The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: October 12, 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

Clayton Spencer talks about changes made at Bates

Spencer discusses new introductions to Bates. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Spencer discusses new introductions to Bates.
MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

How is Bates’ approach in creating the Computational and Digital Studies Department different compared to other schools’ program?

How it’s different is that unlike a lot of our peers who’ve had computer science longer, this isn’t a program bolted onto a math department, and we don’t have legacy professors. … So we are starting fresh. We are in the process this year of recruiting the first faculty leader of computer science, and that will be a senior tenured position. … We are very conscious that this computer science program is located in a liberal arts curriculum, so one of the things you want to make sure is that even as you teach hard core computer science you are also teaching an interpretive, critical look at society, and that will be built into the core set of courses… We feel like given the scale of Bates, given the fact that faculty are so interconnected, that we’ve got the perfect situation to situate computer science both in societal issues and in intellectual issues in a way that puts us at the front of the pack.”

How has Purposeful Work evolved and grown in the past few years?

“We’ve got over 300 students doing funded summer work, which is fantastic progress… The core employer program in Purposeful Work has worked very well, where we’re now up to close to 70 core employers…Then the other piece is Practitioner Taught Courses in Short Term. They’ve gotten rave reviews from students… There [is] Purposeful Work infusion into regular courses, where [we have] curricular ties to potential career options. Purposeful Work Unplugged, where we bring in people. … I think the program was extremely well thought through and set up by the faculty originally. … I don’t think many colleges have thought it through as fundamentally as we have and tied it to mission. [Purposeful Work] is the third leg of the equity promise: We bring in students from a wide range of backgrounds, we do our best to support students for success and we’re making a series of strides there to improve that, and now we’re saying, but it’s not enough to say here’s your degree, now good luck with the rest of your life. We are now doing that bridge to life and work after college, and for students particularly from families who don’t have strong professional networks, that is critically important.”

Can you talk a little about Athletic Director Kevin McHugh retiring and what the hiring process might look like?

“I have enormous respect for Kevin and what he’s accomplished. He will be finishing his tenth year this year. I think he strengthened our athletic program competitively… But much more important are Kevin’s personal qualities s to the educational mission of sports…Personally he is beloved by coaches. He knows student athletes. He’s at every game. If half of life is showing up, Kevin is that guy. He is very well liked and respected by the faculty for his determination to situate athletics within the educational mission of Bates. … We’ll have a committee that includes faculty, coaches, and, I hope, students, and we’ll figure out a careful selection process for people with the right kinds of representation and experience. Then I think we will hire a search firm…, and that’ll happen, I would say, within the next period of probably six weeks, where it will constitute the committee, hire a search firm, have them come and begin interviewing people. … I never put an end date on a search because you never stop the search until you find the right person. But the goal is to have the next athletics director identified before Kevin leaves so that it is a smooth transition.”

What did we want to accomplish with the new dorm buildings at 55 and 65 Campus Ave? And how do we evaluate their success?

“In my experience, students vote with their feet. We will have housing lotteries. If nobody’s choosing those dorms, they’re not working. If people are choosing those dorms, they are working… We hired architects who spent a lot of time interviewing people all over Bates… The brick was made in Auburn in a particular size that matches, I think, the Chase brick. There’s lots of touches that are a new Bates for a new era, respectfully knitted into existing Bates with its history, values, and sense of community. There’s been a lot of suggestion that when Smith was chalk full, overloaded, a lot of sense that there weren’t informal spaces for students to gather, just hang out, play games, watch TV, study, talk, work on a project. So, you’ll see that those buildings have a lot of that space built in. The theory there was to enliven the street life there and create a much more attractive space, but also, the whole campus goes to Post & Print, and the whole campus goes to the bookstore. So it’s also a way of drawing more students into feeling comfortable using those spaces.”

What will the fate of Chase Hall be?

“It is up for grabs…The institutional planning report says we at least ought to consider enlivening Chase as a real campus center. And that could be done in the same way the Den and the OIE have been done, which is to go into the space, make it cool, but you’re not doing some hugely expensive renovation… If we move towards a comprehensive fundraising campaign, there’ll be a lot of competition for resources – we have to make sure there’s plenty of money for financial aid, plenty of money raised for endowment, some money raised for facilities. So there’s been some talk, so do we want to renovate Chase and make a fancy student center? Well that might compete with a science building. So this is all really to be sorted out, very much in dialogue with students… I think it’s going to be a fun and very collective, collaborative process to figure that all out.”

Do you have a timeline for that process?

“I’m not aware of a firm timeline yet. I think we’d rather do it right than fast, but it probably needs to be right and fairly expeditiously so that we’re not leaving space [unused].”

How does Bates address parents’ pressure to avoid or question the liberal arts with regard to its ability to prepare students for a competitive job market upon graduation?

“Personally, I think the liberal arts have never been better aligned with the needs of the world. The jobs that require what the liberal arts quintessentially teaches are the jobs that are the most secure, and people are seeing that. … We have to do a very good job delivering on what we say we do. We really do need to offer a rigorous education that understands how to work across differences and ideas and human beings. That’s something that a residential liberal arts college does best. … Purposeful Work is one example… How do you actually embrace the notion that we are preparing our students for the world of work, as well as life, as well as social contribution? Now there’s broad, almost universal access to content… We’ve lost the disadvantage we had relative to larger universities. But we still have the advantage we’ve always had, which is you’re working with tenured faculty members on your thesis… So I consider this the golden age of the liberal arts.”

A recent announcement letter from the University of Chicago explicitly eliminated safe spaces. How do we at Bates balance intellectual discourse and open exchange of ideas with some sort of sensitivity towards topics such as racial micro aggressions, cultural appropriation, sexual assault triggers, etc.?

“I think it’s a false dichotomy, and I think the discourse is freer, more open and richer, if you’re also in a sensitive way taking account of the diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, etc., and some of that needs to happen in places where you have the freedom to explore. I like to think of it not as free speech versus limits on free speech, but free speech and utter respect for the humanity of every one of our students and every member of our community. If you keep both of those principles in mind, I think you can navigate through in a way that serves both parts more fully.”

 

Planning MLK Day

In a few months, Bates will be observing Martin Luther King Jr. day–more precisely on the 16th of January in 2017. On this day, faculty cancels all class meetings and lesson plans, in order to allow students to attend Workshops throughout the day. In addition to the workshops, there are also “readings, artistic offerings, and films that align with a theme related to the life-long work of Dr. King.”

The theme for the MLK Day will be “Reparations: Addressing Racial Injustices” and the MLK Day Planning Committee is currently accepting applications and proposals from people interested in holding inclusive workshops. The three committee co-chairs Mara Tieken, Susan Stark, and Michael Rocque described the process of selecting participants where they “allow participants the freedom to create workshops and panels that fit broadly within the theme of the day. We look for diversity in type and content of panel but we do not tend to reject proposals unless they are cost prohibitive or not related to the theme. We encourage anyone to submit a panel that would be of interest to them and to the Bates community. In terms of selecting panels, we have a MLK day committee that is composed of staff, faculty, and students and we discuss submissions in our meetings.”

The committee is interested in proposals that relate to the theme, as in they focus on ways to repair or address racial injustices. The theme was discussed and was in the works a year before the events could occur. The Co-Chairs of the committee “try to pay attention to issues that are in the news or related to current events. Reparations was a topic that has always been at the forefront of discussions of racial justice due to policies such as affirmative action but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ work in the Atlantic on reparations thrust the issue into the limelight last year. We wanted to focus more broadly on fixing past wrongs rather than reparations specifically and so as a committee, we worked together and also sent out a survey to the Bates community to allow input on possible iterations of the theme before ultimately deciding on this year’s theme.”

An example of reparations in the current news can be seen in Georgetown’s plan to offer “preferential admission to the descendants of slaves.” Given that numerous institutions have benefitted and succeed at the hands of slavery, it is critical that they attempt to fix their wrongs.

According the committee chairs, Bates is not considering implementing this policy; however, there will be numerous discussion about Bates’ “own history and relationship to this issue.”

For those interested in submitting a workshop proposal, you must do so by October 15th. The application can be found in the “Bates Today” email.

 

Welcome to our season

We are with the rhythm of fall. This is the soft hymn of rain drowning the soppy leaves that were once dehydrated, but do not thirst anymore. This is the soft rhythm which is not always a downward spiral into the disappearance of vitamin D and midterms and embarrassing presidential campaigns. This is not only the slope we ski down but also the lift that we take up in the morning. This is your favorite leaf deciding it’s time to let go, time to disappear into the sloppy dust it came from– the secret time we save for nutmeg and extra crunchy apples and maybe some caramel and maybe some squash. This is our egos dripping with the pulp and grinding with the cinnamon seeds we churned when the air was warmer. When the air was warmer we didn’t know the trees and the sky and the ground only look good below 60 degrees and every time I play with the orange yellow and red it loses its footing. This fall is the smell of cider and the smile of your sister’s baby when she wakes up at 5 pm for dinner, this fall is the oscillation of sweet and savory, the candy we wanted as kids and the satisfaction we crave as adults. This fall believes that its beauty will die with the entrance of winter, when the snow comes to clear us all out. And this fall knows that in death there is always something leftover, something to find when the ice of the gray chill fades away slowly, something to look at under the dusk-milk that makes your shoes wet and dirty and stinky whenever you walk inside. This fall is the look in your grandfather’s eye when he tells you that he has been lost too, a while ago. When decay of nature is transposed with poise and beauty, what are we left to feel other than loss and whole? When we watch the big branches shed their skin and skinny up for winter as our bodies expand to form blankets for our brains and we pack any ounce of life we have left into the car with us,  how can we know anything other than this is exactly where it is supposed to begin? This is exactly where the death happens so that we can live; this is exactly where the rotting birch on the side of the road peels away your forgotten scab; this is exactly where we forget that the trees will come back to us in some time; this is exactly the time of orange painting pink in the tree-sky crescendoes on our eyelids for that too-short moment; this is exactly where we remember fall is our family– and we have known our maple hearts would meet with a tilt.

Women’s Volleyball rights the ship, sweeps home NESCAC

It is do or die for the women’s volleyball team. As the home stretch of the season begins, NESCAC teams are jockeying for position to qualify for the 8-team conference tournament. Featured prominently in the Back to Bates weekend schedule, the Bobcat volleyball team secured two crucial conference victories against Wesleyan and Trinity. Bates, 6-9 (3-3), are now tied for 6th place in the NESCAC, just a game and half out of second place, and are now in great position to not only qualify for the postseason conference tournament, but for one of the top seeds.

“The combination of playing in our home gym as well as having the support of our families felt like the perfect culmination of circumstances,” said Chandler McGrath ‘17.

Bates efficiently dispatched their opponents, winning all six sets they played by five points or more. McGrath was the star of the weekend, tallying a total of 31 kills in the two combined matches. Through six total conferences matches, McGrath now ranks first in the NESCAC in kills per set, averaging an impressive 4.1. McGrath is leads the NESCAC in points per set, scoring at a 4.4 point per set clip.

Bates’ next match is away against Tufts, 14-1 (7-0) who sit comfortably at the top of the standings with a two and a half game lead over the teams tied for second. This match will be a challenge, but the combined conference record of Bates’ three remaining opponents after Tufts is just 9-10. There is still a lot of volleyball left to be played, but this past weekend’s performance has set the ‘cats up for success at the end of the year.

 

Debate comments

Darrius Campbell ’17

Lester H: Hilary, as of right now in this presidential debate you seem to be destroying Trump, how does this feel?

Hilary: It feels great to be the first woman to run for president and hopefully my gender covers some of my past mistakes and illegal activities.

Lester Holt: Trump, how does it feel to be owned by a woman in the 2016 presidential debate?

Trump: Well, you see the Wall will keep out illegals, I can end terrorism, and Vladimir Putin is my friend.

Lester: And ladies and gentlemen, these are the two candidates we chose to represent our country…smh.

Jacqueline Forney ’18

Following the vice-presidential debate last Tuesday night, I read an article on the Washington Post called, “The vice-presidential debate 2016, or the battle of the dads, recapped.” It was a comical spin on both the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Alexandra Petri, the author of the article, referred to the debate as a “parent-teacher conference” between Senator “America’s Stepdad” Kaine and Governor “America’s Father-in-Law” Pence because Hillary and Donald got into an argument and the people of America wanted to understand where they were coming from. The article sheds light on the overall divisiveness of the election particularly in each candidate’s presidential campaign rhetoric. So, if you’re looking for an entertaining read, I’d say go for it!

Austin Lee ’17

For those of you who didn’t watch, Senator Kaine and Governor Pence spent a substantial amount of the debate discussing foreign policy, social security, tax plans, and race relations.  In other words, it was super boring.  TV ratings for the debate were the lowest of any VP debate since 2000.  The Trump-Clinton debate on the other hand, was the most-watched in U.S. history.   It’s easier to watch candidates hurl personal insults at each other for 90 minutes than to go in-depth on public policy. People may not admit it, but they love the kind of gutter campaign Trump has run this year.  People don’t want a debate. They want a reality TV show.

Julia Panepinto ’19

The presidential debates so far did not tell me anything I didn’t already know. Trump obviously has no specific policy ideas while Hillary has concrete, detailed plans that will continue to move this country in the direction Obama began. In regards to the vice presidential debate, the uncontrolled and disrespectful manner of both candidates toward Elaine Quijano made the debate almost unbearable to watch. However, the inability of Pence to defend Trump when it came to his radical comments made it clear that the debates were going to do nothing more than help the democratic party. Ultimately, I have no idea how any thinking, non racist person could support the Trump-Pence ticket.

Bates Football records first win, 29-17 over Williams

It’s hard to argue against Frank Williams ‘18 winning Offensive Player of the Week. After all, you can’t ask for much better offensive production than nine catches, 223 yards, and three touchdowns in a winning effort.

Bates football entered Saturday’s “Back to Bates” matchup against Williams seeking their first win of the season, having lost road games to Trinity and Tufts. The game did start auspiciously for the Bobcats, who gave up an early touchdown to the Ephs. However, the team got a spark of energy from their special teams unit. Sophomore punter Justin Foley, who averaged 43.4 yards per punt on the day and pinned Williams inside their own 20-yard line four times, boomed a 55-yard punt. The Ephs’ Jaelon Moaney made a mess of the return, deciding at the last second to return the punt. Junior Mickoy Nichol immediately hit Moaney to force a fumble, and Trevor Lyons ‘17 recovered. Bates quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19 then hit Williams to put Bates on the board.

Although Bates led 19-14, thanks to another couple big Plashkes to Williams connections and a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone by Marcus Ross ‘19, the Ephs stayed competitive until the end. They just never found a solution to stop the elusive Williams, who went for a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give Bates a 26-17 lead.

Despite his outstanding individual effort, Williams credited his teammates for his career-best day: “Winning player of the week is obviously a huge honor,” he said. “But at the end of the day, that award is because of the team I have around me. Whether its Sandy, our offensive line, the defense, or the guys on special teams, I wouldn’t get that award without the other guys on the team.”

The Bates defense did indeed play a major role in the team’s victory, as the Bobcats combined to sack Williams quarterback Jansen Durham seven times and limited the Ephs to 207 yards of total offense.

Bates will aim for a second straight home win this Saturday at 1:00 pm against 2-1 Wesleyan.

According to Williams, “The key to getting another win will be having a great week of practice, because as our coach always says: a game isn’t won on Saturday, it is won through how we practice during the week.”

That preparation certainly paid off in a big way for Williams and the Bobcats this Saturday. Williams is far from a secret weapon now, but he’ll undoubtedly be a lethal resource in Bates’ arsenal this year.

 

Student Government updates

With a new year at hand, Bates College Student Government (BCSG) has more updates in order to make this year’s campaign run even smoother. The Student sat down with the Bates College Student President, Adedire Fakorede ’18  to discuss some of the upcoming events.

Currently, the BCSG is in the process of running the election for class representative, in which 38 students signed up to represent their class; their responsibilities include working to improve Bates and being the voice of their class. As the voice of their class, the representatives have to acknowledge and understand what the members of their grade are going through and then brainstorm ideas and plans to fix the issues.

Fakorede stated that the Class of 2020 representatives are showing a lot of enthusiasm, which is what the BCSG needs, for it is critical that they are willing and ready to address any concerns that may arise. The members who are selected to represent their class will join the BCSG and other elected officials on a day-camping trip to Camp Kieve. The purpose of the trip is for BCSG members to bond with one another as it is important for to develop a strong relationship as a community across class years.

Also  important to note, the BCSG is concerned with the relationship between students and campus security. Students are under the impression that campus security is invading their privacy; therefore, the BCSG wants to dispel these feelings and address concerns of students and faculty within the security office. In order to build a strong relationship between the students, specifically the first year students, and campus security, Fakorede said there will be more programs between security and students.

Further, colleges or universities that receive federal funding have to report crimes that occur on campus as well as ways in which the school plans on improving the crime. This protection law obligates campus security to report crimes, so by asking Bates security to stop reporting underage drinking is impossible because by law, they have too and we as students need to respect that.

Last year there was some concern over laws being changed in order to keep someone in a particular position, but that is changing. The BCSG is working on a way to hold elections for the student body president in March. The election typically takes place in December, around finals week, but seeing as the election takes place in December, there is always a period when no student holds office. To avoid this situation Fakorede hopes to make the student body presidential elections in May.

Besides making Election Day in March, the BCSG is also working to make the Constitution more defined with concrete rules, so that the student body may know exactly what is stated and how to more accurately defend their rights.

Before our conversation ended, Fakorede mentioned two other issues that he deemed important: EMS and the Facebook page. Recently Bates EMS received a raise in terms of funding, and the student government plans to work closely with Bates EMS to determine how this funding can be used beneficially in aiding students who require emergency medical service. In terms of the BCSG Facebook page, BCSG is working on creating a platform on which students can receive announcements for events that are occurring as well as voice their opinions. If voicing your thoughts on Facebook is not enough and you want to do it in person, Fakorede encourages students to attend an open BCSG meeting, held every Sunday at 7pm.

 

Athletic teams use Back to Bates weekend to foster community

Last weekend was ‘Back to Bates’ weekend, the new and exciting intersection of homecoming and parents weekend that is unique to the Bates fall schedule. The three days were replete with panels, tours, information sessions, wine and cheese tasting, myriad sporting events, and of course the brewfest beer tent. But in addition to all of this, several of the Bates athletic teams took advantage the wider Bates family converging on campus to foster their own niche communities at the college by organizing several events of their own for parents and alumni.

“Just as it is for the college generally, it is hugely important for us to tie our events into the weekend when the most alums and parents are on campus. It allows us to showcase the student-athletes, our programs and our facilities to our biggest supporters,” said athletic director Kevin McHugh. In addition to many fall athletic teams having home games this weekend, several other teams had organized events to bring their current players, their families and alumni together. The Men’s basketball team held their seventh annual golf outing at Martindale Country Club in Auburn to kickoff the weekend Friday afternoon, and the club Rugby team organized a social for players, alums and families in the Den following their victory Friday night.

On Saturday the first football tailgate took place, while the lacrosse team held their alumni scrimmage followed by a ‘Life after Bates’ event for current players and Alumni. “The turnout demonstrates to Alumni and current students alike that people care enough, are invested enough to keep returning and playing the game they love,” Said head coach Peter Lasagna.

There were several other breakfasts/community gatherings throughout Saturday morning with the swim and dive team, squash, and baseball, at which new head coach Jon Martin was introduced to family and alumni.

Saturday afternoon included a dedication of the women’s volleyball and basketball locker room to Marsha A. Graef, longtime coach of both programs, and remarks at the introduction of the new turf recently installed on the campus avenue field hockey field. Sunday capped off the weekend’s bevy of athletic events, with the nordic and alpine ski team’s 5K fundraiser and the men’s lacrosse golf outing.

“I think it just says that we understand how important community is at Bates and so tying (events) into the weekend really showcases the Bates community (and) reinforces everything that we are about,” said McHugh, in reference to the fundamental values of Bates athletics and taking advantage of the ‘Back to Bates’ weekend.

“I can’t really pick a favorite – for me jumping from place-to-place, event-to-event made everything sort of roll into one overall B2B experience and it was terrific!”

 

“Tomorrow in the Battle” questions the meaning of reality

There are days in which we wake up and life seems like something that happens to us rather than something we have under control. That is the world of “Tomorrow in the Battle,” a play directed by Visiting Assistant Professor Sally Wood. Three complex characters that form a love triangle show the audience their points of view regarding what is and what could have been. Anna, Simon and Jennifer – the characters, played by Christina Felonis ’17, Brennen Malone ’17 and Sukanya Shukla ’20 – are faced with the psychological threat that is living lives that do not correspond with their expectations. Each of them speaks to the public in monologues that occasionally overlap each other. No struggle is more real than the other and the overall feeling is powerlessness in face of chance and randomness. As audience, we feel the same. We are powerless in the face of a reality that is never fully our own.

In their monologues, the characters tell the story to the audience in the past tense. Each character tells what happened according to their subjectivity and the audience then can construct a storyline. All we know is that that the relationship between Anna and Simon is crumbling apart on multiple levels. We believe their words – no scene has actually happened. In real life we can look at each other, touch each other and talk to each other but we will never know what really goes on inside. Living a life in a monologue is oddly relatable, since many times we believe to be alone in the world.

This feeling of isolation that makes “Tomorrow in the Battle” so powerful. Existential threat permeates the play: there is nothing to hold onto. It is all a game of chance in which we can’t calculate the odds. Even the setting induces a vanishing state: one chair and three characters trapped in a white cube. “90% of nothing is better than nothing,” quoting from Anna, one of the central characters. As the parallel stories connect momentarily to each other, love changes, people change and characters feel under pressure at a multitude of situations. The very meaning of their personal realities is confronted with what they could have been under a slightly different situation. Had Simon stayed at home in the day he met Jennifer, “Tomorrow in the Battle” would be about another battle happening in another day.

The struggle of power in the play is very clear. Anna works for the Ministry of Defense and talks about missiles, Simon is a heart surgeon and Jennifer works for a finance company. The characters have missiles, money and someone’s heart on their hands. In their relationships too, they show what inhabits our unconscious minds: wanting to dominate or be dominated. There are days in which we want to conquer the world or to feel that someone’s life depends exclusively on us. There are other days when we just want to lean on and hear someone say that everything will be alright. “Tomorrow in the Battle” is as much about chance as it is about our society. At the same time that the characters are individualistic beings living inside their own monologues, they depend on each other’s approval.

After the audience leaves the doors of the Blackbox Theater, they lose the comfort of knowing what goes on inside someone else’s minds. Living, dying or loving goes back to being a game of chance in which all we can do is bet on how someone else thinks. Knowing that we are one step away from infinitely different lives is a source of tension. When one door opens, others close — and we never really know where we are going. We weep for what reality could have been and we cringe for how few steps we are from what we wished to be. All as soon as we leave the doors of Blackbox Theater. Had we not watched “Tomorrow in the Battle,” I can only imagine what could have happened.

 

The Strange Bedfellows amp up the

strange-bedfellows-pic-by-riley-hopkins

Dan Peeples ’17 and Will Koller ’17 epitomize the character of the Strange Bedfellows. DAN PEEPLES/COURTESY PHOTO

Whether they are re in the basement of 280, the Little Room in Chase Hall or the Ronj, the Strange Bedfellows, Bates’ improvisation comedy group, have certainly created an entertaining reputation for themselves. While the group is small in numbers, they never fail to bring their A-game and use their size to their advantage in their performances. Among these impressive qualities, the Strange Bedfellows are going above and beyond their humor to expand the presence of comedy on campus.

For a while, the Strange Bedfellows were the only group on campus whose sole focus was stand-up comedy. However, Dan Peeples ’17 believes there is so much room for growth and expansion among the performing arts to incorporate more stand-up comedy. One project they are working is called the “Bates Weekend Update.” Mirroring Saturday Night Live’s famous skit “Weekend Update,” this project will highlight relevant issues in the Bates community in a more comedic fashion by doing student interviews, stand-up bits and written sketches. Peeples said, “We are playing around with the idea of filming it in front of a live audience, and hope to release our first episode later this semester. The goal is to give students a way to view performance in small, digestible, ten minute bits without having to commit one or two hours to a single show. It also would allow us to have a live performance once every one or two weeks, that also can be watched after the fact by anyone who missed the show.”

The Strange Bedfellows are currently planning on hosting two events: a stand-up comedy night and a comedy musical revue, co-sponsored by the Robinson Players. According to Peeples, the performers in the musical revue “will take a Billboard Top 40 song and, without changing the words, manipulate the context in any way they like. For example, Taylor Swift’s subdued love song ‘You Belong With Me’ can be turned into a monstrous retelling of a satanic demon dragging its culprit to hell.”

The stand-up comedy night will take place early next semester and will feature Peeples alongside fellow Bedfellow Will Koller ’17. Peeples said, “This offers Will and I the opportunity to test out longer jokes that are more narrative based, and to experiment more with the form of stand-up as a medium.”

What’s worth mentioning about the Strange Bedfellows is that they have accepted a single new member into their small group of comedians to bolster the upcoming comedy events. Joseph Alp ’18 “was a stand-out mostly due to his confidence on stage and his willingness to engage with the guiding principles of improv, including character creation, relationship building and the establishment of an objective and location of a scene,” according to Koller. “These qualities stood out in his performance at the Parents’ Weekend show, where, for example, he played the character of Moby Dick with unprecedented confidence.”

Dan Peeples ’17 agrees that the Back to Bates Weekend show was a great way to introduce Alp to the Bates community. “We thought the crowd of parents and students was the perfect environment to perform in, and were pleased with how relaxed we all felt on stage.” Strange Bedfellow alum John Goodman ’15 was also in the audience and got called back to the stage to perform in a game called “Returns Counter.” Along with Alp, Peeples and Koller, the other group members include Ian Erickson ’18 and Whitney Lees ’17.

This year is the first year the group’s membership will remain constant. As any club or organization experiences, students are transferring, going abroad or leaving the group; the membership is never steady. However, this year’s group of Strange Bedfellows is looking forward to their first taste of consistency. Koller said, “This is especially important for a comedy form such as improv where group dynamic and group-mind are such important aspects of performance. The more time we spend together as a group, the better we get.”

Peeples said, “It’s great being able to work with such a small and tight knit group. The chemistry is what is important to building a strong improv team, and we think we have all the tools to be the best we can be this year.”

Their goal is to solidify their chemistry and start performing at regular venues, both of which will boost the presence of comedy on campus and hopefully provide the student body with a variety of entertainment opportunities.

 

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