The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Hannah Goldberg Page 1 of 8

Questions raised about Bates’ response to terror abroad

Two Bates students are currently studying in Istanbul, where terrorist attacks occurred on March 19. HANNAH TARDIE/COURTESY PHOTO

Two Bates students are currently studying in Istanbul, where terrorist attacks occurred on March 19. HANNAH TARDIE/COURTESY PHOTO

After the March 19 bombing in Istanbul, two Bates students studying there gained a firsthand experience of the fear and isolation a terrorist attack brings.

Zaynab Tawil and Hannah Tardie chose to study in Istanbul, Turkey, for their semesters abroad. Tardie is at Koc University on a CIEE program and Tawil studies at Bogazici University with IES.

They are the only Bates students currently studying in the country. Tawil lives only one metro stop away from the recent attacks.

The Off-Campus Study Office reached out to Tawil and Tardie two days after the bombing at the intersection of Balo Street and Istiklal Street. The explosions killed four people and wounded 36 others, according to the Guardian’s report from March 19.

Both Tardie and Tawil’s individual abroad programs first alerted Bates about the attacks on Saturday, March 19 at 8:31 a.m. and 9:37 a.m, respectively. The Off-Campus Study Office reached out to Tardie on Monday, March 21 at 2:07 p.m., after her mother contacted the office, and Tawil at 3:41 p.m.

Associate Dean of Students and Director of Off-Campus Study Stephen Sawyer was out of town and “knew they were fine,” because the program had already contacted the office.

“We rely on the programs to provide immediate emotional wellbeing and follow up since they are on-site, know the setting, can monitor the students, and have staff in place whom the students know,” Sawyer said in an email to The Student.

Unlike other colleges and universities with a larger student body, Bates does not run its own abroad programs, aside from the annual Fall Semester option. Sawyer explained that Bates carefully selects these abroad programs, especially with regard to safety, choosing schools that “have the depth of resources to respond to crises with whatever is needed, not constrained by cost issues or inadequate staff.”

However, Bates does indeed play a role in connecting with students abroad and their families in times of crisis. “I agree that Bates has a role to play in reaching out to students as they react to these awful events; however, we are not first in line,” Sawyer said.

Bates’ response to the Turkey attacks seemed, to some, however, to falter in comparison with the College’s responses to other recent incidents.

There was no contact immediately following the attacks in Istanbul—no email was sent after the bombings to the students on campus, nor to the rest of the students studying abroad.

Yet an email to all the students abroad was sent March 23 after the March 22 explosions in Brussels. No student was studying there, as Bates has no approved program in the country. There are reports of one student who was in the area for a connecting flight.

When asked why no email was sent to the students in Turkey in light of the prompt and widespread response following the incidents in Paris and Brussels, Sawyer said the explosions in Turkey were “viewed as a different scale of exposure.”

“The nature of the Bates response varies with the context of each situation, with the scale of the incident and the exposure of Bates students the key variables,” Sawyer said in a follow up email to The Student.

Dean of Students Josh McIntosh spoke to The Student regarding re-evaluating the Bates protocol for addressing such situations. While only two students were studying in Istanbul, this does not make them “any less important,” McIntosh said in a phone call with The Student. He also discussed the importance of the ground level response from the host programs, but there are things that Bates can do from afar.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, USA Today reported that some large schools were considering implementing automated response systems to track their students.

McIntosh noted that large universities like Syracuse have around 800 students abroad at a time through their own abroad program, while Bates has around 150 students abroad per semester.

“We are able to leverage our relationship differently,” he said, due to the small size of Bates. McIntosh encourages students to discuss their grievances with him so that Bates can improve.

“France was different because we had students very much exposed to the bombs there,” Sawyer said. A Bates student was in fact at the Stade de France when the bombs went off November 13.

In an email obtained by The Student, the Off-Campus Study Office contacted the three students in Paris at 10:10 p.m. on the night of the attacks there. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Josh McIntosh soon followed the next morning (November 14) at 9:36 a.m. with a campus-wide email. This email was then forwarded to the rest of the students studying abroad Sunday, November 15.

Before Tardie and Tawil left for Turkey, Sawyer did contact them after the January 12 bombing in Istanbul to discuss their options: continue with their plans, switch programs, or return to Bates. The office made contact with these students again February 12 to check in with them following their arrival.

“The only faculty member besides Dean Sawyer that has communicated with me was my volleyball coach, Coach DeRan,” Tardie said in an email to The Student. Coach DeRan contacted Hannah hours after the attacks. Other Bates students, abroad and on campus, reached out to Tardie as well.

Besides the contact Monday afternoon, Tardie and Tawil said there was no other contact from administration.

“It is strange to feel so connected to one part of the Bates Community, and yet feel so rejected and isolated by another,” Tardie said. “It is so easy to be isolated abroad, and the last thing I expected was to feel isolated by members of the Bates community.”

After the attacks, both Tardie and Tawil had the option to return to the U.S., but neither would receive Bates credit for their course work.

“I will absolutely finish my studies,” Tawil said.

Tardie will also remain in Istanbul to complete the semester, but the atmosphere of their abroad experience has definitely changed.

“The weekend of the attack was the emptiest I have ever seen Istanbul in my time here,” Tawil said. “It is a city of 13 million people. I live in one of the most crowded areas, popular areas. No one was outside. The streets were empty at rush hour. You looked into the eyes of your neighbors and felt absolutely nothing. It was like the fear and tension had forced the evacuation of their bodies, not just the city.”

“It is a hard dance between the survival life goes on performance and spending time to grieve, allowing yourself to fall victim to fear, to loss, to circumstance,” Tardie said.

Both students have made deeper bonds with Turkey as a result of this tragedy.

“In choosing Turkey I made the commitment to myself to join in a country that I knew was at risk,” Tawil said. “I have the privilege of being able to leave whenever I want to an arguably safer and protected community in America; I don’t believe it would be fair for me to exercise that privilege because I am ‘afraid.’ Everyone is afraid. I won’t leave the community now.”

As the threat of terrorist attacks persists, colleges and universities may need to review procedures for responding to acts of terror abroad and preparing their students to grapple with the reality of these crises.

Bates investigations: fact-checking legends of a tunnel deep in Bates’ labyrinthine libraries

At Bates, myths about secret underground tunnels abound. Perhaps because it’s so darn cold to walk anywhere in the winter. Many are theorized to exist: Lane Hall to PGill. Lane Hall to Hathorn. Nash House to the Barn. Commons to your dorm (only dreamed of). Bardwell’s basement to Lewiston Variety. Yellow House’s basement to a sinkhole. The list goes on.

However, the most widely discussed tunnel today is the one rumored to connect Ladd Library to the adjoining Coram Library. When I asked Ben Cuba ’16, studiously sharpening his pencil on Ladd’s first floor, about the purported tunnel, he responded immediately. “Oh yeah,” he said, pointing his pencil towards the mélange of stone and brick paving that sits between the new and old libraries. “This place has gotta cover something.”

“Where do you think it goes?” I asked.

“To the bomb shelter,” Cuba responded. “Where else?”

As with any institution that has been around since the Cold War, there have been rumors for years about a bomb shelter on the campus. An article in the December 7, 1973 edition of The Bates Student referred eleven times to an “infamous bomb shelter” and alleged that it was hidden in the basement of Lane Hall for the President and Trustees’ personal use. However, an October 1976 Student article entitled “Let’s Explode the Bomb Shelter Myth” revealed that what was long rumored to be the shelter was disappointingly the Lane Hall mailroom.

Since the bunker-busting of that theory, however, speculation fell upon another Cold War era construction, the architecturally confounding Ladd Library, completed in 1974. Its odd brick structure is the embodiment of sturdy, and its basement backs directly up to the elegant and majestic Coram Library, itself built in 1902. Nine other students I spoke to said they thought Ladd’s deep bowels held some sort of secret, and hypotheses were many. A tunnel to Coram? A bomb shelter? A top secret archive? “Where they store confiscated hard alcohol,” one student suggested wryly. I set out to investigate for myself.

Tipped off by an informant behind the Circulation Desk, I descended to the Periodicals section, the rectangular zone which looms above the Basement’s main study area. The deeper I delved, the more the aesthetic changed from Ladd’s typical bland three-color chic (garnet, forest green, red oak wood) to that of a Reagan-era bunker. The brick walls were painted with sterile white paint that curled from years of inattention. Pipes and metallic cross-beams crisscrossed the walls. Gray utility boxes with scientific names such as “Panel Top Cir. #7” and “Gas Ctl. #6” popped out from all directions. The traditional wood of Ladd’s stacks gave way to gun-metal gray shelves, claustrophobically packed together.

I squeezed past a rusting thermometer on the wall that read 63 degrees. Who needs a thermometer in a library? Holes in the wall were stuffed with stringy yellow tufts of insulation. Was I in a library or an industrial warehouse? My heart started to pound. A piece of graffiti—scrawled on the wall by some poor soul who had likely wandered down unwittingly thirty years ago and never escaped—cried Destruction is a Form of Creativity! At best, this place could be a bomb shelter. At worst—a tomb!

At the end of a row of long-forgotten periodicals (like the bafflingly named American Review of Reviews, 1928-1934), I hit the jackpot! My heartbeat accelerated as I turned a corner to find a metal door built suspiciously like a bank vault’s. It was huge, green, and  had triplicate levels of security: a traditional lock, a keycard scanner, and impressively, two fire alarms. A sign read in bold letters, “Emergency Exit Only: Push Until Alarm Sounds.” Very fishy. What are they hiding? I pushed my ear against the cold metal. Only a tantalizing silence from the other side. If there was a secret bunker or tunnel, it had to be here.

I wasn’t about to be foiled by a locked door, I thought, as I hastily ascended to the fresh air. I had done some prior research in Muskie Archives and had found mentions of a structure called the “fishbowl”—an extension to the back of Coram built in 1947. When Ladd was completed, its basement swallowed the Fishbowl whole and integrated its walls, which give the front of the Periodical section its distinctive brick-window appearance. I harbored hopes that the architects had left some sort of connection to get me through that door.

Exiting Ladd, I jogged over to Coram Library. Even though Coram is home to some of Bates’ most modern technologies—including a 3-D printer and a device with the descriptive name of Nikon Stereoscopic Zoom Microscope SM71500—the building still feels irrepressibly old. It classical façade speaks to old-world elegance, and its front doors still have anachronistic wrought-iron gates engraved with a royal European fleur-de-lis pattern. There had to be something hidden down there.

I’d never been in the basement of Coram, and from the sound of it, neither have most other people. Julie Retelle at the Library’s circulation desk informed me that in ancient times some student clubs used to meet down there, but no longer. Multiple staff and faculty members who have offices in Coram’s quiet second floor said that they only went down there if compelled. “I just go down there to use the bathroom,” said Matt Duvall, Imaging Center Manager. “It’s not a very pleasant space.” Intriguing.

Upon descending the stairs, I found out why. Ladd’s periodicals were spacious compared to Coram’s cramped intestines. The only light came from the windows two floors above, illuminating the dust piling up on the floor. There were doors all around. I tried rusting handle after handle. All locked. Finally, after fumbling my way past a pair of freezing 1950s-era bathrooms, I reached an open door.

It creaked open, and I found myself in a pitch-black, crypt-like hallway. Pipes and boilers ran alongside the wall. On the ground was a mammoth machine that looked like an ancient steam engine, with broken pressure gauges and funky spouts. Funky. As I felt my way along the wall, I realized that it was made of the same white-painted bricks in Ladd’s bunker of a periodical section. Was I getting warm?

In my zeal to examine the wall, I failed to see the set of metal stairs that appeared at the end of the hallway. With a Clang! I tripped down all six, ultimately slamming my shoulder on the dusty ground. I cursed to myself as I reached for my iPhone and flipped on the flashlight. The floor around me was filled with substantial tumbleweeds that had taken up permanent residence years ago. My eyes widened, however, when I looked in front of me.

I had landed directly in front of a large blue door with a massive bronze handle. I pulled the handle. Nothing. However, my heart leapt as I gazed at the security safeguards running alongside the door’s frame: One lock! One keycard scanner! Two fire alarms!

Was this forgotten portal the fortress-like door that I found in Ladd’s Periodical section? Had I found the secret passageway between the libraries, or was I just delirious from all this time underground? I’d gotten so twisted around in the basement that it was impossible to tell which direction was what. If I had to guess, that door likely holds the key to the Ladd-Coram tunnel myth. However, as my informant at the Circulation desk reminded me later with a smile, there are many more locked doors in the basement of Coram and Ladd. Are there many more tunnels or other hidden treasures? I guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Is the Bates Today working?

The daily consolidation of emails about dance performances, guest speaker presentations, school-sponsored parties, and more can be found in the inbox of every Bates community member in the form of the Bates Today.

The numbers show that the Bates Today is widely read.  According to Kim Trauceniek, Associated Dean of Students for Campus Life and a regulator of the Bates Today, “On average, 60-65 percent of students open [the Bates Today email] each day.” She added, “Approximately 25-30 percent of recipients click on something in each day’s email.”

Gabriella Shpilsky ’19 is a part of the first class to experience the Bates Today without previous exposure to the “Announce” listserv. “Every day I skim [the Bates Today] and read anything that is pertinent to me,” Shpilsky said.

David Unterberger ’19, says although he occasionally misses an issue he “almost always read[s] it in Commons if [he’s] up early before class.”

Unlike the “Announce” listserv, the Bates Today is highly organized and regulated. The Campus Life staff compiles and reviews all submissions. A detailed list of rules regarding submissions has been compiled–it can be found at

In 2014, Nick McCarthy ’15, Audrey Zafirson ’16, and Andrew Segal ’17 led a project to develop a more effective way of mass-communicating with students. The students first collected data about the previous email listserv by surveying Bates peers and facilitating focus groups in order to understand what was wrong with the old system and what they could do to remedy its failings.

The trio found that students had been receiving over 30 emails on many days and that many of the emails pertained to activities many students had little interest in. According to Trauceniek, “many students reported never opening Announce emails or creating filters in Gmail to move them directly into Trash.”

What the students craved, the students received. Bates Today, a single daily email system informing students of each day’s events and of upcoming events, was unveiled during Short Term 2015.

Although the Bates Today has been proven to be effective, the Campus Life staff and the Student Government are proposing more changes to increase communication across campus.

The Quad website, which includes a user-friendly list of each day’s events and announcements, is not heavily utilized, according to survey feedback from the Bates community. The website also includes recent athletics results, a daily Commons menu, weekly weather information for Lewiston, and links to Garnet Gateway, Lyceum, email, and the Bates directory.

The Quad website will be revamped later this spring in order to make it a useful homepage for Bates students, faculty and staff to access necessary Bates-specific resources in one spot. For Campus Life staff members, the goal is to make the Quad as useful to “the college’s internal audiences” as the site is for prospective students, alumni and parents.

Trauceniek, speaking on behalf of the Bates Campus Life team, adds that they “would of course like to see higher engagement rates, and hope to in time as people become more accustomed to Bates Today.” She said, “At the end of the day, it’s up to the students to read it if they want to be aware of what’s happening on campus.”

Senior shines at Blake Street Towers

Anyone who is a part of the Community Links listserv is used to receiving emails from Matt Gee with the subject line, “Brunch at Blake Street Towers Sunday!” However, for those Batesies who are unfamiliar with Gee, he is a member of the class of 2016. He will graduate with a degree in Neuroscience, a minor in education studies, and general education concentrations in philosophy and psychology. In addition to his studies, Gee has spent the past four years doing extensive and important community engaged work in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

In his first year at Bates, Gee began his work in the community as a member of the FYS, “Exploring Education Through Narratives,” a course that required 30 hours of fieldwork. Gee was then recruited by a Student Volunteer Fellow to volunteer at Blake Street Towers. Despite his early exposure to community engagement, he said he was still hesitant to get more involved. When the fellow that recruited him took the winter semester off, however, Gee decided to take on the challenge.

Since then, he has organized and led a group of student volunteers at Blake Street Towers and has become a Student Volunteer Fellow himself. Gee describes his decision to get more involved as a great one. “I am so glad I did it,” he said. “It has taught me all of my time management skills and improved my confidence and leadership skills.”

Most importantly, though, Gee says his work in the community has helped him make connections while doing things he enjoys, like cooking and interacting with elderly people who are often lonely. Gee said it is important to him to create opportunities for elderly Lewiston residents to socialize by creating a connected community. One such connection Gee has made is with a 94 year-old woman, Betty, who Gee describes as his surrogate grandmother.

Gee’s work with Blake Street Towers is not all he does. Over the years, Gee has also been involved with the YWCA of Central Maine, Lewiston Baha’i, Park Avenue Junior Youth Groups, Montello Elementary, and Tree Street Youth. However, he says all of these connections have come as a result of the initial interactions he made with the communities in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Gee says that his high involvement in the community is his way of trying to address some of the problems Lewiston is facing, such as cultural tensions.

Gee explained that his involvement in the community has allowed him to be aware of his privilege at Bates. As a result, he has practiced “empathy, love, patience, and improved [his] interpersonal relationships.” Hopefully, Gee’s shoes will be filled by a Batesie also eager to engage with communities in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

Bobcat Ventures: the real Shark Tank

The entrepreneurial spirit of some Batesies comes out in the form of Bobcat Ventures, a student organization that inspires and rewards students who innovate and develop their own business pursuits. It is a place where students explore various business models in the Bates way. Ideas bounce around in an “environment where you can get feedback from your peers and from outside mentors” said senior Ben Wilentz. He added that students also attend workshops in “communication skills, specifically dealing with difficult conversations that may come up over the course of developing a business.” The Student sat down with one of the leaders, junior Creighton Foulkes, to gain a better understanding of the decision-making that occurs in the club.

The Bates Student: What are some of the business proposals that have been introduced?

Creighton Foulkes: Ideas in the competition this year range from a team hoping to put a smoothie cart on campus to two seniors building on a thesis project. The team is creating drones with their own software to be used for real estate companies and private events providing videography and photography services. Other ideas include a service designed to connect students with internships in a particular city so that they can more efficiently arrange housing options. There is also a web development and social media marketing company that has already completed a few projects. There are 7 teams competing.

BS: Why has there been an increase in the funding provided?

CF: Funding has been increased partly due to the success of the competition along with the fact that we have been working with the Advancement Office to raise the funds as well. [This year, the grand prize totals to $11,000, compared to last year’s $5,000.] We are extremely grateful for the support from alumni that we’ve received and the competition wouldn’t be possible without their support.

BS: What did the winners do with last year’s prize money?

CF: The team that won last year was an app that could create an image overlay sequence from taking a video. It never made it to the App Store, but we are working on a better system to hold the teams accountable for the use of the prize money.*

BS: What is the purpose of the workshops and how can students utilize them properly?

CF: The workshops have been led by alumni and people from the Maine community. These include Don Gooding from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Reid Christian, an alumni currently working in venture capital in Boston for Battery Ventures, and Ross Brockman, one of the founders of Downeast Cider.  These are just a few of the workshops that we’ve held which are designed to help students focus on their ideas as well as learn more about what it takes to start and build a company along with the different stages of the startup process. These workshops also hope to connect students with Bates alumni and make them realize the possibilities and advantages of being an entrepreneur with a liberal arts background.

According to Ned Donaldson, a recent Bates alum and winner of the Bobcat Ventures, the business ideas are presented “via slide deck to a panel of judges throughout the course of an afternoon during short term. After that, the judges deliberated and chose 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place companies based off of the viability of the business plan and strength of product.” Donaldson chose to split the money he received because they were all going to reside in different locations. This year’s competition will take place April 2 at 11:00 am.

*Correction: The name of the app was changed to SpotShot and was put on the app store by one of last year’s winners, Peter Cole. The info provided to The Student was based off of searches for the app under its original name, Sequencer.*

Faces of Fulbright

Students choose to apply for Fulbright scholarships because Bates encourages community engagement and service. KATIE AILES ‘14/COURTESY PHOTO

Students choose to apply for Fulbright scholarships because Bates encourages community engagement and service. KATIE AILES ‘14/COURTESY PHOTO

As part of a continuation on last week’s article “Bates ranks 3rd in 2016 Fulbright ‘Top Producers,” the Student decided to catch up with former  Batesies on their adventures abroad, in addition to two recipients from this year’s applicant pool. Decisions will continue to come out in the next few weeks, for more Bates students are expected to hear back regarding their Fulbright decision.

These Bobcat scholars share how their experiences at Bates and  with the Fulbright intertwine.

Katie Ailes ’14 Scotland

Last year, Katie Ailes ’14,  was granted Bates’ first ever UK-US Fulbright Award for graduate studies, where she attended the University of Strathclyde to complete her Masters by Research in England. “Specifically I was doing independent research looking at pro-independence poetry written for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum,” said Ailes, “looking at the narratives of Scottish history and identity which were promoted through this body of work.”

Ailes has remained in Scotland (post-Fulbright) to complete her PhD at the University of Strathclyde in contemporary poetry in a UK context.

Ailes has found home in Scotland after studying abroad there in the fall of 2012. When she returned  there for her Fulbright program, Ailes became more involved in Scotland’s poetry scene. “I started doing open mics then more and more, and now I co-organise, tour, and perform with the Scottish spoken word collective, Loud Poets,” Ailes said. “The scene in Scotland is booming, so it’s tremendously exciting to be involved in it both as an artist and as a scholar.”

Katie Ailes emphasized both the positive impact that the Fulbright opportunity had on her and the program’s importance in the current political environment.

“I think it’s so important that the U.S. government provides this opportunity for citizens to travel around the globe and engage with other cultures,” Ailes told the Student. “Especially in today’s scarily insular and xenophobic climate, it’s more important now than ever that we continue to travel, to make connections, to converse with and understand people from completely different environments who may think differently to us.”

Patrick Tolosky ’15 Spain

Pat Tolosky is currently on the Fulbright Program in Spain where he started this September, and he will remain there until June. A Spanish major and a pre-med student at Bates, Tolosky hopes to enter a career in medicine. He knew he needed to broaden his horizons before taking on this challenge.

“I knew since the beginning of Bates that I wanted to take time to expose myself to other opportunities to learn,” Tolosky said. “I think that it is easy to lose sight of the interconnection between different professional fields that exists. Personally, I do not think I would be as open minded, creative, or adaptive as a physician if I did not try to diversify my perspective before entering medical school.”

Tolosky, as a “fellow” at a bilingual school, is currently teaching students ranging from ages 12 to 15. One of his duties is to hold conversation practice with groups of three to four, and he often comes away with more questions to discuss than he started with. “I learn so much from them,” said Tolosky.

In addition to his studies in Spain through Fulbright, Tolosky is currently helping with a project in rural  Peru to build a health clinic Q’eros. Tolosky will be at Bates alongside Katie Ailes on Monday, March 21, at Noon.

Tara Das ’16 Turkey

Das is one of two current Bates seniors who have been informed of their acceptances to their respective Fulbright programs. Das will serve as an English Teaching Assistant at a to-be-determined Turkish university.

“From what I’ve heard from Fulbright scholars who are currently in Turkey, the teaching assistant position usually entails teaching conversational English, assisting with extra-curricular activities, and attending departmental meetings,” Das told the Student.

Das is drawn to Turkey as the site of some of the “greatest cultural and geographical conflicts and developments of our time.”  For Das, her intellectual curiosity stems from her Bates Professors, who have continued to motivate her throughout her college career.

“Their passion for their research and geographical interests have an incredible ability to inspire students, which has shaped and developed my thirst to never stop learning about the world around me,” said Das. Bates’ investment in community-engaged learning and cultural development showed Das to foster her drive to continue to learn new things about the world around her.

Carly Peruccio ’16 Luxembourg

Like Das, senior Carly Peruccio also received an English Teaching Assistant Grant. She will be teaching in Luxembourg, working with both high school teachers and professors at the University of Luxembourg. A new element in Peruccio’s program is the opportunity to teach French to refugees who recently relocated to the country.

Peruccio has taught English at Lewiston’s Adult Learning Center since her first year. Peruccio told the Student, “Teaching English has allowed me to build meaningful relationships with Lewiston residents whom I otherwise might not have met. We’ve exchanged our ideas and perspectives even though we have different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I’m looking forward to doing the same in Luxembourg.”

Bates doesn’t just publish “purposeful work” on their website as a way to attract prospective students. Bates wants its students to find purpose in whatever field is dear to them. Professors, staff, community partners, and fellow students help  to develop that interest while at Bates. We leave with the charge of enacting valuable change in the world through dignified careers of service.

For more information about the Fulbright Program for next year or other fellowship opportunities including those for alumni, contact Robert Strong.

Welcome to our house

This past week, students were invited to tour 65 Campus Ave., one of the College’s new dorms. This gave students a chance to see how they were coming along and get a feel for how they will look when finished. Senior Katie Kaplan, despite her upcoming graduation, wanted to see the new dorms. She was impressed with what she saw.



“Although it was still under construction, you could tell that the architects put a lot of thought into making the building appealing to all types of students,” Kaplan said.

Chris Streifel, the project manager of the new dorms, led the tour. He explained how many things were taken under consideration in designing the building. The slope of the roofs, energy efficiency, space efficiency, and many more details were considered in order to create the best possible space for students. Even without seeing the finished product, the building will be a great place to live, hang out, or do work. About two hundred students will be lucky enough to live there at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Students seize summertime engagement opportunities

Bates has a unique relationship with our hometown of Lewiston, Maine. Even though there is a great deal of integration between the two, it often feels like we are in a Bates bubble. With school, sports, work and all those other responsibilities, it’s easy to spend an entire semester without going into the community for something besides Walmart or Forage. Over their four years in Lewiston, however, most Batesies will experience some sort of community engagement. The Harward Center facilitates opportunities for students to participate in the greater Lewiston/Auburn community, in addition to the class-based opportunities Bates provides.

In order to help students fully experience community engagement, the Harward Center offers grants that support summer community engagement. Some recipients have spent their summers in Lewiston in order to work closely with local nonprofit organizations without the distraction of coursework. The Student spoke with four of these grant recipients.

Anna Sucsy ’17 got her start in community engagement as a volunteer at Montello Elementary School, and she spent last summer working at the Hillview Housing development and the summer school at Montello. Even though she spent a considerable amount of time there during the semester, Anna felt that her summer experience was the first time that she felt like “both a member of the Lewiston community and a member of the Bates community.” Because she worked full time, Sucsy was able to build meaningful relationships with both students and the staff. She especially loved getting their opinions about Lewiston and the ways in which they wanted it to improve.

Hannah Wilson ’17, a volunteer at Tree Street Youth, emphasized the realization that community engagement is not community service. She explains her relationship with Tree Street as a two-way street because “the benefits of community engaged work goes both ways.” Instead of framing her work as something that was intended to “save” the community, she framed it as a learning experience for both parties. The time and effort that she put into the community both served Tree Street and gave her a “greater sense of belonging in Lewiston, rather than just at Bates.”

Many Batesies never experience anything besides the brutal Maine winters, but summertime Lewiston really shines. Suzannah Smith  ’16 worked with Lots to Gardens, an urban community gardening organization started by a Bates alumna that is based out of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center. She recommended experiencing “at least one summer working in the community in Lewiston” because “it’s the time when the city really comes to life with people.”

There are plenty of community events that take advantage of the beautiful weather. The farmer’s market that opens Sundays downtown fills with local farmers selling fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also take advantage of the river trail next to the Androscoggin for a cool and scenic running and biking route. Wilson explored the Fourth of July celebration (fireworks over the ‘scogg!) and the Arts Walk. She does note, however, that without a car she would have felt a little trapped—a trip to the ocean is much easier when you don’t have to bike there!

Having spent multiple summers in Lewiston, graduating senior Katrina Buchta pours her thanks out to the community of Lewiston.

“I am incredibly thankful for and humbled by my community engagement experiences in the Lewiston community. Lewiston, thank you for challenging my former ideologies, preconceived notions, and steadfast perceptions of the world around me. Thank you for introducing my once sheltered and naïve self to racial, ethnic, religious, economic, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Thank you for exposing me to heterogeneity and the beauty of difference. Thank you for allowing me to build unity and interact across lines of difference.”

Buchta’s experience captures the heart of true engagement and investment in the community in which Batesies live.

#CollegeDebate2016 wants you to #vote

With the 2016 Presidential campaigns underway, a new organization has started in Dominican University in California called #CollegeDebate2016. The goal of this organization is to engage college students in politics and the current presidential election through technology and social media. Students from colleges all over the United States will be chosen through an application process to attend workshops and seminars from June 1-3 and September 9-10 of this year.

TurboVote, Brigade, Generation Citizen and Voispot will lead these workshops that will focus on social media engagement. Given that only 41.2 percent of 18-24 year old voted in the 2012 election, it is critical that the number increases.

The training process will culminate with a 90-minute moderated Town Hall meeting which will be streamed live, along with a memo that will outline the key issues the college delegates want the presidential candidates to address.

Bates College was named a national leader in civic engagement and was identified as one of the initiative’s Partner Institutions. For this reason, the college will be sending student delegates to the meetings in order to partake in all the assigned activities. The application is due on March 28. If you have any further questions, contact Kristen Coultier or Darby Ray.

Audrey Peterman: “Our National Park, Environment, and Climate”

AClimate Talk (Max Huang) - 1udrey Peterman, an outspoken and exuberant advocate for the use of the America’s national parks, gave a public talk at Bates on March 2 in the Olin Arts Center. Before her talk, Peterman visited two classes and attended a dinner at the OIE with a diverse group of students.

Her love for nature began when her husband, Frank, saw a television program about the beauty of Belize. The spontaneous couple, with their last child already in college, decided to sell “everything they had” and move there.

Peterman recounted a story from a day at the local bar. Knowing that the couple was from the United States, a Belizean man asked if they had ever been to the Badlands in South Dakota. When they answered no, he asked, “Well, what is the Grand Canyon like?” He was dumbfounded that the couple had not been to the Canyon, either. Both Peterman and Frank realized that they had not yet seen the beauty of their own country.

Following the trip to Belize, the couple embarked on a journey to “discover America.” They traveled 12,000 miles across 40 states from Florida to Washington state, visiting national parks and other famous natural landmarks they had never been to before. Since then, Peterman has been to a total of 175 National Parks and public lands out of about 408.

Peterman recounted her transformative visit to Acadia National Park, right here in Maine. “It was beautiful perfection,” she recalled. “I realized the same thing made the park and me.” She fell in love with herself through the places she visited. The park visit was not only freeing, but also filled with history. She learned that every racial group had a hand in developing our country and she was actually able to “walk in the footsteps of [our] ancestors.”

However, she soon noticed that “visitation to the parks is almost overwhelmingly white.” She remembers that, at one park, she saw only five other people of African-American descent. There were virtually no Hispanics and the only Native Americans present were outside the gates selling their goods. Further, there were a lot of white Europeans and few Americans.

Even though the United States was actually the first country to establish a national park system–lands protected for the benefit of the American public—Peterman explained that they are not well promoted and most people do not know that America even has such a system. 

After seeing how few racial minorities were visiting the National Parks, she and her husband made it their lives’ missions to change this.

Peterman co-founded Earthwise Productions Inc., which connects the American public with the National Park system. With her husband, she created the Diverse Environmental Leaders National Speakers Bureau. She has been on the boards of the National Parks Conservation Association and the Association of Partners for Public Lands and the National Parks Promotion Council. On the local level, she has helped restore the Florida Everglades, the National Park closest to where she lives. She also blogs for the Huffington Post and has taken many diverse groups on tours to National Parks.

Adam Auerbach, a Cabin and Trail Director for the Bates’ Outing Club as well as a dinner attendee, talked about his experience at the OIE dinner with Peterman. According to Auerbach, “we had a good, productive conversation at that dinner about how to make outdoor recreation more accessible at Bates.”

Auerbach himself applied for the Outdoor Nation grant for Bates, which he was aware of through his summer job with the National Park Service. Earlier this year, Bates was granted a significant amount of money to fund beginner friendly outdoor trips, many of which occurred at the beginning of this school year. However, a majority of the money has yet to be used—so stay tuned for more trips this spring. You can also check out gear for individual use all year round from the Outing Club Equipment Room (E-Room) near the Package Center.

Also in her talk, Peterman highlighted others who are also working to help more people from minority groups gain access to and enjoy the parks. A “Restoration, not Incarceration” campaign has begun in Texas with the hope that, through having inmates restore lands in Texas, they will “restore” themselves. A book by Carolyn Finney, “Black Faces, White Spaces,” explains the underrepresentation of African-Americans in nature, outdoor recreation spots and environmentalism. Peterman also mentioned an African American who climbed four of America’s highest mountains and, at age 57, even led a group of black young adults.

Although most of Peterman’s presentation addressed the racial disparities associated with National Park visitation rates, she ended her presentation on a different note with the sobering fact that our National Parks may not be around for much longer if an environmental change is not made. There is no better time than now to visit the parks. We need to foster an appreciation of nature in order to understand what is truly at stake with climate change.

In Peterman’s words, “We live in a very urgent time right now and climate change is the current biggest threat to civilization.” We can start by appreciating our natural surrounding more.

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