The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Sam Higgins (Page 1 of 4)

Welcome back, Ben

Ben Chin brought his rally to Bates College last Saturday. He graduated from Bates in 2007, and during his campaign he has worked feverishly to involve the Bates community in the success of his campaign.

The rally was held at 3 P.M. in Muskie Archives. The rally included a plethora of speakers, including fellow Bates graduate Isabelle Moiles ’11, who this year is running for a Lewiston city council position in the third ward (which includes sections of Bates Campus). In addition, the speakers engaged the crowd with positive sentiments and high regards for Chin who has seemingly struck a chord among the bates student populous with his promise of “fighting for the people of Lewiston”.

Chin took the stage roughly thirty minutes into the rally, sporting a maroon North Face pullover and taking a more personable approach to engaging the crowd by avoiding the podium and microphone. Chin, who just earlier had been conversing with Bates student supporters, began to demonstrate exactly what he envisioned as being solutions for problems within Lewiston.

He revealed that his interest in Lewiston politics was fostered during his time at Bates, when in 2004 the city coordinator at the time threatened to pass legislation that would displace roughly 800 Lewiston residents from their homes. The ambitions of his campaign to be the next mayor of Lewiston are focused on providing affordable co-oped housing for Lewiston residents, continuing to spur economic activity in downtown Lewiston and creating opportunities for voluntarily integration among Somali citizens in Lewiston.

In providing details behind these intended policies, Chin highlighted the lack of oversight in enforcement of landlord laws, which are often unethical and leave many low-income Lewiston residents taken advantage of, according to Chin. In addition, he expressed the importance of creating a welcome center for Somali immigrants as an outlet for inquiries about life and culture in Lewiston, and an investment in solar energy to create jobs and create a more green alternative for energy consumption in the Lewiston area. Apparently, Maine receives as much sun annually as North Carolina; who knew?

After riling the crowd with his apparent enthusiasm and charisma, it was made clear that the success of Chin’s campaign is reliant on a rather large turnout of voter support in the Bates community. In order to secure his role as the next mayor of Lewiston, Chin needs 550 votes from the Bates community alone, 1,000 from new Lewiston citizens, and another 3-4,000 votes from the general voting population.

In last year’s governor elections, the Bates community accounted for roughly 400 votes, a low turnout. Nonetheless, Chin remained confident that with the support he has received from the Bates community so far, high voter turnout will be attainable and beneficial to his campaign.

The rally concluded after roughly an hour-and-a-half, when the event was opened up to a Q&A session in which audience members could ask Chin about his personal life or campaign related issues. Many of the questions probed the details of Ben’s policies, especially regarding the economic feasibility of his intended housing and solar power initiatives.

While the support of Bates students was well represented by student attendance at the rally, Chin and his campaign team stressed the importance of reaching out to more of the Bates community in order to solidify the 550 votes required for the success of his campaign. Chin encouraged student audience members to educate themselves on the current political philosophy of his top competitor, Robert Macdonald, and show support for a fellow Bobcat striving to improve the social, economic, and political climate of Lewiston.

Students, regardless of their party affiliation or intended vote, are encouraged to attend the voting session on November 3 at the Lewiston Armory, located extremely close to campus near JB dormitory and the new dormitories under construction along Campus Avenue.

Entrepreneurship never tasted so sweet

Pumpkingelato. Courtesy photo Gelato fiascoMitch Newlin ’16 is the guy behind Campus Gelato Delivery. Since his freshman year, the entrepreneurial economics major has supplied Bates with reduced-priced flavorful concoctions supplied from Brunswick’s own Gelato Fiasco*. Newlin worked for the company for four and a half years as a high school student in Brunswick before using the gelato makers to supply his Bates delivery business.

“I was interested in being a small business owner,” Newlin said—he decided to shadow co-owners Josh Davis and Bruno Tropeano. “[The owner] let me sit in on everything. A managerial meeting, an investment meeting,” Newlin said.

Newlin worked his way up from scooper at the front counter, incrementally learning the management and investment strategies of the company until he worked full-time as the Brunswick store assistant manager during his gap year before Bates. He understands the gelato process, starting from the dairy farm to delicately transferring the ingredients from batch freezer to blast freezer, and finally to display case, making the product more flavorful and denser than ice cream.

“Right from the get go, I realized I liked what the company stood for and was doing, along with the product,” Newlin said. That is why he wanted to help Gelato Fiasco, while making a few bucks on the side with his own project.

Newlin arrived at Bates and decided to utilize his new surroundings to help Gelato Fiasco get rid of extra product. Not all of the gelato is sold each day, often leaving a small amount in each container. “We were throwing out product at the end of the night,” Newlin explained. “We had pans with 2 or 3 inches left. We didn’t have extra freezer space.”

At first Newlin looked to homeless shelters to take the gelato, but since Gelato Fiasco closes its doors at midnight, drop-off to a shelter would not be logical. So Newlin proposed buying the leftover gelato from the owners and selling it in half-pint containers to Bates Students at a price lower than wholesale. It was a win-win; Gelato Fiasco earned money from product they normally threw out and a whole new market was opened up.

He purchased his first freezer from Sears freshman year with his own funds upfront. It holds up to 180 half-pints of gelato at a time, which is good, because Newlin now sells between 100 to 200 containers a week, delivering the treat right to your door. At first he started small and did not promote his business. The only people who knew of the gelato had seen his freezer or saw him making his deliveries. His fridge is constantly changing.

“[Gelato Fiasco] makes over 1700 flavors, changed every week. Some standards, but things like apple cider donuts, we only make five times a year,” Newlin said. Some flavors are standards in his refrigerator; Cookie Therapy, Sweet Resurgam (or “we will rise again” in Latin), Stracciatella, as well as candy bar flavors like Crunch bars. Seasonal flavors include Pumpkin Pie and Fall in Bourbon County.

Gelato Fiasco provides vegan flavors as well, further opening its clientele. “All of our sorbets are vegan,” Newlin said. “Strawberry balsamic, raspberry truffle, dark chocolate noir are all dairy free and vegan.” Many flavors include ingredients right from Maine’s backyard.

However, a successful entrepreneur is no stranger to obstacles. “I didn’t realize that there were so many barriers to having a business on a non-profit campus,” Newlin said. “If you use campus services or resources to facilitate business, you are breaking official policy. So I am allowed to use my personal email, but not Bates lists. There are very interesting and weird dynamics.”

Newlin ran into trouble his freshmen year by accidentally using the Bates lists to get the word out. With the threat of closure, Dean Steidel helped him understand the rules. Newlin adjusted, but made the argument: “how was I different than a Papa John’s Delivery guy?”

The atmosphere has changed on campus. Businesses like The Burrito Guys and Den Delivery both use a similar platform as Newlin.

Mitch Newlin’s resume of businesses continues to grow. This year, he serves as a campus representative for Downeast Cider, created by a Bates alum. He also hopes to test out his fridge buyback business again. Last fall, he spoke with seniors looking to get rid of their old fridges in the spring and make a little money. Newlin sold the fridges he purchased from seniors to first years this fall. He hopes to have an app by the end of this year and to expand to Colby, Bowdoin and other surrounding schools.

Newlin’s heart still lies with Gelato Fiasco. He hopes to join them after graduation as they begin to expand further beyond the country.

*Bates Gelato Delivery is not Gelato Fiasco, but uses the Brunswick store as their gelato source.

The effects of Climate Change

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Noel Potter speaks to why climate change is everyone’s issue. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

On October 2nd, Bates – among other colleges across the United States – held an event called “Know Tomorrow” to ignite conversation and provide information about the climate change affecting our planet. Bates was one of seventy colleges to host the aforementioned event, held in front of Commons. The event lasted a mere hour; however, the speakers’ speeches and the students’ efforts will last a lifetime.

The event’s speakers, Professor Bev Johnson, Noel Potter ’17, Professor Tom Tracy, Phillip Dube ’16, and Professor Jane Costlow, presented a mixture of personal stories that introduced them to the fight against climate change and facts meant to instill fear and raise awareness.

The event concluded with a reflection period: a timeline was placed on the quad in front of Commons with short descriptions of ways to change our world starting today.

Students then wrote about where they see themselves in the year 2030. It was a way to show that each person’s goal is tied to the environment and the state of the climate; our goals cannot be achieved in a place where the extinction of species and the destruction of our rainforests become inevitable.

The first speaker, Professor Johnson, explained the state of our planet today. She stated that we are currently experiencing an increase in temperature with a .20 degrees Celsius increase every decade since 1975.

This increase may not directly impact Bates students; however, it is melting the snow caps in Greenland and Antarctica. Reducing the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will improve the earth’s climate, thus indicating that it is not too late to bring change to our planet.

Potter told a story that many Batesies connect to —about hiking in the mountains.

Potter recalled how during the summer of 2014, he went to Wyoming to research the melting level of glaciers. To his surprise, the glaciers were melting relatively quickly. Given that the glacier coating was that of debris, the glacier should not have been melting so rapidly.

Potter made a point of saying that political campaigns can be influenced to fund organizations that are opposed to climate change. Furthermore, economics and business majors have the proper resources to influence the way climate change is viewed.

The same point was reverberated by Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Tom Tracy. He emphasized that without our efforts to influence corporations and large industries emitting tons of thousands of gases into the atmosphere, our future generations will suffer greatly.

Professor Tracy stated that often the people who contribute the least to climate change suffer the most. Currently, in less developed countries people are experiencing drought, famine, and disease as a result of climate change. This could foreshadow how future generations will live.

Phillip Dube explained different perspectives of people living in unfortunate circumstances and of those who will follow us. He gave a short, emotional speech.

The last speaker, Environmental Studies Professor Jane Costlow, ended the event by referring to Leo Tolstoy’s words—to look around us. She asked the student body to pay attention to the world and understand its future.

Progress can only be made if humanity accepts that climate change is a serious, prevalent issue.

Student Senate election results recap

Election results for the Bates College Student Government Senate (BCSG) seats are in. Released last Friday, but delayed due to some listserv technical difficulties, the results show the winners of two seats for each class year, as well as eleven campus senators at-large.

The BCSG has gone through some restructuring that began last year, which resulted in a constitutional referendum in March, dissolving the Representative Assembly and replacing it with the Student Senate and Executive Council made up of five elected officers intended to represent the entire student body. This referendum also gave the Student Body President, Berto Diaz, veto power. The new Senate structure hopes to streamline the bureaucratic processes involved in the BCSG and also hold student members more accountable.

This year, Senior Allen Sumrall returned from abroad to his former position as Parliamentarian. The elections were run through Garnet Gateway like in previous years, making the result turnaround much shorter than the referendum count, which was through hand-written ballots in the Fireplace Lounge.

This is a large period of transition for the BCSG and hopefully a fresh set of Senators will push the government towards their goal of fairly and efficiently allocating money to student clubs and organizations.

First-year Andres Carranza, of El Salvador, hopes to influence change by voicing “the concerns of fellow Batesies and making sure that these are heard, as well as by highlighting and pinpointing certain small – and sometimes unnoticed – issues that if fixed, can bring about a huge positive change.” Carranza looks forward to adding diversity and a positive attitude to the “welcoming, vibrant, and inclusive” Bates community.

Many seniors decided to run for seats as well, hoping to make an impact before graduation. “As seniors we have the ability to reflect on the past four years and provide insight on what changes that we think need the most attention and encourage the other classes to address these issues even after we leave,” Senior Nicole Bermudez said. She is joined by 2016 co-senator Hannah Kiesler, as well as Seniors Mark Chatkin and Lydia Merizon as senators at-large. The full election results are shown below.

Class Senator 2016

1. Hannah Kiesler

2. Nicole Bermudez

Class Senator 2017

1. Gina Ciobanu

2. Kevin Tejada

Class Senator 2018

1. Samantha Garapati

2. Matthew Davis

Class Senator 2019

1. Andres Carranza

2. Liliana Brown

Campus Senator At-Large

1. Moise Bonheur (2019)

2. Oliver Farnum (2019)

3. Katharine Gaillard (2019)

4. Andrea Russo (2019)

5. Mark Chatkin (2016)

6. Andrew Voss (2017)

7. Liliana Brown (2019)

8. Wyatt Itin (2019)

9. Lydia Merizon (2016)

10. Tyler Post (2018)

11. Jessica Seibold (2018)

 

Mayoral candidates offer visions of Lewiston’s future, reveal divisions in its present

On Tuesday night, in a packed room upstairs in Lewiston Public Library, the five candidates hoping to be chosen as Lewiston’s next mayor on November 3rd presented themselves to the public and shared their visions for Lewiston’s future. The forum was hosted by the Lewiston Sun Journal, Lewiston Public Library, and local law firm Norman, Hanson & DeTroy.

Ben Chin, a Bates College graduate of 2007 and the political director of the public interest group, Maine People’s Alliance, presented himself as an assertive negotiator with the skill necessary to wrangle funding from the State of Maine to pay for a progressive policy program. Chin promised to crack down on code violations by “corporate slumlords” in Lewiston’s downtown, encourage economic development on Lisbon Street, and create jobs by encouraging the solar industry. Citing a career of lobbying the state government, Chin was confident that he would be able to get funding from the state. “I’m going to be hustling to make sure that the millions of dollars our city is owed is given to us,” he promised.

Luke Jensen, a 24-year-old employee at TD Bank in Auburn and the Chair of the Lewiston Republican Committee, pointed to his youth as strength and positioned himself as a champion of the city’s outlying areas. He promised to reinstate positions in the Lewiston Fire Department, create a city advisory board staffed only by residents from suburban areas, and keep young people in the area. “Even though I’m young, with a baby face like this,” he said, alluding to his youthful appearance, “I have strong convictions.”

Robert Macdonald, Lewiston’s outspoken incumbent mayor pointed to his work bringing customer service center Argo Marketing to Lisbon Street, bringing 600 jobs, and the city’s creation of a new park under his watch. He also touted his record as an opponent of welfare spending and constantly reiterated that for Lewiston’s budgetary woes, “The only solution is welfare reform.” He also mentioned his close personal relationship with Republican Gov. Paul Lepage.

Steve Morgan, a middle-aged realtor and former City Councilor, stressed the need to attract businesses to Lewiston and promised to be a positive salesman as mayor. “Lewiston needs a mayor and ambassador to bring businesses to Lewiston and not watch them go over the river.” He promised to bring real-estate solutions like retail store development to city planning, and also promised to combat welfare fraud.

Charles Soule, a sometimes rambling 62 year-old veteran and downtown resident who has been running for mayor for the past fourteen years, asserted that “this election shouldn’t be about young versus old.” He argued that Lewiston should return to its Franco-American roots and create development by producing French automobiles and French wine.

The forum touched on topics ranging from welfare spending, downtown parking, school funding, city consolidation, and even bike lanes. Most of the candidates agreed on a number of the topics, such as increased publicity of downtown parking, bringing train service to Lewiston, and that Lewiston had an image problem that needed fixing. However, there was often a contrast between Chin, a progressive, and the other four more conservative candidates that spoke to some of the city’s societal divides.

The discussion over welfare—a hot button issue in Lewiston—seemed to speak to a divide between older and newer residents, and was further tinged by a subtext of immigration. Macdonald, Jensen, Morgan, and Soule all promised to continue welfare spending for Lewiston’s elderly. However, the four were critical of providing welfare to newcomers to Lewiston. “When you see people walking into Lewiston and asking for more money—it’s insane,” Jensen said. Macdonald expressed concern about people coming from out of state contributing to welfare costs. He also criticized Ben Chin for preventing attempts to cut welfare spending at the state level, a reference to Chin’s and Maine People’s Alliance’s campaigns to preserve welfare funding for asylum-seeking immigrants this summer. Chin for his part attempted to orient the discussion of welfare away from cuts and advocated for economic development to reduce welfare use. He also proposed creating a new office in City government to help New Mainers learn English and find jobs.

The candidates’ policies also spoke to a geographical divide in Lewiston. In attacking slumlords, championing businesses on Lisbon street, and aiming to reduce tenancy, Chin’s plans seemed predominantly oriented towards improving Lewiston’s more impoverished downtown neighborhoods. In contrast, Jensen and Morgan championed Lewiston’s suburban and rural neighborhoods, arguing that attracting middle-class families to the suburbs was the key to increasing the city’s tax base. Jensen in particular stressed his desire to “push the city’s peripheries,” describing the suburbs positively in contrast to “not as nice neighborhoods” elsewhere in the city.

The forum was formal and largely cordial, with few direct personal interactions between the candidates. However, Chin and Morgan, in evidence of their opposing policy positions, clashed over Chin’s use of the word “corporate slumlord” to describe three downtown landlords. “Mr. Chin, if I hear the word corporate slumlord one more time, I’m going to cringe,” Morgan interjected at one point.

The room was stuffed over capacity with over 200 spectators. Longtime residents indicated that this forum generated interest and attendance far above any previous mayoral race. “This is by far the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” said Mark Cayer, current City Council president and retired police officer. Members of the crowd were supporters of Ben Chin, identifiable by their blue-and-white Chin for Mayor buttons.

There were also nearly thirty Bates students in attendance and many seemed enthusiastic about Chin’s candidacy. Benjamin Palmer ’16 said he thought “Ben Chin spoke eloquently and brought confidence and specificity not seen elsewhere in the race.” Hannah Otten ’16 praised Chin, noting that “the rest of the candidates obviously perceived him as the biggest threat.”

 

Was that a Green Dot?

Campus should prepare itself for a green makeover starting next week with Green Dot’s Launch Week.

Before getting into the details of launch week, who are the people organizing this and why are they doing it?

Blake Reilly, Assistant Director of Residential Life, came to Bates after graduating from Connecticut College. His experience there with drinking and socializing began without much thought. However, as the Green Dot program was implemented at Connecticut College, Reilly saw legitimate change over his four years. By senior year, anyone drinking did so more thoughtfully and it was expected that peers would check on anyone standing alone, or looking troubled.

Seeing the real potential and success of this program at Connecticut College, Reilly came to Bates to put it in action. Beginning last Short Term, 77 students were trained in the Green Dot program, reflecting real interest and excitement from Batesies on this issue from the start. This year, there are already 85 trained members with 60 more signed up for the next training.

Qiu Fogarty, Assistant Director of Student Life, hadn’t heard of the program before arriving at Bates, but learned of it through Reilly. This program is nationwide and holds the goal of reducing harm by both committing to a community where violence is not tolerated and bystander intervention is expected. Learning this, Fogarty realized how logical and beneficial it’s implementation would be on this campus simply because Bates already prides itself on caring and watching out for others. The Green Dot program enhances that commitment and takes it to a new level through further education of the importance of this effort and equipping members with specific strategies.

Both Reilly and Fogarty are incredibly pleased by the program’s impact on campus thus far and with the number of people already signed up and trained. People are able to name the potentially bad acts ‘Red Dots’ and reference ‘Green Dots’, or good things people are doing. This discussion and awareness is at the core of the Green Dot program.

Next week, October 13-17, is the Green Dot Launch Week. There will be events each day to bring Green Dot to the center of attention on campus—all are guaranteed to be fun and interactive and will help spread the idea and importance of bystander intervention throughout the whole campus.

Some highlights to look forward to are Wednesday’s Green Dot Dinner and Saturday’s Soccer Game. Wednesday from 4:30-8:00pm, members of the Green Dot program will be in the fishbowl to talk about their training experience and the details of the program itself. There will also be Green Dot cards to write down some ‘Green Dots’ you or a friend have done on campus. These will all be put up on a banner and hung in Commons to show Bates coming together to promote Green Dots and the school’s commitment to creating a safer community. Cookies and chai will also be provided.

Saturday, the Bates Women’s Soccer team faces off against Tufts at 12:00 pm on Russell Street field. Green Dot members will be supporting from the stands. The first 100 people at the game have a chance to win $25 to Mother India or a free T-shirt.

The Green Dot program hopes to open up the conversation of the culture here at Bates and, though many will say we are doing pretty well, there are always ways in which we can improve. If you are interested, or want to get involved, be sure to attend the Launch Week activities to learn more about the program and sign up for the next training on November 4th.

 

Students find opportunity through Purposeful Work

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Students present their research to alumni and families. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Last Friday, students who had summer internships funded by Purposeful Work presented at the Purposeful Work fair in the Pettengill Atrium. Each student had a poster that displayed their internship experiences. Among the presenters were Sadie James ’17, Evan Molinari ’16 and Tara Das ’16.

There was a total of $340,000 in Purposeful Work Funding competitively awarded to students in the summer of 2015 alone. The funding came from “philanthropic gifts, particularly leadership gifts from two families creating the Campbell Fund for Purposeful Work Internships and the Rice Purposeful Work Internship Fund,” Associate Director of Internship Program Design Christina Patrick said.

97 rising sophomores, juniors and seniors interned in a variety of fields including school districts, farms, research labs, technology start-ups, theater companies, marketing firms and hospitals.

Sadie James, a Maine native, interned at the Development of Mind and Emotions (DOME) Lab at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, Montana.

“I absolutely love working with youth, so when I saw Dr. Brooker’s developmental psychology lab on the MSU website I realized I could definitely combine two of my fields of interest–Psychology and Education–and potentially WGS [Women and Gender Studies],” James said. “I also wanted the experience of being at a large state school, where there are so many research opportunities for undergrads.”

James interned at MSU for 12 weeks, working alongside a PhD Professor, the director of the lab, three graduate students and one undergraduate student—all MSU students. “It was a lot of information thrown at me in a very short time period,” James said. “I was exposed to… running visits for a toddler study, the Internal Review Board approval process, coding videos, analyzing data, discussing articles, and interacting with the community were some of the many things my boss and coworkers introduced me to.”

Much of James’ internship consisted of data entry and organizational office work. She also helped with research and recruitment and met with her boss once a week to discuss Developmental Psychology and ran a cardiac study.

“It was so, so cool to see my classes at Bates come alive in Montana,” James said. “I’ve read so many articles on psych studies and research projects, but I was actually doing that this summer– I wasn’t reading about EEG data and cortisol levels, but actually collecting them.”

Regarding the Purposeful Work reflections, “[They] were really helpful for me because it made me actively think about what I was taking away from my internship. It was also great to see what other PW Interns were taking away from their internships, and see if anyone else was sharing similar struggles and successes as me,” James said.

Evan Molinari interned at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C. with Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree for two months. He came across the internship on the BCDC website.

“I had always been interested in politics and government, and I wanted to learn more about Maine– and this gave me the opportunity to do both,” Molinari said.

Molinari’s responsibilities included answering phones, delivering mail, sorting faxes and correspondence, drafting letters to constituents, giving tours of the capitol building, attending meetings and hearings with/for legislative staff, writing bill recommendations, delivering hard copies of bills to the Rules Committee, and a number of other jobs.

“I gained a new respect for Government and the legislative respect, and lost the little respect I had for two-party politics,” Molinari said.

Tara Das interned with Safe Voices Shelter and Community Education Department in Lewiston for 10 weeks. Das interpreted and translated domestic violence awareness materials and information sessions for French-speaking New Americans, collaborated with other community educators on elements of domestic violence curriculum, assisted with client intake and shelter operations and shadowed the court advocate at the Lewiston District Court.

Prior to her internship, Das worked on an independent research project that looked at domestic violence and refugee issues in the Bates Politics/WGS class “Gender and the State,” which made her interested in nonprofit work toward women’s issues and refugees in Maine.

“I’ve also always been interested in non-profit/advocacy work and wanted to spend my summer before senior year getting to know Maine a little more, so Safe Voices was the perfect fit for all these criteria,” Das said.

Nonetheless, the experience had its challenges: “The most challenging part was interpreting and translating, as it not only involved translating language, but also translating culture. The discourse of domestic violence awareness education is not always accessible for New American communities, so I had to learn how to negotiate the paradox of objectively translating the material but also subjectively attempting to make it relative to the audience,” Das said. Working with Safe Voices helped Das open the door to grassroots advocacy and nonprofit work; a field she may pursue in the future.

The overall feedback for Purposeful Work has been positive. Christina Patrick, who works with the Purposeful Work initiative and the Bates Career Development Center to design, launch, and manage the Purposeful Work Internship Program, reflects on the programs intentions. Purposeful Work is designed “to foster a habit of ongoing reflection in an easy, efficient format. We want to support students to think about their interests, their skills, and their professional relationships in the moment so that students can act on these reflections—informing decisions they make about projects they seek out as interns, classes and research opportunities they want to explore in the coming academic year, career exploration steps they may want to take in the years ahead.”

 

Outdoor Nation comes to Bates

Last Tuesday, outdoor enthusiasts and curious beginners alike convened in Pettengill Hall to discuss ways to make students more comfortable participating in outdoor recreation at Bates. The audience was a mix of all class years and leadership levels, working to make outdoor access more inclusive.

“[The program] is supposed to engage people beyond the Outing Club members” co-ambassador Adam Auerbach ‘16 said. Adam Auerbach and Chrissy McCabe are the two seniors spearheading Bates’ partnership with the non-profit Outdoor Nation, a program committed to breaking down barriers to the outdoors, as well as the National Park Service Campus Ambassador Program. Fellow senior Jordan Cargill first introduced the non-profit to the pair by enrolling Bates in Outdoor Nation’s Campus Challenge, aimed at getting as many students on college campuses participating in all things outdoors. The winning school will receive $2,500 at the end of the six week event.

This opened the door to Adam and Chrissy, who jumped on the opportunity for $3,500 in grant money to supply beginners with new gear and skills to explore Maine and beyond.

“People who voluntarily go and sign up for Outing Club trips, you are already engaged in outdoor activities,” McCabe said to the crowd, stating that while this program is separate from the Outing Club, she plans on working with students like herself, who are members of both. “I think there is a lot of interest in Outing Club and people are not really sure how to apply that interest to actual trips,” Caitlin Keady ‘18 added.

McCabe and Auerbach asked the audience about how they try to involve themselves in nature, or what prevents them from doing so. Discussion questions were scrawled on the chalkboards: What do you do outdoors? What kinds of skills or gear do you need to be more comfortable with outdoor recreation (in the future)? What types of trips would you like to see that haven’t been lead in the past? How can we engage?

Students brought up issues including the usual money, time, location and lack of expertise, but also some of the social obstacles preventing some students of different race and backgrounds from participating. One student discussed disparities in gender, race, and the acknowledgement of different cultural narratives in outdoor groups at Bates — she mentioned that many students of color are from inner city areas and have never had the exposure to the outdoors like some of their peers at school. She suggested that trip leaders be aware of varying degrees of comfort and that a representative from the Outing Club work with campus Mosaic groups to promote leader diversity.

Grace Huang ‘17 came up with the idea of group slots for trips, allowing a group of friends to go on a trip as a package and thus creating a more comfortable environment. “People are going to feel judged in a group of people that they don’t know,” Huang said. She sought to help encourage those who find inspiration in nature (like yoga and meditation) to feel welcome with what people consider a “traditional” outdoor enthusiast.

At the end of the discussion McCabe and Auerbach proposed their plans for this year. The leaders hope to coordinate three trips per semester designated for beginners. Semester trips will be divided between the Appalachian Trail and Acadia, both national parks to help increase national park awareness. The first semester will focus on trips in the Appalachian Trail, including the approximately three miles that Bates maintains. The second semester will travel the two and a half hours away to Acadia on Mount Desert Island to lead a possible beginner winter camping trip, as well as a trip during Short Term. McCabe also plans on starting an outdoor 101 series called “Bates Camp-Us” that will remain in Lewiston, teaching students basic skills like how to set up a tent on the quad, or how to boil water using WhisperLite stoves.

The two seniors encourage students to lead beginner trips themselves, where they will be eligible to tap the $3,500 in funds for park permits, food, and transportation.

 

Strengthening donor relationships and boosting productivity

Long has the Bates Student lamented about the college’s endowment compared to our NESCAC peers. Like this: just this June, the Bowdoin Investments Office released a financial report valuing their endowment at a staggering $1.4 billion—Bates reported $264 million as of 2014.

Bates’s strong commitment to financial aid, in conjunction with the low endowment, leads to what is called a high fee dependency. Most of the money that Bates pulls in comes from students and parents, making the endowment closely tied to tuition, annual giving, and other fundraising campaigns.

The market returns on an endowment only average around eight percent, with three percent taken off for inflation adjustments. At Bates, five percent of the endowment flows directly into the operating budget. This curse of the low endowment and high cost of a liberal arts education could be discussed ad nauseam, which is why The Bates Student is looking at the other side.

An unprecedented trend has been set by President Spencer and the Office of Advancement. Since 2010, the endowment has increased almost 33 percent, with annual giving taking the lead in contributions. Last year recorded $21.6 million in gifts, an increase of 35 percent over 2013-14, making it the second straight year where gifts increased by over 30 percent.

There are many ways to give to Bates, helping potential donors assess the best option for them. The Bates Fund, the largest channel, raised $6.36 million from parents, alumni and friends in 2015. Other options include giving societies targeted at specific initiatives and even a young alumni program to help establish annual donation habits.

President Spencer and vice president of college advancement, Sarah Pearson ’75, anchor their strategy in establishing long-term, meaningful connections. “What are we doing as an institution that excites people,” President Spencer said. She hopes to build consistency in relationships and trust in the institution.

Pearson, a Bates graduate herself, has experienced both sides of Bates’s advancement campaigns. Pearson states that donor connections are “relational and not just transactional.”
“Think first about how to communicate, and then how to engage,” Pearson said. “One of the measures [of engagement], of course, is giving, but also who reads Clayton’s emails, who reads the magazine.”

Part of this increase in engagement stems from the increase in alumni and Bates-related events across the country. Regional events drew more than 1,000 attendees. Nearly 400 people attended an event at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, making it one of most highly-attended off-campus Bates event ever.

Events such as Bates in the City do not even ask for donations, but are simply for establishing alumni networks and positive relationships with the college, and what Bates means to them in Boston, or Seattle. “We are not marketing nostalgia,” President Spencer said, “but what you love about Bates and how Bates is positioned in a leading world.”

These relationships allow alumni to keep a finger on the pulse of Bates. Pearson often uses these events to educate alumni on new school initiatives, or how Bates is committed to maintaining good values, while providing the best education possible. “Alumni want to know what Bates is about right now,” Pearson said. She also conducts a survey 48 hours after events to gauge approval ratings, with usually “85 percent and above say[ing] that they approve of the direction of the school.”

Bates alumni are even connecting remotely. The Bates website won two national awards for the redesign to make the site more user friendly. The college has also taken social media by storm to convey information in a different format. Instagram (@batescollege), Twitter (@BatesCollege) and even Snapchat have been added to the marketing strategy of the college.

But how are current students seeing these gifts? Students can see the numbers, read the articles and watch their Instagram feeds, but what are the tangible results? Most obvious is the construction of the two new dorms across Campus Ave. Chase Hall renovations like the OIE and the Den are all results on annual giving and fundraising campaigns, as well as practitioner taught Short Term courses and Late at Bates activities. These funds also helped the school provide 289 purposeful work internships this summer, giving more students the opportunity to pursue previously unpaid work.

Spencer and Pearson, along with their colleagues in advancement, are pushing the school out into the open and back into the lives of alumni and friends. The duo are committed to strengthening people’s connections to Bates and remind them what it feels like to engage with such a lively place. As Spencer phrased it: “People want to join a winning team,” and Bates is winning.

 

First “Town Hall” Meeting

The first Bates College Student Government Town Hall Meeting took place on Sunday, September 27th. It was an opportunity for anyone in the Bates community to voice their ideas or concerns. This weekly assembly consists of the Executive Council: the president, vice president, up to five student cabinet ministers, as well as faculty advisors and any one else who wishes to attend.

First on the agenda was the chalking policy, presented by Carl Steidel, an Assistant Dean of Students, and Kim Trauceniek, the Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life. As of now, any group on campus can reserve space on Quad walkways through events.bates.edu. Groups can use chalk to write any messages they want, as long as statements are not “threatening” or “libelous.” Messages may not be defaced and may last up to one week. Chalking has been used in the past to promote events like “Coming Out Weekend” to raise awareness of sexuality issues. The question posed was whether chalking space should continue to be reserved and planned for or whether it should be first come, first served. A decision has not yet been made.

When asked what BCSG’s plans are for this year, President Norberto Diaz ’16 vocalized his desire for “senators to learn how to be leaders.” He feels student government has suffered in the past because senators have trouble voicing the opinions of others and enacting change; they simply lack the necessary skills. Trauceniek suggested senators attend a retreat to engage in leadership and bonding activities.

Audrey Zafirson ’16, chair of the President’s Advisory Council, added that in the past student government has focused on “background” activities, such as ensuring campus clubs have adequate funding. Zafirson says that this is really not their role, and that they should instead be “enacting actual change.”

Besides attending these meetings, students who want their voices heard can attend senators’ office hours, which will be announced once elections end. Diaz wants government officers to function more like JA/RCs. According to Diaz, all students should know who their officers are and feel comfortable talking to them about anything and everything.

Town hall meetings, as of now, occur every Sunday at 9 pm in PGrew 301. However, locations and times are subject to change. Everyone is encouraged to attend, whether you have a specific concern about Bates or whether you just want to know what student government is up to.

 

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