The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: October 2013 (Page 1 of 9)

Prologue is a gateway for future Batesies

Think your life at Bates is busy? Prologue, the program that the Office of Admissions markets as “three days to enjoy a slice of what Bates College has to offer,” is just as packed and whirlwind-busy.

The prospective students in Prologue attend classes, meet with professors, stay with current students, have interviews with Admissions officers, take a tour of the Bates campus, attend an information session, and attend cultural, athletic and co-curricular events. The plethora of activities seeks to help students feel welcome at Bates, and this year it was certainly successful.

Prologue is an Admissions open house program designed for first-generation college students and students of color. This year, the Prologue coordinators worked diligently to make the October program engaging for prospective students, and they now look forward to doing it all again during Prologue II, which will take place November 10th-12th. The two sessions do not differ in how they are organized or run, but Prologue II always has significantly more students. All prospective students in Prologue must submit an application involving multiple short-answer questions and an essay. One essay option requires that applicants discuss their relation to their ethnic background or another aspect of their identity, while the other option asks what they hope to gain from attending Prologue.

Student Diversity Outreach Coordinators (DOCs) work throughout the year to communicate with prospective Prologue students. Once these students arrive, these workers continue to foster their interest in Bates, or at least schools like Bates.

One of these coordinators, Gabrielle Concepcion, explains, “

As DOCs, we recruit Bates students to host Prologue students. We also spend a lot of time interacting with the Prologue students, whether that is by calling them or their parents before they arrive on campus, sitting with them at the Prologue dinner, or encouraging them to perform at the Prologue talent show.”

Concepcion also acknowledges how much of a difference this program can make for the prospective students. “The initial interaction supplemented by a warm smile helps these students ease into campus [life], and the conversations that follow serve to spark their interest in Bates.”

Prologue is incredibly important to students in its targeted demographic because it helps them to prepare themselves better for, and get excited about, the college experience. Seeing the lively Bates campus emerge from the flat pages of a college pamphlet is exciting. All the promises printed in bold next to an iconic liberal arts picture (of a twenty-year old laying on the foliage strewn quad and reading a book at sunset) really do exist, and these students get to see that through Prologue.

Concepcion believes that Prologue “does a great job with getting high school students acquainted with liberal arts colleges. Sometimes students will arrive without knowing what to expect. Prologue provides these students with a glimpse of what college life is like, while letting them know that they are welcomed here at Bates.”

Junior Michelle Pham, another DOC, adds, “Being on campus and seeing descriptions of Bates get colored in in real life is instrumentally important. A lot of current Batesies decided to come to Bates after a campus tour. The principle is the same with Prologue–we fly students in to let them experience Bates.”

Even though Prologue I was an immense success, coordinators are looking ahead to Prologue II and how they can improve the program in years to come. Right now, their main goal is to recruit as many students as possible to host prospective students.

Pham emphasizes, “We’re hoping to reach eighty hosts by November 1st, so if any Batesies are looking to contribute back to the community, hosting a prospective student would be an excellent way.”

Pham also shared how exciting it can be to see how this simple act of hospitality can go a long way. “During my freshman year, my roommate and I must have hosted over twelve prospective students throughout the year. It’s quite the feeling when one year later, you see your student walking on campus, eating at Commons, and living as a Batesie.”

The process for signing up to host a student is simple: visit Garnet Gateway, click on the tab “Events,” and click again on “Admission Hosting Prologue 2013.” It’s incredibly easy, and Bates students should take the two minutes to share Bates with deserving prospective students.

While raising student awareness is the primary goal for DOCs, Concepcion has ideas for extending the mentorship associated with Prologue into students’ freshman years.

“In the long run, it would also be nice to set up some kind of ‘mentoring’ relationship [so] the enrolled Prologue students will know that if they ever need any advice or support, the DOCs are more than happy to work with them, and that that interaction doesn’t have to end once Prologue is over.”

What already makes Prologue special as an admissions program, however, is its goal to broaden the identity of the Bates student body.

English Department’s CCOWE series enthralls students

You know that a department series is a success when students are willing to sidestep going to Commons with their buddies to listen to 14th-century textual analysis.

By the end of junior Julianne Hopkins’s lecture, the first talk this year in the English Department’s CCOWE (Critical and Creative Ongoing Work in English) series, more than a few students expressed interest in re-reading Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” This work was the focus of Hopkins’s talk, “Social Inversion and Narrative Effectiveness in Chaucer’s ‘Monk’s Tale’ and ‘Nun’s Priest Tale.’”

Beginning this year, the Department of English will be holding an hour-long luncheon and lecture every few weeks from a member of the Bates community, be it a student, faculty member, or alum, about some sort of project they are working on in the field of English.

CCOWE, amusingly pronounced “sea cow,” was riffed and lovingly joked about among the event’s first attendees–mainly in the gleeful pursuit of out-punning one another, naturally–which reflects the successful blend of the intellectual and the enjoyable that characterizes the new series. Besides listening to an intelligent literature-related talk, the hour-long period also includes free pizza and plenty of time to chat informally chat other humanities-minded students, faculty, and staff in Hathorn 104.

Assistant Professor of English Sylvia Frederico approached Hopkins last year to suggest she speak for the series. Hopkins adapted her lecture from the final paper she had written for Federico’s very popular Chaucer course, an exploration of “The Canterbury Tales,” a difficult series of vastly different stories written in Middle English. The lecture was about twenty minutes long and was delivered with as much poise and know-how as any Visiting Professor. Surprisingly, Hopkins was not previously accustomed to speaking in front of a full classroom–about forty people were in attendance in total–for such a long period of time.

“I don’t usually do these things,” Hopkins said. “But I felt like maybe I should push myself and try,” adding that in preparation she printed out several copies of her lecture, ducking into classrooms for twenty-minute chunks of time to practice reading to herself out loud. Much of the challenge in preparing her talk came in pronouncing the Middle English she was quoting. She admitted to spending a day with Federico re-learning the difficult and non-intuitive cadence and pronunciation of these texts.

Following her talk, Hopkins fielded questions from fellow students and staff about her research. This was an especially impressive challenge considering she hasn’t formally studied Chaucer since the end of last April, but she handled the questions with grace. These ranged from asking about the narrative format of the tales she studied to the social context in which Chaucer wrote his works.

Ideally, Hopkins’s preparation and performance of the knowledge she acquired about Chaucer will be useful when she writes her thesis in English next year, a thought that seems slightly daunting to her, and no doubt to most non-seniors. Though she is currently unsure what her thesis’s focus will be, Hopkins agrees that by facing people outside of her paper editors she was able to truly learn how to prepare work for an audience outside of herself and a single professor.

After Hopkins’s inaugural talk, the next speaker is English Professor Cristina Malcolmson, whose talk is entitled “Gender and Divorce in the Age of Shakespeare.” Thus far in the great experiment, it seems as though CCOWE presenters have set out about the task of capturing essences of old texts through fresh, new lenses.

Stay tuned for what’s on tap in the world of the CCOWE series and the humanities, a sea teeming with possibilities to splash around in.

Enhancing diversity and inclusion at Bates

The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group would like to share news of a number of exciting developments at Bates with regard to our institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Bates Welcomes Crystal Williams, Chief Diversity Officer & Associate Vice President

In August, President Spencer shared the exciting news that Crystal Ann Williams, currently Dean for Institutional Diversity and faculty member in Creative Writing at Reed College in Portland, Ore., will soon begin her post as Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Bates. Crystal will also maintain a faculty appointment as Professor of English at Bates. A member of the President’s senior staff, Crystal will oversee the offices of Equity and Diversity and Intercultural Education. She will be responsible for working with colleagues across campus to advance the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. We look forward to welcoming Crystal to campus on November 4.

Office of Equity and Diversity and Office of Intercultural Education

Heather Lindkvist has served as Acting Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity Resources for the past two years and will, in her ongoing work as Title IX Officer, be a crucial partner with Crystal Williams. Megan Taft will continue as Acting Director of the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE). Upon Crystal’s arrival, the OIE will shift in reporting structure from the Dean of Students Office to the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Diversity Dialogues

The Diversity Dialogues group has drafted a shared vision for the future of diversity at Bates and the entity currently called the Office of Intercultural Education, formerly the Multicultural Center. Continuing and expanding on the accomplishments of these offices, this document summarizes what the community would like to see carried forward. The content of the draft is based on information gathered from Bates College administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni (1941–2012) during open meetings, one-on-one conversations, and via email during April and May of 2013. Keep an eye out for an email with more information, along with a link to the document and additional opportunities to provide thoughts and feedback.

With gratitude for ongoing collaborative efforts to engage the transformative power of our differences,

The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group:

Heather Lindkvist (Chair), Acting Director, Office of Equity and Diversity/Title IX Officer

Victoria Stanton, Bates Communication Office Advancement Writer

Matt Auer, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty

Marianne Cowan, Director of Alumni Engagement

Tedd Goundie, Dean of Students

Mai Hinton, Assistant Dean of Admission

Meg Kimmel, Associate Vice President of Communications

Kathy Low, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Psychology

Mary Main, AVP in Human Resources

Kevin McHugh, Director of Athletics

James Reese, Associate Dean of Students

Jared Rivers, Associate Dean of Admission, Diversity Enrollment

Ann Marie Russell, Director of Institutional Research

Megan Taft, Acting Director, Office of Intercultural Education

Kerri Uehlein, Program Coordinator, Office of Equity and Diversity

Emily Wright-Magoon, Acting Director, Multifaith Chaplaincy

*The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group seeks to create a collaborative, coherent college-wide approach to engage the transformative power of difference at Bates. Established in 2011, the working group’s aim has been to increase coordination with the offices and individuals accountable for equity, diversity, and inclusion at Bates and raise the visibility of diversity and inclusion efforts on campus.

 

Bates’ alumni donations best ever, now in top 10 nationwide

As summer rolls into autumn, and the leaves begin to change, so do the college rankings. Every year during college ranking season students and institutions alike eagerly await their university’s fate, whether to their delight, dismay, or ambivalence. Every media outlet that ranks colleges has its own personalized ranking system cooked up by its editors in order to tailor the list in any way that they see fit.

Popular media groups such as Forbes and U.S. News & World Report have become valuable resources for institutions and prospective students alike. World Report’s methodology includes seven different variables to rank universities. These seven areas are: undergraduate academic reputation, 22% of final ranking; graduation and freshman retention rates, 20%; faculty resources, 20%; student selectivity, 15% financial resources, 10%; graduation rate performance, 7.5%; and alumni giving, 5%.

Forbes’ methodology looks slightly different. According to Forbes, who partners with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Participation (CCAP), Forbes is more interested in a college’s ‘output’ versus ‘input’. Simply put, they are interested in what students get out of college rather than what gets them into college. Forbes bases its rankings on the following factors: student satisfaction, 22.5%; post-graduate success, 37.5%; student debt, 17.5%; graduation rate, 11.25%; and nationally competitive awards 11.25%.

But what does this tell me? Like apples and oranges, both Forbes and World Report compare a heterogeneous group of colleges and universities, with very different and diverse student bodies, on a singular playing field. Therefore, small liberal arts colleges don’t stand a chance in the rankings against large state and Ivy League schools.

However, all is not lost. In World Report’s “2013 Top 10 Colleges Where Most Alumni Give Back”, ten colleges were ranked based on percentage of alumni who donated to their prospective schools between the time frames of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 fiscal years. The report is based off of a 2013 study of 1,800 college and universities’ undergraduate programs nationwide. The data, as the media outlet reports, is the same data collected for its annual college rankings but used on a smaller scale. The list includes colleges and universities such as Princeton, Williams, Middlebury, Bowdoin, and Bates. Claiming the ninth position on the list, Bates boasts an impressive 51.9% of alumni giving back. This is comparable to Middlebury, 6th, with 53.7% and Bowdoin, 7th, with 52.3% of alumni participation. While Middlebury, and Bowdoin are tied for fourth in the overall rankings for national liberal arts colleges, Bates sits in the 22nd position. As U.S News reports, the ranking comes at a time when donors have tightened their belts, and alumni support nationwide has been on the decline. Yet, as they clearly convey, and as the ranking shows, several liberal arts colleges including Bates have “bucked” this trend, and instead alumni participation is growing. How’s that for ‘output’, Forbes?

So, how does this affect me?

Alumni participation and donations are integral to the vitality and diversity of Bates. In the 2012 fiscal year alone, at least 44 % of students received need-based financial aid, while the average college-based admission grant was $34,823. The Bates Fund is hugely important in raising the money for financial aid packages. In addition, it helps to keep Bates classrooms the small and involved learning experiences that they are, by supporting a 200+ faculty members who are the top in their field and maintaining our 10:1 student to faculty ratio. This money also helps support library services and the necessary technologies, resources, and staffing that allows Ladd Library to support every student in their own unique way. Believe me when I say that they library has endless resources – as a senior writing an obscure thesis, the library has provided me with the sources I need, whether the books I need are at Colby or in Germany.

The Career Development Center and its counseling opportunities offered to students are also supported by the Bates Fund. The Bates Fund is a big deal! While many schools in the NESCAC have deeper pockets, Bates is able to maintain its status as a competitive institution through careful planning and spending. Indeed, participation and fundraising are integral to the Bates mission.

While Bates remains at 22nd on the U.S. News & World Report’s overall liberal arts college rankings, which other controversial college ranking lists might contest, it is important to remember that Bates is amongst the most loved by its alumni. Oh, and we also should remember that we beat Colby!

 

For more information about the Bates Fund or this list, please follow us on Facebook at Bates Advancement Student Programs and on Twitter at @batesfundhelps.

Women’s cross country wins State Championship

On October 12th, the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Boston to compete in the Open New England Championships at Franklin park against over 40 other teams in the region from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III.  The men finished 7th overall and 2nd among Division III teams; the women recorded an 18th place finish overall and were 4th among Division III contingents.

Senior Mike Martin finished in eighth place of 279 competitors, followed by classmate and co-captain Tully Hannan who crossed the line 19th.  Junior John Stansel came in 39th, senior Noah Grayboys finished 54th, and sophomore Gregg Heller rounded out the scoring for the ‘Cats as Bates fifth finisher.

On the Monday following the meet, Martin received conference, regional, and national honors as he was named the NESCAC Performer of the Week, the ECAC Division III New England Runner of the Week, and the USTFCCCA Division III National Athlete of the Week.  His 8th place overall finish at the Opens Championship was first among DIII competitors by over 10 seconds as he covered the 8-kilometer (4.97 mile) course in 24:42, at a pace of four minutes 57 seconds per mile.

The women also had a great showing as they trailed only three other DIII teams, two from the NESCAC.  The squad was led by senior Kallie Nixon who covered the 5k course in 18:48, which was good for 65th place finish among 283 runners, and sophomore Hannah Zeltner who crossed the line three seconds later in 71st place.

The following weekend, on October 19th, the teams competed in the State of Maine Championships at Colby College, where the men recorded 47 points and finished third of ten teams, finishing closely behind meet-winner Bowdoin (41 points) and second-place Colby (46 points).  The women took home the title for the second consecutive year with the low score of 32 points, handily beating conference rivals host-school Colby (second, 52 points) and Bowdoin (third, 76 points).

This weekend the Bobcats are set to compete in the NESCAC Championships, hosted by Connecticut College at Harkness State Park in Waterford, Conn. against a handful of other nationally-ranked teams.  For Division III cross country, the NESCAC is arguably the most competitive conference in the nation this year, up there with the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in men’s rankings and the University Athletic Association (UAA) on the women’s side.

Volleyball heads into final week of NESCAC play

Playing eight matches in just over two weeks, the volleyball team was in action across New England and looking to keep postseason hopes alive. The Cats’ saw plenty of action and finished a slate of games against Tufts, Connecticut College, Maine Maritime, Trinity, Wesleyan, Eastern Connecticut State, and Plymouth State, at 3-5.

First, against Tufts on October 11th, the squad looked to rally against a solid Jumbos team, but fell short 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-10, 25-7). Leading the team was sophomore Mary Deneen with eight kills while fellow sophomore Laryssa Schepel led the defensive unit with ten digs. Junior co-setters and co-captains Tess Walther and Miranda Shapiro posted nineteen and thirteen assists respectively.

In the latter match of their “Dig Pink” event, the team dropped a 3-0 decision (25-21, 25-22, 25-21) to Conn College on October 12th. Freshman Chandler McGrath had seven kills for the ‘Cats while Schepel had a match-best 18 digs along with four service aces. The Bobcats had a hitting percentage of .112 for the match.

The team traveled to Castine, Maine four days later in a two-match bout against Maine Maritime. Although the Bobcats dropped the first match 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 15-9), the team was able to rebound and defeat Maritime 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20). In the first match of the day, freshman Nicole Peraica led the way with nine kills with sophomore Nicole Cueli, posting 19 digs. Peraica again recorded the most kills for the ‘Cats in the second match with 10 while Cueli and sophomore Abby Leberman had nine digs apiece. In their victory, the Bobcats had a hitting percentage of .218 along with 10 aces.

On October 18th, the ‘Cats were unable to continue their winning ways, falling to Trinity 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-14). McGrath had 11 kills for the Bobcats while first-year Aubyn Link had 16 digs. Walther had her third double of the season with 23 assists and eleven digs.

The next day, the Bobcats were involved in a long, competitive match with NESCAC foe Wesleyan, eventually pulling out the five-set victory 3-2 (25-18, 25-14, 20-25, 15-25, 15-11). Leading the way with fifteen kills at a .414 attack percentage was Chandler McGrath. Both Schepel and Link were the anchors of the defensive unit recording 16 digs each.

Finally, this past weekend the Bobcats traveled to Plymouth State for a dual match that saw Eastern Connecticut State in attendance as well. Bates beat Plymouth State 27-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-14 before falling to Eastern Conn State in four sets.

We played well in both matches this weekend,” noted head coach Margo Linton. “Unfortunately just couldn’t score at the right times when the pressure was on against Eastern Connecticut.”

McGrath again led the way with 14 kills while sophomore Brynn Wendel had nine kills. Defensively, Leberman had 12 digs while Schepel had 10. In the loss to Eastern Connecticut State, McGrath had 16 kills while Walther had her fifth double-double of the season recording 16 digs and 26 assists.

Bates is currently 11-15 on the season, and 2-6 in the NESCAC.

The Bobcats will make the long trip to Hamilton on November 1st followed by a bout against Middlebury on the 2nd. If the Bobcats can win their last two games against winless Hamilton and 3-5 Middlebury, they have a chance of finishing sixth in the conference.

Rubén Martinez delivers Otis Lexture through various creative media

What do you get when you combine environmentalism, music, prose, and an Emmy Award? A great lecturer and an almost-full Olin Concert Hall.

On Monday, October 14th, guest speaker Rubén Martinez delivered the annual Otis Lecture, which he entitled Desert America: Politics and Contemplation on the Mythic American Landscape.

The Otis Lecture, which just celebrated its 17th year, is an event that honors Bates graduate of the Class of 1995 Philip J. Otis, who died while on a rescue mission for a group of stranded hikers on Mount Rainier in the summer after his graduation. The Philip J. Otis Endowment was established as a tribute to Otis’s life and academic pursuits, pertaining specifically to environmental studies.

Martinez was certainly well chosen for the task of continuing environmental awareness at Bates. An accomplished pioneer in the art world, he has published three books and was awarded the Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Martinez also won an Emmy Award for his work hosting a television series on the politics and culture of Los Angeles. He is currently the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University.

Martinez, who identified himself as the son of Mexican and Salvadorian immigrants, showed his talents in journalism, prose writing, and music through his multi-media lecture to explore the nature and healing powers of the American desert. He addressed the audience of students, faculty, and other community members with three songs on his acoustic guitar and five chapters of non-fiction prose. Themes of drug addiction and desert landscapes served as the linkage among the chapters, one of which addressed the landscape as well as race relations portrayed in the popular television series Breaking Bad.

In regard to the desert’s role in Breaking Bad, Martinez noted, “The land is always there, it’s always in the frame. The trouble does not take away from the beauty of the land.”

In another chapter, Martinez recounted heated arguments fueled by drugs among his next-door neighbors, which Martinez later explained produced complex emotions of guilt and responsibility for him and his wife.

During the question-and-answer session that followed the songs and prose, Martinez was able to expand on his themes in ways pertinent to interests from some of the audience members.

One student inquired, “How do I go to the desert?” meaning, how could he experience the physical and spiritual healing of the desert described by Martinez’ prose and song if he is not literally able to visit the desert. To this, Martinez replied that for us in New England, we can go to the forest, which is readily available in a state such as Maine.

Students seemed to respond well to Martinez’s performance. Senior Hally Bert, who also attended the dinner prior to the lecture, commented, “I thought that the Otis lecture was really powerful because it presented scholarship in a unique way not always seen at Bates. The way [Martinez] combined music, narrative, and political thought presented his issue in a multifaceted way that I thought made his points very powerful.”  Bert also felt that Martinez’s lecture was beneficial in particular to the Bates community. “I thought that what made it most important to Bates was his challenge to view the places and environments as more than just sources of beauty and adventure.”

As a closing note, Martinez left his audience with an uplifting remarks in regards to the world’s current state of uprising, noting that, “It’s a time of global fervent among the student generation,” citing globally influential occurrences such as the Arab Spring and the Chilean student protests.

“The world is troubled,” Martinez asserted. “We’re at a crisis moment. And yet we haven’t thrown up our hands and stopped thinking of a new world.”

As Philosophy Professor Thomas Tracy noted, “These Otis Lectures are always good; they are worth catching.” Perhaps what was most catching about this year’s lecture was Martinez’s appealing blend of an old-world connection to nature and the necessity for change, in environmental thought and social issues, in the world today.

What’s all the buzz about the main stage production?

Still on the fence about whether or not you should go see the main stage performance, In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), this upcoming weekend? Listen to what these five senior thesis actors have to say about the play that will leave you buzzing with excitement.

Brittney Davis (Elizabeth):

It’s a madcap adventure of like and lust with the knowledge that love is found in the most unconventional places.

Liza Danello (Mrs. Daldry):

The titillating title doesn’t tell all… What happens when you introduce new technology that can be liberating or confining? This show is about intimacy, the body, labor, and love! Come find out what’s behind the buzz!

Sam Metzger (Dr. Givings):

Because even as Louis C.K. lampoons smart phones for sucking our attention away from the world, it’s important to be reminded of technology’s incredible power to bring us together.

Singha Hon (Mrs. Givings):

Because it is one of the greatest casts you’ll find at Bates, the most thesis students a show has ever had, and is both scandalous and powerful – full of heart and soul!

Charlie McKitrick (Mr. Daldry): You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’s hysterical!

So, come see In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) this weekend in Schaeffer Theater!

Thursday, October 31 at 7:30pm

Friday, November 1 at 7:30pm

Saturday, November 2 at 7:30pm

Sunday, November 3 at 2:00p

Monday, November 4 at 7:30pm

It’s sure to leave you in a fit of hysterics!

Bates Alumni Feature: Lily Scott of Veris Wealth Partners

Lily Scott graduated from Bates with a B.A. in Anthropology and now works as the Head of Research at Veris Wealth Partners, a wealth management firm based in New York specializing in sustainable and impact investing. The Bates Student caught up with Scott to learn about her journey after Bates.

Bates Student: Tell us about the industry and the workplace that you are working in.

Lily Scott: Over the last three decades, a small and growing group of leaders have built the sustainable investing movement.  This movement will be the biggest evolution to investing in our lifetime.  Sustainable investing incorporates environmental, social and governance factors into the investment selection process to achieve a dual purpose: financial returns and positive environmental and social outcomes.  There is a spectrum of investment practices and tools in this field including impact investing, responsible investing, program and mission-related investing and more.  As calculated by US SIF – the sustainable investing industry association – the amount of money invested through these strategies amounts to 11.2% (or more than one out of every nine dollars) under professional management in the United States alone.  This represents a 22% growth from year-end 2009.

I believe that sustainable investing will be carried from a niche practice into the mainstream by our generation.

BS: How did your time at Bates influence your career decision?

LS: I first witnessed the power of capital markets to solve global social and environmental challenges during my junior year abroad.  While studying in Ft. Dauphin, Madagascar I met and befriended many women entrepreneurs. One example was Judine, who started and ran a guest house for tourists.  The income from her small business empowered Judine in a variety of ways – from providing better education to her children by enrolling them in French correspondence courses to becoming a leader in her local government.  During this transformative year abroad I observed the capacity of a woman entrepreneur to lift her family out of poverty while creating positive environmental and social outcomes in her larger community.

BS: What led you to your current position at Veris Wealth Partners?

LS: After graduating from Bates, I accepted an associate position at Cambridge Associates to gain traditional training and experience in finance and investment consulting.  This work led me to a sustainable wealth management firm with offices in New York, San Francisco and Portsmouth.  I joined Veris in 2008 to apply my newly found traditional investing skills to build investment portfolios for our wealth management clients that seek to achieve their financial objectives as well as create demonstrable positive social and environmental outcomes.  At Veris I have fulfilled many roles over the past 6 years, including my recent promotion to Head of Research.  In this role I carry out the firm’s investment research and due diligence – from evaluating private debt funds lending capital to small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs in emerging economies to equity funds investing in large public domestic companies.  I also work directly alongside Veris’ Chief Investment Officer to develop our firm’s strategy and philosophy. We are fortunate to be in an industry that is constantly evolving in part due to the shifting demographics of investors and the globalization of information and ideas.  I am also responsible for writing thought pieces such as one recently published on emerging research around fossil fuel divestment and incorporating climate change risk into an investment portfolio.

BS: Outside of work, what are some other initiatives you are involved in?

LS: As part of my work in sustainable investing I co-founded “Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy” along with two friends and colleagues.  “WISE” empowers mid-career women who are at the crux of the sustainable investing industry who seek connections with other industry leaders and work to bring sustainable investing into the mainstream.

The Bates alumni spotlight will be a bi-weekly portion done in conjunction with the Bates Business Networks. We are looking to feature the paths and journeys of those in our alumni community. If you have any recommendations or nominations, please email mpham@bates.edu.

Bates Democrats support independent candidates

The heat of the 2012 Presidential election is well in the dust by now, but this year in Lewiston Election Day is no doubt providing big opportunities for the city as a whole and for the Bates Democrats.

On Tuesday, November 5, residents of Lewiston and those registered to vote in Maine will elect their new city officials. Zam Zam Mohamed, the incumbent candidate, is running for reelection for the School Committee at-large. This is a highly influential position for the city, and when she was first elected, Mohamed was the first Somali woman to hold a political position in Lewiston.

Members of the Bates Democrats with Zam Zam Mohamed of Lewiston.

Members of the Bates Democrats with Zam Zam Mohamed of Lewiston.

 

Over the past few months, the Bates Democrats have been heavily involved in supporting Mohamed’s campaign, and Mohamed spoke in front of the club about a month ago.

“She shared her life story and really inspired a lot of us to get involved,” said Emily Roseman, President of the Bates Dems and someone who has spent time working on the campaign. “We have met with her to help distribute fliers and have canvassed for her three times,” said Roseman. The most recent canvassing effort was this past Saturday.

It is no secret that relations between Lewiston natives and the growing Somali community have been strained in the past. In a 2012 BBC documentary about Lewiston, Mayor Robert Macdonald asked immigrants to “leave your culture at the door,” and former Mayor Laurier Raymond in a 2002 letter wrote about the “negative results” of continued Somali immigration. This is to say nothing of the tensions that occur at an every-day level.

Teddy Rube, a sophomore and Bates Democrats Vice-President, sees a fortunate shift on the horizon, however.

“At this point, the Somali community has been in Lewiston for over a decade, and I think that even some of the members of the population that were resistant to cultural and political change in earlier years are coming around,” said Rube.

Through canvassing for Mohamed’s campaign, Rube has “encountered very positive reactions from almost everybody” and that he has never experienced “any outright resistance or push-back from residents that I’ve met.” Rube also noted that none of his fellow canvassers reported negative experiences either.

As Mohamed is currently an elected official, Rube explains that she has already established a presence in the city.

“A large amount people have either heard of Zam Zam or know her personally, and are very supportive of her candidacy.”

The Bates Democrats officially endorse Mohamed for the Lewiston School Committee at-large as well as politician Larry Gilbert, who is running for Mayor, a position he held in the past.

Roseman explains that while the Bates Democrats usually support candidates who identify with the Democratic Party, Mohamed and Gilbert are not running on a party ticket.

“This isn’t too much of a partisan issue,” she said, citing the candidates’ interest in education and a “collaborative power dynamic” as the reason behind the club’s support.

A common question on campus is whether, as Bates students, we should be involved in local elections, and Roseman recognizes that this question has been problematic in the past. For the most part, Bates students hail from different backgrounds than the majority of the Lewiston population, and our supporting candidates, campaigning, and even simply voting could potentially be seen as naive. Some question whether it is possible that Bates students understand the needs of a city that has been home to most of us for only a short while.

Furthermore, does our inherent status as “outsiders” create a dangerous relationship in which we, playing the role of privileged, elite members of the intelligentsia with a liberal bias, try to “fix” the problems of a city we view as economically depressed and in need of social reforms?

Teddy Rube says no. He and Roseman both admitted to thinking about this power dynamic outside of Dems meetings, and both suspect that other club members had similar internal conversations.

“By committing to attend Bates for four years, we’re also committing to live as residents of Lewiston for those four years. Bates and Lewiston are not separate–what happens in Lewiston affects us, as long-term community residents,” said Rube.

He emphasizes that the idea of “Bates students getting involved in local elections is not a matter of the privileged descending from the ivory tower to ‘help’ Lewiston,” rather, it involves “students as concerned, involved, and equal members of the community attempting to help make changes.”

He went on to explain that, when canvassing, students are always clear about their affiliation with the College, but they also emphasize their connection to the city as a place of residence, leisure, and employment, or at least volunteerism for students.

“We advocate for a candidate not because he or she will be good for Bates College, or will support what Bates students want, but because he or she will be an asset to Lewiston as a whole,” he says.

Rube also mentions that, for the sake of respectfulness, Batesies always try to team up with community volunteers when campaigning in order to make it more of a shared experience. “Campaigning with fellow Lewiston residents also helps us form good personal relationship with people outside of Bates, something which I think most Batesies don’t get to do nearly as much as they could or should.”

If you are registered to vote in Maine, consider voting in this upcoming election. As students and voters, and in the interest of becoming authentic members of the community, it is important to treat local elections with as much respect as one would a state or federal election, and recognize it as a chance to understand more about the place where we have landed. If it is possible for the native and Somali populations to begin to reach an understanding, then perhaps it is not out of the question for Bates students and Lewiston residents to also correct misconceptions stemming from both parties. It’s not an obligation; it’s a privilege.

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