The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: October 5, 2016 (Page 2 of 2)

The top three bathrooms on campus

In this issue, I am following up on last week’s “Question on the Quad” to review my favorite bathrooms and attempt to justify their placements. I could talk about this subject for many inexhaustible days but I will limit myself to my subjective Top 3.

#3 Hathorn First Floor

This bathroom resembles some marine animals’ underwater den. I don’t actually know what colors the walls are because the lighting casts everything in a briny yellow-green sheen. The mirrors are small and rounded and ringed in stainless steel and resemble portholes. They can barely hold your face. What makes this bathroom so comfortable is the stall design. The walls are dark wood and provide you with almost total encapsulation. The walls leave only a three-inch gap at the bottom and reach so high that they block most of the colored dimness. So when you sit, you feel alone and untouchable, free to think and worry, without spectacle. The lights are on their last beats and their dying throbs are sort of spooky.

#2 Commons First Floor

This bathroom is beautifully aligned in a blue-gray color palette. In the stall when you look down at the flooring, you might notice how neatly the grouting and tiling is. The stall walls are very close to your person so that you might lean. Everything in here is soft: the colors, the electric hum, the lighting (which is parametric and does not create shadows). You remain in light and this bathroom is a very honest bathroom. The mirror is enormous and flattering. This bathroom wants you to feel good. My only complaint however, is its location. It is a more popular bathroom and so if you are looking for peace you will have a rather substantial chance of being here with another being or two.

A moment of pause before we begin. I have disagreements with including or considering single serve bathrooms on this expose. The single serve offers one thing and that is unbreachable privacy and if there’s anybody in the world who likes his privacy, and would understand how one might feel most comfortable in a bathroom that offers such, then it should be moi. The dilemma here is more aesthetic than anything else and it’s not that I have a problem with the theoretical single serve but I often disagree with the execution. My qualm arrives with the issue of space and its allotment. The single serve (let us say, the Hedge or Roger Williams restrooms, which are incredibly furnished and rather nice to be in regardless of how I feel about them dialectically) is often too large to enjoy. Of course the space is given to accommodate any handicapped individual (as is justly and duly given) but a bathroom with stalls, segmented and trim, is rather cozy I think. You remain at center, coddled and given bounds. For somebody who is frightened by no-structure and lack of routine the single serve in all of its space and possibility is terrifying, agoraphobia inducing. I am only trying to help you and wean you from any vacuous amount of space that might remind you of your objective size in relation to the realms and vacuums and oceans that we cannot fill, occupy or understand. I am projecting my fears unto you and this article. All of that being said however:

#1 Just near the OIE

These single serves are consistently recognized as the best on campus and often sit very fondly in the collective memory of everybody who has ever had the chance (pleasure) of visiting them. They are narrow and you are not overwhelmed with unnecessary square footage. What really seals it is the double door. You walk in and lock the door behind you. One layer of security. Before you, another door holding the toilet. Enter and lock it behind you and now you have two walls between you and whatever you’re running from unless you are running from yourself or love or the truth, in which case you’ve got to face it either way.

Some runner-ups include: Library Third Floor

People’s Choice Award: Library Second Floor (but only if you lock the whole thing)

 

An intimate evening with Kristin Chenoweth

We first treated ourselves to the chocolate chip cookies and breath mints in the lobby. Sitting in the back of the Terrace in Merrill Auditorium, we waited in anxious anticipation for her to walk out on stage. First came her pianist, Mary Mitchell, whose musical accompaniment amplified the atmosphere to a chilling threshold. We waited. The crowd was filled with the quintessential art and Broadway fanatics who went wild when Kristin popped out of the stage right wings in her sequined ivory full-length romper.

After seeing on her on Glee years ago and fawning over YouTube videos of her performances as Glinda in Wicked, we were so excited to finally see her in the flesh. As the name of the show “An Intimate Evening with Kristin Chenoweth” implies, she brilliantly used personal stories, a humble, down-to-earth tone in her voice and the occasional try at humor to transform this concert hall into an environment similar to that of a hipster coffee shop performance. It is because of this intimacy that we will be referring to her by her first name throughout this review. Before every song, she spoke to the audience like she was talking a best friend, asking us questions every once in a while, truly making us an important part of the experience for her, the performer. She used this time to talk about why the next song was significant to her, one of which defined the relationship between she and her father. She also took advantage of our undying attention to advertise her new album, The Art of Elegance, from which most of her set list came from. She was classy throughout the entire night.

The quality of Kristin’s voice is nothing other than that of an angel. It has a full and bell like sound that sent chills down the backs of every audience member. Kristin sang a variety of both jazz and Broadway songs throughout the night. Her impressive range allowed her to flawlessly transition from singing a low jazzy song to a high musical theater song. As expected, her voice blew audience members away, each song seeming even better than the one before.

To start the night off, she began by grabbing the hearts of her Maine fans by expressing her love for Portland, with this being her first time visiting the state. She had with her on stage a stuffed lobster (despite her distaste for seafood) and a Moxie water cup – two icons of the Maine culture. To explain how much she loves the lifestyle here, she talked about her experience at Becky’s Diner in Portland. She was amazed not only by the food, but by the way she was treated. Just her telling the audience this story immediately broke down any impersonal barriers and developed a trusting relationship with us.

Beyond that, Kristin is more than just a performer; she is an entertainer. Her lightheartedness and sense of humor made the show flow, one song after the next. Although the songs she sang were not her original songs, she still nonetheless made them her own and connected with them in her own profound way. She gave a brief discourse before each song, providing some context to connect with and include the audience. Music has a way of touching people so deeply and this was especially revealed when Kristin used her songs to supplement her social commentary; not only is she exceptionally talented, but also socially aware. She brought up the current state of our country with the many shootings that have made their way into national news. Kristin beautifully sang the tear jerking song “Bring Him Home” from the acclaimed musical Les Miserables after she addressed the death and involvement of children in a recent shooting.

On a more positive note, Kristin lightened the mood with the hilariously adorable song, “Popular” from Wicked where she starred as Glinda, a cheerful, bubbly type who attempts to turn her outcast roommate Elphaba into someone a little more popular. In this performance, Kristin took a creative turn and instead started by telling the audience that Donald Trump had called her recently and asked her for advice on how to make people like him. Her advice to him was through the song “Popular” which was a brilliant and relevant placement of the song she is the most well known for.

One of the most memorable parts of the night was when Kristin called out eight singers from the University of Southern Maine to join her on stage. When they first came out, Kristin went up to each singer asking them to introduce themselves to the audience which was a heart warming moment of sincerity on her part. They got to sing alongside her for the final two songs of the set. It was an unforgettable moment those singers will remember for the rest of their lives.

Kristin has a way of wooing the audience in any context. That night in Portland was unforgettable for any Broadway enthusiast.

 

Playwright John Cariani leads workshop on campus

Playwright John Cariani brings his knowledge and experience to Bates College. JOHN CARIANI/COURTESY PHOTO

Playwright John Cariani brings his knowledge and experience to Bates College. JOHN CARIANI/COURTESY PHOTO

John Cariani’s first lesson came in the very first seconds of his workshop: “I don’t like writing, but I love creating content for actors.” As liberal arts students, many of us can already relate to Cariani, the famous actor and playwright. Not all students love writing, but most of us acknowledge the importance writing has in our daily lives as college students. Writing is more than a way to unwind – words change people! The workshop, held September 27, was created to help those students who want to write but struggle with the so called “writer’s block,” especially in creative endeavors and playwriting.

Cariani told us he is very lazy and that he simply hates writing most of the time. This is why he forces himself to write for only two minutes each day. Sometimes two minutes turns into eight hours of hard work, but sometimes two minutes is enough time to realize it is not a good day for writing. But, how do you get started effectively in your daily two minutes of writing?

He taught many exercises. The first one is to collect stories as you walk by. Listen to others speak and steal interesting pieces of conversation that you hear on the streets or on the bus. Write the conversations down and put them in a shoebox. If by the end of the week you still think those ideas are interesting, you have a topic for writing.

His second set of techniques, of which we spent most of the time developing, involved free association and limitations in writing. Writing with certain limitations can help creativity. For one of his assignments, Cariani gave us a name, place, time, color and action. Then he gave us 10 minutes to create a story that would include all of the elements he mentioned. Working with these limitations helps creativity to develop. Another example was to create a dialogue in which every passing sentence has exactly one word less than the previous one. So, for example, let’s say your first sentence has 10 words; the subsequent sentence must have nine words, and so on. With all those limitations, it seems simple to draw a path that connects all the facts, maybe even easier than starting with a blank page.

Perhaps the most important thing Cariani emphasized is that writing can be goal directed. If you know your ending you can build your story around it, but if you don’t have an objective your writing may seem aimless and hard to write. For example if you are writing a story in which John and Sara are characters that fight and never see each other again, you can base your story around that outcome. You can construct their personalities and develop the way they will interact. This can be a great technique: your whole text will culminate in a wonderful ending! Cariani gave the perfect example: the end is always the memorable part; you never say, “that was a great movie, did you see that beginning?” The ending is what will remain of the plot, so it has to be well written.

Just as important as the workshop itself, Cariani taught patience and humility at the dinner that followed. It is not easy to act on Broadway or to be a well-established writer. He told us of how long it took for him to realize how to guide his life. It is not easy to find the path through college and even Cariani had a hard time. He took math courses because he felt it was right and the only took a theater class in his senior year. It was even more recently that he discovered the great challenge of comedy: one of the hardest, if not the hardest, genre of writing.

“Evil seems more complex than goodness!” Even though it is sometimes easy to forget, Cariani reminded the workshop attendees that words and acting can change people – it has a political dimension to it. It can make you think and feel in many different ways. Beyond great techniques in to improve our writing, he shared with us intense enthusiasm and passion for theater.

 

Men’s Cross Country previews nationals course in Louisville, Kentucky

Traveling over 1,000 miles away from Bates, the men’s cross country team flew to Louisville Kentucky, on Saturday October 1st, to scout the NCAA Division III national course at the Greater Louisville Classic at E.P “Tom” Sawyer State Park. Head Coach Al Fereshetian brought the top ten men on his team.

The Bobcats competed against numerous teams, mostly from the southern and western parts of the United States. At the end of weekend, they ranked a solid 7th placed out of 43 teams, edged by six teams holding a national standing of at least 20. Among the six teams were No. 2 North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota and No. 5 Pomona-Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

Despite the humid air and muddy terrain, James Jones ‘20 was first for the bobcats, running a brisk 25:29.66 over the 4.97 mile course. Jones impressively placed 12th out of 388 individuals.

“The meet directors put on quite a nice race for us,” Jones said. “It was very well marked and the course was comfortable to run on.”

Behind Jones, the men ran in two tight packs, working together in a deep field of nationally ranked teams and athletes. The next runner for Bates was captain Joe Doyle ‘17, placing 52nd in 26:17.86. Doyle was shortly followed by Stephen Rowe ‘18, 26:20.39, and captain Evan Ferguson-Hull ‘17, 26:22.39. Zach Magin ‘18, led the second pack of Bates men, placing 71st in 26:30.51. Behind Magin were Matt Morris ‘18, placing 75th in 26:35.99, and Ben Tonelli 18, placing 78th in 26:37.74.

Although Kentucky was a tremendous opportunity and a great experience, the men are still hoping to improve upon their 8K times and obtain a higher national rank. Running against Maine’s Division III colleges, including their rival Colby and Bowdoin teams, they will compete at the Maine State Championship, hosted by Bates, at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Saturday October 15.

“States should be a great team experience,” Jones said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up against Colby’s team now that we’re farther into the season.”

 

Welcome, Bates Class of 2020!

The Bates class of 2020 is one of the most diverse classes yet in the history of the college, which marks a milestone in the institution’s consistent efforts to grow and improve. Leigh Weisenburger, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, provided valuable insights into how this class was formed.

Whether it be because more people are applying to college in general or because more people are brave enough to experience the Maine winter, the class of 2020 had the largest applicant pool in the history of the college. There were 5,356 total first-year applicants. It was also the second most selective year in admission in the last ten years. 11.7 percent of the applicants applied through Early Decision and the overall admittance rate was 22.6 percent.

Moreover, the statistics also strongly demonstrate the class’s diversity. From a racial standpoint, 23.8 percent are U.S. citizens who identify as students of color and 5 percent are non-U.S. citizens who identify as students of color. Geographically, the class is more than just people from Boston and other parts of Maine. Only nine percent of the class is from Maine and 60 percent are non-native New Englanders.

Other statistics Weisenburger cited also showcase the college’s mission to create opportunities for those who have historically not been afforded them. 12.4 percent of the class are first in their family to attend a four-year higher education institution. 53 percent are female and 47 percent are male and the majority of students in the class did not attend private high schools.

When asked what accounts for the unprecedented level of diversity in this year’s class, Weisenburger responded that this year “we did not make significant shifts in our recruitment and enrollment practices in an effort to increase the diversity of the Bates Class of 2020,” but instead went on to explain the programs that have been working for years towards this effort.

One such initiative, the Prologue to Bates program, is “a diversity fly-in program” that caters to students living in the U.S. who are first-generation or low-income students, and/or who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. After being accepted, students receive a three day visit to Bates, free of charge. Students are immersed in the Bates experience by attending classes, staying with current students, touring the campus, eating in the dining hall, and participating in an admission interview, among other activities. This program has “continued to receive record numbers of applicants,” says Weisenburg.

Bates admissions representatives also travel globally to hold information sessions and to attend college fairs, work with Community Based Organizations, fly in students for other events, and help students with their financial aid and admissions applications through phone-a-thons.

However, some application trends have remained the same. 51 percent of applicants for the Class of 2020 submitted either the ACT and/or SAT, despite the college’s test-optional policy and holistic application process (similar to percentages in recent class years). 42 percent of the class of 2020 are receiving institutional need-based aid, which is similar to the overall number of currently enrolled students receiving the same kind of aid (44 percent).

The class of 2020 represents Bates’ increased efforts to provide an academically rigorous residential liberal arts education for as many people as they can. Making sure each class is diverse; racially, ethnically, socioeconomically, and geographically, creates a more enriched education for all students.

 

Select Men’s Tennis players compete in Northeast Regional Championships

Some of the top competitors in the region descended on Williamstown, Massachusetts for the Fall Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regional Championships this past weekend. Representing Bates at the event were Josh Quijano ‘19, Nick Glover 20’, Chris Ellis ‘18, Pat Ordway ‘17 Duane Davis ‘19, and last but certainly not least Dylan Davis ‘19.

On Friday, all of the Bobcats competed in doubles matches. Fellow seniors, Ordway and Ellis, played together and fell 8-5 in their first match. Davis and Davis’ superior brotherly chemistry was not enough to prevail in their first round match, as they lost to Zale Shah and Scott Altmeyer of Colby. Quijano and Glover proved to be the most successful Bates doubles pairing, as they won their two friday matches and were the only Bates team to advance to the round of 16.

In the singles bracket, Quijano lost in the first round, but fought hard against the top seed Steven Chen. Quijano may be short in stature, but he uses his superb quickness, ball striking ability, and tennis IQ to make up for what he lacks in size. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to play well against the number one seed.” Quijano said. “If I hadn’t been so tight I may have been able to win; he was definitely beatable.”

Quijano’s doubles teammate, Glover, won his first round singles match, but was unable to get past the second round. Ellis, known for his intensity on the court, handily won his first two matches and advanced to play on Saturday.

Ellis, Glover and Quijano returned to the Williams tennis facilities on Saturday looking to continue their winning ways. Ellis showed signs of fatigue, as he fell 6-1, 6-2 to Bowdoin’s Grant Urken in the round of 16. But his defeat can certainly not be attributed to his effort. “Chris is something else,” Quijano explained of his teammate. “No matter what, he gives 110%, and that has a big effect on the rest of the team.”

Meanwhile, the dynamic duo of Glover and Quijano beat Mit’s Sean Ko and and Victor Cheng in the round of 16 on Saturday morning. This set up a big rematch against the Middlebury pair, Hamid Derbani and Kyle Schlanger. Just two weeks ago, Derbani and Schlanger beat the upstart Bates pair 8-6 in the Championship of the Middlebury Invitational. Unfortunately this match ended with a similar result, an 8-1 loss, as Glover and Quijano didn’t click like they had earlier that morning.

Despite this loss, the young pairing of Glover and Quijano are showing a lot of promise for the future. Telling of their natural on court chemistry is the fact that they reached the championship of the Middlebury Invitational the first time they ever played together, including practice. Quijano is not sure where their rapport comes from, but he’s certainly aware of it. “We seem to always know where the other guy is gonna hit, and rarely get mad at each other,” he noted early Monday morning. Bates tennis opponents better be on the lookout for Quijano/Glover, because they are not going away anytime soon.

 

Social Justice at Bates

Let me just get straight to the point: Bates needs to add a social justice requirement. It is imperative to learn about the injustices and differences in and outside our bubble before converging with society outside of Bates.

A part of Bates mission statement states, “With ardor and devotion – Amore ac Studio – we engage the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action.” After reading that particular part of the mission, my first thought was, if Bates had a social justice requirement, then we would be telling the truth within our mission statement.

Since when have Bates students engaged in the transformative power of difference? Although it sounds great to prospective applicants, we must be honest. As an institution, students engage whole-heartedly in the stereotypical college lifestyle – not the transformative power of differences. You know, the college lifestyle that places drinking on a pedestal, that never asks you to take a course that will make you realize your privilege. I do not doubt that Bates and some of its members really try to make a conscious effort to learn about others’ differences (economic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, privilege, etc.), but the vast majority does not. Potentially, by having a social justice requirement, students and faculty members will really understand the meaning of engaging in the transformative power of differences.

What about informed civic action? What does it even mean when Bates uses it in the mission statement? Although Bates encourages students to engage with the Lewiston-Auburn community, the problem has become that students are perfectly fine living in the bubble while keeping the mentality that Lewiston is the “Dirty Lew.” If you are thinking, “but I have been to Pure Thai, Mother India, and Forage!”, then you have been to the typical Bates spots. Next time, maybe try a Somali restaurant, or other spots in the community not usually flanked by Batesies. Just like Bates, Lewiston has its faults and just like Bates, Lewiston is working to better itself. No place is perfect; so why not venture out of the bubble or take a stroll to the Harward Center on Wood St. so that you could get involved within the community? Lewiston is filled with lots of culture, diversity, and curious people, so why not interact with them? You will be doing yourself a favor by getting out of your comfort zone, while contributing to developing the perception that the residents of Lewiston have about Batesies.

Bates needs this social justice requirement and I would argue we need it more than the S, L, or Q. As a community we are not taking the opportunity to embrace our differences with curiosity, but rather with ignorant remarks. I am tired of hearing, “are you African?” or “Are you gay?” and “Why don’t you fit the stereotypes of black men?” I can be dark skin and not African because people of color come from many different beautiful shades of black and brown. I can be an upbeat guy who loves to dance and have so much respect for women, while being a heterosexual male. I do not have to fit the stereotypes that people set in place to drag me down in some instances because my momma did not raise me to conform to a specific set of qualities. Maybe by having a social justice requirement in the future, students will get a better understanding of the injustices others have to face on a daily basis and why it is unfair to ignore our own ignorances.

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