Being a liberal arts college, Conn has hosted numerous exhibitions over the years. Even so, none of them are quite like the sight that greeted students when they returned from spring break.
Created by multimedia artist Steve Lambert and funded through Kickstarter, “Capitalism Works For Me!” is a massive 20-foot-long interactive piece, which encourages passersby to seriously question the effectiveness of a capitalist society. After debuting in Cleveland in the summer of 2011, the piece has toured all around the country, challenging everyone who comes across it to engage in meaningful discussion about a topic that can be considered taboo.
“As a culture, we need the vision and boldness it takes to discuss the problem [capitalism] itself,” Lambert explains on his website. “The idea that 'there is no alternative' to the way our world works takes away our ability to dream. As citizens we need the courage to begin these discussions in order to move on to new and better visions for the future… [and art] creates a space where new ideas and perspectives can be explored.”
The aesthetic of the work is firmly rooted in early-mid 20th century American propaganda and advertising. By drawing comparisons to the large, gaudy signs of yesteryear, Lambert alludes to how capitalism has become ubiquitous with our national identity, while simultaneously questioning the paradox of societal progress. If things like rights for minorities can evolve so drastically over the course of a century or two, why can’t our economic system see similar reforms? More importantly, why aren’t we willing to consider a non-capitalist approach to our economy when recessions and mass layoffs affect millions of people in a negative way?
“For 50 years it has been unacceptable, politically, in the United States to ask what is basically a straightforward question,” Lambert claims. “We have every right as a society to ask of that system [capitalism], is it working for us? Do the benefits and the costs balance themselves out…? We’ve been afraid to ask that question—and we’ve been afraid to have public debates—that’s the legacy of the Cold War. We can’t afford anymore to not do that. We have to raise the question.”
Everyone in the Jewish faith has his or her way of ringing in the Sabbath. At Connecticut College Hillel, we try our best to accommodate everyone and their respective traditions. That said, on April 1, our Hillel group was invited to celebrate the Sabbath with President Bergeron. We dined, wined (using Kosher wine), sang, and ate so much that some of my friends and I joked about moving into the president’s house. Why is there no alternative housing option for such?
After completing a crazy busy week at Hillel, we craved the Sabbath dinner and its luxurious flavors. The salmon, sesame noodles, green beans and sweet potatoes were delicious, but did not compare to the cake that followed the meal.
Simon Luxemburg, president of Connecticut College Hillel said, “The purpose of the dinner was to celebrate Shabbat with community and delicious food.”
It’s funny how graduation—"the G word," as many college seniors prefer to call it, as not to draw too blatant attention to their looming and terrifying futures—necessitates a completely different kind of uncertainty, unlike any other prior graduation ceremony. High school graduation brings its own vast amounts of anxieties and worries, but there is some certainty in that the expectation of what college will be is somewhat a reliable picture. However, once graduation day comes for college students, heading out into “the real world” brings a brand new kind of uncertainty. With the second semester halfway over, I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk with a senior here a Conn to see firsthand how his experiences have prepared him for the seemingly terrifying world that looms just beyond May 22.
Parker Veroff, a senior here at Connecticut College, exemplifies a fulfilling four-year College experience. Parker is an American studies and elementary education double major. This past summer, Parker put his studies into action with an Education Policy Research Internship at the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teacher's College, Columbia University (NYC). Throughout his time at Connecticut College, Parker has been a representative for the Sustainability House, a communications intern in the Office of Sustainability, as well as a tour guide and tour guide coordinator for the Office of Admissions. Currently, Parker is a Senior Admissions Fellow for the Office of Admissions and one of the captains for the school’s ski team.
Taking advantage of the many opportunities outside the classroom is an important part of the College experience. In the following interview, Parker elaborates on this very point.
Student tour guides lead prospective students and their parents through Crozier Williams (Cro), the student center. The tour guide offhandedly says, “And there’s the mailroom.”
“There’s the mailroom?” That is such a lackluster introduction. Our mailroom is a treasure.
At home, I was always excited to get mail. However, the feeling of disappointment usually muddled that feeling of excitement. More often than not, I would discover that none of the hefty-looking mail was for me.
Here, at Connecticut College, any mail that comes to my mailbox is for me. All of it. AND, it’s not junk mail.
Sometimes, I find myself online shopping just for the thrill of receiving a package. When you find a pink or yellow slip in your box, you know you have a package waiting for you. Walking across the mailroom to the front desk with that infamous slip in hand, you feel like a champion among the masses. You have a package. A few solemn people will slink past you—they did not receive a slip. You, however, received a slip. You get to pick up a package today.
At the sight of 80 energetic fifth-graders entering the auditorium, my palms began to sweat.
Students from nearby C.B. Jennings Elementary School had arrived to Connecticut College for the Sixth Annual International Children’s Expo on Feb. 19. At the event, Conn students teach various languages to groups of ten- and eleven-year-olds. In turn, the visiting children expose the Conn students to a fresher worldview than normally found on campus full of old, college-aged farts.
As a French major and Francophile (see A Francophile’s Friday), I naturally decided to participate on the team teaching French. Although I love speaking French, I was less sure of my ability to convince a horde of “kooler than Kool-Aid” kids to love it as well.
Fortunately, I teamed up with three other seniors who have studied French, as well as a first-year from Haiti who speaks French fluently, to teach the lesson. Twenty students meandered over to us with folders and winter jackets dangling from their arms. They plopped down in a half-circle before a large, three-panel poster of French phrases and cultural icons that we had set up.
As a recently declared dance minor, I have decided that watching dance is a lot more fun when your friends are a part of the show. Why put your feet through the pain when you can sit back, relax and appreciate your peers put on a beautiful dance show?
On Friday, Feb. 26, I went to see “Pivot," The Dance Club’s production. Why was the show titled “Pivot”? In dance, we pivot when maneuvering our bodies to move elsewhere on the dance floor, as a way of transferring weight.
For the masses, Leap Day is that weird little day that sneaks into the calendar every four years. Some people don’t even know how many years are between Leap Days. Five years? Three? What’s the math on that again? How many years ago was it a Leap Year?
I have a different relationship to this unique date because I was born on a Leap Day. Once people learn this about me they go down the typical list of questions: When do I celebrate? What’s it like not having a birthday? Do I actually exist without a birthday?
I celebrated the occasion with a get-together in Coffee Grounds, a student-run coffee shop where I’m a manager. It was nice being able to incorporate my favorite place on campus into my birthday celebration—and boy, was it a celebration. We did it up with a true, “5th birthday” party. I bought balloons, stickers, face paint, glow sticks and a couple of snacks from Target. I was pleased to see that my friends appreciated the stickers, glow sticks and balloons, as much as these items deserve to be appreciated (which is a lot). The face paint, however, wasn’t quite used to its full capacity, but that’s fine.
One of the best decisions I made during my junior year was agreeing to apply to a Winchester House, a house that is across the street from the main Connecticut College campus.
Looking back, it was a risky move. One of the girls I knew well, one I had met two months before, and the other I knew from freshmen year, but she had been abroad in Africa and we hadn’t really spoken two years. I was also worried because of the time I had spent living in an apartment abroad. Cooking, cleaning and making sure everything was OK, on top of being a full time student, was extremely stressful. Despite my hesitations, however, my three roommates and I moved into the house when we returned to school the following September.
It’s 10:30 PM. I’m sitting in a dark room illuminated by a monitor displaying dozens of video clips. Two of my classmates—no, co-producers—sit beside me, scrutinizing the video feed for continuity errors. We’re all exhausted; it’s been hours since we booted up Adobe Premiere. And yet, there’s a palpable sense of excitement that rushes through our veins, pushing us forward.
In many ways, the Film Studies Department is one of Conn’s best-kept secrets. That’s not to say that people don’t know about it—I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me how they’ve always wanted to take a film class at some point in their college career. It’s just that, with so many opportunities and classes to choose from, those desires to take a film class are often abandoned in favor of classes that will fulfill a general education requirement or a degree prerequisite. And that’s a shame; being a part of the Film Studies Department is one of the most unique and memorable experiences I’ve had during my brief time at Conn thus far.
I took Film 101 during my first semester and was pleasantly surprised by the level of intellectual stimulation that it offered. Our goal was to engage with film on a deeper intellectual and critical level. In other words, I found myself taking an English literature course and “reading” complex and challenging films on a weekly basis. This came as a pleasant surprise; English was always my strongest academic subject in high school, so the course was comfortably familiar during my transition to collegiate academics. Actively searching for form, function and meaning within a two-hour work was engaging, and candid class discussions about themes, symbols, visual metaphors and mies-en-scene elements were guaranteed to occur during the following class. As the semester progressed, I knew I had found my niche.
Last week, I went to see the Women’s Empowerment Initiative’s show, “Coming from the Beast.” It was a performance written, produced, and performed by women at Connecticut College. Because it was probably the most badass feminist show I have ever seen, it made me question why I had never attended the annual show before.
My freshman and sophomore year, the College produced The Vagina Monologues. Last year, they put on their own rendition of The Vagina Monologues called “As Told by Vaginas.” This year’s show had a similar format to previous years, with all of the pieces written and performed by women at Connecticut College.