November 3, 2011
Occupy hits Bowdoin
Add Bowdoin College to the list of higher ed institutions where the influence of Occupy Wall Street can be seen. At Bowdoin, as The Bowdoin Orient reports, Robbie Benson ’15 has become the catalyst for what he hopes will lead to heightened awareness and discussion among student and faculty alike on issues of social inequalities.
A discussion at a lunch table with friends sparked what Benson told The Orient was an “incredibly impromptu” call-to-action questioning why Bowdoin, a school which “Over its history, [...] has been committed to its Common Good” “wasn’t more involved in what [he] saw as a defining moment in political history.” Following the posting of signs with phrases such as “PUT PEOPLE OVER PROFIT—Occupy Bowdoin: Join the Peaceful Revolution,” the group’s email account grew quickly, and plans have already been made for an open forum to discuss what issues affect students the most and to set the organization on its course.
Still many doubt the effect this movement will have in exacting any sort of change at all. As Kristen Ghodsee, professor of gender and women’s studies, told The Orient, “If a bunch of Bowdoin students just hang out on the Quad, what does that accomplish? I’m not sure what there is to be accomplished, other than showing that they are paying attention to what is happening at the national level.” Indeed of the many campuses that have had reactions to Occupy Wall Street, some still do not know that “Occupy Colleges” is an offshoot movement for students who protest high tuition bills and lack of job opportunities after graduation. Bowdoin was not part of the 140 campuses that participated in the Oct. 13 “National Student Solidarity Protest,” but they plan to keep up with the national scene by participating in “National Solidarity Teach-Ins” on Nov. 2 and 3.
Amherst enjoys an unseasonal snow day
Following a snowstorm that hit the campus early in the afternoon this past Saturday, the Amherst campus sustained heavy damage to several main quads and a power outage at midnight. A storm that left nine dead and more than three million people without power throughout the northeast had the campus staff running around to get the power on as quickly as possible. Despite the damage caused by wet snow breaking the branches on trees, no person sustained any major injuries.
Although the campus was dark all of Saturday night, a backup generator was up and running in the Valentine Dining Hall by Sunday morning and quickly gathered students and faculty alike with its food, warmth and Internet access. The dining hall staff kept the dining hall open for the crowd that had gathered, and the overall experience was a time of bonding for the campus. As one student told the Amherst Student, “Val [the dining hall] reminded me of a hurricane shelter back home [in Miami].” Due to the lack of power, students enjoyed the day by sledding and building snowmen, and although power had returned to the main campus by 5:30 in the afternoon, a school-wide email was soon sent cancelling Monday classes.
Students everywhere rejoiced with whomever was near, but the best moment may go to the campus-wide clean up that started on the freshman quad the next morning. An email had been sent encouraging the general population to come and help, and as one worker told the Amherst Student, “I really only expected about 10 to 20 people to actually show up.” Thanks to the combined efforts of around 80 people, the cleaning was finished quickly and efficiently, and as one student commented, “it was nice to have a sense of camaraderie.”