The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: February 2013 Page 2 of 4

Women’s Bobcat of the Week – Avril Dunleavy ’15

Dunleavy_018Sophomore Avril Dunleavy had her best stretch of the season over the weekend at the Colby Carnival, taking home two top-five finishes to help lead the women’s Alpine team to a third place finish out of thirteen teams.

On Friday, the Dunleavy finished a career-best fourth of 64 competitors in the women’s giant slalom, posting runs of 53.42 and 53.60.

Dunleavy came back on Saturday and powered her way to fifth in the slalom in a combined time of 1:30.75, just .05 behind the fourth place finisher.

Dunleavy is on pace for a second NCAA Championship appearance in her brief Bates career.

So Much to Do and So Little Time

My first “real” date at Bates: freshmen year, lunch at the “Bobcat Den.” Since then, the Den has been revamped into a miniature on-campus pub.

The alcohol-free Den as I remember it three years ago offered a quiet hideaway where faculty frequently met for lunch and conversation. Students read The Boston Globe and could enjoy a moment to themselves with a sandwich and something from the once world-renowned salad bar.

Walk into the Den today and the varying sounds of the multiple television screens might overwhelm you. Depending on the time of day, you may find students drinking beers, sipping tea, reading, or playing Trivia on Tuesday nights.

Sporting my mom’s old Gap flannel, spandex, and my usual suspect brown boots, I ordered a grilled cheese on wheat with a slice of tomato and grabbed a bag of UTZ Salt & Vinegar chips. Something about ordering a drink during a date, or even in general really, terrifies me. Do I really need a bottle of water? Is that asking too much? Should I just ask for a cup and fill it with water from the soda fountain for free?

That semester, my then-boyfriend called me once late at night around 11pm in the middle of the week, asking if I had time to go out for a surprise. Surprise I thought, what could this mean? A list of possibilities poured into my head: Coldstone (Did I want cake batter or cookie dough? Like it or love it?), homemade chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate from Milt’s, or maybe even all of my favorite snacks laid out in my order of preference (Hard to do, but any effort would have sufficed).

I will make this short, but let’s just say I wound up at Denny’s. I ended up settling for pancakes (free refill), so I am not sure why I am complaining. Nonetheless, this “experience,” for lack of better words, definitely contributed to my regret of not attending college in a big city. At least in New York we could have ended up at the Murray Hill Diner or a cozy coffee shop, and easily have avoided a menu offering ice cream sundaes with bacon bits… really?

Freshman year, only a week into college life and you look around and see that girl from your dorm paired off with that boy you saw during lunch in Commons. Quickly, couples form all around you. How long have they known each other? A week?

I remember my reaction upon first learning that my parents had met in college. Holy crap, this is it? I have four years to find someone like my mom or dad.

To put it into perspective: this meant I had 7 semesters and 3 short terms. Thank God Bates gives us short term: 1,769 students. 47.3% male. This left me with approximately 837 options, rounding up.

Three years ago, a student successfully debunked the Bates myth that nearly two-thirds of Bates alums marry fellow alums. In fact, Maura McGee ’10 found that the figure actually hovers around a much lower 12.5 percent.

According to McGee’s findings, of the 23,356 living alums in the Bates database, 2,914 have a spouse or partner who is also a Bates alum.

Of my current seven roommates, one had an off and on relationship with a high school boyfriend throughout college and now “sees” an alum, and another has dated an alum since her sophomore year at Bates. The remaining five single ladies certainly do not add any validity to the myth.

So why exactly has it been so difficult for us to settle down with other “Batesies”? Ask around at Bates and students’ responses go a little something like this: slim pickings, too busy with academics or athletics, or better yet, they would simply rather stay single.

Back to freshman year, I met a fellow Batesie, who I ended up dating for 2 and a half years. At one point, I too thought that I had done it. Enveloped by “The Sixty Percent Solution” Bates myth that once swarmed campus, I felt certain that my worries over whether to order a drink during a date and disappointments over bizarre so-called “surprises” would finally cease.

Had we stayed together, I probably would not have found myself in my senior year introducing myself to unfamiliar faces, joining new clubs, having more time for my friends, and occasionally making a public fool out of myself, or more precisely, “enjoying college while you can.”

This brings me to my final point: What the heck do the millions of people mean when they say, “Make sure that you enjoy college while you can”? I find myself constantly fighting with this overwhelming piece of advice. How can I possibly strike a balance between academics and my social life? When have you gone out too much on the weekends or not enough? If you have time to watch television during the week, are you really a student enrolled at Bates? Are you even trying?

Okay, so maybe deciding whether or not to go out or watch TV on a weeknight does not usually concern you, but let’s say you have always wanted to attend that one club meeting or see a speaker from a certain department. Go! What’s stopping you? After all, we only attend college once. Make it count—whatever that means.

“Gilda Stories” Offers a Glimpse of Sexuality in Society

 “What started as my own angry outburst at a personal affront on the street evolved into a set of responses to injustice that suggest that girls are not as powerless as they’re taught they are and that individuals and society have the ability to change.” – Jewelle Gomez

This past week, the author of The Gilda Stories, a novel portraying a black, lesbian, vampire protagonist, came to Bates to share her novel and her knowledge of the feminism and creative writing. The English department, the Women & Gender Studies department, the Learning Associates Program, and the Division of the Humanities sponsored the author, Jewelle Gomez.

Gomez is a lesbian feminist activist who began her activist career in the 1960s in Boston. She is an author, playwright, poet, and critic; she has published a number of short stories and poetry that appeared in Dark Matter: A Century of African American Speculative Fiction, was on the founding board of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and most recently, coauthored a play on James Baldwin titled, “Waiting for Giovanni” that premiered in 2011. Gomez currently resides in California where she promotes LGBT rights, and fights for marriage equality.

Gomez is without a doubt, a cultured and intellectual woman. Having read her book, I found myself understanding her political stances and her dreams for a future in which sexism and anti-gay sentiments do not exist.

The birth of The Gilda Stories began after two men harassed Gomez as she was standing in a phone booth in New York City.

“They didn’t see that their idea of fun was humiliating and dehumanizing to women in general and to me in particular. And they certainly had no idea that centuries of such casual objectification had a debilitating affect on human relations,” Gomez stated.

Gomez explained how The Gilda Stories developed: “What started as my own angry outburst at a personal affront on the street evolved into a set of responses to injustice that suggest that girls are not as powerless as they’re taught they are and that individuals and society have the ability to change.”

Before reading, and having not heard of the reasons for which Gomez wrote The Gilda Stories, I found myself questioning the idea of reading a vampire book. I did not like Twilight, I don’t care for True Blood, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the last show I wanted to see as a child.

Gomez came to a number of classes here at Bates, in which the question, “Why vampires?” was asked of her often. Gomez claimed to write vampire fiction for two reasons: the first, because Gomez adores vampire fiction; the second, because genre writing is a great way to introduce controversial topics to her readers (often vampire enthusiasts) in a way that is not controversial or didactic. Gomez added, “Everything I write is political, it’s my job to make it interesting.”

Still skeptical? Let me add that Gomez avoided the typical vampire story. The Gilda Stories begin in 1850 Louisiana with Gilda, a slave child who runs away from a plantation. Nearly caught and brought back to slavery, Gilda is saved by two women who run a brothel, who just happen to be vampires. This brothel is not the typical whore-house, but instead is a woman’s haven, the only place, historically, where women could define themselves independent both economically and socially. Curious yet?

The reader reads about Gilda as she travels through time. In 1850 Gilda is in Louisiana; in 1890, Yerba Buena; in 1921, Rosebud, Missouri; in 1955, the South End, Boston; in 1971 and 1981, New York City; in 2020, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire; and in finally, in 2050, she travels from the Midwest to Peru. Throughout these decades, she experiences societies in which racism and sexism are rampant, as well as societies in which race and sex are inconsequential factors of life.

The concept of a black lesbian former slave vampire, who traveled through time, was for me, first, bizarre; and second, fascinating. Reading, I fell back into time and saw how a black woman experienced social events in the highly racialized city of New Orleans, and later her experience living in the black neighborhood in South End, Boston in 1955. Sure, she was a vampire, but she also surrounded herself with humans, and Gomez was skillful in bringing history to her historical fiction, vampire story.

I’m not saying I loved the book—it has its flaws and as I have said earlier, I don’t particularly care for vampire fiction. While I am not passionate about Gomez’s writing, I think it is worthwhile to read a chapter (any chapter) of The Gilda Stories for the ideas and questions her story poses on the topics of sexism and racism.

Gomez believes that fiction is one such way for people to understand each other over racial and gender divides. So when Gomez offered her tale of a young black lesbian vampire, it’s a way for people to understand people who have similar lives to Gilda, as well as their history. You may have to ignore the fact she is a vampire and can live for centuries.

Ultimately, I liked the book. I probably would have put the book down after chapter one if I read it simply for pleasure. However, I became fascinated with the ideas behind The Gilda Stories and the acknowledgement that sexism and racism still exist today, even if we would rather not admit it.

Singha Hon ’14 embodies artistic eclectic style

“My friend noted the other day that she could always tell when people were from New York City because they all stood out in the same way.”

For junior Batesie Singha Hon, this statement definitely holds true. With her vintage pieces and artistic flair, this Big Apple Bobcat is always keeping her outfits fun, fresh, and a little quirky.

Aside from her early childhood of rainbow tights, grandma sweaters, and baseball caps and being voted “most likely to wear a tutu to class” in her 8th grade yearbook, Hon has always had a love for the fashion world. She enjoys playing around with colors and textures along with sewing and altering her own clothes. Having put endless hours into the Bates Theater’s costume shop, Hon feels that she understands what goes into making and tailoring clothing and that has trickled down to her everyday attire.

Having spent her past semester abroad at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London also had a huge influence on her style. Although she was involved in a fine arts program, many of her peers had neon colored hair and “Are fastidious about wearing gorgeous, bizarre, and exciting outfits and accessories.”

“London is a dream for anyone who likes to shop for vintage and unique clothing,” states Hon. “Every Sunday there were a plethora of pop-up markets selling hand-designed silk-screened t-shirts and jewelry made by fashion students as well as the biggest strangest collection of sweaters and leather boots that I have ever seen.”

This Batesie’s fashion icon is Alexander McQueen, who actually studied at Central Saint Martins. “I’m very interested in designers who started out as visual artists,” states Hon.

She also enjoys reading fashion blogs, especially “Vintage Vixen” who sells vintage 1950s-esque clothing and Tavi Gevinson Style Rookie Blog.

“I admire those that reflect people who dress not to push and favor the superficial, but in a way that reflects a beautiful and unique lifestyle, even if they stand out a lot or look weird,” states Hon.

A lot of this Bobcat’s fashion inspiration comes from her older sister. Although she dresses in opposing ways from Hon, both enjoy working on sewing projects together and trade clothes. She also sends Hon trinkets from her travels, including a double-finger wooden ring that the Batesie wears on a daily basis.

When it comes to putting a descriptive label to her clothing, this Bobcat is a little stumped.

“I like the idea of a classic wardrobe with basic items like Breton tops and warm sweaters, mixed in with shapes from the 50s and eclectic items from the 90s. Think classic femininity dashed with a bit of Riot Grrrl and maybe some Freddy Mercury,” reflects Hon.

This Batesie does not have an agenda for how she dresses – she wears what she wears to support a good mood and to just have fun.

“Even though I don’t think my life revolves around my fashion, I do think that it is important because how you dress can be riotous and rebellious, it can tell people to leave you alone or invite them to talk to you, it can make you blend in or be eye catching,” states Hon.

Having New York City as her hometown causes Hon to be open to new styles. With so many stores and markets at her fingertips, the Batesie is able to really experiment with her fashion.

“No matter how weird you look when you step out your door, there is definitely someone who looks weirder,” states Hon. “Conversely, no matter how good you think you look, there is always someone who looks better. I think just having an environment that, while incredibly judgmental, incorporates so much diversity in fashion has allowed me to feel more comfortable in expanding and exploring my own style.”

You can spy this Bobcat at thrift stores, vintage shops, and weekend markets and fairs searching for unique and quality pieces with a lot of character.

“It feels sort of like treasure hunting,” reflects Hon.

This Bobcat’s favorite stores are Rags a Go Go, Buffalo Exchange, Reminiscence, and the pop up Sunday market in the 25th street parking lot in new York City. She also enjoys making or altering a lot of her old clothing, making her pieces out of the ordinary. She also purchases many of her basics at UNIQLO and H&M along with some nice sweaters from Garnet Hill.

Hon’s favorite article of clothing is her denim overalls that she wears when she paints in the studio. With a high elastic waist and snaps all down the front, this 80s treasure is one that always puts the artists in a good mind frame to paint, and to feel like Rosie the Riveter. She also can never be caught without her two rings – the two-finger wooden trinket from her sister and a massive gold model of an extraterrestrial creature from Alien devouring a woman.

“It’s silly, it’s morbid, it jingles, and I can’t really believe that it exists,” says Hon.

Looking to the future, Hon states that she “would really like at some point to turn into one of those classy old women when who wears a lot of Eileen Fisher and black cashmere, but for now, I’ll stick to a little bit of crazy thrown in the mix.”

So catch this Batesie, Singha Hon, rocking her eclectic style down the Alumni Runway, in the art studio, or by the costume shop. Also, don’t miss her in this semester’s Shakespearean main stage, The Two Gentlemen of Verona!

Men’s and women’s Nordic skiing finish sixth at UVM Carnival

Led by junior Jordan Buetow, the Bates men’s Nordic team finished sixth out of sixteen teams in the UVM Carnival over the weekend.

Buetow finished third out of 72 competitors in the men’s 10K freestyle race, earning his second podium finish in the last three weeks with a time of 25:12.1.

Bates finished 18.5 points behind Williams and bested St. Lawrence by 21 points to claim sixth place.

Senior captain Lucas Milliken had the best finish of his career, placing 10th in the 10k with a time of 26:02.8. Freshman Corky Harrer was the final Bobcat to score on the day, finishing 29th in a time of 26:46.1.

On Sunday, Buetow finished tied for 12th place in the 10K classical technique race in the finale of the UVM Carnival.

Buetow finished the course in 28:57.1, and tied with Harvard’s Chris Stock for 12th among 69 competitors.

Junior Alex Hamilton was next to finish, coming in 32nd place in a time of 29:49.5, while junior Sean Woods finished not far behind him in 34th, crossing the line in a time of 29.52.3.

The women were led by sophomore Hallie Grossman, who continued her strong season by finishing 20th in the women’s 5K freestyle in a time of 15:00.2.

Grossman said, “It was a weekend for a lot of learning. There was not much snow, which made the course fast and icy and the corners a bit treacherous.”

She was followed across the line by senior captain Gretchen Sellegren and freshman Margaret Pope.

Sellegren finished 28th in a time of 15:13.4, while Pope finished 33rd in a time of 15:23.0.

On Sunday, freshman Jane McLarney led the women in the 10K classic, finishing 27th out of 75 competitors with a time of 35:24.0.

Sellegren again finished second amongst Bates skiers, ending up 31st in a time of 35:58.8. Grossman rounded out the Bates scoring by finishing one spot behind, in 32nd.

“We really want to have a top three finish this season,” said Grossman, “I think it’s doable if we all have great races.”

Both teams will take part in the Dartmouth Carnival on February 8th and 9th.

Boy Scouts’ New LGBT Policy Masquerades as Inclusive

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the largest youth organizations in the country, has finally made the step of changing its discriminatory membership policy. Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts have refused entry to anyone who identifies as LGBT.

In 2010, the scouts started a review of its membership policy. The discrimination is derived from the phrase in the scout code that says scouts must be “morally straight”. Earlier this year, the scouts issued a statement saying their review was complete and the current discriminatory policy would stay in place.

This decision was met with widespread commendation from current and former scouts along with corporate interests. Intel, UPS, and Merck all withdrew funding from the Boy Scouts until their membership policies are changed.

Perhaps the lack of corporate funding spurred the scouts to finally act on its archaic membership policies.

Scout leaders, often parents or community volunteers, are also not allowed to identify as LGBT.

The policy change, however, is not unilateral. Even if the change comes into effect, it will not have the efficacy of changing the culture and perception of the Boy Scouts of America.

This policy does not change anything because it simply allows organizations who host scout groups to choose whether or not to accept LGBT individuals as scouts and leaders.

The problem is that the top three groups that sponsor Boy Scout troops are the LDS Church, Methodist Church, and Catholic Church, all groups that have traditionally suppressed LGBT rights. Three additional divisions of Christianity are also on the top ten list of groups that run scouting troops. Those figures are from

The new BSA policy essentially does nothing beyond a slight symbolic lessening of anti-LGBT tensions because the vast majority of churches and organizations that sponsor scouting troops do not believe in equal rights for the LGBT community. Also, consider the fact that a group like the Boy Scouts that has excluded the LGBT community for decades is not likely to retain many sponsors that support equal rights. Secular community groups and religious institutions who feel strongly about LGBT rights are likely to have disassociated with scouting a long time ago.

If the Boy Scouts do adopt a policy where organizations can choose for themselves whether or not to accept the LGBT community, maybe a few new civic organizations choose to join scouting. However, the majority of current members are unlikely to change their policies of discrimination.

As a former Boy Scout, I am torn between the benefits that scouting can provide to young men and the fact that those benefits are denied to “other” young men.

The Boy Scouts are a private organization and have a right to accept whatever members they want; the Supreme Court upheld this in the 2002 case Boy Scouts vs. Dale. However, this does not mean that we should accept that a group that provides so many unique benefits to young men gets to deny those benefits to certain men. Scouting builds outdoor skills, character skills, and allows young men to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, which carries a certain amount of distinction in the college admissions process and on job applications.

My father, a former scoutmaster, made the decision this summer to end his financial contributions to the Boy Scouts until they make sweeping changes to their membership policy. Groups like the Inclusive Scouting Network seek to educate the public about the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts and the scouts fulfill their promise in their mission statement to ensure that “Every American boy shall have the opportunity of becoming a good scout.” You can find out more about the Inclusive Scouting Network at

When corporations decided to end some of their financial involvement with the Boy Scouts, the group gave the choice for local chapters to discriminate or not. If future public and financial pressure is put on the organization, then the Boy Scouts will have no choice but to implement fully inclusive membership policies that all local organizations must follow.

What Hard Alcohol Ban?

Coming off of another weekend here at Bates College, it is probably safe to assume that many people have been abundantly acquainted with the College’s alcohol policy. Ask anyone who regularly imbibes and they will undoubtedly tell you that Bates has a lax policy, especially when compared to the rest of the colleges and universities in the state. The alcohol policy, many will tell you, is meant to keep you safe, but not to punish you for what is often considered pedestrian behavior.

The 2012-2013 Policies for Student Conduct and Safety details the Drug and Alcohol policy—on the first page, so as not to waste any time—in no uncertain terms. “Bates College observes all laws governing the use of alcohol…and does not condone violation of these laws,” the policy begins. One will note the glaring absence of the word “prohibit.” In fact, the policy only prohibits the consumption of alcohol under the pretenses of Maine law, but merely encourages students to observe the law.

Conversely, Bowdoin College, which has a drug and alcohol policy that extends several pages past Bates’ paltry few hundred words, wastes no time in stating that, “Bowdoin prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of…alcohol by students.”

Now, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Bates’ policies are decidedly cautionary, allowing students, congruent with most other aspects of the Bates culture, to make their own decisions and reap the rewards, or suffer the consequences, as the case may be. Most students seem to accept and even relish this fact.

One senior, who spoke anonymously, suggested that the alcohol policy keeps students on campus, in a safer environment for their drinking. Specifically, he said, where the heavy-handed policies of other colleges and universities create an exodus off campus where binge drinking is the norm, Bates encourages the more responsible consumption of alcohol by informed individuals in a regulated environment.

There is one expressly forbidden aspect of the alcohol culture in the Bates policy, and that refers specifically to what is known as hard liquor. “Bates has initiated a campus-wide ban on hard liquor,” finishes the short commentary on alcohol. This is where the connection between policy and practice becomes interesting.

Although the college prohibits the consumption of what it calls “hard liquor,”—a term left woefully undefined—anyone out on a Friday or Saturday night will find an ample amount of both liquor and beer at almost any gathering. Is either being abused? I would argue that in most cases the answer is that they are being consumed in a fairly responsible fashion. Are there those who take things too far? Yes, there always are, but for the most part students seem to understand the risks that they are taking, and adequately adjust their own practices.

The data, or what little is available, seems to suggest that Bates students are at least a little more responsible with their drinking. In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Clery Public Crime statistics show that there were only 46 on-campus liquor law violations referred for disciplinary action, and about seven more which occurred off-campus. For Bowdoin College, however, there were a total of 149 liquor law violations referred for disciplinary action, according to the Clery statistics. Coupled with the harsher alcohol policy, it seems that Bowdoin refers approximately three times as many students as Bates has for the past three years.

Now, what does this all mean? Am I trying to put Bowdoin down? No, not at all. Rather, I’m trying to illustrate in a concise way that a harsher policy towards alcohol does not necessarily equate with a lesser consumption of alcohol; in fact, the statistics seem to suggest that the trend might be the opposite. My analysis of the statistics is fairly basic, but the global trends are most probably valid.

What are we to make of all this, though? Alcohol and college are two things that are intrinsically intertwined in the American psyche, but the responsible use of alcohol is something that must be learned, often through trial-and-error. The Bates College alcohol policy, rather than just prohibiting alcohol outright, fosters an environment where students are able to make their own decisions and not live in fearbution of the law.

Is this to say that the system is perfect? No, but where the other major option is prohibition, a system which historically has not been so successful, the Bates policy seems to function quite well.

So, as you clean up after that party that you just threw by recycling the beer cans, emptying the half-consumed Solo cups, and trying to scrub the smell of stale beer and vomit from your rugs, consider the options that Bates College affords you as members of this society. Even in your attempts to have fun and unwind, Bates is still trying to teach you about being responsible, and this is the college’s great success.

Festive February baking: Red velvet cupcakes

With or without cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcakes have become the crème de la crème of modern cupcake world. They are coveted like jewels in a designer collection, revered as if they were offerings to a sweet-toothed god.

Like any in-demand product, red velvets are decidedly overrated. Devotees may gasp when they learn the scarlet truth behind their favorite dessert, if they haven’t already, but were it not for the few drops of red food coloring that go into the batter bowl, the treats would simply be not-so-chocolatey chocolate cupcakes in an identity crisis.

The second part of their name refers to the velvety texture, of course, and the crimson cakes from most cupcakeries, as the businesses have begun to be known, have a fine-crumb texture combined with the moisture of devil’s food cake.

So, okay, maybe cupcakes with such a texture deserve some of the attention they get, and who doesn’t love chocolate-like cupcakes (even if there is only one teaspoon of cocoa)? Of course, red velvet cupcakes are perfect for February baking. Perhaps the most obvious use for them is Valentine’s Day, when baked goods trump candy in the hearts of most foodies.

If you, as a midterm-preparing college student probably living in a dorm, don’t have the resources or time to make red velvets from scratch, buying vanilla or chocolate cupcake mix and dressing up the batter with red food coloring is an alternative. Red velvets are very easy to make from scratch generally, though. Post-Valentine’s Day, make them at home during February break and you’ll have a nice set of “red carpet” cupcakes just in time for Oscar night.

For the holiday, though, dollop extra red or pink icing on top of the cupcake to draw a heart, sprinkle on some heart candy, or decorate with sliced strawberries, and you will elevate the red velvets to Valentine status.

And once the delectable consistency hits you like an arrow from Cupid’s bow, the trickster cupcakes will probably charm you into thinking they really are better than chocolate.

Red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting

Source: Paula Deen, The Food Network, 2007.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tbsp. red food coloring

1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened

2 sticks butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 cups confectioner’s sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin/cupcake pans with cupcake papers.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. (Use a sifter if possible.)

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, and vanilla with a handheld mixer.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl. Mix together until combined.

5. Fill each cupcake paper with the batter, about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick placed into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes before frosting.

For the frosting:

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together with the handheld mixer until smooth.

2. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Beat on higher speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

3. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Maine event looms on horizon for swimming/diving

Although multiple individuals and relay teams took the spotlight and recorded some of their fastest times of the year, Bates Swimming & Diving struggled against competition down in Wellesley, Mass. Both squads took on fellow NESCAC foe Connecticut College and the women competed against non-conference opponent Wellesley. The women finished behind both in scoring, while the men lost to Conn. College.

For the men, sophomore Andrew Briggs had arguably his best meet of his career, posting lifetime bests in the 50 and 100-yard breaststroke events, and ultimately winning in the 50. Fellow sophomore Andrew Hillsberg swam against some tough competition, but had his best time this year in the 500-yard freestyle.

Some of the upperclassmen got in on the action as well. Senior Andrew Buehler posted a team best for the 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle while the 200-yard freestyle relay team led by senior Nick Karlson posted their fastest times since December.

“This meet is usually pretty tough for us because our coach has been pushing us hard in practice for the past two weeks in preparation for resting for the NESCAC meet,” noted Karlson. “I think we’re set up nicely to drop a lot of time and surprise a bunch of teams when we get back to racing in three weeks.”

Mike Hanley, one of the senior leaders of this squad, also had a successful meet, posting the second fastest time on Bates in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Bates dominated the diving events, with first-year Porter Harrast winning the 1-meter diving event and senior captain Travis Jones edging Harrast for first in the 3-meter diving competition.

With the Maine Event coming up as well as NESCACs, these results for Hanley and company only meant great things.

“The Maine event actually isn’t a scored event like other meets. It started out as just a last chance meet for swimmers to get a shot at their events before championships to try and improve their seed times or to just get the feel of racing one last time,” added Hanley. “Now as the team is larger, it acts as the final meet for those swimmers who won’t be attending NESCACs as we are only allowed 24 athletes per team.”

For the women’s squad, it was a different story. Senior Catherine Sparks was the only female swimmer for the ‘cats to win an event, the 50-yard breaststroke in 31.03.

“This meet was tough. I wouldn’t have won my event without the support of the team behind me,” noted Sparks. “Conn. and Wellesley have really fast competitors and we didn’t rest or hold back the week leading up to the meet,” she added.

Bobcat first year Whitney Paine took second in both the 50 back (28.53) and the 100 back (1:00.96).
The Swimming/Diving teams return to the pool February 9th at Colby in the Maine Event, followed by the NESCAC championships over February break.

The influenza epidemic hits Bates

health center picFeeling sick? You are not alone. Many Bates students are fighting the flu this winter. The sound of coughing echoes throughout campus and a multitude of professors can be heard commenting on the large amount of flu-related Dean’s Excuses flooding their inboxes.

Flu outbreaks are far from unusual on college campuses. Close-living conditions and the frequency of shared dining ware are only two of a plethora of factors contributing to the spread of flu throughout residential college communities.

“Flu can be challenging on college campuses because students travel to campus from different areas where there may be different flu strains prevalent and because students are living close together where it is easy to spread the flu to one another through coughing and sneezing or touching things contaminated with the flu virus,” said Cindy Visbaras, Assistant Director and Health Educator of the Health Center.

This year, the early onset of flu contributed to its influence. This phenomenon extends far past the Bates bubble.

“This year has been a particularly bad year for the flu because Maine and the rest of the nation reported widespread flu outbreaks early in the flu season,” said Visbaras.

In an attempt to minimize outbreak, the Health Center hosted two flu shot clinics in October and January. Through these clinics, approximately 300 Bates students received flu shots. The shot equips recipients with immunity two weeks after it is given and lasts through the duration of the flu season.

“Although the CDC [The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] says this year’s flu shot is 62% effective in preventing the flu, people who have had the vaccine and end up getting ill will probably have a milder case due to the increased immunity from the vaccine. Since the flu strains change each year, it is necessary to get a new flu shot each fall,” noted Visbaras.

Despite the Health Center’s best efforts, the flu has still made itself known on Bates’ campus. So far this semester, the Health Center has seen 130 students with the flu. However, the flu seems to be tapering off – at least in the Bates community.

“The number of students ill with the flu peaked in mid-January and we are now noticing a significant decline in the number of new cases of flu. We have seen some complications occur from the flu such as bronchitis and sinusitis but no one has required hospitalization as a result of flu related illness,” said Visbaras.

Therefore, while this year marked an especially bad flu outbreak for Bates the worst seems to be behind us. To make sure the flu continues to decline throughout the community, students are encouraged to visit the Health Center’s website: The Health Center’s website offers information on prevention, symptoms, watching out for friends, and when to seek medical attention for the flu.

In the meantime, stay healthy by washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing, not sharing food in Commons, and resting if you are experiencing symptoms. Next year consider getting the flu shot – it is as easy as visiting the Health Center during their flu shot clinics.

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