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.”

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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.”

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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

City Council Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 1:35pm
Event date: January 19, 2021
Event Time: 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057
January 19 City Council Mtg
Tue, Jan 19, 2021 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM (CST)

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New solar garden to be constructed for Rice, Steele residents

Northfield News - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 12:25pm
There are more than 5,800 solar installations in Minnesota and by this spring, the Northfield Community Solar Garden will be added to that growing number.
Categories: Local News

Snow Emergency in Northfield; Dangerous drugs in Rice County; Fossum discusses election security; DNR unveils new license plate

KYMN Radio - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director Northfield has declared a snow emergency, effective until 9am on Sunday. There is no parking allowed on any city street during the emergency until the street is plowed curb-to-curb. Vehicles parked on the street before they are plowed will be ticketed and are subject to towing.   There is also no parking

Adventures in the New Humanities: Where are we going, what are we doing, and why, why, why?

St. Olaf College - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 11:09am
In this "Adventures in the New Humanities" blog post, Professor of History Judy Kutulas explains that the power of the liberal arts is that it prepares students to pursue meaningful, fulfilling careers.
Categories: Colleges

Senator Rich Draheim on first week of Legislative Session

KYMN Radio - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 9:55am
Senator Rich Draheim talks about the first week of the Legislative Session and describes the committees he will be serving on this year.

COVID vaccine rollout continues: Update on local, state status

Northfield News - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 9:07am
As COVID-19 vaccines roll out, Northfield Hospital + Clinics is working in coordination with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) plus regional and local Public Health to help vaccinate people in the first phase (Phase 1a) of the state’s priority list.…
Categories: Local News

Representative Todd Lippert

KYMN Radio - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 8:19am
State Representative Todd Lippert discusses climate plans at the capital, vaccine rollout and DFL priorities for the legislative session.

Snow Emergency Declared in Northfield

KYMN Radio - Thu, 01/14/2021 - 8:11pm
Northfield has declared a snow emergency, effective at 2am on Friday until 9am on Sunday. There is no parking allowed on any city street during the emergency until the street is plowed curb-to-curb. Vehicles parked on the street before they are plowed will be ticketed and are subject to towing. There is also no parking

The Weekly List – The David Bowie Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 01/14/2021 - 6:00pm
This week Rich pays tribute to a man he thinks may have been better at being a rock star than any other person in history, Mr. David Bowie.

500 COVID-19 vaccinations expected in Rice County by end of week

Northfield News - Thu, 01/14/2021 - 5:14pm
Public health leaders say 500 COVID-19 vaccinations will have been given by the end of this week in Rice County as local officials seek to vaccinate more emergency workers and the federal government quickens the rollout pace.
Categories: Local News
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