The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: November 2013 (Page 1 of 8)

Why the Miami Heat are ruining basketball

I have a personal problem with the Miami Heat, and I think most of you do as well. The problem is that I haven’t been able to do very much to stop their recent dominance (although my Philadelphia 76ers’ shocking win over the Heat was some solace). It’s not just LeBron, although I can’t stand how his move to the Heat has coincided with his ludicrous, petty flopping and a persona on and off court that oozes entitlement and arrogance. I also can’t stand D-Wade, with his dirty kicks to opponent’s groins and elbows to whatever painful area he fancies on that occasion.

miami heatIt’s hard to tolerate Bosh too, as he constantly tries to hide his timid core with a tough façade, shrieking like a dinosaur when he hits an insignificant 10-foot jumper. Their clueless, bandwagon fans are simply too much. How could you possibly even contemplate leaving a close NBA finals game early, like many Heat fans did in Game 6 last year? Yes despite these annoyances, the main thing I hate about the Miami Heat is what they stand for. The Heat and their fan base are emblematic of the growing trend of considering accumulation of valuable property to equate to earned success.

I’m not saying sports aren’t about which team has the better players. On most occasions, the team with more talent wins. Nevertheless, the intangible qualities of team chemistry and toughness are critical factors. The Kentucky men’s basketball team was expected to cruise to a national championship last year, yet a combination of injuries, pettiness, and excessive expectations ended up with them not even qualifying for the NCAA tournament. We witnessed a similar story with the newly formed “Big Three” core of the Heat in their first year, as the trio tried to be too unselfish as they each attempted to adapt to no longer being the single star on their team.

This tumultuous inaugural season was filled with constant vitriol and ridicule from opposing fans, and these fans (myself included) ultimately got what they wanted when the Heat lost the 2011 NBA Finals to the Mavericks. In the aftermath of that collapse, people like myself who had been appalled both at LeBron’s decision to leave Cleveland without informing the team first and the Heat’s repulsively subconscious choice to accept the legitimate role of villain, felt vindicated. We had evidence that assembling the best players wouldn’t be enough to win if those individuals exhibited cockiness and lacked the heart to overcome adversity.

Unfortunately, things have changed drastically since that moment. The Heat have won two straight NBA championships (although the Spurs were an agonizing 28 seconds away from seizing this last one). They even won 27 straight games last year, and though I still think that this perception is patently false, LeBron is looked upon as a clutch player. Now critics like me have to settle for the knowledge that his grace, desire, and ability pale in comparison to Jordan’s. It feels like the war is almost over now, that evil has prevailed. I hope that some teams can manage to vanquish “super teams” like the Heat, but my faith has diminished. I know in my heart that it’s not right that the Heat are winning and spreading the perception that compiling talent is enough to be successful. Still, I know that they are winning, and all I can do is pray that somehow changes will come.

“Double-dipping” rules for major and GEC classes set to change for Class of 2017

Starting this fall with the Class of 2017, the double-dipping rules and specifications for General Education Concentrations are changing to allow more open crossover between majors, minors, and GECs. In response to the altered system, various members of the student community weighed in with their thoughts on GECs at Bates.

According to the Bates College website, “General Education requirements help students develop a range of skills across many disciplines and challenge them to think in complex, interdisciplinary ways.”  The current General Education requirement system was created in 2007 and included the scientific reasoning, laboratory experience, and quantitative literacy requirements (SLQ); three writing requirements; and two interdisciplinary General Education Concentrations (GECs).

The change this year comes as a relief to many students who were previously concerned about finishing all of the requirements.

I think it is easier now with the ability to double-dip, because otherwise it would be a struggle to fit in all my classes,” said sophomore Hannah Kiesler. She does, however, see the benefit of the GECs, because they “allow us to diversify classes a little bit.”

The purpose of GECs is to complement a major and encourage students to explore classes outside of their focus of study, besides taking a smattering of introductory-level courses. This requirement sets Bates apart from other NESCAC colleges, which mostly only have requirements similar to the SLQ and writing requirements.

Will Wise, a senior at Bowdoin College, says, “Even without as many requirements, people [at Bowdoin] still take classes that don’t have anything to do with their major.” As an Economics major with a minor in Government, Wise has found that even classes outside his areas of study have related back to other subjects and courses.

I am taking theater design right now which has nothing to do with my major, but if you think about it, the research and creative process of designing a set is the same as it is for writing a paper,” said Wise.

At Colby College, there are requirements for courses in international diversity; U.S. diversity; two science classes, one with and one without a lab; writing; literature; art; and foreign language.

Colby senior Peter Quayle says, “I think the language requirement may be good for some people but it wasn’t as good for me.  Every requirement is more rewarding for some than others.”

Quayle is an Environmental Science major with a concentration in Marine Science. He is also pre-med, which does not leave him with a lot of room in his schedule. “I think that to some extent the requirements are inhibiting” of academic exploration, he says.

A common concern of Bates students is that despite the intention of allowing students to take a variety of classes, GECs limit the electives a student can take.  “Many students start out taking classes that are interesting to them but then are forced to take more similar classes in order to finish a GEC, rather than exploring other areas outside of their GEC,” says senior Margaux Donze.

William Pollard, also a senior, agrees, “My understanding of the GEC system is that it is supposed to get us out of our comfort zone, but it is self-defeating because people struggle to fit their fourth GEC class in rather than taking something they really want to take.”

There are some GECs that are more interdisciplinary than others. For example, Public Health and Latin American Studies encompass a variety of departments, while others are not interdisciplinary at all. These include GECs such as Chemistry, English, and Philosophy.

“My GEC is essentially just classes that could also count for my major so it doesn’t force me to go very far from my focus,” explains senior Neuroscience major Jake Sandor, whose GEC is Psychology and Philosophy.

A similar concern arises in relation to the breadth that is actually gained by the distribution requirements, specifically because the requirements seem to be easier for “science people” to meet.

Senior Tess Ferguson said, “As a Biochemistry major, I had no problem completing SLQ and the Ws [writing requirements] within the classes needed for my major, but students who major in humanities have a much harder time fitting all of the classes into their schedules.”

Adds junior Rachel Lippin-Foster, “Often students pick a GEC because it includes classes they have already taken, so it defeats the purpose of providing an interdisciplinary education.”

Jake Barbato, also a junior, remembers, “My [First-Year Seminar] was cross-listed with a bunch of GECs, so I just chose the GEC with the most classes I would want to take.”

While there is the opportunity to use GECs to explore other courses with a unified theme, “A lot of people don’t view GECs as a way to get outside of their major but as a hurdle, and if that is how they are viewed, [the GECs] aren’t really doing their job,” said sophomore Jon Gougelet.

Overall, students expressed a significant amount of frustration with the planning required to fulfill all of the requirements, which actually ends up decreasing the amount of academic freedom. Instead of being able to try new things, students have to incorporate extra required classes into their schedules to complete their requirements.

Gougelet adds, “It makes it so hard to have so many requirements in addition to a major; there is probably a better way to encourage people to study outside of their fields.”

What’s wrong with being connected?

Electronic devices and social media have become vital centerpieces in our lives. Occasionally, this truth is met with resistance, including statements such as, “People today are too attached to technology,” and, “You always feel the need to be connected…Disconnect!” The message seems to be that our computers and phones are distracting us from “real” social interactions.

However, these protesters often forget that the entity on the other side of this “connection” is not simply a vast and mindless world of Technology, but is often, indeed, a fellow human being. In fact, the overall effect of technological advancements has been to promote and enhance human interactions, rather than inhibit them.

Primarily, many common websites and mobile applications allow us to connect with friends and family in new ways. A prime example of this is the ever-popular Facebook, where our list of friends may contain people we knew from high school, college, travel and work experiences, and family members. By posting pictures and updates, we are able to show all of these people what is going on in our lives: activities we are involved in, milestones we’ve reached, new jobs, adventures, and opportunities with which we’ve been presented. We no longer need to wait until Christmas card season to see pictures of our family members or learn about important events in the lives of those about whom we care.

In this way, we are able to benefit not only from being able to share our own experiences with others but also by staying updated with the happenings of others. Especially as we go off to college and later move away to build our new lives, sites such as Facebook allow us to maintain these meaningful human connections, even in such a busy world.

A recent fad has also provided a unique method of staying in touch with those who are important to us. Snapchat is an application for smartphones and iPods that allows photographs to be sent, but to only be viewed for up to ten seconds after being opened. This spontaneous method of sending quick messages creates an interesting dynamic, in which the sender can show that he or she has seen or experienced something that has reminded him or her of the receiver. This provides the opportunity to reach out to a variety of people, without the expectation of an extended conversation.

New technological tools also encourage collaboration, something that is especially evident when partaking in group projects of any sort. The Google feature “Drive” allows for documents, presentations, and spreadsheets to be shared and collectively created and edited simultaneously, with features such as comments and revision history. Before this was available, group papers and projects were often completed by splitting up the work by page or paragraph and hoping that those separate pieces would be coherent when put together. With Google Drive, each group member has access to each of the other parts, which encourages better transitions and a big-picture perspective of the goal of the project. Members can even collaborate on the same part of a project at the same time, even from separate locations.

Finally, websites such as Tumblr or Reddit that promote the sharing of images, videos, and ideas have the potential to connect us with people around the world. We are able to see that others are interested in the same things that we are interested in, and to share our opinions and questions with these global communities. This encourages us to think harder about what we assume to already know, and to discover new interests related to our own.

The suggestion to “disconnect,” of course, carries complete validity, as time spent on one’s own can have great value. However, the blanket statement that “connecting” is unhealthy and unnatural is simply misguided, for what this new technology allows us to do is to connect with other people.

Ivan Reese ’17 brings simple and casual flair to ‘cat country

The Bates Student: What’s your name? Where are you from? What are you majoring in?

Ivan Reese: My name is Ivan Reese. I’m from Savannah, GA and I want to major in Politics and minor in Anthropology.

BS: What is your fashion sense?

fashionIR: I think that my fashion sense is simple. But I add just enough flair. I tend to shop at H&M, Ralph Lauren outlets, Dillard’s, and Hollister.

BS: Where is your outfit from?

IR: My button-down shirt is from Abercrombie & Fitch. The cotton blazer is from Burlington Coat Factory. My shoes are from Sebago and my jeans are 505 Levi’s. Lastly, my watch is actually a 6th generation iPod Nano. People always assume it’s a watch until I press the lock button and an Apple music logo appears. So then I have to explain how it’s actually an iPod that resembles a watch.

BS: What are your biggest style inspirations?

IR: I’d have to say my biggest style influences are the clothes on mannequin display in Dillard’s. That where I get a lot of new ideas on what I could wear.

BS: What are the winter staples in your closet?

IR: Many athletic sweaters and jackets, long-sleeve t-shirts, and Nike ACG boots.

BS: What is your most favorite purchase for the back-to-school season?

IR:  My most favorite purchase is my North Face orange jacket and Boulder Peruvian beanie. Coming from the South, I feel like I might freeze up here without my orange jacket, and the ear-flaps on my beanie are clutch.

BS: Do you have any thoughts on how your style evolves over the semester?

IR: I found myself wearing more warm clothes sooner than expected. I knew a point would come where I’d be bundled up because of freezing temperatures, but I didn’t see it happening in the first two months of the semester. It was October and I already had to pull out the jacket and scarf.

Women’s basketball goes 1-1 at Mariner Pepsi Challenge

The Bates women’s basketball team kicked off their season this past weekend by splitting two games in the Mariner Pepsi Challenge at Maine Maritime Academy.  The first contest found the Bobcats drop a back-and-forth battle to the Lyons of Mount Holyoke 77-63 on Friday night.

After an early Mount Holyoke lead, Bates found themselves on top 18-14 thanks in part to clutch three pointers from both junior Allaina Murphy and sophomore Chelsea Nason. The Bates lead then kick started the Lyons, who were able to rattle off an 11-0 run, capped by a huge three pointer from Kate Karraker.  The Lyons led 25-18 with 9:05 left in the first half, which would turn out to be their largest lead of the day.  The feisty Bobcats answered with their own 9-0 run to close out the first half only down four at 37-33.

The two teams came out of the halftime refreshed and energized, playing each other evenly for the next several minutes.  Bates was able to pull ahead for the first time since early in the game at 57-56, with only 7:48 left in regulation. This ignited the Lyons of Mount Holyoke, as they came to life and closed out the game with a 21-6 run.

Bates was paced by senior co-captain Meredith Kelly, who led all scorers and added 12 rebounds of her own.  Senior co-captain Julia Rafferty registered a game high seven assists. Simmons was led by first-year Jamie Zoldy, and senior Hannah May, who totaled 10 and 7 points respectively.

The Bobcats then kept up their winning ways against Husson in their home opener on November 18th. Bates raced out to a 40-18 halftime lead and didn’t let up, taking the game 74-44.

Kelly again led the team in scoring, this time with 20 points. The senior also chipped in four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

The other double-digit scorers were both off the bench. Coppola and junior guard Kristin Calvo contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively. Starters Connors, Nason, and Murphy all had eight points while Nason and Murphy posted 12 and 10 rebounds.

Rafferty led the team with seven assists.

Bates travels to Farmington to take on the Beavers of UMF on November 21st.  They open up NESCAC play on November 23rd, when they head down to Brunswick to take on the archrival Polar Bears of Bowdoin College.

The GEC and SLQ requirements restrict Batesies’ academic freedom

As fall semester winds down and final papers and exams approach, I take a brief look back on my classes this past semeste and can’t help but feel like I wasted a semester of classes. As a history major, I don’t see the use of the required physics or geology class I took this semester; instead, I see wasted dollars spiraling down the drain.

For a liberal arts school, Bates does manage to have a good number of inconvenient requirements, specifically the Science, Lab, and Quantitative requirements (S, L, and Q) and General Education Concentrations requirement (GECs). I have to wonder whether these requirements expand our education, or instead restrain it.

Now, I don’t want to say Bates’ requirements are completely unnecessary, but I do think there could be a number of positive changes to the requirement system. The S, L, and Q’s that are academically accessible to non-science students are difficult to get into, don’t teach information that appears applicable, and take time away from other classes students find more interesting.

It is nearly impossible to get into one of these 100-level required courses due to the number of humanitarian majors that are looking for the least painful science or math course. Since my sophomore year, I have tried every semester to get into a number of S, L, and Q courses. I finally managed to get into both a S and a L course this semester, and decided to take both of them while I had the chance.

To know that half of my expensive tuition is going towards two classes that I generally dislike and don’t see the use in is, frankly, upsetting. These science and math classes should be more accessible. I agree that learning how to read and interpret a graph and how natural disasters occur is important, but I don’t see the point in memorizing rock types or explaining how a spring works.

I have to ask: why do we have to take two science courses? I understand the need for at least one science course, but why is it necessary to take a lab? What does a lab class do for a student who will not pursue science in any way in the future? I believe one science course is enough, especially for people who have no desire to learn more about science than the very basics.

I would suggest a revamping of the SLQ system that would eliminate one of the science requirements, stress the need to learn the most necessary and useful aspects of science and mathematics, and make the classes more available to humanities students.

Another one of the complaints I have heard often and repeatedly for four years is the inconvenience of General Education Concentrations, which are also known as mini-minors. GECs are, in theory, a great idea. Having students choose concentrations outside their major seems like a great manifestation of the liberal arts ideals. But GECs don’t always expand one’s academic choices, and instead seems to limit them.

One must take four classes that fall under a certain GEC. GEC titles include Ancient Greek, Beauty and Desire, The Collaborative Project, Colonialism, English, and Hazards in Nature, to name a few. While some of the courses under these GECs seem very interesting, reoccurring problems include that some of courses are not often offered, have prerequisites, or overlap with other required courses.

I understand that small liberal arts colleges don’t have enough resources to have all of these courses available or to have minors of every department. However, Bates ought to consider offering popular minors like economics, English, psychology and politics.

While some GECs have easy requirements to fill, like the English GEC which requires four English classes, only two of which can be 100-level, others are much more difficult to fill. For example, the Filmmaking in Cultural Context GEC only offers a list of ten courses which are not taught every semester. Depending on the GEC students have chosen to take, they have very differing opinions.

I discussed GECs with a few seniors in Ladd, and soon enough, a heated debate broke out. Brendan Johnson ‘14 defended the GEC system, claiming that, “The GEC encourages students to expand their academic horizons and catalyzes interdisciplinary bonding.”

Meanwhile, Matt Furlow ‘14 thought that GECs needed to be rethought or abolished, stating, “I think students should be required to take courses from at least 7 different majors, and abolish the GEC system because most GECs lack any sort of academic cohesion.”

These voices echo the confusion around GECs—whether they are effective or not. These mini-minors need to be adjusted to encourage students to take classes outside their major without constricting their choices.

GECs and SLQ requirements attempt to make students explore classes outside of their major, but in the end, these requirements force students to take certain courses when they are offered, thereby preventing students from taking courses outside their major or their GEC.

In general, I like Bates’ academic system. I have only become frustrated as I have come to realize that with one semester left, there are still many different classes I would like to take, and not nearly enough time to take them.

Off-campus Short Term courses provide opportunity for shorter study abroad

The off-campus courses for Short Term 2014 were announced last week along with standard course descriptions. Professors who are leading the trips offered The Bates Student some extra insight into the expeditions’ details.

Fifteen students will accompany Professor Sanford Freedman on a trip to England, where theaters serve as notable attractions in London and where the history of Shakespeare runs deep. Freedman, who has led the trip several times before, explains, “London is in the peak of its culture as one of the most international cities in the world.” He remarked that three weeks of the trip ends up feeling like six months, both due to the full schedule and the advantageous Oyster card. This metro card is the key to the city of London that allows one to explore the city with the most ease. From the ballet to the British Museum, students will have the chance to taste a great variety of what the multicultural city has to offer.

Further East in Europe, 15 students will travel to Russia with Professor Jane Costlow to study environment as it relates to Russian culture in the agricultural city of Orel. Since 1988, Professor Costlow has led student trips to Orel through her established ties there. The incorporation of the humanities and Environmental Studies is one unique to this course.

Russia, with its incredible complexity, brings an intriguing angle to the study of the environment. Considered a second-world country, Russia contributes its own distinct factors to the issue of environmental sustainability. Much of this is due to the modernization Russia has experienced, which has led to wholly different political, economic, and ideological issues. Culture plays a defining role in this trip; daily lessons in conversational Russian and a much-anticipated homestay are a few key highlights.

Also sponsored by the Department of

German and Russian Studies, professors Raluca Cernahoschi and Jakub Kazecki, as well as their one-year-old baby Yana, will lead 16 students and on a trip to Germany. The course, entitled Weimar in Berlin: German Culture in European Context, will investigate the history of the nation while students experience life in the bustling metropolis of Berlin, later to be juxtaposed with the much quieter city of Weimar.

The students in the Germany course will also have the chance to roam the streets on both foot and bicycles. While the first half of the day will be spent sight-seeing, the students will also be required to complete imperative reading material. In addition to history, the course will incorporate politics, cultural anthropology, and psychology into its material.

Psychology Instructor Georgia Nigro will lead 12 students into a rural village in Malawi. Bordering on the rainforest, the village has remained purely “uncityfied,” or rural. The inspiration for this new trip came from a previous Short Term course Unequal Childhoods, taught by Professor Nigro and Professor Emily Kane. A woman who runs a nonprofit organization, “Go! Malawi,” was asked to speak for the class. Since then, she has taken Bates students to Malawi intermittently, although this will be the first time an official Short Term course has been offered.

Students in the Malawi Short Term course will work with the nonprofit, which specializes in developing sustainable programs of education, public health, and a healthy economy in the country. The organization is very focused on local education in the village. The main focus will be teaching children English, a language that the students are required to learn in order to move on to secondary school. While the Bates course will be focused on education, it is also quite interdisciplinary. The course also incorporates public health, developmental psychology, and environmental sustainability, and much of the trip is culturally intensive. Students will have the opportunity to stay in local families’ homes for several days and possibly attend a church ceremony with the community.

New on-campus courses will also be debuted this year. Visiting Professor of Sociology Ben Moodie will offer a new on-campus Short Term course called Moral Luck and Tragedy. The focus will be on the overlap between sociology and philosophy due to the amount of philosophy in social theory. The class was inspired by a book by Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness, which makes the observation that one common theme in ancient philosophy is the question of whether people have an equal opportunity to lead a good, moral life.

The Sociology course will investigate to what extent social and political institutions influence the public’s morals through the study of fascist and totalitarian regimes. While moral philosophy may lean towards a “nurture” standpoint, sociology would be inclined to take the “nature” position. Moral philosophy cites full control where sociology indicates the more uncontrollable factors to becoming a Good Samaritan.

Off-campus Short Term courses, not all of which are outlined here, are a great opportunity for Bates students who want to enhance their academic experience through foreign immersion and academia. Whether a student is a freshman or sophomore looking for an introduction to a study abroad experience or a senior who never had one, the 2014 off-campus Short Term trips are sure to provide an incredible variety of international perspectives.

Bates Cribs: 280 double encapsulates chic femininity

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the Managing Arts & Leisure Editor for The Bates Student, Michelle Pham ‘15 from Vancouver. She resides in 280, where she has lived for the past two years, with her roommate Rokya Samake ‘15 of Harlem. Samake’s side exudes an all-blue vibe with blue bedspreads and blue pillows. By contrast Pham’s side of the room is nothing short of a girl’s paradise, containing every shade of pink imaginable.

From her multi-patterned bedspread and hand-woven rugs, to her hot pink towels and throw pillows, pink has taken over her side of the room. The girly paradise continues to her desk, dresser, and closet, where one can find many gorgeous pieces of statement jewelry and unique headbands. Her collection of bright jewelry and stand-out head pieces are essentially the decorations for her dresser and desk, and do a great job keeping them looking festive and fun.

photo 1The quilt and rugs were purchased from Urban Outfitters, a store Pham discovered at Harvard Square upon moving to the United States. As for her array of throw pillows – all were found on global escapades.

One of her suede pillows was purchased in Italy, and the others were found through various walking adventures in Maine and abroad.

They are all different and add to the colorful and whimsical sense her room gives off.

As for her wall art, Pham has taken a different approach than what I have seen in most other rooms. Instead of a variety of posters, Pham has hung up printouts of her favorite quotes that she found on sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr. She explained that she chose thoughts that were inspiring and comforting to think about, not only for her, but for all the friends who visit her room. According to Michelle, she was extremely relaxed with her wall décor and room this year (she is going abroad in a few weeks to London), but it is clear that she took lots of time to print out and arrange the many quotes she has covering her wall.

Usually, Pham explains, she puts days into decorating her room with a vast array of collected posters, drawings, original prints and flowery hanging ceiling décor from Martha Stewart.

This year, though, Pham has two posters hung up that are very romantic and beautiful – a Gustav Klimt print and the War’s End Kiss photograph. Since she was leaving after a semester, she didn’t want to have to disassemble too much furniture or wall art during the moving period. She also hung up one piece of ceiling art; a printed paper lamp she purchased from Amazon. She feels she definitely took a low-key approach to room décor this semester, but her room still looks very fun and put together. Pham’s room, girly and exciting, appears to set a very uplifting mood to live in.

Berg ’14, Ellis ’17 swing away at Vitale Clay Court Classic

Not many D-III tennis players get the chance that senior Timmy Berg and first-year Christopher Ellis received two weeks ago. Under warm temperatures and favorable weather, the two Bobcats traveled down to Bradenton, Florida to participate in the Vitale Clay Court Classic, an event organized and run by notable ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale.

There are multiple reasons why the event was so special for the Bates duo. One reason is the fact that Berg and Ellis were the only D-III players present at the event, while the rest heralded from D-I schools. The other notable reason for the remarkability of the students’ participation in the tournament is due to the fact Berg, a cancer survivor himself, was able to participate in a tournament where all the proceeds go to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Speaking to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Vitale explained, “It gives me the chills, because I remember the whole scenario and what he went through. You can’t keep this kid down. He is resilient. He is tough-minded.”

In addition to 21 the week before the big event, the celebration continued for Berg as the Vitale tournament marks Berg’s status as cancer free for more than seven years.

However, for Berg and Ellis, there was some tennis to be played as well, senior Berg had strong showing on day one. In his first match, Berg was on the clay court against North Florida foe Bernardo Craveiro. The senior was able to advance to the Round of 16 with a convincing victory over the sophomore 6-4, 6-0. Next, Berg took on Virginia freshman Luca Corinteli, falling 6-1, 6-3.

The Bates duo eventually teamed up in doubles action, first squaring off with the Duke University tandem of Bruno Semenzato and Jason Tahir. Though they fell 8-6, the two preformed admirably.

Berg wasn’t the only Bobcat getting in on the singles action, as Christopher Ellis also preformed under the big spotlight. Against University of Minnesota freshman Franz Sydow, Ellis forced the Golden Gopher to go three sets, only one of three matches to do so.

Even though Ellis came out on the losing end in his first match, he moved on to defeat University of Tulsa sophomore Lucas Vaz before falling 6-3, 6-3 to Florida Gulf Coast University junior Tianyu Bao, who last year was a Second Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection.

Berg and Ellis will have a considerable amount of time to rest before future matches with the Bates squad, as they rejoin the team to take on Whittier on February 18th.

Open mic wows the crowd with music and poetry

The Ronj hosted the second Open Mic of the year on Saturday, November 16, opening up the stage to Bates students from all walks of life for an hour and a half of music and poetry.

The Open Mic, organized by junior Barbara VanDerburgh, as the name suggests, had no requirements for participation and even included impromptu performers who only decided on performing after arriving at the event itself.  For the most part, the night can be broken down into two categories: recited poetry and musical performances.

“It fills me with such excitement and wonder to see who turns up and comes out to these open mic events to wow us with their talents,” VanDerburgh said.  “Even though not everybody is pursuing the arts via classes or majors, most Batesies seem to have some kind of secret artistic inclination, and I think the open mics provide a safe, kind, and interesting environment for those people who might be too nervous to perform elsewhere.  It kicks weekend nights into a really positive gear.”

Early into the night, first-year Amar Ojha delivered the first poem, an original piece about his Halloween night as a drag queen.  First-year Sarmad Ishtiaq followed, reciting two separate pieces he’d written that year, the first concerning a very serious observation of the mother-child relationship and the latter poking fun at his pretentious Ivy League friend.

“My aim was to present two sides of the emotional spectrum. One was supposed to be happy, joyful, careless, reckless, and one side was supposed to be something sad, emotional.  When combining these things you get the best of both worlds,” said Ishtiaq.

Throughout the night, numerous performers like first-year Jackson Whitehouse took the stage to play both their favorite and original songs on guitar.  Whitehouse, who is also a member of ManOps, captured everyone’s attention in the first half of the night with his multitalented performance of Joe Pug’s “A Thousand Men” and “Long Black Veil,” as performed by The Band.

“I love playing guitar and singing, and I love to perform for people.  [I chose to perform because] I hadn’t played for anyone in a while, and I have a few friends that wanted me to play at the Open Mic,” said Whitehouse.  “The experience was good.  The crowd was responsive and friendly, they weren’t distracting or disrespectful, and they gave a good aura that was conducive to comfortable, good performing.”

Senior Grace Glasson broke the pattern of guitars when her turn came around.  Playing the ukulele, Glasson reinvigorated the crowd, paving the way for the final acts of the night.

As the night drew to a close, everything came together when sophomores Bridget Feldmann and Sacha Zabotin performed together, Zabotin on guitar and Feldmann singing.  As they performed their second song, the audience suddenly sang along, bringing even more thrill and soul to the night.

Feldmann then kept the night alive as sophomore Julia Dunn joined her onstage to recite a co-written poem, in which they combined their own unique styles of writing and reciting to create a stunning spectacle to bring the night to an end.

The Open Mic itself appeared to be an unqualified success.  The Ronj was filled with people within minutes of the Open Mic’s start, and people continued to pour inside, taking whatever few spots were left, throughout the entirety of the night, each separate act touching on different aspects of the human experience, whether it was comedy, songs about breakups, poems of self-reflection, or simply an inspirational talk.

Summing up the night after the event, Whitehouse said, “One may think that such a small school would not have such abundant talent, but that open mic was living proof that we may be small, but we are surely mighty. Time and time again I was blown away by the performers’ abilities to sing, jam out or evoke deep feeling in such a short periods of time.”

To look to the future, there are plans for a staff-only open mic next semester, alongside the other normally planned open mics at the Ronj.

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