As February break winds down and I prepare to head back to campus I am getting more and more excited for the new commons. For those of you who don’t know, Bates is opening up a new dining facility after break ends. The new commons will have a greater number of seats, will offer more food options, and will even include what the Bates website calls a ‘fireplace lounge’ study area for students. I could go on and on discussing everything that is great about the new dining facility but I will spare you. If you are interested in additional information you can read more about it here: http://www.bates.edu/dining-commons.xml and here: http://www.bates.edu/x173337.xml. What I want to know is whether or not the napkin board will be transferred from the old commons to the new commons. The napkin board is a very special part of the Bates culture. In the old commons, when someone felt the need to express a concern, suggestion, complaint, or complement about the food or the dining facility, one would take out a pen, grab a napkin, write down whatever was necessary and would post the napkin on the napkin board located at the exit of commons. Every week commons workers would post clever responses (or well-reasoned objections) to each student-posted napkin. I have seen napkins demanding certain obscure cereals, more bacon, and odd condiments. I have seen napkins complaining that haddock shouldn’t be served at almost every meal. I have seen napkins thanking commons workers for all their hard work. It is almost a right of passage for Batesies to post on the napkin board at least once during their four year stay on campus. It would be a shame to see the napkin board disappear when the new commons officially opens in a few days. I am confident however that the Bates napkin board tradition will not die simply because food will be served in a different location. If anything I believe the napkin board ritual (if I can call it that) will thrive in a new setting. Still… at this point I can only speculate. I will be sure to keep you posted on any napkin board news…
I finished my midterms last Friday and I came home for February break a little less than a week ago. My friend, who lives outside of Boston, came down to New York for the first part of break with me. We met up with another Batesie and together we all explored New York City. We went to some of the touristy spots (Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, Madison Square Garden, etc.) and ate at restaurants all around the city. It was fun hanging out with Bates friends off campus. Showing my friends the high school I went to, the deli I ate at, and other landmarks near my house was a great experience. I enjoyed checking out my old stomping grounds and it was fun for my friends because they now have a better understanding of who I am and where I’m from. It was the first time I had seen my Bates friends off campus but definitely not the last… http://www.flickr.com/photos/43025626@N00/357049210/ Picture of NYC skyline… I didn’t take it but I thought it brightened up the blog a bit.
As I sat at my computer attempting to study for my midterms this afternoon I realized there was a startling connection between my work and the real world. As part of my midterm for my geology class I have to write a paper on the Snowball Earth hypothesis. The theory, in basic terms, states that during the Neoproterozoic Era (roughly 700-500 million years ago) the earth went through 2 severe glacial events during which the planet was completely covered in ice and snow. Temperatures reached -50 degrees celsius and ice covering the earth was more than 1km thick. As I described the harsh conditions I looked outside and saw heavy snow falling and wind blowing snow against my window. For a brief moment I pictured the intense snow never stopping and being buried alive beneath the ice. Eventually I snapped back to reality and realized that I had been looking at the computer screen too long and that a break might help stop my mind from wandering. Reflecting on the situation now I think it is really interesting how school work can be so closely related to the real world. Alright maybe picturing the world covered in ice after looking outside was a bit of a stretch but I think you understand what I’m getting at.
Politics have taken center stage at Bates this past week as the democrats geared up for the Maine caucus today. Edward (Ted) Kennedy, the democratic senator from Massachusetts, came up to Bates on Friday to campaign for Barack Obama. Students and faculty packed the chapel to hear Senator Kennedy discuss the need for change in the country. The next day presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton spoke just a few minutes from the Bates campus at the Lewiston Armory. I was lucky enough to hear Senator Kennedy speak but unfortunately I did not see Senator Clinton (see blog below this one for reason). Today many Batesies got rides to the Lewiston High School to vote in the democratic caucus. I find it great that many students here, whether democrats or republicans, are politically active. Though not everyone agrees on who should be the next president, it’s moving to see so many young people, many who are voting for the first time, involved in the political process.
Sorry I couldn’t get my own picture of Senator Kennedy but I thought a visual would be a nice touch.
The other night as part of a floor activity for my dorm I went with my JA (junior advisor) and some dorm mates to a Maineiacs game. The Maineiacs are a minor league hockey team here in Lewiston. They play in a the QMJHL, a league based in Quebec, and are the only U.S. team in the league. The atmosphere at the game was awesome. Despite the fact the game was delayed an hour and that it was a Wednesday night the arena was pretty packed. A woman sang both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems and the Canadian anthem was sung partly in French & partly in English. The fans were passionate and many were decked out in Maineiacs jerseys, hats, and t-shirts. The game itself was also great. The Maineiacs beat the Drummondville Voltigeurs 8-3 and there were plenty of big hits and scuffles. It was nice to take a study break, get off campus for a little while and get a taste of Lewiston’s culture. Check out the Maineiacs site to learn about the team: http://www.lewistonhockey.com/