Fortune favors us: the American millennial. We were born in the luckiest place, at the luckiest time in history. Our generation, both the largest and best educated in history, is provided and expects welfare programs, a developed and robust economy, public transportation, emergency health care, rule of law, accountability of our leaders, economic mobility, constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and on average eight decades of life.
The sun is shining and the tank is clean. Yes, it’s that time of year again—the long awaited Ivies week(end). Droves of students flood Salvo to update their mandatory Ivies uniforms: fanny packs, overalls, velvet track suit, jorts, obnoxiously bright neon… everything.
In Joseph McKeen’s inaugural address, delivered at the opening of the College in 1802, this one line has stood the test of time and continues to influence Bowdoin’s self-image to this day: “…It ought always to be remembered, that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education.” But in the two centuries that have passed since McKeen delivered his address, we have become disconnected from the original meaning of the “common good.” I think the typical way we handle the topic of the common good today is to sidestep the full moral implications of the term.
The other weekend, I was talking with my best friend from Bates College when the subject of the surprise hit thriller “Get Out” came up in conversation. He asked me, “What did you think?” I gave the usual response, saying it was “so good” and “so funny.” He disapproved of the response and retorted, “No, but what did you really think about it?” Honestly, I had to put a great deal of thought into my response.
Bowdoin’s Department of Government and Legal Studies has an incredible reputation. But it is clear to me that its highly ranked status has in fact impeded the department’s motivation to improve. Bowdoin’s government department was the only department that escaped criticism in the 2013 National Association of Scholars (NAS) report—a report in which the major criticisms of Bowdoin were that it is accepting of different gender and sexual identities, that it emphasizes multiculturalism and that it does not focus enough on traditional American and Western political values.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about my experiences navigating small talk at Bowdoin. The tenor of that article was focused on the function of small talk as a mechanism of forming solidarity: Bowdoin students use small talk to commiserate over shared experiences.
On March 8, 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared the Cold War rivalry a “struggle between right and wrong,” and warned against “the aggressive impulses of [said] evil empire.” The message was clear: Communism would not stand.
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine and we agreed that we all can’t save the world. Let me back up. This conversation started when we were talking about Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special on Netflix.
Now that spring has arrived in Brunswick, and it is tolerable, even pleasant, to be outdoors for more than a few minutes, I find it increasingly difficult to stay holed up in a library. Whereas the library provides a warm haven from the colder and darker Maine months, now the shining sun makes those same cubicles feel more like cells.
Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in the “Why Are College Houses So White” discussion panel held at Reed House. A fellow panelist did a wonderful job of explaining how and why they thought students of color could possibly feel isolated in a College House setting.
The scientific method has long been held the hallmark of experimentation in the natural world. Asking a question, formulating and testing hypotheses then collecting and interpreting data allows us to draw educated conclusions about phenomena from ant ecology to particle physics to neurogenesis.
During the whirlwind of first-year orientation, students sit down with their pre-major advisor, which for many sets the tone for their relationships with faculty and academic experience and can significantly shape their academic experience. While some advisors provide necessary support and helpful academic guidance, other advisor-advisee relationships fall flat.
Last Friday, the U.S. Senate finally filled the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death last February. Everyone knew it would be a contentious fight to determine his replacement, but I don’t think anyone expected the precise turn of events that have brought us to this moment.
I particularly remember a conversation that I had with a college advisor about race during my senior year of high school. Specifically, it was an incident of overt racism that involved the conscious exclusion of a student of color from an event.
Two weeks ago—on Transgender Day of Visibility, as it so happened—our community was made aware, through an Orient article and editorial, of the incidents that have occurred in some men’s bathrooms on campus in response to the Free Flow initiative’s placement of menstrual products in bathrooms for all genders.
Since its inception in the fall of 2012, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) has been dedicated to pursuing the goal of climate justice, on our campus and beyond. Thus far, our endeavor to further that goal has largely manifested in the form of a campaign to divest the College’s endowment from the top 200 oil and gas companies. We are proud of the campaign we’ve run, but for now, it is time to shift the tactic.
The common good is drilled into campus culture—so much so that you may feel you are doing something moral just by attending Bowdoin. For all of the emphasis on the importance of the common good as a value, the College’s actual vision of what this looks like is small and antiquated.
For 22 years, Bowdoin has been celebrating Asian Heritage Week. This month, we’re celebrating Asian Heritage Month, which has doubled the number of programs held at Bowdoin. The month of May is nationally recognized as Asian/Pacific Heritage Month and intends to celebrate the important histories and cultures of diverse Asian communities and Asian American individuals.
Spring is a season of rebirth, reflection and, apparently, snow. This spring, I have decided to swap homework for Recommended Videos on YouTube (“Why These Brothers Killed Their Parents,” “20,000 Calorie Challenge”). This is called Choosing Happiness.
By now, sentences like “Our planet and human civilization teeters precariously on the edge of an unfathomable ecological abyss” are banal and, at worst, elicit an ironic smile. We have good reason to believe that climate change might destroy the foundations of our political and economic systems in a matter of decades, but for some reason it doesn’t feel urgent.
Awash with tears, forgotten homework and calls home, David Saul Smith Union stood aghast as Wolf Blitzer announced the 45th president. Laden with shame and frustration, conversations covered evacuation to Canada, the handling of Donald Trump-supporting Facebook friends and pleas to follow the popular vote—in disregard of the Constitution.
Last Friday, I attended a “speed networking” event hosted by the Bowdoin Career Planning Center. Clad in our finest business-casual attire, 30 or so of my peers and I schmoozed with successful Bowdoin alumni for a couple of hours, rehearsing our small-talk skills and learning how to pitch ourselves to potential employers.
As part of the Free Flow project to make tampons and pads accessible to the Bowdoin community, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) is sponsoring free dispensers in several women’s, men’s and gender-neutral restrooms. Since the dispensers and trash receptacles were installed over break, tampons from the containers in the men’s bathroom have been found in the trash over 10 times.
Our planet and human civilization teeters precariously on the edge of an unfathomable ecological abyss. Runaway global warming and climate change threaten to unravel the web of life beyond anything for which our ancestors could have prepared us.
Among many things, I often regard my adolescence as a self-discovery of my anxiety. My parents were raised in Ghana, where mental health disorders, specifically social anxiety, are often an unspoken topic. Thus, the country is devoid of any semblance of mental institutionalism.
The high quality of our dining hall food is, of course, well known to the entire Bowdoin community. But eating on campus, just as obviously, is not everyone’s preferred option. Especially for those living in campus-provided housing with kitchens or those living off campus, it does not necessarily make sense to pay for the 19-meal, highest-level plan.
In 1850, Bowdoin’s very own Nathaniel Hawthorne published “The Scarlet Letter,” a novel set in 17th century Puritan New England. Hawthorne’s portrayal of the Puritan character remains the image most people have in mind when they think of what a Puritan must have been like: stodgy and conservative, highly intolerant of other religions and denominations, disdainful of pleasure and committed to very strict standards of orthodoxy.
In the wake of the study published by the New York Times earlier this year about economic diversity and class mobility at colleges in the United States, the Orient interviewed a number of students on campus about their experiences with class and how it has impacted their time at Bowdoin.
Unless you’re a hermit or a Floridian, you know that Brunswick was unseasonably warm last week. The mid-February heatwave made for some confused seasonal activities. I, for one, have never had to circumnavigate mounds of snow in 50-degree weather.
I’d like to think of bigotry as misunderstanding, that people are prejudiced because it makes sense to them to be so. In my lifetime, I have come into contact with individuals whom I have avoided associating with because of their discriminatory views.
There are two common categories of identity: those we choose for ourselves and those into which we are born. The former enables proactive, dynamic and deliberate self representation, and it is fashioned by freedom. The latter indicates our heritage and original impressions.
I heard “Cake,” by Flo Rida featuring 99 Percent for the first time at a pregame last weekend (am I behind the times?) and discovered yet another reason to hate myself. There are many reasons to hate oneself at a pregame.