The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: September 11, 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Ladd Library’s (slightly) new look: Is there more change to come?

Library 2Throughout last fall semester, large poster boards in the entrance area of Ladd Library showed plans for a complete renovation of the building. Fabric swatches indicated completely new furniture on several floors, such as sleek new lounge chairs and raised swivel chairs for higher tables. Floor plans showed signs of a future cafe area, for which many students showed support with stickers coding for countless Yes’s and twice-underlined Absolutelys.

While the bombardment of neon stickers has not wielded its expected results, the Library underwent construction this summer for the redesign of the main floor, as well as less drastic but nonetheless noticeable changes in other parts of the building.

The main floor now features brand new carpeting, new PC computers, computer desks instead of long tables, and sleek black swivel chairs. The carpet, which also now covers the basement and upper floors, gives the library a refreshingly bright appearance. The computer desks are clustered in groups of three with cubicle-like walls separating the workspaces, high enough for separating individual spaces and short enough to allow for group conversations.

The elimination of the old computer tables and the new configuration of desks have been the most drastic changes in terms of spatial arrangement. Seating near the computers has been reduced, or at least partially moved to the area near the Peer Writing Center. The reference books’ shelves have also been rearranged, and the shelf of featured books selected by the librarians now stands between Circulation and the flat-screen television –– better for students to see as they walk in. The area by the Peer Writing Center, which used to be taken up mostly by shelves, now feels more open and more populated with workspaces due to the relocation of print periodicals.

These changes are the result of an ongoing discussion about Learning Commons, said Laura Juraska, associate librarian for research.

“It began a number of years ago. We wanted to upgrade the machines, update the rug, try to free up some rooms we have for group study. We upgrade the labs with new machines every four years, so they were due for an upgrade–that would have happened regardless of anything,” she points out. According to Juraska, the changes that happened this summer “came out from multiple ideas that might have been bigger [changes], but then came down to smaller things.”

But the main goal of this summer’s revamping was to increase possibilities for collaborative work among students.

“We reduced some of the reference collection without getting rid of that information by putting some online. That allowed for even more space than we already had,” Juraska explained. The clusters of computers are an obvious product of this idea.

“We actually bought more [swivel] chairs than we actually need so that people can pull up chairs to the desks,” adds the librarian.

An impressive new feature is the raised table with a “collaborative computer screen” on the back wall. Students will be able to connect their own laptops to the larger computer to show their work to study groups on a large screen. This space will be available for booking once the screen has been hooked up.

Because of previous hints of more extensive changes, the current redesign has not completely met students’ expectations, even if perceptions of the baby steps toward change are not negative.

“I really like the way the computers are put in groups of three, and the chairs are really nice,” said Sophie Salas ‘15, “but I hope they add new furniture to the other floors as well. I hope they continue with the rest of the building–adding a coffee shop-type area would be awesome.”

Junior Katie Paulson expected more renovation as well. “I like the new carpeting–it looks better–[but] I got a sense that it would be more different, and it seems like there hasn’t been that much that’s changed. It still feels the same; there’s not a huge shock moment when you walk in,” she noted.

According to librarian Juraska, however, future plans for the library depend on the finalization of plans for new housing on Campus Avenue, as well as the ongoing discussion about the relationship between the Library, Chase Hall, and Commons.

“Some of the [foot] traffic pattern will change once there’s housing across the street,” says Juraska, so architects and Bates administrators are trying to figure out how that will affect the three buildings.

“What it might mean is possibly an entrance to the Library downstairs on the basement level,” Juraska mentions, because foot traffic might mean more people coming from the Library Quad side in the future.

Discussions about the broader plans for the buildings around the Library Quad will, Juraska said, be held throughout this fall. As drastic changes for the library are somewhat dependent on these plans, it looks like we have some more waiting to do.

The best places to study at Bates

Tired of working in the basement of Ladd every day? Don’t know where to venture for places that invoke studying potential? Then fret no more – here are some great locations to let those creative juices flow for hours!

1) Upper Commons:

Also known as the Mezzanine dining area, Upper Commons is a great environment to work in for people who enjoy some good background noise. The wooden tables and chairs allow for a good working surface without allowing you to get too cozy and fall asleep. It’s a good location for writing papers and doing computer work in a secluded environment. It is especially the best to get there before Commons closes from 2:30 – 4:30 when you only have the sounds of the Commons staff cleaning below. And if you get hungry you have all of the delicious Commons food at your disposal. The Great Wall of Cereal never closes so you can take your much needed Lucky Charms study break any time.

2) Chase Hall Lounge:

Home to the most comfortable leather couches known to man. Let the smell of leather soothe you as you cuddle up with a good book. And if you get bored or need a study break you can always play pool or play with the many adorable puppies lounging in the Chase Hall offices.

3) Lounges in PGill:

The small rooms are perfect for isolated paper writing or group work and are centrally located on campus. Each lounge belongs to one or two departments with a table, chairs, and a few comfy sofas. They are nicely decorated with information and past theses, making them awesome places to go for inspiration for the paper you have in that given area. But fair warning, they are quite popular on the weekends and are often used for department meetings throughout the week so plan your expedition wisely!

kegwin amphitheater

4) Kegwin Amphitheater:

Weather permitting, of course! The amphitheater overlooks the beautiful Lake Andrews, or Puddle. It has no tree coverage making it the perfect place to lounge and read with friends. It even has outlets in the rocks so you can charge your laptop while you work! Sit there and listen to the sound of cars on Russell Street or the quacking of ducks along the water as you casually do you work. You may even get lucky and see the couple with the two adorable Corgis stroll by!

5) The Ronj:

The perfect place to curl up with a good book or get some last minute work done for the evening. Open from about 7pm – 2am every weekday evening, the Ronj has a wonderful atmosphere for individual or group work. Knit with the Knit Wits, listen to the music of Chase the Fiddlers, or casually drink your chai while you chip away at your work for the week.

What should we do about Syria?

Note from the editor: When this article was submitted on Sunday (9/8), President Obama was still seeking approval from Congress to initiate military action in Syria. On Monday, Russia proposed a compromise in which Syria would instead place its chemical weapons under international control and allow them to be destroyed, thereby avoiding any military action from the United States. By Tuesday, the United States, France and the United Kingdom all agreed to explore this option via the United Nations. Shortly thereafter, Syrian’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem agreed to this proposal. Although this looks promising as of Tuesday, Secretary Kerry warned that the U.S. “will not wait long” for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons and noted, “[t]he use of force should absolutely not be off the table”. President Obama said that he was optimistic about the Russian proposal, but remained skeptical as to whether Syria would actually follow through. Since a military strike is apparently still an option for the United States, this article remains relevant, despite being a few days out of date.

President Obama has a problem. As of writing this article on September 8th, a majority of House members – 229 representatives – are on record as either “against” or “leaning against” authorizing military action in Syria. Even with an initial bipartisan outpouring of support that included Republican House Speaker John Boehner, many congressmen have been slowly but steadily speaking out against military intervention.

Perhaps surprisingly, the American people have had a critical role in this shift of position. Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) tweeted that “[i]n the past week over 99% of calls to my office were opposed to action,” Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) disclosed that there were “hundreds of calls to our [offices] . . . so far not a single call in favor of bombing Syria,” and several others have reported similar discrepancies in terms of calls supporting action and calls against it.

Despite this apparent consensus by the American people, the President’s Weekly Address reiterated his stance on the importance of a military response to the alleged chemical weapon use by the Syrian government.

UNited Media Office of Arbeen“This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security,” Obama said. “There’s a reason governments representing 98 percent of the world’s people have agreed to ban the use of chemical weapons. Not only because they cause death and destruction in the most indiscriminate and inhumane way possible – but because they can also fall into the hands of terrorist groups who wish to do us harm.”

Both sides of this crucial issue have compelling arguments. The chemical weapons attack in Syria was the most deadly of the 21st century, killing over 1,000 innocent people, including hundreds of children. But with international support waning, Russia promising to support Syria in the case of a U.S. strike, and the American people heavily against military action, President Obama must tread as carefully as possible.

Yet the President’s actions thus far indicate the opposite. His immediate insistence on military intervention – without even waiting for the United Nations’ report on the chemical weapons attack – suggests a rash decision, ignoring the best possible source of evidence. Yes, it is clear that chemical weapons were used. But the question here is not ‘what happened?’ but rather ‘who is behind the attack?’ Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly denied responsibility for the chemical attack. If true, it may in fact be impossible to determine who was responsible for the attack because the other option – the Syrian rebels – consist of so many different factions.

In fact, it seems as if the United States has already dismissed the report, instead committed to only taking its own findings into consideration. The Wall Street Journal has reported that, “[a]dministration officials made it clear that Mr. Obama would make his decision based on the U.S. assessment and not the findings brought back by the U.N. inspectors.”

IPS’s Gareth Porter noted many similarities between this situation and the decision to invade Iraq in 2002:

“The administration’s effort to discredit the [United Nations] investigation recalls the George W. Bush administration’s rejection of the position of the U.N. inspectors in 2002 after they found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the administration’s refusal to give inspectors more time to fully rule out the existence of an active Iraqi WMD programme. In both cases, the administration had made up its mind to go to war and wanted no information that could contradict that policy to arise.”

This apt comparison certainly seems to have merit. However, it is one thing to ignore a U.N. investigative report. It is another to ignore perhaps the most important U.N. rule: that a country may not use military force without authorization of the U.N. Security Council, unless it is in self-defense. Surely there is no way for the U.S. government to spin the situation to claim self-defense, especially without taking all possible evidence into account.

One possible argument would be that Obama could invoke the foreign policy doctrine of “responsibility to protect” (R2P) – that when a nation cannot or will not protect its people from war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing, other nations have a responsibility to intervene. Even putting aside the chemical weapon attack, with over 100,000 people killed and millions displaced from their homes, there is certainly cause to intervene.

In an opinion article in the Washington Post on September 6th, director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide Michael Abramowitz argued that it is too late to invoke R2P. He wrote that the best way of utilizing R2P is as a prophylactic measure:
“If the world had thought of Syria as an R2P problem two years ago . . . we might have brought much greater financial, legal and diplomatic tools to bear and been in much better shape than we are today, facing only unpalatable options for halting the slaughter . . . [o]ur best chance to rid the world of genocide and other forms of mass atrocity will be in trying to make sure they don’t begin.”

I cannot claim to have an answer to what the United States’ role should be in Syria, nor can I claim to understand the complexities of the situation enough to even begin to choose a side. However, what I do understand is that we cannot have a repeat of 2002 and Iraq. President Obama has promised that any military action against Syria will not include “boots on the ground.” O.K., so will we instead rely on airstrikes? How did airstrikes work out in Libya?

A recent investigation from the British newspaper The Independent reports that the situation in Libya is perhaps worse than before Qaddafi was defeated. The report reads: “Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Qaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that NATO’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention, which should be repeated in Syria . . .”

If “boots on the ground” is off the table, and precedent suggests that airstrikes may lead to compounding long-term problems, what can be done? That is up to the President to decide, but the possibility of not considering all available evidence in this complex situation is nothing but irresponsible.

Robin Thicke is a misogynist

Robin Thicke recently released an uncensored music video for his song “Blurred Lines” featuring topless women dancing across the stage while fully clothed Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. watch. Pimps, right?

I hope I grabbed your attention. And I’m sure you’ve all seen it.

Misogynist, bigot, and creep are some of the terms used to describe Thicke in recent parodies of his ‘Blurred Lines’ video. And frankly, I agree. He’s a bigot and a creep.

The music video opens with a topless woman lying in bed with Thicke, as “#THICKE” is displayed across the screen in bright red letters. The video continues to show topless women, clad only in skin colored thongs, strutting and dancing all over the stage. One of the women holds a goat, T.I. brushes some of the women’s hair, Thicke points a giant syringe at one of the woman’s butts, and balloons write the lines “Robin Thicke has a big d—.”

The whole video is ridiculous. Why is there a goat? Why is T.I. brushing the women’s hair, and what is that syringe doing in this video? This uncensored music video of “Blurred Lines” might as well be softcore pornography. So why hasn’t it been taken down from YouTube?
“Blurred Lines” was initially removed from YouTube, bu the company reinstated the video claiming that the video fell under YouTube’s EDSA (Education, Documentary, Scientific, Artistic) policy. Right.

I won’t deny that the song is catchy. That is, until you start listening to the lyrics. Frankly I don’t find “So hit me up whenever passing through, I’ll give you something big enough to tear your a– in two” very appealing or catchy.

So what is Robin Thicke singing about? Is he singing about the so-called “blurred lines” between consensual and non-consensual sex? Or is he encouraging men to go after women whenever there are “blurred lines”?

If anyone truly listens to the ‘Blurred Lines’ lyrics and watches the music video they would see that “Blurred Lines” objectifies women, and, I would go as far to say, promotes non-consensual sex. Those “blurred lines” he sings suggests that every “good girl” is an “animal” and that she “must wanna get nasty.”
The media does not seem to mind Mr. Thicke’s crassness, his misogyny, or the portrayal of women as sex objects. The media continues to eat it up, and Thicke’s song and video garners more attention.

When Olivia Lubbock, Zoe Ellwood, and Adelaide Dunn, law students from Auckland University in New Zealand, created a parody music video titled “Defined Lines,” YouTube took down this video. Intending to be tongue-in-cheek, the video showed men being objectified by women and used an array of expletives.
The video opens with a brief disclaimer, “No men were harmed in the making of this video.” “#Everybigotshutup,” appears on the screen next, and three men in their boxer briefs give massages to the three women.

So why did YouTube take down the video? It was flagged for “inappropriate sexual content”, while Robin Thicke’s uncensored ‘Blurred Lines’ video’s sexual content is apparently appropriate. Recently YouTube restored “Defined Lines,” calling the removal of the video a “mistake.” While I appreciate YouTube’s attempted apology, I’d like them to admit their company’s double standard— how could “Blurred Lines” fall under YouTube’s EDSA policy, while “Defined Lines” was deemed sexually inappropriate?

Lyrics from “Defined Lines” include, “If you wanna get nasty, Just don’t harass me: You can’t just grab me. That’s a sex crime. Yeah we don’t want it, It’s chauvinistic. You’re such a bigot. As well as: “I apologize if you think my lines are crass, tell me how it feels to get verbally harassed.”

And in response to Thicke’s balloons claiming his large size, one of the students sings, “Your precious d— can’t beat my vibrator,” as she brandishes a vibrator to the camera screen.

So is the entire thing crass? Yes. Tongue-in-cheek crass. And well deserved.

Feeling physically disgusted after having watched “Blurred Lines,” I was relieved to watch “Defined Lines,” and have a laugh at Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I..

So for all of you guys out there who watch “Defined Lines” and feel uncomfortable seeing grown men in their short boxer briefs being sexually objectified, recognize that women are no strangers to that discomfort.

Bates now offering two more majors

If you’re already confused by Bates’ educational requirements, consider this: you now have two more majors to choose from.

The first of these two majors is European Studies. While the major is new as of this year, it has been in the works for quite some time. According to Professor Francisca Lopez in the Spanish Department, the Faculty has been discussing the idea for seven or eight years.

The impetus to finally create a distinct new major came during a restructuring of Bates’ language departments. Previously, languages at Bates were divided into two broad categories: one consisting of Romance and Classical languages, and the other consisting of German, Russian, and East Asian languages. However, when the Asian Studies program emerged, Asian languages became a subset of that department, leaving the remaining languages to reconfigure themselves. “At that point, creating a European major to incorporate other languages and all other departments that deal with Europe seemed to make sense,” said Lopez.

Lopez added that Dennis Browne and Craig Decker, professors of Russian and German, respectively, were instrumental in this process. Professor Browne is currently teaching an FSA in St. Petersburg. Because the idea of European Studies was not new to Faculty and the administration, the major was easily approved. “The administration was very open to the creation of this major,” Lopez said. “And it really didn’t take much. It was just a matter of lining up courses. There was no money for extra faculty or personnel, so we had to work with the resources we had.”

The requirements for European Studies are similar to those of other majors. Students must take two “foundation courses,” one of which is a retooled FYS called “Introduction to European Studies.” The other core course is “Europe, 1789 to the Present,” which is taught in the History Department. Aside from those, students can choose from a vast array of elective courses cross-listed in economics, politics, literature, and history.

Students must also study one or more European languages. The language requirement can be fulfilled either by taking two courses above the 200 level in two European languages or by taking four courses above the 200 level in one language. Finally, like in most other majors, students must take seminars and write a thesis. Currently, the seminars that count toward the major are all taught in departments affiliated with the European Studies program.

The head of the new program, Spanish Professor David George, said that other departments cross-listed in European studies have all been supportive of the new major. “A lot of people are teaching about issues related to contemporary Europe, but maybe have not had a network to make connections. European Studies gives us this network to make those important connections.”

In addition to bridging gaps between academic departments, the new major also caters directly to student interest. “There are a significant number of students interested in interdisciplinary issues. In the past we’ve had people who majored in two or three areas, so this particular major would satisfy those students who wish to not simply study in one single discipline, but in several at an advanced level,” said French Professor Mary Rice-DeFosse, the Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Moving forward, George wants to make the major more visible to new students. Among his and his colleagues’ plans to promote the major are a lecture series, films, and information sessions during the major declaration period.

The second new major to hit the course catalogue is Latin American Studies (LAS). According to the head of the department, Professor of Environmental Studies Sonja Pieck, the new major was officially approved last fall, but the discussion about such a program began as early as 2007.

Since then, Pieck says, a “multi-year effort” has been underway to build the program. Pieck and the committee tasked with developing the new major gathered information from students and faculty, studied LAS programs at other institutions, and even received two grants from the Mellon Innovation Fund to host symposia, film series, and to pay for a retreat, during which the committee generated its initial proposal. With proposal in hand, Pieck and her colleagues made their case before the Education Policy Committee. The major was later approved by a faculty vote.

Pieck says the new major reflects student and faculty interests alike. “We have many students who are academically interested in the region, either through courses here at Bates, a study abroad experience in Latin America, or through a more personal connection — family ties, for example — to the region.” Pieck went on to say that many faculty at Bates have similar connections, which further prompted the college to develop its LAS program. Pieck noted that Bates’ peer schools—Colby, Bowdoin, and other NESCACs — have also put together similar courses of study.

Furthermore, Pieck thinks the interdisciplinary approach — an approach she says is increasingly common in academia these days—will also help to “challenge ethnocentric attitudes” and encourage students to ask thorny questions about “conquest,” “resistance,” and especially “globalization,” a concept Pieck sees as particularly pertinent today.

“With the demographic shifts we are seeing, Latin American countries, their economies, their cultures, and their natural resources are becoming even more important to understanding the U.S. and the world.”

Like the European Studies major, the LAS major requires a combination of core courses, electives, and a thesis. Students must take five core courses in a range of departments in order to provide a “panoramic view of Latin America,” in Professor Pieck’s words.

In addition to these core courses, students must also narrow their focus into one of three concentrations—Race, Gender, and Ethnicity; Cultural Representations; or Power: Imposition and Contestation. The idea, according to Professor Pieck, is for these concentrations to provide the foundation for a student’s thesis work come senior year.

Currently only one student has declared the LAS major. Junior Rebecca O’Neil said she entered Bates intending either to double major in Spanish and History or to design her own interdisciplinary major. But by the end of her sophomore year, the LAS major was approved, and O’Neil found that she was actually far along in completing its requirements, particularly in the “Power: Imposition and Contestation” concentration.

O’Neil says she wishes to explore the region’s political, cultural, and economic history in ways that would be impossible in any single department. Becoming better versed in these intersecting areas, she hopes, will prepare her for a possible thesis about Nicaraguan female immigrants working in Costa Rica, where O’Neil is currently studying.

We shall not walk alone

The Deansmen, one of Bates’ all-male a cappella groups, are known to make some people cry with their beautiful voices, but it seems that almost everyone cries or at least gets the chills when they sing their rendition of “I Shall Not Walk Alone.” As it was, the Deansmen sang that very song in the Gomes Chapel last Tuesday during the memorial for the Bates students, faculty, and staff who passed away in the last year.

The song reminds us to hold on to each other, to remember that “Hope is alive while we’re apart,” and that even in times of the deepest sadness in our lives, we will discover a way to find tomorrow even with only the “beauty” of those that we have “left behind.”

Although we all must handle the suffering of losing someone close to us, Batesies do not seem to talk about these hard times all too often –– unless it is in small groups with one’s closest friends. The memorial service was a time to come together not only to celebrate many completed lives, but also to remember that we are all human and all have our experiences with hardship. Struggles such as deaths, illness, trouble at home, abuse, anxiety, depression, etc., all seem like big secrets here. Perhaps if we were all more open with each other, we would realize that although we may not understand what someone else is going through, we can at least learn to be compassionate and listen.

“Interpretation of the experience is necessary, but it can only be attempted by the person who is suffering. In the moment, suffering is totalizing, it is all that is, and finding a way to incorporate that overwhelming and disrupting experience into the time frame of a whole life is a crucial challenge that is never quickly resolved,” said Raymond Clothier, Bates’ acting associate Multifaith Chaplain.

Similarly, when someone has a serious problem, that person must realize that they have to change in order to fix themselves. Until someone recognizes that they can change, people are not going to do it for them. This can be difficult for friends who try in vain to help other friends and are repeatedly unsuccessful.
“I think people will complain a ton to their friends about stuff ranging from hook-ups to the winter but instead of really taking action about their problems we tend to treat drinking ourselves into the gutter as a way of just forgetting about everything. This might be legitimate for some people but for others I think they’re really just fooling themselves,” said senior Ansel Tessitore.

In “The Value of Suffering,” New York Times occasional columnist Pico Iyer ponders what our human suffering amounts to and what it means. Iyer describes how most religious traditions believe suffering bring us clarity, but it is difficult to find this type of clarity when 1400 innocent people are gassed in Syria or your roommate’s best friend passes away from cancer, or when you have serious depression.

Many people I have talked to love to say that “Everything happens for a reason” and that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I not only think this is untrue, but also that it might suggest that some of the people who say this do because they haven’t completely given these types of questions serious thought. There is no reason that your cousin has an auto-immune disorder or that your father is dying from cancer.

Everyone should know by now that the worst thing you can do to make someone feel better is try to minimize their problem or come up with ideas of something they might not have tried. News flash: sometimes it is O.K. to listen and not know what to say. It does not make the sufferer feel better when you say they will become stronger because their friend died or they will learn about themselves when they sit the soccer season out because of a concussion. Sometimes life just stinks.

“The only thing worse than assuming you could get the better of suffering, I began to think (though I’m no Buddhist), is imagining you could do nothing in its wake. Sometimes it’s those things we least understand that deserve our deepest trust. Isn’t that what love and wonder tell us, too?” Iyer wrote in the Times article.

Maybe we should take some of the advice from the Deansmens’ song. To remember that there is “light” and that we will “live again” with the help of friends and our community and not to be ashamed of the suffering we go through, and that we are humans because we suffer. We don’t always have to walk alone.

Orientation focuses on diversity and Lewiston/Auburn

First-years were introduced to life at Bates in a much different way this year after the orientation process was revamped by students and the administration working together.

After the typical administrative activities such as procuring a Bates ID were completed, students and their parents were invited to panels that addressed adapting to life at Bates.

President Spencer then welcomed the class of 2017 to campus and all first-years bid farewell to their parents and their comfort zones.

While the first day of orientation was largely the same, the second day brought the much anticipated changes.

“Alyssa [Morgosh] and I were the co-directors this year,” said senior orientation leader Jake Sandor. “That means we organized the entire orientation — to booking all of the spaces and presenters — to paying all the bills.”

One of the most apparent changes was the addition of upper-class students to the orientation process. Orientation Week Leaders (OWL’s) were upperclassmen who were trained specifically on how to lead orientation and act as another on-campus resource beyond Junior Advisors. There were 58 OWL’s who each worked with about eight students.

“There were four days of orientation training for OWL’s which took place during Short Term and one and a half days before orientation started,” Sandor said. “We did everything from brainstorming new ideas and programming.”

Another change was the focus on discussing diversity issues. The second day of orientation included three events surrounding diversity. The first was a talk from Heather Lindkvist, the acting director of the Office of Equality and Diversity, outlining Bates’ policies on sexual consent and respecting others.

“We worked very closely with Holly Gurney, the Associate Dean of Students who planned orientation for the past 14 or so years,” Sandor said. “Alyssa and I were given the freedom to introduce and redesign any and all programming, as long as the powers-that-be approved it.”

The second was a dinner in New Commons where OWL’s led a discussion about diversity in small groups.

“The diversity portion of orientation was useful but overdone, every lecture was about diversity,” said first-year Chris Crum. “At some point it becomes awkward to continue beating a dead horse but it is useful in moderation.”

“I thought the Engaging the Power of Our Differences dinner was really great,” Sandor said. “We weren’t expecting life-changing conversation to occur at the dinner, but I believe we did accomplish our goal of getting the conversation started.”

The final activity was a social justice lecture from Joe Bertolini and Bill Leipold which was held in the Peter J. Gomes Chapel.

“I thought orientation was well-run and the organization of things was well thought out,” Crum said. “However, some of the activities for students were not well advertised. I went to all of the lectures and then realized there were more fun things I could have been doing.”

In addition, the second day included OWL-led adventures throughout the Lewiston-Auburn area.

“Personally, I would focus even more on an orientation to off-campus life and particularly the Lewiston-Auburn community, even though this year began the focus on that,” Sandor said.

The third day of orientation focused on community engagement. The Harward Center led an activity in the Chapel in the morning while various deans led presentations in the Gray Cage in the afternoon.

The final day of orientation was centered on academics, with various meetings with academic advisors and Academic Open Houses, which were hosted by various departments.

Orientation ended with the Convocation Address which was held in Alumni Gym. President Spencer, new Dean of Faculty Matthew Auer, and senior student body president Brent Talbott all delivered speeches.

Spencer focused her address around a theme that has permeated many of her speeches since assuming the role of President: how a liberal arts education can help students balance life and work.

Auer discussed why he chose to come to Bates after leading the honors college at Indiana University.

Talbott advised the class of 2017 to cherish all of the opportunities that Bates offers and to leave campus with no regrets.

Acting Multifaith Chaplin Emily Wright-Magoon closed out the ceremony with a benediction.

“I’m absolutely positive that orientation for the Class of 2018 will look very different than this past orientation,” Sandor said. “This was just the first step of a three to five year change.”

Although Sandor is graduating, Morgosh has the opportunity to work on Orientation next year.

“I haven’t had the chance to fully evaluate Orientation yet to see what can be improved. Lucky for me, as a rising senior, I get to do the whole thing again next year!”

Everything you could want to learn about AESOP

Q: Most Batesies don’t know what AESOP Coordinators do exactly… can you shed some light on your day-to-day responsibilities?

Allie: The biggest thing that we do is preparing our leaders to lead their trips, because at the end of the day that’s what we are here for – to give the first years the best leaders and best trip possible. Part of that is behind the scenes work like preparing routes and maps, making reservations, sorting trips, filing paperwork, and constantly answering emails from nervous moms. The other part of it is the hand on work, like teaching outdoor and leadership skills during leader training week.

Josh: Allie basically laid it out there – we are responsible for the complete preparation and execution of 48 outdoor orientation trips with help of course from our awesome assistants: Bryan, Katie and James. The process begins with leader hiring in the winter and continues through mid-September with clean up. In between, there are times when we bask in the glory work, as I call it, such as training the leaders during leadership week or being the very first people to greet the first years on move in day. But it’s an ongoing project that builds up to our ultimate goal of having the most prepared and confident leaders who can lead a successful four day trip with anywhere from five to ten first years and return safely and happily on the other side.

Q: What kinds of trips do you guys send out?

Allie: Our 48 trips this year consisted of six Amphibious trips (half backpacking and half canoeing), 15 Backpacking trips, 14 Basecamping trips, four Canoeing trips, and nine “Other” trips including Surfing, Sea-kayaking, Sailing, Rock Climbing, Habitat for Humanity and Biking.

Josh: We also send out 12 leadership trips, which are basically our training trips where leaders hone their leadership and outdoor skills before heading out into the field. I love thinking about this: in less than two weeks we sent out over 500 people on 60 trips! Many professional outdoor expedition programs send out far fewer trips over the course of an entire summer.

Q: So what are the best parts of being a Coordinator?

Josh: For us, AESOP doesn’t just last for four days. Rather, it is something that starts up in mid-fall the year before and is our job throughout the year. It’s basically like carrying a child for nine months – then after four days of labor you birth this beautiful child that is 48 groups of bonded first years. It’s quite the labor of love.

Allie: And we have an opportunity to develop leadership and logistics skills that most college students don’t benefit from. Because of that, both Josh and I have grown immensely as leaders over the past year. You can see that in public speaking, quick decision-making and communication between each other and the leaders. It’s amazing the opportunities we’ve been afforded.

Josh: And to be able to learn to navigate between being a friend and peer and being a Coordinator. Bates is a place where students shy away from putting each other in situations where a defined chain of command exists. In a top down model, effect leadership is essential, but to try to execute this is an environment with your best friends and peers is something so different from anything either of us had done.

Q: And the most difficult?

Allie: It is one that doesn’t seem very obvious. We ramp up for nine months, planning, preparing, and then suddenly all the trips are out, they come back, and it’s over. The peak of AESOP, and what we’ve been working to for so long, is also where we end and our assistants take over. It’s a long, slow ascent followed by a sudden cliff drop and seemingly very little time to decompression and process it all before it’s on to senior year. But, then we get to sit back and watch the beginnings of AESOP 2014 take off in the hands of Bryan, Katie, and James.

Q: Can you talk about the fact that AESOP is student run compared to similar programs at other schools. What does this show about the culture at Bates?

Josh: One has to look at the origins of AESOP to best answer this. AESOP began about 25-30 years ago as an off shoot from the Outing Club where a few incoming students would go out only on one trip, a backpacking trip, led by BOC members. As years went by, trips were added, the program became more established and eventually the BOC and AESOP became separate entities. AESOP slowly grew under this student run model and became the largest student run outdoor orientation program in the country. The iterations that AESOP has gone through are really what has enabled it to exist as it is today – the constant fine tunings of what works and what doesn’t and the passage of advice from one coordinator team to the next

Allie: Bates in general gives students a huge amount of autonomy in their extracurricular lives, which I feel is pretty unique to the college. We as a student body are so fortunate; AESOP is just one expression of this, but it can be seen really in any club or organization wherever you look. It’s a risk that college takes- giving us this much responsibility, but the rewards for us students are worthwhile.

Josh: And that risk is something that we are very conscious of navigating.

Allie: Imagine if someone got very hurt? As a student-run program, we have to be hyper aware of the risks that our trips are prone to, and do our best to mitigate these and we very strongly believe that AESOP is best run by students. However, there are things we as Coordinators cannot teach our leaders, which is why we bring in folks like Outward Bound and Wilderness Medical Associates to teach our Risk Management and Wilderness First Aid courses.

Josh: This model has worked and continues to work us firstly because of AESOP’s reputation, secondly because of who the student population is, and finally because of the immense amount of respect students give to the program, which I think is because of my first two points.

Q: Speaking of AESOP leaders, how are leaders selected, and what are the qualities that make the best leader?

Allie: The best part of the AESOP hiring process is that there are a lot of different types of AESOP leaders. We really look for a cross section of the student body, with people from all different backgrounds and interests. The incoming class cannot be defined by one type of person over another, so why should our leaders be? Other facets we consider include outdoor and leadership skills, personality, decision making abilities, and co-leader dynamics. We can tell if leaders balance each other well, and if they will be able to provide first years and transfers with a broad perspective of Bates.

Josh: Which is why we infamously ask questions that are oftentimes uncomfortable, unpredictable and sometimes goofy. We want to see how they as a pair respond to these kinds of situations. But at the end off the day we need people who can make confident decisions on the fly, who can think about the safety of others as well as themselves in an outdoor setting, who exhibit confident outdoor skills relevant for the trip they are applying for…

Allie: …and who loves Bates as much as we do.

Q: If you are a parent why would you send your son or daughter on an AESOP trip?

Allie: AESOP is the best way to allow first years and transfers to be introduced to Bates- in a small, intimate group setting before they experience the shock of being on a college campus. AESOP is also an incredible way to introduce people to the outdoors- so many students go camping for the very first time on their AESOP trip.

Josh: AESOP is basically an outdoor social network for the incoming first year class, where they get to dabble in outdoor recreation, meet their fellow classmates, and become acquainted with some standout upperclassman in a supportive environment back-dropped by the beautiful Maine and New Hampshire wilderness. Why wouldn’t you send your kid?

Q: How do you think the AESOP experience will be different 10 years from now?

Allie: In 10 years, I would love to see a larger percentage of the first year class participating in AESOP, because right now most fall athletes are required to attend preseason and miss out on AESOP. In my head that is the biggest goal.

Josh: I second Allie- growth in numbers while maintaining the student-run model that has worked so well for so long. The absolute worst thing that could happen to AESOP is for it to be contracted out to a professional guiding service like so many other schools have done. AESOP’s charm and success are wholly derived not from the coordinators and not even the assistants, but rather our dedicated and passionate leaders who volunteer the last two weeks so of their summer to lead the best outdoor orientation trips around. It is so quintessentially Bates and it shouldn’t happen any other way.

Bates field hockey’s defense impresses in 1-0 loss to No. 1 Tufts

Bates’ Field Hockey team put a scare into the Tufts Jumbos on Saturday, losing to the best team in the country by only one goal on Morgan McDuffie Field in their first NESCAC contest.

The loss puts the Bobcats at 1-1 on the year, as Bates had previously drubbed Thomas College 8-2 last Thursday.

The defense put forward a tremendous effort in limiting the Jumbos to just one goal. Led by senior Lexie Carter and senior captain Sarah Warden, the Bobcats’ defense worked hard to constrain Tufts’ scoring opportunities.

“The defense was relentless,” noted senior midfielder Bridget Meedzan, “We have a ‘deny all’ mentality in our zone and every player, especially our goalie, was dedicated to the game plan.”

Senior goaltender Becca Otley shined on the day, collecting eight saves and withstanding a cannonade of shots from a highly talented Tufts offense. Warden praised Otley’s performance afterwards, commenting, “holding Tufts to one goal can be hugely attributed to Becca Otley’s performance in goal. Her talent never ceases to amaze me and she makes the most difficult saves look easy.”

The lone score of the afternoon came fifteen minutes into the first half, as Tufts was able to capitalize on a redirection on one of their 17 penalty corners. After that score, the Bobcats completely shut the Jumbos down.

Only losing to Tufts by such a small margin, it establishes the ‘Cats talent level determination moving forward. “Holding Tufts off by one goal is incredibly encouraging and a testament to the work ethic of our players and coaches,” added Meedzan.

Still, Bates clearly needs improvement on offense, as the Bobcats failed to record a single shot compared to Tufts’ 27 shots (9 on goal). Similarly lopsided were the penalty corners, any of which Bates again failed to record. These statistics deserve some handicapping based on the quality of the opponent, and Bates is obviously capable of scoring given their 8-goal total in their first game.

“To generate more offense next game, we want to focus on our transitional play,” offered Meedzan. “Setting up the 2v1and moving the ball quicker and smarter through the midfield will help. We have a powerful forward line capable of scoring and we will continue to use this game to help push us towards a victory against Hamilton.”

Warden emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities in her assessment of the offense, offering, “we need to take advantage of opportunities as they come… We also need to capitalize on the moments we have in the in front of the goal by being aggressive and quick to shoot. Our offensive corner unit is excellent so we need to generate more corners to allow them to showcase their talent/scoring ability.”

field hockeyAgainst Thomas, the Bobcats dominated play for long stretches against the overmatched Terriers.

Junior Caroline Falcone led the Bobcat offense with a career-high five goal effort. Falcone’s feat was just one goal off the Bates record for most goals in one game, which was set by Priscilla Wilde ’77.

Carter also added two goals while first-year forward Sydney Cowles contributed three assists in her collegiate debut.

After opening up a 6-0 the Bobcats conceded twice before striking right back to end the game at 8-2.

The game was further evidence of the team’s improvement as last year Bates defeated Thomas by a narrow 1-0 margin.

Bates will next play at Husson on Wednesday night in a non-conference game before making the long trip to Hamilton for their next NESCAC game on Saturday.

Men’s golf opens with disappointment at Bowdoin Invitational

The Bates Golf Team opened up its 2013 season this weekend with the Bowdoin Invitational at Brunswick Golf Club.

According to senior Zach Abbot, who has been sidelined recently with a knee injury, “the team entered the tournament with excitement and confidence.” Unfortunately, the opening weekend did not go as planned for the Bobcats, as they finished 12th among 13 teams.

When questioned about the tournament, senior captain Garrett Johnson said, “we didn’t play as well as we would have liked. The ball just wouldn’t go to its home. We have to work hard this week and hopefully we’ll see some better results next weekend.” Johnson was visibly upset returning from the tournament, as the tournament clearly spiraled away from his team. Johnson has apparently taken these results to heart, and demonstrated determination to perform better next week.

Johnson shot a 171 for the two-day, 36 hole tournament, while junior Garret Bonney scored a 174, and first-year Sam Mellert shot a 184. The fourth and final score posted by the Bobcats came from first-year Brad Rutkin, who posted a 77 on Saturday and an 82 on Sunday for a total of 159, which left him tied for 16th place in the tournament of over 70 golfers.

After the first tournament it seems as though Rutkin will be one of Bates’ top golfers for the next few years. Senior team manager and super fan Chris Debrase was oozing with jubilation after seeing Rutkin play for the first time this weekend. Debrase commented on the first-year’s performance saying, “the kid’s a natural. I couldn’t have taught him any better myself.”

The reeling Bates team will try to put this tournament behind them as they head to Bangor next weekend for the Maine State Championships.

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