 146,000 autoworkers in the United Auto Workers (UAW) union will be authorized to go on strike if they are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with Detroit automakers Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. On August 25, the strike was authorized by a vote of 97 percent in favor, signaling significant solidarity among autoworkers ahead of a walkout that could seriously impact an industry that comprises three percent of the United States GDP.
On June 29, the Supreme Court held that the practice of race-based affirmative action in the admissions offices at Harvard and the University of North Carolina was unconstitutional. Admissions offices—including Bowdoin’s—are no longer considered by the Court to have a sufficiently “compelling interest” in creating a diverse student body to allow distinctions based on race in decisions about acceptance.
“A commitment to the common good means working, every day, to welcome more diverse perspectives” reads the bold statement at the header of Bowdoin’s Inclusion and Diversity webpage. The shift in Bowdoin’s admissions statistics over the past four years demonstrates that the College is actively working to create a more diverse student body.
The beginning of every academic semester is a time of change. Students arrive and graduate, go abroad and return with new perspectives. No two semesters at Bowdoin have ever been identical. This year, in particular, represents a time of watershed administrative change.
When I came to Bowdoin, I knew very little about college: what my classes would be like, what living in a dorm would be like or what my next four years would look like. With all these unknowns, it was comforting to hear that I would be sleeping in a dorm instead of on the floor of Farley Field House and that I didn’t have to spend several days outside with Maine mosquitoes.
To the editors, In the April 21, 2023 edition of the Bowdoin Orient, the Editorial Board included a piece contending that advising and registration for incoming students should remain in the two days leading up to the start of classes in the fall.
Editor’s note 04/21/2023 at 1:08 p.m.: This article mistakingly reported that the last faculty meeting was on March 6. This has been corrected to reflect that the meeting was on April 7. An original version also implied that the Academic Fair would be retired.
Upon arriving here as a first-generation, low-income student, I identified most with the mission of the Bowdoin Labor Alliance (BLA). Per our website, which is no longer actively maintained due to social discontinuities and expenses: “The Bowdoin Labor Alliance is a coalition of students, faculty and staff dedicated to pushing Bowdoin College to ensure a living wage and humane working conditions for ALL employees.
I am writing to encourage us to rethink the role of student government at Bowdoin and to articulate my vision for a better Bowdoin Student Government (BSG). In my brief time as a BSG representative this semester, it’s become clear that many of my colleagues and most of the student body are apathetic to BSG: in this past election, less than 17% of the student body voted and most executive positions were left unfilled.
In the two weeks since our initial opinion piece, many questions have sprung up around campus: How will people be paid? What qualifies as unpaid labor? Does Bowdoin have the money to pay these people? Our campaign has two main demands: first, the payment of unpaid workers who are essential to Bowdoin’s image and welfare, and second, compensation for unlogged student and staff hours.
Last week, the Bowdoin Labor Alliance (BLA) published an op-ed in tandem with the rollout of their most recent campaign—securing better pay for campus workers who they deem to be uncompensated or undercompensated. The situation is, of course, complicated.
It was a normal Saturday evening. My mom had just picked me up from a soccer game. Naturally, I seized the opportunity to engage in one of my favorite pastimes: sleeping. Thirty minutes into my nap, my mother patted me awake to let me know that she was going to take a “quick” stop at the grocery store.
Despite its 2.5 billion-dollar endowment, Bowdoin runs on under-compensated and uncompensated labor. This labor is unrecognized but profoundly important. We are tired of doing unpaid work for a multi-billion dollar institution—Bowdoin can afford to pay us for the labor it profits off of.
At Bowdoin, I’d say that we are generally aware that those in our community come from different backgrounds and areas, and I think it’s important to consider the implications that these differences may have on our time and experiences at Bowdoin.
Maine’s federally recognized Tribes (Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, Houlton Band of Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Nation) are currently “treated like second-class sovereigns,” according to Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation. They have fewer legal rights and protections than any other Native peoples in the United States because of a pair of 1980 laws stripping them of their sovereignty.
We’ve all heard it before: “Bowdoin was so much better before Covid-19.” Our fellow upperclassmen seem to constantly mourn the pre-Covid days when days were brighter, people were kinder and they all had more fun. If you’re planning on graduating after May 2023, you’re likely no stranger to being reminded by those around you that you’re experiencing some generic-brand Bowdoin experience; while no one can point to exactly what’s changed, they can’t help but feel like something’s off.
I’ve always been interested in the concept of racial homophily. You often hear the phrase “birds of a feather flock together” or “like draws to like” in things like relationships or friendships. Homophily can be looked at as our tendency to gravitate toward those who seem to reflect our own personalities.
We’d like to start off this letter by congratulating the BSG on its inheritance of this year’s Spring Concert. We wish you the best of luck in running it. What matters most is putting on a fun concert, and we’re sure you are all capable of delivering something memorable.
Ivies is a Bowdoin tradition that dates back to 1865. Over time, the tradition has changed, but one thing that has remained part of Ivies for the last 156 years is the concert. Last year’s Ivies celebration featured several changes, with the primary alteration being made to the concert.
To the editors, A PeaceWorks vigil has been active in Brunswick for the past 21 years. This letter is an invitation to all members of the Bowdoin community to join us when you can. Sometimes called “Honk for Peace,” we stand at the edge of the green opposite Walgreens every Friday from 5 – 5:30 p.m.
“The reason why we have narrative scarcity is because we have economic scarcity, and people don’t have equal access to modes of storytelling,” Pulitzer-prize author Viet Thanh Nguyen once said. In a discussion with author Maxine Hong Kingston, he delved into the immense weight and pressure placed on literature told by writers from minority cultures.
As temperatures drop below zero this weekend, studying with groups of friends sprawled out on the quad will be but a distant memory keeping all of us warm. Student spaces where we can gather, study, sip hot chocolate and dry off our snowy boots feel more and more important as they become more and more central to our campus experience.
Everyone who lives on the coast feels a strong pull toward the water—it is why we live here. In Maine, we are lucky enough to have thousands of miles of shoreline that serve as a calming oasis, a natural playground for children and everything in between.
Poachers and black-market dealers are not the only source of animal exploitation. There is a dark side to pet shopping that has gone under the radar for a long time. Buying animals continues to be extremely popular, and the pandemic caused a surge in the demand for rare species as household pets.
Parenting is hard. I know as a 20-year-old college student that I am not ready to become a parent, even if I do want kids of my own someday. Since I am a sexually active college student, birth control is incredibly important to me so that I do not bring a child into this world before I’m equipped to raise it.
As a community dedicated to each other’s well-being and our collective Common Good, Bowdoin students should have more access to basic life-saving resources and training. With the tragic death of Omar Osman ’26 this past fall from an allergic reaction, we are reminded of how important access to these resources is.
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.
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.
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.
The days are getting shorter and the list of upcoming exams and deadlines is growing longer. In just a short week, we will be entering Reading Period, an opportunity for students to focus deeply on their final tasks of the semester.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To the editors, I would like to start by addressing the Bowdoin Board of Trustees. Welcome back to campus! I imagine you will be discussing the Pickard Field project at some point during your meetings today and tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To the editors, While I appreciate your interest in and coverage of the College’s Digital Excellence Commitment (DExC), your editorial reveals several misunderstandings about the program and how the College is supporting the computing needs of our THRIVE students.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout my time at Bowdoin, I have encountered a lot of ignorance regarding the Appalachian region I call home. Bowdoin’s well-educated students, staff and faculty consciously (and unconsciously) overgeneralize and dehumanize the entire region as all-white, poor, uneducated, rural and conservative.
As the first sophomores to live in the newly renovated Boody-Johnson House, we arrived in August 2019 to stiff couches, blank walls and a clinical gray color scheme. As Burn affiliates, we’d dreamt of purple wallpaper, massive bean bags and painting our names in the basement.
About a month ago, I had started reading articles about OpenAI’s Dall-E. OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research lab, and Dall-E is an image-generating program. When prompted with specific details, it produces a new image. For instance, drawing random images like “an astronaut playing basketball in space in a minimalist style” are in this program’s reach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When I went from having an iPhone 8 to iPhone 13 last semester, ‘the moment’ finally felt relevant. Never have I owned such a nice camera. Having the capability to record cinematic moments felt extremely enabling, but to what end?
The Offer of the College promises students that while at Bowdoin, they will be able to “count … Art an intimate friend.” Although the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) holds a prominent place on campus, the College’s investment in other aspects of the arts is lacking.