The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: December 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Be White and also right

“If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn’t even begun to pull out the knife.”

— El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)

This article is going to address things that I have been thinking about for quite some time, but, as a white student, have not always felt comfortable, or allowed into the space of racial discussion.

I would like to start by explicating that in no way am I positing that this article is a totalizing solution.The problem is way too complex for that. In no way am I positing that this article is the unified truth, narrative, or experience of white privilege. And in no way am I positing that this article will conclude our conversation. This article is simply a step into the shallow end of the pool of deeply rooted racialized issues recently brought up in an article by Jalen Baker regarding his thesis on the BLM movement and general racism that penetrates the Bates campus.

Racialism is rooted in a complex set of ideologies that I am going to intensely oversimplify for the sake of this article’s brevity. Racialism, a pervading ideology in the Western world, was termed by Edward Said in the late seventies that articulated the belief that the race of an individual determines that individual’s traits and capacities, or more bluntly, that the genetic makeup of race determines distinct differences, or inferiorities, inherently linked to race. Since then, theorists argue that racialism in our culture has specifically evolved in the form of a binary, in that whiteness becomes the norm, and POC become the antithesis of whiteness, excluding and other-izing POC from the falsely construed “purity” of whiteness. This binary works to successfully oppress POC by normalizing and glorifying whiteness in the media, excluding POC from visibility.

Growing up, I have never once been told that I am inferior intellectually because of my racial identity. I have never been told that I am less attractive, less lovable, or less worthy of success because of my racial identity. I have never been accused by authority figures of violence, crime, or abuse, because of my whiteness. I have never had to worry about being rejected after a job interview because of my racial identity. I have never felt objectified, exoticized, or fetishized because of my racial identity. I have always had multiple white Barbie dolls and Disney princesses that looked just like me to choose from. I have always had multiple white pop stars, actresses, and other beauty icons to relate to. This is just a small beam of the systematized blinding light that creates my privilege, inherently connected to my whiteness.

For obvious reasons, I do not feel oppressed within society, or more cloesly, Bates College, because of my racial identity. Entering a dialogue about pervading racism on this campus and in the United States culture can be awkward, tricky, and difficult to participate in. But this is no reason to passively allow micro-aggression after micro-aggression, after stereotype, after the media’s constant silencing of minority voices, after shootings of black teenagers by police officers, after Islamophobic Yik Yak posts, after daily systematized oppression, after daily systematized oppression, to pass. We, as a community, need to continue the conversation that Jalen Baker started in his article regarding the role of white co-conspirators in POC-empowering movements.

Whether we admit it or not, dismantling systematic racial oppression is not solely the responsibility of POC. White people are the ones who created racism and allowed it to permeate almost every aspect of our culture. It is our civic duty to help dismantle it. To be blunt, white people in this country set up slavery, one of the most radical forms of systematized oppression to ever surface the globe, in order to intensely increase the economy. The South’s main reason for fighting against slavery was to maintain the monetary value of their plantations. Today, systematized forms of oppression against POC work in the same way to increase the likelihood of the accumulation of wealth for white people. 80% of Congress is currently white, over 95% of Fortune 500 companies are headed by white CEOs. In 2011, 84% of full-time professors at American colleges and universities were white (Rose Hackman, The Guardian). I believe that until we, as a culture, acknowledge that accumulation of wealth is valued higher than the lives of POC in this country, we cannot completely dismantle these forms of oppression. And until we can completely dismantle these forms of oppression, we cannot have progress.

I know that was just an emotionally and epistemologically loaded argument. While digesting that, please take a look at the simple and practical ways that white people can help to disarm oppressors and empower POC. You will find that a lot of these things come together, and by doing one of them, another might also get done.

Listen. Listen to POC. Listen to the needs of POC. White people are constantly given the privilege to share their opinions, to talk about their needs, their complaints. POC aren’t. Advocate for them.

Ask. Directly ask a POC how to get involved, what to do in order to support their empowerment.

Learn. Educating oneself on different cultures can be justified as a mutually benefitting experience; but more importantly, POC in this country know almost everything about white culture. It surrounds our education system, the media, and many other platforms for the exchange of knowledge. One way to dismantle silencing of different POC cultures, stories, and voices, is to learn about them. This can be done by taking a Bates course celebrating a non-white culture. This can be done by reading a novel written by a POC author. This can be done reading news sources that tend to feature stories regarding all nationalities and backgrounds. This can be done by consuming popular culture such as Netflix that features a protagonist of a non-white background. It isn’t hard.

Be active. Another way that a white person can get involved in these movements is to get involved in activism. Supporting from the outskirts is not wholly effective. Protest.

Recognize the social anxiety that comes with trying to navigate the white person’s place among the process of empowering POC. Recognize this social anxiety as something that POC have to deal with constantly among the vast myth of whiteness as the norm in our culture. Recognize that this battle to navigate the white person’s social place among POC space is much smaller than the battle towards empowerment that POC are fighting.

Talk with other white people. The more white allies you can reach out to and learn from and with, the better.

White people can also use their privilege to confront racial injustices in whatever social settings they come.

Pay attention to language.  Daisy Hernández, author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir, writes: “What are you noticing about headlines when the police kill another black teenager? Is the teen described as a kid on his way to college or as a ‘black male’…we’re trafficking in racial ideology 24-7 online—and that we can change the direction of these conversations every time we hit ‘comment.’”

Think about the ways in which you may personally appropriate someone else’s culture. This can be very tricky as appropriation has been normalized, especially in western fashion, but also commonly in music, dance, and language/slang, etc. If something feels like an appropriation of another culture, it probably is.

Life after Bates pt. II

In a previous publication of The Student, post-graduate statistics of the classes of 2014 and 2015 were presented in an article that explored professional situations contemporary Bates graduates are experiencing. This data allows current Bates students to understand in more detail the value of a Bates education, and where a Bates degree may take them. There is also an opportunity for students to think about in what field, for whom and where geographically they may end up as Bates graduates in the professional world.

The Bates Career Development Center strives to conduct research on recently graduated classes through a series of surveys in order to provide valuable information for current undergraduate students. These surveys consist of a two-step process that records a student’s employment situation on the day of graduation, and again in the following December of that year in order to track the retention rate of graduates in their immediate post-graduate endeavors. In collecting and publicizing this data, the Bates Career Development Center provides students with published records (available on their website) that can help near-graduating students pinpoint and take advantage of certain fields, industries and companies that have already established relationships with Bates graduates.

As of December 31, 2014, according to statistics provided by the Bates Career Development Center, 396 students of the 448 graduating students in the Class of 2014 answered questions pertaining to their current employment or occupational status. Of the 396 graduates who responded, 99 percent of students had “settled,” meaning that they were either employed, in graduate or professional school, had received a fellowship, in an internship, or other (includes further study, volunteer, and travel). A minute one percent, or six out of 396 students were still seeking employment, whereas 74 percent (297 students) were employed and 13 percent (51 students) were in a graduate or professional program.

With evidence allowing current Bates students to feel relatively comfortable with opportunities they will be afforded in the post-graduate landscape, it is important to note where, and from whom, employment opportunities will come. A total of 89 companies and employers comprised a diverse portfolio of employment opportunities afforded Bates graduates in the Class of 2014. 16 of the 89 companies represented in that list are employers that participated heavily in BCDC sponsored programs such as the Purposeful Work Program, job shadows, internships and roadshows. In addition, 16 of the 89 employers (who were not all the same employers that participated in BCDC programs) visited the Bates campus in efforts to recruit near graduating students. Not only is there a broad range in the employers that are hiring Bates graduates, but there is also a tremendous amount of opportunity for students to initiate contact and form professional relationships with a bulk of these employers before they graduate, giving Bates graduates a leg up on competition applying to that same employer.

Of the 74 percent of graduates in the Class of 2014 that entered professional employment following graduation, the majority of students entered positions in education (19 percent), finance/banking (nine percent), healthcare (nine percent) and technology industries (nine percent). The leading job functions that the 2014 graduates performed were in sectors involving education/teaching (13 percent), research (10 percent), analysis (nine percent) and finance (seven percent).

Not surprisingly, the majority of Bates graduates in the Class of 2014 were situated predominantly in the northeast based on those who were employed, participated in internships or fellowships, or enrolled in graduate or professional schools. Among graduates who remained in the United States, 35 percent settled in Massachusetts, 13 percent in New York, 10 percent in Maine and four percent in California. Within the Class of 2014, graduates represented residency in 23 countries other than the United States, boasting a robust diversity of employment opportunity in countries throughout the world.

Equally important are the published statistics that indicate the opportunities and success of Bates graduates who decide to pursue a graduate or professional degree over immediate employment. Of students of the Class of 2014 that applied to law school, 94 percent were accepted—law schools featured include heavy hitters such as Stanford University, Cornell University, UCLA and Washington University. Similarly, of students that applied to professional schools, 68 percent were accepted to medical school, 100 percent to dental school, and 100 percent to veterinary school, featuring graduate programs at Harvard Medical School, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Columbia School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts Cummins School of Veterinary Medicine.

With information and statistics such as these provided to current Bates students from various administrative offices on campus, students are able to garner a sense of where a Bates degree may take them in their future. In thinking about particular fields or professions that may be of interest professionally, students can use these data to see where, based on their Bates degree, they may find increased opportunity in employment.

The last arena: Mockingjay Part 2

We both know that if you haven’t yet seen The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, you probably aren’t going to. What’s that? You ran out of breath trying to say that title out loud? What a shame, but like it did for the few remaining fan girls who went berserk for the release of the most recent and final installment of The Hunger Games franchise, homeostasis will quickly regulate your breath back towards normalcy.

Mockingjay Part 2 marks the end of yet another micro-era of a drawn out narrative that our generation has grown accustomed to investing in every few years. It’s a fun process because each movie release allows us to follow actors on talk shows and reflect on how our perception of their characters, and thus ourselves, has evolved over time.

I have been at a point in my life a huge fan of The Hunger Games, and this film quenched many of my desires to see certain scenes brought to life. All the passages that you read over and over as a teenager wearing you hair in a Katniss-style braid are played out word for word. The battles, political chicanery and love triangle all find their way to the amplifying big screen, but somehow it all feels less impactful and emotional than its corresponding prose.

The mise-en-scene is as expectedly commercialized as it would be in any blockbuster, but since a consciousness around media and mass publicity lies at the center of this story, producers have ensured that the film is steeped in a genuine and refined glow. The film does exactly what it seeks to do; it tells the story exactly as it appears in the book and save cinematic audacity for another film.

The film’s most poignant moments emerge from the undeniable talents of Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and are cradled between scenes by a seething Jenna Malone, (scaled back but still) drunken Woody Harrelson and a sickly looking Donald Sutherland. One of Jennifer Lawrence’s most notable gifts is how adoringly ugly and inappropriate she can be, and Mockingjay Part 2 allows ample space for her to be so sympathetically unattractive. She lets us see her, the hero that never wanted to be a hero, drooling on herself while sobbing the way many of us do once a semester in the second floor library bathroom when “it all becomes too much to handle.” There’s an internal tranquility that anchors her displayed near-insanity. She knows what she’s doing, and she knows we don’t question her talents.

The acting is not the only admirable component of this movie, and it’s important to note that the film itself isn’t a crime against filmmaking. It’s a predictable studio blockbuster that mercifully allows a star studded cast to melt their talent and potential into long dried out studio molds of characters doing their best to fight a war we’ve already seen. Finnick Odair (Sam Clafin) says it himself after being shown a projection of the way the villainous government has mine trapped the city, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the seventy-sixth Hunger Games.” Well, that’s exactly it. This story is a newly CGI enhanced, city version of the first two movies in the franchise.

For starters, it’s awkward when one book in a series is so well suited to be made into a film and the others less so. It only makes sense that studios see the franchise, of which the first two films were quite engaging, to its grey, mature and resolved end.

In the genre of ultimate novels split into two film components, questions that might guide filmmakers are: where to cut the films and how to make each section seem like its own complete story. Where the filmmakers split the movies might seem to divide a tedious narrative into delightfully robust plots, but the truth is that this particular chapter of the narrative never really begged to be made into a film. Mockingjay is itself a novel that more so meditated on its own plot than it does yank us into a swarming new arena. But at least in the movie there are some talented and beautiful people to watch the whole time.

Winter Sports Stocks Part 2

Men’s Squash

The Bates squash program, which has been one of the most consistent and dominant athletic teams here on campus, figures to find itself among the top teams in the country once again this academic year. Looking at the men specifically, the team returns two All-Americans, one of whom is a national champion in senior Ahmed Abdel Khalek, the other just a junior and fellow Egyptian Ahmed Hatata.

Over the Thanksgiving break while the majority of Bates students returned home, both the men and women traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Boston Round Robin, which included the likes of Stanford, Brown, and fellow NESCAC foe Wesleyan. The men, who preformed remarkably well, finished 2-1 on the weekend. Individually the top two for the ‘Cats, Abdel Khalek and Hatata, were perfect throughout the round robin, each going 3-0. Following the top two and also going perfect on the weekend was junior Darrius Campbell, who has emerged as another top player for the ‘Cats.

According to head coach Pat Cosquer, Campbell, who was a second All-NESCAC selection a season ago, “has been solid” throughout his playing career at Bates. Cosquer continued by saying that looking forward, Campbell’s success at the number three spot “sets the table for the other guys,” and that when he wins, it provides a motivational factor for the team, which is vital when the team hits the closing month of the season and playoffs roll around.

Looking at the younger side of the team, with the Bobcats graduating three quality starters from a season ago, they will turn to three incoming first-years to bring up the rear throughout the season. First-year twin brothers John and Coley Cannon, coupled with McLeod Abbott, look to compliment the top with success early on. At the Boston Round Robin, the trio did just that, going 2-1 in their first collegiate action.

To Cosquer, this was expected heading into the season, as he noted, “I expect all three to contribute,” and added, “they’re all eager, work hard, and focused.”

Overall, the men’s team will be a dominant force this coming season. Senior Caran Arora, who like Campbell has flown under the radar, posted a 2-1 record in Cambridge and will certainly be a contributor down the road. Everyone will be needed at their top form quickly, too, as NESCAC squash powerhouse Trinity comes to town on Saturday.

Stock: UP

Women’s Squash

On the women’s side, although the team entered the season ranked, it is a rebuilding year so to speak. The team graduated seven players a season ago and sports ten underclassmen currently. The development of the underclassmen will be interesting to watch throughout the season.

The women also traveled to Cambridge for the Boston Round Robin and came away 1-2. The women’s number one, first-year Kristyna Alexova, went 1-2 at the round robin and, according to coach Cosquer, leads an impressive crop of young talent.

“It’s a different energy, a young energy,” Cosquer said. The underclassmen are “eager to learn and excited to play every single day.” This eagerness and willingness to become better will be pivotal, as the team will most certainly improve throughout the year.

Other than Alexova, Guyana native Vicky Arjoon ’19 looks to compliment the number one position while playing in the two spot, while fellow first-year Katie Bull rounds out the top three.

Near the bottom of the pack, returning players Blair Weintraub ’18 and senior captain Lauren Williams provide the veteran presence that will be needed down the stretch. Both Weintraub and Williams defeated their Wesleyan counterparts in straight sets and look to do the same heading into this weekend’s bout with Trinity.

Stock: Neutral

Men’s Track

Bates men’s track and field lost two important athletes to graduation last year in two-time All-American Eric Wainman and nine-time All-American Sean Enos. Last year, Enos came in second in the hammer throw and Wainman came in third in the decathlon at NCAA’s. Overall, the men’s team came in seventh at the ECAC Division III Outdoor Championships last spring.

Sophomore Kawai Marin said, “We’ve lost a ton of seniors, but everyone has been working really hard in the preseason. With cross-country clinching the state title, we could have another chance at the triple crown.”

Last year, Bates won state titles for cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track. This incredible feat is extremely difficult, as it requires a plethora of talent in different events. However, confidence is high amidst the talented men’s team.

Another returning varsity competitor, pole vaulter David Dick ’18, agreed: “Things are ramping up right now. The lifts are getting heavier and the workouts longer. Next week, we have a little competition amongst the team to see where everyone stands as far as power, speed and endurance go.” Dick continued, “Even though our first meet isn’t until after break, there’s an atmosphere of growing excitement.” The men’s team could do great things this season.

Stock: Neutral

Women’s Track

The women’s team placed 22nd at the ECAC Division III Outdoor Championships last spring. At the event, then first-year Srishti Sunil became the first woman at Bates to jump over 18 feet in the long jump, securing a third-place finish. Bates came in fourth in the 800-meter relay, but has lost two of the seniors on that team.

Junior Alison Hill commented, “This year we’ve lost a fair amount of graduated seniors and have a few of our junior distance runners going abroad. But we have a very large freshmen class this year that will be able to fill those voids. We were also missing most of the present senior class last year because they were abroad, so I think especially in the distance events, they will be able to contribute heavily to our team’s success.”

Sophomores Srishti Sunil and Sally Ceesay, juniors Jess Wilson and Claire Markonic, and senior Izzi Unger will be instrumental in their respective events this season.

Hill continued, “Because we have such a range of talent, I think this team will upset a lot of our opponents that have dominated in the past. Overall, I think we are going to have a very strong team this year and have the potential to exceed last year’s achievements.”

With a young team, Bates looks to perform well in the indoor season and build on their strengths for the outdoor season as well as win their third consecutive state championship.

Stock: UP

This article has been edited, as the squash coach’s name is Pat not Peter and Darrius Campbell is a junior not senior.

Bates students in Paris will finish semester; “cause for reflection” for those planning to depart

photo

Skyline view of the city of lights. HANNAH BEINECKE/COURTESY PHOTO

In the wake of the November 13th Paris attacks, three Bates students studying abroad in the city were quickly accounted for—all three will finish their semester overseas.

Bates responded promptly following the attacks, verifying the well-being of Emilia Calderon ’17, Mallory Turner ’17 and Lillie Shulman ’17 late in the evening of the 13th, Eastern Standard Time. Two students studying elsewhere in France, Jules-Phillipe Ball ’17 and Grace Clunie ’17, were also accounted for. Calderon was at the Stade de France at the France v. Germany soccer game where terrorists detonated three bombs outside of the stadium.

Associate Dean of Students and Director of Off-Campus Study Stephen Sawyer walked The Student through the subsequent communication and recommendations from the Off-Campus Study Office in following days. After confirming their status and letting them know that fellow Bates students in France were safe, the Bates community was then informed of their classmates’ well-being.

Marcus Bruce, a Religious Studies professor at Bates, currently in Paris, was contacted by Dean Sawyer and asked to reach out to the students in Paris. As Dean Sawyer said in an email with Professor Bruce, “Their programs are stepping forward with reassurance and assistance, but I assume they would welcome an email outreach from a Bates voice in Paris…”

Shulman, who plans to spend the year in Paris, said in email correspondence with The Student that she was “contacted by a Bates professor [Bruce] on sabbatical in Paris who warmly received me over coffee.” In addition to the communication with the Off-Campus Study Office, Shulman is grateful for the support of Bates alumnae currently residing in Paris.

As the fall semester concludes, more Bates students prepare to depart for a semester in France. Dean Sawyer and the Off-Campus Study Office contacted the students planning to study in France in the winter—six students total, five headed to Paris.

As Dean Sawyer explained in an email to the six students, Bates will support them in any decision, helping them register for winter courses if they choose to stay or perhaps look into studying abroad in the fall.

“Unfortunately, the incidents of last Friday might be repeated in France or elsewhere in Europe in the months ahead,” Dean Sawyer said in the November 17th email. He suggested students discuss their plans with their parents and reminded them that both he and Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study David Das were available to them for guidance.

Along with Tom Carey, the Bates Director of Security and Campus Safety, Dean Sawyer contacted all students abroad last week to remind them of the safety advice provided in the study abroad handbook. Tips include observing local customs and laws, speaking the local language if possible and avoiding spots where Americans typically congregate.

When asked about the support available to Bates students in Paris, Dean Sawyer cited “the calming influence of the host families” and the accommodations of the abroad programs, who offered counseling and security updates.

“We had a strong support system that helped us through the immediate shock and the aftereffects,” Shulman said. “There remains a lingering sentiment of anxiety, but we’re making sure to enjoy Paris and our time abroad.”

“I think the resumption of university classes the following week, getting into the routine, helped students work through this,” Dean Sawyer added.

No Bates student has come home early in light of the attacks, though approval of course credit would be uncertain, contingent upon the abroad program’s stipulations.

When asked if students would be discouraged from traveling abroad in the future if the situation continues to escalate, Dean Sawyer pointed out the “selective judgment” of the Off-Campus Study Office.

“I think we already are selective in where we choose to send students,” Dean Sawyer said. “There are parts of the world where we don’t have programs available. We also consider a program’s concern for safety and emergency response abilities when we evaluate them.”

“I’ve been really proud of how the Bates students who are abroad, especially those in Paris, who have worked through these situations,” Dean Sawyer said. “This was very close to home for many of them and I’m just proud of how they both initially reacted very maturely and then have worked through it.”

Shulman offered a bit of advice to those planning to study in Europe, specifically France: “Most importantly, trust your instincts. Everyone’s abroad experience is tailored to his or her own personality, and should feel comfortable in any situation he or she is in. Have an open mind and be willing to embrace cultural differences and possible change.”

As the situation continues to unfold, Bates and the Off-Campus Study Office remain attentive and available to those abroad and planning to depart in the coming months.

Let’s talk about sex… baby

Bates Sex Week (Max Huang) - 1

Students enjoy Sex Week cookies. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

This week marked the first Bates Sex Week, a time to help students uncover the mysteries of the orgasm, sexually transmitted diseases and awkward conversations. However, despite the giggles, students took full advantage of the opportunity to reflect on what sex means to them.

Organized by the Bates Public Health Initiative, Bates Sex Week boasted a strong lineup of educational and enlightening events. After a setback on Monday, with the last minute cancellation—due to the speaker’s car trouble—of the talk Orgasms, Masturbation and Positive Sexuality, Bates Sex Week hosted events such as a World Aids Day movie screening, a Wind Down Wednesday Sexual Trivia night, a Q & A session with the Bates Health Center, a talk on Queer Safe Sex and tonight, Friday, a Sex Week Acapella Concert at 7:30 pm in the Benjamin E. Mays Center.

Junior Maddy Ekey and Senior Mikka Macdonald orchestrated the week, after coming up with the idea hoping to “explore sex, sexual health and sex positivity with the hope of fostering an inclusionary dialogue across the Bates campus,” said Ekey.

This past summer Ekey worked at a Title X, focused on comprehensive family planning and corresponding family health services, in Bozeman, Montana. She created lesson plans for high school and middle school sex education, but began to notice some of the gaps in the Bates sex experience.

“Having these straightforward conversations about sex made me realize how little we talk about some of the really important parts of sex at Bates,” Ekey said. Other colleges have annual Sex Weeks on campus, helping to create a more open conversation and healthy rebuttals—Yale allegedly started the trend in 2002.

Bates Public Health Initiative found a surprising amount of support early on from both the Bates Administration and from other student organizations like the Unitarian Universalist Church who co-hosted the Condom Fun Night at the Ronj on Thursday.

While there are many different resources for Bates students regarding sex, the entire picture of sex education is incomplete. “I think the things that are lacking particularly do include sex education and STI prevalence awareness,” Ekey said, “but more than that we see a lack of communication between people.”

The Public Health Initiative focused on communication about sex by posting questions on large white notepads outside of Commons. Questions like, ‘How to do you ask for the sex you want?’ and ‘What is a turn on for you?’ helped students think about some of the interactions they have and how they communicate with their sexual partners. Using the notepad allowed for some anonymity for students, making a more comfortable atmosphere to express how they felt. The Student observed Batesies reading the responses of others, not only laughing, but also talking to each other about some of the legitimate points raised.

Ekey sees a brighter future for sex education and policy at Bates. “The Office of Residence Life is rewriting the health education policies for the school,” Ekey said. “In the future I am excited to see a lot more programming around all of this.”

The Bates Public Health Initiative will be tabling in Commons for the remainder of the week, handing out sex positive stickers, featuring ‘wrap it before you tap it’ and bananas, and condoms.

The elegance of the Holy Donut

There is something uniquely good about the donut. In its most skeletal form, it is fried dough, sugared and glazed and filled perhaps. But I’ve always imagined the donut to be so much more romantic than that. Ever present at PTO meetings and police stations, it is America’s beloved morning comfort. But also one of my own favorite foods.

As it were, my roommate and I were in Portland killing time before my flight home for Thanksgiving. As we wandered up and down avenues of brick, he pointed out the hanging blue sign of donut shop and I insisted that we visit.

The Holy Donut was crowded into a hip little avenue halfway up a cobblestone hill. It’s cozied between an exotic jerky store (selling snapping turtle and kangaroo and other formerly dangerous animals) and a little artisanal shop where you might pick up a hand-painted mug in curiosity, but return it carefully to its spot after peeking at its price tag. Outside, sitting at the slant of the street, were three plastic chairs for patrons to ponder in and chew upon their pastries.

Inside was colored in brick and oaken boards. The shop was small and dimly lit by the mid-morning shine. There was a wall of donuts affront of us, sixteen flavors stacked into stainless steel baskets, each flavor as enticing as its many neighbors. They are all baked fresh within the store, with Maine-sourced ingredients. There were also vegan and gluten-free options so everybody in the world could have a donut. After some panicked thought, I settled on something covered in coffee and brandy; my roommate opted for the lemon zest flavor.

There was a small grizzled man behind the counter and he wrapped our donuts in a flourish of wax paper and enthusiasm. He rang us up with a smile and it was fine to see somebody exist so pleasantly. Deep in the sweet haze of cinnamon and sugar, it would be hard to go about the day unhappy here.

We ate outside, our bodies tilted towards the sea in the unsteady angle of the chairs. The donuts were wonders, covered in a generous shell of glaze. The sweet stuck to you like bonfire smoke and the chewiness let you ponder: life, loss and love. A cathartic experience would not have been an over-exaggeration. Many misspent mornings had been wasted in search of the right donut, but it was right there clutched in my shivering hands.

Across the street, a rock pigeon, ruffled and plump, took notice of my roommate and me and hopped in our direction. He climbed off of the curb into traffic and waddled over in confidence, crossing between cars and the hurried step of boots. Eventually, he arrived at our feet and cooed expectantly. I rewarded him for his stunt with a thumb-sized hunk of dough. How could I not? Here was a bird that stared death in its hollow sockets for crumbs. If I were half as brave as this pigeon I might live a life without regret.

I watched a mailman share a cigarette with a street sweeper and my instincts told me life should spin about like this: pedestrian and pleasant, bundled in wool and warmed by smoke. Though the air bit at my wrists, there was optimism and the homey feeling of safety here, filled with sweet, among the cobblestones, surrounded by purring little doves.

Food: What makes holidays go ’round

Delicious cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. JULIA MONGEAU/THE BATES STUDENT

Answer me this: what is the most essential part of any good holiday get together? Some people might say the company; others will tell you it’s the ambiance that really makes a holiday bash pop. To those people, I say that while those are good components, you’re wrong. The most essential, necessary, make-it-or-break-it element that ties the whole holiday together is the food.

I admit, my Jewish heritage conditioned me to expect loads of comfort food when celebrating any holiday, so I may be a bit biased. However, the editors and photographers of our newspaper seem to agree.

Most often, the dishes people love the most aren’t the main event. While turkey on Thanksgiving is vital, most people argue that they could get through the holiday on mashed potatoes alone. Let’s not forget, moreover, that no turkey would be complete without its other, better half: gravy. Sports Photographer, John Neufeld ’17, makes the turkey gravy with his dad each year. In this case, while the gravy itself is delicious, the time spent with family is another factor that makes this dish stick in Neufeld’s memory.

At his Thanksgiving, my Co-Managing Arts & Leisure Editor, Riley Hopkins ’18, admits that his favorite part of the meal is the appetizers. “We have pretzel sticks with pub cheese, homemade salsas and dips, countless crackers and chips . . . a counter full of the best hor d’oeuvres,” Hopkins firmly states. Not to mention, the epic battle of wits in which his siblings and he engage while playing Bananagrams always makes the holiday one to greatly anticipate.

Sometimes, families are guilty of falling into the rut of serving the same meal over and over. People tend to be afraid of trying new recipes at a time of year when the whole boisterous, opinionated family congregates at one table. However, this is not always the case, nor should it strive to be the norm. Yes, there are some sacred dishes that should never be changed, but on the whole new additions brighten up the meal.

Managing News Editor, Hannah Goldberg ’16, explains that she loves the cranberry relish her mom started making for Thanksgiving and Christmas a few years ago. Goldberg notes the dish “is like cranberry sauce’s fancy cousin that everyone actually likes.” This newcomer is even liked by Goldberg’s grandmother who, though a bit “picky, always requests it, so [they] make extra for her.” With orange zest, crystallized ginger and toasted almonds, this dish saunters right up into a place on the “must have” list for the holiday table.

Now, no meal would be complete without the perfect alcoholic beverage to round out the palate. To Assistant Sports Editor, Jamo Karsten ’17, the spiced wine found at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket fits the bill. Going to the market always fills Karsten with jolly memories and embodies the true spirit of the holiday season. Not to mention, to Karsten the beverage is “always a reminder of Jon Snow and Jeor Mormont, 997th Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, may he rest in peace!” (Let’s takes this opportunity to just pause here for a moment to once again say, what the heck Ollie?!)

It’s not just the big dinners that deserve all the limelight. In the Mongeau household, after exchanging gifts on Christmas morning, the family indulges in homemade cinnamon rolls. “She only makes them once a year so we are craving their cinnamon-sugary deliciousness come December 25,” remarks Editor-in-Chief, Julia Mongeau ’16, about her mother’s homemade pastries. Not wanting to lose this amazingly scrumptious tradition, Mongeau states “I’ve been watching over her shoulder these past few years and hope to keep the tradition alive for when I have a family of my own.” Food has the amazing ability to survive the generations, which with foods as good as those rolls, is a very good quality.

In my house, when Hanukkah comes, potatoes are peeled and the frying pans are brought out to make latkes. Here, my mom opens the kitchen windows, then leaves my siblings, my dad and me to our own devices. Hours later, once the kitchen is thoroughly doused in oil and we chefs bare our hot, oil-induced battle scars, the reward are the amazingly golden treats that are not complete without a shmear of our homemade apple sauce.

From The Bates Student, we wish students, professors and staff a fast and easy next few weeks. And remember this, the light at the end of the tunnel is all the amazing comfort food of the holiday season.

Women’s Basketball starts season 0-4

First-year Erika Lamere rises for a layup as the Bobcats practice in Alumni Gym. John Neufeld/The Bates Student

First-year Erika Lamere rises for a layup as the Bobcats practice in Alumni Gym. John Neufeld/The Bates Student

Though they’ve been close until the very end in three of their first four games, Bates women’s basketball is still looking for their first win of the season. Outside of a blowout 102-46 defeat to number 17 nationally ranked University of New England, the Bobcats have lost their other three contests by a combined 22 points.

In their first outing of the season, Bates faced off against University of Maine Farmington. The Bobcats started well, taking a 23-17 halftime lead. UMF then responded by taking the third quarter 23-14, and Bates was never able to cut into their fourth quarter lead. While the game was evenly matched in most statistical categories, UMF gained a significant advantage by attempting 26 free throws (and making 18), whereas Bates was only 4-6 from the foul line. Nina Davenport ’18 led the Bobcats with 15 points, and first-year Madeline Foote chipped in with 12, including three buckets from long range.

After their forgettable loss to New England, Bates traveled to Gorham, Maine to take on the University of Southern Maine. Again, Bates had a strong start, knocking down three consecutive three-pointers to open the game, two from Davenport and one from senior Chelsea Nason. Davenport topped the Bobcats in scoring for the night with 15 points, and Nason contributed 12. But the Huskies recovered and ended up edging the first quarter, 18-17. Southern Maine slowly took control of the game, and though they never fully pulled away, the Bobcats could only manage to get as close as a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter, as USM won by a 65-56 score.

On Sunday, Colby came to town for the Bobcats’ first home game of the year. Junior Allie Coppola, the top rebounder in the NESCAC last season, had her best game of the 2015-16 campaign, scoring 15 points and collecting 10 rebounds. Bates stayed with Colby for the entire game, and trailed by just 43-40 after three quarters. Colby appeared to have things wrapped up when they seized a 59-50 lead with a little over two minutes remaining, yet the Bobcats made it interesting. Davenport connected on a three with 45 seconds left to cut the Colby advantage to 61-57, and then she stole the ball, giving Bates a chance to make it a one-possession game. Unfortunately, the Bobcats turned it over, and Colby won the game 62-57.

Bates travels to the Williams Classic this weekend, where they are scheduled to compete against Clarkson and Pine Manor. The Bobcats then return home for two final games before Winter Break, versus University of Maine Augusta on December 8 and Saint Joseph’s on December 10.

The ever-festive Bates a capella

Merimanders and Manops jamming out during the post-Harvest Dinner concert. RILEY HOPKINS/THE BATES STUDENT

Merimanders and Manops jamming out during the post-Harvest Dinner concert. RILEY HOPKINS/THE BATES STUDENT

While every one was stuffing their faces with lobster mac & cheese and pumpkin dip at Harvest Dinner, the Merimanders and the Manops, two of Bates’ esteemed a cappella groups, were preparing for a Meri-Manops mash up in the Benjamin Mays Center. On November 18th, these two musical groups provided some good musical vibes for the entire student body to enjoy while digesting their first (of many?) Thanksgiving dinner of the season.

The two groups sang their songs individually, introducing some old classics as well as some new material they’ve been working on, including “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé courtesy of the Meris. They then came together at the end for a surprise number compiled of the best choreography a cappella has ever seen (and yes, every single performer was flawless). Both the Meris and the Manops shared the stage as they combined their sounds to create a hilarious and entertaining final song. Their rehearsal even made an appearance on the famous NESCAC Snapchat story.

Emma Schiller ’18, a member of the Merimanders, the only all-female group on campus, explained the rehearsal process for this last song and dance, apart from the multiple rehearsals each week they had as individual groups. “We had two group rehearsals, which were a little hectic because our groups prepare quite differently, but we had a lot of fun, and I think that came through in the show,” she said. “The choreography was definitely new for the Meris though so we just rolled with the punches and had a blast.”

Schiller mentioned in an interview that this finale number was her favorite part of the entire concert. She said, “It definitely didn’t go perfectly but I think that was half the fun as it was definitely the most entertaining song we did.”

Sarah Curtis ’18, also a member of the Merimanders, got her very first solo at this concert in the song “Feeling Good,” a new debut for the Meris. While having a solo was definitely “fun and exhilarating” for Curtis, she explained that the solo isn’t what a cappella is about, especially for this concert. “Without the music that we create as a whole group, the layers that a cappella provides in order to support the soloist is where the true hard work is done and is shown off.”

Like Schiller, Curtis’ most memorable part of the concert was the group number in collaboration with the Manops, and for a good reason. She explained, “To be honest the Manops were so great to watch but my favorite part of the show had to be the end during the group song when a fellow Meri tripped and we both just started laughing non stop for the rest of the song uncontrollably.”

Each a cappella group on campus will be performing in a holiday concert on December 14th to wrap up the semester. “The holiday concert is one of my personal favorites and I know the other Meris love it too,” Schiller said. “It’s a little hectic as it’s during the heat of finals but it’s a really nice way to take a break and listen to some sweet tunes.”Although the groups haven’t gotten into full gear for the concert, they have been working hard each rehearsal to get into the holiday spirit and promise yet another entertaining and quintessential Bates a cappella concert.

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