The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

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

Swimmers complete historic season with impressive performance

The men’s and women’s swim and dive season extends the farthest into the spring of any winter sport. Over the last weekend their drawn out postseason finally came to an end, culminating in the NCAA DIII swim and dive national championships in Shenandoah, TX. Only a small cadre of swimmers, those who qualified for the regional and national meets, trained during the three weeks between the NESCAC meet and nationals.

“We… trained them very hard for 2 full weeks after the (NESCAC) meet to make sure they could handle the rigors of a 4 day championship meet,” said head coach Peter Cesares in an email. “After those two weeks of intense training to build up their aerobic capacity were over we rested them by doing a lot of pace work to get them comfortable with their racing speed – and the fast swimming that was coming.” Cesares is not unfamiliar with national meet preparation, who is in his 10th season at the helm of the Bates aquatics program, and a collegiate All-American swimmer himself.

“We do a ton of easy swimming, mixed in with some pace work,” added Sara Daher ‘17 in an email, one of Bates’ swimmers who competed in an array of events last weekend. “It helps us remind our body of what it feels like to race fast. The easy swimming ensures our body is recovering properly before, in between, and after races.” This mix and match approach, put together by Cesares would prove effective in Texas.

One hurdle the teams had to overcome before they even started swimming was their long, mid-semester trip to the far south. “The distance can be a bit tough to juggle, as traveling isn’t the best for your body on the way to a swim meet,” Daher noted of the farthest distance the team had to travel this season. Arriving in Texas on Monday, two days prior to its start, gave the Bates swimmers an extra day to acclimate, recover from their travel, and prep for the meet.

After finishing fifth in the NESCAC meet, tying the best finish in program history for the third year in a row, the men’s team finished 24th out of 52 teams at the national meet, another program best finish, per the Bates Office of Sports Information. Teddy Pender ‘18 led the men, finishing 11th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 44.72, a new team record.

The women’s team finished in 13th place out of 51 teams, and were anchored by another stellar performance from Daher. Daher, who had already collected 17 All-American honors over the course of her collegiate swimming career, added six more to her record. For swimmers, these awards are distributed based on each individual event, giving swimmers like Daher, who are able-bodied in a broad array of events, the opportunity to tally such a high number of honors.

With 23, Daher is unquestionably the most decorated Bates swimmer in school history, more than doubling the number of awards any other swimmer has received, according to the swim and dive team website. Her final collegiate performance will almost certainly vault her into consideration as one of Bates’ top athletes of all-time. “It’s an extremely surreal feeling walking away from my last collegiate meet as a Bobcat,” Daher said. “I would not be where I am today without my teammates, coaches, family and friends. It is quite an honor to represent Bates College and the swim program at the most elite meet in all of Division III.”

“The team overall swam great. They handled adversity – both tough swims that hurt and missed opportunities – and bounced back to swim lifetime bests and score points at the toughest meet of the year,” said Cesares of his team’s performance. “They had huge successes along the way and learned so much about what it takes to compete at the highest level.”


Definitive ranking of the best study spots

As the semester comes to a close and the sun starts to come out, it is an important time for Bates students to choose the perfect burrow to finish up their final papers. Whether an academic building, a common room in a dorm, or the reflective Salter Room in the library, Bates has just about every study spot your heart desires. So, the moment you have been waiting for has now arrived: I have compiled a definitive list of the best spots on campus where you can study.

10. The Ronj

The Ronj has the aroma of coffee, the ambience of internet DIY decorations, and the attitude of a social activist. Whether you are looking to talk to your friends and pretend you are studying, or take Insta-worthy photos of the gorgeous shadows the uneven shades make when the sun hits through the windows, the Ronj is there for you. If you need a quiet place to do work BY YOURSELF and do not want to be judged for your lack of fashion sense, or your misconceptions about farmer’s markets, the Ronj is not the place for you. If you are interested in which outing club kids are dating and which are no longer friends, the Ronj is the place for you. All those first floor Ladd table people move to the Ronj after 8 pm. It is like an alternative Bachelor hotel for Bates students.

Pro Tip: Find access to every syllabus for every E.S. class on campus and navigate the times you come in based on the workload of those classes. You will find a much less crowded Ronj.

9. PGill Atrium

If you want a bizarre mix of class years who nonetheless wear bean boots and flannel, the Atrium is the perfect place for you. The Atrium is the best thing you can get to the ideal study room you never had in high school. Busy and loud for the five-minute passing periods between classes, the Atrium provides you with just enough distractions to finish your work during the day. Luckily, it is undeniably the best option to pull an all-nighter, as it has 24-hour access and comfy couches to sleep on. If you are looking for trees bigger than the ones that line the puddle, the Atrium is the place for you.

Pro Tip: Figure out your commons crush’s class schedule based on when they eat their meals. Sit with your back to the puddle and stare out so you can get a few extra moments of that special looking when they finish the intro class they are taking for a GEC they have no interest in.

8. Frank’s Lounge

Ah, the original new-dorm-study-lounge. If you want a modern layout and den delivery, Frank’s Lounge is a great spot to study. With a fireplace and private study rooms on the second floor, this 280 haven is much cozier than the sanitary dorm rooms you will find surrounding it. Excellent spot for those living in Rand or 280, not worth the walk if you live anywhere else.

7. OIE

No matter who you are you are always welcome at the OIE, as long as you are respectful. An eclectic mix of furniture and people, the OIE has never disappointed. If it gets too loud you can move to the pool tables in Chase or even the Den.

Pro Tip: Check your privilege at the door.

6. CHU

Since I have never studied here but have always lusted over the glossy windows and minimalist architecture, I have taken to two experts on the building, seniors Henry Baird and Austin Lee. Here is what they have to say about the much-anticipated study spaces of the new dorm:

“When I first stepped foot in the Chu Dormitory, I thought ‘Wow. What a dynamic new space that not only promotes synergistic workflow productivity, but also provides stunning views of the Bates campus and Lewiston at large.’ Sleek, state-of-the-art study rooms are just steps away from a restaurant-quality kitchen; feed your mind, and then your stomach! The fun, yet respectful group of diverse students will help transform this dormitory into a second home (well, minus Mr. Whiskers that is!) I mean, hey – it certainly is a great day to be a Bobcat!’” -Henry Baird ‘17

“It’s nice.” -Austin Lee, 2017

5. Ladd second floor, sofas up against the windows next to the tall plant and a lamp

Easily my favorite study spot on campus. You get the full effect: the nice plant thing, the nice lamp thing, the better than average view, and a sofa just uncomfortable enough that you cannot fall asleep while working. The only thing heard here is the rapid clicking on laptops – which at first might be intimidating, but serve as a great reminder of the mundane nature of the competition for survival in the workplace that awaits you for the rest of your life! If you are ever wondering what it’d be like to work in an office, try out one of the cubicles; the fluorescent lighting is a great introduction to the capitalist sellouts we will one day be. Truly, the only problem with this study spot is its inconsistent temperature. If you want to study in a sauna go there any time before two p.m. when the sun is out; if you want to freeze, sit next to a less than flattering window that has become a mirror without the sun) any time after six p.m. If you are truly looking for a place where there are no excuses not to be working, the Ladd second floor sofas up against the windows is the place for you.

Pro Tip: Cough to assert your dominance and glare unrequitedly at anyone who dares talk to their friends.

4. Olin classroom on the second floor, across from the women’s restroom

Come here past four p.m. and the place is yours. Just make sure there are no a cappella rehearsals scheduled that night.

3. Third floor Hedge

If you like good views, desks, sofas, and have friends, third floor Hedge is a nice spot to snag. Wake up early to get it on time and spread out so that no one else can join.

Pro Tip: Stream porn without headphones to get the random people who came in to study with you to leave.

2.  4th floor Roger Williams

Better views, big TVs – generally an upgrade from third floor Hedge. This space is for all those who like to live large and act bougie during their study time.

1. FSU Common Room

Without a doubt the absolute best place to study on campus. Multiple sofas, a piano, a full kitchen with a stove for home brewed tea, and the quietest hipsters you will ever meet. You will never get questioned in the most attractive and largest common room on Frye Street. This is what you always wanted the Ronj to be, except here you need to be your own barista.

Pro Tip: Pretend you live there.

Honorable Mentions:

Ladd basement, WGS study room in PGill, The Den, Computer Lab in Roger Williams, and that creepy basement room in PGrew.

Barakah Meets Barakah: We are living in disguises

“Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in Lewiston,” was an exhibition full of events. Since October 18, when the show was inaugurated, Bates has hosted talks, performances, tours, and screenings.

Last Friday, March 17, one last event took place: a screening of the Saudi Arabian movie Barakah Meets Barakah. The comedic drama was premiered at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival and later selected as the Saudi Arabian representative for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 89th Academy Awards. The themes of the movie are timely; discussions of development, generational conflict, tradition, gender, class, culture, imperialism, and Islam are central to understanding the globalized, interconnected, and cross-cultural nature of the twenty-first century.

Barakah Meets Barakah is a nuanced love story. The plot revolves around Barakah Urabi, a municipal law officer in Jeddah, and Bibi, an Instagram celebrity and brand representative in Saudi Arabia. Barakah meets Bibi in an open-air photo shoot. Bibi is not wearing an abaya, the full-length dressing that covers body and hair. Even though it is implied that the photo shoot is against the law, Barakah does not break the party and seems to find interest in the strong, independent, and daring character of Bibi.

In a discussion after the movie, I found that municipal law officers in Saudi Arabia are often stereotyped as killjoys. Interestingly, Barakah breaks this typecast; he is empathetic and lenient in his duty. Similarly, Bibi’s identity is not reducible to the stereotype of futile Instagram star. As the storyline develops, Bibi and Barakah get closer despite the segregations of gender in Saudi Arabia, where unrelated men and women cannot legally meet in public spaces.

Barakah Meets Barakah has its own satirical tone. There is a sense of subtlety in Barakah Meets Barakah – things are not simple and things are not always what they seem to be. Every scene hides an entire story. In the discussion that followed the movie, one audience member mentioned the disguises of the characters that, at some points cross-dress. These costumes are not only a commentary on gender normativity in Saudi Arabia, but perhaps a larger statement about disguise itself.

The movie questions the simplicity of stereotypes. Ultimately, Barakah Meets Barakah blurs the dualism that seems characteristic of foreign conceptions of Saudi Arabia. Bibi, for instance, complicates the idea of generational differences and gender normativity. Sometimes she complies with her guardian’s wills but sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she is powerless in a patriarchal society and sometimes she is the independent character who dresses as a man to drive a luxury car in a country in which women are not allowed to drive.

The very first moments of the movie are about censorship, attesting that the pixilation of some scenes is not a statement about censorship in Saudi Arabia. Throughout the movie, there are several pixelated scenes of women’s faces and bodies in advertisement, alcohol, and lingerie; however, the pixilation is not regular. “If it is censorship, it is sloppy,” said one of the audience members in the discussion that ensued the screening. There were scenes in which alcohol and body parts were not pixelated.

In times of extreme positions and extremism, Barakah Meets Barakah reveals the grey areas that have no name, the intermediaries in a larger continuum.

It is challenging to capture in words the depth of Barakah Meets Barakah. Throughout the movie, there were moments in which the plot would delicately enter the realm of magic realism. One of the side stories in the film shows a person carrying pink cotton candy on the streets. In recent decades, Saudi Arabia made efforts to restrict commerce to private spaces, directly impacting the nameless character.

Barakah never gets to stop that person, who magically disappears before his eyes. The peddler seemed to simply carry joy with him. “His disappearing is symbolic of the little things that made people happy,” theorized Leena Nasser, a Bates alumna and Saudi citizen. The complexity, the longing for the past, and the melancholy coexist with comedy and love.

As we say goodbye to “Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in Lewiston” and to some of the little things that make us happy, Barakah Meets Barakah teaches us to think beyond the imaginary boundaries of dualism. It leaves us with the hope that tradition inspires innovation and vice versa. With every beginning comes a new end; it may be time to admit that beginnings and endings coexist.


New coffee in Commons

Commons make a switch in coffee providers. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Commons make a switch in coffee providers.

Commons has recently changed their coffee provider to Seacoast Coffee Company. The process of selecting coffee was collaborative, for Commons workers organized three coffee tastings for students and staff—there were two during lunch and one during dinner. It was hard to miss the coffee tasting, for there were large posters by the entrance and the warm smell of coffee struck one by the entrance.

The preference determined through sampling was the Seacoast Coffee Company which is located in Portland, Maine where “they artisan roast their beans in small batches and deliver them within days of roasting to ensure freshness.” Further, the company practices sustainability by “minimizing the use of cardboard in their packaging, recycling and composting and they are members of MOFGA – the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association.” The company is socially responsible and makes it their goal to contribute to non-profit groups that support the well-being of the environment, people, and animals.

To learn more about the new coffee provided, please contact Cheryl Lacey and be sure to try the coffee.


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 scale, 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.


Smoke and mirrors

Does Bates have a smoking problem? Or does Bates have an image problem? Imagine a smoke-free Bates… it would be pretty, right? No smelly smoke, no smokers loitering in the quad? The Bates College Public Health Initiative recently sent out a survey to the student body asking for our opinions on Bates becoming a smoke-free campus. I feel compelled to respond to the administration by asking them to consider what prompts the initiative. Is it genuine concern about students’ health? Or is it the desire to make Bates appear, on the surface, to be a healthy, happy community?

I understand the impulse to end smoking on the campus. Of course we want to live in a healthy community. But will banning smoking actually help people stop smoking? Or will it further stigmatize a group of students who already feel marginalized? Let’s take a quick glance at the demographics of smokers in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, people who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, people identifying with multiple ethnicities, and people in the LGBTQ+ community all smoke at higher than average rates. Banning smoking on campus will allow the administration to discriminate against these already marginalized groups. Instead of ostracizing this part of our community, maybe we should instead be thinking about how to support Bates smokers who wish to quit.

As a former smoker, I can tell you that laws against smoking do not do much to deter people from smoking. When I started smoking at 16, I simply paid older people to buy me cigarettes. Banning smoking at Bates will not cut down on the rates of smoking, it will just get people in trouble for smoking – most likely the students who can least afford to be in trouble. I suggest that The Bates College Public Health Initiative consider the War on Drugs in the United States. Instead of lowering the rates of drug use, these policies allowed law enforcement to discriminate against people of color, and led to an epidemic of incarceration of young black men. By contrast, countries like Switzerland focused on treatment and rehabilitation, which saw rates of drug use dramatically decline. During my time at Bates, I have never once seen a flyer about the dangers of smoking, and I have never once heard of any resource on campus to help students quit. And yes, I was looking, because this year I have been trying to quit after four years of smoking. It was only with the support of my friends here that I have finally been able to give up cigarettes for good. I would like to suggest to the Public Health Initiative that they focus their efforts on helping students quit smoking, rather than penalizing smokers.

Like the Bates College Public Health Initiative, I too hope that one day Bates becomes a smoke-free campus. But the Public Health Initiative proposes a campus that appears to be smoke-free when, in reality, the smokers on campus are hidden from public view. I envision a campus that is actually smoke-free, because students have received the support they need to quit. The way to fix a problem is not to ignore it and push it aside in hopes that it will disappear.

So, dear Bates College Public Health Initiative: do you actually want to end smoking at Bates? If so, I suggest that you focus on prevention and treatment rather than criminalization. If treatment programs do exist, Bates could certainly work on better promoting them. The only thing that this proposed ban will do is make Bates appear to be a smoker-free campus, one that will look appealing to rich parents looking to send their children to school in a clean, protective environment. Or is that what you are aiming for?

Get out and see Get Out

If you have not seen the American comedy horror, “Get Out,” directed by the talented comedian, actor, and filmmaker, Jordan Peele, then you are missing out on life. You may think that I am over exaggerating, but in actuality, “Get Out” demonstrates the life that many minorities, especially black Americans, face on a day-to-day basis. Although the plot of the movie – black guy visits his white girlfriend’s family – may not pertain to everyone, I believe the message that the film conveys is extremely important and educational.

Chris Washington, played by black British actor Daniel Kaluuya, is persuaded by his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage as played by Allison Williams, to travel to Rose’s parents’ home. From the opening scene of the film, the couple makes it clear that they are in a fun and romantic relationship. Rose and Chris appear to love each other, but later on in the film, Rose makes it clear that blood is always thicker than water. Chris is skeptical about going to her parents’ house and displays his skepticism by asking Rose if her parents know that he is black. I could be wrong, but I think this question goes through every black person’s head when they want to pursue a serious relationship with someone outside of their race. Rose’s response to Chris’s question is very similar to people who would argue for a color-blind society. Rose asks, “Should I have told them that you are black?” Rose assures Chris that she would have told him if her parents were racist; she even states that her dad, were it possible, would have voted Obama in for a third term (as if that phrase is supposed to make a black person feel more comfortable around white people). Rose’s playful nature and good looks makes her easy to like; in reality, her actions and sense of ease in the face of Chris’s concerns could be taken as Rose being ignorant and indifferent towards issues that black people face.

Throughout the film, Daniel is very strong-willed, which I believe is an accurate reflection of many minorities today. Even when minorities do not want to admit it, they face great injustices regularly; however, the culture we live in leaves no time for emotional reflection. American culture has programmed us to push through all adversities; being successful is valued over reflecting and healing from the micro aggressions and discrimination minorities face throughout their lives. Within the film, Anna’s mother, Missy Armitage, was able to hypnotize Daniel by persuading him to discuss the death of his mother. The death of his mother was definitely a touchy subject, but Missy had no problem probing. Throughout the film, Daniel remains strong and level-headed. Due to his love for Anna, he allows the micro aggressions (e.g., hearing things like “blacks have a superior genetic make up”, being referred to as a beast, assuming the only black person black people in golf know is Tiger Woods, etc.) to fly over his head. However, the moment Daniel is faced with the death of his mother his weakness becomes evident. Daniel was still dealing with his mother’s death, but he was forced to face it when Missy brought it up, thus getting into Daniel’s head and placing him in a ‘sunken place’. Rachel Chappell’ 18 stated that the sunken place is “constant place of paranoia, of pain, of confusion, of disillusionment.” Because of all of the injustices that occur towards and around people of color from police brutality to blatant everyday racism, the idea of minorities living within a sunken place within their minds is very real.

Every time I watch the film, I notice some new hidden message that gets me thinking. The first time I watched it, I really took note of the ‘sunken place’ Chris was hypnotized into. The second time I watched the film, I noticed two things: the non-mixing of cereal and the very accurate acting that is portrayed within the film. In one scene of the movie, Anna is seen looking up her next black victim online, while eating Fruit Loops. She ate each Fruit Loop individually, drinking the milk from a glass in between. Everyone eats differently, but, to me, Anna’s method implied a disapproval of mixing.

I also noticed the fascination with black skin. Rose’s grandmother, who was essentially hypnotized into in the black body of the housekeeper, Georgina (played by Betty Gabriel). The way hypnotized Georgina rubbed her smooth black skin in her window reflection made the audience question is there something mentally wrong with Georgina or if she is really in love with herself. The way she was caressing her skin seemed like she was infatuated. Some friends brought up black beauty standards and how black people are stereotypically known to have smoother, younger-looking faces as compared to other races. When keeping this particular idea in mind, it seemed like Rose’s grandmother wanted to be placed in a black women’s body so that she could have the genetic qualities that black people have.

The third time I watched the film, I noticed my desire for the black guy to actually live within a horror film for once. There is a stereotype that black people are always one of the first people to die within a horror film, but “Get Out” lets the main protagonist of the film fight his way to freedom.

I urge everyone to watch this film. I have seen “Get Out” three times so far and I do not plan on stopping until I can truly enjoy the masterpiece without any reflection on hidden messages. The film was superb and if I had to rate it out of 10, I would give the film an 11; it really exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait to watch it for a 4th time. I want to give a brief shout out to Jordan Peele for becoming the first black director and writer to reach over $100 million at the box office for his film. This films demonstrates that America may finally be interested in engaging in conversations about race.

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