The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Matt Morris (Page 2 of 2)

Snow Ball Semi Formal Welcomes the Cold with Chocolate, Funk, and Fun

The temperature is dropping and final exams are just around the corner. Naturally, many students across campus are tense and melancholic. This year the Chase Hall Committee looked to alleviate the stress of the last weeks of the semester with the first edition of what may become an annual tradition: Snow Ball Semi Formal Dance.

The dance featured two distinct venues, both of which were inside Chase Hall. Memorial Commons featured the main dance itself, while students looking for a more low-key atmosphere could head down to the Little Room. The lower venue featured a selection of beers and ciders for 21+ students and stacks of pizza for everyone.

Upstairs, the featured fare was more fitting for the semi-formal dress code. Food choices included a variety of cheeses and a chocolate fondue fountain. Adding to the holiday spirit, students could get a cup of hot chocolate.

The Logistics of Funk, a student ensemble with a retro bent, provided the music in Memorial Commons. The group played a variety of funk classics, including “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.

Owen Schmidt ’21, one of the percussionists for Logistics of Funk, said playing at Snow Ball was an extremely enjoyable experience, just as he says playing in the band has been all year.

“It’s my first year in Logistics of Funk, and it’s been great to learn from everyone else in the group. Everyone is so incredibly talented and skilled at their instruments,” said Schmidt.

The performance was just as enjoyable for many members of the audience as it was for the performers both. Zeke Smith ’19, who attended the dance, reported being blown away by the overall atmosphere.

“It was a super classy event. I’m really glad Bates added this to its repertoire for the coming years,” said Smith.

Schmidt also acknowledged that most of the audience seemed to be having a good time, and said that it helped to drive him and his band mates.

“The crowd energy was great, and we were really able to feed off of everything they were doing and have a really great time,” said Schmidt.

Snow Ball was organized by the Chase Hall Programming Board, which oversees a wide variety school-sponsored events for Bates students. Events range from weekly programming like the Village Club Series, to annual traditions like Gala. This year was the first time that the Programming Board had added a second school-wide formal in addition to Gala, which takes place in February. The Programming Board’s most recent larger event was this year’s Fall Concert.

Over the past year, the Chase Hall Programming Board has been pushing to increase the number and attendance of on-campus events available to students. The shift comes as a new city-wide “nuisance party” ordinance has been put into effect by Lewiston’s City Council to curtail large off-campus parties. Other new events that have been added this year include a series of events in 280 Underground on many Friday and Saturday nights.

Overall, students seemed to be excited about the addition of a second school-wide formal. Gabe Benson ’20, an attending student, thought the event overall offered a fun atmosphere. Benson summed up his experience in simple terms:

“It’s about friends. I got to spend time with friends.”

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Funk and holiday festivities filled the night. OLIN CARTY/COURTESY PHOTO

Student Non-Profit Work this Summer Makes a Long Term Difference

On Thursday November 9, three Bates students shared their experiences interning with non-profit organizations this summer. The three students, Kiernan Majerus-Collins ’18, Julia Mehl ’19, and Joe Tulip ’18, each had internships in very different fields, ranging from public policy to history to dentistry.

Mehl gave the first presentation of the session, which focused on her work for the non-profit Beyond Housing, based in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. As part of her internship, Mehl worked on several voter registration drives in neighborhoods in northern St. Louis.

Mehl’s project was a part of a larger initiative by Beyond Housing to improve these neighborhoods. Some of the other projects that the non-profit worked on included building a health clinic, a movie theatre, and a senior center that employed residents of the local community. Mehl was particularly excited to work for Beyond Housing because she grew up in St. Louis and liked the idea of working for her city.

“[The internship] was a great opportunity to go home and give back to my community,” said Mehl in her presentation.

Up next was Tulip, who worked in Washington County, Maine with Maine Mobile Health. As part of his work for the non-profit, Tulip examined the oral health of the children of migrant farm workers. The non-profit provided examinations for these children and also worked to educate families about proper oral hygiene. Though it was often hard to provide this service for a population constantly on the move, Tulip was able to make a major impact for many children.

Since returning to Bates, Tulip has been able to parlay his experience this summer into his senior thesis, which involves doing similar work in the Lewiston community. Tulip felt that dentistry and oral health, while often underappreciated, is nonetheless very important.

“It’s important to talk about creating a preventative culture with dentistry,” he said.

The final presentation was done by Majerus-Collins, who interned with the Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta, Maine. The Frances Perkins Center is an educational facility focused on the work of Frances Perkins, who was the Secretary of Labor under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the first female member of the United States Cabinet. As Secretary of Labor, Perkins helped to spearhead several important pieces of legislation that are still in place today, such as bans on child labor.

As an intern at the Frances Perkins Center, Majerus-Collins mostly greeted, talked to, and educated tourists who came into the center with limited or no knowledge of Perkins’ life. As a current History major at Bates, Majerus-Collins felt that it was a privilege to get to work for a history related non-profit, something he wasn’t sure would be possible.

“[The internship] was a great opportunity that connected to my major and extra-curricular interests. I even made some money, which I’m probably going to spend at the Den,” he said jokingly.            

The presentation was a part of a series put on by the Harwood Center that was meant to highlight the work students have done this summer through Bates’ Purposeful Work Initiative. Friday’s presentation was the last in the series for the semester.

While the non-profit work that Majerus-Collins, Mehl, and Tulip  each did this summer varied greatly, every one of them was able to make a lasting, positive impact.

Off Campus-Police Relations Disussed at Open Forum

As a part of their efforts to make changes to the social life experiences at Bates, the department of Student Affairs brought in two outside experts to give their input. While their open forum with students was sparsely attended, a variety of important issues related to the Bates experienced were discussed; particularly student relations with security, the Lewiston police, and the Lewiston community as they pertain to campus housing and party culture.

Kristin Cothran, of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and Francesca Maresca from Rutgers University in New Jersey, facilitated the discussion. Cothran is her university’s Director of Student Involvement, while Maresca is Rutgers’ Director of Health Outreach, Promotion, and Education. Erin Foster Zsiga, Associate Dean of Affairs here at Bates, introduced the pair, before stepping out of the room for the discussion to commence.

Despite notices about the meeting on Bates Today, the discussion only drew one student attendant, Jack Mulligan ’20. Mulligan said that he was surprised to be the only student participant, as he felt that many of his friends and peers had strong opinions on some of the changes between this year and his freshman year.

“I was surprised that more people didn’t show up because there’s been lots of conversations almost every day with my friends [about social life],” said Mulligan.

In particular, Mulligan said that he wanted to share his opinion and get more information on the increased Lewiston police presence around off campus parties this year. Mulligan is considering trying to live off campus for his senior year and thinks that the heightened police involvement may be a deterrent. In particular, Mulligan felt that the police focus on students living in the community might make an off campus house feel less independent than it ordinarily would.

“A lot of my friends and I are wondering if it’s worth it to live off campus because I think one of the major driving forces is to live independently and have a different social life than the first three years at Bates,” said Mulligan.

While Mulligan admitted that he was at times frustrated with Bates’ social life this year, he also acknowledged that Bates students have not always been respectful of their neighbors. Mulligan said that he was hoping to find ways to lead by example in dissuading his peers from disrespectful behavior, such as being loud late at night and public urination. Both Cothran and Maresca commended this attitude and discussed the ways that individuals can make a large difference in a community.

“I think it starts with one person. If you have an interest and a desire to make those changes, than those changes can be made,” said Maresca.

Bates College has looked to find ways to shift student nightlife away from off campus houses. Since the beginning of the summer, residents and the Lewiston city council have complained about the behavior of Bates students living in their neighborhoods. From early autumn to current day, a “nuisance party” ordinance has been put in place that gives Lewiston police greater authority to break up off campus festivities and penalize students.

Cothran, Maresca, and Mulligan all acknowledged that creating a balance that keeps all groups happy will be always be difficult but agreed that conversations like the one they had last Friday can be good starting points.

Safety Day Brings the Heat

Students, staff, and members of the Bates community gathered on the field between Smith and Garcelon on Friday for Bates’ seventh annual Fire Safety Day. The event was originally supposed to be a day earlier but was postponed due to rainy conditions.

Members of the Lewiston Fire Department were on hand to burn down a replica dorm room, complete with furniture, posters and empty beer cans. The controlled blaze was meant to demonstrate to attending students how quickly a fire can spread once it has started and the way that smoke can fill a room. Firefighters even waited the amount of time it would take them to arrive on scene from their station. The display was meant to be as accurate as possible, with even a smoke alarm being sounded at the appropriate time.

According to Jim Guzelian, Bates’ Health and Safety Specialist, the purpose of the demonstration was not only to make sure students are alert once a fire alarm goes off but to make them aware of the things they can do in their rooms to help prevent a fire.

“I demonstrate with a candle because you’re not supposed to have candles,” said Guzelian, knowing well that many people break this rule. Later, when introducing the fire demonstration, Guzelian joked that students should be wary of candles even though they can add a “romantic” feel to rooms. Firefighters used a candle to start the blaze, knocking it into a nearby trash bin. As a result of the windy conditions, firefighters eventually had to add several flammable blankets to the replica dorm room in order to make the inferno spread.

Despite these technical difficulties, the demonstration still left a strong impact on many of the spectators. Several students remarked that watching the blaze had not only been entertaining but would impact their attitude toward fire safety in the future. Though he noted that the event got off to a slow start because of the wind, Rob Flynn ’18 felt that Fire Safety Day’s message was clearly communicated.

“I’m not much of a candle user but I think I’ll definitely take [fire safety] more seriously and look out for other friends who may partaking in those kinds of behaviors,” said Flynn.

In addition to the simulated dorm fire, Guzelian and the other organizers of fire safety day offered students the opportunity to wear “drunk goggles” that simulated the effects of alcohol on balance and coordination. Students could be seen racing each other across the field, swerving as a result of the goggles’ distorted lenses. The organizers also offered attendees a free fire safety day t-shirt with an illustration of a Dalmatian on the back, as well as drawstring bags emblazoned with the Bates College logo.

Bates has been holding a fire safety day annually since 2010. According to Guzelian, the school was originally able to put on the event thanks in part to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as the cooperation of the Lewiston Fire Department.

“We got a FEMA grant way back in 2007. We were the first college to get one. With the help of fire department we’ve been doing this and they’ve been responding ever since,” said Guzelian.

The event was one that only could be described as explosive (pun definitely intended).

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.

Ladd Celebrates Banned Books Week in Style

As a part of National Banned Books Week, Ladd Library organized a series of mid-day talks by Bates professors about censorship across history and the world. The library is also placing a selection of books about censorship by the front entrance for easy accessibility.

The speaker series was one of many events across the country for National Banned Books Week. Organized by the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Book Week is meant to remind readers of “the importance of intellectual freedom.” ALA literature available at each talk listed out some of the most often censored and challenged books from the last years and celebrated protesters from around the world who helped keep the books available in their towns and schools. In addition to local libraries, the ALA partnered with organizations like the American Booksellers Association and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The week has been celebrated since 1982.

At Bates, each lecture focused on censorship in a different part of the world or era of history. The series kicked off with a talk by professor Stephanie Pridgeon about book burning and confiscation during a period of dictatorship in Argentina. Other topics included censorship in Nazi Germany, Post-World War II Japan, and 1980s Iran.

While the lecture series had focused primarily on censorship issues in the United States in previous years, librarian Laura Juraska decided to give this year’s proceedings a more international flair after some staff outreach.

“Last year we did a U.S. based [speaker series], but one of the professors in the German department sent an email because he wanted to talk about his specialty,” said Juraska.

The library staff also put out a selection of recommended books about censorship near the front of the building. Like the lectures they accompany, the books cover censorship issues from both around the world and in America.

Book censorship still occurs regularly throughout the country, usually in schools and local libraries. The ALA keeps track of “challenges” to a book made throughout the country. Books challenged in the last year included classic works by authors like Maya Angelou, Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison, and Mark Twain. Complaints ranged from thematic concerns and explicit issues to problems with a book’s “poor grammar and sentence structure.”

For English Professor Tiffany Salter, who spoke about book banning in both Iran and the United States, keeping challenged books available to the public is important because they can foster conversations and help people find out about themselves.

“Having these kinds of books from a young age, books that address topics that some might find problematic. It’s addressing life,” said Salter.

The idea of banned books being important for young people trying to find their identity was an important part of Salter’s lecture, which partially focused on challenges to the young adult graphic novel This One Summer by Marika and Jillian Tamaki. The book, a coming of age story about two preteen girls, was banned in school libraries Minnesota and Florida.

Juraska echoed Salter’s and also emphasized how pervasive book censorship can be.

“There are these things [book banning] that happen in a lot of towns. It’s a part of our conflicted society,” said Juraska.

As befitting a Bates event, hot chai, cider, and cookies were available at each Banned Books Week lecture. The selection of books about censorship are still on display.

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Controversial books are paramount to a diverse education.

Bates Goes for Sustainability Gold

Over the summer, Bates was upgraded to a Gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization that reviews the environmental impact of colleges. The rating is the second highest that the association gives, and places Bates ahead of most of the rest of the NESCAC. This new rating represents culmination of several years of work to lower Bates’ environmental footprint.

AASHE uses a wide array of indicators to create a rating for a school: ranging from carbon emissions to student involvement in environmental work. While sustainability has long been an important part of Bates’ culture, the school had never previously sent in the paperwork to receive a rating. According to Sustainability Manager Tom Twist, this meant that Bates was largely going unrecognized for its efforts.

“The fact that we had never submitted anything before means that we were on nobody’s radar as far as sustainability”, said Twist.

While the process of gathering the necessary data took over a year and half, taken together the statistics revealed a far more promising picture than Twist was expecting.

“My goal initially was just to not have the worst ranking. I thought that bronze would be embarrassing. But what we discovered by doing this report is that Bates is implementing all kinds of interesting sustainability measures.”

Several initiatives, led by students, staff and the administration, over the last few years have helped to make an AASHE Gold rating possible. One of the most significant, according to Twist, is a campus wide switch to a more sustainable, tree-based heating oil. The oil is not only creates fewer emissions than traditional clean fuels like natural gas but is also rather cheap. The result has been a “nosedive” in campus emissions.

Overall, Bates has reduced its carbon emissions by about seventy percent since 2001. The school is now on pace to meet its long term goal of being an entirely carbon neutral institution.

Just as exciting for Twist as the carbon decrease itself is the amount of student engagement that has helped make it possible. Student groups like the EcoReps have played a large role in cutting emissions, whether by lending students bikes to commute with or helping to facilitate the removal of paper cups from Commons.

Because college ranking services like the Princeton Review publishes AASHE ratings, Twist believes that a Gold rating will help Bates continue to attract applicants interested in sustainability.

“About of two thirds of incoming [college] students are interested in sustainability. For about a quarter of students coming in, sustainability is a major factor for them. So, if a school isn’t talking about sustainability, they’re not interested,” said Twist.

Only two schools, Stanford and Colorado College, have received AASHE’s highest rating, Platinum. Fewer than one hundred and thirty schools across the United States and Canada are Gold rated. Within the NESCAC, only Colby and Middlebury have also achieved Gold.

While Bates’ new rating represents culmination of several years of work, there is still much to accomplish. Ultimately, the goal for the school is to reduce its carbon output to zero, and several new initiatives to help make this goal a reality are already in the works.

Over the summer, Bates was upgraded to a Gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization that reviews the environmental impact of colleges. The rating is the second highest that the association gives, and places Bates ahead of most of the rest of the NESCAC. This new rating represents culmination of several years of work to lower Bates’ environmental footprint.

AASHE uses a wide array of indicators to create a rating for a school: ranging from carbon emissions to student involvement in environmental work. While sustainability has long been an important part of Bates’ culture, the school had never previously sent in the paperwork to receive a rating. According to Sustainability Manager Tom Twist, this meant that Bates was largely going unrecognized for its efforts.

“The fact that we had never submitted anything before means that we were on nobody’s radar as far as sustainability” said Twist.

While the process of gathering the necessary data took over a year and half, taken together the statistics revealed a far more promising picture than Twist was expecting.

“My goal initially was just to not have the worst ranking. I thought that bronze would be embarrassing. But what we discovered by doing this report is that Bates is implementing all kinds of interesting sustainability measures.”

Several initiatives, led by students, staff and the administration, over the last few years have helped to make an AASHE Gold rating possible. One of the most significant, according to Twist, is a campus wide switch to a more sustainable, tree-based heating oil. The oil is not only creates fewer emissions than traditional clean fuels like natural gas but is also rather cheap. The result has been a “nosedive” in campus emissions.

Overall, Bates has reduced its carbon emissions by about seventy percent since 2001. The school is now on pace to meet its long term goal of being an entirely carbon neutral institution.

Just as exciting for Twist as the carbon decrease itself is the amount of student engagement that has helped make it possible. Student groups like the EcoReps have played a large role in cutting emissions, whether by lending students bikes to commute with or helping to facilitate the removal of paper cups from Commons.

Because college ranking services like the Princeton Review publishes AASHE ratings, Twist believes that a Gold rating will help Bates continue to attract applicants interested in sustainability.

“About of two thirds of incoming [college] students are interested in sustainability. For about a quarter of students coming in, sustainability is a major factor for them. So, if a school isn’t talking about sustainability, they’re not interested,” said Twist.

Only two schools, Stanford and Colorado College, have received AASHE’s highest rating, Platinum. Fewer than one hundred and thirty schools across the United States and Canada are Gold rated. Within the NESCAC, only Colby and Middlebury have also achieved Gold.

While Bates’ new rating represents culmination of several years of work, there is still much to accomplish. Ultimately, the goal for the school is to reduce its carbon output to zero, and several new initiatives to help make this goal a reality are already in the works.

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The environment is changing fast, but Bates is adapting faster. MATT MORRIS/THE BATES STUDENT

AESOP: Then and Now

With the school year just getting under way, and first years only recently returned from their AESOP, many current seniors may be feeling nostalgic about their own AESOP experiences. From incredible outdoor excursions to lasting friendships, AESOP has been setting the tone for incoming first-years for decades. Its role in the larger orientation program has changed slightly since the class of 2018 were first years, however.

Unlike current first years, AESOP was the very first thing that members of the class of 2018 experienced at Bates; preceding any other orientation events. The shift to the current schedule, where AESOP trips start after a few days of orientation, began with the class of 2019. The Bates College website now identifies AESOP as a chance to “take a breather” from orientation programming.

Katie Hartnett ’18, one of this year’s AESOP head coordinators, has experienced the trips in both time slots; as an AESOPer herself four years ago, when trips still kicked off orientation, and now as one of its organizers. While she “loved that AESOP was the first thing [she] experienced at Bates,” she thinks the program can be successful whenever it comes in the orientation schedule.

“Forming shared experiences, strong relationships with upperclassmen role models, and mini-communities on campus is what AESOP is all about. I think it is an incredibly valuable part of orientation, and it doesn’t lose its magic being sandwiched between orientation events,” said Hartnett.

Hartnett noted that both schedules come with their own set of challenges. With the current schedule, leaders sometimes “run into situations where AESOPers have hooked up before or have formed cliques that translate to their trips.” However she also thinks that first-years not attending an AESOP trip in years past may have felt excluded.

“[With orientation first] If one is not going on AESOP, they still get to feel the same excitement and welcome as everyone else.”

For the sophomores and juniors involved in AESOP, a mid-orientation trip may not seem as unique, since it’s what they experienced themselves as first years. Mike Somma ’19, an AESOP leader this year for a hiking trip in Acadia National Park, noticed that some of the first years on his trip already knew each other, but didn’t run into any of the negative situations described by Hartnett.

“Two girls on the trip were both on the cross country team and they were definitely friends. It didn’t really affect the group dynamic at all though.”

According to the Bates College website, AESOP has been around for over thirty years. It is currently the only student-run, outdoor orientation program in the country. The program offers trips for incoming first years of all experience levels in the outdoors to locations across Maine and New Hampshire. Trip activities vary widely, from yoga and community service, to backpacking, rock climbing, and kayaking.

While there are certainly pros and cons to both ways of scheduling, the importance of AESOP trips is not in doubt. Whether hiking the Appalachian Trail, kayaking the coast, or doing community service around Lewiston, incoming first-years have been treated to some of their first Bates memories on AESOP trips. Though the program has gone through changes since the class of 2018 first stepped on campus, it remains a vital part of the Bates experience.

 

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