I stared at question number 6 on the form.
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I stared at question number 6 on the form.
I received several attention-grabbing emails in my inbox last week. The messages advertised that conservative commentator David Horowitz would be coming to campus to discuss “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left.” Potentially provocative email subject lines containing quotes by Horowitz included “Israel is the victim,” “Angry voices of the left” and “Identity politics is racist.” The planned format of the event was 40 minutes of prepared remarks, followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
This past week, the Department of State announced that the U.S. will deny family visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the United States. This means that those who are already in the country must either get married or leave by December 31st this year. Since 2009, same-sex partners were considered family under the G-4 visa policy. This rule reversal, according to a State Department official, was made to “promote and ensure equal treatment” for both same and opposite-sex couples. Though this new policy grants exceptions for the partners of diplomats who are from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal, the caveat is that the other country must recognize same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats posted there. This most drastically affects same-sex partners of international employees who work for organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, since the exception does not extend to them.
I was home for a month this summer after a long eight months, so of course I had my calendar full of dentist and optometry appointments, lunch dates with old and new friends and outings with extended family members. As the weeks went by, my parents reminded me that my grandparents on each side wanted to share a meal with me before I left for school again. I, of my own moxie, half-facetiously questioned why that would be necessary, as I had seen them fairly recently during a family gathering. Plus, I added, I wouldn’t be able to have any meaningful conservation with them due to the language barrier between us. Nevertheless, two lunches were scheduled, one for each set of grandparents.
A common perception at Dartmouth is that there is a plethora of opportunities for students to volunteer. Students are bombarded with emails inviting them to apply to programs like START, build and repair local homes or buy McDonald’s to help raise funds for a local nonprofit. But short-term or low commitment volunteer events are far and few between.
As I scrolled through The Dartmouth online, perusing a variety of articles — news, opinion, Mirror — I had a reaction and response to each of them. Yet I didn’t feel compelled to comment on these articles with what would have been a one or two sentence thought, nor was I informed or invested enough to write an entire article in response to any particular piece. Rather, part of me felt as if it wasn’t my place to leave a comment. Yes, I’m a Dartmouth student, but I was reluctant either because I felt as if commenting could pose a conflict of interest, or because no one else had commented. In any case, I doubted anyone would read my comment.
It’s a powerful image: 18-year-old Emma González, standing resolutely at a podium, teardrops streaming down her face. She wears her hair closely cropped to her head and has small silver ball earrings adorning her ears. Over a white March for Our Lives t-shirt, she wears an olive green bomber jacket emblazoned with iron-on patches and pins displaying slogans such as “I Will Vote” and “We Call BS.” Combined, it makes for a modern, militant look — González is, after all, a general of sorts in the war against gun violence.
I’m going to be honest: I didn’t apply to any colleges in the South not due to a dearth of high-caliber institutions, but because of the labels I had heard about the region. The South is often portrayed as ultra-conservative, uber-religious and relatively poor. Even if I were in an urban area and the college campus were a diverse and inclusive place, I feared the implied racism and sexism that might surface if I were to step off campus or venture out of the city. As a West Coast native, I don’t know a lot about Southern culture. For too long, I’ve relied on stereotypes I had heard from others or seen in movies and other media to form an overall negative and foreign image of the region.
I didn’t bother to read the details of the first reports of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida when they were released. The breaking — and heartbreaking — news failed to surprise me.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, about 67 percent of adults in America rely on social media platforms for their news, up 5 percent from 2016. I am part of that 67 percent — I get almost all of my news, both local and national, through Facebook.
The other day, for several reasons, I bought a $6, 12-ounce bottle of Suja juice from Novack Cafe. The juice bottle was green. The biggest word on the front besides “Suja” was “organic” in all caps, and I like to imagine I’m a healthy person. I shook the bottle because all the good green stuff had settled to the bottom like a centrifuged vial of blood, twisted open the cap and took a sip. I immediately regretted my DBA-blowing purchase. Why was this juice spicy? I took another look at the front label and saw the word “ginger” printed among the other health buzzwords: kale, collard greens, spinach, spirulina, chlorella and two different kinds of grass. As a consumer, I fall quite easily for these labels. In addition to the wording and green coloring, three logos appeared prominently on the front of the bottle: USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and Cold Pressured Protected. The first two labels are verified by third-party certifiers to ensure they meet standards set by the USDA and the Non-GMO Project, respectively. Turn the same bottle around, and you find that the drink is also vegan, BPA free and certified pareve and gluten-free. Another flavor of Suja boasts of containing vegan Stevia but advertises honey as an ingredient on the same front side. If someone following a vegan diet wanted to drink this juice because it contained a vegan version of Stevia, they would need to find a different flavor since honey is derived from bees, rendering the drink not vegan. While some logos on food and beverages are necessary because they convey crucial information about the product, many are repetitive or misleading.
I hope you enjoyed your winter break. Perhaps you traveled somewhere: to another country for a few weeks or another state to visit family and friends. Or maybe you visited a more local attraction, like I did. My family and I endured a two-hour car ride to Joshua Tree National Park, a desert named after the shaggy, Dr. Seuss-esque trees dotting the otherwise barren landscape. At one particular sight, Skull Rock, we clambered up the boulders to join the equally eager throngs of visitors who, like us, hoped for a picture with the rock resembling a human skull. Near me, a middle-aged woman, clutching her phone camera, prepared to take photos of her husband and pre-teen son who were standing a few boulders away. She audaciously hollered across the way at the pair, instructing them to stand up straight, shuffle a bit to the left and smile, alternating between Mandarin and Cantonese. This exercise continued for several more minutes until the woman was satisfied with the photos she had taken.
Housing arrangements vary widely here on campus: Some are ramshackle and old, some are luxuriously new; some are centrally located near Baker-Berry Library and Collis Center, some are practically in Vermont. Some dorm clusters have convenient snack bars and plenty of places to study, others force students to take a 10-minute walk to get food and feature a single study room in the basement accompanied by the lovely sounds and scents of washers and dryers. Despite these differences, every student who lives in a college-owned dorm or apartment currently pays the same price of $3,048 per term.
The American mall is home to some of our favorite retail stores. It’s where we go to browse for the latest clothing trends or to try on those boots we’ve been wanting. You see a shirt, try it on, decide you look dashing in it and, if you agree with the price, you buy it. What rarely crosses our minds throughout this process is how that shirt was made and who made it. After all, we worked hard for our money, which we have a right to exchange for the shirt. In this seemingly innocuous transaction, however, you have just been unknowingly swept up into the vicious cycle of fast fashion.
Today, we often let convenience make our decisions for us. The easiest and perhaps the quickest option usually wins. The rapid growth and success of online retailers such as Amazon offer proof that many of us would rather click a few buttons than get ourselves to a store to buy the things we need or want. It’s just so easy. In the past two weeks, I have ordered a rain jacket, face wash, a phone charger and a comforter through Amazon. Yes, I could have walked down to CVS or taken the free shuttle to West Lebanon to buy these items, but why leave campus when I can make purchases from the comfort of my dorm room? Yet this convenience comes with an inherent trade-off in sustainability. Ordering things online multiplies the amount of packaging needed. Instead of the singular box an item comes packaged in at the store, the shipping process uses an additional box and tape that would not otherwise be needed.
There is a common saying often heard by husbands: “Happy wife, happy life.” This saying also holds true in the primary and secondary education system: If teachers are happy with their work life, both the administration and the student body will be more likely to thrive. State and local governments currently have too much jurisdiction over education curriculum, which may be contributing to the lack of quality teachers across the United States.