The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Katherine Ziegler

Looking ahead to a new year in the Ronj

Just in time for the cold fall weather, the Ronj has opened for the new school year. Adam Rintell ‘17, one of the Ronj’s three student managers, shared how Bates’ coffeehouse has been faring financially, as well as what students can expect this year.

After a long discussion with the administration last fall, the Ronj began taking credit cards. Although there was some hesitation around the processing fee of the credit card company, the switch paid off in the end. “Two years ago we brought in about $8,000 in revenue and this past year we brought in about $16,000,” Adam said. “So we almost cleanly doubled our revenue intake, and the only material change we made was being able to accept debit and credit cards. My thesis is that a lot of people that otherwise were counting out the nickels in their wallets to buy chai and walking away from the register were now buying stuff.”

The increase in revenue is always welcome, but is not what keeps the Ronj in business. The college gives the business a certain amount of money as an expenses budget, and then pays students out of a separate account. Throughout the year, the Ronj aims to make enough to pay back the expenses budget. When the student wages are taken into account, they actually operate at a loss. So what purpose does the Ronj serve on campus? “The point is not to make as much money as possible, the point is to create a community space on campus,” says Adam. The managers also try to orient their staff around the community. “This year we had a huge applicant pool, which was really exciting and really hard. A lot of people assume we hire on barista experience, but that’s not necessarily true…We want a staff that will work well together, while also being thoughtful members of the Bates community, who want to give back and contribute something to Bates.”

One of the most effective ways of actually bringing the community into this space is through programming. Although the Ronj already served as a place for programming and group meetings last year, successful programming has been difficult. “Sometimes we’d have a really cool performer and we’d have ten or fifteen people show up. They’d be thrilled, but it’s not really that many people. We’d talk to people, even members of the staff, and they’d have no idea because it’s not really well-publicized.” This year publicity will be more organized events will be seen on Bates Today and social media.

Unlike VCS, which generally hosts outside performers, it makes more sense, both financial and in terms of turnout, for the Ronj to host Bates artists. Students are more likely to show up for an artist they know than more expensive outside groups. There may also be more movie-night programming.

Beyond programming, the food also brings students in, especially on Wednesday’s dollar Chai night. This year might even see some new items added to the menu. The staff is working to find the right brand of ice cream to make affogatos, a combination of ice cream with espresso poured over the top. Another possible idea in the works is a drink pre-order system somewhat like Den delivery, which would allow students to pre-order drinks from their room and then walk over to find the drink already made and pre-paid. Of course, this system wouldn’t have the convenience of delivery and is not yet a set plan. Will these new changes increase growth? “We’re not setting revenue targets,” says Adam. “We’re honestly more interested in how many more people can come to the Ronj for the first time.”

 

Sexual Violence Awareness Club to change the conversation

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding sexual violence on college campuses in the news, but has there been enough at Bates? Charlotte Cramer ‘19, and Ceri Kurtz ‘19, didn’t think so, and as a result they founded the Sexual Violence Awareness Club to help start conversations about sexual violence and the campus cultures that facilitate it.

“I don’t think a lot of people talk about this stuff and know this stuff. It’s a very quiet topic that not a lot of people think about, it’s really not their fault. I remember my first year thinking, ‘I know this is important, but this doesn’t really happen,’” said Cramer.

Co-president Kurtz shared a similar perspective, stating, “I personally think that there’s a population on campus that is very aware of the problem and actively tries to prevent or at the very least talk about it, but there’s also a large portion of people here that completely ignore the issue which is incredibly problematic, because a lot of those people are the ones who are perpetuating the problem–either through ignorance or intentional malicious enabling.”

Unlike other campus programs, such as Green Dot that is a top-down program fostered by the administration, SVAC offers a student-centered and student-run approach.

“Despite the fact that we have systems in place that will help people, there isn’t a lot of student support and student awareness, but obviously students are for the most part the perpetrators, they are the people that are standing by,” says Cramer.

The bi-monthly club meetings are discussion-based, similar to the Feminist Collective, another club on campus that deals with gender issues. Discussion topics have included staying safe during 80s dance, and consent, as well as an upcoming discussion on the ramifications of the Health Center’s new hours for those who have experienced sexual assault. There has been a fair amount of pushback from the student body over the changes of the health center hours, many arguing that the new and fewer hours are depriving students of resources that could be of aid in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault. For those who are not aware, the Health Center is now opened only on weekdays from nine to five, and closed on weekends, which is when most sexual assault cases occur.

But SVAC is not just about talking, “There’s a lot of activism involved,” says Cramer, “not necessarily standing out in front of commons and shouting at people, but the kind of stuff where we’re just engaging with the campus.” Those students on campus over Short Term last year might remember SVAC’s art exposé, which they hope to continue this year.

SVAC truly aims to reach the entire campus community. “It’s about bringing everyone together, because it’s an issue that a lot of people have. It does not discriminate,” says Cramer. Naturally, they are looking to partner with other groups and clubs on campus, like FemCo and Outfront, as well as obtaining greater involvement from athletes on campus.

“Reaching out to athletic teams is an effective way of reaching out to a large and influential part of the Bates community,” stress SVACs community liaisons, Claire Sullivan ‘19 and Emma Rivas ‘19, “at this point, we are in the process of formulating plans to involve athletes. Peter Lasagna, the men’s lacrosse coach, is a huge advocate for programs such as Green Dot and other sexual violence prevention programs, so we are looking forward to possibly collaborating with him to open our reach up to the athletic community.”

In addition to discussions and education around consent and intervention, SVAC also approaches prevention from a self-defense angle.

“My philosophy is that everyone on campus should be highly aware of what consent means and should hold themselves responsible for their actions (I don’t think there’s such a thing as not being able to “control yourself” in making an advance on another woman or man). However, in practice, it’s much harder to reach potential perpetrators — because they’re likely the people that wouldn’t attend things like the Art Expose on Sexual Violence or undergo a five hour Green Dot training–so I think it’s important to also empower people by letting them know that there are options in self defense and the consistent option to say no, and give people ideas in ways to keep themselves safe,” says Kurtz. Co-President Cramer also mentioned a potential movement for a weekend long women’s self-defense course, in addition to the PE class already held at Bates.

Although they have ambitious plans, the mission of SVAC is simple: get students to recognize that sexual violence at Bates happens. “Our club is trying to make Bates students aware and cognisant of the fact that it is a real problem that happens on our campus,” said Rivas and Sullivan, “whether you see it or not, the only way to make our campus a safer place is to open up a dialogue that acknowledges the problem that exists.”

The Sexual Violence Awareness Club meets bi-weekly Tuesdays at 7:45 in Pettengill G44.

Bates Health Center gets an upgrade

Many students may have noticed the shiny new health center on Campus Avenue; however, the health center changes go beyond the new coat of paint — over the summer, Bates has revamped its medical and mental health services. What are the biggest changes this year, and how will they affect your next visit?

Back in May, the Campus Culture Working Group issued a final report of their findings. Concerning student health, they found that many students were unhappy with aspects of health services at Bates, including the quality of the facilities, mental health education, and quality of medical care. In response the Campus Culture Working Group recommended that the college “better align medical services with best practices in the industry, including the modernization of all aspects of the operation,” as well as “better align mental health staffing structures and services with best practices in the field, including those to support students with diverse identities.”

To these ends, the health center has undergone a number of changes, including a new partnership with Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC). The CMMC is located in Lewiston on 300 Main Street. According to the information sent out by Student Affairs, the CMMC partnership will give health services more access to diagnostics testing, medical specialities, and the CMMC’s medical records system.

The health center’s hours have also changed. During the week, the on-campus center has changed their hours of operation, from 9 am to 5 pm. After 5 pm, services will continue to be provided, first at Urgent Care in Auburn until 9 pm, and then from 9 pm to 9 am in the CMMC Emergency department. The health center will also be closed for breaks and on the weekends, with care covered again by the CMMC. As for transportation to these locations, health services recommends taking a zip car, cab, or City Link bus, as well as Bates’ Friday and Saturday shuttle.

What can you expect the next time you come down with the Bates plague? The health center website asks students to bring their insurance card to their first visit and to fill out health history paperwork. Bates will still keep old medical records, but after your first visit CMMC will keep electronic records. As of yet, there are no copays, but they expect to begin charging based on individual insurance in the next academic year. Health services have also hired additional staff, including three members, who will be leading Counseling and Psychological Services.

Counseling services will also now have the ability to institute more student outreach. On their site, they state that they are currently more prepared and able to connect with students and student organizations, as well as offer student’s programs in stress reduction and coping skills.

Another exciting new feature is the prescription delivery service. Medication will be dropped off at the post and print at 11:00 am and 2:30 pm. Similar to a package, students will get an email when it is ready to be picked up. The packaging is a discrete sealed envelope with only the student’s name and number.

More information can be found on the Bates Health Services and CAPS websites, as well as CMMC.org’s MyHealthLink.

 

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