The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: March 6, 2013 (Page 1 of 4)

Italian, easy, and delicious: Your winter biscotti recipe

The December to February rush of baking revolving around Christmas cookies and Valentine’s Day treats can leave amateur dessert chefs in a rut once March 1st rolls around. After the months of holidays we associate with many themed sweet treats, it seems suddenly and inexplicably difficult to find an outlet for creative baking energy.

Though they are enjoyable year-round, Italian biscotti are especially good for this time of year. The mere act of flipping a calendar page from February to March might make spring seem somewhat in sight, but let’s face it, we’ll still be sipping chai and hot cocoa more often than smoothies for most of this month. Biscotti are the perfect accompaniments to morning coffee, afternoon tea, or nighttime hot cocoa, and like everything else in the world, they taste better homemade than store-bought. They might conjure images of real-world bakeries and Roman hotels, but biscotti are surprisingly easy to make, the baking process comparable to that of regular cookies. Also like regular cookie baking, whipping up a batch of biscotti can involve more creative additions to the batter or post-baking decorating for more exciting results. Dipping the finished biscotti in melted chocolate and then refrigerating them is a common but not overrated technique. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the batter creates a more summery flavor, whereas adding dried cranberries or other dried fruit would make biscotti more wintery days.

The ingredients are simple, not exotic; using regular flour and almond extract is easier than finding almond flour but still gives the end product a distinct flavor, the hints of almond providing a balance to the sugary taste. Sweet but not too sweet, biscotti are perhaps just the right food for those who crave the illusion of dessert for breakfast.

Recipe Source: Real Simple magazine, November 2010.

2 3/4 cups: All-Purpose Flour Spooned & Leveled

1 1/2 Tsps: Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar

1 Stick of Unsalted Melted Butter

2 Tsps Pure Almond Extract

3 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups of Roasted Almonds


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, butter, and almond extract until just smooth. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and almonds and mix until just incorporated (do not overmix). Refrigerate the dough, covered, until firm enough to handle, 30 to 60 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 350° F. Divide the dough in half and shape into two 12-by-2-inch logs (about ¾ inch thick). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until just golden around the edges and firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into ½-inch-thick slices. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until dry and crisp, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Store the biscotti in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Obama’s Brainy Plan

Three weeks ago, an article in the New York Times revealed that the Obama administration will propose a massive scientific undertaking known as the Brain Activity Map, a project with a ten-year goal of building a functional map of the activity of all 100 billion neurons (brain cells) in the human brain. The article, written by John Markoff, describes a joint project between both federal and private research agencies to explore aspects of normal and abnormal brain function such as consciousness, disease, and perception at a cost of $300 million per year.

Since the publication of Markoff’s article, the Brain Activity Map has been compared to the Human Genome Project, a similar undertaking in terms of size and cost. The Human Genome Project was an international effort throughout the ‘90s that culminated in the complete map of the human genome – the DNA-based genetic code that is found in every cell in the human body. Indeed George Church, a molecular biologist at Harvard who helped create the Human Genome Project, is also helping to plan the Brain Activity Map. Church’s involvement bodes well for the Human Activity Map, since the Human Genome Project was a monumental success. According to the National Institute of Health, in 2010 the genomic mapping industry born from the Genome Project generated $67 billion in United States economic output while supporting over 300,000 jobs. Even President Obama himself mentioned the Project in his State of the Union address, citing statistics that showed that “every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy”.

Despite these upsides, many prominent scientists have critiqued the Brain Activity Map as unfeasible and a misuse of research capital. Their concerns fall usually fall into one of two categories: financial concerns or technological concerns.

The financial worries primarily focus on the hit that the National Institute of Health (NIH) has taken during the spending cuts of the recent sequestration. As the primary source of federal funding for biomedical research in the US, the NIH would be the primary financial contributor for the Brain Activity Map. However, the NIH’s budget was cut by 5.1%, a significant amount that could impact the Institute’s ability to fund such a large project. The $3 billion total cost of the Brain Activity Map, while less than the total cost of the Human Genome Project, would also take away funding for other research not related to the Map. Analysis from Rockefeller University shows that the cost would take funding away from 750 labs per year. Biologist Michael Eisen, an advisor for ENCODE (another massive government-funded scientific project), wrote about the importance of smaller research projects in a recent blog post: “American biology research achieved greatness because we encouraged individual scientists to pursue the questions that intrigued them and the NIH, NSF and other agencies gave them the resources to do so”. As a whole, Eisen writes that “Big Science” should not take priority over investigator-drive research.

The technological concerns are also numerous, the most prominent of which is that the technology to map out the activity of the entire brain simply has not yet been invented. The Human Connectome Project (HCP) is a similar undertaking to the Brain Activity Map in that it is an NIH-funded project aiming to map the complete connectivity of the human brain. The HCP uses specialized MRI machines to map connections between neurons on a mesoscale – that is, on a level of specificity in which connections between groups of similar neurons are mapped instead of each individual neuron. This map of connections is known as a structural connectome. The Brain Activity Map would piggyback off of the HCP while taking the research to a whole new level. Rather than a structural connectome that cannot take into account the constant changing of neural connections, the Activity Map would be a functional connectome. It would map patterns and sequences of brain activity and correlate it with the resulting behavior or cognition. Additionally, the Map would be on a microscale level meaning that it would track every individual neuron. These lofty goals seem even loftier when taking into account that scientists can only record activity from tens of neurons at a time. For the Brain Activity Map to be created, techniques to record from many thousands or even millions of neurons would be necessary.

Many of these above concerns can be remedied through simple changes. Perhaps the goal of the brain activity map should not be to map the human brain, but to map the brain of an animal with much fewer neurons. Animals including the fruit fly (135,000 total neurons) or zebrafish (~1 million total neurons in the central nervous system), two animals that are commonly used in science research, have been proposed as alternatives to the human brain which contains around 100 billion neurons. The fact that existing technology cannot meet the goals of the Brain Activity Map does not seem to concern the scientists behind the project either. Story Landis, one of the researchers behind the Brain Activity Map, said in an interview with Medscape Medical News that one of the goals of the project was “to develop such tools [necessary to build the map]”. Indeed many possible techniques have been proposed, but thus far remain untested. This fact is not particularly worrisome, though, when considering how fast biomedical technology can improve. The Human Genome Project required over three billion dollars to sequence a single human genome. In 2012, according to, that price is less than ten thousand dollars. Additionally, while it took the Human Genome Project over 10 years to produce the entire human genome, that same process can be completed in only a few hours today.

As a current neuroscience major hoping to perform neuroscience research as a career, this plan brings me both worry and hope. The massive funding will undoubtedly increase job security for neuroscientists as a whole, especially if the project generates more interest for other types of neuroscience research. However, as mentioned above, those researchers not participating in the project will have less NIH funding for their own projects. And since the type of research that I hope to be involved in is not related to the Brain Activity Map, this lack of funding is definitely concerning. In terms of neuroscience as a whole, though, even if the Brain Activity Map does not quite meet every single one of its goals, the potential advancements in the field (both in terms of knowledge of the brain/mind and improved research techniques) are paramount.

Looking back before moving forward: Life after Bates

Freshman year, my friends’ weekend texts usually consisted of: “I just woke up in the Smith common room,” “Did I go out last night” and “I am never going out again.”

We have come a long way since then. That’s not to say that we don’t wake up saying or reading something similar, but the disconcerting texts have certainly become less frequent.

All seven of my housemates, myself included, have had our fair share of wishing to go back in time. Recently I realized that we have come almost full circle since freshman year. Rather than wanting to go back, we have started to brace ourselves for what lies ahead.

As children, we spent our first few years of life doing literally whatever we wanted: painting my little sister naked, pretending to run away with a yellow box of Cheerios in one hand and a doll stroller in the other, and getting called into the principal’s office for throwing a snowball at my first grade arch nemesis during recess. While I wreaked havoc across the neighborhood and in school, my parents fed me, bathed me, dressed me for school and helped me with my homework, and my mom still makes my lunch when I return home.

Now, many of us have reached yet another crossroads. If you could do anything in the world with your life, what would you do? Would you still really become a doctor, a prep school teacher or an analyst at a bulge-bracket bank? Do you want to teach English in Thailand or take the year off and explore the world? Do you want to work forty or eighty-hour weeks? Have you ever considered what you will look and feel like if you put on twenty pounds when you start ordering delivery from your desk at work?

I think Woody Allen put it perfectly: “In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day…”

So maybe we can’t just graduate Bates, become kids again, and play for the rest of our lives, but have you ever sat back and really thought about where your life will take you in the next five or ten years. And more importantly, who will be a part of it?

At 21, hopefully we have at least 60 years ahead of us, if we stay healthy. Pretty soon, my mom will stop making my lunch and I will have to slap the organic peanut butter and grape jelly onto my whole wheat bread by myself.

We all have our elementary school, middle school, high school, college, camp, and maybe even preschool friends. Along the way, some have certainly fallen to the wayside. Maybe you lost touch, have trouble keeping up, or you decided you might just be better off without them.

I guess soon that peanut butter and jelly sandwich made by my mom might morph into a panini with Brie and sliced green apples. For now, I think that we should continue to play, and when Bates finally lets us go and releases us into “the real world” (gets scarier each time you say it), we will try to keep playing, and keep getting closer to those closest to us.

Baseball sees season-opening succcess down south

Ten months after just missing a berth to the NESCAC playoffs, the Bates baseball team returned to action for the 2013 campaign in Georgia. The squad looked to get off to a great start and build off of what was a successful 2012 campaign, playing seven games in total against foes Oglethorpe, Berry, and Emory.

2012 First Team All-NESCAC selection Griff Tewksbury is back, along with upperclassmen Kevin McGregor and Ryan Sonberg who look to round out an experienced core of leadership for the Bobcats.

On February 19th, the Bobcats took to the diamond for the first time against Berry College. It wasn’t the beginning Bates expected, as they fell victim to a combined one-shit shutout by a pair of Berry College pitchers.

For the game, the only threat Bates had of putting a run on the scoreboard came in the fifth inning when junior Steve Burke led off the inning with a single. Senior captain Griff Tewksbury then drew a walk. Both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by junior catcher Jeff Gunn. But their scoring attempt was fizzled when Burke was thrown out at home, followed by a groundout to second. Eventually, the Bobcats lost 6-0.

Finally getting on a real baseball field was a great feeling,” noted McGregor. “We hadn’t been on a real field until we played our first game, which based on the result showed we needed to get the kinks out and the rust off the bats,” he added.

The next day, it was a completely different story for the Bobcats. They took to the diamond for a double header against Berry and swept the two game series. The Cats immediately got the bats going, scoring four runs on three hits while taking advantage of three Berry errors. Bates got its first run when freshman Sam Berry singled up the middle, allowing Ryan Sonberg to score.

From there, the floodgates opened as the Cats scored seven runs over three innings. Bates junior Brad Reynolds started on the bump, shutting out Berry College for three innings before giving way to freshman reliever Sam Warren. Warren went two innings before freshman Connor Colombo finished it out. For the Bobcats in game 1, catcher Mekae Hyde drove in two runs while junior Kevin Davis drove in a game-high three. Overall, the Bobcats outhit the Vikings 22-7.

“The strengths of the team this year is our defense and pitching, as well as our leadership,” explained Sonberg. “We are going to play fundamentally sound baseball,” he added.

In the second game of the series, it was a much closer contest for Leonard’s squad. Kevin McGregor led the way with his 4-for-4 performance, getting things started in the first with a single. The Cats got the first run in the opening stanza on a bases loaded walk by Jeff Gunn. Junior starter Chris Fusco held the Vikings scoreless through three, but allowed a lone Berry run in the fourth. In the top of fifth, Bates exploded for three runs on two hits along with two wild pitches.

After giving up the lead late in the game, the Bobcats were able to score in the top of seventh and turn a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the bottom half to stymie a Berry comeback attempt. Tewksbury had a 2-for-4 game, recording an RBI and a run. Four pitchers saw time on the mound for the Bobcats. Reliever Sam Maliska got the win and Dean Bonneau closed the door on the Vikings, recording the save.

After a couple days of rainouts, the team was able to get back on the diamond and take on Oglethorpe. Bates looked dead in the water, falling behind 9-4 by the time the eighth inning rolled around. Ryan Sonberg closed the gap hitting a solo homer before Bates opened up the floodgates in the ninth. Davis, McGregor, and sophomores Alex Parker and Pajka began the inning with four consecutive hits.

Sam Warren grounded out to second, scoring Parker on the play. Sonberg evened things up when he reached on a fielder’s choice while the Petrels failed to throw out Pajka at home. Bates would score five more runs in the inning, securing the 14-9 victory. Sonberg had a game-high four RBI while starter Spinosa went 3.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits. Freshman Mark Cunningham got the victory.

The next day, Bates had three games, starting with a double header against Emory. In game 1, the Bobcats scored three runs in the top of the seventh, erasing Emory’s 4-2 lead. Pinch hitter Mekae Hyde got things started with a lead off walk followed by Sonberg and Davis reaching base on intentional walks. Griff Tewksbury singled to left, starting the rally, which eventually led to a 5-4 Bates lead. Dean Bonneau was flawless in the bottom of the seventh, recording his second save of the trip and preserving the 5-4 victory.

In all, both Steve Burke and Kevin McGregor had three hits in four plate appearances with Burke, as well as Tewksbury, both two RBIs. Tom Baroni and Chris Ward toed the rubber for the Bobcats, before giving way to Bonneau.

In the latter contest, Emory scored five runs in the first inning and didn’t give up the lead behind strong pitching from two Eagles freshman. The only runs for the Bobcats came in the top of the first after Sonberg scored on a Tewksbury sacrifice fly. Bates then went on to get two more runs in the second and fifth innings. But, that was all they were able to muster as Emory eventually won 6-3.

In the third contest of the day, Bates took on Oglethorpe. For the game, the Bobcats were held to three hits, one apiece by Warren, Burke, and Berry. Bates trailed 2-1 after scoring a run in the top of the sixth. Junior southpaw Brad Reynolds gave up two runs to Oglethorpe in the bottom half of that inning before giving up three more the inning after. Overall, it was a messy game for Bates, who committed five errors.

“We think that this year’s team is the most talented team we’ve had in our four years at Bates,” added McGregor. “The team chemistry is better then it’s ever been.”

Overall, it was a successful five-day trip for the Bates Bobcats, who finished 4-3 overall. With a mixture of seasoned upperclassmen and talented youth, the team figures to be in the mix for the NESCAC crown.

“I thought we held our own with some very good teams in Georgia,” believes senior Sonberg. “There are things that we as a team and individually can continue to improve on, but our goal is to be playing our best ball when we play Tufts at the end of March.”

The team returns to action March 9th against Middlebury.

Bates debate continues to win

Ben Smith and Cat Djang, '13, at King's College

Ben Smith and Cat Djang, ’13, at King’s College

The Bates debate team remains an undergraduate debate powerhouse. The team is ranked 14th in the country and 19th internationally. Last month, the Bates Brooks Quimby Debate Council added two more victories to its season. Team president Ben Smith ’13 and team vice president Cat Djang ’13 beat out 43 other teams to win the King’s College Tournament. Bates’ success did not stop there. As their teammates were busy winning in New York, Taylor Blackburn ’15, director of novice affairs for the team, and Matt Summers ’15 clinched another win for Bates at the Providence College Debate Tournament in Rhode Island.

These two victories demonstrate the Bates debate team’s versatility. The team excels under both the British Parliamentary style (BP) of debate and the American Parliamentary style (APDA) of debate. The BP style uses fixed motions announced at the beginning of each round and allots 15 minutes of prep time for teams to prepare. Under this style, teams receive rankings (1 through 4, with 1 being the best) and individual speaker scores. The debate spans 6 rounds. On the other hand, the APDA style pits one team directly against another (4 debaters in total). Unlike the BP style, the APDA does not have fixed motions allowing for the Government team to choose the case topic. The Opposition then has the chance to ask questions and must defend the status quo or a counterproposal.

I prefer the BP because it allows for a fairer debate since all teams have the same amount of time to generate analysis spontaneously after the resolution is read.  Also, because there are more teams, there also tends to be more interesting argument development and clash. The adjudication process is also superior because the judge or judging panel gives oral feedback after the round,” said Djang.

Djang and Smith certainly thrive under the BP style. The last BP tournament they participated in prior to the King’s College Tournament was the World Universities Debate Championships at which the duo earned 18 points over 9 rounds to take 45th place – an enormous accomplishment on college debate’s grandest stage. Djang and Smith attribute their success to hard work and a genuine passion for debate.

“Ben and I began debating together our freshman year, and had our first successes as Novices (first-year debaters). We’re great friends, so I think that really helps us communicate, especially when it comes time for constructive criticism of each other. We also both love debating, and so we have a high level of commitment to working hard. I’d say it pays off,” said Djang.

One defining characteristic of the Bates debate team is its emphasis on inclusivity. The team is open to all students regardless of previous experience. (Djang herself had no public speaking experience prior to joining the team her freshman year.) Anyone interested in joining can attend a practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 4:10 pm in Alumni House on Campus Avenue. This is striking given the team’s success against teams with competitive try-outs.

“Other competitive teams tend to have a cutthroat, win-at-all-costs approach to debating, whereas our team puts a high premium on actually fostering intellectual discourse (as opposed to merely relying on strategic rhetoric or sneaky tactics). I think Bates students join the team initially with a desire to participate in fruitful dialectic conversations, and that translates very well into true competitive debating skills,” explained Djang.

Their philosophy is certainly working. In addition to Djang and Smith, the debate team has managed to mold many students into talented debaters including Blackburn and Summers. The pair recently took first in the varsity category of the Providence College tournament. Their pool consisted of ten varsity teams including another Bates team. Jack Stewart ’14 and Victoria Sliwa ’14 finished eighth. Summers also placed third in the varsity speaker category.

“Winning the Providence College Tournament was really exciting. We beat some of the best debaters in the country during elimination rounds and the final round was probably the most impassioned round that I’ve been in. The victory also bumped us up to 11th place in the country and within striking distance of 10th, something that a Bates team has only done once in recent memory,” said Summers.

Blackburn and Summers have logged an impressive record over the past two years. The team has broken to varsity outrounds at all 5 tournaments they have attended this year. At Harvard, one of the largest and most prestigious tournaments, the team reached the semifinals. Like Djang and Smith, the team truly enjoys debating together.

“Matt and I have debated together since the very beginning of our time on the team as freshman. We’ve cultivated a way of communicating and pushing each other that means we’re always getting better. It doesn’t hurt that he’s one of my best friends, either,” said Blackburn.

The team still has several additional APDA tournaments and the National Championship in April. Blackburn and Summers are still striving for the perfect end to a terrific season.

“One of our goals for the rest of the season is to make our way into the top ten, which could happen this coming weekend at the Stanford tournament. Another is to break into elimination rounds at the National Championship. Finally, and this relates to our other goals, is an effort to put ourselves in a position where we can make a run to be the number 1 team in the country during our Junior or Senior year, something which a Bates team has never done before,” said Summers.

Apart from achieving great success, the Bates debate team has fostered a sincere love of debate.

“[Debate is] my favorite part of Bates. Successes like these are great, but the friendships I have both on my team and people from other schools makes itespecially worthwhile,” said Blackburn.

Want to see the team in action? The Bates Brooks Quimby Debate Council invites the Bates community to come out to annual public debate versus Yale.  Yale is the top-ranked debating program in the country and will try to reclaim the Etnire-Cugini Cup from Bates.  Bates claimed the cup last year by virtue of its victory over Yale in last year’s public debate.

The debate will take place on Thursday, March 14th at 7 p.m. in the Peter J. Gomes Chapel. Come be a part of the team’s historic season.

The truth about Bates’ endowment

Despite its high sticker price, Bates continues to have one of the lowest endowments among competitive liberal arts institutions. This was confirmed in the recent Student Government Sponsored Budget Forum. On February 5th, Terry Beckmann, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Doug Ginevan, Assistant Vice President for Financial Planning and Analysis, presented on Bates’ endowment and its impact on the college budget. After reviewing many charts, graphs, and statistics, the problem became clear – Bates’ less than impressive endowment is crippling its budget.

Bates’ budget is currently about $100 million. The college draws the majority of its revenue from students and families (72.7 percent). This is supplemented by endowment spending at 11.4 percent, the Bates Fund (annual fundraisers) at 6.8 percent, and other revenue (including sales in the bookstore, dining, aid from the government) at 9.1 percent.

At $216 million (as of June 2012), Bates’ endowment is low compared to its peers. For instance, several peer institutions have endowments in the billions including Williams College ($1.8 billion), Amherst College ($1.64 billion), Wellesley College ($1.44 billion) and Smith College ($1.41 billion). Furthermore, the endowment per student at Bates ($122,000) pales in comparison to the same statistic at peer institutions such as Pomona College ($1,000,000). This is not a crack – this is a chasm.

“The main reason for the difference compared to our peers is gifts. In the 80’s it was very close but they took off and we stayed flat. We didn’t get [gifts] before the stock market went up. They got more and more of them. We can’t spend the corpus [of the endowment]. We can spend on returns – we spend about 5 percent. Some of our peers might be able to take more risks,” explained Beckmann.

Bates’ endowment causes the institution to have a higher fee dependency than its peers. (Fee dependency is the actual amount the institution relies on or what comes from students). As of June 30, 2012, Bates’ fee dependency is 70.1 percent – significantly higher than Bowdoin College (50.3 percent), Middlebury College (58.6 percent), and Colby College (64.7 percent).

However, it should be noted that having a higher fee dependency is not all bad.

“We did not suffer as immediately from the stock market downturn as our peers as only about 11 percent of our budget comes from our endowment where many of our peers rely on their endowments to support 20 to 40 percent of their operating budgets,” commented Beckmann.

Still, Bates’ low endowment has a lot more downsides than upsides. The college’s low endowment also directly affects financial aid. Bates’ financial aid budget ($28 million) is right in the middle of its peers. The college cites financial aid as an “area of priority”. Bates meets 100 percent of demonstrated need for both international and domestic admitted students. Bates also provides one of the highest grants to students receiving aid ($33,948).

However, the percentage of students actually receiving aid remains at the bottom of competitive liberal arts institutions. Only 42 percent of Bates students receive aid.

“We’re not proud of that 40 percent at all. That is something we’re trying to increase. We’re trying to recruit more socioeconomic diversity,” said Beckmann.

What is making that so difficult? The same culprit behind Bates’ high fee dependency: the endowment.

Cat Djang ‘13 wishes to correct the misconception that because Bates’ sticker price is so high it is unnecessary to give more to the institution. “We need to realize Bates faces a uniquely high cost,” said Djang.

This uniquely high cost stems from Bates’ resources and its high fee dependency. Given these financial constraints, where does your tuition money go?

“We emphasize financial aid, faculty support, facilities. You would see the money there,” said Beckmann.

Specifically, the budget reflects “what Bates values most”: teaching. Of Bates’ $25 million academic budget, 38.9 percent is allocated to instruction and research. Bates funnels a higher percentage into this category than Middlebury (36.4 percent), Bowdoin (36.5 percent), and Colby (37.2 percent). Of course, with larger budgets, these schools spend more dollars in this category.

“There are lots of schools that spend a lot of money for the curb appeal. We could be doing that but that would come at the cost of something else. We have a good balance between not having the showy things to keep students here but at the right areas,” commented Ginevan.

The forum raises an uncomfortable question for Batesies: How come many peer institutions are able to afford “the showy things” and excellent faculty?

Increasing the endowment should be a top priority for Bates. The college has already shown initiative by implementing cost-saving measures such as consolidating students to certain dorms during breaks to conserve heat and introducing electronic billing.

Yet Bates has a long way to go.

While Bates is ripe with excellent faculty, increasing the endowment continues to be a necessity. For every institution of higher education operating in a sinking economy and increasingly competitive job market, there is always the question of: How do we improve? The answer for Bates lies in enlarging its endowment.

“There are 3,300 schools that would love to have the Bates financial problems. Changing our mindset from ‘woe is us we don’t have any money’ would change the psychology,” said Ginevan.

While that may be a valid statement, it is worth noting that if Bates defines its “peer institutions” as Bowdoin, Williams, etc. for academic, athletic, and job-placement purposes, then it is inviting financial comparisons with these institutions as well.

Unfortunately, at the moment Bates does not fare well in these comparisons.

Q&A with Ali Haymes and Travis jones, Bates’s own aerial artists

When one thinks about flying through the air and performing death-defying tricks, either an evening at Cirque du Soleil or watching stunt planes comes to mind. However, right here on campus we have something even better. First-year Ali Haymes and senior Travis Jones are currently in an exciting independent study focusing on cultivating aerial performance skills, as well as hopefully cultivating an interest in aerials in the Bates community.

The Bates Student: Describe to our readers what exactly you are doing for your independent study?

Travis Jones:

“Aerial Performance” is the name of the class on paper, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s Ali and I learning to perform in the air. I’m doing aerial straps and Ali does aerial hoop. We’ve both been practicing aerial silks. Ali practices more in the dance studio and I practice in the gym.


What’s the process like to suggest and implement an independent study class such as this?

Ali Haymes:

Travis took over the creation of it more, but when they brought it to the dance department they were all really supportive…It seems relatively easy to create a class when you’re passionate about something that isn’t already offered at Bates.


It wasn’t hard to get because it’s not something that Bates offers. I mean, Bates doesn’t really teach any circus classes. It was really easy to get and the department was so supportive of the idea. It’s through the Dance Department, so it’s just like learning to compose a dance piece but in a different element and direction.


How long has each of you been doing aerial work or other types of aerial artistry?


I’ve been doing circus for about 10 years. I started in my lower school and really liked it and ended up practicing more times a week. I’ve been doing trapeze for about 8 years, silks for about 5 years, and hoop for about 2. I basically grew up in the circus, and it’s always been an interest of mine. I trained with CircEsteem in Chicago and it’s been like a home to me.


I took my first flying trapeze class the summer after I graduated high school. A year later I went back the Trapeze School of New York and instructor offered me a job after my second class. I spent last summer living in New York working as a flying trapeze instructor. I continued to fall in love with it and came back midway through first semester this year and thought, “Why not make these classes into Bates classes?” I’ve been doing aerials officially only for a couple months. Dance and diving help a lot in terms of strength and flexibility. It’s very essential to my success in learning aerials.


How did you find out that both of you were interested in doing aerial arts?Jones:

Ali and I were in a studio modern dance class together in the fall, and early on when everyone was introducing themselves and their experience, I mentioned that I worked as a flying trapeze instructor. Ali started a conversation with me and said that she had also done work with aerials in her home city of Chicago.


Do you have any upcoming events that you’re doing as a class that is open to the public?


Not for the independent study. There was one workshop open to the public a week or so ago. Our independent study is primarily about learning to independently compose an aerial piece as opposed to being an instructor for others.


As part of the independent study, I applied for a learning associates grant and we brought two aerial artists to campus for two weeks to teach us. Andrew Adams (who graduated from Bates in 1999) has been working with me in aerial straps and his aerial partner, Helena Reynolds, has been working with Ali on hoop. They taught a master class last Sunday for two hours.


Are there any plans of expanding the class to include people that would be interested in learning aerial work? What would you recommend to those who would like to learn?


Coming to talk to us about it would be a great start. We’ve got a fair amount of ideas about connections and finding an aerial studio in your town and would generally love to talk about it.


Our independent study is just the two of us, but we get excited about the idea of people of other people falling in love with circus. The great thing about the workshop (last Sunday) was that it pulled people out of the woodwork, which is great because there’s now a strong idea to create some sort of circus club at Bates. That would last longer than our independent study and have a much bigger impact on the Bates community.


What else would you like to let Bates know about your independent study?


If more people are interested, we hope that this independent study can spread awareness about possibly starting a circus club on campus. There are other aspects of circus that we could do with this club, if people were interested, i.e. juggling, acrobatics, tight wire…One of the best things about circus is the community you get out of it, and I think starting this club and spreading the awareness about circus would create a whole new community around campus.


We will be performing in the Winter Dance concert March 29th – April 1st if you’d like to come see us in that. Another parting word of advice would be that aerial arts take a lot of dedication, practice, and safety awareness. If you’re interested, please talk to us or to a professional aerialist, but don’t try this on your own.

The whole universe fitting together just right: Beast of the Southern Wild

Imagine your six year-old self. Would he or she have spoken the following phrase? “The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece, the entire universe will get busted.” Unless you grew up in a vivacious community completely isolated from society, your answer is probably “No.”

Beasts of the Southern Wild captures the challenging lifestyle of individuals living in an insolated community called the Bathtub. Separated from civilization by an expansive levy, community members have a fierce connection to and sense of place. When a storm hits and floods their community, inhabitants face the life-threatening consequences of their decision to stay isolated from potentially helpful forces in society. From the perspective of a young girl named Hushpuppy (Quevenzhané Wallis), the audience experiences her speculative thought process about the workings of her community and their relationship to the world at large.

Films that capture environments unfamiliar to the primary demographic usually serve to educate audience members on a different way of life. Beasts takes this strategy one step further. It uniquely presents the rare and isolated environment of the “Bathtub” with elements of Hushpuppy’s fantastical imagination. It transports the audience to a rarified world and adds an imaginative lens.

Director Benh Zeitlin approached this project with a relatively risky strategy. While he took multiples takes of various scenes, he chose not to review any of the material captured until after production had finished. This technique marks Zeitlin as an impressively audacious director. Few directors would jeopardize their vision for a film in such a way and risk their ability to convey a specific message.

His approach reflects a deep connection to the characters depicted in the film. Like the inhabitants of the Bathtub, he was forced to make the best of what he had in the present moment. He couldn’t dwell on the past; he could only make the best of the future. The result is a film that successfully has the raw and authentic quality sought after by so many filmmakers in Hollywood today.

Lead actress Quvenzhané Wallis is, in a word, fierce. She dominates the film with a speculative and insightful narrative. Mr. Zeitlin has said in numerous interviews that she had a “voice of wisdom” on the film set and many of the moving voice overs in the film were thoughtful reflections of Quvenzhané herself. Her determination to face challenges physically larger than herself humbles audience members and is a pleasurable education.

On the multiple red carpets she has sauntered down over the last two months, Quvenzhané has reported that she does intend to continue acting. It would be a shame if directors ignored her insightful mindset and claimed her talent for the American child star world. Hopefully she will maintain her wise outlook and not succumb to the deceiving attraction of life as a child star.

Even though she was six when filming commenced, at age nine she is still the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting actress. Zeitlin even admits in an interview that casting Quvenzhané was a risky decision as a filmmaker; “When you make your film with a six year old star,” he says, “you are banking your film on a miracle.” Thankfully, Quvenzhané was the miraculous force that Zeitlin’s film needed.

At the heart of Beasts is a story about community and the power that a sense of place has in dictating our actions. It essentially captures what Bates seeks to pride itself on. Every Bates student should find time to rent Beasts of the Southern Wild on iTunes. At a running time of approximately eighty minutes, no student has an excuse not to. Beasts reminds us how vital it is to establish a sense of place with the world around us. Inhabitants of the Bathtub only survive because they are all viscerally connected to their community. Community members are responsible for being vivacious, willing and responsible contributors to the community. As community members ourselves, we cannot just say we have a sense of place; our behaviors must actively reflect how important our community is to us.

Bobcats of the Week



The first-year squash sensation from Cairo, Egypt recently finished up a stellar campaign with a semifinal appearance at CSA Individual Nationals held in Hartford, Connecticut. Khalek defeated two 2012 first-team All-Americans before losing to top-ranked Todd Harity of Princeton. This is the first time that at Bates squash player has advanced that far in the national championships and Khalek will join Ricky Weisskopf ’08 as Bates’ only All-American first team honorees. The national championship performance comes on the heels of a 23-2 individual record this season from the top spot in the lineup. Khalek was also named 2013 NESCAC Player and Rookie of the year recently.


 Beaulieu_0238The senior guard capped an outstanding career with a sensational senior season, recently earning a spot on the All-NESCAC second team. Beaulieu averaged a team-high 14.4 points per game this year, which was the fourth highest in the league. The senior was 17th in the country in three point field goal percentage (.416) and 22nd in the country and first in the NESCAC in three pointers per game (2.67). The sweet shooting senior did not miss a game this season and led the conference in minutes played per game, a testament to her durability. Beaulieu, the first All-NESCAC player for Bates since 2010, graduates with the most three pointers made of any Bates player ever (206) and her 1,170 career points puts her seventh on the all-time program scoring list.

Property damage a rampant problem on campus

On February 9, a member of the Bates community tore a sink from a wall in Pettigrew Hall, causing severe flooding and damage throughout the building. As a result, carpets, walls, and furniture suffered water damage and PGrew has been closed for repairs for nearly a month.

According to an email from college President Clayton Spencer, the consequences of a flooded academic and office building are grave. In addition to cosmetic harm from the flood and resulting humidity, parts of the college’s network structure was damaged beyond repair. Information and Library Services was forced to relocate large amounts of equipment, and nine faculty members and eighteen classes were displaced from the building for the foreseeable future. Aside from the obvious drawbacks of these material benefits, Bates staff members spent much of the weekend immediately following cleaning up the area, and two Lewiston Fire Department units and several contractors were called in to help.

Notably, the Bates College Robinson Players’ run of the play ‘”8″ had to be cut short, as their theater and rehearsal space is housed within Pettigrew. While the play opened on Friday night, it was scheduled for a weekend of performances which had to be cancelled or moved, keeping the majority of the Bates community from attending a play on which their peers worked diligently for months.

The fallout from this incident should not be understated. While Douglas Ginevan, the Assistant Vice President for Financial Planning and Analysis, believes that insurance will cover most of the costs for repair, monetary damage is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In her email, President Spencer said that this behavior was unacceptable, stating that, “It is deeply discouraging to me personally, and, I expect, to the vast majority of our students, faculty and staff who work hard to support a strong and respectful sense of community here at Bates.”

While Bates lauds itself on a community fueled by mutual respect for students and property alike, behavior often indicates otherwise. That same weekend, fire alarms were unnecessarily activated in Parker and the Mays Center, and a radiator pipe was torn from the wall in Page. Students are surely familiar with the infamous Parker elevator, the almost-weekly false fire alarms in Smith, or common rooms who greet Sunday mornings from underneath a veritable mountain of solo cups and crushed cans. While there are clearly varying degrees of consequences associated with different levels of dorm damage, the underlying idea is the same.

When we decide to leave dirty dishes in the house of our Frye Street kitchens, or punch a hole in a wall, or break furniture, we are sending a very clear message: that cleaning up after ourselves, being respectful of our custodial staff and peers, is not our responsibility. This sort of behavior implies that we do not care about sharing clean and functioning spaces with our peers, and that we are ungrateful of the facilities we are so fortunate to use. It indicates entitlement, which is a very unflattering adjective to describe a student body whose community service, varied interests, and global perspectives suggest the opposite.

The individual responsible for the Pettigrew incident has stepped forward, and the college is in the process of taking disciplinary actions. Punishing one student, however, will not change the culture of damaging dorms and buildings that seems so prevalent at Bates. This weekend, let’s weigh the consequences of our actions before we make similar mistakes.

If you are interested in the Pettigrew Hall renovations, check out the Pettigrew Project website:

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