The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: March 22, 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

News and notes from Bates Athletics


The baseball team, anticipating their first game action in New-England, had their scheduled doubleheaders against Brandeis and Husson postponed, due to Storm Stella last week. The men’s lacrosse team also had a home contest against Endicott last Tuesday which was cancelled. There are no rescheduled dates at this point for any of those contests. The lacrosse schedule has moved steadily forward, but the storm proved untimely for the baseball team, who have not played a game since their trip to California over February break.


The women’s lacrosse team split their games last week, thumping Wheaton 18-7, and competing on a snow-cleared Garcelon field Saturday when they fell to Trinity 9-5. Camille Belletete ‘18 tallied six goals over the course of both contests. The women’s team is 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the NESCAC. Meanwhile, the men’s team was victorious away against Trinity, moving to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in conference and continue to sit atop the NESCAC standings. Matt Chlastawa ‘20 led the attack with four goals. In the first USILA national DIII poll of the season that came out last week, Bates ranked eighth in the country.


The women’s tennis team travelled to Fredericksburg, VA to compete in the Blue-Grey Invitational at University of Mary Washington last weekend. They competed against Whitman, Johns Hopkins, and Mary Washington, falling in all three matches by scores of 6-3, 7-2, and 8-1 respectively. Men’s tennis did not compete last weekend, but will travel to UMW in Fredericksburg on Friday to compete in the men’s blue-grey invitational.


A proposal for Bates Athletics

Another season and another Trinity men’s squash national championship. This is a trend as sure as Sunday garlic bread in Commons. The Bantams men’s squash has captured 16 of the last 19 College Squash Association Team National Championships. This includes a streak between 1998 and 2012, when the team won 252 straight matches; the longest winning streak in college sports history. This success has brought a great deal of attention from national media outlets. The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and USA Today have all published stories about Trinity College squash. In fact, ESPN ranked the Bantams as one of the top 10 sports dynasties of all time.

What has been the Bantam’s secret to success? It’s not terribly complicated. As reported by The Student earlier this semester, Trinity as a whole has shown a substantial institutional commitment to attracting the best squash talent in the world. Great players equals great success; it’s really that simple.

Nevertheless, it’s an impressive feat that a small school like Trinity is able to be one of the best teams in the country, and it’s something Bates can do as well. In big time college sports (football, soccer, basketball, baseball etc.), Trinity, Bates, or any of the other NESCAC schools will never be able to garner national attention. Bates, as a Division III institution, can compete for national championships at that level. But Division I schools regularly receive national recognition in those sports. As a smaller school, Bates lacks the resources and draw that bigger state schools offer athletes in major sports. Additionally, as a Division III program, Bates cannot offer athletic scholarships, and is rarely, if ever, featured on national television. Bates will never be able to attract the top talent in major sports, but in a niche sport such as squash Bates could potentially compete as a top team.

Subsequently, my proposal is for Bates athletics to emulate the model that Trinity squash has set out. This would mean picking a niche sport, such as skiing, rugby, or sailing, and recruiting top talent. Becoming one of the top teams in a given sport will bring notoriety, excitement, and money to campus.

And the sport Bates should pursue is competitive video gaming. Yes, you read that right. The official term for competitive gaming is eSports; a growing number of colleges have begun to form varsity eSport teams. A handful of schools, including the University of California, Irvine, have even started offering partial scholarships to eSport athletes. “We’re going to be the Duke Basketball of eSports,” said the director of the Irvine eSport initiative.

College eSports fits Bates for a number of reasons. First, it is played indoors, which eliminates the disadvantage that Bates outdoor sports teams face by virtue of being located so far north. Second, if you take a look at the list of colleges that currently have varsity eSport teams, none of them have the same academic prestige as Bates. This prestige will give Bates a distinct edge when it comes to recruiting. Last, the establishment of a Bates eSports program could be coupled well with the rise of our digital and computational studies program currently being formed.

Close your eyes and picture this right now. A tour of prospective students walks through the quad on a beautiful spring day. As they walk by the chapel the tour guide says, “Bates features the largest selection of cereal in the country, one of the best debate teams in the world, and the best competitive gaming team in the country.” One of the prospective students, an accomplished artist as well as video game enthusiast, perks up their ears when they hear about the eSport program. Six months later, that student is admitted to Bates, and is an invaluable contributor to the community over the next four years.


The truth is more important now than ever

Modern advertisements seldom move me. Even ads that are lauded for their meaning seem to reveal latent capitalistic motives or flowery platitudes when stripped down to their bare elements. But last week, during the Oscars, The New York Times aired an advertisement that made me think.

In this deceptively-minimalist advertisement, their first in over a decade, The Times explores a singular idea: truth.

Beginning with words, “The truth is…”, the three words are completed by a multitude of statements, drawing from all points on the political spectrum. In quick succession, statements range from, “The truth is a woman should dress like a woman,” to “The truth is women’s rights are human rights.” In its thirty second duration, the ad nails down more than a fair share of American controversies – along with women’s rights, the ad encompasses border politics, the refugee crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, healthcare, gun control, and climate change.

At around the halfway point, the ad takes a turn. The flashing statements, previously shown in comprehensible time intervals, begin to materialize and vanish in rapid succession. Soon, each statement bleeds into next– completely indistinguishable from those that came before and followed. Nearing the tail end of the ad’s 30 second duration, the statements, and the ideas therein, have devolved into indecipherable blurriness. As the ad comes to a close, a final statement appears on the screen: “The truth is more important now than ever.”

The ad invoked a visceral feeling in me; as the statements blur together in the final moments, I was impressed by not only the murkiness of the sentences themselves, but the murkiness of contemporary American media. But as the advertisement concludes, we are left with one certainty: how crucial the truth is. In this way, the ad conveyed a simple message: with the messy political climate of today, our role as journalists is to sort through this murkiness and pursue “truth.”

Despite this nuanced message, the advertisement was met with some backlash – most notably from our president. On his notorious twitter page, Trump writes, “For first time the failing @nytimes will take an ad (a bad one) to help save its failing reputation. Try reporting accurately & fairly!” And this statement, of course, is one of many in which Trump has derided media outlets. A few months back, Trump tweeted that “the FAKE NEWS media,” expressly The New York Times, CNN, and NBC, is “not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! SICK!” Though statements like these might declare otherwise, Trump has painted a grim portrait of some of America’s most trustworthy news outlets.

As our president’s Twitter suggests, the goal of Truth is by no means a simple one to achieve.  But I am not writing this article out of hopelessness; on the contrary, I think that The New York Times ad underscores the pursuit of Truth as a principle that can unite us, regardless of political standpoint or party affiliation. But more important, I think, is how this pursuit of truth works on the small scale, too.

For me and the Times both, we pursue truth through journalism; but lest we forget the multitude of other outlets. We pursue truth in the classes we take. We pursue truth through the books we love, and the books we hate. We pursue truth in laboratories and in studios. We pursue truth in the music we listen to and the music we make. We pursue truth through art. We pursue truth in our conversations.

So, through whichever medium suits you, keep pursuing. It is more important now than ever.

We couldn’t do anything but enjoy our stay

There are three things a Batesie must do before graduation: jump into the Puddle in February, climb Mount David, and complete a thesis. The first two tasks are relatively easy and short. A person could accomplish the former in under five seconds and the latter in fifteen. But thesis is different. Surmounting that last hurdle requires time, dedication to the subject, and a drive to finish.

Laura Pietropaoli ’17 is a double major in Dance and Rhetoric who just performed her Dance thesis entitled, Enjoy Your Stay. Her project was a culmination of countless hours of research, choreography, and rehearsals that ultimately gave the audience a captivating thirty minute show.

For any student undertaking a project on the thesis-level, the first step to success is a solid foundation. In an interview Pietropaoli remarks, “I’ve learned from a wide range of teachers and artists who all have a myriad of methods for creating, different instincts and preferences, and varied philosophies about performing arts.” That knowledge and experience led this senior to choreograph her piece in a slightly different way.

Pietropaoli did away with the normal hierarchy found in the dancer-choreographer relationship. Danielle Ward ’20, a member of the six-person ensemble notes “Laura’s thesis is unique because it engages the dancers as choreographers.” Instead of standing in the front of the room chanting steps in an eight-count rhythm, the choreography of this piece was collaborative.

“My cast had an equal voice throughout the making of the work. Most of the choreography in the piece was generated by the cast. I did not come up with the movement but rather directed the preexisting movement that they created based on the prompts and tasks I gave them,” said Pietropaoli.

The way in which this particular thesis was designed is not the only unique thing about it. Dance theses have both visual (the performed piece) and written components (the stereotypical thesis). The process is more than just writing a long research paper or performing a study and analyzing its results. With Dance, in addition to the time and effort spent creating a live work, students also have to complete the stereotypical written work. As Pietropaoli states the physical, written thesis is a “…more verbal look at the creative process.”

But the aspect of research goes into both the performed and written piece. Trying to decide on a topic, Pietropaoli “did some intensive research on film directors and composers…[like]…Wes Anderson, Christopher Guest, John Ford, Terrence Malick…” Ultimately, Pietropaoli took all those perspectives, and more, into account, but relied heavily on the John Ford quote: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The cast and their choreographer spent a lot of time untangling that quote, all posing different hypotheses about what it could possibly mean.

That was also another bonding point for the ensemble. Cast member Alex Eaton ’17, noted that his favorite part of the process was “exploring our relationships with one another through the dance, I’ve formed some really amazing friendships.” When a group of people comes together for such an extended period of time, grappling with interesting questions and themes they form tight bonds.

Sitting in the audience, the chemistry among the cast was easily seen in the easy chit-chat the dancers wrapped up before the show began. Pietropaoli wanted her dancers to feel comfortable and, by association, for the audience members to feel that ease. “The title is Enjoy Your Stay for a reason; I want people to feel comfortable just existing in the room and taking in what the cast is offering them. They’re giving up a little bit of themselves for the audience, and at the very least, I hope the audience can just appreciate what the cast is doing,” Pietropaoli states.

At a liberal arts school such as Bates, one of the main things we learn is how to learn. A graduate of a liberal arts school, no matter the major, can be thrown into almost any environment and succeed based on that core lesson. Particular for a Dance major, Pietropaoli states that “[e]ven if I’m not a professional choreographer or dancer, I know that dance will always effect the way I make decisions and think about things.” Taking tools learned at school in the classroom or on the stage, Batesies such as Pietropaoli and her ensemble will go far.


An alphabetical journey into the English Premier League: T and W

Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (Spurs)

Overview: Tottenham F.C. is located in Tottenham, Haringey, London and was founded in 1882 by a group of boys from a Bible class at All Hallows Church. They played in the Southern League from 1896-1908 when they joined the Football League Second Division. The club is said to have taken its name from one Harry Hotspur (from Shakespeare’s Henry IV), who frequently wore riding spurs and had fighting chickens that also had spurs. The spurred cockerel has been in their crest for over a century. The team struggled in the 1970’s and was briefly relegated before returning to the top flight. In the 90’s, the Spurs were found guilty of making illegal payments to players, resulting in a $600,000 fine, 12-point deduction from the next season, and a one-year ban form the FA Cup. After appeal, the point deduction and ban were removed but the fine was upped to $1.5 million. The team struggled in the early 2000’s before better managing helped them qualify for the Champions League in 2006. Their biggest rival is Arsenal. The team has won the FA Cup 7 times, the Football League twice, the Football League Cup four times, the UEFA Cup twice, and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup once.

Stadium: White Hart Lane, (36,284). Currently building a new stadium.

Notable players:

Steve Perryman, D (1969-1986)

Jimmy Greaves, F, (1961-1970)

Dave Mackay, D (1959-1968)

Danny Blanchflower, D (1954-1964)

Harry Kane, F (present)

Hugo Lloris, GK (present)

Fun facts:

They are the only non-league team to win the FA Cup (1901) since the formation of the Football League in 1888

Their team motto is “To Dare is to Do”

They became the first English team to win a UEFA competition after winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963

The team has a large Jewish following

They hold the record for most goals in a Premier League game — 9.

Watford F.C. (The Hornets)

Overview: Watford was founded in 1881 as the Watford Rovers in Watford, Hertfordshire, England. They joined the Southern League in 1896 and after winning in 1915, joined the Football League in 1920. They have spent most of the 20th century in the lower divisions. When Graham Taylor was appointed manager in 1977, the club was in the 4th division. Ten years later, the club had risen to the 1st division. Unfortunately, the team then spent the next ten years in decline before Taylor returned and brought the team to the Premier League for a year before falling down to the Championship. In 2006 they came back up to the Premier League for a season before falling once more. Last year they won the Championship League and are currently competing in the Premier League.

Stadium: Vicarage Road (21,438)

Notable players:

Troy Deeney, F (current)

Luther Blissett, F (1975-1983, 1991-1993)

John Barnes, M (1981-1987)

Gary Porter, M (1984-1997)

Fun facts:

Elton John owned Watford for a period of time

In 2002 the players and staff agreed to a 12% wage cut to keep the team financials afloat


Tomi Lahren goes pro-choice

The woman all of your Facebook friends love to hate just announced via Twitter that she’s pro-choice.  Tomi Lahren has been the butt of many jokes and aggressive rants.  Lahren, a host on conservative online news site “The Blaze”, has had multiple videos go viral for her angry commentary on political issues such as Colin Kaepernick’s protest and #BlackLivesMatter. Lahren is a self-described conservative and a Trump supporter – her videos are evidence of this.  This makes her admission on “The View” shocking to those that have seen any of her television appearances and social media posts.

Lahren’s argument for her position on abortion comes from her belief in limited government.  “I’m pro-choice and here’s why: I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women should do with their bodies,” Lahren continued, “I can say, you know what, I am for limited government so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well.”

Despite the fact that I disagree with Tomi Lahren on pretty much all of her views, I am pleased with the consistency she is showing in her political beliefs.  Much of the Republican Party’s platform is contradictory – it believes in limited government in some respects, writing, “We call for removal of… over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements [and] needless restrictions…” but then calls for the reversal of abortion and same-sex marriage legalization.  On the issue of abortion, it is hard to construct an anti-choice argument while endorsing limited government.  Recognizing this, Lahren changed her stance.  At least Tomi has picked a principle to which her political opinions should adhere.

This is not to say Tomi has always been consistent.  She has said before that she is not pro-choice and called those who are “baby killers,” but I do not believe we should necessarily condemn someone for amending their views.  My stance on many issues has evolved and developed as I have grown and learned as a person, but I acknowledge where my past views have been problematic or contradictory.  Lahren should take responsibility for the faults in her past views (though, to her, the faults were likely more ideological than moral) and stand firm in her current beliefs.

I am not excusing Tomi for her, at times, hateful beliefs. However, constructive discussions are much more attainable when a clear and consistent philosophy supports one’s views rather than an ideology where one can pick and choose which freedoms they want to promote and limit. Obviously, the Democratic Party is not immune to this criticism either. In order to progress, we need to develop platforms that facilitate debate and discussion.

Ryancare or Trumpcare?

Four experts discuss the state of Healthcare in America. CHRISTINA PERRONE/THE BATES STUDENT

Four experts discuss the state of Healthcare in America.

On March 9th, Paul Ryan proposed the long-promised health care bill to replace Obamacare. Bates Democrats, Bates Republicans, Bates Health Initiative and Crystal Williams, the Associative Vice-President at Bates College organized a talk to educate students about the Affordable Care Act, and what it would mean to replace it.

The talk featured a panel of experts across the political spectrum. The first speaker was Dr. Dervilla McCann ‘77, a cardiologist and executive in the Accountable Care Organization at Central Maine Healthcare. “Before 1965 about half of all elderly patients in the United States had no health insurance,” began Dr. McCann, “But today, after the passage of Medicare and Medicaid about one in every three Americans are covered by one of those two health insurance systems.” Medicare is federally funded by taxpayers and was originally designed by President Lyndon B. Johnson for older adults. It is responsible today for 50 million patients and pays for hospitalizations, vaccines, drugs, and office visits. On the other hand, Medicaid was a program designed for children and low-income adults. It is dually funded by the state and the federal government. Medicaid gives states a burden of cost, and what Paul Ryan’s plan proposes to do is to provide fixed block grants to states to cover the burden of Medicaid. However, what happens when the block grants are insufficient? Medicaid currently insures 70 million patients. LBJ intended for Medicare and Medicaid to insure the most vulnerable citizens. The rest of society used competition between insurance companies to keep the cost of premiums down.

“Poor President Johnson’s fatal mistake when he wrote into law Medicare and Medicaid was to trust health systems and physicians to self-govern. The result of this naiveté was runaway health costs. By receiving government insurance, patients were insensitive to the actual cost of their care—they never paid their bill, somebody else paid it for them…Hospitals and doctors saw the government as de-pocketed and generous patrons, so the cost of American health care skyrocketed, but the increased price did not come with increased quality,” said Dr. McCann.

Since 1965, the government has scrambled to find ways to expand insurance while keeping costs low. According to Dr. McCann, Richard Nixon had the most comprehensive, universal health care systems. However, he was unseated before it was written into law. Obama’s Affordable Care Act bill (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, was passed in order to better the health care system that left many Americans in need of affordable health care. Dr McCann explains, “Two key decision points happened with the implementation of the ACA. One was the creation of state run exchanges. An area where inexpensive insurance could be paid for by the individual. The second, key element was the expansion of the Medicaid program a cost that was shared by the federal government and the state.” Even though the states were given the burden of cost to insure more people through Medicaid, the federal government was going to underwrite a lot of it.

Before The Affordable Care Act, Insurance companies could deny people with pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act made it illegal to deny people insurance based on pre-existing medical conditions. It also made preventative screenings free for everyone and created marketplaces where people could shop for insurance with potential subsidies. Under Obamacare, more than 20 million people, some of whom had never been insured, gained health insurance. But where does the government get sufficient funds to cover this? “Taxes were placed on the wealthiest Americans, there were payroll taxes, Medicare was changed a little bit, and taxes were newly imposed on medical devices. There were also fines imposed on individuals who refused to buy insurance, all of this is what funded the ACA,” explained Dr. McCann. What she is referring to is the Individual Mandate—a wildly unpopular proponent of the ACA.

“Part of the genius of Obamacare is instead of expanding Medicare which is federal, he expanded Medicaid which is state. So he played into the Republican desire for States’ rights. And state rights are critical, I mean, what’s right for people in Mississippi is not necessarily right for the people in Maine” said Dr. McCann.

Obamacare is not perfect by any means. As Dr. McCann put it, “From the perspective of a hospital administrator and a public health physician. Despite being in effect since 2012, 30 million people in America still don’t have health insurance. Those who have coverage are experiencing sharp strikes in health insurance cost. In Maine insurance premiums increased by about 22% last year.” As some may recall, broke the first day it was released. Some plans have deductibles so high that they cannot be used. People are frustrated that the act does not guarantee keeping the same physician and health insurance— as Obama promised.

Professor Nathan Tefft, an associate professor of economics at Bates, spoke next about the economics involved in the ACA. Essentially, the system stands on what economists call “the three-legged stool.” The first leg is restriction on health insurance companies, which is called community rating. This is the idea where, “you need to charge premiums within a narrow band across the risk pool…. And Guaranteed Issue which is the other restriction is that you are going to give somebody health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions.” Subsidies are the second leg that supports the ACA. Because low income households who are not eligible for Medicaid cannot afford health insurance, the government must provide tax cuts or subsidies to provide incentive of buying health care. However, there is a sliding scale in regards to subsidies which introduces high marginal taxes that dissuade people from working as much as they would like. Ryan proposes to fix the sliding scale through a flat tax credit system based on age. It increases the age rating band from 3:1 to 5:1, meaning that the oldest in the population will be exposed to five times the premiums as opposed to the younger population. Now younger people who make minimum wage get significantly less coverage as rich older folks. The last leg is the individual mandate that charges people for not purchasing health insurance, “Without the individual mandate we’d have the issue of adverse selection, what adverse selection is if you don’t require healthy people who otherwise don’t need health care to pay premiums regularly in case they get sick eventually, then the premiums for the sick pool is going to need health insurance no matter what is going to be higher and unaffordable.” The ACA works because of this three-legged stool, and what the American Health Care Act— if written into law— proposes is removing or altering one of the legs.

The last speaker was Shannon Banks ‘85, president of the board of Oasis Free Clinics and an advocate for universal health care. Her clinics provide free primary care and mental care to low income residents of the mid-coast maine area. This short term she will teach a practicum course on health care administration. Oasis free clinics provide, “Primary care, dental care, mental care to the poor and the uninsured,” these typically are part of the the 30 million Americans who are uninsured. A huge problem with Medicaid is that it does not cover the working poor, who work long hours and multiple jobs but cannot afford private health insurance. She reflected, “We’ve had patients come into our clinic who haven’t had dental care in decades, have multiple abscess teeth, get their teeth pulled and go back to bagging groceries that afternoon. Theses are folks who are working hard and who have been left out of the system we currently have in the United States.”

Even if most people believe the American Health Care Act was dead upon arrival, there is reason for concern that it may be a precursor to permanent health care changes. Republicans are passing the health care act as a budget bill to avoid filibuster, and thus cannot have anything in the bill that is not related to a budget policy— which leaves out a lot of what Trump promised with his healthcare bill. As Kevin Lewis said, “It does save a trillion dollars, two thirds of which go to tax cuts for the one tenth of one percent” Kevin Lewis. Indeed according to the Tax Policy Center Analysis the top one tenth percent would receive $197,000 in tax cuts.” Although Trump promised to cover everyone with this plan during his campaign, it only increases the deficit of uninsured Americans who face a growing need of health care.

“With healthcare is a bellwether issue,” said Dr. McCann, ” how we manage this phase our extraordinary challenge with health care will impact me and certainly all of you as you leave this place and go on to marry, have children, and possibly face illness or injury.”


Loving the Bates live music scene

One thing I missed during my semester abroad last fall was living on a campus with a vibrant music scene. Having been back at Bates for a couple of months and having attended three shows, it has grown into something I cherish.

A jazzed-up version of the childhood staple “My Favorite Things,” Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” with heavy distortion, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” with chorus drum-fills and an extended jam: these are a few examples of the quality and variety of music emitted from the guitars, keyboards, basses, drums, and voices of Bates students. No two student-shows are the same, and just like it was for the Grateful Dead, the audience does not know what to expect and keeps coming back for more.

One of the cool aspects about live music is that it creates a mutually beneficial experience for the performer(s) and those in the crowd. Justin Demers ’18, guitarist and vocalist for the student band The Remedy, member of the Deansmen and co-president of the Bates Musician’s Union elaborates on the feeling he gets playing live music in the smaller, more intimate venues Bates has to offer. He describes it as “a surreal, out-of-body experience that is a synthesis of the senses.” You feel each strum vibrate through your fingers. You see a mass of students an arm’s length away, most of whom you know. You hear the sounds you and your band mates have been diligently practicing the past few weeks to create. And yes, you smell the sweaty guy to your right.

Ian Clarkson ’18, of student bands The Remedy and the Bates funk band, as well as the jazz band and Bates orchestra, has played his fair number of shows as the most sought-after bass player on campus. As a musician, he finds the opportunity to perform in small Bates venues for his friends invaluable. “Since I feel comfortable in the environment, it gives me the chance to try new solos and continually create new music,” he says.

What interests me is why these student shows are always packed. It would seem that as college students seeking autonomy and variety in our lives, we would prefer to chill in a friend’s dorm room and bump our latest Spotify playlist. “The fact that you are seeing music made spontaneously in front of you…it’s like why people love theater, whether they know it or not,” describes Demers. “You could see a movie that’s been edited, or you could be truly present in the moment, dialed into the performer and doing the art justice.”

There is a lot of truth to this. We are very accustomed to final products, a tendency that stifles our ability to be in the moment. I often catch myself half-listening to an album or passively watching a movie because I am thinking about what work is due next week. Yet it is quite difficult to experience live music passively. It grounds you, helps you appreciate the process over the result and realize that the journey is the destination. This is something we are all working towards, exemplified by the wide variety of sports teams, clubs, and class years represented at student shows.

“The musicians at Bates don’t try to define ourselves by any genre,” remarks Clarkson with wide eyes. “Live music here could really go anywhere.”


A perpetual teacher

Hello, I’m from China my name is Qi. My major is teaching Chinese as foreign languages, well, so then why did I come here? Well, what do I need to say again haha?

William Ebert: Tell me about yourself.

Qi Zhu: Um, so I was born in Jiangsu, China. it is really near Shanghai. Um, actually I’m not a very, I think that I’m not very good at um talking to people, but I think that I am a good teacher, because I been learning this major for about 6 year and am going to get my PhD. And after that I think I will be a Chinese teacher in China and I think that I coming to Bates, is another challenge for me, because I had been teaching Chinese in China for two years. That’s why I come to Bates, this is a good college, and I come here and want to see lots of American people and and foreign people studying, not in their mother language or area. It is also a challenge because, you know if you are teaching Chinese in China, students can always speak Chinese to another student or to the teacher, but here sometimes they don’t know how to say some words, and if you ask a question, in China, they always reply in Chinese to answer you, but here they always say English and that is why I need to fix my teaching skills and I need to change this way. I don’t think using their mother language is to teach their 2nd language is a bad way to teach so it’s really interesting, I can do lots of research here.

WE: What was your life like growing up in China?

QZ: When I was very young, I was not a very good student if you can imagine that. I don’t know how I can finish my master’s degree and continue my PhD, I don’t know how?! When I was very young, I really hated studying, but my parents were university teachers and they always encouraged me to study and happily they didn’t do lots….they didn’t do lots to punish me, so they just let me relax so I have other skills: I am an archery player in China. I was a professional and can play international games also, and was at the World Cup. So if I quit teaching job, I think I can be archery player mmmm. You know when I come into University, it is so hard, because I am not a good student, you know the university exam in China is very very hard, you need to focus and work 10 hrs every day, it is very hard, and then you can go to a good university. When I went into a university, I told myself: then you can do it, that is not very hard you can do it. So I tried to change my way. Be a good student. I choose this major because I think if you can be a good teacher, that would be awesome and then you can let lots of people and lots students know when you can teach things to them. For instance, for me my English is not very good, because it is a second language and I can them (my students) Chinese and then sometimes they can teach me some English words, or some other language. It makes me very happy. And after my university, I think I want to continue to do the same major, because I think teaching foreigners is very interesting, for example for American people, or Japanese people, or Korean people, Chinese is all a second language, but in each culture they have a different way of learning Chinese, um for example, Japanese and Korean, they all from Chinese characters in part, which means that they do many years of using Chinese characters but even though Japanese and Korean they have some characters like Chinese, they have different pronunciation. So maybe writing for them is very easy but pronunciation is very hard because in their minds, they always think about another pronunciation of the characters. But for American people, they never know Chinese characters. They always mix the left part and the right part and top part, so you need to tell them which part should be like this. I think doing this research is also interesting. I like to research. I have different student get different skills to help them learn Chinese very quickly, and also you know in China we can teach students Chinese in 3 months and then they can talk to Chinese people, I think it is very interesting and so quickly.

WE: Why did you decide to come to Bates?

QZ: In China and in my university, we have lots of chances to teach abroad, but I really like American, and I do research on American people and I have never seen such like a cold place like this! No, I like the snow. I was born in the winter on a really snowy day but in my hometown, it seldom snows and it is not having snow like this.

WE: What do you think of Maine?

QZ: I think Maine is so cool, there is not a lot of people so I can relax and um, I think Maine people always so kind. Really really kind they are so helpful and something. I also I think Bates college is so beautiful I really like the place, and I also talk to students and they are so happy.

WE: What do you think of America?

QZ: So this is my 3rd time in America, and um America is a freedom Country, I like the way to study and to living. They trust themselves and they didn’t lock their home and they trust everyone, and everyone always trusts everyone. In China everyone always we always catch ourselves in place of the us, you always need to prove yourself, but in America you always say not guilty when you need to fight something you don’t need to prove you are not guilty. I think that way is good.

WE: Something you miss something you like?

QZ: One thing I miss from home is food. Chinese food is so good. And on a cold day, you can’t go out for a walk. I miss my hometown and I miss Chinese food. But in the meantime I am ok, I have lots of students come to my office and talk to me and ask me question and be happy here.

WE: What is the most memorable experience you have had at Bates?

QZ: Um, I never had a bad experience, um something that made me very happy, is during the christmas holiday, I flied to Portland, and I um I didn’t find any taxi that come back to Bates and I saw a guy with a uniform with Bates College and um it’s a old lady, and then the old lady come and talk to me and see ask “O are you from Bates? I graduated from Bates so many years ago.” And she said “Do you need to come back to Bates?” And I said yes!, o she said ‘O I can drive you back to Bates, and I said “O my god you are so kind!”, this things can’t happen in China, even if we come from the same school. Amazing you don’t even know me, you don’t know if I am a good person or a bad person and I think it is very good. And I think the funny thing is even in my university we have a uniform, but we never wear that, and I don’t know why in Bates we like to wear that. I think think, lots of students like to use Bates thing, it is like a family.

Namuli: Climbing, conservation, and film meet in

Until 1992, Mozambique had been largely isolated from the rest of the world. From 1977-1992, civil war tore through the country. The heavy use of landmines kept people from moving or expanding into other areas of the nation. Mozambique’s unique past, however, has created a distinctive present and future for the country’s landscapes. People were unable to move during this long period of history, so much of the country’s open space was untouched and thus preserved.

Majka Burhardt sees a unique opportunity to use Mozambique’s unfortunate past as a way to promote sustainable development for the future. Burhardt is a Princeton alumna, professional climber, Patagonia rock climbing ambassador, and founder of Legado, a nonprofit that strives to, “catalyze legacy-driven leadership to support a flourishing future for the people and biodiversity of Africa,” according to its website

When Burhardt visited Bates last Wednesday to promote Legado’s short film Namuli, she instantly made it known that the goal of the project was to embrace Legado’s mission statement with full force. Namuli follows Burhardt’s journey, along with a full team of climbers and scientists, in their effort conduct an ecological survey on Mount Namuli, Mozambique’s second tallest peak, while attempting the first climbing ascent on the mountain at the same time.

However, the central objective of this project according to its website is, “to develop a community-based sustainable management system around Mount Namuli to conserve its rich and unique biodiversity as well as the critically important ecosystem services it provides to surrounding inhabitants.”

As the film reveals the story of Burhardt and the rest of Legado’s work at Mount Namuli, it is clear that Burhardt has invested her whole self into this project, but also knows that Namuli is not a project for herself. Before the film started she said, “this project would not be successful if even one component fell short. Everything, the science, the climbing, the community partnership needs to work, and if the people living on Mount Namuli don’t want us there, then the point in moot.”

Aside from Burhardt being incredibly engaging herself, Namuli is equally so. The film is able to capture just how intense and passionate the people working on the project are. Regardless of their role, whether they are a climber, scientist, filmmaker, or community member, each person involved in this project has invested fully into the mission statement of Namuli. And in just 23 days at Mount Namuli, the community and Legado’s team are able to forge a partnership that leads to the finding a new snake species, the southernmost record of a specific caecilian species (a legless amphibian), and a total of 60 species documented to be living in the Mount Namuli ecosystem.

The Namuli conservation project itself is an impressive feat, but what makes it special is the short film about the project’s process and progress. Namuli allows us to see the work in action and experience Mozambique both in the auditory and visual senses. The film allows viewers to have an up-close look at the people and organisms that live on and around Mount Namuli. It brings this legacy-driven project to life with passion and intrigue. In its 23 minute run-time, this film is able to transport viewers to Mount Namuli and also inspire them to want to learn more. The beautiful shots of the mountain, the organisms, and the people catalyze an emotional connection between viewers and all elements of the Legado project. You can watch the Namuli trailer at


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