The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: April 2015 (Page 2 of 3)

A lens abroad: Andean immersion

andesphoto (2)My journey to Perú began as a vision back in November, just as the early, cold days of the Maine winter began to set in across the campus of Bates College. While some people decide to go abroad during their college years to “find themselves” and broaden their horizons, I chose to take the semester off from school to immerse myself in a different culture and acquire a new language. My mother was forced to flee the island of Cuba with her family in 1960 and because of this I have always been surrounded by both Latin American language and cuisine. In a sense, I chose to flee as well. I chose to flee the winter, the daily grind of classes, papers, and finals in search of something different. It’s safe to say that I’ve found just what I was searching for.

It would be unjust to say that I’ve completely fled the grind of classes and papers. For the first six weeks of my journey I was living with my relatives in Lima, a mega-city rife with some of the largest economic disparity in the world. I would take Spanish classes in the morning, explore the historic center of Lima in the afternoons, and teach English to children ranging from the ages of 10-15 in the evenings. Most of my exploration required riding a Combi (bus), sometimes without doors, to the outskirts of town in order to walk through village markets and voraciously practice my Spanish with anyone who would speak with me. I then moved to Cuzco, a city high above the clouds, clocking in at roughly 11,000 feet above sea level. While I’ve had my fair share of nosebleeds, the feeling of waking up and going to bed in the highest continuously inhabited city in the Americas is unparalleled.  I will be here for the next eight weeks, taking Spanish classes and working with Máximo Nivel, an organization dedicated to offering volunteer opportunities ranging from teaching English to disenfranchised children to jungle conservation in the Amazon. I am currently spearheading a project through the Cuzco Tourism Board and Máximo Nivel, aiming to teach English to taxi drivers within the city limits, with hopes to spread the initiative to other cities in South America.

IMG_6483My time here hasn’t been all work, though. I spent four days in the quaint, northern surf-town of Máncora, lying under the equatorial sun, sipping the national drink of pisco sours and eating as much fresh seafood and Céviche as I could stomach before heading off into the Andes. Various day-hikes around Cuzco, such as that to the Cristo Blanco, a statue from Palestinian Christians erected to represent their gratitude to Cusqueñans for offering safe-harbor in 1945, prepared me for the mountain called Huayna Picchu. Towering above the Incan stronghold of Macchu Picchu, Huayna Picchu requires you to hike near-vertical stairs for 50 minutes in order to gain an unobstructed view of the ancient city and the Urubamba River below. Slippery stones and steel cables drilled into the bedrock delineate the path up the mountain. It is said that the top of the mountain is where the High Priest resided, and I also got to visit the Temple of the Moon, carved into the hillside below.

As I write this I am preparing for a 3-day backpacking trip into and out of the second deepest canyon in the world, Colca Canyon, twice the depth of our very own Grand Canyon. While I miss the comfort, knowledge and friendships that Bates has and still provides me with, I know that many more adventures await.

 

Joan Benoit Samuelson among honorary degree recipients for 149th Commencement

DEGREEManjul_BhargavaThis year’s graduating class will close their academic careers alongside four notable honorary degree recipients: Mathematician and 2014 Fields Medal winner Manjul Bhargava, groundbreaking opthamologist Dr. Mark Abelson P’97, master craftsman Thomas Moser, and Olympic marathon gold medalist and philanthropist Joan Benoit Samuelson P’10.

“These four individuals approach their work with passion, creativity and extraordinary dedication,” President Spencer said. “In so doing, they have become leaders in their fields and models of the values we seek to instill in our students and embody in all aspects of the Bates experience.”

The recipients were chosen by the Honorary Degrees Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Committee is composed of trustees, faculty, and students who were elected by the Student Government. President Spencer will confer the honorary degrees during the Commencement ceremony, weather permitting, on the Historic Quad.

Manjul Bhargava, who will receive the Doctor of Science for his contributions to mathematics in number theory, will deliver the Commencement address. Specializing in number theory, Bhargava’s contributions have had “profound influence on the field,” the International Mathematical Union stated while announcing Bhargava’s award.

His passion for number theory sprung from his youth through music and visits to his relatives in India. His mother, an acclaimed Professor of Mathematics at Hofstra University, introduced Bhargava to the Indian hand drum known as tabla, while his grandmother kept young Bhargava occupied with Sanskrit poetry.

“The counting numbers don’t simply line themselves up in a demure row,” Bhargava said in an article for Quanta Magazine. “Instead, they take up positions in space… and they move through time, in the rhythms of a Sanskrit poem or a tabla drumming sequence.”

Bhargava is currently the R. Brandon Fradd Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University.

Olympic gold medalist, philanthropist, and 1979 Bowdoin graduate Joan Benoit Samuelson P’10 will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. Among many accomplishments, Samuelson won the debut women’s marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles as well as two Boston Marathons in 1979 and 1983. She founded the popular Beach to Beacon 10k held in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where many elite runners compete.

A current resident of Freeport, Samuelson has coached running at local schools in addition to spearheading environmental and nutrition campaigns for children.

Samuelson stated that Bates can have a role in Maine’s future “by finding a story to tell that incorporates passions and interests in a way that benefits an individual, community, organization or cause. We only have one Earth, but we have several opportunities through our interests, knowledge and connections to make our planet a better place in myriad ways.”

DEGREEJoanBenoitSamuelson

The Olympian has many connections to Bates, including her daughter Abigail, who graduated from Bates in 2010 as a member of both the women’s cross country and nordic ski teams.

At 58, Samuelson shows no signs of looking back, or even easing the pace, but she pauses to give words of encouragement to the graduating class.

“Very simply, believe in yourself, and follow your heart while finding a passion,” Samuelson said to The Student. “Without passion it is difficult to ignite a fire, and without fire nothing burns brightly.”

While Dr. Mark Abelson may be an unfamiliar name to students, his work is incredibly useful in the college setting. The myriad of students who receive prescriptions for “pink eye” and other external eye medications are likely benefiting from the results of Abelson’s work in ophthalmology. Abelson was integral in the restructuring of the drug development process, ensuring a safe and viable result before releasing the product to consumers. Abelson will also receive a Doctor of Science degree.

Dr. Abelson is currently the Chief Scientific Officer at Ora Inc., a leading ophthalmology research and development firm. Abelson and his son Stewart, Bates Class of 1997, have greatly contributed to the Purposeful Work Initiative, providing current Bates students with internship opportunities at Ora. Abelson admires the creativity and analytical skills that Bates graduates provide to the pharmaceutical industry.

Designer and craftsman of handmade American furniture Thomas Moser will, in addition to Samuelson, receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. His work can be found in libraries, homes, and on college campuses across the country. Moser does not consider his craft a part of the furniture industry, but more of an intersection of creativity, woodworking, and the arts.

Moser was a member of the Bates faculty as a tenured Professor of Rhetoric and debate director until 1972, when he retired to pursue his love of woodworking. Moser embodies Purposeful Work, recognizing that his talents could be shared in multiple fields.

In an article for USA Today in 1993, Moser explained his realization, “There was enough artistry in me to produce something that people would pay for, [and] more importantly, those people would be getting their money’s worth.”

His passion lead him to found Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers, where his woodworkers and designers are mostly self-taught, returning to the roots of artisan furniture. His work has even graced the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

The Class of 2015 will share their graduation with four people who possess the values Bates strives to cultivate in their students.

Maine students march against fossil fuels

On Saturday, April 11th, college and high school students from across Maine will gather in Augusta to march in Generation Climate Rising, a protest of the fossil fuel infrastructure that Republican Governor LePage supports. The march is centered around the Blaine House, LePage’s residence, and the State House.

First-years Jennifer Rosenfield and Sophia Thayer, members of the Bates Energy Action Movement (BEAM), are coordinating Bates student participation in the march. Buses going to the march will depart Bates at 9:30 A.M. and will return to campus around 3:00 P.M.

Eighty students are currently registered for the march, but there is still space for those who wish to be involved.

“LePage is a climate denier. He doesn’t think climate change is an issue, so as Maine students, we’re trying to make a stand,” Rosenfield said.

The march is trying stress the fact that many Maine residents do not support the use of fossil fuels.

“Any climate rally is a part of a greater climate movement for America and elsewhere,” Thayer said. “LePage doesn’t acknowledge climate change, and we’re the generation his ignorance will affect.”

Thayer and Rosenfield did not expect such a large turnout from interested Bates students.

“I’ve recognized that many people [at Bates] are interested in environmental problems. They [all] don’t necessarily come to BEAM, but to see them involved in this way—it’s pretty meaningful,” Rosenfield said.

This year, Michael Butler, a student at Bowdoin College, helped organize Maine Students for Climate Justice, an organization comprised of college and high school students across the state. Butler was instrumental in generating student participation for the march.

In a letter to the editors of The Student, Butler said, “While [LePage] may have the privilege to deny it, others in Maine are suffering from warming waters and record snowfall. The burden of climate change is not even—it falls disproportionately on indigenous groups, the elderly, the young, and those who rely on Maine’s natural resources for income.”

Butler also emphasized that LePage denies that Maine is suffering because of climate change.

“Students in particular are having their futures robbed by the dangerous, backward energy policies of Governor LePage. Climate change will close Maine for business, and students will inherit that raw deal.”

Butler called on the Bates student body, “Time after time, LePage has proven to be an unconstructive obstacle for Maine…On April 11, hundreds of students will march on the Blaine House in the biggest student action in Maine’s history. We will be demanding climate justice. Let us remind our governor [of our state motto]: ‘Dirigo’ [‘I lead’]. LePage cannot veto Maine. Come be a part of history.”

Last Saturday, BEAM set up a display of yellow caution tape outside of Commons that drew attention to the fact that Bates uses 975 gallons of oil per day. The caution tape was a physical representation of that volume.

Colby and Middlebury, on the other hand, use virtually no oil; instead, they use biomass and natural gas. Rosenfield and Thayer stated that Bates’ energy initiative is lacking compared to Colby and Middlebury.

“Those schools show it’s possible to be a small liberal arts school without a huge endowment and still have great energy reforms,” Thayer said.

Sustainability Coordinator Julie Rosenbach, who was the forefront of pushing for carbon neutrality for Bates, left her position last semester. Rosenbach is now working as the Sustainability Coordinator for the city of South Portland.

Bates is aiming to have its own biomass plant and to be carbon neutral by 2020.

Rosenbach worked with Energy Manager John Rasmussen, who is in charge of the economic elements of energy management at Bates. The Committee of Environmental Responsibility is trying to find a replacement for her position.

“We’ve made some initiatives and some projects, but not as much as we might hope,” Rosenfield said. “We want to protest fossil fuels in Maine, but we need to look at ourselves as a college and what we’re doing, and try to change that as well.”

Last year, BEAM campaigned for Bates to divest from fossil fuel companies, but their endeavors were unsuccessful. President Spencer announced in January 2014 that the College would not divest from the fossil fuel industry. The University of Maine recently decided to divest its direct holdings in coal-mining companies.

BEAM meets on Thursdays at 6:00 P.M. upstairs in Commons.

Death Grips reveals final album: “Jenny Death”

On July 2nd, 2014, Death Grips announced that they were breaking up—notifying their fans in a way that was true to their odd, nihilist reputation. The bad news was shared over Facebook with a photo of a handwritten note on a napkin. They said that they were “at their best” and that because of this, they were at the best point of time to leave the game. All that we could look forward to as fans was the release of their final album, Jenny Death, sometime in the near future. The near future is now, and Jenny Death has been live for around two weeks, and the listening that I have done to this album tells me conclusively that the time I spent waiting was worth it. This was a finale that represented the group, its history, and its ideology quite well, and will help to maintain its legacy.

It could be possible that I’m being played for a sucker though, as the band has been known to change its mind or its course of action just to mess with people. I’m recalling an episode of Death Grips’ history where the group was scheduled to perform an aftershow at Lollapalooza. Not only did they not show, but the setup for the performance was nothing but a children’s toy drum kit which wasn’t even hooked up to anything. Fans promptly destroyed the stage. Nevertheless, all anecdotal evidence and skepticism aside, I’m looking at Death Grips’ new album through the lens of it being their very last release, their final impression on the music world.

Jenny Death was released as the second CD to the two-part album, The Powers that B, and sets itself far and away from the first half album, N****s on the Moon. Whereas part one was a radical departure, and came off as mind-numbing, repetitive, and anxiety-inducing due to MC Ride’s monotone chanting, cryptic lyrics, and otherworldly vocal sampling from Bjork, Jenny Death presents itself in decidedly traditional Death Grips fashion. Listening to the first track, “I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States,” we are greeted by a cacophonous smashing of cymbals, a heavily distorted, modulating electronic bassline and of course the bellowing lyrics of MC Ride, which for the first 30 seconds are simply quick repetitions of the track’s title. I was glad to be shown right away that the album would be closer to the style that the band put out for most of its time (dirty, heavy, experimental electronic hip hop) but still maintained a level of novelty and innovation. It’s also gratifying to experience the presence of some pretty potent guitar and live drum instrumentals that feature a real punk sound — one that actually fits in very well with the punk attitude of the band and the album as a whole.

If by some miracle you’re able to comprehend the lyrics that MC Ride spits out incessantly, even maniacally, then you’ll also be able to notice that when compared to the rest of the Death Grips discography, songs on Jenny Death are unusually personal. Though they retain the paranoia, instability, and surreal mania that has characterized the band’s lyrics, they also bring the listener closer to the members of the band, and depending on the extent your comfort zone, that may or may not be a good thing.

I am of the strong opinion that Death Grips has placed an extremely artful capstone on their accomplished and groundbreaking discography. With Jenny Death, we now have the classic, weird, and intense Death Grips style of music in a slightly more accessible fashion. It provides the platform for the listener to contemplate the new perspective that the band adopts, and while The Powers That B as a two-part album pushes some boundaries, it avoids abstraction and will go down as a pleasurable, yet unconventional listening experience.

Rest in peace [Announce]: We bid you adieu

bates-today-email-example-20150401Monday, April 27, 2015 will be a great day for the Bates community, and not just because it is the first day of Short Term. April 27th also marks the official abolishment of the [Announce] mailing listserv. Gone are the days when you’ll find 30+ irrelevant emails in your inbox; instead, you can expect everything you need in one email, delivered fresh each morning like a hot cup o’ joe.

From the day we set foot on campus, [Announce] has been a regular nuisance. And we’ve talked to a lot of people who have felt similarly frustrated with the student communications process at Bates. All too many Bates Students don’t even read the announce messages because the sheer number of daily emails is overwhelming and the majority of the content is irrelevant to the individual student. If you actually manage to read all of the [Announce] emails, top to bottom, bravo—you are literally in the 1%.

We understand it can be annoying when you get four emails about the same event. It can be even more frustrating when you miss a great opportunity, one that you actually care about, because you didn’t hear about it until it was too late. And then when you complain that nobody told you, and your friend chirps “It was an [Announce] email, bro…”

Yeah. We’ve been there too. It really grinds our gears.

We knew there had to be a better way to spread important information amongst the Bates campus, and over the past year we have worked closely with many talented students and staff members to figure out how to do just that. When we sat down with Dean McIntosh at the start of this year to bring the issue of student communications to his attention, he too readily recognized the flaws of [Announce] and the significant value of revolutionizing the way Bates students, faculty, and staff share important information with students. A team composed of Jeremy Cluchey, Jason Moreau, Barry Costa, David McDonough, Keith Tannenbaum, Audrey Zafirson ‘16, Jocelyn Hoye ‘15, Katharina Harling ‘17, as well as the authors, Nicholas McCarthy ‘15 and Andrew Segal ‘17, was put together to drive the creation of a new internal communications system. This group has worked closely with the Bates Communications Office, Information & Library Services, and student leaders across campus to design, architect, and implement this new system.

Since 1990, Bates has solely relied on the [Announce] listserv as the single channel of communication. Over the past two decades, [Announce] has grown into an unfettered and cluttered email list. Beginning in April, Bates will implement a system of communication, custom built to fit the needs of the Bates community. For the first time since before any current Bates student was born, we are completely overhauling our approach to internal student communications. This change will affect over 10 million impressions a year, and as a school, we will be better positioned to promote the announcements we care about and to hear about new and exciting events on campus.

Today we are proud to [Announce] the beginning of a new era of streamlined student communication at Bates College. The transition to a more effective system of communication with students will have two phases. The first phase, beginning the first day of Short Term, will see the beta launch of ‘Bates Today’ – a daily email digest that includes everything we need to know about what is happening at Bates on any given day. Each event and announcement headline in the Bates Today email will be linked to a webpage with even more information- here, a full description of the event or announcement will be available, and you can add the event to your calendar, share it on social media, or find contact information for the individual responsible, among other things. Opening a single email will allow you to learn about all of the unique events on campus that day and the most important announcements; it’ll even provide links that tell you about upcoming athletic events, how crappy the weather is that day (sorry golfers), and what they’ll be serving at the Vegan Bar for lunch (hopefully Pad Thai).

bates-today-announce-example-20150401In order to make the transition as seamless as possible, during Short Term, anyone wishing to send a message to all students can continue to send it to [Announce]. Your message will then be reviewed for inclusion in the Bates Today email.

The second phase, beginning in the Fall, will be based on the feedback we receive from students and other Bates community members throughout Short Term. One aspect of our new approach will include an interactive website, ‘The Quad,’ that will serve as the landing page for all Bates events and announcements, as well as information including the commons menu, athletic scores, and fitness & wellness class schedules, just to name a few. The structure of the Quad website, as well as the next iteration of Bates Today, will be critically informed by the conversations we have with users of the system during Short Term.

Our team has consistently worked to garner input from a wide array of constituents. Dean McIntosh hosted over 30 student leaders at his house in January to solicit their ideas and advice; he walked through the system with the ResLife staff last month and has engaged various other student leaders over the course of the winter semester. The insights we’ve gleaned from these meetings has been incredibly valuable. And although we have worked to take all interests into account, we fully anticipate some slight hiccups during the beta launch.

We hope that any student or community member who has a suggestion regarding the system reaches out to us at beta2015@bates.edu. Only with the insight of the Bates community can this system reach its full potential. Additionally, we will be tabling in Commons over the next few weeks, and holding info-sessions to explain the new system and seek input.

We hope everyone is excited about the fact that when they wake up on that glorious first day of Short Term, there will only be one Bates email in their inbox.

NCAA must find middle ground

It’s March Madness, which means that millions Americans will once again be avoiding work to catch the “madness” of the NCAA basketball tournament.

This playoff structure, while providing unique excitement, also generates over one billion dollars in revenue each year for the NCAA. As a result, the arrival of March Madness marks not just the beginning of another year of must-see basketball, but also the inevitable debate surrounding the virtues or evils of the NCAA system.

As usual, both sides will make compelling points. These athletes place their bodies at risk and contribute countless hours of work to make the tournament the amazing spectacle it is; yet they do not see a dime in earnings from the event. Most of these players will never become professionals and enjoy the financial success of this stage.

Considering that many of these athletes come from disadvantaged backgrounds, this lack of compensation places these players in difficult situations. When these college students do try to cash in on their fame by taking gifts from boosters or selling autographs, they are severely sanctioned by the NCAA, potentially placing the future of their programs at risk. The irony of basketball stars, who cannot afford to meet their basic needs while coaches and administration officials make millions, is hard to defend.

However, proponents of the NCAA are right to suggest that paying athletes like professionals would destroy the integrity of the current system. All top-tier talent would almost certainly only commit to schools with the resources to pay them the most. In addition, this change would greatly undermine any remaining commitment to actually providing these athletes with an education which will be far more critical in their lives than just four years of paychecks.

In order to balance these concerns, the NCAA should make three reforms to ensure fairness and restore the credibility of its organization. These changes would provide limited financial support to their players without actually making them employees.

First, just as each school has access to a finite number of scholarships for their athletes, these programs should be able to pay a certain number of players a fixed salary to cover basic living expenses. This assistance would be given from an NCAA fund that all Division One schools would have equal access to. This approach would prevent small programs from being unable to compete with schools that have the capability to spend much more on their players.

Second, players should have the ability to make money through advertising and memorabilia. It is indefensible that athletes are punished from profiting off their own likeness when the NCAA subtly does the exact same thing through video games and jerseys.

Lastly, the NCAA should provide lifetime support to all players who sustain injuries during from games or training. Athletes should never be left to cover costly medical bills after graduation.

These reforms, although somewhat costly, could actually be advantageous for the NCAA in the long run. Not only would these changes improve the organization’s reputation, but they would also serve as an incentive for players to stay longer college, improving the overall quality of play. It time for the NCAA to accept that the status quo is not sustainable and do what is right for their players and for the game.

A Note From Dean Tannenbaum

Dear Students,

As I assume you are all aware at this point, this will be my last semester at Bates. Before leaving I wanted to take a moment to let you all know how much I appreciate all that you have done for me, and for Bates, throughout my nearly 18 years at this great place.

I started working at Bates in 1997 as the Housing Coordinator. I moved to Maine with my wife and two-year-old son after spending several years at Wheaton College, in Massachusetts. During my first year at Bates, we welcomed our second child. In 1999, I moved into my current role as an Assistant Dean of Students, with direct responsibility for Student Activities. It was when this happened that I knew I was in the right position for my passions—working with students to provide a rich social environment on our campus. I won’t say that I have loved every moment, but I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I consider myself very lucky to have had this opportunity.

Throughout my time in Student Activities, I have had the privilege of working with the most thoughtful, committed, and hard-working students that anyone in my role could ask for. Bates students are adventurous, fun-loving, and dedicated to their peers. Whether working with CHC, VCS, the Filmboard, WRBC, the Discordians, the Mirror, or any of the other student groups at Bates, I have always been fortunate to have willing partners in making Bates fun. I have tried to say thank you to as many of you as possible throughout the years, and if I have forgotten to do that—I apologize for the oversight. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all that you have done to make this job so rewarding.

Since the announcement of my departure was made in February, I have been overwhelmed by the kind words that so many of you have shared with me—past and present students included—and it is somewhat difficult for me to believe that I am worthy of this praise. I am humbled, truly, and appreciative beyond measure. I will shed many tears between now and the end of this year, and I hope to continue to serve you as you deserve until I leave. I hope that those of you who will still be here in the fall will continue to do the great work that you have always shared with this community, and I certainly hope that you will advocate for what you want.

Study hard, work hard, and have fun.

Thank you,

Keith

Women’s and men’s lax fall to Hamilton

As is the Saturday tradition in the spring, both lacrosse programs were facing in-conference opponents; the women were on the road, while the men hosted the Continentals of Hamilton. After both teams came up short, 6-2 and 8-7 respectively, the men and women both have just one NESCAC victory midway through the season. The women are ninth in the NESCAC standings and the men are tied for eighth.

The Bates women were up against a tough team on the road in a Hamilton squad that is ranked seventh in the country. But it appeared that the visitors weren’t going to concede defeat without a battle. After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, sophomores Joanie Oats and Kaileigh Maguire combined for two goals to keep the Bobcats in it. Hamilton responded by grabbing another goal and maintaining a two-goal cushion at 3-1. But Maguire’s effort helped close the gap, as she scored off a feed from junior Kelan McCann to bring the ’Cats within one at the break. But the Continentals proved their national ranking in the second half, scoring three goals and holding Bates to none. Despite junior Hannah Jeffrey’s effort in the cage with twelve saves, six goals were enough to down the visiting ’Cats. Bates only got off thirteen shots in a contest that was decided on the defensive end. They won the groundball battle 21-6 but turned the ball over 26 times to Hamilton’s 19, and went 0-5 on free position shots.

Junior Kara Le, a member of the Bobcat defense that held the talented Continentals to just six goals, saw some positives coming out of this weakened. “Although it was not the outcome we had hoped for, we saw improvements that we can capitalize on in our upcoming games,” she said.

The team has two NESCAC games on the schedule this week, at home against Bowdoin on Wednesday and versus Connecticut College on Saturday. It will certainly be a defining week, as Le relayed, “We’re looking forward to a big week, and believe we have what it takes to turn it around.” Under the lights against Bowdoin could be one of the last chances for this talented team to prove their worth in the conference. Expect a good one on Garcelon Field this Wednesday.

The men’s team played host to Hamilton on Saturday. Both the ‘Cats and Continentals had one NESCAC victory coming into the game.

John Zimmerman’s goal with 19.6 seconds left in the game sunk Bobcat hearts, winning the game for Hamilton and denying Bates after a second-half comeback. The first half was sloppy, as both teams failed to clear the ball effectively, and sustained possession was scarce. But Hamilton was able to hold the edge at the break with a 4-2 lead. And the visiting team came out of the gates hot, scoring the first two goals and charging ahead to a 6-2 lead. Just when it looked as though the ‘Cats were going to let another one slip away, the man-up unit, which has been stellar all year, came through. With 7:05 left in the third, sophomore Jake Walsh fed classmate Charlie Fay for his first of four goals in the half. Hamilton responded to make it 7-3, but that would be Hamilton’s last goal until Zimmerman’s in the final seconds. The ‘Cats went on to score four straight goals, as Fay provided three more and sophomore Kyle Weber scored on a feed from senior Jack Strain.

All signs pointed to Bates finishing off a gutsy comeback and turning the season around, as they had possession with under two minutes to play. Fay had a chance at grabbing a fifth and propelling Bates to a hard-earned victory, but Hamilton’s Driscoll made the biggest of his 14 saves, denying the midfielder and regaining possession. Hamilton’s fate now lay in its own hands, and with 1:06 left in the game, the visitors called a time out to draw something up. With 19.6 seconds left, Sweet found an open Zimmerman after a Bates defender slipped. Zimmerman was all alone and found the back of the net with ease. Bates junior goalie Joe Faria finished with seven saves, including a couple on the doorstep, but couldn’t come up with another difficult one against Zimmerman. Bates had a shot in the end after winning the following face-off, but couldn’t put anything together.

Junior Kenneth O’Friel talked about Bates’ struggles in these close games. “In one-goal games, every little thing counts. We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities, while Hamilton did,” he said. The effort was certainly there, as the ’Cats never gave up and were in it until the final buzzer, but couldn’t get one to go when they had their chance. And senior captain Conor Henrie points out that it’s going to take more than hard work: “Just playing hard isn’t enough in league games, and we weren’t sharp enough early on.”

The comeback does seem an improvement for a team that has struggled down the stretch. The next two contests against Bowdoin and Connecticut College should determine the fate of the ’Cats. They should have no problem coming out of the gates ready for Bowdoin, but we’ll see if they can play a full 60 minutes of lacrosse.

Inside the Bates artist’s studio

Olivia Jacobs juxtaposes independently aesthetically pleasing photographs to create personal and more compelling compositions.  TAYLOR BLACKBURN/THE BATES STUDENT

Olivia Jacobs juxtaposes independently aesthetically pleasing photographs to create personal and more compelling compositions .
TAYLOR BLACKBURN/THE BATES STUDENT

Well, fellow Batesies, we’re two weeks away from freedom. Yes, I’m shocked too, but the end of semester brings the end to the impressive stream of art and performance that seems to have been pouring into our community non-stop since the start of the semester. The final display of student artists’ talent will commence on April 11th with the installation of the show featuring work by the eleven current senior studio art majors at the Bates College Museum of Art. The exhibit will feature work by Adam Ellerton, Audrey Grauer, Kate Hubbard, Ayse Irem Ikizler, Olivia Jacobs, Hannah McGrath, Emily McIlvaine, Warwick Mortimer, Sophie Pellegrini, Lauren Piccirillo, and Teddy Poneman.

Rather than write a broad, scoping piece about what will appear in the show, I decided to spend some time with two of the artists, Olivia Jacobs and Teddy Poneman, in their respective studios and hear about their experience as arts majors at Bates.

Olivia Jacobs ’15 is a photographer whose work for the upcoming show is presented in panel formatting, which means that she juxtaposes each photograph with one or more. “It’ll bring an image that might be interesting enough on its own,” she says, “and heighten that even more. I like the way that the works interact with each other.”

While Jacobs doesn’t strive to create a narrative in what she’s doing, she doesn’t mind if the viewer projects his or her own narrative onto her work. In fact, she has rather few requests for her audience’s viewing experience.

“What I want to do is make sure that my work is not coming across with only one meaning, and I want it to be open to interpretation.[…] I hope that people find it aesthetically interesting, because that’s my primary concern when I look at work.” She explains that when she sees work, the main questions she asks herself is whether it answers yes to the question, “Is that something that I think I haven’t necessarily seen before?”

This outlook makes sense given her inspiration from Sally Mann’s black and white photographs of eerie southern roads and landscapes, and additionally from Francesca Woodman’s small but qualitatively rich body of work.

One of the biggest challenges facing Jacobs’ creative process this year was growing into her identity as an art major, and more importantly as an artist, throughout the year.

“I struggle with really seeing myself as an artist.[…] I’m starting to get more comfortable with it, but over the last few years at Bates and over the last semester, it’s been ‘I’m doing art and I’m an art major,’ but I’m not an artist. I feel that until this semester it was my secondary major.”

Poneman echoed this sentiment. “It’s kind of weird to have people say that you’re making art when you aren’t thinking about that way,” he said. Since Poneman began his work in ceramics because he liked the physical process of making “things, not art,” the admission of the self-given title, particularly in an artist pool as small as the supportive one that exists at Bates, felt wrong. He continued, “As I got more into it, I realized that the way to continue with it, and to keep improving—because that’s what I love to do, get better—was to think of it as art and to come to terms with the fact that what I was trying to do was make art. It’s been a slow process.”

In addition to this languid mini-identity crisis, Poneman’s creative process has been surprisingly labor-intensive. His chosen focus has swung him into the partially unpredictable world of soda firing that “allows your kiln to do your decoration for you in a lot of ways.” He said, “It’s more about me creating the parameters for surface decoration and success to happen than actually doing it myself before I put it in myself.” Soda firing uses a kiln that sits outside, whose brick door must be meticulously laid before each firing, cleaned after each use, and handled delicately since it must be 2200 degrees to do its job.

Teddy Poneman’s work has evolved throughout his thesis creative process.  The work for the upcoming show became more textured over time. This pot is one of his more textured works.  TAYLOR BLACKBURN/THE BATES STUDENT

Teddy Poneman’s work has evolved throughout his thesis creative process.
The work for the upcoming show became more textured over time. This pot is one of his more textured works.
TAYLOR BLACKBURN/THE BATES STUDENT

While this may sound blissfully arbitrary to some readers, note that this only makes the work of an art major more stressful. The humanities equivalent would be to ask yourself: what if every time you opened your thesis in Microsoft Word and what you read wasn’t exactly what you were sure you had saved the last time you closed your computer? Poneman explains that “it’s a really long period of adjusting and learning, but learning with like your work on the line. For example, I’m trying to re-fire this piece because I thought it was going to look like this,” as he holds up two glaze patterns that aren’t exactly all that similar, “but I didn’t apply the glaze very well. This will be my fifth kiln of the year and my third of the semester.”

When I ask him about inspiration, though, he’s quick to name multiple mentors that he’s met through Bates and a summer art school he attended after his sophomore year in Chataqua, New York.

“That’s something that I think is really beautiful about ceramics. There’s a long tradition of apprenticeship and mentorship.” His most present force of guidance has been Susan Dewsnap, whose studio is right next to his. “She pushes you. It’s really great,” he explained. “If you want to be pushed, and I think you should want to be pushed.”

New plans added to construction

In addition to the ongoing construction of new dormitories on Campus Avenue, plans for further construction are in the mix. In an interview on April 22 with senior Alfred Russo and junior Jordana Gluckow on Bates College Radio WRBC 91.5 FM, President Spencer commented on some of the current and potential physical changes occurring on campus.

President Spencer, when asked about her least favorite aspect of Bates, admitted her frustration in the lack of a third-party coffee shop on campus. Spencer also said that she would be enthralled if a coffee shop were integrated into the ground floor level of the dorm under construction, which will also hold the new bookstore and mailboxes.

Assistant Vice President for Dining Christine Schwartz “looked into every possible option” and conversed with “every local coffee roaster in Maine,” according to Spencer. However, Schwartz was unable to secure a legitimate option due to a lack in consumer targeting and sustainable economic incentives beyond the Bates campus and student body.

President Spencer clarified that the goal of the new residence hall is not to create more beds in order to deter students from living off-campus, but rather to alleviate the crammed and unfortunate living conditions currently experienced by students living in Smith Hall.

Spencer noted that Smith will be converted into doubles instead of quads when construction on the new dorms is complete. It is speculated that housing priority in Smith will be given to upperclassmen.

Furthermore, President Spencer alluded to plans to renovate many of the student houses on Frye Street. She revealed that a “series of rehab projects on Frye Street” will be beneficial in order to “bring the Frye Street houses progressively up to code.” These future projects will happen incrementally, as some of the houses “will be taken offline, a couple a year” in order to ensure available residency for students on Frye Street.

Reformations to the student parking system and culture at Bates were also discussed briefly by President Spencer in her WRBC interview. Throughout this academic year, Bates students have continually expressed frustration with the way the College’s parking system is formatted, as well as sanctions forced upon Bates students that prevent car-owning members of the student body to park on public roads in Lewiston.

President Spencer expressed that the reason for limiting student parking on public roads to students without a Bates parking permit is part of an effort to reduce the intrusive impact that Bates may have on our surrounding community.

Students have voiced their dissatisfaction with Bates’ current system of allocated student parking permits. These permits, available for annual purchase, allow students to park their vehicles in designated student parking lots spread throughout campus.

In theory, the system is ideal, as it virtually guarantees parking for students while also reducing the heavy amount of parking traffic on surrounding public roads. However, students have been frustrated by the fact that a permit requires them to park in a pre-chosen lot, instead of being able to park in any student lot on campus, which is inconvenient for many students. For example, students who reside on Frye Street may be required to park in the Merrill Gymnasium parking lot versus a closer lot on Wood Street if they do not receive an all-access permit through the lottery system.

All of these intended changes to the Bates campus are expected to bring a higher, more comfortable standard of living for students. The WRBC interview with President Spencer, among other conversations between students and the administration, are paramount in keeping the intentions of the administration transparent and strengthening the communicative relationship between students and faculty.

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