The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: October 2017 (Page 1 of 4)

Student Athelte Profile: Caroline O’Reilly ‘18: A Field Hockey Midfeilder, O’Reilly ‘18, Passionate About Spanish And Education Studies

Caroline O’Reilly ’18, a senior midfielder from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, is planning to lead the women’s field hockey team to playoffs and win NESCACs, but she wants to focus on the fundamentals first.

Her field hockey career took off in sixth grade, after her parents told her they would not allow her to play ice hockey. “My brothers both played [ice] hockey, and I just felt so left out so I figured field hockey was the closest thing,” O’Reilly remembers. She convinced her younger sister to play and now they bond over the experiences playing in college. “She really gets what it’s like to be a college athlete so we call each other to talk about our experiences,” she explains. But since her sister plays at a different school, O’Reilly’s Bates teammates have become her family.

To her teammates, she’s “Little Caroline,” but her presence on the field is far from little. “It didn’t happen right away, but I can confidently say that I’ve found my voice on the field and on the team, and it’s just so different from where I was as a freshman. I was so quiet,” O’Reilly admits. “I get so excited to go to practice each day now, and I always come ready to work, smile, laugh and, most importantly, have fun while I do it.”

Underneath her winning smile is a tenacious, hard-working athlete. Her highlight of the season thus far was beating Connecticut College on Saturday Oct. 7, where O’Reilly scored the final goal in Bates’ 3-1 win. O’Reilly’s pregame rituals include eating peanut butter crackers in the locker room and listening to music, and it clearly works for her.

During preseason, the field hockey team took a kayaking trip together to bond off the field, and O’Reilly believes the teams’ success this year can be attributed to that bonding experience. After the win against Connecticut College, O’Reilly is excited for the future of this year’s team. “I’m really looking forward to using our win as momentum to shoot us forward,” she says. “We have a lot of potential on this team, and this cohesive unit has what it takes to be successful.”

As a senior, she wants to lead by example in focusing less on the big picture, and more on the individual steps to get where they want to go. For her, this means focusing on a good night’s sleep, eating healthy food, and showing up to practice in the right mindset. It also includes watching film of her own game on nights where her friends get to go out, but she will do whatever it takes and is confident that her team feels the same way. O’Reilly’s focus after this weekend has moved to the next game, and what she personally needs to do to make sure the team secures that win.

When reflecting on her growth from freshman to senior year off the field, O’Reilly considers her study habits and time management skills to have improved immensely. Writing thesis in-season this year is proving to be tough, but O’Reilly feels the last three seasons have prepared her for balancing school and sports. It also helps that she is passionate about her subject. O’Reilly is combining her Spanish major and Education minor to focus on Special Education, specifically looking at children’s literature in Spain and the United States. “I’m working hard to keep up with my thesis chapters, so I can really focus on the coming [field hockey] games,” she says. “It’s my last season and I need to be more focused than ever.”

Come support Bates Field Hockey and O’Reilly next weekend, Oct. 14 and 15, as they take on Tufts and Amherst on the JB turf, and secure two more wins to propel them to their end goal.

PHYLLIS GRABER JENSON/BATES COLLEGE

PHYLLIS GRABER JENSON/BATES COLLEGE

Stephen King’s The Green Mile is a Must Read

As summer fades away, familiar signs of autumn announce the new season’s arrival. Cooler weather shakes a myriad of colorful leaves onto the ground as the trees prepare for winter. They crunch underfoot as people hustle across the quad between classes. Apples, pumpkins, and cider find their way into many different foods, offering a host of festive dining options. Warm afternoons sandwiched between cold mornings and nights remind us that this little slice of a season between summer and winter is fleeting, and therefore to be treasured.

The nostalgic air about autumn also brings in thoughts of Halloween: horror movies, Stephen King novels, and an unusually strong desire to listen to the entire Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack on repeat. For those who do not particularly enjoy, or simply cannot stand lying awake at night, sure that Cujo or the Babadook is hiding in the corner, cloaked in shadow, this can be a difficult time to navigate. When practically everyone is reading The Shining and watching The Conjuring I and II, it can get a little difficult to maintain a Halloween spirit while tearing up over The Notebook and laughing at the jokes in 50 First Dates.

Published over several months in 1996, Stephen King’s serial novel The Green Mile offers an atmosphere of suspense without going so far as to terrify its readers. Now available as a compilation of all six pieces of the novel, The Green Mile follows Paul Edgecomb’s adventures as a guard on the Green Mile, a nickname given to the stretch of cells on death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary, as he interacts with a variety of well developed heroes and villains. One inmate, however, impacts Edgecomb’s life significantly. John Coffey, accused of the murder of two young girls, arrives at Cold Mountain sobbing and confused, which gives Edgecomb and his colleagues, Brutus, Dean, and Harry, reason to question his guilt. It soon becomes apparent that Coffey is unlike any other prisoner that has spent time on the Mile, leading Paul and the other guards to deliberate over the morality of their occupation.

Throughout the novel, King’s natural, driving dialogue perpetuates the plot while simultaneously establishing the complexity of his characters. Via their actions and their interactions with the prisoners, King creates lovable heroes and absolutely despicable villains that play off of each other, creating a classic atmosphere of good and evil in a completely new environment – death row during the Great Depression. Besides offering an incredibly engrossing plot, The Green Mile forces readers to examine their own humanity in context with mortality of both themselves and others. In conjunction with its fast-paced storyline, an overarching awareness of death creates a forlorn aura that hovers over the characters and events. King writes with startling sensitivity that adds a unique dynamic to the terse conflicts that weave their way through the pages of The Green Mile.

This incredible novel will surely fill any void that horror-haters may feel during this time of year. Fast-paced, suspenseful, and mysterious, The Green Mile allows readers to immerse themselves in a haunting atmosphere without leaving them terror-stricken. The raw emotionality lacing the story adds another dimension to this multifaceted novel, further building on its intrigue. The Green Mile is a well-developed, human, and engaging novel that everyone should read at some point in their lifetime. A word of warning, though: one should read the last fifty pages or so alone because, in the words of John Coffey, “You can’t hide what’s in your heart.”

 

Slacktivism and the Reactions to Las Vegas

On October 1 Stephen Paddock killed at least 59 people and injured hundreds of others. The horrific and disturbing nature of the violence sparked a bipartisan outpour of thoughts and prayers for the victims, and shock that yet another mass shooting had occurred. On television, commentators decried an epidemic of mental illness as if fixing a broken mental health system in America would solve an epidemic of bullets. But, most importantly, nobody did anything besides talk and post on Facebook.

This reaction is inherently problematic. Posting on Facebook does nothing. Saying “I’m horrified/scared/shocked/hope it won’t happen again” does nothing. Everyone feels that way. Prayers and thoughts for the victims and their families don’t matter, or at least they fail to solve anything. Blaming the mental state of the shooter does nothing. Fundamentally, it’s just too late for anyone to do something about horrors that happened in the past, even if that past was two hours ago. Fundamentally, slacktivism does nothing besides make the “activist” feel good about their good deed of taking a few minutes out of their day.

Instead, let’s focus on prevention of more mass shootings. Let’s go further and prevent the mass gun violence that happens in America every day, to hundreds of people in the forms of homicide, intimate partner violence, accidental gun deaths, and suicide. It isn’t very hard, but it certainly will take more action than simply posting on Facebook.

The very power of being a citizen of the United States comes from the right to vote. Use it. Vote for politicians whose beliefs you agree with on this issue. Voting takes half an hour per year, on the first Tuesday of November. This year it’s November 7, so mark your calendars. Vote every year, even when there is not a Presidential election. Don’t think of municipal or state elections as “just local.” The policies of cities and states can be different from the federal government, and elections are often decided by just a few hundred votes.

On that note, tell your representatives how you feel. Call your governor, senator, congressperson and any other elected official who will be voting on a policy that you care about. If you don’t have the time to call, write a letter, email or even a text. Today, there are many services such as Resistbot and FaxZero that will send faxes from smartphones. Use them. Copy and paste the Facebook post you’ve already written and send it. Let them know about the outrage of their constituents. Contact them every time something you care about comes up.

Today, it’s more important than ever to stay informed about the issues. Don’t block out news that is unpleasant, but make sure all of it is true. Make sure to get news from good sources with a history of accurate, non-partisan reporting. Fox News and MSNBC are commentary on the news, not the news. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Politico are all excellent examples. Be a conscious consumer and remember to question the motivations of the source and check if the information is factually accurate. This matters for news like a mass shooting, just as it does for other issues.

But, being a well-informed and active voter and citizen is not enough. Volunteer for or give money to campaigns rallying against gun violence. Go to rallies and events for causes you support. Make yourself visible and use your right to First Amendment Rights to Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly to control the tyranny of the Second Amendment. Demand reasonable, small actions like waiting periods, universal background checks, and basic safety requirements on guns. Make your anger visible.

Finally, encourage others to do the same. Change doesn’t happen without broad, unified support. Remember—mass shootings should not be a partisan issue, or a time for hoping that this incident will be the last. It won’t be the last until the horror and terror of this experience inspires millions of Americans to stand up against gun violence and demand change.

 

Letter to the Bates Community

My Fellow Bates Students,

Today marks over a month since Student Government has been in full force, working hard to transform itself into a more student-facing organization. This necessary rebuild comes with a host of diligent effort and, to be completely honest, a lot of trial and error. We are living in an extraordinary time at Bates, one of many changes. And those changes are constantly shaping how we study, learn, and grow during our time here. Much of the work that we do sometimes goes unnoticed; behind all the Instagram posts with Clayton, and the other fun publicity, there’s a great team of people working alongside me to make Bates an even better institution than what we are blessed to have currently. Therefore, I believe it only necessary to publicize the work we’ve been involved in over the past month to all of you.

As Bates continues to grow its endowment and financial aid, we will begin to accept more international students and individuals from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. Consequently, this will cause more students to remain here during breaks, either due to lack of funds or distance of travel. It is for that reason that we are working tirelessly with Christine Schwartz to make meals free during breaks, in hope to create a more convenient atmosphere for students who remain on campus.

Obviously, our relationship with the city of Lewiston remains somewhat fragmented. This is disheartening because of the work we have done to bridge the gap between the school and the community. What we have proposed is working with both the Bates College Democrats and Republicans to get the new mayoral and City Council candidates up to Bates. This will allow us to understand which candidates have the true desire to work with the Bates community and repair the relationship between us and the neighbors.

In the meantime, if our social scene must transition to more events on campus, that cannot happen without a philosophical change from our Department of Security. Student Government has created a Security Advisory Council. This separate body, composed of faculty and students, will work in constant conjunction with the Department on its philosophy, policy, and procedural changes, as well as act as place to bring complaints concerning Security Officers.

Additionally, we recognize the inconvenience of the many cards one must have to function here at Bates. An I.D., a laundry card, and a debit or credit card to buy food at the Den or gear from the bookstore. Student Government is in the process of working with Geoffrey Swift to create a single card system, one that works as an ID, a laundry card, and to introduce BatesBucks, a refillable debit-like system that allows you to make purchases at the Den or bookstore. A long-term addition to this plan includes making laundry free for all students.

On a larger scale, some of our long-term goals include teaming up with Jason Fein, our new Athletic Director, to envision what changes can be made to our facilities while we await the plans for our new gym and fitness centers. We are also working along with the administration and the Human Resources department to increase diversity among not only our faculty, but also our campus workers, as the diversity within the city of Lewiston should be more apparent within the composition of our staff.

None of these goals are simple, and they require a lot of dedication and compromise, but we are willing to go the distance for the student body, as that is what our transformation is all about. For you all, there are tons of ways that you can stay updated, get involved, and let us know what you’re thinking. Follow @bates_stugov on Twitter, Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook. Our Student Government meetings are every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Benjamin Mays Center, and they’re open to every student. And don’t forget about the Speak Out forum on our website, where you can write up any complaint no matter how big or small and we’ll do our absolute best to resolve your issue.

Once again, our willingness to vigorously represent your interests will not waiver, and we encourage you all to work with us as we work alongside the administration and continue to change Bates for us, for the future of this institution, and make Bates the best possible place for each and every person here.

Stay Great,

Walter Washington II ’19

Student Body President

Resinosa Ensemble Graces Bates with its Presence

Yet again, Alan Carr presented to me and the Bates community a wonderful night of music. The Resinosa Ensemble, composed of Joëlle Morris (mezzo-soprano), Eliza Meyer (cello), and Bridget Convey (piano) delighted the Olin Concert Hall with their presence this past Friday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. This group of Maine musicians presented two sets of pieces separated by an intermission. The first part of the performance, the group shared the music of living composers; for the second part, they presented the music of composers ranging from the 17th to the 20th century.

As the group was welcomed on stage, they settled into what would remain the tone of the show: excellence. The three women flawlessly presented Tom Flaherty’s piece “Music I Heard with You.” Though I did not find the eerie composition to fit appropriately with the wishful tone of the text, the ensemble skillfully drew the audience in to start the concert strong. I noticed the same disconnect between text and musical emotion during Justin Rubin’s “Day that I have Loved.” Though a poem about gentle loss, the aggressive melancholic motifs tore through the hall like arrows. However, the ensemble still managed to present the piece artfully, and I could not dislike it.

The third piece, a duet between Meyer and Convey, was both playful and balanced. The piece was created to imitate the sound of the ch’in and hsiao, two Chinese instruments, and since I have heard neither of these instruments, I am left assuming that this goal was met. Regardless, the jovial nature of the relationship between piano and cello was clearly communicated, and I appreciated the positive turn after two somber pieces.

The first act closed with a group of six songs commissioned to celebrate Bill Hueg’s 70th birthday. His wife, Hella Mears Hueg, approached composer Libby Larsen and the compositional process began with Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Liebeslied.” The work grew to include several other poems set to music, all celebrating love and nature. Within this group of songs is my favorite piece of the night, “White World.” In this piece, a text by Hilda Doolittle is brought to life by a springy piano reminiscent of the joy found in The Sound of Music. A clear reference to the title, the pianist only plays the white keys of the piano. The piece finishes with ephemeral echoes of spring and the piano’s foot pedal to make the sweet notes last longer.

After the brief intermission, the lullaby of Brahms’ Gestillte Sehnsucht and Geistliches Wiegenlied filled the hall. Sung in German, these pieces were the musical sensation of dipping tired toes into a pool of warm water. I was pleasantly lulled into a comfortable place of relaxation, just as Brahms originally intended. This music was not aggressively surprising, and was a welcome contrast to the first two pieces of the concert.

Astor Piazzolla’s cello and piano duet “Le Grand Tango” allowed the musicians time to draw all the audience’s attention. My habit of attending to the vocalist was swiftly challenged during this piece, because there was no voice singing. In this absence, I instead noted the complex emotional roller coaster Piazzolla created; his composition sounded like the sound score of a major motion picture. I felt the rises, falls, and tensions that seemed to fit perfectly into a movie set, and I was not alone. One audience member exhaled a “Woah” in the silence just before the hall exploded into thunderous applause.

For the last song of the concert, Morris was able to sing in her native language. Originally from Evian, France, Morris sang “Chanson d’Amour” in French.

As the audience gave the three women a standing ovation, I was struck by how few Bates students were in the crowd. Olin was lightly populated with retirees and families with young children, but fewer than 15 students. Then I remembered: it is a Friday night, and I just spent 100 minutes listening to music composed five to 500 years ago. I was in the minority on campus, yet I was blissfully happy with my evening activity.

resinosa photo 1

The stage is set for the Resinosa Ensemble to perform. TORY DOBBIN/THE BATES STUDENT.

resinosa photo 2

Joëlle Morris, Eliza Meyer, and Bridget Convey perform in Olin Concert Hall. TORY DOBBIN/THE BATES STUDENT

 

The Second Ammendment and Gun Control

In the wake of yet another tragic mass shooting, it’s time to finally put aside our differences and take a look into the ways in which we as a nation can protect our fellow citizens. This is a charge that must be inspired by and for the people, and carried out by those we elect to represent our basic rights and needs in the government. Gun control need not be politicized, we all as Americans should support legislation that is beneficial to and promotes safety for all of our fellow citizens.

As an American who believes strongly in democracy, I respect and support the Constitution. With that being said, as time passes and our world evolves and advances, there is a strong need to adapt our laws to ensure the freedom and safety of all Americans. When our founding fathers added the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, they were accustomed to your average musket or bayonet, which did not have the ability to potentially injure or kill scores of people in only a matter of seconds. They never could have imagined the technology that is currently available, which is why the amendment process is critical to the continued democratic process of law making. Entities like the National Security Administration (NSA) or any sort of cyber task force were not a threat that even crossed the minds of our nation’s founders, but neither were guns with 17+ bullet magazines.

Although I am personally terrified of guns, I do respect people’s right and desire to own a gun, whether it be for hunting or for self-protection. In her op-ed “The LGBT Case for Guns,” Nicki Stallard urges members of her community to learn how to use a gun professionally because that is what the Second Amendment intends. I agree with Stallard. I am not against guns nor the right to own a gun. What I am against is guns that have the ability to inflict massive harm in a short period of time. I am against the ability of people who are suspected terrorists, known to be violent or harmful to others, or even those who our government has deemed unsafe to board an aircraft to go out and purchase such weapons without so much as a background check.

In the five years following the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook, there has been an immense increase in overall gun legislation. A Harvard Business School study found that a single mass shooting occurring in a state leads to a 15 percent increase in gun legislation passed in that state. For Republican-leaning states, this generally leads to loosening of restrictions on when, how and who can by a gun. Shootings occurring in democratic states generally see laws that have little to no effect on changing who can buy a gun.

Human life is precious and no human being, especially a citizen of a “free” nation, should have to fear the loss of their life when deciding to attend basic activities such as school, a movie premiere, a music festival or even a night out at a dance club. The answer to such tragedies as these is not thoughts and prayers nor is it eradication of guns in our nation. It is simply effective control and restriction of the types of weapons that can be purchased and by whom.

There is no time like the present for our representatives to put aside party and lobbyist allegiances and come together for the greater good of the people. So, I urge you, along with your thoughts and prayers, to offer your voice and contact your elected officials. Let’s make a change, for far too many lives have been cut short at the hands of gun violence.

 

The Ballroom Thieves Play at VCS

This last Thursday, October 5, the Bates community welcomed The Ballroom Thieves to VCS. The Ballroom Thieves had their Bates debut in 2015 and have performed here multiple times. The band has three members, Martin Earley on the guitar, Calin Peters on the bass, and Devin Mauch on the drums. As most bands performing at VCS, The Ballroom Thieves played a mixture folk and acoustic rock. With the fall semester picking up its pace and midterms approaching fast, their energetic performance was much needed.

I am not very knowledgeable about music. Even though I understand nothing about harmony, I could see that there was some sort of intimacy and balance in the Thieves’ performance. The three members seem to be very close to each other; I could see it when they glanced at each other. According to the band’s website, they have toured together for the past two years. Even though living on the road as a band may seem glamorous, the band cautioned against the unrealistic image of the adventurous travelling artist. It is hard to deal with breakdowns, financial challenges, and illness on the move.

Between songs, the performers would share a few stories. One of their comments was that the audience was “respectfully quiet.” And they were not wrong. Even during the band’s most energetic rock-ish songs, most of the audience would remain quiet and calm. Many Batesies were on their computers polishing some work. I couldn’t help but wonder if things would have been different if VCS was somewhat more like a concert. To my surprise, some people expressed the same opinion!

“[S]omething fun they could do is if a band that is coming has very danceable music, they could make the main area a dance spot. I don’t know if people would actually be willing to do that, but sometimes I wish I could get up and dance like at a concert,” Oriana Lo Cicero ’20 mentioned regarding what could potentially make VCS better. Between two songs, even The Ballroom Thieves mentioned that they would love to have a stand-up concert at Bates.

Even though I don’t go to VCS often, I enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the weekly performances. The performances are consistent and you always know what to expect: good folk music, warm beverages, and company. “The chai and cookies gives a cozy coffee house vibe and they always pick great artists,” mentioned Lo Cicero who attends VCS weekly. This was the second time The Ballroom Thieves performed at Bates in 2017. They thanked Bates for the consistency and support. VCS is definitely entertaining for students and it is good to see that it promotes the arts in some ways.

If you need a pause on your Thursday, a study break, or a change in energy, VCS is for you. Next Thursday, October 12 VCS will host the Green Dot Student Showcase, in which students perform music, comedy, spoken word, and more. I hope to see you there!

 

Q&A: Abby Hamilton ’21 Opens Up About Her Experience as a First-Year Student Athlete at Bates

In the midst of my third season as a runner for the women’s cross country team, I constantly find myself relishing in the fact that, since my first year at Bates, I have been surrounded by a group of supportive and strong individuals who have tremendously helped me adjust to the varying challenges of college life.

A fellow teammate of mine, Abby Hamilton ’21, from Yarmouth, Maine, is currently undergoing her first season as a collegiate runner. Although running used to be something that Abby “dreaded doing,” she has grown to love the sport and during her senior year of high school was “Maine’s Class B Cross Country State Champion,” with a personal record time of 18:05 over 5,000 meters. This year, she has consistently been either the third or fourth runner for Bates.

I had the opportunity to speak with Abby about how she is adjusting to Bates as both a runner and a student. This article has been edited for grammar and clarity.

Sarah Rothmann (SR): What drew you to Bates and how much of an impact did sports play into your decision?

Abby Hamilton (AH): I decided to come to Bates mostly because I knew that I would be really close to my family since Bates is only about 40 minutes away from our house. Obviously, Bates has very good academics and that was also very important to me. I remember being very intrigued by the small class sizes. I have had several friends come here as well and they have all really enjoyed their experience. Sports were not as important to me but I knew that Bates had a really strong cross country team because I had followed them for the past couple of years. Up until my senior year of high school, however, running was just an activity I did on the side. By my senior year, I completely switched my mindset and was like “I am just going to go all in and try my hardest.” It ended up being a really good season and I loved seeing all of my hard work finally pay off. From that point forward I just really fell in love with running and my team, so I knew that I wanted to continue running but it was not the deciding factor, regarding my decision to come to Bates.

SR: How have you found the transition from high school to college running?

AH: Throughout high school I always had the best captains. They taught me that life does not revolve solely around running and that it is important to step outside your comfort zone and meet new people. They just set a great example and I really hoped to do the same. By my senior year, I became one of the captains and I really wanted to make the sport fun. A huge goal of mine was to emphasize how we run because we enjoy it and love being a part of a team, not just to set personal records. I think that everything in running can be carried over into other parts of life as well. Now, college running is very different from high school but in the best way. The intensity of everything is higher but you are also surrounded by really great people. Everybody is so supportive and thoughtful, which makes working hard extremely rewarding and fun.

SR: Last Saturday, September 30, was your first travel experience with the team for the Saratoga Invitational in Saratoga, New York. What did you think of your first cross country road trip?

AH: The Saratoga Invitational was actually a definite highlight of my year so far! It is really amazing to have such a strong team that works well together. The Top 20 were rewarded pies and five of us were able to get pies, which was really fun and exciting. In high school, we did not really travel that much. Sometimes we went to New England’s and stayed overnight but other than that we did not travel at all. I think it is neat to be able to race in different areas across the country instead of races on the same courses all the time. Also, traveling allows you to bond with your team a little bit more which is really helpful and nice.

SR: Outside of running, how have you found the adjustment from high school to college?

AH: High school academics were definitely not as challenging. This year I am taking chemistry, calculus, psychology, and my first-year seminar, “Family Stories.” They are definitely hard but they are also all classes that I am interested in and look forward to everyday. While in college I have found that you have to spend more time analyzing the readings and problems, there is more help that is provided. I have definitely used all of the resources, like the ARC, that are available. I thought being away from home was going to be a little harder, considering how close I am with my family, but just being surrounding by such a friendly and welcoming crowd of people has made my adjustment very manageable.

SR: What are some of your favorite parts of the Bates campus?

AH: I really like studying in PGill. It is really quiet, a good temperature, and I like the waterfall noises in the background. It is also right in the middle of campus so you are close to everything! One goal of mine for this year is to a little check out third floor of the library. I have always been curious but too afraid of making too much noise! The vegan bar at Commons is another one of my go-to spots on campus (laughs).

SR: I know that it is still early, but what are you thinking about studying?

AH: Science has always been a subject that fascinates me so I am thinking about majoring in Biology. In high school I was part of a global action club and am thinking about eventually going into pharmacy.

SR: If you could give advice to an incoming first-year class of students, what would you say to them?

AH: I think the most important piece of advice that I could give is not to be afraid to ask for help. As my first-year seminar professor would say, “Don’t hide!” There are so many resources available to you when you need help and I have found that once I took the first step and started using them, it became much easier to constantly take advantage of the help for all of my other courses.

Be sure to watch Abby, as well as the other members of the women’s cross country team, compete at their Maine State Championship at Bowdoin this Saturday, October 14.

Dear Sustainable Abigail…

Hi Abby!

I am living in Adams this year and I have noticed students putting the trash bags from their room into the larger bathroom bins. I was under the impression that all trash from our room should be placed in a trash room, and definitely not the bathroom. I want to tell people to be conscious of their actions and take the time to place their trash in the correct room, but I do not want to be harsh or rude. How would you recommend I approach this situation?

-Worried about Waste

Hey Worried about Waste,
This is a very common issue, one that I am so glad you brought up! First of all, you are absolutely right.  It is super important to put waste in the proper receptacles, especially personal trash which is simply not meant for the bathroom trash can. It is always hard to address situations like this, and I have run into this issue myself. Fortunately, there are a couple great resources that can lend a hand.  First, talk to your JA. It doesn’t have to be an accusatory conversation, but instead, by reaching out about this issue, you can open a dialogue on an important topic and bounce ideas off of one another. Perhaps your JA would be able to send out a reminder email, or even hold a program that is waste oriented to get people thinking about their actions. Another way to approach this is through speaking to your custodian, a great person to create a relationship with. I would imagine they are feeling some of the same frustration, so creating a partnership with them would be a cool way to tackle the issue. In general, it’s great to get to know your custodians and put a face on the incredibly important work they do, so even facilitating a way to have your custodian meet your floor, perhaps with help from your JA or the Ecoreps, could begin to solve this issue with the bonus of a positive relationship with the people who make all of our lives much better (and cleaner)! The Ecoreps have been working hard to create initiatives for students to create these relationships with their custodians, and would love to help you in any way we can; if you’re interested just shoot an email to eoshea@bates.edu and we can get started on this issue together. Thank you so much for bringing up this problem. It is one that happens campus-wide and is important to be conscious of, as everyone’s approach to waste affects our overall sustainability.

Who is Sustainable Abigail? She is a sustainability advocate at your service! If you’re worried about recycling, have ideas about addressing food waste, or concerns about your role promoting sustainability on campus, Abigail is a great resource to turn to. Whatever your sustainable inquiries may be, Abigail is ready to address them all! Simply write to her by either filling out the google form found in Bates Today or by writing your concern on a piece of paper and placing it into her question box in Commons. Any question is valid and appreciated and will stay anonymous, so don’t hesitate to ask!

abigail

 

Cleaning Through Mud, Trash, and Mount David

Despite rainy conditions, a large group of students gathered to volunteer their time and help make our campus a little cleaner during this past Sunday’s EcoService Day.

The annual campus-wide cleanup started last year as an extension of the longer standing community cleanup throughout Lewiston that the EcoReps and the Harward Center organize during Short Term. According to EcoRep Sophia Thayer ’18, the on-campus cleanup will hopefully continue in the years to come.

“We’re trying to make it a tradition. On-campus in the fall, off-campus in the spring,” said Thayer.

Volunteers were given a choice of several possible activities, including cleanups of Mount David and the Puddle, leaf raking, trash bin painting, and letter writing. Each project focused on a different problem that either affect the environment or student safety. These projects have changed slightly from last year.

“We try to clean up the glass and trash up there [on Mount David] because it’s kind of dangerous. On the last EcoService Day we had a fence behind some of the Frye Street Houses that we slowly tried to take down to create accessibility to the mountain from that side. But we’re not doing that this year,” said Thayer.

For the Puddle cleanup, volunteers had to use waders borrowed from professors in the science departments in order to wade into the water. Historically, this cleanup has had the most surprises.

“Last year we found a wheelchair, parking signs, and bikes, so it’s crazy,” explained Thayer.

Though raking the newly fallen leaves was important for keeping the campus clean, the EcoService day organizers were also hoping to have enough leaves to create a pile for students to jump into. An annual leaf jump used to be a Bates tradition once the leaves started falling, but it has not been organized in the last few years.

EcoService day was able to take place despite the imminent loom of rain clouds as the volunteers gathered in the morning. Many of the volunteers and organizers had taken part in the Outing Club’s group hike on Mount Katahdin the day before.

In addition to the cleanup, volunteers were encouraged to take breaks in upstairs Commons where they could write letters to a member of the Maine state legislature about a variety of environmental issues.

The final project accomplished during EcoService day was the painting of several trash bins on campus. The goal of this was to give all of the bins a more uniform look so that students can use them properly.

“Many trash bins in the different buildings are different colors and have different signs, and it’s confusing. We’re just systemizing to make them all the same,” said Thayer.

The EcoReps are a student group dedicated to “work[ing] toward promoting environmentally responsible behavior on campus.” EcoService Day is only one of the many projects that the group works on. Others include the annual Trashion Show, the Green Bike program and promoting good sustainability practices amongst the Bates community through informative posters.

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