Monthly archive

April 2010

Spring Dance Concert

in Haverford/News by

By Katie Monroe
Staff Writer

On Friday and Saturday nights, the Spring Dance Concert at Goodhart Auditorium showcased the hard work of students and faculty involved in Bryn Mawr’s many dance ensembles. A diverse set of pieces, ranging from accessible to downright strange, made for an engaging evening.
The show opened with “Echoes,” performed by the African Dance ensemble, and choreographed by Rev. Nia Eubanks-Dixon in collaboration with the dancers. Combining narration, flowing white garb, and an incredible amount of energy flowing straight from the dancers’ bodies into the audience, it was a strong way to begin the evening.
The second section, “Chrysalis,” was excerpted from the final choreographic efforts of Bryn Mawr senior Caitlin Iles. I had the opportunity to see the full work earlier this semester in the Tabitha show, but it was great to see it reach a larger audience. Focused on themes of instability, the two pieces performed this weekend represented various forms of mental instability and addiction. The dancers portrayed obsession, depression, and paranoia too effectively for the audience to just sit back and watch comfortably. The tortured duet between Aliza Rothstein BMC '12 and Anisha Chirmule BMC '10, portraying addict and addiction, needed no explanation. Their dynamic was instantly recognizable, with Chirmule creepily controlling Rothstein, who repeatedly tried (and failed) to break free.
The modern ensemble followed, performing “liminal states,” choreographed by Dance Program Director Linda Caruso Haviland. Half the dancers wore crystal-encrusted flowing white costumes – they seemed to be angels – while the mere mortals wore pink velvet. I liked how the piece evolved, with the groups of angels and mortals dancing independently at first, relatively unaware (or at least uninterested) in each other. By the end, they had paired off, with each angel directing her respective mortal – albeit much more benevolently than we saw in the addiction duet.
The last piece before the intermission, a Michael Jackson tribute choreographed by Crystal Frazier and performed by the Hip Hop ensemble was a crowd-pleaser. The music, dancing, and costumes came together, embodying the legendary figure through all the hits – "Beat It," "Thriller," and "Smooth Criminal" figured prominently – and all the signature moves, perfectly executed.
After this relatively straightforward fun, the show shifted gears with “Stunts, Acrobatics and How to Stay Alive in the Woods for Girls and Women,” performed by the second-semester modern ensemble and choreographed by Gabrielle Revlock. Practically defying description, this piece was experimental dance at its wackiest, and its most fun. Let’s just say: there were actual trees on the stage, the dancers wore Girl Scout costumes and wigs and brandished knives and lipstick tubes, and the dancing included quite a few impressive acrobatic feats, many involving multiple dancers balancing on each other. This was certainly not Girl Scouts as I remember it (outed myself!)– these were badass zombie-esque acrobats, leaving me more concerned for the safety anyone unfortunate enough to encounter them in the woods than for them.
In a 180-degree shift, the second-to-last piece, “A Moment’s Time,” was a girly meditation on crushing (sample lyrics: “You haven't written to me in a week/I'm wondering why that is/Are you too nervous to be lovers/friendships ruined with just one kiss”), performed by the contemporary-infused ballet ensemble. The lavender and pink costumes, smiling dancers, fun ensemble choreography by Heidi Cruz-Austin that can best be described as cute, and even a swing on stage all made for a conception of femaleness pretty far removed from the creepy girl scouts. I’m hoping there’s some middle ground to be had.
The show’s closer, “Mokoyoubi” was choreographed by Myra Bazell and performed by the jazz ensemble. Sara Navin, a Haverford sophomore featured in the piece, explained, “Myra said the piece was about just having fun – the purpose of it was pleasure for the dancers and for the audience.”
Its success was apparent in the joyful bodies and faces of the dancers as well as the crowd – a strong closing performance to a vibrant show. 

SGA Dispatch

in Bryn Mawr/News by

Board of Trustees Update

Board of Trustees Representative Julia Fahl ’12 reported on the recent meeting of the Trustees.

“They’re really excited about how BMC has dealt w budget cuts,” she said.

24-Hour Access to Canaday

Elle Works ’10 and Simran Singh ’10 said that Canaday will have 24 hour access beginning Monday April 26 through 1 AM on May 1st. There will be a break for May Day. 24 hour access will then run through the first week of finals.

“They [Information Services Administrators] were really willing to do this,” said Singh.

Upcoming Events

A reception for retiring Dean of the Undergraduate College Karen Tidmarsh will be held this afternoon, Tuesday April 27, from 3:30-5 in the Campus Center. Medical Director Kay Kerr will be on hand to answer any questions students may have.
 

CPGC and DC Make Moves To Go Greener

in Haverford/News by

By Hannah Jaenicke
News Editor

Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) and Dining Center (DC) announced new environmentally friendly initiatives last week.
The CPGC’s changes, which include using more locally sourced food and recyclable utensils, are part of a larger initiative to go greener. They include tentative plans to carbon-offset students’ flights to their internships through collaboration with the Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER).
“We have an interest as part of our mission to expose the Haverford community to key global issues,” Parker Snowe, the CPGC’s Executive Director, said. “For us, having a cafe and making it more sustainable in terms of its practice goes right along with our mission.”

 

All events that take place at the CPGC, even those it does not sponsor or cater, have to comply by the new initiative’s rules of composting food waste and using recyclable utensils, plates, and cups.

 

The CER and CPGC have been in close cooperation for more than a year, working on composting plans, increasing the availability of recyclable plastics, and making the cafe more sustainable.

 

Isobel Grad ‘11, who works in the CPGC cafe, said that workers had been talking about composting food waste for a long time, but that little had come about until recently when the CER and CPGC set the current system up.

 

Claudia Kent, Manager of Grounds, said that the composted food waste from both the CPGC and the DC is used on the Nature Trail, in staff and faculty’s gardens, and elsewhere on campus.

 

“We are using everything that we are making, which is a huge plus,” she said.

 

The DC, which already composts food waste that occurs during meal preparation through collaboration with CER, instituted “Trayless Tuesdays” this week. Although trays remain available, their less prominent position is intended to encourage students to forsake them and as a result cut back on the amount of water needed for washing.

 

Despite previous opposition from student athletes to the idea of going trayless, most students appeared ambivalent to the new set-up, although, as Sarah Petty ‘10 said, “if you’re getting more than just a single plate and a cup, it’s hard to balance everything.”

 

“I’m not seeing any Haverford students dying of malnutrition, so as far as I’m concerned it worked,” Students’ Council Co-President Harrison Haas ‘10 said.

 

Haas added that the Council of Twelve, which has voted in favor of traylessness multiple times in the past, hopes that trays could be completely eliminated from the DC, “except for students who have a physical need for them.”

 

 Haas said that while the CPGC’s move towards more sustainable practices is good, more can be done. He cited the need for metered heating as one of his priorities, so that the central heating in up-campus dorms can be better controlled.

 

 The College’s energy consumption is also a main concern of Grad’s, as is the availability of more sustainable food on campus at events and in day-to-day situations.

 

The CPGC’s concerted efforts to go greener have not gone unnoticed, with many students attending the locally sourced lunch provided this week.

 

“It doesn’t amount to much if you set up a system and no one behaves and puts the stuff in the right container – this is an education process,” said Snowe.

‘Big Cheeses’ Talk Guild, Health Center

in Bryn Mawr/News by

By Elizabeth Held
News Editor

SGA hosted its semi-annual “Big Cheese” forum on Sunday night. President Jane McAuliffe, Dean of the Undergraduate College Karen Tidmarsh, Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer Jenny Rickard, Chief Financial Officer John Griffith and Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Berenson were all on hand to answer student’s questions.
Students asked about the future of Guild and the former Rhoads dining hall, the state of Bryn Mawr’s endowment, student employment and the emergency referendum regarding health center staffing, passed at Spring Plenary.

Emergency Referendum

Tidmarsh said that staffing the Health Center during weekends of big parties would not necessarily be as helpful as students think.
“I’m not sure it’s the solution people think it will be…In general, the kind of emergencies that happen at big event weekends, need to go to the Emergency Room.”
Colleen Haley ’11 who presented the referendum at Plenary spoke in its favor.
“If they’re on the edge and you don’t know if you should send them back to their room with friends or if they might go down a worse path [and need hospitalization],” she said, “what the student body is looking for is… someone who is in a trained medical position who knows immediately at which point [a student needs to go to the hospital].”
Tidmarsh responded, “All night medical monitoring is what an ER provides…It’s not something you can replicate in a small college health center.”
Tidmarsh said the campus life assistants, who will begin working next year, will help to support students in these type of positions.

College Budget

Griffith reported that the college currently has a balanced budget and discussed the coming years.
“[We have] very tight budgets coming forward,” he said
Griffith also said that he currently doesn’t see more budget cuts on the horizon, but given the tenuous state of the economy, that could change.

Guild

McAuliffe said Guild was unoccupied this year, in large part, because the Graduate School of Social Work was considering using the space. The school has decided against it.
She asked students how they would like to see Guild used. Students said a space like Haverford’s Ryan Gym or a music venue.
McAuliffe said such ideas were “certainly a possibility.”

Student Employment

SGA President Sophie Papavizas ’11 asked about how student employment had been affected by the closure of Rhoads Dining Hall.
Berenson explained they added to the budgets of various departments to allow them to hire students not hired by dining services.
The administrators also spoke about the future of student employment on campus.
“We’re unusual that all students who want to work, work. We don’t give preference to students who were promised a job through financial aid. We might have to go to that,” said Berenson.
Rickard explained that part of the Student Services reorganization is to make student employment a “meaningful work experience.”
She said they were exploring options as to how on-campus employment could be used to help students in the career hunt.
For instance, the communications office is looking to hire students to be writers and content providers.
Rickard explained that both the college and the students will benefit because it’s less expensive to hire student workers than a full time employee with benefits.

Bi-College and Tri-College Collaboration

Berenson said there is work to increase collaboration between Haverford and Bryn Mawr in areas besides safety and dining services.
The two facilities departments are currently making joint bids and administrators are looking for potential to increase collaboration between the two registrars’ offices, copy centers and health centers.
“We’re not sure that’s going to be putting departments together, the way we have with dining services and public safety, but we do think that, if nothing else, getting the best ideas of what each of us is doing can help,” he said.
McAuliffe said there is currently an effort to increase tri-college collaboration in the area of information services.
She explained she recently met with Haverford President Steve Emerson and Swarthmore President Rebecca Chop to discuss “what would be the optimal IT environment for our three schools to make the experience for a Swarthmore or Bryn Mawr or Haverford student as seamless as possible on any of those three campuses.”

Hopes for Next Year

Sarah Theobold ’12 asked each administrator what they would like to see students or SGA do next year.
Griffith encouraged students to thank alumnae who donate to the college, and to donate themselves once they graduate.
Tidmarsh said she’d like to see the bi-co customs experience re-configured.
Berenson is hoping students get behind the work being done by the sustainability committee and the Campus Greens.
Rickard encouraged students to approach her, or any other administrator, if they had a question “anytime, not just at the Big Cheese.”
 

HC Students Hope for Stairs after Successful Dorm Meeting

in Haverford/News by

By Carrie Kolar

Stairs are back on the agenda for Haverford's newest dorm, built by internationally-renowned architecture firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA), following an open meeting held a week ago by Director of Facilities Management Ron Tola.

Although one of the reasons for the meeting was the campus-wide discussion about the proposed lack of stairs after a prior meeting between TWBTA and students, it was poorly-attended.

The meeting began with an overview of the planning process, the location of the new dorm, and the prospective timeline for its construction. The dorm complex in the Orchard Lot, which is envisioned to provide rooms for 280 students across five different buildings, will be completed in three stages. The first stage, which consists of the first new dorm in the complex and all the landscaping, is projected to finish in 2012, although the building should be ready to receive its first batch of students in Fall 2011.

Students' questions and discussions focused on the sidewalks, skylights, walkways and stairs, with the issue of whether or not stairs would be included within the building being the most contentious issue.

Many students found positives in the proposed plans, although most of the discussion focused on issues that students wanted clarifying.

The current plan for the dorm does not include stairs within the building. To get from one floor to the other, a student would have go outside, down or up a ramp, and enter the other floor from the main entrance.

The discussion about whether or not the floor plans should include stairs centered on where stairs could be placed, what amenities would be lost if stairs were built inside the building, and whether the convenience of having stairs within the building would offset the increased cost. It would cost approximately $600,000 more to include stairs in the building.

Ron Tola passed out a paper showing the number of students who go from floor-to-floor within the current dorms. He emphasized his impartiality in the “stairs versus no stairs argument,” but admitted he was surprised that the students were making so big a deal out of it. He said that prior to the Bi-College News' article about the stair-less condition of the dorm, it was assumed [BY WHOM?] that the current plans were adequate and set to go.

The general consensus at the end of the meeting was that students would need to see an image of a floor plan that included stairs in order to compare it to the current plan.

Students' Council Co-President Will Harrison ‘10, who attended the meeting, said afterwards “I got the sense that we would end up putting in stairs somewhere.”

Though the students at the Tuesday meeting pressed for stairs, it is important to note that the dorm design must be approved by Senior Staff and the Board of Managers’ Property Committee. The small number of students who attended do not have the ability to demand and receive stairs.

Although he recognizes students' reservations regarding the placement of stairs within or outside of the building, President Dr. Stephen G. Emerson ’74 said that he “hopes the architects don’t change the overall design of the building…there are so many positives that it would be a shame.”

HC’s Final OMA Candidate Visits Campus

in Haverford/News by

By Carrie Kolar
Staff Writer
As a part of Haverford’s ongoing search to fill the position of Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), the fourth and final candidate arrived on campus Tuesday, April 13.
Few students attended the dinner meeting with Candidate Four, but those who did grilled Four on his views and qualifications. Four enthusiastically and humorously responded to student’s questions.
Candidate Four is currently an Assistant Dean at a college on the East Coast, where he has worked for almost a decade. When asked about his experience with multicultural work in his current position, he answered the he does not simply “do multiculturalism.”
“It’s impossible to separate dealing with multicultural issues from the other aspects of my work,” he said.
One student asked what Candidate Four sees as the OMA’s mission. Four replied that he understands the mission of the OMA to be to “focus programs and support on the needs of students of color and other nontraditional students while also embracing other elements of diversity that all students bring.” He believes that the mission of the OMA should be to provide “formal and informal” ways for students to learn to live together and to constructively work through differences between groups, both inside and outside the classroom.
During a discussion of the needs of the OMA, Candidate Four agreed that the office needs to increase its profile and credibility on campus. However, he said that it would be unwise to map onto Haverford processes that work for other colleges without acknowledging the way in which the College operates, as Haverford has many unique methods of relating to students and getting results.
He acknowledged that whichever candidate is chosen for the position would have to spend time at Haverford to understand how the College and the OMA work before starting to make plans.
When asked why he wants this job, Candidate Four replied, “It’s a natural progression for the work that I’ve done through my career. Haverford’s values of integrity, the pursuit of rigorous intellectual inquiry in the service of social justice and the greater good as well as the sense of collective responsibility that each community member has in building a cohesive community, as challenging as that is, resonate deeply with me.”

Head to Head: Godspell

in Bryn Mawr/Opinion by

By Margaret Ernst
Editor-In-Chief

In high school I played Frenchy in “Grease,” from which the only line I remember was “LINE." That’s about the extent of my theater career.

But for a few summers I did intern at a summerstock theater in my town, where people were a few years older than me smoked, read plays for fun, and didn’t speak to me very much. The plays are put on in a building that used to be a chapel, the interior of which is supposed to resemble the hold of a ship. I would rummage through a basement room full of old clocks and dinnerware to find props for the children’s show, and I sold Kit Kats during intermission. For 45 minutes before shows I ushered, while feeling painfully aware that I wasn’t in college yet.

One summer at that theater is when I learned to like “Godspell," the topic of this week’s hard-hitting Head to Head. Other issues may abound in the bi-co, but this one clearly needs to be resolved.

A sexy version of the beatitudes. A tap war between Jesus and John the Baptist. Rock organs. Like opera or pep rallies, done wrong it can send you to your grave. Done right, it can tug at you.

I wouldn’t be caught singing “Day By Day” on the back of a bus with raucous youth group members, but I remember feeling breathless when the guy playing Jesus swung on the sparsely lit stage, one of the only times I had felt anything about Jesus having died for the world’s sins, etc. He also happened to be really dreamy.

I once was in a choir that sang a Chanukah song written by Stephen Schwartz called “We Are Lights."  Clearly the guy has no fear of sacrilege.**

Sitting in the back of that tiny theater by myself, sitting on the extra programs, “Godspell” earned a place in my heart that my news editor just can’t understand. I don’t blame you, Jacob. It takes a pretty pure heart to get eternal life, vaudeville-style.

Why Haverford is Not Interested in Drinker Drama

in Haverford/Opinion by

By Kayla Hoksinson

For twenty years, Drinker has been the home of Haverford’s beloved baseball team, and the brave residents of apartment 800 are well aware of this fact. They are also aware that the baseball team is bigger than they are (numerically) and can find other uses for their countless bats (uses that do not involve hitting homeruns). But that will not stop them. My friends at apartment 800 want to go for the gold.

Amid much hullabaloo from other athletic teams, and much disinterest from everyone else, they want to apply to the Henry S. Drinker House for their senior year.

I sat around the fireplace with the residents of 800 on Saturday night to discuss with them the highly controversial possibility of a bunch of rotten usurpers knocking off the balance of this campus. Here is what’s left of that conversation:

Hayla Koskinson: So! What’s up, guys? What’s the 411? Give me all the details.

Can Donnochie: Yeah, things aren’t really set in stone yet, but it’s definitely something we have talked about as a group.

Sichard Rarro: Exactly, Can. We are just considering all of our options right now. We could live in Lloyd, 710 or right here in apartment 800 again! What a twist that would be!

Alker Wanderson: Sichard, concentrate.

Hayla: So, correct me if I’m wrong, but you guys don’t actually have any real plans, right?

Myle KcCloskey: Well, at least not any real plans that we’re gonna tell you about, Hayla.

Hayla: Oh yes, of course, of course. I forgot that you guys can just tell me any old thing.

[Wavid Dicks snickers at me from the corner.]

Hayla: So, let’s get back on track here. Why exactly do you guys want to take over Drinker next year?

Clex Ahill: Well, Hayla. It’s pretty obvious that we just want to keep everyone together as a group. Don’t you see? That’s all we care about in the end. And we can have that at any number of places on campus…

Sichard: Lloyd, 710, Apartment 800!

McRin Emurtrey: Actually, we’re also considering taking over Ryan Gym as well, for housing. I mean, I know it’s supposed to be a student center and all, but it’s such a central location. And we’d all be together.

Hayla: How abstract!

Alker: Yeah, don’t print that. That’s classified.

Myle: Whatever, Alker. It’s not like anyone is going to take this whole thing seriously anyways.

Alker: Oh yeah, you’re right. Do what you want!

Hayla: Guys, seriously? Seriously?

Can: Let’s get back on track dudes.

McRin: Hey!

Can: Sorry. And dudettes.

Clex: Hmm. Drinker is just such a prime party space, you know? We could have the Original Mavericks play concerts there every day! Right in our own back yard!

[Again, Wavid Dicks giggles from the corner, but this time at Clex’s ridiculous idea. I get the impression, however, that Dicks supports him.]

Alker: So yeah. There are 11 of us. Is that even the right number for Drinker? Who cares! We could make it work. We just definitely do not want to live with any of those baseball players, though.

Sichard: Definitely, definitely…we definitely don’t want to share the space with them. It’s not that we don’t like them or anything; we’re just really exclusive people.

Myle: Except we definitely want everyone on campus to know what’s going on with our housing situation, guys.

Can: Oh totally. Especially since we throw such bitchin’ parties all the time, almost every day. The point is that we want to have bitchin’ parties every day. So we gotta go to Drinker.

Hayla: I really don’t get it. It’s not like there isn’t a huge party going on around us as we speak. Did anyone else notice that? Where did those strobe lights come from?

Myle: Yeah, gosh, stop ruining all of our fun, Hayla. Just dance. It’s going to be okay, da da doo doo mmm. Just dance!

And then it was all over.

I was intrigued to learn all the reasons why the residents of apartment 800 want to live in Drinker, and to gain such fascinating insight into these people’s lives. My greatest lesson, however, was the realization that it does not really matter what happens to Drinker next year. The floors will probably never unstick anyway, and that’s all most people care about.

Hoskinson, a junior English major, can be reached at khoskins@haverford.edu. 

Forget the Future, Seniors, and Savor the Present

in Haverford/Opinion by

By Liz Hood

Columnist

The time of year has officially come when my fellow seniors and I are inundated with the inevitable question: “Do you know what you’re doing next year?” I’ve realized you can only say “Nah, I’m not sure yet” so many times before you start to wonder if maybe you’re doing something wrong.
Are you not looking hard enough? Are your expectations too high? What is it you actually want to do? Then comes the nausea followed by the highly popular anxiety attack and/or blinding rage. I think I just finally understood what Ed Norton’s character was ranting about in “Fight Club.” Funny how those moments of clarity just come to you.
Anyway, I can’t help but think that I am perhaps too nonchalant about my plans for the future. Though I’m convinced that to some extent the anxiety of senior year is simply a result of herd mentality, I can understand the worry and intrigue of the future. What is going to become of us come September when we no longer have to be concerned with dorm-openings and back to school shopping?
To put it frankly, I have no solid plans for next year. However I do have an abundance of possible ideas. Are most of them a bit farfetched? You betcha, but generally I’m fine not knowing where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing come the fall.
I don’t want to have to worry about next year; the idea of not knowing is exciting and exhilarating. While this mentality has held up rather well during the course of the year, it’s comments like “Oh hey, did you know there are only two weeks left of school?” that make me wonder if maybe I should be acting a little less hippie and a little more hardcore. But again, I find myself wondering if worrying is something I need to be doing or if it’s simply a case of society “tuggin’ at my heart-strings?”
I’m fine with having plans up in the air. With them floating high overhead I’m able to stroll through campus, explore uncharted territory (I literally just went to Brecon for the first time ever), and enjoy the general beauty of spring. I’ve said it before, and get ready because I’m going to say it again: with death comes a blinding sense of clarity accompanied by a blinding ray of light.
As I find my college self slowly dying before my very eyes, I feel that I should give its life justice. I need to make its time here on Earth the very best it can possibly be.
It’s like the time-old question, if you knew you only had a couple more weeks to live, what would you do? Would you sit in the library studying for a test you won’t remember next month, never mind next year? Or would you try to connect with friends who have drifted away over the past four years and try to have as many amazing experiences as possible?
It’s your call, but if I might be so bold, I think you’re quite literally insane if you’d rather spend your days inside worrying instead of experiencing the last of your college life. When are you ever again going to be able to (or even want to) go to another shitty Drinker party or trek all the way to Swarthmore to dance like a fool at Paces?
When are you going to have a picnic on Merion Green on a random Tuesday afternoon or sunbathe by the cherry blossoms by the Pembroke West walk? The littlest thing can have the most monumental effect on your memory here on campus. I urge you to literally wake the fuck up and smell the flowers.
I’m of the “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” school of thought. So I can’t help but pity my fellow stressing seniors who are fretting away their last month here at beautiful Bryn Mawr on ideas and concepts that really shouldn’t concern us quite yet, like seminars on financial planning and 401k. Are you fucking kidding me? We have so much more to live for right now besides those very real yet currently unimportant concepts. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but you can never say I’m unsentimental.
Maybe I’m just not ready to move on yet. Maybe my obstinate attitude towards concrete objectives is really just a self-preservation tool. Though our futures may be cloudy, the weather here on our lovely campus is anything but. Though your GPA (and your parents, for that matter) may not thank me, I think if you take the time to really invest in enjoying yourself for the short time you have left in college, you’ll appreciate the connections, friends, happiness, and memories that are remarkably still available.
If you find yourself in need of inspiration on how to stick it to the man, the man with the plan that is, just follow the example of Steve Miller: “I’m a picker, I’m a grinner, I’m a lover, and I’m a sinner. I’m playin’ my music in the sun. I’m a joker, I’m a smoker, I’m a midnight toker. I sure don’t want to hurt no one.”
Will I be there to defend you from the iron fist of reality (and your parents)? No, but I will be there for a mental high-five. If that isn’t persuasive enough to get you to stop fretting, then I really don’t know what is.

Hood, a senior political science major with an economics and French double minor, can be reached at ejhood@brynmawr.edu.

Hip Hop Revolutionaries Come to Haverford

in Arts/Haverford by

By Daniel Weaver
Staff Writer

For the third year in a row, the hip hop symposium “AcadeMIX” has brought in hip hop artists whose music often includes intellectual considerations to participate in a panel and performance expressing their musical and academic pursuits. This year they had by far the most impressive lineup at both Thursday night’s panel and Friday night’s performance, with dead prez, Chiddy Bang, and other established hip hop artists speaking and performing alongside Haverford and Bryn Mawr students.
Students on the AcadeMIX Board went all out for this event, and with help from Director of Student Activities Jason McGraw, helped pull together perhaps the greatest hip hop performance and panel Haverford has every seen.

At the panel in Zubrow, stic.man and M-1 of dead prez, Professor Jesse Shipley (who shot a music video for M-1), Simone Crew HC ‘13, Howard Brown HC ‘12, and Nikki Lopez BMC ‘10 each discussed how they were introduced to hip hop and what influence “academics” has on their music and other artistic endeavors.

Shipley’s study of anthropology and religion in West African nations sparked his interest in African hip hop, leading him to produce the documentary film ‘Living the Hip Life’ on West African hip hop. Shipley is currently in the process of completing his book on the same topic.

stic.man was interested in music at a very early age and wrote lyrics and rhymes inspired by records his older brother brought home. In ninth grade for a performance for Black History Month, he wrote a rap describing the troubles of members of his community and the past oppression of black people. Shortly after he began the performance, a white school administrator turned off the microphone and music, arguing that the lyrics of the rap were “divisive.”

These school administrators were controlling celebrations of black history, not permitting a true acknowledgment of historic and current prejudices. This incident prompted stic.man to further explore the social justice issues that go into his music.

M-1 found his inspiration at an early age in “the struggles of Africans living in America.” At Florida A&M University, his concern was not obtaining a degree, but rather obtaining knowledge and gaining an understanding of the world around him. Thus, when he met stic.man there, the duo connected over a mutual interest in music with a bent toward intellect and social justice.

After the panelists discussed their inspirations and influences, students in the audience were given the opportunity to ask them questions.

Shanaye Jeffers HC ’12 asked about the intent of the title of dead prez’s 2004 album “Revolutionary But Gangsta.” stic.man explained that the term gangsta means “not going along with the status quo” and explained that “there was a time when opposing slavery was gansta.” Continuing with this explanation of the term gansta, M-1 explained that being able to redefine terms is a source of power and that being able to make up one’s own mind makes one free. Thus, gangsta means grabbing power and freedom in a society in which many African Americans have neither. The term gansta makes sense with their final goal of putting “power in the hands of the people” and describes the intent of a revolutionary movement in “plain, proletariat English.”

Next, Jason Lozada HC ’11 asked a question about the effect of hip hop lyrics on incarcerated black youth. stic.man explained that the “violence on the streets is a product of the capitalist system, not hip hop.” After all, the violence on the streets that they spoke of has existed long before hip hop and is clearly more a product of the poverty and prejudices that many black people face. Although mass media may portray it differently, M-1 explained, people “do not love to sell crack.” It is often simply the best way to pay the bills.

The following night in Founders Hall, dead prez and artists 40 Love, XV, and Chiddy Bang brought their ideas to the stage. While past AcadeMIX performances have focused more on the social justice aspects of their music and attracted fewer students, the lineup this year brought a greater number of students less interested in the revolution and more interested in the beats. The group, each with a unique musical style, brought students away from the staircase and foyer and into the main room.

The energy in Founders peaked during the performances by Chiddy Bang and dead prez, the most well known groups of the lineup. Chiddy Bang — even though its members are younger than I am and are currently taking time off from their academics at Drexel University — had a set that sounded as though it was shaped by years of experience.

Students were particularly excited by Chiddy Bang’s rendition of their hit song “Opposite of Adults.” It sounded perfect, even with Founders’ bizarre acoustics.

Although students were just as energetic when dead prez came on the stage, Founders was no longer full by that time, a late 1 a.m. Dead prez emphasized the academic part of AcadeMIX far more than any of the other performers, with political and revolutionary topics like those discussed in their albums. They had a vigourous performance and fed off the energy from students, which they said they were impressed and surprised by.

“The concert was crazy. It was awesome and fantastic,” said Adam Mayer HC ‘12, one of the members of the AcadeMIX Board who helped to organize the event. “The panel was informative and educational in a way I was very much hoping it would be.”

In fact, Mayer helped to get Chiddy Bang on the lineup because he is friends with the DJ/drummer/producer “from back in the day,” he said.

AcadeMIX this year showed how well-attended and exciting musical performances can be when Haverford student groups bring impressive acts to campus. Other student groups on campus might look at the success of events organized by Jason McGraw when deciding what artists to bring in the future.

Letter from Abroad: Paris

in Features/Haverford by

By Natalie Zych

Since most of my family lives in Poland, I know all too well what it’s like to have my heart stretched across the Atlantic like a taut shoestring. And as a native New Yorker, I also know what it’s like to live in one of the greatest cities in the world. That said, living and studying in Paris for the past three months has captured my heart in a way I didn’t expect – and day by day it’s tightening its grip- as well as giving New York City some serious competition.

While I love and miss the cultural mélange of the Big Apple, there’s something indescribably mystical and romantic about Parisian architecture, food and history. The wide boulevards, the café-lined streets, the smell of patisseries floating out of bakeries…all of these things sound so cliché until you find yourself among them.

I love the fact that I can walk from my host family’s apartment to the Arc de Triomphe, that I can wander around the city and find myself back at the Eiffel Tower and that I can secure a bench in the Jardin de Luxembourg and spend the rest of the afternoon people-watching.

But there are also subtleties that I find appealing  Paris while vibrant and exciting, moves slower than New York City. It’s as if the French love of lingering over meals has seeped into their lifestyle. Even during the morning rush I feel that Parisians don’t understand the concept of efficiently filing in and off the metro- the second or more that they linger in the metro doors would give any seasoned subway rider in New York reason for a good eye roll. 

Additionally, you won’t see any Parisians getting their caffeine fix from a paper coffee cup or scarfing down breakfast on the metro- Starbucks may exist in this city, but coffee was meant to be enjoyed at home or at a café and breakfast to be eaten at a table. The day I ate an apple on the metro was the day that I fully understood this cultural difference. Within five seconds of biting into my pomme, I was being stared at like I was some kind of extra-terrestrial creature – my American accent makes me feel special enough, thankyouverymuch.

That said, you will definitely see tons of Parisians starting to eat the fresh baguettes that they are about to bring home for dinner. This I cannot blame them for – it is nearly impossible to resist a baguette that has just come out of the oven.  And it’s adorable and totally appropriate – a slight contradiction to a value that the French hold in high regard. 

And while I may feel completely uncomfortable with munching on an apple in the metro, no one seems to cringe or pay attention when a couple is passionately making out on the street, in the metro, on a bench…you get my point. The city of love definitely stays true to its name and I only expect this phenomenon to become more and more apparent as spring comes into full bloom. But I can’t judge – I wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss on a Parisian boulevard with a strapping, young (and French) lad…this being after he had forgiven me for my faulty pronunciation of r’s and u’s, of course.

Even as my love affair with Paris continues, there are definitely days when even the best baguette is too crusty, when I don’t want to eat my pear with a fork and a knife and when I most certainly don’t want to have to think about conjugating a verb in the future before I start speaking. Thankfully, there are other American students in the same position with whom I can commiserate.  Together we can laugh off our grammar mistakes over a three-euro bottle of red wine. Then, my friends, La vie est encore belle …Life is beautiful again.

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