The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: November 2014 Page 1 of 7

Pick your passion: Academy award winner Stacey Kabat visits Bates

Stacey Kabat ‘85 visited Bates on Sunday night to discuss her documentary titled Defending Our Lives, which reveals the prevalence and severity of domestic violence in this country.

The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Rhetoric, the Women and Gender Studies Program, and the Harward Center for Community Partnerships. As part of the the lecture in the Filene Room, Kabat shared not only her film but also her personal story, her perspective, and her message.

For many juniors about to go abroad, their semester will be a culturally exhilarating experience, but perhaps not as dramatic as Kabat’s junior year working for Amnesty International in London. This was one of the many experiences that have made her a leading activist for battered and abused women in the United States and abroad.

As Kabat’s childhood is veiled in memories of domestic violence and abuse, her documentary was a personal opportunity for her to give voices to those who have been made to believe that they deserve to be abused and voiceless. Making and marketing the film was an uphill battle, for no organization wanted to fund a movie that focused on such a taboo topic. The fight was worth it: in 1994, Defending Our Lives won an Academy Award for best documentary short.

After her co-producers’ Academy Award acceptance speech, Kabat audaciously slid in front of the microphone at the last second and declared to the one billion people watching, “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States. Please, we need all your help to stop this.”

It was a short addition to two already two concise speeches; however, her action defied the Academy’s rule for documentary film producers that prevented more than two people from accepting Oscars at the podium. Just as the colleagues exited the stage, the camera panned to Laurence Fishburne rolling his eyes at her activism.

When you have the attention of one billion people, you’re going to say what’s most important to you that they hear. You’re going to “pick your passion,” as Kabat puts it. Her fleeting moment became the most talked about moment of the Academy Awards, and Mr. Fishburne joined a list of biggest disappointments of the ‘94 awards season.

This was not an unprecedented event at the Academy Awards. In 1972, Marlon Brando sent Native American civil rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather to accept his Best Supporting Actor award in protest of the Academy Award’s treatment of Native Americans. The crowd booed at Littlefeather’s presence, but it acknowledged what we all think when we watch award shows; the theater that the awards are held in is probably one of the wealthiest and most influential rooms in the world.

Today, Defending Our Lives remains an important film; although we can tell that the clothing of the interviewees is outdated, and low-budget sound equalizing is not what it is today, the stories continue to make an impact on audience, leaving them angry and embarrassed.

In addition to viewing her film, Kabat shared her personal story as a child growing up in a house with domestic violence. She emphasized that her experience is one example of how this is not a war going on in another country, nor is it an issue plaguing members of foreign religious sects or cultures.

“My dad was a white business executive and Dartmouth graduate,” she nearly screeched, “and I desperately did not want to be like him.”

She began activism work in her final year at Bates when she and a friend worked together to encourage the Board of Trustees to divest stock holdings in companies invested in then apartheid-organized South Africa. She was successful, and she still thanks Bates as one of her first stepping stones toward becoming the confident activist that she is today.

Asst. Professor of Rhetoric Jonathan Cavallero said, “At Bates, we ask our students to imagine themselves not just as students but as citizens who can work to make a better world. We ask them to see their work not just as a job, but as something purposeful that can contribute to the greater good. Stacey Kabat is the embodiment of those ideals.”

“To my knowledge,” he continued, “Stacey is Bates’ only Academy Award winner, and she’s also a dedicated activist who founded Peace at Home and spoke at the 4th UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.”

Like all excellent social rights advocates, Kabat is angry at our country’s unjust way of treating victims of domestic violence. She firmly believes that our democracy is a blessing, but “it doesn’t work unless you get involved and make a difference,” she says. “So go ahead, pick your passion.”

Boxing 2000 packs a punch

A glimpse from a final scene in Jonathan Schwolsky's thesis "Boxing 2000".Directed by Jonathan Schwolsky ‘15 in partial fulfillment of his senior thesis, Boxing 2000 ran for three days with a cast of nine people–eight men and one woman.

Written by Richard Maxwell, this production calls for acting that “works best when done as bare-bones as possible,” according to director Jonathan Schwolsky. This acting style was very out of the ordinary for many of the actors participating in this show. Colby Harrison ’17 played the Promoter and had to deliver a challenging philosophical monologue mid-way through the show. “The monologue in particular was the hardest one for me and eventually became my favorite monologue of the show. [It] very clearly shows Maxwell’s style of language,” said Harrison.

The set design was very simple but well executed. The show was performed on an elevated stage representing the boxing ring. The audience members surrounded each side of the stage, allowing each viewer to have a different vantage point and perspective. Performing this piece in the round is demonstrative of the experimental theater that Schwolsky was aiming for.

For Audrey Burns ’17, the only woman in the cast, “the most difficult part was performing in the round. Once I moved through the adjustment period I started to love [it] because of how it affected the entire experience of the show, both [for] an actor and audience member.”

The lighting in this production was extremely dynamic and detailed. The scene in which Brennen Malone ’17 and Will Dunbar ’15 engage in a boxing fight was beautifully lit. The projections illuminated their bodies and created a shadow story on the wall. The shadows punched at each other while their real human forms were on opposite sides of the ring simply punching at air. This artistic decision was an interesting choice but a successful one, demonstrating the close attention to detail the director took.

For taking such an abstract piece, Schwolsky delivered a success for his senior thesis in directing. The acting, set, and lighting of this show were all very different from the theater productions Bates has seen in the past few years. While it ran for only fifty minutes, Boxing 2000 was rife with detail and intellect. Schwolsky should be proud of the dare he took with this challenging piece.

Gateway to infinity

My grandmother had a never-ending supply of sayings.

Putting shoes on the bed was bad luck, a watched pot never boils, keep the stiff upper lip. Her favorite by far, however, was this: getting old isn’t for sissies.

In Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, this author tells the story of Aaliya, a seventy-two-year-old woman living alone in Beirut, Lebanon. Aaliya is no sissy.

Divorced at the age of eighteen, she lived the rest of her days alone, but not lonely, in her apartment. Each year for the past thirty years, she has translated a masterwork of literature into Arabic. Through the stream of consciousness, Alameddine paints a picture that you have to read to believe.

Not everyone ages gracefully. The sad fact is that most people do not, but this is not true for Aaliya. This mind-blowing character is too intelligent and independent to conform to the stereotypes. Aaliya does not patiently wait for the men in her life to decide everything for her; instead, she translates books. Books are her gateway to infinity.

Wanting to escape and live through words on a page is easy to sympathize with; it is many people’s wish to be transported through time and space to a more interesting, colorful, or better time than the one they live in. After spending thirty years translating masterpieces into her vernacular, Aaliya files her translations away. She does not initially seek outside recognition; the act of translating is for her and herself alone. The only purpose is for her, to feed her soul.

Alameddine makes at least three dozen references to authors, philosophers, composers, and painters throughout his novel. Dostoyevsky, Keats, Mark Twain, Czeslaw Miloz, Mitlon, Ota Pavel, Spinoza and Peter Paul Rubens all make appearances. Quite a list, eh?

The research that the author conducted for this novel must have taken years to pull together. It is utterly commendable that Alameddine took such care and effort when constructing his work. One can only imagine the tedious work it took to find the exactly right quotes from the exactly right book to enhance a certain plot point. This book, above all else, is an ode to literature and the arts.

Alameddine uses a stream of consciousness throughout the novel, and he eliminates formatted chapters in order to enhance this literary device. Yes, there are page breaks to make the formatting less daunting, but there are no formal transitions that delineate the end of one idea and the start of the next.

Everything about the way Aaliya tells her story is genuine to how a person would orally present a tale. On more than one occasion, the protagonist breaks the fourth wall. It is not uncommon to read a line where she says, “I’ve strayed too far once, more. Sorry.” In addition to providing comic relief, Alameddine is clever enough to know how to reel this reader back in after a seemingly complete non sequitur.

Today, Beirut and its region are on everyone’s mind. Alameddine’s Beirut is a little different, though. Instead of the Hezbollah ridden cities, the author takes his reader back to the start of the Lebanese civil war in 1975. He uses war references to convey Aaliya’s strength; at night she would pick “up the AK-47 that lay next to me on the right side, where my husband used to sleep all those years earlier. It kept me company in the bed for the whole civil war.”

This is not a story of love. If you are looking for pretty plot with an ending that explains it all, you will be disappointed. If, however, you are looking for a window into the life of an amazing woman and the struggles she overcomes, this book demands to be read. When reading this book, try to follow Aaliya’s example in letting “the wall crumble just a bit, the barricade that separates from the book. Try to be involved.”

Top 10 Bates Athletes: #3 Justin Easter ’03

We are approaching the end of our top-ten athlete countdown, as only three more athletes are left to reveal. The first of our top three athletes is Justin Easter, a native New Englander from Jay, Maine. The body of work that he put in during his career at Bates is truly astounding. Let’s take a look at Easter’s accomplishments, starting with an anecdote from early in his career.

Easter was competing as a first-year at the outdoor track national championships in the 3,000 Meter Steeplechase, his specialty event, during the spring of 2000. The race is an obstacle event, requiring athletes to hurdle over bars and leap through large puddles of water throughout the course of 7.5 laps around the track. After three laps, Easter was in the lead, and looking like he had every intention of staying in the front of the pack. But during the next lap, one of Easter’s shoes was stepped on by a fellow competitor and came flying off. Instead of dropping out of the race, Easter stayed the course despite falling back to 12th place and demonstrated a powerful kick in the final straightaway of the race, surpassing several runners to capture seventh place overall. This incredible moment of perseverance and grit, finishing one of the most challenging track and field events with only one shoe at the NCAA championships, capped an incredible first year at Bates for Easter. He not only made it to Nationals in the spring for track and field, but also for his other two sports at Bates, cross-country and Nordic skiing.

That’s right; Easter was a 4-year three-sport athlete at Bates, an impressive record in and of itself. But not only did Easter successfully navigate the course load of a NESCAC school as well as playing three sports; he also managed to qualify for Nationals in all three sports in every year of his Bates career, competing in an NCAA-record 12 different national competitions. Easter was a cross-country All-American his junior and senior years, finishing in 19th and 3rd place in those respective years at the national meet. He was an All-American his senior year in Nordic skiing as well, finishing fifth at nationals in the 20k classic race. In addition to these three all-American awards, Easter was a four-time All-American in outdoor track, giving him an impressive seven All-American awards in his career. After establishing himself in a unique and impressive way at the outdoor track and field championships, Easter went on to finish in third place his sophomore year in the steeplechase before becoming a back-to-back national champion in the event his junior and senior years.

If you piece together his accomplishments over the course of the 2002-03 academic year (his senior year), Easter was an All-American in all three of his sports, finishing third in the nation in cross-country, fifth in Nordic skiing, and first in the country in the steeplechase. These accomplishments over the course of a Bates career would have warranted legitimate consideration for this top ten list, much less in a season. Bates has had plenty of incredible athletes, but the versatility and consistency of Easter puts him as one of the best overall, or at least in the top three.

“Give” the gift of a better future

In a world saturated with news coverage of how life as we know it is bound to change for the worse—in some way; there sure are a lot of them—a dystopian film like The Giver fits in perfectly, making us question just what exactly is worth sacrificing.

Based on Lois Lowry’s 1993 young-adult novel, the world of The Giver appears harmonious—but in the same way the USSR seemed wonderful and well organized during its military parades. In the film, weapons don’t exist because humanity is at peace, but the known world, which is really on the scale of a small city, lacks even the culture the Soviet Union was holding onto.

The film revolves around Jonas and the revelations he encounters while undergoing training as his people’s Receiver of Memory. Under the tutelage of the Giver of Memory, or the Giver, he explores humanity’s past, the past that everyone else has forgotten, for what is viewed by the majority as the greater good.

Interspersed with footage of our contemporary moment, from war and famine to raves and sports, The Giver sends Jonas on the same journey we are currently undergoing, a journey that at its end involves dangerous, radical, and necessary decisions both we and Jonas will have to make for our respective futures.

Filmed partially in black and white and partially in color, The Giver’s aesthetics are to an extent gimmicky. A scene in which Jonas realizes that apples are red, for example, feels almost too clichéd. But one gets used to the aesthetic, which changes back and forth depending on perspective, sometimes mixing in gray areas for further depth and difference.

Difference itself maintains a strong thematic presence in The Giver, but it is always portrayed as positive. The Giver is affirming, even if it has some shortcomings here and there. On the whole it attempts to portray a megalithic mythological planetscape of understanding and knowledge, accessing both the physical and the metaphysical in an attempt to conjure up an image of what humanity is capable of becoming, a future almost wholly lost in the world of The Giver.

Jeff Bridges, as usual, acts fantastically. However, the Giver, despite being the film’s titular role, is not the main character. That responsibility falls to Brenton Thwaites; although his acting might not be on the level of someone like Bridges, he at least maintains the ability to persuade the audience that they are in some kind of vaguely familiar yet disturbing world, something which his younger co-stars obviously struggled with perfecting.

While the acting might not be the best, the philosophical implications of the story are actually enough to give the film real substance. If you don’t have the time to read the book to get your daily dose of philosophy, watching The Giver can definitely offer a rewarding substitute.

Student elected to Campus Culture Working Group

This Monday brought the end to what can be considered among the most contentious elections in Bates history. The members of the Campus Culture Working Group were announced via [announce] email.

Of the ten newly-appointed representatives, eight were elected through the Garnet Gateway ballot, while two were appointed through deliberation within the student government. The eight elected members of the delegation equally represent the first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior classes, with the additional two members chosen by the student government each represent random classes (one sophomore and one junior). The student delegates are: Keenan Shields ’18, Katrina Muñoz ’18, Tara Khanmalek ’17, Charlie Klein ’17, Fatima Sacko ’17, Daly Johnson ’16, Emilie Muller ’16, Javier Morales ’16, Christina Stiles ’15, and Patrick Tolosky ’15.

The voter turnout for the Campus Culture Working Group at Bates was near 22 percent, with 801 votes issued through Garnet Gateway, each student having the opportunity to vote for two of the three representatives for their class. Considering the time elapsed since the cancellation of Trick or Drink, many students’ zealous demands for administrative atonement has reached a denouement.

This particularly low level of voter engagement echoes many trends seen in the November 4th General Elections, in which the national voter turnout, 36.3 percent, was the lowest level of eligible voter participation since 33.9 percent in 1942.

The proposal for the creation of the group came from concerns within the student body over the cancellation of the College’s tacitly-endorsed, liquid tradition of “Trick or Drink”. Student fervor over the cancellation of “Trick or Drink” has subsided in recent weeks. Left in its wake, however, are indicting definitions of what constitutes the “culture” of Bates College, with no inclusion into the composition of “campus culture” of such fundamentals as the arts, academics, class, gender or race.

The working group will be guided by a series of questions mentioned in the email sent out by Allen Sumrall, BCSG Parliamentarian, each interrogating facets of drinking culture on campus. Of the five query posed, three of them addressed a “healthier campus community,” with the other two each nodding to “dangerous situations” or “substance abuse.” The foundation of the working group is clearly rooted in student demands for a reconsidered campus drinking policy, but is being created at a time when student interest remains low.

Across campus, through emails, and in informal discussion, the Campus Culture Working Group is often mistaken for a “committee.” A clear distinction arises in that “working groups” at Bates are not designed to be permanent, nor are they necessarily meant to create lasting change: they are created as a stepping-stone toward a larger purpose. These groups are designed to incorporate faculty, administration, and student views in constructing a framework for future action, such as the future creation of a committee.

The working group’s official purpose has also yet to be determined, but has been described as “responsible for developing a set of recommendations to strengthen campus culture.”

The “culture” to be challenged, described foremost as liquid in the email, is not necessarily the primary conviction of the campus representatives.

Through interviews with several of the elected members of the CCWG, it has become clear, although drinking culture does remain an important component of the intended approach by the committee, “campus culture” at Bates covers a spectrum rendering alcohol but a piece in the complex web of what constitutes “Bates.”

Sophomore delegate Charlie Klein views inclusivity as the primary concern of his conception of the overwhelming culture of Bates.

“To me, campus culture is a combination of student attitudes, which are defined by student interactions (conversations, inclusiveness, etc.) and student activities like athletics and the arts,” said Klein in an interview. “A positive campus culture is one without social divides within student activities and interactions.  Without these divides, the attitudes of the student body can flourish.”

Senior Pat Tolosky will be bringing his own multifaceted view of the Bates’ cultural composition to the discussions starting this coming winter.

“I want our culture to be one where all types of difference (athleticism, food interests, skin color, gender, outdoorsiness, spirituality, hobbies, sexuality, etc.) are celebrated and accepted, not pushed aside or simply tolerated” Tolosky told The Student.

First-year Keenan Shields avoids risky definitions in his approach to campus culture.

“Our campus culture is the set of values and beliefs, both shared and individual, that the student body holds. More importantly, the behaviors derived from our beliefs and values are the tangible expression of our culture” Shields explained via email.

The Campus Culture Working Group will meet once before the end of Fall 2014, and is expected to meet throughout Winter 2015.

What’s on your mind, Bates?

Last week, The Student staff issued a poll to Bates campus, seeking student opinion on campus issues and campus culture—just under 200 students responded to the poll.

This poll is in part motivated by the overall goal of the Student for this year. The paper wants be the students’ one stop news source, unique from Bates News, unique in the sense that the staff writes about what the campus community is talking about. Controversial or positive, if it is important to the students, we want to write about it.

This poll is in no way scientific and we do not wish to make overarching assumptions. It isn’t meant to comment on any policies or practices in place, nor invoke any policy changes. It is merely a reflection of the opinions of the respondents.

The first set of questions asked participants to rate their level of agreement with statements about certain issues, like racism, tolerance, binge drinking, sexism and socioeconomic inequality in the Bates community. Another set of questions asked students about how often issues of white privilege, gender, race and class are discussed outside of the classroom. Finally, the survey asked students to rate their level of agreement with certain statements about campus social culture. Respondents also had the opportunity to comment after each statement, if they wished, to provide further explanation. This article reports some of the results and comments from the survey.

Results showed that 53 percent of respondents agreed—at some level—that binge drinking is a serious issue at Bates. 58 percent of respondents agreed to some degree that drinking culture is fun at Bates and 43 percent agreed to some degree that drinking culture is safe at Bates.

Students were also asked about the treatment of differing ideas and beliefs on campus. When asked to rate their level of agreement with the statement “All viewpoints and opinions are respected at Bates,” 44 percent reported some level of disagreement. One respondent noted that “At such a liberal campus, other views are not often heard.” Another commented, “Conservative values are strongly discouraged.”

56 percent of respondents agreed to some degree that socioeconomic inequality is a serious issue of Bates, 46 percent agreed that sexism is a serious issue at Bates and 42 percent agreed that racism is a serious issue at Bates.

Despite these opinions, 67 percent of respondents agreed to some degree that Bates is a tolerant campus, and 57 percent reported that they agree to some extent that Bates has an inclusive campus. Yet one respondent commented “There is a big difference between tolerance and acceptance—I view our tolerant campus as one that is content with a status quo that is comfortable for most but isolating for some.”

One respondent claimed that Bates is “Inclusive in Bates’ own individual cliques” and another that “The Bates campus is full of many different cliques. Many of these interact with each other, but some are very much separated from the rest of campus.”

Many students feel the difficult issues discussed in an academic setting remain in the classroom, only sometimes entering non-academic discourse. When asked about the frequency of discussion outside the classroom surrounding issues of gender, race, class and white privilege, the opinions of respondents reported that “sometimes” these issues are discussed outside of the classroom setting. 50 percent of opinions of respondents reflected that gender is sometimes discussed outside that classroom, 49 percent reported that white privilege is sometimes discussed, 66 percent reported that race is sometimes discussed, and 59 percent reported that class is sometimes discussed. Comments like “With certain groups of people,” “only in certain spaces” and “This topic has come up in my friend group, I’m unsure if other groups discuss these issues” accompanied their responses.

When asked about disruptions to the Bates community and the surrounding Lewiston community, responses reflected an almost even split. 37 percent reported that to some degree they disagree that drinking culture at Bates frequently disturbs the Lewiston community; 34 percent of respondents agree to some degree that it does disturb the surrounding community. Similarly, 41 percent of respondents disagree to some degree that drinking culture at Bates disturbs the campus community, while 38 percent agree to some degree that it disturbs the campus community.

This poll reflected only a small portion of the campus’ student population, but hopefully provided some insight into the issues on students’ minds. Further comments and suggestions are welcome moving forward.

Men’s basketball wins Babson Invitational

Senior guard Graham Safford wins Babson Invitational tournament MVP award as the Bobcats start off 2-0

Following his heroics for the Bobcats this weekend, Graham Safford deserved any available accolades. There were a few, namely the Babson Invitational title, tournament MVP, and NESCAC Player of the Week.

In the season opener against Nichols on Saturday, Safford nearly compiled a triple double, posting 22 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists. Even with junior Mike Boornazian’s game-high 25 points on top of that, the game was still a nail-biter. Bates erased a 46-35 halftime deficit to tie it at 60-60 in the middle of the second half. Senior guard Billy Selmon then capped the gutsy effort from the Bobcats by knocking down the game winning three-pointer with 27 seconds left.

Safford shined again Sunday in the championship game against the tournament hosts. The Babson team, who are ranked 23rd in the nation, again stifled Bates in the first half, building a 28-18 lead at the intermission. Boornazian (who chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists) and Safford again led Bates back. Safford snapped a late tie with a dagger three-ball with 1.8 seconds left to give the Bobcats a 54-51 win.

Bates has three nonconference games scheduled, including their home opener on November 25th, before throwing themselves into the fire of NESCAC play starting on December 2nd versus Colby.


Can Bates Athletics actually start playing like a team?

There is not a single woman on the Varsity Volleyball team who felt betrayed, disappointed, or at a loss when our coach announced her resignation.

It was a change that needed to be made if we are truly going to change the culture of the volleyball program and the athletic department as a whole. There are many flaws in the way athletics are portrayed at Bates, and many changes that needed to be made to support our desire for success.

Throughout this semester, a lot of issues have been addressed that were previously tucked under the rug, such as drinking policies, public protest, and the unjust removal of public art. But it is time that some attention is brought to the athletics department.

A large injustice that comes to mind when reflecting on my experience with Bates Volleyball is the training and injury support system. This was exemplified when sophomore Maggie Paulich had a season ending injury last year.

She said, “I tore my right ACL during my junior year in high school, so when I tore my left ACL in our first home game last year, I was very familiar with the recovery process. One person at Bates College who really helped me through my recovery process was our Athletic Trainer, Ben Walker. Although he is incredibly knowledgeable and was very supportive whenever he worked with me, it was frustrating because he was very busy and frankly overworked.”

“Bates has only four athletic trainers for all of the sports each season,” Paulich continues. “Football gets their own trainer, for obvious reasons, while all other teams share a trainer with at least one other team. When I tore my ACL in our home game it was awful because we had a guest trainer that I didn’t know, and she did not know anything about me or my previous injuries. Although employing more trainers would obviously cost more, I think that it is necessary to ensure the safety and success of athletes.”

A second way in which our team felt ignored last season was in the relationship we had with our athletic director.

Every year, the athletic department tells us we are going to win more and improve, but that has to be more than athletes working harder and setting goals. It is also the responsibility of the athletic department to respond to athletes by making changes and improving the weaknesses unique to each sport’s program.

If a team is unsuccessful for one season, it is necessary to have a conversation between the athletic director, the coach, and the team to try and figure out why the team was unsuccessful. At the end of our season last year, we brought up many concerns about the volleyball program in our evaluations.

We were optimistic that these evaluations would augment the success of the program. We were coming from our first NESCAC tournament appearance in five years, and we saw a lot of potential for our team to be a true competitor in the NESCAC.

After the evaluations, in which many players raised many valid concerns about the way our program is run, the athletic director made no attempt to address this with our team. We felt as though our concerns were not taken seriously. After not winning a single match in the NESCAC this season, we were valid in our concern for change after last year.

Lastly, there is a lack of a standard for success in the program. This season, the athletic director sat down and watched one hour of our practice but had no conversation with the team afterwards about our feelings regarding the practice culture of our team. This lack of communication fueled a negative and even hopeless attitude regarding the culture of our team at this point in time.

As a team with no graduating seniors last year, and a very strong freshman class this year, our talent level was only enhanced from last season to this season. Yet we did not win a single NESCAC match. This season, then, is clearly not reflective of the talent level of the players on the team; it is instead reflective of the athletic culture of this school.

Looking beyond these grievances, we are hopeful as a team that this culture is a malleable one. We are excited to start that change with a new coach, although that is not the only solution.

Chandler McGrath, a sophomore and starting outside hitter, expresses her hopes for our new coach. “We hope to find a coach who is passionate and dedicated toward our team’s success, someone who will push beyond the limits, and lead us to victories. As a program, I believe that this transition marks a new beginning for our team. It will allow us to redefine our team expectations and goals and create new standards for success. Off-season, we will work hard to prepare ourselves for the upcoming season, and use a refined mindset to push past our competitors and become a threat in the NESCACS.”

Graduating captain Miranda Shapiro shares the same sentiments as McGrath.

“We are looking for a new coach that can continue growing the program and push us to a greater success in the future,” Shapiro said.

I hold much hope for this program’s upcoming season. I think that with participation and communication between the athletic director and the team in the process of finding a new coach, along with more investment from the athletic department as a whole, Bates Volleyball will finally have a program of which we can all be proud.

Improving our efforts toward sustainability in Commons

Though we hear about sustainability all the time around campus, it is not the first thing that comes to mind when dining in Commons.

Bates has made an incredible effort over the years to improve efficiency and reduce waste at Commons. The hefty investment in New Commons reinforced Bates’ mission to improve sustainability, as the space uses recycled and green-certified building materials as well as highly efficient lighting systems.

As far as waste management goes, Bates diverts 78-82 percent of wasted food and liquids away from landfills. From composting food to donating leftovers to homeless shelters in Lewiston, Commons takes a number of steps toward reducing waste.

Despite these procedures, the next major step toward reducing this campus’s environmental impact lies in our hands (and in our plates and cups). With everyone working toward a common goal of reducing waste, we as individuals can save hundreds of pounds of food and liquids every year, which translates to hundreds and thousands of pounds collectively as a school.

There are plenty of simple adjustments you can make to your regular Commons routine in order to help in our sustainable efforts at Bates. The ultimate goal for individuals eating regularly at Commons should be to reduce waste as much as possible.

One of the most effective things you can do is to take a walk through the food area to explore all of the options and plan what you would like to eat. This way, you avoid heaping every appealing dish you see onto a plate. You not only end up getting what you actually want to eat and avoid having to waste, but you also get to explore different options and broaden your nutritional horizons.

If this option is too time consuming for you, try simply taking smaller portions. You can still get all of your favorites onto your plate, just with a little more moderation and less waste.

When it comes to beverages, you can also moderate your portion sizes by using the transparent plastic cups rather than the larger recyclable paper cups. If you want a refill, it’s always available. By doing this, not only are you avoiding wasting beverages, but also recyclable cups.

When you do need to take a beverage out of Commons and choose to use a recyclable cup, remember to empty your cup before throwing it in the recycling (the top is also recyclable). If you don’t empty your cup before putting it into a recycling bin, the liquids from your cup contaminate the bin and render those cups unusable for recycling.

Using your own liquid container, however, is the best option, as you can register it inside Commons and use it to get credit toward free meal passes (for guests or for meals that would normally cost you $5.50 during breaks). If you don’t have a liquid container, sign up for the mug program and receive your own Bates mug to keep and reuse (this comes with the same benefits as registering your own container).

While our individual efforts, and even our collective efforts for that matter, don’t really make a tremendous impact in the grand scheme of things, we are only responsible for our own actions at the end of the day. Whether or not those actions have considerable consequences should not matter so much as knowing that we are doing everything in our power to preserve our planet.

With those pieces of slightly clichéd wisdom and some waste-reducing practices in mind, I hope you can make some more informed and sustainable decisions in Commons from now on.

If you have any questions regarding Commons or how to be more sustainable within Commons, please email the Commons Healthy Eating and Wellness Society (CHEWS) at

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