The need for a nuanced perspective in the global classroom

How important is it to your success as a student in a Smith classroom, to be American?

Of the million things I thought about before I came to Smith, this was something I took for granted. I assumed that a college education is global, no matter where you go, and that’s exactly what I wanted. I believe a global education is valuable, and it encourages a greater understanding of world problems. And that has been my experience, to some extent. 

However, I was forced to think harder about this as I started to peruse the course catalog more intently and took more classes.

Light, water glasses and gems: Gwen Strahle at Oresman

Light, water glasses and gems: Gwen Strahle at Oresman

If one walks through the mustard, Smith College-aesthetic walls of Graham Hall within Brown Fine Arts Center, one will stumble upon Hillyer Art Library, where the restrooms and cubicles even feel like artistic installations. The lobby of Brown Fine Arts Center, home of Smith College’s Department of Art, communicates an artisanal atmosphere with its muted carpets and just the right amount of gray. 

“Black America after MLK”: A Presidential Colloquium with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

 

Sunnie Ning ‘18 News Editor

On Monday, March 27, Henry Louis Gates Jr., literary critic, professor, historian, filmmaker and public intellectual discussed his thoughts on “Black America Since MLK” in a Presidential Colloquium at Smith College.

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. An Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, he has created 15 documentary films, including “Wonders of the African World,” “African American Lives,” “Faces of America,” “Black in Latin America” and the PBS television series “Finding Your Roots.”

Gates was greeted by a large crowd. Audience members included students, faculty, staff and local community members. Curious participants completely packed the Weinstein Auditorium, and an overflow room was set up in the Carroll Room.

In the opening introduction, President Kathleen McCartney thanked Alexys Butler ’16 and N’dea Drayton ’16, the two former Black Students’ Alliance co-chairs who first brought up the idea of inviting Gates to Smith. “Last spring, they asked me to invite Professor Gates to speak at Smith,” McCartney said, crediting the two recent alums.

The colloquium began with a 20-minute viewing of Gates’ most recent documentary, “Black America after MLK: And Still I Rise,” in which he embarks on a personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by scholars, celebrities, activists and their personal stories, Gates narrates the history of African Americans from the victories of the Civil Rights Movement up to now, ending with an optimistic tone for the victory of justice and equality.

After the viewing McCartney posed a few questions to Gates before moving on to a question and answer session with the crowd. His humor and frequent reference to anecdotes often made his audience laugh, yet left them pensive.

When McCartney asked what he thought of race and gender, Gates said that strong female role models in his life connected him to feminism. “I’m always aware of the parallels between the fight for equal pay, for equal work, and the fact that people will look at you and think you should lower your expectations because you are a woman,” said Gates. He also acknowledged the compounding effects of racism and sexism and the need to combat that. “I don’t know what the algorithm for racism plus sexism is like, but it’s hell,” said Gates, “I don’t know what that is like, but I know it’s still around, and we have to fight that.”

McCartney also asked if the optimism at the end of the documentary still holds after Trump’s election into the White House, and if progressivism is withering away. Gates emphasized the importance of staying optimistic. He also addressed the importance of respecting people at the opposite end of the political spectrum. He noted how fifty years ago, people agreed to disagree, whereas now, having friends with opposite political ideologies has become increasingly rare. “The problems confronting us, in terms of racism, classism, sexism, are so complicated that we have to be humble enough to say none of us has the solutions, that our traditional ideology has failed. We need to try to find fresh solutions to the problems, and not demonizing each other just because of [their] state of political correctness,” commented Gates.

An audience member asked a question about scientific research on PTSD’s ability to affect later generations, and how this could have altered our understanding of the impact of structural and systematic oppression over generations. Gates answered that emphasis has to be placed on both structural and behavioral changes. He stressed the need for black community leaders to push for behavior changes, but also emphasized that public education needs to be equally funded. “We have to do both things,” concluded Gates.

Pompeii at Smith: New exhibit at Lyman Plant House complements the museum’s “Villas of Oplontis”

 

Danielle Colburn ’20 Assistant Copy Editor

On April 1, the Lyman Plant House unveiled its new exhibit, “Plants of Pompeii: Ancient and Modern Medicinal Plants” to the public. This exhibit compliments “The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii” at Smith’s Museum of Art, which is composed of sculptures, jewelry, building fragments and utilitarian objects from two Roman villas that were buried over one thousand years ago during Mount Vesuvius’s infamous 79 C.E. eruption. While “The Villas of Oplontis” focuses specifically on these two Roman villas, “Plants of Pompeii,” based on the work of garden archaeologist Wilhelmina Jashemski, covers excavation research from Pompeii, Oplontis and the town of Herculaneum to provide a broader look at the daily life of Roman elite who vacationed in these areas.

Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Pompeii nowadays, the city and its surrounding areas were famous, in their time, for their gardens, flower culture and their rich history of using plants as healing agents. Before modern science, the Roman relationship to plants was studied through wall paintings, mosaics and sculptures, in addition to Roman author Pliny the Elder’s book, “Natural History,” which covers topics including botany and horticulture. Jashemski largely changed this approach when, in a 1966 excavation of Pompeii, she got the idea to study excavated plant material to determine which plant species had been cultivated by the Romans, and why.

But how could Jashemski study plants from over a thousand years ago? Although debris from Mount Vesuvius was hot enough to burn material, the lack of oxygen caused by a thick layer of volcanic gas, smoke and ash meant that plant material was not burned during the disaster, but instead was carbonized and thus preserved. When Jashemski analyzed carbonized fruit, seeds and nuts, and examined pollen found in volcanic rock material, she was able to gain information about what kinds of plants were valued by ancient Pompeians. Another technique, plaster casting, also contributed to this work and to the growing field of garden archaeology. Under certain conditions, cavities and carbonized plant material remained where plants buried by volcanic ash had once been. In these cases, casts of the plants can be made by pouring plaster mixture into the voids, resulting in intricately detailed reconstructions of the shape of the material that had originally filled the voids.

While “Plants of Pompeii” doesn’t feature any of these plaster casts, it does display beautifully-inked plant portraits created by Victoria I and Lillian Nicholson Meyer for Jashemski’s 1999 book, “A Pompeian Herbal.” The exhibit’s portraits illustrate the plants identified in Jashemski’s excavations, and captions below the portraits explain the medicinal uses for each, often citing Pliny the Elder’s book, “Natural History.” Surprisingly, not every plant in the exhibit is an extinct or unrecognizable species—as a plaque at the exhibit reads, “Many of these can be found outdoors in the Botanic Garden, in the Lyman Conservatory, and maybe in your own garden.” Some of the more familiar plants covered in the exhibition include an apple found in one of the Oplontis villa gardens, which was used to treat vomiting and diarrhea; parsley, which was believed to have caused abortions if inserted into the vagina of a pregnant woman; and the popular crop barley, which was used as a laxative or to give sickly patients strength.

If you missed its opening day, “Plants of Pompeii” can be seen in the Church Exhibition Gallery in the Lyman Plant House seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Dec. 15. Its related exhibit, “The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii,” will be on display until Aug. 13 in the Smith College Museum of Art.

The Ghost of Julia Child and Sesame Street’s Big Bird March on Washington In Protest Against Trump’s New Budget Proposal

Emily Kowalik '18 Opinions Editor

Chanting “Justice for Big Bird,” Public Broadcasting Service stars claim that President Donald Trump’s planned budget cuts are targeted more at undercutting Democratic priorities than at shrinking the national debt. In a viral video, beloved Sesame Street star Elmo was informed that his days with the National Endowment for the Arts are numbered. In the words of the video’s maker, “Elmo, the Trump administration is cutting ALL arts and education funding from the new congressional budget.” According to multiple Washington insiders, congressional Republicans have long wanted to kill government funding for Big Bird.

Elmo, shocked beyond words, expressed his bitter anger during an interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: “Elmo is confused,” he sobbed, “Just like that?! Elmo’s been working at Sesame Street for 32 years!” He sputtered for a bit, before saying, “But Elmo’s rent just went up!”

In a vain attempt to cheer up the bereaved Elmo, Colbert patted him on the back and said, “Eveything’s going to be okay, you can still be in show business! Just try merging into a different sector- how about getting a job taking pictures with tourists in Times Square?”

A host of planned funding cuts to federal agencies have been reported as part of the Trump administration’s desire to eliminate roughly $10.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, which amounts to nearly all of the federal government’s discretionary spending. But what do these cuts accomplish other than render Elmo homeless?

The answer appears to be that Trump and congressional Republicans are defunding a number of projects seen as liberal darlings — including groups aimed at preserving and supporting the environment, civil rights protections, endowment for the arts, minority-owned businesses and... public broadcasting.

Bert and Ernie were quick to point out that Sesame Street’s takedowns of Donald Trump, which involve comedic sketches aired throughout the decades leading up to his presidency and involving a puppet-facsimile of the current president voiced by Alec Baldwin, were a major motivation for his proposed defunding of public television.

In these satiric Sesame Street segments, Trump was most often depicted as a fuzzy green creature with an orange hairpiece known as a “grouch.” For those unfamiliar with these now iconic sketches, grouches are unpleasant monsters who base their cultural, political, moral and economic opinions around garbage. “That’s not necessarily an insult,” Oscar the Grouch stated in a joint interview with Kellyanne Conway on Fox and Friends.

But each time “Donald Grump” appeared as the badly toupee-d Muppet, he played the villain in a moral allegory. “Whenever Donald Grump visits Sesame Street, chaos is not far behind,” Big Bird said.

Still, more than just our beloved PBS stars are convinced that Trump’s efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are revenge for his unflattering portrayal as Donald Grump.  Even The Washington Post agrees. “Trump wants to defund PBS — ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades,” reads the headline to an arts and entertainment article by Avi Selk.

There is still much to come in this ongoing story, so for now,  stay tuned.

Trump Accuses Clinton of Masquerading as Chauffeur

Cas Sweeney '19Associate Editor

After James Comey of the FBI denied any evidence of Obama wiretapping Trump Tower on March 20, many people believed that this would put an end to the conflict between Trump and the previous administration. However, the next day Trump made an unofficial statement on Twitter bringing to the forefront another controversy.

On March 22, Trump said on his Twitter, “caught sore loser Hillary Clinton pretending to be my son’s driver! Democrats still trying to sabotage the best winning president! Me!” much to everyone’s confusion.

The next day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference on the issue. He said that the Secret Service had caught Clinton impersonating Trump’s chauffeur that was responsible for driving his son to school. She was caught after dropping him off at Trump Tower by a Secret Service agent that met the car at the door.

When the press asked what Clinton had done with the original chauffeur, Spicer became belligerent, repeating that Clinton was the chauffeur and that the fact that the press did not understand this was “what’s wrong with the liberal mainstream media.” The Breitbart reporter present then started to chant “stupid media” while Spicer nodded along.

Independent investigation by The New York Times revealed that, despite many people’s initial assumption, Hillary Clinton had not replaced Trump’s chauffeur, but instead was hired as Trump’s chauffeur two months before. She was hired by an unnamed staff member and managed to avoid detection for two months by attaching a “Lock Her Up” bumper sticker to the back of her car.

When interviewed, the other chauffeurs said they never would have guessed that their coworker was former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. James Riley, who worked closely with Clinton at Trump Tower, said to The Washington Post, “She seemed so real, you know? I always thought Hillary Clinton was a fake person the Democrats found to thwart Trump’s campaign. I was really surprised to find out she still exists.”

Many people are accusing Clinton of having nefarious motives. There is a consensus from Republican senators that Clinton never should have involved Trump’s son in her opposition to Trump’s presidency. Many Democrats also expressed dismay at Clinton’s actions, saying that she should be focusing more on the effort to block the Border Wall than infiltrating Trump Tower.

However, the strange thing is that no one seems to know exactly what Clinton has in mind, or why she has taken to being Trump’s chauffeur. Is she attempting to find evidence that might lead to Trump’s impeachment? Is she attempting to force Melania to move to the White House by compromising Trump Tower’s security? Is she trying to sway Barron Trump to her point of view while driving him to school? Has she decided that becoming a chauffeur is a good career move?

I cannot answer any of these questions, and though many people are speculating, no one will have answers until more investigation is done. Comey made a statement on March 24 saying that the FBI plans to investigate this matter very publicly, at which point Clinton will probably be cleared of any wrong doing.

For now, I am willing to say that I believe Clinton has not crossed a moral line. We do not know how much influence she has had on Barron Trump, but she has not done anything outside the lines of a chauffeur’s traditional job. I believe that Clinton has a right to be hired as a chauffeur and communicate with the Trumps. After all, Clinton has a right to free speech, and will continue to have the right until the Trump administration finishes its transition into a fascist power.

I also believe that ultimately Trump is to blame for this happening. If Melania and Barron were not still living in New York City, Clinton would not have been able to infiltrate their lives so easily. I wonder where this will take us next. Perhaps Mar-a-Lago.

Bipartisan Coalition secures Nixon’s floating head and presidential speechwriter Lindsay Hayes as speakers

 

Jenna Pepe ‘19, Katie Hitchcock-Smith ’17 and Kristine Chin ‘17 Contributing Writers

The Smith College Bipartisan Coalition has just announced that they will be bringing the floating head of Richard Nixon to campus.  He will be joining Republican presidential speechwriter Lindsay Hayes on April 5 at 8 p.m. in Seeyle 106 to be interviewed in front of a live audience.

This is an unusual appearance from President Nixon, as his head has been cryogenically frozen in a jar since his death. Though his whereabouts have been unknown for years, it is rumored that he has been in a relative’s basement collecting dust and befriending the mice that happen to be within his sight.

The Sophian has confirmed that the Bipartisan Coalition was able to secure such prestigious speakers through the connections the club members have. One source stated that they were able to get in contact with Smith graduate Julie Eisenhower Nixon ’70, who happily dusted off President Nixon and FedEx’ed his head by priority mail to arrive before the event. Lindsay Hayes, who wrote for 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was also confirmed shortly thereafter. As we reported last year, Mitt Romney is probably undeniably the father of Bipartisan Coalition honcho Katie Hitchcock-Smith.

Both the former president and presidential speechwriter will be speaking about their lives and current political affairs. Though highly confidential information, a source close to the Bipartisan Coalition has shared a copy of the questions that will be asked during the event with the Sophian. We confirm such questions will consist of, “Why did you turn down Donald Trump in the primaries?” “How do you craft the voice of a candidate?” and “What was it like being stuck in a basement since your death in 1994?” It is unclear at this time which questions are intended for which speaker.

Katrina Derderian ’18, who will be interviewing President Nixon and Hayes, believes that this event will launch the organization to the next level. During the conversation, she also revealed that the Bipartisan Coalition would be inviting more “floating-heads” to speak about current political affairs. “We hope one of the next speakers will be the head of a journalist White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer bites off, it’s just a matter of time!”

Supporters of the organization agree with Derderian that this event could be pivotal in accruing positive support for the organization on Smith campus. As for this event, at least so far, it appears that there might actually be more attendees than protestors.

New Study: Facebook “Rants” Incite Social Change

Katherine Hazen '18 Editor-In-Chief

In a new study from the University of Southern California last week, researchers found that Facebook rants — posts of political views exceeding four lines of text with at least three exclamation points — incite social change. Researchers measured this by asking Smith students how they felt about a certain “hot button” issue before and after a Facebook friend posted a rant, relative to the number of laws proposed and number of Google searches.

Researchers also found that, contrary to popular belief, Facebook rants increase your number of Facebook friends. Research also indicated that the more rants a Facebook user provides per day, the more they are trusted as a “valid news source.”

After reading this study, I thought that Smith students must be on the right track to changing the world, given that the study found that Smith students post Facebook rants at least three times a week on average.   

Some Smith students find Facebook rants more educational than class discussion. “In class we have to back up our claims with facts, and that’s just not true learning to me,” said Sophie Smith ’18. “Emotion is far more persuasive.”

Rather than organizing and taking to the streets, Smith students can continue to help change the world from the comfort of their room.

Smith will offer a new workshop series on how to destress during registration period

 

Sunnie Ning ‘18 News Editor

The Smith College Office of Student Engagement has announced that it will offer a new workshop series to help student de-stress and navigate registration period.

From April 3 to 14, Smith students will register for classes for Fall 2017. Since the release of the new course catalog, students have already spent hours researching, crying about courses not offered and panicking about what will happen if they can’t get into the classes they want.

This year, the stress levels around course registration have hit a new high due to the new 19-credit pre-registration constraint. “I’ve already spent more than 20 hours, and I’ve only narrowed down my list to 24 credits. I just can’t narrow it down further,” said Emily Levansky ’18.

Other students expressed frustration at classes not offered the coming semester and fear of not being able to graduate. “I need this class for my major and it’s the prerequisite for the upper-level classes, but they are not offering it next year,” said Leah Morris ’19 with tears in her eyes. “I worry I will not have enough time to finish my major.”

Other sources of stress include an inconsistency between the department website and the course catalog, classes with incompatible schedules, advisers that are incredibly hard to reach, the crashing registration website and much more.

The school’s counseling service has seen an increase in the number of appointments since the release of the course catalogue. The number of students seeking advice from student academic advisers has also risen, increasing the burden for students filling these volunteer positions.

To address the rising stress level, a new workshop series will be offered during the first two weeks of April. Titled “Surviving Registration,” the series will address issues such as how to avoid spending hours on the course catalog, how to put together a manageable schedule, how to find your academic adviser and how to stay calm when you are waitlisted for a class.

The registrar will also host a weekly reception for students with questions. The Class Deans office, counseling service and reslife will also participate in the workshop series. The counseling service will open a new hotline for registration-related emergencies.

The organizers said that there is a high demand for a workshop like this, and they have received support from students. “We need to acknowledge that registration-related stress  is a real issue on campus. Through the workshop series, we want to offer tools and support for students going through this difficult time,” Melissa Strong, a staff member at OSE, said.

If the workshop series becomes successful, the OSE expects to offer it again in the fall during the add/drop period. “We expect the demand to be even higher, because we will be working with new first-year students who will have no experience dealing with such stress,” said Strong.

Many faculty members have also expressed their support for this workshop series. “Each year we get so many franctic emails asking questions or expressing frustration during the registration period. It is the most stressful time of the semester for us, dealing with these intense emotions. Hopefully the workshop series will help students stay calm this time,” an anonymous professor from the government department said.

Oprah Bails On Smith, President Trump Takes Duty Upon Himself

Zoya Azhar '20Contributing Writer

Oprah Winfrey’s sudden refusal to serve as commencement speaker for the Class of 2017 has been a devastating blow to the Smith College community.

Oprah tweeted a seemingly casual “Taking a break from life, #out” three days ago. Naïve Smithies — extremely keyed in to Oprah updates (her being a strong, independent woman and all) — tweeted back, joking that Oprah was clearing her schedule to write the speech that the eager students at Smith are waiting to hear, but they actually got a tweeted response from Oprah, “New phone: who dis??”

Worried with rage possibly fueled by the mediocre midterm grades they had received, a few bold folks from the Quad took up arms and got to chalking the entirety of President McCartney’s driveway, demanding she tweet back at Oprah.

When a polite but prodding tweet from President McCartney received no response either, the President’s office reluctantly contacted Oprah’s representatives. Naturally, they were feeling pretty foolish that the primary basis for the confusion was a Twitter exchange, but they had a job to do. They were both horrified and fascinated to find disconnected phone lines and no apparent way to reestablish contact with Ms. Winfrey’s representatives.

As if this were not enough of a situation for the college’s administration to deal with, the next twist in this riveting tale came in the middle of the night, when President Donald Trump decided to step in.

In his characteristic voice, he tweeted, “Oprah bails! Poor showmanship. I’ll make the speech @smithcollege. Bigger and better!”

It is a mystery as to why President Trump chooses to curate his tweets in the middle of the night before sending them out into the world. Whatever the reason, on this particular occasion, he decided it would be a good idea to step in for Oprah and deliver the commencement speech at Smith College this May.

There was initially great confusion as, between tweets promising that ObamaCare will explode and that Theresa May will persevere after the London attacks, President Trump suddenly decided to invite himself to a women’s college, as if he were a comparable replacement for Oprah.

As the news sunk in, the reaction of students on campus was mixed, ranging mostly from ridicule and “bish whet”-memes to angry proclamations and demands that this not be allowed to happen. Students, especially those belonging to the graduating class, have started to reach out to celebrities on social media, begging for someone to step up and be their commencement speaker. President McCartney has not been able to provide comment (mostly because she doesn’t know what to say) apart from announcing her decision not to contact the White House for details. Apparently, her approach is to hope the problem will go away by simply ignoring it.

There has been no further word from President Trump and most Smithies hope it is because he is distracted by actual government work.

If we are lucky, we’ll find that Oprah takes her social cues from Laverne Cox and reschedules. We can probably push commencement back a few months.

Smith College adds a mandatory class for first years: “How to Survive New England Winter”

 

Tyra Wu ‘19 Associate Editor

After multiple reports of hypothermia and a very close encounter involving a snow plow at full speed, a crosswalk and one nearly flattened student, Smith College has decided to add a mandatory class for first-year students on how to survive the New England winter. This class will teach these winter newbies about the many strange phenomena of winter. The course aims to cover topics like layering, wind chill and even includes a special lecture titled, “The Deadly Dangers of Black Ice and How to Avoid It.”

At first, Smith College administrators believed that students did not need additional education on the topic and would acclimate quickly, but feedback from bewildered students has since convinced them otherwise.

“New England winter is a unique beast,” Sarah Price ’18 said. “It’s not enough to have a winter coat and boots, you need to know the survival skills.”

Many students unfamiliar with New England weather arrive on campus severely underestimating the brutality of the winter. One student from California foolishly thought she could get through the winter wearing a lightweight fall coat, but abruptly had that delusion shattered. Another student mistook the snow salt for soy sauce.

“They never do tell you just how bad New England winter is,” Carla James ’20 said. “I mean, we had a snowstorm in March, what kind of abomination is that?”

Students have also expressed surprise at the length of winter in the New England region, where the weather is very unpredictable and the cold can last through the month of April.

“It gets to the point in the year when you feel like it should be spring, and yet here comes another snowstorm,” Ally Rigatoni ’19 said. “Plus the snow sticks around afterward so it’s half grass, half snow and all sadness.”

The class will focus on several different winter-related topics including winter skincare tips, driving tips and how to dress. There will also be a special lecture from a visiting professor from Amherst College titled, “Wintry Mix: The Weather from Hell.” The course aims to dispel common misconceptions about winter. It will be taught Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week from 9:00 to 10:20 a.m. Professors from several departments, specifically those who grew up outside of the New England region, have been invited to contribute to the course.

The culminating final project for the course will include a Bear Grylls’ style contest in which students are dropped off in a random location in the middle of winter and must find their way back to the Smith campus. Students will be graded on speed as well as endurance. Only thirty percent will receive A’s and make it back to Smith safely.

Through this class, Smith College administrators hope to alleviate the culture shock that often comes with Smithies’ first winter. Furthermore, they hope to appease concerned parents and reduce the number of questions that they get during campus visits about the do’s and don’ts of winter. By the end of this course, Smithies are guaranteed to be ready to take on the harsh New England weather.

Amidst construction concerns, Smith Approves plan for new lift system

 

Maryellen Stohlman-Vanderveen‘19 Staff Writer

New concerns about the effect that the Neilson Library renovation project will have on student tardiness have pushed the Smith administration to approve a plan which will install a new lift system to help students get to class on time during center campus construction. The college approved the new plan for the Smith Student Lift Service in response to both student and faculty complaints about how the current construction project on center campus walkways was making students late for class.

“Quite frankly, it’s been really tough getting to my nine a.m. classes in Seelye,” one first year complained about the current work. “I live on the quad and I’ve been late this entire week. I can’t imagine what it will be like next year once the construction on the library renovation begins.”

“I’ve seen at least a 50 percent increase in student tardiness following spring break,” one Statistics professor whose class meets in Bass Hall said. “I took a small survey to try to figure out why, and I found out that it is mostly my students who live on Elm Street that are being made late by the construction when they cross center campus.”

The Smith administration announced their approval for the lift in a statement published in the weekly Paradise Notes bulletin:

“The college is pleased to announce that the proposed plan for the Smith Student Lift Service has been approved. This plan addresses faculty and student concerns that were raised about potential disruptions to class schedules caused by the Neilson Library Renovation project. Construction has been set to start in June of 2017 following Commencement Weekend and the closing of the college thanks to a generous donation which was provided by an anonymous donor. It is expected to be completed before August 28th and the start of the Fall 2017 semester.”

The final blueprint for the lift system has yet to be released, but based on a report provided by Smith’s Facilities Management, it has been gathered that the project will include two lines of transport. One line will connect Seelye lawn to Chapin lawn while the other will connect Seelye Lawn to the Science Quad. Both lines will pass over the Neilson Library renovation site, and will be capable of carrying students in both directions in order to help ease the flow of traffic on the ground.

The Smith Student Lift Service will also include gondola-style cars to provide students with both warmth and protection from the elements during cold winter commutes to class. Each car is built to transport eight students at a time.

“I have complete faith in the gondola service provided by Smith College, and am pleased to know that Smith is putting its finances into something that directly benefits its students. I am confident that the construction of the gondolas will be complete well before construction on the library ends,” said Abby Weaver ’19 who helped to write the proposal to the administration

Despite the plan’s inclusion of ambient music, comfortable seating and a complimentary beverage service on all rides (complete with hot chocolate, coffee and a selection of teas), not all students support the administration’s decision.

“I oppose most things Smith does and I’m especially opposed to their plan to build a lift system through center campus,” said Be Worrell ’18J. “Death by gondola is all too real. 1 in 800 people die every year in gondola accidents... Actually, that might be mopeds. But my point still stands, Smith’s lift plan sucks.”

Hair in the Shower Drain - Problem Solving Through Art at Smith College

Phoebe Little '20 Contributing Writer

As a college student, it’s important to find a work/life balance. When people are busy and stressed out, self-care often is the first thing to go. Self care is important because it’s easy to get burnt out by studying all the time and never taking time for yourself.

Smithies have lots of outlets to deal with stress. Many students join organizations or clubs as a fun way to pursue their passions. Other students relieve stress by exercising at the gym or participating in a sports team. Lots of Smithies carve out time to read for pleasure, create art or work on their own personal writing projects. Most students also relieve stress by spending time with their friends here on campus.

I’m constantly trying to find the perfect balance between work and life. I spend a lot of my time studying in the library and working my two on-campus jobs. But I also find the time to practice my rad dance moves at Get Fit Smith Zumba, sing in The Smith College choirs and an a capella group and spend time with my friends. In addition to these fun things, I have an uncommon outlet for relieving stress.  Much to the dismay of my friends and roommate, I’m passionate about writing extremely silly rhyming poetry.

The following is one of my recent works about a problem that I’m sure most Smithies who share communal bathrooms will relate to. My dream is both to make people giggle and to inspire them to change their world for the better (by picking their hair out of the shower drain).

“Hair in the Shower Drain” On the floor by the door balancing on the decorative paper crane clumpy clogging up the drain of what do I speak? no need to be meek! I’ll be loud when I say that hair in the shower, you ruin my day! Stray hair down the hall like tumbleweed but no sheriff can get me what I need! Somehow the hair is in my dorm a place it’s never been before! The icky, soggy shower drain hair does not belong within my lair! Pick up your hair it’s not that hard then I wouldn’t have to be a bard when someone says, “hey who’s hair is this?” just say “that’s mine young miss!” By removing your hair from the drain you save your housemates from going insane please consider the needs of your friends Who dream of showering without stepping on split ends.

Horoscopes: April Fools’ Edition

Aries

Make sure to watch where you step this week. Watch closely.

Taurus

Good things are coming your way. Good things are walking right up to you and saying hello. Good things are wondering why you don’t recognize them. Good things are saying, “we had that yoga class together last semester, remember?”

Gemini

Your professor will come up to you tomorrow and compliment your essay on Ancient Sigils. “What essay?” you will wonder. Do NOT question it.

Cancer

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. More. More. Let it all out and float away.

Leo

Take some time for yourself this week. After all, you’ve done a lot. You are tired. You are so, so tired. You don’t quite remember what made you so tired. Take a nap.

Virgo

This week will hold some great new opportunities. Seize them. Hold them tightly as they try to wiggle away. Do not let them escape.

Libra

You will meet the love of your life in the King-Scales dining hall Saturday at 5:48 p.m. Your hands will brush as you reach for the salad tongs. You will feel a spark. Nothing will ever be the same.

Scorpio

Step outside of your routine this week. Step outside of your comfort zone. Step outside of anything you have ever known. Step out. Step out.

Sagittarius

Run.

Capricorn

This is a good week for making new friends. Start a conversation with someone you don’t know. Accept their invite to a cool, secret event. Follow them to a club you’ve never been to before. Listen to the murmuring chants in an ancient language you do not understand. Forget your name. Forget you ever knew your name.

Aquarius

You will have good luck this week. Take a risk you’ve wanted to take. Take another one. Continue winning. Emboldened by your success, risk it all. Lose everything.

Pisces

Be open to new things in your life. Trust me. You will be fine. Trust me.

Blank Disc: What T. Swift Has Been Hiding From Us For Three Years!

Patience Kayira '20 Assistant Arts Editor

Taylor Swift’s 2014 album, “1989,” received high reception upon its release. Twelve-year-old Swifties rejoiced to the allure of “Shake it Off” and fourteen-year-olds saw their dreams come true in “Wildest Dreams.” Yet, the Taylor Swift Recording Team forgot an important bonus track that contains important information.

“Blank Disc,” the counterpart to “Blank Space” was sadly set aside, due to “anticipated lack of interest from her fan-base” said former Swift manager, Rick Barker in an interview with Just Now. Apparently, Swift’s management thought that her audience would actually enjoy listening to songs like “All you had to do was stay” and “I wish you would.” While these songs do explore the deep, powerful themes of relationships, breakups and love, they are a bit too similar to Swift’s earlier songs. Although her sound and vocal technique has improved considerably, Taylor Swift is still the same All-American girl CMT fell in love with in 2005.

Yes, that’s right CMT. Remember that everyone? T.Swift was originally a country singer (gasp!), but I digress...

Thus, “Blank Disk” is filled with the raw truth and honesty that Swifties of all ages find “relatable.” Written in common language, “Blank Disk” features references to social media and pop culture. Fans learn even more about Taylor Swift upon listening to the song. It would have offered a fresh new twist to to Swift’s music. Yet, sadly as Barker said “Some things are worth sharing and other things are best kept to oneself.”

Fortunately, Everythingtyouneedtoknow.com granted Smith College free access to the lyrics of “Blank Disk.” Read it while you can!

“Blank Disk”

I like your sperrys and your tie

You’ll keep me in the spotlight

A basic girl and a basic guy

Look at me in my

white nail polish and plain tee,

wow, I love Abercrombie

Wait let’s stop to take a selfie (for the insta)

Cute face, mystic eyes

Thanks for helping my career survive

Already been spotted twice

Don’t you dare get cold feet

so smile for the camera

I’ll keep you for 3 weeks

Oh wait no, 6 months won’t hurt?

cuz you haven’t said yes but I already love you

So it’s gonna be forever

or I’ll write a brand new song

you can text me when it’s over

so I can find another one

Gotta love these Starbucks lovers

Tall Caramel Macchiato

Cause you know I love attention

And you need the fame

‘But I’m almost 30

so you’d think I’d have learnt by now

Wow, almost 30

maybe I should settle down?

Gotta love these Starbucks lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

But I’ve got a blank disk baby

where I’ll sing ‘bout you

Vintage photo shoot outside

Trying to keep you interested in me

Staged kisses, pretty lies

Everyone is shipping us

and I’ll try way too hard

to be the girl of your dreams

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no

Screaming, crying, way too clingy

I’m not as nice as I appear to be

Random fights brought alight

Leaves you wanting to find

another girl,

more interesting

But you’ll come back each time you leave

cause we need the publicity and you signed a contract

So I’ll be with you for longer

Or I’ll bash you on social media

Your reputation will be ruined

Just ask the second Jonas

I’m such a Starbucks lover

I go there everyday

Cause you know that I’m so basic

And they serve green tea

I’m not that young, but I’m reckless

my 20s flew by so fast

but I have my T.Swift squad

To make me feel 21

Gotta love those Starbucks lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane (Insane)

But I’ve got a blank disk baby

where I’ll sing ‘bout you

I don’t really know how to date well

Don’t say I didn’t say I didn’t warn ya

It’s kind of a little embarrassing

Don’t say I didn’t say I didn’t warn ya

So it’s gonna be forever

or I’ll write a brand new song

you can text me when it’s over

so I can find another one

Gotta love these Starbucks lovers

Tall Caramel Macchiato

Cause you know I love attention

And you need the fame

‘But I’m almost 30

so you’d think I’d have learnt by now

Wow, almost 30

maybe I should settle down?

Gotta love these Starbucks lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

But I’ve got a blank disk baby

where I’ll sing ‘bout you

-Taken from EverythingyouneedtoKnow/wingdings.com

Study More Effectively Today

 

Alice Mungyu ‘19 Features Editor

College can be hard. With no parental supervision and the challenge of preparing yourself for the real world, you can get lost in the midst of it all. Follow the strategies below to be a successful A++ student.

Multitask: Fifteen minutes on this subject, fifteen minutes on that one and so on. Jumping around and studying different subjects will keep you busy. Simultaneously, check your Facebook for the latest memes, as well as Instagram and Snapchat to keep up with people’s lives (you don’t want to miss a snap of your best friend’s vegan lunch.) Devoting your entire session to a single subject is a waste of time and can get boring.

Procrastinate until the last minute: Who needs time management? In order to successfully complete your work, start on the assignment two hours before the 11:59 p.m. deadline. Having a close deadline will make you work twice as hard and be more focused than ever before. If you’re feeling distracted, stop what you’re doing and decorate your study space with inspirational quotes or photos of people you aspire to be. This will definitely remind you of your goals and make you forget all about that deadline…

Start a new show on Netflix: Plan your schedule out with plenty of breaks. After all, you deserve it for reading two pages of the Orgo textbook. Reward yourself by starting a new TV show (since you’ve already finished the last one). Studies have shown that watching TV can help develop critical thinking and positively influence cognitive performance. Soon enough you’ll be on episode 13 after binge watching the whole night.

Memorize for the sake of passing: If you’re cramming for an exam, just review for it the night before. Don’t worry; you’ll remember it best because it’s freshly studied. It’s practical to cram information into your brain, even if you don’t understand it all. With a six-pack of Redbull, you can study for this exam all night long.

Eat and nap: To stay motivated, nothing beats having some sort of snack by your side. Remember, if you are well rested and fed, you are invincible. By the time you take all the advice above, you may be experiencing stress burnout. To combat that, eat a lot of chocolate cake and chips. Sugary drinks and junk food can significantly boost your performance as your blood sugar levels skyrocket. Researchers have also found that sleep is an important part of doing well and improving memory. Therefore, the brain assimilates information better if you take long naps in between classes.

It’s never too early or too late to develop good study habits. Take control of your life by incorporating these tips and thank me later. Happy studying!

Smith Community Organizes Donations for Refugees in Northampton

Tyra Wu '18 Assistant News Editor

In the wake of Trump’s horrifying immigration ban, the first family of Iraqi refugees arrived in Northampton after nearly a year of planning by Catholic Charities and local volunteers. The family was welcomed into one of the volunteer’s homes while other volunteers work to find them permanent housing. As part of the Northampton Refugee Resettlement program, a contract between the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the US State Department has approved the city for refugee resettlement and opened the door for refugee related grants.

The program plans to host 51 people, or approximately 10 families, from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq and possibly Afghanistan. According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, they plan to stagger the refugees’ arrivals throughout 2017, with about five refugees arriving each month. However, when  families do arrive, they often find themselves without essentials like winter clothing, sanitary pads and cleaning supplies. As a part of the larger effort to support the refugee resettlement in Northampton, donations are being collected in collaboration with the Jandon Center for Community Engagement, the Lewis Global Studies Center and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

This project has been funded by President McCartney’s Innovation challenge, which aims to support projects that strengthen the Smith community and beyond. In particular the drive has asked for donations of cleaning supplies, clothing and money that is largely put toward reducing housing costs for the newly relocated families. There is an urgent need for cleaning supplies like trash bags, mops and all-purpose cleaners.

Kavita Bhandari ’16 has been working with the Jandon Center to help collect the donations. Bhandari is responsible for organizing programs for marginalized groups on campus.

“I have been actively involved in collecting the donations; I organized the clothing drive, menstrual products drive and cleaning supplies drive,” Bhandari said. “Over the course of the academic year, I have been holding tabling sessions in the Campus Center to raise funds that would go toward providing rental assistance to the refugee families.”

The Jandon Center will be collecting donations until spring break. After that, they plan to relaunch the drives depending on the particular items that are still needed. The Jandon Center also collaborated with Higher Education for Refugees at Smith to hold a clothing drive from October to January, to collect winter clothes for the refugees.

Additionally, the three organizations will be hosting John Bartle, a professor of Russian at Hamilton College. He will give a lecture on March 23 at 7 p.m., in Seeyle 203, discussing The Refugee Project, a study working to build an interactive archive of refugee communities in Central New York.

For students interested in helping out, there is a need for language interpreters fluent in Arabic, French and Swahili. The community at large can support the efforts by donating in cash or to the ongoing drives for cleaning supplies and toiletries.

“It’s been important to me to collect donations and mobilize resources so as to do what I can to ease and make smoother the families’ transitions to a different context, many of whom are arriving with little or no resources, and may be fleeing difficult, life-threatening circumstances,” Bhandari said.

Smith Celebrates Successful Culmination Of Women For The World Campaign

Sunnie Yi Ning '18 News Editor

On Mar. 4, Smith College celebrated the successful culmination of its Women for the World Campaign featuring a keynote performance by actress, playwright and social commentator Anna Deavere Smith.

From 1 to 7 p.m., the day was packed with activities for the Smith community to celebrate the success, express thanks to the generous donors and showcase its changes. The daylong program also included open house tours of 20 different campus locations, student panel presentations, free admission to the art museum and much more. Many donors were invited to see the transformation of the Smith campus and community.  The festivitues concluded with an all-college reception in Ford Hall, featuring refreshments, special digital media displays and a photo booth for sharing Smith pride.

On  Feb. 17, President Kathleen McCartney announced that Smith had raised $486 million for Women for the World Campaign, the college’s largest funding campaign by far, surpassing the goal of $450 million. Launched publicly in 2012, the campaign prioritized financial aid, reimagining the liberal arts and The Smith Fund, which supports Smith’s operating expenses. More than 37,000 donors contributed to this effort, and the alumnae participation rate is at 53 percent. For financial aid, the college raised nearly $130 million, and it is planning to use that money to provide more and better awards for students. The “Reimagining the Liberal Arts” initiative will use $184 million for new professorships, majors and facilities, including the new Statistics and Data Sciences major and Middle East Studies major. Another $181 million will go toward yearly operating costs and other initiatives.

Many of the open houses featured in the program were made possible through generous donations from organizations such as the Design Thinking Initiative, the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and the Lewis Global Studies Center.

The success of the Women for the World Campaign has captured media attention. ABC News, the Associate Press, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Inside Higher Ed and many other media outlets have covered this record-breaking campaign.

The previous record for a fund-raising campaign by a women’s college was $472 million, set by Wellesley College when it finished a campaign in 2005.

In a community email on Feb. 17, McCartney invited the whole community to join the celebration. “The campaign brought out the best in our community, exemplifying our collective commitment to educating women for leadership and ensuring that talented and ambitious women everywhere continue to have access to the most powerful form of liberal arts: a Smith education,” said McCartney.

In an interview with The Sophian, President McCartney said that donors are interested and eager to be part of the Smith community. “I’ve been part of the extraordinarily emotional moments with alumnae who are just very excited about their gifts,” she reflected.

Regarding the celebration, Beth Balmuth Raffeld, the vice president for development at Smith College, said that it is a way to manifest our pride in the Smith community.

“Interested philanthropy is the alumna’s way to continue to engage through Smith. And every single person - whether a current student, or all the way to our oldest alumnae - everybody can be proud of what is happening with this campaign, because Smith has never been stronger,” said Raffeld. “We are finding ways to celebrate with everyone who has donated to the campaign. Everybody is happy to be a part of the celebration.”