The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: May 2013 Page 1 of 2

Hegemony cricket: The interdisciplinary power of Women and Gender Studies

Feminism. The word itself has become stigmatized and marked with stereotypes about who “feminists” really are. The problem is that there is not one type of feminist. To claim that all feminists are the same would be like saying that all people are the same, or all trees are the same, or all diseases are the same, despite the fact that most of us know this to be untrue. No two people are exactly the same, so why would all feminists have to be?

About two weeks ago, I started my “Hegemony Cricket” Tumblr account as part of my independent project for Short Term. The name “Hegemony Cricket” plays off of the famous character, Jiminy Cricket. Hegemony is dominance or influence that is dictated by power authorities, but is also something that very few question the validity of. I thought, based on what “feminism” has come to mean, that I should avoid using the word in my title, so as to gain a broader audience for my project. I also thought that something that was a play on words may intrigue people enough to read about something that they may not have had otherwise if it said gender, patriarchy, or feminist in the title.

Prior to beginning this project, I had viewed Tumblr and Twitter purely as trivial social media sites. I was wrong. These sites have posts, pictures, and videos from feminists, scientists, historians, and artists who share the common goal of using mass social media to discuss the subject about which they are most passionate. I was happy to have been wrong, mainly because my Short Term independent study was born out of my misconceptions.

The goal of my Short Term project is to demonstrate, through social media, that feminism is overarching, interdisciplinary, and above all not something that people have to be afraid to participate in. It spans more than just Women and Gender Studies courses and falls into all aspects of everyday life. Whether in a class in Environmental Studies, Chemistry, or History, feminist principles and perspectives can be applied, and the diverse range of topics that I cover in my Tumblr aims to prove that feminist issues are in fact humanist issues. Thus far, I have covered such topics as feminist branding, social media, nuclear radiation, bullying, and sexual violence. These topics are not owned by feminists, nor should they be. Everyone has a stake in ensuring that bullying, for example, is ended. Feminists who are allies in this fight are looking to achieve justice for an under or misrepresented group. The battle for justice is one of the core tenets of feminism, and one that my independent study hopes to demonstrate.

As a white, upper middle class heterosexual woman at one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, I realize that I have had certain opportunities granted to me based partially on my identity. As a Women and Gender Studies major, and as a feminist, I want to help other people who may not have had the same access to the opportunities I have. I want to use my position to better the lives of those who have been continually denied the tools to stand up for themselves and the justice they deserve. I hope that after my time at Bates I will have to opportunity to take the skills I have learned and apply them to my career, family, and everyday life. I have cherished Bates as a place that has taught me to truly love learning. It is sad, though, that my fellow WGS majors often feel a certain way when talking about our major. We should not have to double major or feel defensive about what we are studying, but we sometimes do. We are often afraid to tell our parents or friends that we are majoring in a field that may not have a predefined career “attached” to it.

The worst, and most common question, is “Women and Gender Studies? What the hell are you going to do with that?!” To be honest, I am not sure yet. I would put money on the fact, though, that a good percentage of Bates students do not yet have a clear plan as to exactly what they will be doing after they graduate either. I do know, however, that in the WGS classes I have taken thus far, I have met some of the most brilliant, hard-working, dedicated people with whom I could have ever hoped to collaborate. Perhaps that is a testament to Bates, but I think it speaks more to the type of environment that WGS classes foster. An environment that realizes that it is ok to be wrong, and an environment that forces students to ask “why?” instead of simply settling for easy answers. The key to these classes, and to life after Bates, is that we have learned how to think critically, ask questions, and work hard. I would encourage people to step outside of their comfort zones, and take a class that has “gender” in the title. They may be as surprised as I was.

Women’s lacrosse ends season with 16-7 quarterfinal loss at Middlebury

The Bates women’s lacrosse team ended their surprising 2013 season with a loss in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC championships on Saturday, falling to second-seeded Middlebury 16-7. Bates managed to pull off a respectable 4-6 NESCAC record after starting the year 0-3, and clinched the seventh seed in the playoffs.

The Lady Cats kept the score close for most of the first half, a far cry from their matchup with Middlebury earlier in the season.

The Panthers started fast, roaring out to a 6-1 lead with just under fifteen minutes remaining in the first half.

However, Bates wouldn’t go away, and fought back to cut into the deficit as the half wound down. Junior Blair Shrewsbury and freshman Emma Noto sandwiched goals around a Middlebury tally, and the lead was down to 7-3 with 5:09 remaining in the first half.

That was as close as the Bobcats would get; Middlebury answered with back-to-back goals of their own to push their halftime lead to 9-3.

After Bates freshman Moriah Greenstein scored on a free position shot early in the second half, Shrewsbury again found a way through the Panther defense, picking up a rebound and firing past Middlebury goalie Alyssa Palomba for her second goal of the day.

Unfortunately, the 10-5 score was as close as the Bobcats would get. Middlebury went on a 6-2 run the rest of the way, including a four-goal run to get to their final goal total.

Shrewsbury and fellow junior Wally Pierce each scored two goals to lead all Bates scorers, while senior captain Linnea Fulton had three draw controls, two ground balls, and two caused turnovers in her final college game.

Freshman goalie Hannah Jeffrey, the NESCAC saves leader, had 11 saves on the day, capping a stellar rookie season.

Although the Bobcats lose former All-NESCAC defender Linnea Fulton, the entire rest of the team will be back next season, when the women’s lacrosse team looks to continue their upward trajectory.

Giving speech to the silent: A plea for urgent climate action

In the struggle to reverse catastrophic global climate change it is the most vulnerable people who often don’t have a voice in the fight. I’ve been in Sri Lanka studying abroad for 3 months and this is my attempt to speak for them. While not even intending to analyze the shock that a warming world would have on this beautiful, crowded island, the future and present effects are so apparently disastrous that I can’t go anywhere without thinking of how much trouble this island, the people and environment, face. My study abroad experience here was meant as my break from climate activism but my mistake, there is never a break to be had in this business.

A little background first. Sri Lanka is the small, tear-dropped shaped island south of India. It is considered a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ as it boasts a considerable amount of tropical flora and fauna, most of which is endemic to the island. With 20 million people, the island is very crowded and the majority of people are farmers. The country is majority Buddhist with minority Tamil Hindu and Muslim populations. A strong environmental ethic emanates with all three of these religions but sadly much of the environment was destroyed or degraded thanks to the 400 years of colonial rule and continued impacts of globalization. Fortunately some natural beauty has been preserved in parks and conservation areas.

Tropical ecosystems by their very nature are vulnerable to collapse from a changing climate as species found within are not generalists but instead depend on a very specific habitat to live. The climactic factors of that habitat include temperature and precipitation both of which are rapidly changing relative to the rate of adaptation. When ecosystems fail, people suffer because of the vast array of services provided such as water and air filtration, flood protection, wild crop relatives, climate regulation and what are most often overlooked, spiritual and cultural connections. Scientists believe tropical ecosystems could exhibit threshold type behavior in response to climate alteration which means a disastrous tipping point could be reached with additional warming. Considering globally we are in the midst of the human caused sixth mass extinction and the island is heavily deforested, Sri Lanka could be teetering on the edge of this tipping point and the rainforests may soon be history. Is that something we really want to risk?

Irregular, inconsistent rainfall patterns have directly impacted the millions of farmers in Sri Lanka; many of whom are poor villagers who live from harvest-to-harvest. The northern two-thirds of the country are in the dry-zone and only receive rain during the two month northeast monsoon. The remainder of the year, they are dependent on the hydraulic works of their ancient ancestors whom developed an impressive system of canals and reservoirs that are filled from the rivers which radiate from the wet southwest area. Planting and harvesting regiments are based off the consistency of the surging rivers, but that consistency is no more. Heavy rains will fall before or after the monsoon season and less-so during. For a rural, dry-zone farmer who has no access to weather reports from the South there is no way to adjust- multiply that by millions and you have the potential for some serious food shortages and health crises. Not to mention the most direct impact of all, I had one conversation with a farmer who said the increase in temperature over the last 20 years means he physically can’t work during the hottest days and his productivity has taken a hit.

Being a tropical island, Sri Lanka is endowed with unbeatable natural beaches but is also susceptible to the dangers of rising sea levels and increasingly powerful cyclones. I don’t think I need to say much more than this except that much of the population density and tourist developments are found nuzzled against the coastline. An increase in the frequency and strength of cyclones in a country lacking the roads to support a mass evacuation and a reliable warning system means more frequent and increasingly deadly disasters.

What all this amounts to is a simple fact: The burning of fossil fuels has unquestionably warmed the entire planet and this has brought about and will continue to bring about a great deal of suffering to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka and it’s incredibly genuine and kind inhabitants. Psychologists say that the reason more people aren’t concerned with climate change is because the negative impacts take place over too long of a period of time for us to pick up on. Ecosystems slowly transform and temperatures rise just a bit each year. It is helpful then to try and imagine life in 2053, 40 years from now, without the curbing of emissions. Maybe Sri Lanka will have had two more terrible cyclones, a completely different and unpredictable monsoon season, more frequent floods due to the disappearing rainforest, and the extinctions of five to ten more species than what simply habitat loss could bring about. I think those estimates are generous considering the scientific uncertainty around tipping points and the rate of economic development and fossil fuel emissions increasing all over the world. Life may simply not even be possible according to many respected climate scientists.

One reason Sri Lankan people don’t have a voice in the fight against global warming is their lack of awareness. Another one is that they are out of sight and out of mind of the fossil fuel executives. We in the United States are in a commanding position because we have the ability to reverse climate change and have a population-wide level of awareness of the issue. We literally can’t wait any longer to put a price on carbon and begin a shift to a fossil free world. Bates, along with hundreds of other universities, towns, cities, and religious groups, all around the United States are in the midst of a united campaign to divest from fossil fuels, because we say it is immoral to profit off this destruction, sending a strong message to our elected leaders that change is urgently required.

I call on Bates College, our trustees, President, administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni to be leaders in this struggle and to speak for the billions of people in the world without a voice in this fight. A responsible and managed divestment over five years is achievable without harming our school’s precious endowment and financial aid. To say that we can’t make a difference is irresponsible; we are truly at the forefront of this movement and one school’s divestment could easily trigger the rest. On behalf of Sri Lanka and all other silenced climate victims, leaders of Bates: put our mission into action and proudly show the world what we stand for.

Going the Distance

It’s funny how all kinds of things separate us: jobs, family, and school. Some of us might never face the challenge of distance, but many of us find ourselves fighting distance regularly.

When we return home for the summer or to a new city for an internship, we face distance. When all of the seniors graduate in four weeks, we will face distance. And when your boyfriend or girlfriend moves or maybe your family relocates while you’re still in school, you face distance.

I always wonder how far is too far. Can two hours really justify pulling two people apart? 120 minutes. That’s only 40 minutes longer than a typical class at Bates. Surely two people that love each other can handle that right?

So what is it that allows distance to break us apart? And better yet, what about it can pull us closer together?

It’s not that not being able to talk makes it difficult, but there are obstacles with all types of communication. Heck, sometimes we even revert back to writing letters just to get a sense of the old fashioned way we used to approach distance.

When we graduate from college or simply leave for the summer, we’ll probably only talk to a few people we used to see on a regular basis. It’s hard to tell and predict just which people that select few might consist of.

How do some people successfully overcome distance and make it work for each other separately and together?

Sometimes one person in the equation might complain about feeling suffocated, not getting enough attention, not caring enough, maybe even caring too much. Distance seems to come with a whole assortment of complaints, worries, and frustrations.

What would have happened if distance didn’t knock on our front door every summer, for the whole semester, or for what feels like an eternity of two years?

When you search “long distance” on Google News, the first few articles that pop up involve basketball, long-distance trains, the movie ‘Long Distance’ and vibrating underwear controlled by smart phones that could keep long-distance couples satisfied (I promise I am not making this one up).

Could vibrating underwear controlled by smart phones really keep us from breaking up, having a falling out, or losing touch?

Maybe vibrating underwear controlled by smart phones isn’t the solution I had in mind, but that’s not to say that we might not look outside of the box for a variety of solutions to keep us together and make sure things stay the same as everything else becomes so different.

My best friend’s little sister (from Maryland) went to school in California, I moved to Maryland from Maine for Bates, lived in three different cities for the last three summers and my best friend goes to school in North Carolina.

Sure, sometimes we have wanted to rip our hair out trying to stay in touch. We play phone tag for a week, can’t get a bar of service in the library, or become so sick of texting that we stop communicating all together. But, we have breaks, we take time to visit one another at school, and we Skype when we can.

During my drive back to Bates from Maryland after break, my friend started making claims about what makes romantic long distance relationships so much more different than long distance friendships.

First she came up with the idea of the sexual aspect and the idea of “needing” each other in that sense.

I thought that seemed like a genuine claim. A big part of our romantic relationships depends on the obvious: sex. Without it, do our relationships cease to function? What is it about sex that keeps us together?

On the bus to Andover from Boston, a woman recognized my Bates sweatshirt and mentioned that she had two boys who attended Bowdoin and had friends that had children who attended Bates.

Right away, she brought up her son’s wedding. She told me that, “He had ten friends! All those 10 boys with him. From those schools, you have friends forever. Forever.”

I felt a sense of ease. She had pointed out the obvious that I had been beating around for the past four years. Not only did the people make Bates special, but the fact that we would maintain our relationships with these people forever.

Maybe 10 boys will not attend my wedding, but I know that 7 girls certainly will.

When I showed my mom this article, she said that she wished her family lived right down the road.

One of my best friends from Bates told me that what makes the weekends so hard for long-distance romantic relationships is that you are suddenly finding yourself having to choose between friends and your special significant other.

I envy those that find the perfect balance, and maybe for some, you have to live within reasonable distance of your friends and your significant other to make yourself and those you love happy.

I will never quite understand distance. After flying home from California, and then driving back across the U.S. up to Maine after break, passing through Boston and finally reaching Lewiston, I started questioning state lines. Exit after exit, I kept wishing to know and just understand why these state lines and boundaries do such a good job at getting in the way.

Gattuso throws first perfect game in Bates history as softball beats Fisher

Bates senior pitcher Caroline Gattuso pitched the first perfect game in Bates history last Wednesday as the Bobcats defeated Fisher College in game one a doubleheader. Gattuso faced the minimum of 15 batters, striking out eight batters in what was obviously the most impressive statistical game of her career. The game ended in the fifth inning because of the eight-run rule, as Bates would win 8-0. “Catcher AnnaMarie Martino called a great game, and the defense made the plays they needed to,” explained Gattuso, “Can’t have a perfect game without everyone else doing their jobs too.”

Also in game one, senior infielder Mary Lewis broke the single-season stolen base record for the Bobcats with her 20th stolen bag, and number 50 of her career. Lewis also set the single-season Bates record for singles with her 36th of the year. Sophomore Kelsey Freedman would provide the offensive power with a three-run home run, the first of her career, while sophomore Molly Brown would add two runs scored and an RBI.

In game two of the doubleheader, Bates would win 9-0 behind another impressive pitching performance, this time by sophomore Brenna Callahan. In another shortened game due to the eight-run rule, Callahan threw five scoreless innings and gave up only three hits.

Over the weekend, the Bobcats were swept in a three game series by a formidable Trinity team, and the team finished the year with a 9-17 record and a disappointing 1-11 NESCAC conference record. Gattuso again made program history, striking out three in her pitching performance to set a new Bates career record of 190 strikeouts.

While the season was disappointing, Bates did have several standout performances this season. Lewis led the team with a .464 batting average, followed by Freedman, who batted .316 on the year and added 12 RBI’s. Gattuso and senior catcher AnnaMarie Martino provided more offense, as Gattuso led the team with 19 RBI’s and Martino had a solid year with 8 RBI’s and 5 doubles, batting .275.

Freedman was also the team’s most effective pitcher on the season, posting an ERA of 3.77 and leading the team with 78 innings pitched. Callahan and Gattuso were also solid with ERA’s of 4.44 and 4.89, respectively.

Bates softball is an exceptionally young team, with the vast majority of its players in the freshman and sophomore classes, and this team will likely contend for many years to come given additional experience.

Ghosts: Paranormal or hallucinations?

I was inspired to write an article on ghosts, ghouls and phantoms after remembering a visit to Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland. I had the privilege of going to Scotland last Short Term to dig in the Shetland Islands. As part of the historical build-up to the archeological work, we spent a week in Edinburgh visiting monuments, castles and museums. Mary King’s Close was the most unique tour because after the glitz and glamour of palaces we were faced with the harsh reality of what history was genuinely like for the not-so-fortunate in society. After plague ravaged Edinburgh, the lower levels of the city were closed off to prevent any more epidemics, to isolate the infected and let them die and to keep the filth at bay. Mary King’s Close was one of the streets that is now subterranean. In one of the small apartments we visited lies a pile of toys that have been accumulated by visitors over time to end the eternal search of the spirit of a little girl for her doll who died there of the plague. Is there any truth behind these reports? How much is real and how much is hallucination?

While we were there, we had no personal encounters with anything unnatural, but the Close is described by many familiar with it as haunted. The stories of the many restless souls whose horrid lives still shock them well into death become the source of much fascination and debate. All over the world there are similar reports of people appearing and disappearing, mysterious noises, startling photographs and inexplicable re-enactments. At the White House, many residents and visitors describe Abraham Lincoln wondering the corridors. In France, Marie Antoinette is said to still linger long after being guillotined. Similarly in England, Anne Boleyn’s headless body still roams after many eyewitness accounts. These events not only encourage the publicity of various monuments but they call for so many spin-off television shows like Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters and even some episodes of Scooby-Doo. Clearly, some hauntings are fabrications designed to rake in cash from tourists and hopeful TV viewers. But what about the reports by people who stand to profit nothing from their claims?

The most obvious explanation will be innocent human perception. Some types of hallucinations (i.e. induced by inhaling any gases present) and optical illusions can trick even the most rational of people. Scientific analyses have studied how natural magnetic fields in certain areas warp human perception. Studies into infrasound (low-frequency sound) have proven to stimulate experiences related to hauntings in test subjects. Vic Tandy, a lecturer at Coventry University, has written extensively about how the resonating eyeball can trick the brain into seeing unnatural movements at the corner of one’s eye. He concluded that sound at a frequency of 19Hz can induce feelings of fright in humans. He was the first to link his discovery with ghost sightings.  Poor sleep patterns have also proven to give some people the perception of being haunted. Pareidolia is a phenomenon where the human brain has a tendency to make unknown or inanimate objects familiar. This is how we look at clouds and see unlikely shapes or look at the face of the clock and see a man with a mustache. Any sudden movement or unusual sound is automatically associated with something human and hence the perception of a haunting.

But moving beyond the scientific skepticism is there something else? As likely as the above explanations are, are there some encounters that are not hoaxes and not caused by misperception? The Law of Conservation of Energy says that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. We, as living beings, who are bodies of energy, what does that say about us? Of course there is plenty debate of the extent to which this theory applies to us. This theory is clearly true for the decay of our bodies and how in our death we provide life to some members of our eco-system.  But is this true at a more spiritual level? Assuming the soul is something that exists? For thousands of years, religions all over the world have advocated for some type of life after death. Irrespective of any personal beliefs, the consistency should be something to be taken into consideration.

So are ghosts real? Maybe. Before the Law of Conservation there was the Bhagavad Gita of Hindu wisdom that romantically stated “The soul is never born and it never dies. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. It is not slain when the body is slain.”

Why you should volunteer at the Blake Street Towers

As a one-month period where many students’ only formal responsibility is one class, short term marks the perfect time to delve into community service projects in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area. One such noteworthy volunteer opportunity is the Blake Street Towers (BST). The Towers is a public residence-housing complex for the elderly and the young disabled of lower socioeconomic means. Every week, Bates students partake in fun activities with the residents – including playing board games, serving brunch or simply enjoying a friendly conversation.

The effort to increase the number of Bates volunteers at BST is currently lead by Matt Gee ’16, a Harward Center Student Volunteer Fellow (SVF). Although all SVFs work as a team, Gee’s primary focus is BST (volunteering at the Towers is part of Gee’s job description). Gee is also responsible for organizing the programs and recruiting volunteers for the Towers.

Specifically, Gee runs two programs a week for BST residents. Thursday afternoon is “game day” (Bates students play board games like Pokeno, Bingo, and Yahtzee with BST residents). On Sunday mornings, Bates students prepare and serve free brunch to the residents. Typically, 3 to 4 Bates students volunteer each day. Gee personally volunteers at BST twice a week.

“Since my second visit to BST I was hooked. I saw how happy the residents were to see us young people and I was determined to do everything that I could to make their lives more pleasant. My experience at BST has been very rewarding, and as an SVF I have gained leadership skills and learned the value of all people no matter what age or disability,” said Gee.

In addition to the weekly activities run by the SVF, in the past a number of Bates’ student organizations have also hosted special events for BST residents. For instance, Bates students have held Roots and Shoots gardening days for the residents. Also, various Bates a cappella groups and the Strange Bedfellows (Bates’ sole improvisational comedy group) have put on performances for the residents. Other past special events include holiday meals and parties. This short term, the Deansmen will be visiting the Towers.

“This short term I am planning a musical performance by a string quartet of Bates students and the Deansmen,” commented Gee.

So why should you volunteer at the Towers? Gee stresses BST’s relaxed and fun nature.

“People should volunteer at BST because it is a low commitment program.  I know that many people want to volunteer but are afraid that if they volunteer once, they will be obligated to go every week. With the BST program, we have had volunteers that only come once to those who come every week. This program is also genuinely fun and rewarding. The “work” consists of playing games, cooking, and talking to people. Volunteers also enjoy seeing the noticeable mood lift in the residents due to their presence,” explained Gee.

While an afternoon of volunteering may not seem like a huge deal to a Bates student, one afternoon can have a substantial impact on one or more BST resident.

“The residents of BST love Bates students, so why not brighten someone’s day?” pointed out Gee.

There are a plethora of reasons to volunteer at the Towers such as lifting someone’s spirit, to relax, to have fun, as a study-break, for a community service project, etc. There are far fewer reasons not to volunteer. Chances are you, as a volunteer, will benefit just as much from your time at the Towers as the BST residents. What do you have to lose?


Plant Terrariums bring summer life into student dorms

When you can’t grow outdoors, plant a garden on your windowsill and tabletop.

This past summer when I was living in Vancouver, Canada, I passed many yuppie-oriented lifestyle and decor boutiques on my way home from work. There was one particular store that would greet me when I turned the corner. Its naturalistic storefront had always piqued my attention. A brown barrel filled with peculiar plant species beckoned at the base of the stairs and I had always made a mental note to myself to go in one day. In the middle of the summer haze, I finally climbed up the winding set of rustic stairs that led to a hidden nursery situated on the outskirts of Downtown.

Once inside, I was greeted by volumes of glass containers and the tropical, miniature worlds that they nurtured. What I saw before me were plant terrariums, mini indoor gardens housed within creative containers ranging from high-end designer pieces to simple fishbowls. It is even possible to create a micro-version of a terrarium using light bulbs.  After speaking with the store associate who informed me that the xerographica, a very rare and beautiful silver, broad-leafed airplant, was selling at $22.00, I deduced that air terrariums would be an investment for any college student budget. Nevertheless, these small microcosms of life were fascinating, compact, and the perfect accessory for any college dorm. These miniature gardens are perfect for anyone who wants to decorate with houseplants but doesn’t have the space or the time for maintenance, which is quintessentially the predicament that many college students face.

“Terrariums are beautiful. If plants are what you’re looking for, these are perfect for a dorm room,” says sophomore Rokya Samake.

Plant terrariums offer the perfect solution for students looking to grow plants, but lack the space to do so. One can choose a desert theme, filling their terrarium with cacti species, or if succulent plants are favored, one can create a more tropical, lush theme. Terrariums allow for many tastes and looks depending on the season. In addition, if you do not have time to water plants but want to retain the décor element, airplants, also known as epiphytes, are the ideal solution. These plants need no soil because water and nutrients are absorbed through their leaves. Occasional light misting will allow the plant to flourish, but since these plants need no soil base, they can be placed anywhere.

Here are some recommendations we have if you want to create your own plant terrarium.

Finding a Container
Plant terrariums do not need to be extraordinarily sophisticated. Visit Goodwill to find an interesting bottle or if you find yourself at the Bates New York Finance Roadshow, stop by in Brooklyn to visit the flea markets where you can stumble upon a variety of eclectic containers. Glass milk bottles are also perfect for these DIY projects. If you have an empty fishbowl that once housed your goldfish, use it. Closed containers with smaller openings make for a more humid, jungle-like atmosphere. recommends a more open container for cactus and succulent plants.

Terrarium Plant Varieties  
When creating a terrarium, select plants that all require the same care. For example, if your room receives plenty of sunlight, choose all-drought or tropical varieties. Never mix plants with different needs. Popular choices include croton, pothos, dracaena, small ferns, lucky bamboo, club moss, creeping fig and prayer plant.

Air Plant Varieties
Since air plants are so self-sufficient, they complement any lifestyle and environment. Some recommendations include the streptophylla, a velvety plat with silver ribbons that curl and swirl. The caput-medusa is also an affordable option. Its swirling velvety arms make for unusually graceful plants. In addition, it produces many purple flowers throughout the year. The stricta is also a popular choice. The stricta has stiff, silvery leaves with beautiful pink buds with purple blooms that add a pop of color in the dead of the winter.

Plant terrariums are a brilliant option that allows for life to blossom as temperatures sink below 0 degrees Celsius. Enjoy them!

Letter to the Editor

Note from the editors: This letter was received on March 28, 2013 and was written by Professors Elizabeth Eames and Sue Houchins

Dear Editor,

We are writing in response to the critique of cultural studies courses in Alex Daugherty’s Forum article of March 20, 2013, entitled “Short Term Needs to be Revamped.”

In addition to the article’s description found on the Bates College website, our understanding of at least one important purpose for Short Term’s curriculum is to present both faculty and students with an opportunity to experiment with new subjects of inquiry and innovative modes of analysis.  We also find this five week period enables a kind of immersion in cultural texts impossible during the regular semester.

Such efforts represent state of the art in our respective disciplines.  The television series The Wire and the overarching reach of The Disney Empire form part of a network of college courses across the nation.

Through the process of subjecting cultural texts to critical, anthropological and cinematic analysis, students learn to discern America’s contested beliefs and values by unearthing the cultural politics embedded in popular extended dramatic narratives. Such demystification entails delving beyond apparent surface messages to reveal underlying tensions, recurring contradictions, and even counter-hegemonic themes with respect to the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and nation.

We are profoundly aware of the growing apprehension of Bates students about the constricted job market for graduates of liberal arts colleges. In fact, President Spencer has been conducting a series of luncheon meetings for faculty entitled “Purposeful Work” to address this very issue in a variety of ways other than entirely “revamping” Short Term.  As the “working group” of faculty and staff she is organizing begins to design and establish programs focused on providing employment experience, your alarm might lessen at Short Term courses whose purpose you only surmise.

As asserted on the poster publicizing a recent all-day BCDC-endorsed symposium Beyond Intellectual Profit, “studying race, gender, class, sexuality or disability make[s] you an attractive job candidate….knowledge about difference [makes you] a better doctor, lawyer, or professional…[thus] your academic career prepare[s] you for purposeful and meaningful work.”

We assert that racism, heterosexism and male domination are no “joke.”  Such serious content in cultural studies courses should make no allowances for “slacking off” during short term.



Elizabeth A. Eames (Anthropology)


Sue E. Houchins (African American and American Cultural Studies)

Diversity of what?

President Spencer emailed the student body announcing a series of “open conversations” on diversity, specifically on the role of the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE), and invited the entire Bates community to participate in the conversation. So here’s my take:  the way diversity is conceptualized and acted on at Bates discriminates against numerous legitimate forms of diversity.

You may ask, “What do you mean? Bates has and actively encourages diversity through the OIE, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and through events like this open conversation.” However, Bates has lost the true meaning of diversity, and has focused on it superficially, using it as a means to distinguish itself from other small liberal arts colleges rather than pursuing diversity for its own sake. More concretely, Bates primarily looks at diversity in categorical terms through the lenses of race and gender, and consequently ignores others forms of diversity that contributes to the vitality of the Bates community that we all know well.

Two individuals that I know very well demonstrate the remarkable diversity in the Bates community. The first is a musician, a fantastic guitarist and vocalist. He works in the Bates AV center creating promotional videos for Bates and is an extremely talented alpine skier. The second is a pre-med politics major (I don’t get it either), heavily involved with the Outing Club and EMS, as well as a decent brewer. Also, he is learning Mandarin, and is currently studying abroad in China.

Yet these two individuals do not fit the conventional definition of diversity because both are white, heterosexual males from the East Coast. While Bates may recognize them for their achievements in other ways, their activities aren’t considered as a contribution to the diversity of the college.

As evidence to support the college’s obvious oversight of these other forms of diversity, one only needs to look at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s web page on the Bates website.

First, under the “Diversity in Campus Life” section, there is a page linked to the OIE, whose mission is “providing all of our students from underrepresented backgrounds a ‘space to be apart’” and to provide “opportunities for the entire Bates community to experience ‘time to be together.” What does underrepresented mean, and shouldn’t a college office encouraging diversity promote all forms, not those deemed underrepresented? The term, “intercultural” implies some groups fit their definition while others do not. In addition to the OIE, there is a page listing a variety of faith-related organizations on campus, despite the fact that some of the organizations listed don’t even exist anymore. Why isn’t there is page celebrating the diverse range of non-academic musical talent on campus, and the like?

To be fair, there is a page supposedly for all student activities, but only multicultural organizations are listed on the page. What about the other 90 or so student organizations on campus? I guess their activities do not represent the “diversity” of Bates, despite the fact that we have a wide range of politically activist organizations from the Bates Republicans to the Slow Food Club.

To be clear, this is isn’t an assault on these services or organizations, it just suggests that numerous other forms of diversity seem to be excluded from what the college considers diverse.

Further evidence of this exclusion is exemplified in the college’s policies. Most notably, the affirmative action policy only includes race and gender as identities entitled to special treatment. Why just those forms, because I wonder how many libertarian-leaning faculty are on campus? Probably very few to none. I guess intellectual diversity matters less at Bates than I thought. In sum, the administration doesn’t actually promote diversity, instead just the types of diversity that it deems representative of diversity.

Now what can be taken from this critique to transform it into constructive criticism?

First, the Bates community must make an ongoing effort to reframe diversity to include the various forms diversity takes. This includes an active public relations effort that represents the numerous activities on campus indicative of the college’s diversity. For example, instead of just listing the multicultural organizations on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s web page, list the major accomplishments of all student organizations.

Another important step in reframing diversity is to redraft the mission statement of the OIE and Office of Diversity and Inclusion to expand the definition beyond identity and concentrate activities and intellectual viewpoints, both excluded from the current definition.

Second, promoting diversity around campus requires financial investments. Currently, Bates’ budget for student activities is woefully underfunded at $210 per student, while Bowdoin receives approximately $442 and Hamilton at $440 per student. Also, the OIE and Office of Diversity and Inclusion should receive more discretionary funding to help students and student organizations in promoting their diverse activities around campus.

Bates needs to change the way we think about diversity on campus and include that redefinition in our rhetoric, activities and budgetary priorities to truly create a campus that embraces our multifaceted differences that makes Bates, Bates.

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