The Christmas bird count: citizen science in Northfield

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 10:49pm

This past December, while most of us were off campus, the naturalist community of Northfield convened for a decades-old tradition—the region’s Christmas Bird Count. Originating in the early 1900s in order to census local bird species for conservation purposes, the practice of holding winter bird counts eventually spread across the United States and the globe. Under the aegis of local Audubon Society chapters, communities began to organize their own Christmas Bird Counts in December or early January such that today, hundreds of counts are held each year on all continents except Antarctica. Each count covers a pre-designated circular area of several square miles, within which participants tally every avian species they can find. Christmas Bird Counts continue to serve important conservation purposes, helping scientists determine rates of population decline for vulnerable species.

Northfield’s CBC was held on December 19th, with 14 species sighted (Arb Director Nancy Braker reported a grand total of 1,570 Canada Geese on Lyman Lakes!). Unsurprisingly, winter months are lowest in bird diversity for our region, so the Northfield CBC cannot compare to the incredible species counts boasted by more southerly circles. While a spring birding hike in the Arb could easily yield over 50 species, most of them fly south for the winter. The most productive CBC of all time, however, would put most places to shame: in 2013, participants in the Ecuadorian Andes tallied 531 species in a single day!

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Categories: Colleges

Winter dining hall lines

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 10:47pm

The post Winter dining hall lines appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Stimulus searchlight: what’s in our COVID-19 stimulus bill?

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 10:44pm

Hey there! How well do YOU know your COVID-19 stimulus bill? Let’s test your knowledge with a game of  Stimulus Searchlight! Below are ten provisions of H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Some really are in the bill; some are not. Compare your answers with the key and see how well you did!

1. $6.3 billion write-off for business lunches

2. Provisions for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama

3. $3 billion in additional defense spending

4. The creation of Anteater Sanctuary Zones in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

5. The creation of an independent commission to oversee horse racing

6. A $2.5 billion tax break for racetracks

7. Provisions determining how much rainfall is acceptable before Congress must be adjourned due to flood risk

8. No longer a federal crime to misuse imagery of Smokey Bear and other mascots

9. $300 million for the National Museum of American Currency

10. The distribution of $2000 stimulus checks

(0) You are not an enthusiast of stimulus checks. Enjoy your regular-person hobbies.

(1-3) You are likely a member of Congress.

(4-6) You’ve clearly read at least one of the 5,593 pages of this bill. It’s good to stay on top of things.

(7-9) You’re a proud racetrack owner. Mind letting me take a spin?

(10) Congratulations! You know too much. The number for Student Health and Counseling is 507-222-4080.

Thanks for playing Stimulus Searchlight! We hope to see you back for another round once the next COVID-19 relief bill is passed. 

We really do.


1: Real   2: Real    3: Fake (this money was actually given in the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 9365)   4: Fake    5: Real    6: Real    7: Fake   8: Real    9: Fake   10: Nah. Sorry

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Categories: Colleges

Top five places for football players to party this term (and get away with it)

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 10:41pm

I think we can all agree: Carleton sports teams have built a strong reputation for themselves this academic year. So good news! Along with not having to worry about ever getting a bad rap, Carleton football players—by all accounts the most marginalized group at the College—can now gather in large groups during a pandemic without any fear whatsoever about repercussions. That said, here are the top five must-visit party locations this term, officially sponsored by the Carleton football team.

1. Steak House:

I’m gonna be honest: I don’t play football. And here’s another thing: I don’t know what the hell steak is. And, also: I don’t know where Steak House is. (What’s a house?) So, honestly, I can’t make heads nor tails of this entry on the list. But hey—I’ve heard down the grapevine that this is gonna be the place to be Winter Term 2021. Woo!

2. Wherever the hell the football team practices

We know where the football team parties during a pandemic, but where the hell do they practice? I feel like I know the former much more than I know the latter. 

3. My Room (LOL)

Yeah I dunno where this one came from. Please come to my room LOL it’s no big deal haha please hang out with me Carleton Football Team please LOL. Haha shirts optional in here, baby! >___< Hey

4. The Arb

This entry on the list is outdated but a classic. It seems I always hear secondhand stories about the football team partying in the Arb from people who were “just strolling by” at 3:00 a.m. Is it too cold for Arb parties this term? Perhaps the Team can make do (hint, hint) by making that fire really big on One Tree Hill or whatever that thing is called.

5. Porch House


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Categories: Colleges

Carleton and anti-Blackness: A letter to prospective students

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 3:03pm

Prospective Carleton students,

Have you considered searching for a school that is active in fighting anti-Black racism? I know that for me, coming to Carleton meant having expectations of conduct and policies within the institution which would reflect my values.

Something to note: Carleton is a Predominantly White Institution (PWI), where white supremacy is woven into the fabric of the institution. I’ve only been at Carleton for several months, but I’ve been in the world long enough to understand that white supremacy prevails in our society, from interpersonal relationships all the way up to the most powerful institutions. Carleton can often come off as a “liberal” space, where the institution and members of the community hold beliefs that reflect a basic consideration for human life (Black lives matter, no human is illegal, love is love, science is real, water is life and so on…). You may be wondering where I’m going with this…

It recently came to my attention that a fellow member of the Carleton community was recorded screaming the phrase “F*@k Black Lives Matter” at a New Year’s party over break. While some may be shocked by this public display of hatred and violent rhetoric, I was not.

While it is now 2021, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and open displays of racist beliefs are still a part of daily life, both here at Carleton and in the broader American landscape.

Now, I ask, what type of community are you looking for in college?

I know that I was seeking a community that was committed to holding other members accountable for their racist actions! I hope to see the Carleton administration and community come out of the woodwork and hold racist Carls accountable for the harms of their actions.

But what could Carleton do as a PWI to address anti-Black Racism?

As a white member of the Carleton Community, I do not feel the momentary and long-term impacts of anti-Black racism at Carleton, but I bear witness to moments of Carleton’s white passivity often (and my own!).

This isn’t to say that there isn’t hope.

There have been a number of demands made by the Ujamaa Collective, (a collective of Black student groups on campus) after the lynching of George Floyd. These demands seek to combat the structural/institutional iterations of anti-Black racism at Carleton. By supporting Black students and demanding that these changes are made, members of the Carleton administration and community can actively engage in creating a campus that is safe. Perhaps after these demands are met, moments such as the one captured on New Year’s will be addressed before they happen.

What type of education do you want?

For me, education means more than just class and homework. It means being open to changing world-views that are harmful. It means being willing and open to planting seeds for change, both in the minds of our community members and within our white supremacist institutions.

I hope that these reflections offer you space to reflect on what type of campus you hope to be a part of. I know I want to go to a school where Black lives matter. I want to be a part of a community that holds each other accountable for our internalized white supremacy. What about you?

Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.

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Categories: Colleges

Encouraging political diversity on campus

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 3:00pm

Since starting at Carleton in 2019, I have felt very privileged to go to a school with such smart, passionate students. I learn so much from the people around me, and find my peers to be the greatest asset to Carleton’s outstanding academic environment. That said, there is one area in which we seriously struggle: disagreement. 

The ability to disagree is one of the most critical skills in a democracy. It allows various perspectives to civilly coexist under a single government, is in fact the reason why we have a democracy at all. Yet, here at Carleton, we discourage disagreement. We shame it. Have you heard about the “closeted conservatives?” The problem is not, as some have suggested, that there are conservatives on campus. The problem is that they are closeted out of fear of backlash should they make their views publicly known. 

To provide some background: I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, in a district which was reliably Republican until we elected Abigail Spanberger in 2018. My Democratic parents taught me to be politically engaged, and throughout grade school, I was one of the most liberal students enrolled. I had countless conversations with other students about why I wasn’t a murderer for being pro-choice (yes, seriously), why evolution is real and why affirmative action is necessary, just to name a few. I constantly had to defend my views to people who disagreed with me. It was frustrating, tedious, and disheartening, but it challenged me and made me a better informed citizen. 

This is why I find myself so impatient with Carleton’s political culture. It seems that we constantly engage in a competition of who among us can be the most ardent defender of the most liberal views possible. It’s exhausting and it’s alienating, even for those of us who consider ourselves liberal. I find myself keeping quiet on views that wouldn’t typically be considered contentious. I can’t imagine what it must be like for true moderates on campus, or worse, Republicans. 

Remember last March, when we were asked to contribute to a Moodle forum about the Spring Term grading policy? It was a bloodbath! We ate our own! Over a grading policy! What should have been a fairly mundane topic proved to be extremely controversial, with students weaponizing others’ views and using them as a metric of privilege. There is nothing more ironic (and performative) than wealthy white students scolding other wealthy white students for not knowing how privileged they are. And on the basis of a grading preference, no less. 

Why do we feel so threatened by opposing viewpoints that our first instinct is to attack them? By failing to educate ourselves on the political diversity that is a defining characteristic of our democracy, we are doing a significant disservice to our community. Instead of regarding disagreement as something that needs to be shut down, we should welcome it as an opportunity to hear new perspectives and hone our opinions. 

Furthermore, Carleton is a liberal enclave, making us forget that we live in a country where, in many places, our views would be considered radical. Once we leave college, we cannot shut down—nor attempt to shut others down—at the first sign of disagreement. Rather, we need to learn to tolerate difference of opinion and, what’s more, defend our views in civil and respectful ways. 

This does not mean that we should engage with discriminatory views. Bigotry should not be given a platform, as that allows it to thrive in a country with a devastating history of how it treats members of marginalized communities. But being conservative does not inherently mean that you are bigoted. It does not mean that you are wrong and need to be corrected. It does not mean that you are confused or misinformed. It simply means that you have a different approach to common issues. 

Assuming that we manage to get through the next couple of weeks without starting a civil war, on January 20 we will have a new president. With that, we will have a new opportunity to unify in the wake of the atrocities that have been committed under Donald Trump. Republicans and Democrats alike are horrified by what has recently transpired. Maybe the best way to prevent another Trumpian presidency is by taking a deep breath and listening to what others have to say. We probably won’t agree, but we’ll learn a lot about what happened and, most importantly, how to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

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Categories: Colleges

On last week’s terrorism

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:59pm

As was the case for many of you, the terrorist attack at the Capitol last Wednesday did not surprise me. Indeed for the past couple of months, I had been ambulating about the house, murmuring, “I hope they’ll be safe,”—“they” meaning Biden, Harris, the Democratic lawmakers and those running for Senate—and insisting my family toast to everyone’s health and well-being at dinner each night. With the combination of Trump’s chilling “stand back and stand by” call to arms, the anger and white supremacy so rife in our country, and the fact that half the country believes they have a fundamental right to possess assault weapons, how else could you think about the situation?

When the actual insurrection occurred, I glanced at the news and found myself feeling disgusted at the chaotic mass of dead-animal-wearing, onion-wielding Nazis, rather than shocked or shaken to my core. Then, I felt anger simmering below my composed surface—anger at how this terrorism, no doubt, could have been prevented. Surely the psychopaths along with their energized nutty following had taken to right-wing websites and social media to detail their plans even prior to Trump’s and Giuliani’s calls to action that same day?

The sadness came later, when I ventured onto Instagram Live to listen to representatives recount their stories from the day. I listened to the full hour of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s post, feeling devastated when I heard her say she experienced something (perhaps a run-in with one of the mobsters, although she did not specify) that day in which she truly believed she would be assassinated and saw moments from her life flash before her eyes. That brief statement really struck a nerve within me, and I paused for a moment, thinking of how hated AOC is by the Right, and how many of them really do want her dead. Had time and events on Wednesday not proceeded the way they did, she, along with Speaker Pelosi and many of their Democratic colleagues, really could have been murdered. And Pence too, yeah.

The sadness I felt was more than mere empathy. It was a reaction to the evilness in this mob. I hoped and still hope that all of those insurrectionists will be arrested and that Trump will suffer legal consequences for his actions.

As Trump was banned from Twitter due to “incitement of violence,” I also began thinking about the regulation of speech on social media. The banning of his account gave me no pause; I thought he deserved it and delighted in the future of not having to see his tweets—many of which were nasty and contained false information—blasted across media outlets.

Yet I noticed at the same time that not everyone was of the same mind on this one. Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, termed Twitter’s ban of Trump “problematic,” her spokesman Steffan Steibert articulating that freedom of opinion is a fundamental right. I myself used to hold this view with regard to the postings in social media, thinking that anything but unregulated speech online was the equivalent of a chapter in 1984. But I wonder now, would Merkel maintain the same position were a German Trump to emerge, challenging scientific fact and democracy and encouraging the idea of a modern civil war in the minds of his followers? Germany has a big problem with its own far-right, but they don’t have Trump, and they haven’t lived America’s last four years, watching half their country turn into a fascist cult. Experience is everything; it makes or breaks you and your opinions. It is clear that social media have a part to play in the far-right mess in this country, and it seems to me that these companies should have to accept some of the blame and regulate some of the hate out there.

In his speech to the Anti-Defamation League in 2019, the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen argues that social media such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter amount to “the greatest propaganda machine of all time,” due to their role in facilitating the spread of lies, as their algorithms recommended videos and posts of conspiracy theories and Islamophobia to viewers. As a response to Zuckerberg’s claims of not wanting to interfere with free expression, Baron Cohen proclaims, “This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech. This is about giving people, including some of the most reprehensible people on Earth, the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet. Freedom of speech is not freedom of reach.” And he’s right. Without these websites’ complicity, there would not be the same spread of lies, science denialism and hate in our country and around the world. There would not be as many people dead from the coronavirus, from white supremacists, and from extrajudicial killings all around the world, like in the Philippines, where social media has allowed a deep support of President Rodrigo Duterte to emerge.

Something has to change.

The post On last week’s terrorism appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

“A mixed bag:” athletes take their training off-campus for winter term

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:56pm

This Winter Term, approximately 600 Carleton students will be dispersed throughout the world, either logging onto classes from a remote location or taking the term off altogether. Among them are numerous athletes, who, faced with another term of stringent health guidelines and cumbersome practice protocols, decided to take their training and studies elsewhere. 

“Last term was challenging mentally,” explained sophomore football player Isaac Simons, who, like many of his peers on campus, grappled with COVID-19 protocols that limited social interaction and normal campus life. 

“I spent almost all of my time in my room studying and taking classes online, which simply wore me out. On top of that, at Carleton I was not able to cook or prepare my own meals, so when the opportunity to live and take classes in Florida arose, I took it.”

Sophomore Henry Bowman, a runner on both the Men’s Cross Country and Track teams, expressed similar frustrations with the online learning format. “Like many of us, I’m not a fan of online classes,” he said. “Despite the best efforts of our professors, taking classes over Zoom isn’t anywhere near as engaging or valuable as typical classes are. I felt pretty burnt out after online classes last spring, so I’ve been running away from them ever since.”’

During the fall, Bowman was among the 55 Carleton students who took advantage of an opportunity provided by the college in collaboration with the Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS) to live and take classes in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the pandemic conditions are much better.  

This term, Bowman will be living in Crested Butte, a small mountain town nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where he will work as an intern for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

Currently, Bowman is collaborating with a research mentor to study ozone emissions from human-based sources, and how these emissions have influenced changes in the seasonal cycle of ozone over the past 80 years. When he’s not conducting scientific research, Bowman will be taking time to enjoy one of the few silver linings the pandemic has provided: an opportunity to live, study and train in a disparate environment.

“Colorado has no shortage of great places to run, so that’s certainly an advantage of being off campus,” Bowman said. Due to a knee injury he recently suffered, Bowman decided to take some time off from running in order to experiment with new forms of exercise. “I’ve been biking a lot more recently, and while it’s not the same as running, I can’t complain much when I get to spend my afternoons riding through the mountain scenery.”

A handful of Bowman’s fellow track athletes, including distinguished distance-runner Clara Mayfield, are following the lead he set this fall and embarking on the winter version of the DIS program in Denmark. Mayfield is excited to explore her surroundings in a new country via running. “Even in just my first few days in Copenhagen, I’ve been able to find many places to run nearby. An advantage of being here as opposed to Northfield is that there should be less snow, and slipping around all winter historically has not agreed with my legs.”

Mayfield also mentioned that track coaches are providing her and her teammates with training plans, while communicating with them regularly to discuss the best way to prepare for the upcoming outdoor track season – if there manages to be one this spring. Of the three athletes interviewed for this article, none expressed optimism that full competition will return by the end of this academic year.

“I don’t think we’ll see any formal competition this spring, and that’s probably for the best, considering travelling for sports seems like an unnecessary risk in the middle of a pandemic,” said Bowman. 

Meanwhile, despite alluding to the frustrations of seeing competition continue within other divisions and conferences across the NCAA, Mayfield understands Carleton athletics being put on hold for public health purposes. “Sports hold an important place in the lives of all athletes no matter the level, but I don’t think they should be prioritized at the expense of the health of so many,” she explained. 

Regardless of whether full competition returns to campus this spring, Carleton athletes are entering a third academic term where they will be restricted from going about their athletic lives in a normal fashion. Last spring season was a wash due to Carleton’s complete shift to remote learning, while any sort of inter-school competition was completely absent in the fall. Athletic teams were permitted to practice in a modified format during the autumn months, no Carleton athlete will shy away from admitting that the experience just wasn’t the same. 

For almost every varsity athlete at Carleton, organized sports have been an ever-present and important part of their lives from a very young age; a source of pride and some degree of identity, not to mention close bonds and friendships. All of a sudden, programs like the football team are losing half of their students to remote studying for the Winter Term, making it a challenge to maintain contact with teammates and coaches and retain the same level of commitment to the sport. 

“It has definitely made it more challenging to stay committed. Even when I was on campus and we were having position group meetings on Zoom throughout the week, it was a challenge to stay there mentally when there was no game to actually play,” said Simons, a linebacker on the Knight’s defense who plans on training with three of his teammates at a gym in West Palm Beach this winter. 

Bowman struck a similar chord when he explained how his commitment to running has been altered by the pandemic, which stripped him of an outdoor track season (last spring), a cross country season (last fall), and an indoor track season (this winter). “Three competitive athletic seasons being wiped away has certainly taken a blow on the level of motivation I hold towards running. A lot of the commitment I display towards running comes from the opportunity to do well in races, and without races, it’s a lot harder to stay committed,” he explained. 

Nevertheless, Bowman is making the most out of his situation. “The pandemic has helped put my athletic ambitions into perspective: there are other things more important than sports, especially sports at the Division-III level. Without formal athletic seasons, I’m still a student, and I have a lot more free time to devote to school, my internship and other hobbies. In this way, I’ve become more well-rounded.”  

The pandemic has swept away eagerly anticipated athletic seasons that cannot be won back, but it has also created new opportunities for Carleton athletes to display their resilience and flexibility. 

For the likes of  Bowman, Simons and Mayfield, it presents an opportunity to explore and train in a unique part of the world, always a Zoom call away from their teammates and coaches.

The post “A mixed bag:” athletes take their training off-campus for winter term appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Which side are you on?!?!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:55pm
Categories: Citizens

Intramural Sports get creative with outdoor and distanced activities

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:51pm

Like all other aspects of campus life, intramural (IM) sports continue to adapt to a COVID-conscious environment. Last term most IM sports, including 3v3 basketball and dodgeball, were canceled, prompting IM student coordinators to brainstorm new and COVID-friendly IM events to provide fun and flexible recreation for Carls. 

Over the fall, IM Coordinator Justin Crawmer ‘23 spearheaded an online trivia event where students could fill out a trivia questionnaire sent to their emails. Participation was high, with over 55 participants competing for a chance to win an IM Champion T-Shirt. Trivia contests will continue this Winter Term and also be held on the student-run IM Instagram page @carls_im. 

The pandemic prompted further innovation with the introduction of IM esports. Ninety students signed up to compete in games such as FIFA and NBA 2K organized by IM coordinator Donoan Taras ‘21. Taras explained that although interest was high, technical and logistical obstacles limited participation: “Getting everyone online at the same time and to talk was a challenge. Also a lot of students didn’t have the right computer equipment to play.” Esports will continue this Winter Term with hopes of fostering more interaction within the gaming community.

Fair weather also provided the chance for IM to host small, in-person, one-day competitions including frisbee golf, outdoor tennis, and HORSE basketball during fall term. That said, snow, frigid temperatures, and the uncertainty of virus conditions pose a new set of challenges for IM sports this winter. IM coordinators are considering expanding into less traditional activities such as snowpeople building contests, dodge(snow)ball and sledding to take advantage of Northfield’s snowy winter. Starting January 18, in addition to the usual skating, skiing  and snowshoeing equipment, The Rec plans to offer sleds available for rental. Nordic Skiing will be allowed as usual in the arb.

While the Bald Spot ice rinks will be set up and made open for use, the prospect of broomball remains up in the air. IM Supervisor Mikki Showers explains that traditional broomball will most likely not be possible because of rink capacity limits and physical contact concerns: “We are working to brainstorm versions of broomball with smaller teams such as four-on-four or individual trick shot competitions to limit contact and allow adequate social distancing. We want to continue to offer something for students to do but most importantly keep everyone safe.”

The ice rinks themselves will be run differently. Rinks will be staffed with monitors to enforce 20 person capacity limits per rink on both weekends and weekdays. Signups will also be required for one-hour slots. 

Working within the restraints of COVID-19 guidelines has been a challenge for IM leadership, but students and staff are committed to finding creative ways to provide quality extracurricular activities for Carls to stay healthy and active together.

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Categories: Colleges

History Professor Serena Zabin makes a splash with newest book

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:49pm

Professor of History Serena Zabin’s newest book was recently ranked 79th on the Amazon Editors’ “Best Books of 2020” list. The Boston Massacre: A Family History tells the story of the Boston Massacre as never before. Zabin said, “we tend to tell the story especially of the Boston Massacre and even more generally the American Revolution, as really essentially a story of guys with guns.” She argues instead that “it’s actually in many ways a much quieter story.” 

In her book published in February of last year, Zabin brings her readers into the world of interpersonal dramas which preceded and followed the Boston Massacre. The Boston Massacre is remembered as one of the causes of the American Revolution in 1770, when British soldiers fired upon Bostonians protesting British rule, killing five American colonists. The first to fall, notably, was Crispus Attucks, a Massachusetts man of African and Native American descent. 

Zabin became interested in further investigating the Boston Massacre when the previous director of Special Collections in the Gould Library found an original copy of a pamphlet of depositions published two and a half weeks after the shooting. “The very first deposition in there actually is a Bostonian reporting that a soldier’s wife was in his house and said ‘if any Bostonian should be hurt I would put stones in my handkerchief and beat their brains out.’ And for a long time I was sort of taken exactly by the violence of that, as was everyone who read it.” Zabin hadn’t known that soldiers had wives in the 18th century, especially in Boston. Zabin said, “once I asked that question, all kinds of other things opened up for me.”

After that initial moment of inspiration, she continued to find records of the personal intrigues and family stories that historians previously ignored. “I looked in some church records and I found I think two or maybe even three marriages between soldiers and local women just sort of sitting right there in the church records, and that’s when I thought, ‘oh, there’s really a story here and it’s just lying here in plain sight’.”

Zabin said the book is subtitled A Family History because “when we talk about ungrateful children, and a mother country, and colonies growing up and growing away, that’s a metaphor for family but really, in fact, the relationships between soldiers and civilians that develop in those months before the Boston Massacre and in the months afterwards create real families.” She wanted to emphasize that events like the Boston Massacre and others leading up to the American Revolution divided not just nations, but also families. “We think of the American Revolution as a political event but it’s really much more like a bad divorce,” she added.

Zabin is happy that her book, a ten-year effort, has had such success. She said that it brings her “great joy to think that something that came out of my head is now moving into other people’s worlds in ways that give them pleasure as well as instruction.”

Zabin’s research is particularly pertinent given recent events. The Carletonian’s interview with Zabin occurred a day after  supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol building, an event which seem unprecedented to most, but not for Zabin. She said, “the moments of violence and upheaval are unsurprising and indeed are part of stories that we smooth out and turn into bedtime stories for ourselves, that actually have embedded in them a lot of violence.”

 Zabin understands the historical origins of these events through her research. “The 21st century world we live in was created by an 18th century world of white supremacy and misogyny and other ideas about hierarchy, not all of which are we imprisoned by, but all which shape us.”

The American tradition of over-policing, traceable from the colonial period, is also shaping current events. Zabin said, “one of the things that is really clear to me is that when we use the military as a police force, we create disaster. People have known this for centuries.”

After a decade working on A Family History, Zabin is ready to shift her academic focus. “I’ve really gotten kind of interested in the question of how women of all races were talking about the coming of independence,” she said. Not much has been written about women of the Revolution, and Zabin wants to contribute to the historiography of the American Revolution by researching how women were involved, perhaps in her next book. “The only thing we really know is Abigail Adams saying ‘I long to hear that you have declared an independency’, I just don’t believe that Abigail Adams was the only person who was in 1775 wondering what was going to be the relationship between the colonies and the empire.”

The post History Professor Serena Zabin makes a splash with newest book appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Zoom fatigue or room fatigue?

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:46pm

It’s a college student’s dream come true: the ability to roll out of bed and be in class five minutes later. But with this ability comes the ever-present knowledge that Carleton is approaching the one-year mark for online classes.

Online classes have enabled students and faculty alike to attend class from a multitude of locations, whether it be campus, a childhood room, or another off-campus location. As Carleton heads into its third term of online classes, some people are feeling the fatigue set in, while others are enjoying the convenience of attending class from their rooms. The end of this term will mark a year on Zoom, and although there are many downsides to learning online, some benefits have emerged. 

The main issue with online classes is that they simply do not provide the same sense of community as they do when everyone is in a room together. Zach Lewis ‘22 said that Zoom classes are “just not the same as what Carleton is supposed to be. I feel like there’s a big spirit of collaboration at Carleton, and being online really hampers that.”

Professor of English and American Studies Michael Kowalewski agreed, saying “I miss the physical presence. You can’t get a feel for the room on Zoom.”

Kowalewski also said, “there’s nothing that can replace a blackboard,” mourning the loss of being able to write on the board and turn around to see the whole class. With Zoom, he said it can be frustrating to share the screen and then keep switching in and out of it to see the whole class.

Another downside to Zoom is the loss of outside activities for some classes. Hisui Takeda ‘22 said that before COVID-19, there used to be required cultural activities for her Chinese class. Students got to prepare and taste different types of food, and other hands-on activities.

Rather than having to attend eight or nine of these activities, Takeda said they now only have to attend one. She noted that they’re mostly lectures now and that being online has “taken the fun away.”

However, there have definitely been some major benefits to teaching and learning over Zoom. Kowalewski said that he’s gotten used to teaching online, and what he likes about it is “It’s easier to access things to share. I’m showing film clips, clips of authors reading, and little bits from documentaries more than I would than if I was in a physical classroom because it’s just so easy.”

Lewis said that this term, “it definitely feels more organized. Spring Term was pretty hectic and things weren’t working. Now we still have all the stress, but at least things are a little more organized and a little more prepared.”  

Another upside to Zoom is as temperatures drop and snow begins to pile up, students can avoid trekking across campus in the frigid winter weather. As Takeda emphasized, “It’s nice not having to go outside.”

Without another point of reference, the feeling of loss is not as acute for most first-years, because virtual classes, clubs and social events are their only experience of college. Scott Hudson ‘24 said that online school “almost feels normal because I had all three [classes] online last term.” Although he recognizes that something is lost in online classes, he said “I don’t think it’s as big of a negative as some people make it out to be,” expressing optimism for another term online. 

Convenience is a common benefit students have noticed about Zoom classes. Hudson noted, “The only real pro of online is that you can get right out of bed and go to class.” Lingyu Wei ‘23 agreed, saying she really likes online classes because “it’s more flexible to arrange my time.”

With students and professors attending class from all over the world, there are bound to be glitches. However, Kowalewski said, there is nothing to do now but “try and make the best of it.”

The post Zoom fatigue or room fatigue? appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Carleton nationally recognized for commitment to first-generation students

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:32pm

Last December, the Center for First-Generation Student Success named Carleton a First-Gen Forward institution, a distinction it now shares with 156 other colleges and universities in the nation. 

The Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to “driving higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success,” awards the title annually to institutions that demonstrate a commitment to their first-generation students. Once selected, First-Gen Forward Institutions become members of the First-Gen Forward cohort and participate in regional community calls, attend virtual meetings and events, and set yearly goals together.

This is only the second annual cohort for the Center, which was founded in 2017. Among Carleton’s 76 co-members in this year’s cohort are Boston College and Cornell University. The majority of the institutions, however, are state universities, technical schools and community colleges. Notably, the 25 fellow liberal arts colleges that Carleton lists in its “Core Peer Group” are entirely absent from both this year’s and last year’s cohorts. 

About 11 to 13 percent of Carleton students represent the first generation of their families to attend college. A host of unique experiences and challenges often accompany this experience. “When I came to Carleton my first year, I was terrified,” shared Miah Kline ’22, a first-generation student herself. “I was in unfamiliar territory, doing what I had been dreaming of my whole life, [but] feeling completely unprepared.”

Trinh Tieu ’22, another first-generation student at Carleton, concurred. “My other peers seemed much more prepared academically and socially,” she said.  

First-generation student Jayti Arora ’23 explained, “Many of the obstacles were simply trying to understand the structure of Carleton and explaining that back to my family.”  

Carleton has sought to lighten the burdens of unfamiliarity by providing detailed financial aid information, a technology loaner program and, most recently, creating a directory  of first-generation faculty and staff who might serve as sources of support. Among Carleton’s most significant contributions is the TRIO program, which endows its participants with advising and support all four years as well as a dedicated space on campus. 

“Whether it is a matter concerning the financial aid office, professors, or other offices on campus, [TRIO Director] Trey [Williams] and the TRIO office will advocate for their students,” said current TRIO intern Shealuck Vang. Vang most recently worked to organize campus events such as TRIO Awareness Week, which, in past years, has involved activities from financial literacy workshops to art displays and panel discussions.

“[Having a dedicated TRIO advisor] has allowed me to create strong relationships with and receive advice from the TRIO community,” Kline said. “The collaboration of others has helped me feel the whole Carleton community.”

Though Carleton has been recognized for its achievements in first-generation student support, many students hope that further work will be done. “Being named a First-Gen Forward institution is just the first step,” Vang explained.  In addition to higher acceptance rates and financial support for first-generation students, Vang hopes to see “more college-led conversations and events on the first-gen identity” and support for low-income, disabled or first-generation students who would otherwise qualify for TRIO but cannot join the program due to insufficient federal funding.

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Categories: Colleges

New Student Week, again?

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:26pm

While this winter will be an unprecedented term for all Carleton students, the experience will be particularly memorable for the students setting foot on campus for the first time. In a normal year, New Student Week marks the beginning of every Carl’s journey. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many Carleton first-years chose to take their first term of college fully online. Now with the start of Winter Term, some first-year students will receive a New Student Week (NSW) group and set foot on campus for the first time. 

For these students, not everything about Carleton is new. These first-years have already begun their Carleton journey. They participated in the virtual events of NSW in the fall, including a series of CarlTalks and similar orientation events. They also took remote classes during Fall Term, giving them a chance to adjust to the demands of Carleton classes separate from the experience of adjusting to campus life. These students have already met other students and professors. They have developed mentorship relationships—just not in person. 

This all poses a unique set of challenges for these new students.  As returning New Student Week leader Grace Farwell ’23 described, “From what I could tell, these new students were excited to be on campus finally, but also a little nervous given that other members of the freshman class had seemingly already made friend groups. However, they embraced the opportunities to get meals with other new students and NSW leaders and to start to meet people.”

The biggest change for these new students seemed to be location and adapting to the routine of living in a residential community. “There were also a lot of questions about how things on campus work, but most importantly, where things can be found on campus. They were eager to go on an in-depth campus tour and learn about what activities were available in the winter,” said Farwell.

A particular challenge was facing a move-in weekend “like no other.” Outlining the difficulties of the weekend, Farwell said, “We had to travel during COVID, get tested, completely unpack and move into our rooms, and attend NSW events, all while classes were already in full swing and there was homework to do over the weekend. It was a lot to think about and a very busy weekend.”

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Categories: Colleges

Winter means more time inside. How is Carleton addressing ventilation and airborne transmission?

Carletonian - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 2:22pm

Facilities uses building automatic software (BAS) to monitor the ventilation in various buildings, including this air handler in Anderson Hall / Image source: Mitch Miller

As temperatures drop in Minnesota, students will be spending more time indoors, which is exactly where COVID-19 has the potential to spread – via contaminated aerosols. 

 “An aerosol is, by definition, any solid or liquid suspended in a gas; in this case, the gas is air,” said Dr. Deborah Gross, an aerosol scientist and professor of chemistry at Carleton.  She added that there is no perfect size at which something goes from being called an “aerosol particle” to being called a “droplet,” but aerosol particles are smaller and linger longer in the air.  These particles can be produced by many different forms of exhalation – including breathing, talking, yelling, singing, sneezing and coughing. 

 Initially, no one was certain whether COVID-19 could be transmitted via aerosols, and the World Health Organization dismissed claims that it was an airborne disease.  In July, a number of scientists appealed to the medical community and to relevant national and international bodies to recognize the potential for airborne spread of COVID-19. 

 Prof. Gross said that “the delay in acknowledging airborne transmission [by the WHO and the CDC] definitely had an adverse impact on development of mitigation strategies and gave people a false sense of security about ‘social distancing,’ as it implied that it was safe to be 6 feet away from someone whether or not they were infected with COVID-19.”

The smaller or more enclosed a space is, the more likely airborne transmission will occur.  Prof. Gross explained that the aerosol particles that contain the virus can linger in the air for hours or longer. They may also settle and remain on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the composition of the surface.

As campus enters the third week of Winter Term, airborne transmission of COVID-19 is an even greater concern.  Steve Spehn, director of Facilities and Capital Planning, is a member of the Facilities and Ventilation subcommittee, one of many committees formed by the college in response to COVID-19.  He said they began by looking at recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Based on ASHRAE guidelines, Facilities then worked to install MERV 13 filters wherever possible.  For filters used in HVAC systems, “MERV 13 is the minimum filter efficiency that is recommended for filtration of particles that are of the size we care about as possibly containing SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Prof. Gross said.  Previously, most campus buildings contained lower-grade MERV 8 filters, which were enough to catch pollen and dirt, but not the smaller particles produced by COVID-19.

According to Maintenance Manager Mitch Miller, the installation process itself is simple—it’s just a matter of taking out the MERV 8 and replacing it with the MERV 13. It gets more complex, he said, because the higher the filtration level, the more air restriction it causes. To offset this reduction in airflow, the fan speed must be increased.

However, in some of the older buildings—like Willis and Leighton—increasing the fan speed was not an option, so the MERV 8 filters were kept in.  Miller said, “We didn’t have the ability to offset the pressure against the filter, and [the MERV 13] just restricted it. And then you end up losing airflow in the space, which is counterproductive in trying to increase the safety level.”  

The newer buildings—the Weitz Center for Creativity, Anderson Hall, and the Language and Dining Center (LDC)—were all able to accommodate the higher-grade MERV 13 filters.

 These high-efficiency MERV 13 filters have to be changed out twice as frequently, but the status of these filters and other installations can be monitored online.  

Facilities also used a formula to calculate the air changes per hour (ACH) in each space on campus—based on the filtration rate, percentage of fresh air and percentage of returned air—which was then used to determine room occupancy.  Miller added, “We tried to get at least four changes per hour in every space.  Some exceed that, some were a struggle to get there and some just plain we couldn’t make it.”  In the SHAC respiratory clinic, the air change rate has to be even higher—closer to 10 to 12 air changes per hour.    

In some of the spaces where they could not achieve the minimum four changes per hour, Facilities placed standalone, portable HEPA filtration units.  According to Prof. Gross, “HEPA filters are the gold standard for filtration—they are certified to remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micrometers in diameter.”  Over winter break, Facilities also installed the first bipolar ionization unit in Leighton Hall, which releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate virus particles.

Miller explained, “It’s a newer technology, but it’s basically a scrubbing of the air as it passes through the air handler, eliminating all bacteria and virus.  It enhances filtration considerably and allows us to get the capacities where we can actually hold class in there.” 

While these new ventilation systems are critical, they are not sufficient. (The “Swiss Cheese Model” of pandemic defense helps explain the need for multiple mitigation methods.) Students also need to follow the occupancy guidelines set for these rooms, Spehn said, “because it’s not just based on physical distancing, it is also based on ventilation.” These capacities are listed on the doors of all spaces and reflect the total capacity of the space, including students, instructors, lab assistants and other approved visitors.

Whenever you are in a room with someone, you are breathing the same air, which comes with a risk for transmission.  Prof. Gross recommends making sure everyone keeps their mask on when you have to share spaces with people outside your pod and trying to minimize any activity in which you have to remove your mask inside a shared space, such as eating. Prof. Gretchen Hofmeister, who also serves on the Facilities and Ventilation subcommittee, agreed. 

“The capacity changes haven’t changed the protocols that are in place for indoor spaces: everyone should wear masks that cover their nose and mouth, sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting spaces, sit or stand six feet or more away from others and eat only in designated areas,” she said.

Natalee Johnson, coordinator of medical services at SHAC, also emphasized the importance of student compliance with testing.  This winter, Carleton has doubled their asymptomatic surveillance testing regimen to test 600 individuals per week.  “We’re really bumping that number up to make sure that we’re catching things early,” Johnson said. 

The post Winter means more time inside. How is Carleton addressing ventilation and airborne transmission? appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Remember Radio – January 15, 1949

KYMN Radio - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 11:00am
This week, Andrew and Rich discuss Alice in Wonderland, new ownership at the Stuart Hotel and Rich’s really annoying vacation plans.

Rice Co. business assistance applications now available

Northfield News - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 4:17pm
After working out a few remaining details at a Tuesday Board of Commissioners meeting, Rice County released application forms for its latest round of business assistance on Friday. The county received about $1.3 million to distribute.
Categories: Local News

Rice Co. business assistance applications now available

Northfield News - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 4:17pm
After working out a few remaining details at a Tuesday Board of Commissioners meeting, Rice County released application forms for its latest round of business assistance on Friday. The county received about $1.3 million to distribute.
Categories: Local News

First Somali-American appointed to serve on city of Northfield board

Northfield News - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 3:36pm
The Northfield City Council appointed a number of young professionals to boards and commissions earlier this month, including a man believed to be the first Somali-American to serve on the Human Rights Commission.
Categories: Local News

To keep students in school, educators' unions urge community health precautions

Northfield News - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 2:00pm
As Minnesota sees a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions in bars, restaurants and gyms, a number of local districts have been transitioning into in-person and hybrid learning.
Categories: Local News
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