The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: May 2013

Women’s tennis wraps up season

The women’s tennis team wrapped up its regular season slate with a 6-3 loss to Wesleyan on Sunday.  Bates finishes its season with a 7-11 record and a 3-6 mark in NESCAC play.  The Bobcats are currently ranked 28th in the country, but will likely fall a few places in the rankings after losing to the unranked Cardinals.

The team dropped a 9-0 decision to Amherst and a 6-3 match against Brandeis before halting a four match losing streak against Wellesley in early April.

“I think we had a lot of really tough matches but we definitely persevered and never gave up, even when we were losing,” said sophomore Maddie Stein.

The Bobcats scored a 5-4 upset over then 26th ranked Wellesley.  Winning doubles matches for Bates was senior Jacqui Holmes and junior Lucy Brennan at number two and senior Nicole Russell and junior Kristen Doerer number three doubles.  Russell and Doerer had a particularly close match, triumphing 9-8 in what turned out to be a decisive point in the match.

In singles, Bates was led by sophomore Elena Mandzhukova at number one, who grinded out a three set victory, 6-0, 5-7, 6-1.  Senior Ashley Brunk also captured a three set match 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4).  Russell notched another three set victory at number five singles with a 5-7,6-2,6-1 score.

After a 9-0 setback against Trinity, the team got back on the winning track against Colby.  Bates swept the doubles matches en route to an 8-1 victory.  Mandzhukova, Holmes, Brunk, and Russell all won in straight sets at singles.  Doerer grinded out a three set victory at number six singles with a 3-6, 7-6(4), 11-9 marathon match.

Bates then dropped another match to Amherst 8-1 before sweeping Connecticut College 9-0.  Holmes secured the lone win against Amherst.  All of the singles matches were sweep wins against Connecticut College except for Brunk and sophomore Audrey Grauer who both prevailed in three set matches.

The Bobcats kept up their winning ways against Hamilton.  All three doubles matches were easily decided in Bates’ favor as the women rolled to an 8-1 win.  Five of the six singles matches were victories for Bates and all of them were 2-0 sweeps.

“We all have worked really hard in out-of-season training and put in the time throughout the winter to help make us successful,” said Stein.

However, the team has been struggling recently with three straight losses to close out the season.  Bates fell 9-0 to eighth ranked Bowdoin, although Holmes put up a fight in her number two singles match, falling in three sets 7-6(5), 5-7, 10-8.

“Jacqui Holmes had some amazing matches against some of the top players in the NESCAC, beating the number two Amherst and Wesleyan players,” Stein said.  “She had a really great season.”

Holmes then continued her strong individual play in an 8-1 loss to Tufts.  The senior captain won in three sets 0-6, 7-6, 10-8.  The rest of the team struggled, however, as the team captured only nine other games throughout the other five singles matches.

Bates was then unable to avoid the upset against Wesleyan, as Holmes was again the only winner in singles play with a 6-2, 7-6(4) win.  The Bobcats did manage to capture two out of the three doubles matches, as Mandzhukova and Brunk won 8-3 at first doubles whiles Holmes and senior Jenna Burke triumphed 8-2 at third doubles.

The loss to Wesleyan cost Bates a spot in the NESCAC Championship and ended the Bobcats season.

“We all worked really hard, but more wins would be better,” Stein said.  “We can be more competitive with all of the NESCAC schools and make the NESCAC Championships next year.”

Student Conduct Committee case summary

What follows is the most recent case study of the Student Conduct Committee for the Winter 2013 semester.  The information was provided to The Student from Dean Steidel.

Incident Date: January 13, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in acts of assault and disorderly conduct on or about January 13, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on February 1, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate a Fall Term 2013 suspension a one-year suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. The student is required to have a meeting with a counselor at the Health Center to discuss this incident and alternative methods of conflict resolution.

Incident Date: January 13, 2013                                                                          

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in an act of disorderly conduct on or about January 13, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on February 4, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate a Short Term 2013 suspension a one-year suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. The student is required to have a meeting with a counselor at the Health Center to discuss this incident and alternative methods of conflict resolution.

Incident Date: January 13, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in an act of assault on or about January 13, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on February 4, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate a Short Term 2013 suspension with a one-year suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. The student must pay for medical expenses for another student.

Incident Date: January 13, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in an act of disorderly conduct on or about January 13, 2013.

Outcome: The Committee found the student not guilty of the charge.

Incident Date: January 16, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with unacceptable social behavior by virtue of violating the College’s Drug and Alcohol Policy on or about January 16, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on January 25, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate a Short Term 2013 suspension a one-year suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct.

Incident Date: February 24, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with academic misconduct by virtue of plagiarizing a paper on or about February 24, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on March 8, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate probation for the remainder of the student’s academic career at Bates College with a one-semester suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of academic misconduct. In addition, the student is required to meet with a writing specialist in the Writing Center to discuss this incident and to follow up on any recommendations they may make.

Incident Date: March 6, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with unacceptable social behavior by virtue of violating the College’s Drug and Alcohol Policy on or about March 6, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on March 15, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate probation for the remainder of the student’s academic career at Bates College with a one-semester suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. The student also received a second drug-strike and was ordered to complete two hours of community restitution. Furthermore, the student is required to meet with Dean Erin Foster Zsiga, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Counselor, and must pay a $50 fine for this second violation.

Incident Date: March 16, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in an act of disorderly conduct on or about March 16, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on March 29, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate probation for the remainder of the student’s academic career at Bates College with a one-semester suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. The student is also required to complete ten hours of community restitution.

Incident Date: March 17, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in acts of disorderly conduct by virtue of pulling a fire alarm and for obstruction of college procedures by virtue of providing false information to a Security Officer on or about March 17, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on March 29, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate probation for the reminder of the student’s academic career at Bates College and a Short Term 2013 suspension with a one full-semester suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. Additionally, the student is required to meet with Jim Guzelian, Environmental Health & Safety Specialist, as well as a counselor at home to discuss this incident.

Incident Date: March 24, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in an act of assault on or about March 24, 2013.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on April 8, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate a Short Term 2013 suspension with a one-year suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct. The student must see a counselor at home prior to Fall 2013 return to Bates, and the counselor must provide notice that all recommendations have been completed. Additionally, the student is required to complete twenty hours of community restitution.

Incident Date: March 24, 2013

Charge: A student was charged with social misconduct by virtue of engaging in acts of disorderly conduct, obstruction of college procedures and for violation of the Bates College Drug and Alcohol Policy.

Outcome: A Disposition by Agreement was accepted by the co-chairs of the Student Conduct Committee on April 5, 2013. The elements of the agreement stipulate a Short Term 2013 suspension with a one full-semester suspension held in abeyance if found guilty by the Student Conduct Committee of any future act of social misconduct.

Listen to the science

It seems fitting that, in this year’s last issue of The Bates Student, I return to a sentiment that I expressed in the first issue of The Student way back in September. When writing about certain politicians’ views on climate change, I wrote that “[While] other topics in politics may not have a clear ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, the nature of science itself allows for purely evidence-based decisions to be made.” The scientific method – the centuries-old process by which scientists develop, test, and ultimately confirm or reject hypotheses – is solely based on evidence, eliminating any influence of bias or other confounds through the use of experimental replication and strict statistical thresholds.

Therefore, I find it immensely frustrating when the mainstream media and American public ignore mountains of scientific evidence and continue to perpetuate pseudoscientific myths. In past decade particularly, the ‘vaccines cause autism’ myth has been particularly damaging. Since 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that there have been over 115,000 illnesses and over 1100 deaths in the United States that could have been prevented by vaccinations despite the fact that virtually every major health organization in the world has rejected a link between vaccines and autism. But this myth is old news. Instead, I am going to discuss a different topic that, of late, has become fashionable to baselessly criticize: genetically modified (GM) organisms, particularly several types of crops.

Genetic modification in general has been a practice for many centuries: when farmers select only the seeds of the biggest or the most pest-resistant tomatoes to replant, they are effectively genetically modifying their vegetables. Since this practice has been commonplace for so long, many types of modern crops only exist due to this careful selection that maximized their best possible traits. However, nobody protests this type of artificial selection. The type of genetic modification that has caused some controversy involves the insertion of one or a few genes into a plant species. These genes provide the plant with some sort of benefit that it would otherwise not have, such as enhanced vitamin content, resistance to pests or disease, or the ability to grow with limited nutrients.

But such genetic modification surely can’t be safe, right? Certainly crops like this are dangerous and we should stick with “natural” foods, right? In my opinion, Pamela Ronald, a prominent researcher of GM foods, answers these questions best in her article for Scientific American. She writes, “There is broad scientific consensus that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat. After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops.” Ronald cites comprehensive studies by the U.S. National Research Council and the Joint Research Centre (the European Union’s major scientific research laboratory) for her statement.

Some of the main health and environmental benefits of GM crops come from their growth in developing countries or in regions of the world that are not especially conducive towards agriculture. Let’s consider cotton production as an example. For several decades, spraying synthetic insecticides was the only way to combat cotton-destroying pests. However, researchers developed a GM form of cotton containing a bacterial protein called Bt that kills pests but is harmless to humans and beneficial insects. In 2012, an article by Yu and colleagues in the journal Nature reported that Bt cotton growth in China had significantly reduced the spraying of synthetic chemicals and had increased the population of beneficial insects to the plant. Other researchers found that planting Bt cotton had reduced the number of poisonings in Chinese farming families.

Elsewhere in the world, researchers reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the switch to Bt cotton in India resulted in a 24% larger yield, a 50% increase in profit, and an 18% improvement in living standards. Closer to home in Hawaii, GM papayas literally saved the fruit’s existence. In 1998, a virus called papaya ringspot virus (PRV) threatened to wipe out the state’s papaya industry. But with the introduction of PRV-resistant papayas, the fruit was saved and is now grown by 90% of Hawaiian farmers. Notably, there is no other way to control PRV besides genetic modification.

GM crops are not without some downsides. While Bt cotton reduces the populations of the typical pests that normally attack crops, secondary pests (that are not affected by Bt) can emerge and force farms to spray insecticide to protect their crops. Additionally, interbreeding between GM crops and their wild type counterparts can result in a decrease in natural biodiversity if the genetic modification continues to spread into the wild.

With so many benefits drawn from GM crops, a few possible drawbacks are not reason enough to ban genetic modification. Instead, it should spur more research into ways of improving the modifications. Perhaps another protein similar to Bt could be discovered that combats the secondary pests. In order to prevent the spread of GM crops into the wild, perhaps restrictions could be implemented to enforce a minimum distance between GM crop fields and the surrounding environment.

My point is that, instead of finding some minor downside and claiming that GM crops are evil, people should realize the countless benefits that GM crops have brought to the world. With all the possible utilizations of genetic modifications, any downside should spur more research in hopes of making GM crops as safe to the environment as possible. The fact is that GM crops have been grown for be past decade and a half and they are here to stay. With the world’s population expected to hit 10 billion later this century (according to UN estimates), the demand for food is bound to increase dramatically. Even in the present, many people in developing countries still have limited access to food sources.

Since the currently grown GM crops have been completely harmless to humans, there is no reason to fear the future of genetic modification in terms of human health. Nevertheless, the same rigorous testing that the current GM crops went through must be maintained into the future. As genetic modification spreads from crops and GM animal products begin to hit the market, I urge you to listen to the science. If all of the research suggests that a product is safe, then there is no reason to fear. Unlike fallible humans, the science never lies.

Bates debate excels at nationals

This past April, the Brooks Quimby Debate Council finished off the year with two national debate tournaments. The first was the British Parliamentary Nationals, hosted by the University of La Verne in California between April 12th and 14th. British Parliamentary debate features four, two-person teams. Two teams—“opening” and “closing”—take the “government” side, which argues in favor of a certain resolution (i.e., “this House would legalize gay marriage”). The other side, or “opposition,” likewise consists of two opening and closing teams that argue against the motion. Interestingly, while the two teams on a given side will both argue for or against the same motion, each team actually competes with the other on its side to see who can argue the same point better.

According to sophomore debater Matt Summers, Bates had a “phenomenal showing” at nationals. After the preliminary rounds, all teams are ranked depending on how they performed. A good performance in preliminaries is essentially because the competition is seeded. In other words, the better you do early on, the easier the rest of the tournament will be.

After the preliminaries, Summers and his partner, senior Eric Devaux, were in fifth position, followed by seniors Ben Smith and Cat Djang in sixth, and sophomore Taylor Blackburn and senior Virginia Flatow in seventh, out of 160 teams.  The top 32 teams in the tournament advanced to the knockout rounds of the tournament. Each team then advanced to the quarterfinals, and Blackburn and Flatow even advanced to the semifinals. At this point, only eight teams remained in the competition, each fighting for a spot in the final round. In a terrific showing for Bates, Blackburn and Flatow lost in a narrow three-two decision—just one vote away from advancing to the final round of nationals.

But while Bates did not advance to the finals, Bates was not unrepresented in the last round of British Parliamentary Nationals. Loyola Marymount University graduate student and Bates alum, Colin Etnire, represented LMU in the final round and took home the second speaker award for the tournament. Summers was the seventh best speaker.

Fast-forward to American Parliamentary nationals held in late April at the University of Maryland at College Park, and the results were less favorable for Bates. American Parliamentary debate features two teams of two people facing off against each other. Unlike British Parliamentary, where neither team knows the resolution, the American style requires teams to write “cases” in advance. One side will then “propose” a motion, and the other side must oppose it on the spot.

In all, it seems Bates’ run at this national tournament was cut short prematurely by a questionable judging call. In the “bubble round”—a round in which a win will allow a team to “break” into the “out rounds”—Summers and Blackburn suffered from an “unfortunate decision” from a former debater turned judge. As Summers explained, “breaking” requires a certain number of wins and “speaker points,” or points awarded for individual performances. Blackburn and Summers were poised in this round to break as long as they beat their Brown University opponents and received speaker scores of 26 points or above. Speaker points have a de facto range between 23 and about 28. For varsity debaters in a national tournament, a score of 26 would be considered average.

Summers recalled that he and his partner “mopped the floor” with Brown and won the round. But when it came down to speaker scores, the story was different. To their surprise, the team received speaker scores of just 24—the average score for novice debaters. All scores are subjective, Summers explained, and a score of 24 might have reflected the average speaker score when the judge—a former debater—was himself debating five years ago. But in any case, the competition for Blackburn and Summers ended at that moment with a puzzling and disappointing speaker score. The duo—ranked eleventh nationally—finished the tournament 28th out of 77 teams.

Still, despite a somewhat disappointing finish at the American Parliamentary Nationals, Summers said that it was nonetheless a “terrific year for Bates, and an overall good finish”. Moreover, he noted that the BQDC will “sorely miss [its] senior class next year” as the team prepares for another run at the national title.

debate

From Left: Ty Daly, Taylor Blackburn, Matt Summers, Cat Djang, Ben Smith, Chris Bolger, Taylor Stone, Sasha Grodsky, Shannon Griffin and Logan Pettinato at Stanford University COURTSEY PHOTO/BROOKS QUIMBY DEBATE COUNCIL

Experimental College: By Bates, for Bates

Do you want to learn how to longboard, chant poetry or dance like Shakira? Well, here at Bates, Experimental College looks to make your dreams a reality. The Student Activities Office sponsors Experimental College during short term. Experimental College allows all members of the Bates community to take a three to four week co-curricular or extracurricular course, not for credit. It is a great way to learn a new skill or explore a subject you don’t have to time to study during the regular semester.

This short term, the Experimental College course line-up offers quite the selection. The Bates community can yarn bomb Bates, explore and reflect on the life of the spirit, longboard, learn Vietnamese, and more.

Amanda Zakowich ’16 is excited for her first Experimental College experience. She is signed up for Lady Longboarding, Intro to Slacklining, and Intro to the Low Countries: Dutch Language and Culture. Zakowich is looking forward to bonding with her classmates, and learning new skills. She is unafraid of the scrapes and bruises she may get along the way.

“I chose Slacklining because it’s one of those random skills that would be cool to know and Lady Longboarding because I’ve always wanted to longboard but never had the opportunity to learn,” said Zakowich.

Zakowich also loves how Experimental College is so representative of Bates.

“I think that offering Experimental College at Bates shows that the school believes in giving students an opportunity to teach other students and for students to learn from other students is beneficial,” she said.

Experimental College is certainly one unique learning experience offered at Bates. So this short term, if you’re tired of sunbathing at the amphitheater or playing Frisbee on the quad, check out some of Bates’ awesome Experimental College.

Men’s lax falls to Tufts in NESCAC Quarterfinals

After securing their first playoff birth since 2006, the Bates men’s lacrosse team lost 14-10 to an extremely talented Tufts Jumbos team on Saturday in the NESCAC playoffs. The Bobcats finished the season 5-5 in their conference, and 7-6 overall to post their best record in years and show dramatic improvement from last year’s 2-8 NESCAC record. The season included three 1-goal wins, including an overtime win over Amherst and a triple overtime win over Colby last week.

The 13-12 triple OT win over Colby allowed Bates to secure the fifth seed in the NESCAC, which was arguably the toughest seed to have in the eight-team field because of Tufts’ overwhelming offensive talent. The Jumbos, winners of two of the last three Division III national championships, lost two games to begin the year because the majority of their team was suspended due to misconduct, but recovered to have an tremendous second half of the year and led the league in goals scored.

The game against Colby was highlighted by a career performance from sophomore attackman Jack Strain, who scored 6 goals including the game winner in the third overtime. In addition, junior goaltender Charlie Kazarian had what was likely the best game of his career, posting a career-high 19 saves. Many of Kazarian’s saves came from within five yards of the crease, and his game-saving, heart-stopping overtime saves were spectacular. Other notable performances against Colby included junior midfielder Will Gilkeson’s 3 goals and senior midfielder Kyle Starr’s 3 assists.

Against Tufts on Saturday, Bates started off strongly as Starr answered a quick Tufts goal by scoring unassisted off of a dodge from the wing. The teams again traded goals, with Bates’ coming from sophomore attackman Jack Allen, who finished a pass from senior attackman Dan Hines. The Jumbos subsequently showcased their high-powered offense, mounting a four-goal run to take a 6-2 lead in the second quarter.

Gilkeson and sophomore attackman Reed Lewallen responded with two goals in the span of a minute to close the half, but the Bobcats were unable to sustain the momentum in the third quarter. Seven Tufts goals were punctuated by only two Bobcat goals, both coming from sophomore attackman Nick Ford, and the Jumbos took a 13-6 lead into the fourth quarter.

Bates mounted a spirited comeback attempt during the final stanza, but the effort ultimately proved to be too little, too late. Freshman attackman Jack Allard, whom the Jumbos managed to keep quiet on the day, scored his only goal of the game to start the quarter. Hines and senior defenseman Andrew Berry would add back-to-back goals later in the fourth, with Berry’s goal coming on a breakaway off of a faceoff win. Ford tallied the final goal of the game on an assist from sophomore midfielder Matt McReddie to make the final score 14-10.

The defense also played decently well, limiting a Tufts team that had previously scored 21 goals against Bowdoin. “The defense played up to a great team and proved they could hold their own against anybody in the league,” noted Kazarian, who finished with an impressive 16 saves.

Despite the loss to Tufts, a team that will clearly contend for the national title again, the Bobcats had a successful season overall. The Bobcats beat three opponents that were nationally ranked, and were never really out of any game until the end.

One of the biggest storylines for the Bobcats was the high production from younger players, especially on offense, as three of the four leaders in total points were freshman or sophomores. Sophomore Jack Strain led the team in goals and total points with 27 goals and 7 assists. Allard and Ford were sensational throughout the year, as Allard (a rookie of the year candidate) finished with 25 goals and 4 assists, and Ford with 12 goals and 16 assists. Senior Rob Highland also had a stellar season, posting 21 goals and 5 assists, and played the role of creating offensive opportunities for the team throughout the season.

“It was a great year for Bates lacrosse,” added senior captain Torben Noto, “Everybody really bought in and worked hard and it was fulfilling to have a nice season. A lot of guys had incredible years on offense but it was great to see unsung heroes like [freshman] Matt Proto, [junior] Adam Binnie, and [senior] Reid Whelan step up and contribute.”

Bates will graduate a lot of talent on defense, including captains Torben Noto and Charlie Clark. However, freshman David Cappellini will look to lead a young, talented group next season, and the Bobcats will retain their goaltender, Kazarian, for one more year. “I’m really optimistic about next year, I think we have a lot of young talent here,” Kazarian commented.

Introducing the Bates Public Health Initiative

A month ago, Bates approved a club that allows students to craft curriculums to cut down sugary drink consumption, volunteer at a free health care clinic, and even administer flu shots to those in need. This fall, Dr. Alice Haines was looking for Bates students to assist her as she set up the Free Clinic at the Trinity Jubilee Center. Two of the volunteers, Lianna Cohen ’13 and Michael Arsnow ’14, decided that the project provided a perfect jumping off point to form a group for students passionate about public health. The two cofounded the Bates Public Health Initiative (PHI).

PHI aims to go beyond simply building up public health awareness on the Bates campus. In the words of club secretary Tara Patel ’15, the club strives to, “determine the public health needs in the Lewiston Auburn community and to come up with ways to address them by working with community partners.”

In this way, PHI provides a unique opportunity for students to interact with and aid the Lewiston-Auburn community while exploring their interest in public health. Cohen stresses the need for a public health-focused group on campus based on the diverse group of students the club has attracted thus far. Around 40 students have already joined PHI. Many were drawn to the club for the interdisciplinary nature of public health.

“Students majoring in politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, women and gender studies, and other fields including the sciences, will find some aspect of public health that they can engage with,” noted Cohen.

In other words, experience in the public health field can assist students in a multitude of possible future careers like occupational health, nutrition, environmental health awareness, and hospital administration, just to name a few.  PHI strives to provide real-world experience for its volunteers, as all of its programs thus far have been primarily student run.

This fall, Bates students got involved with the Free Clinic at the Trinity Jubilee Center. They assisted with its creation, ran programs there to address specific needs, and gave out a total of 66 flu shots, some of which students administered themselves under the instruction of Dr. Haines.

Bates volunteers also designed and implemented the Zero Sugary Drinks Program at the Somali Bantu Youth Center. In addition students volunteered at the Free Clinic, educating youth and adults about the negatives of sugary drinks and discussing alternative beverage choices. PHI plans to continue this program, with Tara Notarianni ’14 as its coordinator. This program provides a valuable learning experience for not only Lewiston-Auburn residents but also for students. As Cohen and Arsnow put it in the group’s informational flier from their first meeting on April 25, 2013, this program enables students to “participate in a healthcare setting with a language barrier”.

This short term, students interested in joining PHI can look forward to exciting new projects including the Smoking Cessation Program which Patel describes as “a path for people who want to quit tobacco but don’t know how to”. PHI is partnering with Healthy Androscoggin and the Dempsey Center for this project. PHI hopes this project will provide continued care and support for patients while simultaneously giving Bates volunteers experience in designing creative curriculums.

Additionally, PHI members will take part in the new Dental Health Program at the Dempsey Center. This program was created to not only assist with basic teeth cleaning and oral health awareness education but also to help conduct oral cancer screenings. PHI’s involvement in this program is organized by Zachary Kofos ’13, the group’s Community Coordinator.

Only a month into its official status as a club on campus, PHI has already embarked on a number of projects. As its membership grows, the group hopes to brainstorm new volunteer opportunities as well as enhance and expand those they have already begun. Cohen and Arsnow encourage interested students to get involved this short term. They encourage students to add their voice to PHI’s discussions, and their time and energy to volunteering in the Lewiston-Auburn community.

The heroics of Jason Collins, and the long road ahead

History was made this past Monday as Jason Collins, center for the Washington Wizards, became the first openly gay male player in a major American sport. First of all, Collins is an ideal person to lead this movement. He is humble, honest, articulate, Stanford educated, friendly, and the epitome of professionalism. Collins is known in the NBA for being a hard worker, a tough defender who provides his team with a strong presence in the paint, and always a team-first player. In other words, you would have to actively search to find any reason not to like Jason Collins, which some people have already done, and those who have postured in opposition to Collins already look like the villains.

Collins’ decision to publicly come out is heroic, especially given that he is currently a free agent not under a contract with any team, and is clearly at risk of not being signed next year. Collins will face adversity because of his sexual orientation, and he has chosen to accept some pain in order to secure his own freedom of expression and promote that of others.

Some people, notably Tim Keown of ESPN, have suggested that this story is not that big of a deal, as American sports are simply lagging behind the rest of the free world. Make no mistake, this is a huge deal, and Collins is undertaking a significant sacrifice in making a political statement like this. Again, there are no other openly gay athletes in the four major American sports, and clearly gay players feel that coming out would not be worth the backlash, both public and from within their profession. Perhaps the phenomenon that Keown is really observing is how numb much of the public is to the fact that athletes cannot truly be themselves in the current state of professional athletics.

NBA basketball is a different culture from other professional sports, and for unclear reasons basketball locker rooms tend to be more tolerant and accepting than, say, football or baseball ones. Perhaps the small team sizes (as few as 12) in basketball forces enough personal contact between players that individuals cannot disagree with or dislike another teammate without it becoming a confrontation and distraction. In football and baseball, team size at the beginning of the year is as many as 100 players, and the anonymity that large group provides creates refuge for dislike and hate.

The NFL, in particular, has been a place lined with homophobia, which has been especially visible in recent years. I use the NFL as a paradigm simply because it is my favorite sport, and I want the league to catch up with the progress that the rest of American society has made. For example, during the NFL draft combine, scouts for certain teams inquired into college players’ sexual activities, insinuating that if they were gay, then the team would not draft them. Numerous players have also commented that they would not be accepting of an openly gay teammate, including Chris Culliver of the 49ers and Mike Wallace of the Miami Dolphins. Having personally played youth and high school football for ten years, I have seen how the “macho” culture of football that emphasizes physical and mental toughness runs in contrast to homosexual stereotypes (which Jason Collins firmly debunks).

In late March, CBS Sports ran a story that a professional football player is currently seriously considering coming out of the closet sometime within the next few months and become the first NFL player to be openly gay. Now is absolutely the right time for this player to lead the fight to break through these barriers and change the culture of the NFL.

First of all, we know that there are homosexual professional football players, and many of them. It is a statistical impossibility for there to not be at least around a dozen gay players, and if any number of these players chooses to come out, they would be making an enormous personal sacrifice. Taunts, the potential devaluation of their market value (purely speculation at this point), and the likelihood a small level of ostracism in certain situations are no easy price to pay. But this player or players would be rewarded with the knowledge that they made the league a better place.

In the movie 42: The Jackie Robinson Story, Harrison Ford, playing Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, explained that he wanted Jackie Robinson on his team because he wanted to fall back in love with a game that he felt had been corrupted with discrimination and hatred. To be slightly melodramatic here, creating an environment where NFL players can be themselves would have a similar effect, at least for me. Not to say that the struggle of gay players would be the same as that of Jackie Robinson—it would not be quite as difficult given the legal protection afforded modern day players—but the overall result would be in the same category. Again, congratulations to Jason Collins, a true American hero, as he has already changed the world of professional sports forever. But there is a long struggle ahead to create an environment where players can be themselves in all professional sports, and this is simply the first, crucial, step.

Rowing continues strong spring season

The men’s and women’s rowing teams have continued their quest to prove their dominance among Division III opponents.  On Sunday, the men’s team won all four races against Middlebury and University of Vermont while the women captured three of four races against the same schools.

The spring season commenced for both teams on March 30th.  The men took on MIT and Boston College while the women competed against Simmons.  The women won every race against Simmons, with the first varsity eight from Bates beating Simmons by 26.4 seconds and similarly dominating performances from the second, third, and novice boats.

“The women have been consistent and solid with their results all season,” senior Andre Gobbo said.

The men had tough competition throughout the day, with the first varsity eight defeating Boston College by 18 seconds and finishing only 2.6 seconds behind MIT.

The women’s team entered the spring season tied for third in the country with Trinity.  Bates has finished as the runner up in four consecutive years at the NCAA championships.

Both teams then journeyed to San Diego to compete in the San Diego Crew Classic as the only Division III schools in the field.

That didn’t stop the women’s varsity eight boat from making the grand final, where they finished fifth ahead of St. Mary’s in 6:59.91.  The women’s varsity eight consists of junior coxswain Gabby Bilotta, juniors Aisling Ryan, Alex Hill, Heather Monty, and Hope King, along with sophomores Eliza Barkan, Elizabeth Sangree, Mallory Ward, and Jenna Armstrong.

The men’s varsity eight beat Santa Clara for fifth place in the Men’s Collegiate Varsity Petite Race in 6:19.41.  Bates’ men’s varsity eight team is comprised of junior coxswain Jacob Sandor, seniors Peter Haley, Gobbo, Matthew Johns, and Charlie Carey, junior Hank Schless, sophomore Matthew Silverman, and first-years Nicholas Muccio and Welles Mathison.

“There is a huge class of freshman that came in and are doing great this year, both the men and the women,” said Gobbo. “We have freshman in the first boat and it’s impressive that a program of our size can have so many good men and women join our team as walk-ons and contribute immediately.”

Bates then traveled back to its friendly east coast confines for a dual meet with Tufts, Wesleyan, University of New Hampshire, and Wellesley.  The women finished the day with a perfect 6-0 record against Tufts and Wellesley while the men went 4-3 against Wesleyan and UNH.

The women’s top three varsity teams went undefeated against Tufts and all three advanced to meet Wellesley in the finals.  All three boats were victorious, with the first boat facing the closest race.  Bates won by five seconds in a time of 6:57.96.

The men faced UNH in the first round, and the first and second varsity boats advanced to the finals against Wesleyan.  Wesleyan won both of the final races against the top varsity eight boats, but Bates did manage to win the varsity four races against Wesleyan by healthy margins.

“We [the men] have not been quite as consistent early in the season, as we are still fitting out lineups,” Gobbo said.  “However, we are coming together recently and getting some wins under our belt.”

The men’s and women’s top boats then downed WPI, Rhode Island and Wellesley before hosting the President’s Cup Regatta on the Androscoggin River.

“Rowing at home gives us a bit of an advantage, because we don’t have to travel and once we get there we don’t have to set up our boats,” Gobbo said. “The races at home are later on in the season and we have more of a chance to gel as a team, which explains our success at home.”

The men defeated rival Bowdoin and Colby in the first varsity eight race while the women’s first, second, and third boats outpaced the top boats from Bowdoin and Colby.  Bates captured the President’s Cup with ease.

Both teams then dominated another recent regatta on the Androscoggin, with Bates capturing all four men’s races and three of the four women’s races.

The women are now ranked fourth in Division III while the men are one of the top teams in New England.

“A lofty goal is to win New England’s but we’re looking to do well and get a top three finish,” Gobbo said.  “We don’t want to go into the race with an attitude that we’re going to beat everyone, we’re just looking to do well and have a good showing.”

Bates will now look forward to the most important meets of the season, starting with the New England Championships this weekend.  The Bobcats will then compete at the ECAC Championships and then finish the season at the NCAA Championships.

“Overall, the season has been a success for the men and women,” noted Gobbo.

Welcome to Bates College

At about this time every year, people are starting to become fixated on college commencement speeches. There’s a particular fascination for what the famous, successful, or powerful have to say to all of these young people on the cusp of being thrown out into the big, bad world.

I, however, see these speeches as a dramatic waste of opportunity. These are students who are already fairly well formed, having had a myriad of experiences in four years in the American higher education system. There is a whole group of people going unguided, their limitless potential and promise going unrecognized. That group of people is comprised of those just beginning their college experience either about to start, or having just finished their freshman year.

In this vein, I would like to offer my own speech of sorts, one designed provide to my younger brethren with a signpost for what I believe to be a full and happy college experience. It would look a little something like this:

Good morning everyone, and welcome to your orientation. No, I’m not talking about your freshman orientation, but rather what is widely regarded as your orientation to the world at large. The college experience, far from being a simple academic affair, is going to test you in more ways that you thought possible. Indeed, it is going to make you the person that you never knew you could be.

This isn’t to say that we’re going to do all of the work. No, the college experience is only going to help those who know how to help themselves. It may be that you can’t do that yet, and that is part of the learning process. There is so much to do in this world, and it would be a mortal sin to let it all pass you by.

Before I spend too much time waxing philosophical and sentimental about the college experience, let me get right down to it.

Do something that you find yourself invested in and that interests you. There’s this perception that not all majors are created equal, however, the truth of the matter is that a major is only what you make it. It matters what you want to get out of it, and thus what you are able to apply it to. If you can put your heart into it, it’s infinitely better than slogging through a math major simply because you think it might be more “useful”.

Similarly, don’t fret about the grades, good or bad. Life is about more than just numbers, and that final GPA is not an assessment of value. Knowledge is not something that can be numerically quantified, and that 52% you might get on an organic chemistry exam doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t understand organic chemistry. Take the tests, but understand that these tests are checkpoints, and not finish lines.

Try everything that you can. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one single major or field of study. A holistic understanding of the world doesn’t just come from a study of physics, but from an incorporation of many different fields of study. Take classes in English if they interest you, even if you’re a biochemistry major. Spend time studying a language. Learn all that you can. Be curious, and do something that makes you a little nervous. Don’t worry what people say about you.

Go abroad, and immerse yourself in another culture, even if it’s just “across the pond”. So many people fall into the fallacious notion that they’ll be able to travel once they finish college, but the simple truth is that you won’t be able to replicate the semester that many spend abroad. It’s more than just traveling, it’s starting fresh in a completely different country. It’s adapting when life demands adaptation. It’s throwing yourself on the mercy of the world, and showing it that you won’t be crushed under the pressure.

Don’t be afraid if you have no inkling of what you want to do with your life. Most people come into the college experience knowing exactly what they want to do when they graduate, and for some of them, they’re right. The majority, though end up figuring out that being a lawyer or a doctor isn’t really what they want to do. Maybe they figure out that they want to work in animal conservation, or write, or work in government. Maybe they figure out that a biology major or an English major isn’t representative of what they want from their life. It happens. Just roll with it.

Have fun. It needs no explication, but I’ll provide one anyway. Do that naked lap, go bridge jumping, learn to ski, write a controversial column for The Student, lead an AESOP, and participate in the puddle jump. Do these things at least once. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and just let the worries and cares go every once in a while. Four years of college life will go by at a glacial pace if you can’t find the little things to enjoy to fill in the gaps.

Then, there are the little details. Be nice to everyone. Don’t label yourself, and don’t label others. Read more than just your class textbooks. Learn how to iron, and learn how to cook. Take responsibility for your actions. Do the difficult things in life, because they are the things most worth doing. Discover yourself, because if there is one thing that everyone can get from a Bates College experience, it is a better understanding of what we are individually. What makes us tick, and what makes our lives whole, this is what education is about.

That’s what I wanted to say. This list is by no means exhaustive, but my point is that education is more than just learning what a Grignard reagent is, the meaning behind Northanger Abbey, how DNA replicates, or how gravitational potential energy works. Education is a combination of all of that, plus the experiences that we can’t plan for. The educational experiences that happen when we least expect them, and when we least want them are equally important.

As Mark Twain purportedly said, “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.” Welcome to Bates College.

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