Meatless Mondays at Olin

I encourage the student body to revisit the proposal for our dining hall to take part in Meatless Mondays. This program not only encourages people to start off their week with healthy food, but also presents a way for us to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve natural resources. Animal agriculture is an environmentally destructive industry, contributing to air pollution, water pollution, land degradation, and negative effects on biodiversity. The livestock sector generates 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the cars and trucks in the world combined [1].

I have no doubts that a shift towards a sustainable lifestyle is a challenge Olin students will want to face head on. The dining hall already provides us a selection of vegan foods on a daily basis, along with vegetarian proteins at the salad bar. They offer ‘faux meats’ at the burger station, along with all the toppings that you can get on a regular burger. We know the dining hall is capable of providing vegetarian options, and Meatless Monday would allow us to expand on the number of choices offered.

In implementing this program, Olin College would not be alone in its efforts. Brandeis University, Vassar College, The International Culinary Center, and dozens of other universities have launched initiatives encouraging students to participate in Meatless Mondays. If you believe in social justice or being good for the planet, I encourage you to Do Something [2].


Horoscopes by Drunk Editors

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Sandals and snow don’t mix. Boots were invented for a reason. Although boots and tall snow don’t mix well either, so you’re probably just screwed.

Aries (March 21 – April 19): This month we will lose an hour. You’ll need to work very hard to make up for this missed hour or work time or sleep time. Use your negative hour very wisely – you paid for it with a hangover in November.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20): See if any of the doors to the roof of your heart are open. Stargaze. Don’t get caught.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20): If there was ever a time to embrace Pass/No Record, now is not it. Good news, though – spring break is right around the corner. You’ll have an extra week to work hard.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22): If there was ever a time to embrace Pass/No Record, now is not it. Good news, though – spring break is right around the corner. You’ll have an extra week to work hard.

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22): You will have to walk to school, barefoot uphill both ways in the snow. And this winter is about to be Boston’s snowiest winter ever.

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): When you see the bananas in the dining hall I bet all you can think of is the telephone. Use this as a reminder to call your family or reconnect with old friends. I bet they would love to hear from you.

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): Stop. Stop procrastinating. Stop saying ‘no.’ Stop trying so hard. Stop not trying hard enough. Stop feeling guilty.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21): Tennis balls are so perfectly round and fuzzy. They are fun to bounce. You can’t not smile when you’re holding a tennis ball. Next time you see one of these magical objects, make sure you give it its due respect.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): You can convince them of anything. Remember, people used to think the Earth was flat.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): You look like you need some ice cream. Guess what flavors the Dining Hall has? Peach.


Horoscopes by Drunk Editors

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): You should probably re-measure that thing.

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Today is going to be the worst. Maybe you should get a new hat.

Aries (March 21 – April 19): If a Candidate comes up to you with questions, make sure that they know Olin Dining doesn’t have grapefruit spoons.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20): You know what you did, and so does the universe. You’re awesome.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20): Give up hope on that. No more partying for you.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22): Do you smell that across the hall?

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22): Paint the town red. Crash a party.

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): You rule. Go look for pizza.

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): Run! Hide!

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21): Don’t forget your towel.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): Things may be unclear today. Bring an umbrella.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): Today will be almost perfect… for everyone else!

Faculty and Staff Describe Jobs

Last month, we did a twist on our regular column. Instead of asking open ended questions to students, we had students submit and vote for questions that we asked faculty and staff. Three questions came out on top. You will find the responses to these questions in articles titled “Least Favorite Part of Olin,” “What You Do Saturday Nights,” and “Coolest Project You’ve Done.”

First however, we asked: What do you do at Olin?

Alyson Goodrow: Marketing

Peter Antognoni: Instruct in the Fabrication shops.

Rae-Anne Butera: Dean of Student Life

Alison Black: Assistant Dean of Student Life

Susan Johanson: Administrative support to Dean of Admission and Admission office in general

Jessica Townsend: Associate Dean of Curriculum and Academic Programs

Michelle Davis: Marketing

Drew: Muck about with robots

Sarah Spence Adams: Faculty Member

Oscar: Learn, sometimes I say useful stuff

Anonymous A: Work

Anonymous B: Admissions

Anonymous C: Teach

Anonymous D: (not specified)

A special thank you to our Faculty and Staff contributors for taking the time to answer these questions, and a super special thanks for all you do beyond that.

Least Favorite Part of Olin

The open ended question for faculty and staff that received the most student votes was: What is your least favorite part of Olin?

Peter Antognoni: The commute (2.5 hr./day)

Susan Johanson: The lack of an ombudsman for staff and faculty.

Jessica Townsend: We’re all too busy all the time.

Drew: There are too many things to do, and not enough time.

Alison Black: I wish the Olin community was more diverse, especially in terms of race and ethnicity.

Rae-Anne Butera: I wish we had a snack bar/coffee shop. Maybe we should start one in OSL…. Would more students come up to OSL just to hang out if we did?

Oscar: The lack of diversity and will to engage this.

Anonymous A: People abusing “working from home”

Anonymous B: Lack of empathy or understanding of one another’s viewpoints. So many disagreements or struggles at Olin (and in the world) arise from two people with mildly incompatible views thinking the other is wrong, unintelligent, and being intentionally difficult. Meanwhile, we aren’t aware of the influence our own blind spots have on our actions, and the impact that we have on others based on our assumptions.

Anonymous C: When students remember to criticize parts of a course but forget to mention the good parts (on course evaluations, for example)

Anonymous D: Getting to know students personally. Y’all’s interesting.

What You Do Saturday Nights

The second most popular Open Ended Question was: What do you do on Saturday nights?

Alyson Goodrow: Most recently, watch episode after episode after episode after episode of Homeland… or go out for dinner/drinks with friends, go on a date with my hubby, watch a movie, host 7 and 9 year olds for sleepovers, etc.

Peter Antognoni: I gather with friends and family to break bread, talk, watch content in our family projector room with the wood stove going ( or if left to myself just tinker in my machine shop :<)

Sarah Spence Adams: Sleep

Susan Johanson: Make and share supper and the evening with my husband, take a late walk with our dog, read, listen to music or the radio.

Jessica Townsend: Cooking dinner with friends

Alison Black: I’m usually on my couch reading, watching TV, and recovering from a long run/walk.

Oscar: Sleep

Anonymous A: Out for dinner, show, movie

An Experience with Christianity

Editor’s Note: The following was written as a response to the article “Religion and the Broom Closet” by Claire Barnes originally published November 2014.

Thank you for telling us you are Wiccan. We welcome you with open arms, and (I, at least) hope many of you other religious folk, minority or otherwise, write articles to let us know what your religion is all about.

There is one thing I wanted to address however, and that is the topic of Christianity. Yes, here we go – another article by a Christian about Christianity. Or wait, could it be instead a non-Christian bashing Christianity? Neither actually.

I grew up a Christian. In fact, I was a model one. The Christian community was something I lived and breathed, and I never knew anyone outside of it beyond what I read in books.

I was also in hell.

I never told anyone. I was taught no one cared and that I was just acting weird because I wanted attention. I exaggerated and made things up because I wanted to be noticed. If I was not “happy,” I was causing trouble. But nothing became as ingrained as what I started hearing people scoff about others. A mass of chants accumulated in my mind, voices which should not have been there began echoing them as soon as silence fell. I stopped being a human; I just acted like one – a little puppet on stage masquerading around in a lie because at least it made other people happy. I could feel my own mind ripping apart.

Then I changed. Those stories you hear about a light coming down from heaven? It happened to me. It took me out of that hell. But the people I thought would rejoice were the first to turn their backs. They began speaking, almost word for word, the same chants that put me in that hell to begin with. I never even had to tell them what those chants were.

I was so scared. I was so bleeping scared. The way they looked at me. Their necks slightly crooked, their pupils wide and almost on fire with a gaze full of scoffing pity. Their voices. Almost a hiss behind the subtle, quaking sob because part of me wanted to believe that beneath that deaf arrogance and fear, they actually did care about me. I was so bleeping scared.

Am I a Christian? Not anymore. By definition, probably – I still believe a lot of what they believe. But my family made it very clear their god is not mine and I am no longer welcome, no matter how many cards they send indicating their love. I never told them about the hell I experienced before I changed. I never told them about the light. When I think maybe everything would be better if I did, I always end up asking: why should that even make a difference?

I want to apologize to Christians out there if I make them feel the same way. Someday I might be able to talk to one of you normally without cringing. I also apologize to anyone out there who I’ve made feel like they’re unwelcome. I truly try not to. I wholeheartedly know that you believe what you believe as much as I believe what I believe. I apologize for turning a positive article into something that’s so negative.

Finally, I want to say: This is not a bashing of Christianity, nor a bashing of religion.

Neither Christianity nor religion put me in hell. Ignorance did. Neither Christianity nor religion left me there. Apathy did. Neither Christianity nor religion started thrashing when I finally got out. Pride did. Neither Christianity nor religion “saved” me. God did. Even if that god was the hallucination of someone who lost their mind because they had been alone for too long – which I am perfectly happy to accept as an explanation – that light did more for me than anyone else ever would.

A “god” will live through their people, whether you believe in one or not. So what are you saying about yours?

Coolest Project You’ve Done

This month, three Open Ended Questions were posed to the faculty and staff. The third question was: What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

Alyson Goodrow: Redesigning Hands down!

Peter Antognoni: Without a doubt volunteering with home building through Habitat for Humanity.
That’s where the saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive” comes alive!

Susan Johanson: It would have to be Project INTREX (information transfer experiments), an MIT-based project proposed to the National Science Foundation to put the entire contents of the MIT engineering library onto microfilm and microfiche, so it could be remotely accessed. At the time, we had no terminals, personal computers or internet – what an imaginative, remarkable idea!

Jessica Townsend: Testing rocket engines at Blue Origin.

Michelle Davis: One time I organized a headache sufferers art show to demonstrate the pain, suffering and visual auras that people with headaches experience, and to also show the creativity that can also accompany headaches. We received photos, prints, paintings and sculptures of people with spikes in their heads, dramatic visual apparitions and representations of the sense of isolation that people felt when experiencing an episode. It was very empowering for our patients (I worked at a hospital) but it also generated tons of attention for our headache treatment facility, which was my job as a PR director at the time.

Drew: PackBot! A mobile robot that’s fast, tough, easy to use and has actually saved people’s lives. I’ve worked on other great projects, but knowing someone didn’t die because of my robot is the best.

Sarah Spence Adams: Solving a really hard research problem with two of my first Olin research students. We worked together for many years to solve the problem, solving lots of other problems and including many other students along the way. It was an incredible journey and a highlight of my professional life.

Oscar: 1. Vibration-to-electric energy conversion using MEMS.
2. MIT microengine (a turbine the size of a dime).
PS: You asked for coolest, not most meaningful or important…

Anonymous D: Space, when it was new, when nobody knew just what would work & wouldn’t. You had to REACH — both with imaginings and with products — and only delivering counted. The fundamental P/F (NR just wasn’t) was launch and all that sci/pol stuff it took to get to the pad, then data & the satellite-filled world as we now enjoy it. I have lived in the best, most fun & challenging times, methinks & me hopes u feel the same at yours as you find your contributions.

Honor Board MadLibs

Cases before the Honor Board are wide and varied. Topics range from personal differences and academic dishonesty to misuse of public materials. Above all, the Honor Board is a means for Olin Community members to work out their differences safely and confidentially.
Find a friend and fill out the MadLibs in the paragraphs below to learn about a past case.

This month’s MadLib is loosely based on an Honor Board case released Spring 2012 about lying to group members to avoid a meeting. You can read the original case, as well as several other abstracts, in the Honor Drive (\\fsvs01\StudentGroups\HonorBoard\Abstracts).

____________ (Name 1) and ______________ (Name 2) were working on a four-person group project for _____________(name of Olin class). In general, the dynamic of the group was ________________(negative adjective): group members often _______________ (past tense verb) during meetings, and frequently missed class work time. Shortly before one particular group meeting, __________ (Name 2) sent an email to the group saying that he would not be able to make it due to a conflicting _____________ (noun 1) for a group project in another class.

The next day, _____________ (Name 1) was talking to a friend, and it came up in conversation that the friend had seen _______________ (Name 2) ________________(imperfect tense verb) during the time of the previous night’s meeting. ________________(Name 1) later talked to ________________ (Name 2)’s partner for the other class, and learned that there had been no conflicting _______________ (noun 1) scheduled for the other class. _______________(Name 1), believing that _______________ (Name 2) may have lied about having a conflict, submitted a report to the Honor Board.
In an interview with the Investigative Team, _______________ (Name 1) explained that her goal was not to punish _______________ (Name 2), but to allow him to _______________ (verb) upon his actions and ______________ (verb) their effects on others. She also noted that the ______________ (noun) as a whole had not been functioning well, and no one had tried to initiate a discussion on improving team dynamics.

____________ (Name 2) was charged with violating the Respect for Others and Integrity clauses of the Honor Code. During a meeting with the Investigative Team, _______________ (Name 2) accepted responsibility for the charges and expressed regret for his actions. The Investigative Team _______________(past tense verb) the case to have merit for ______________ (plural noun), and thus sent the case to hearing.
As ______________(Name 2) accepted the responsibility, the hearing panel went straight to the ____________ (adjective) phase and decided ____________ (preposition) the following sanctions: a _____________ (noun) to _____________ (Name 1) addressing how his actions ________________(past tense verb) his group members, Professor _________________(Name 3) was asked to take the case into account in the grade given for the assignment, and _______________ (Name 2) was given a disciplinary warning.

What You Regret Not Doing

Last month, we proposed the question: What do regret not doing? The following are your answers.

I regret not going to a Comic Convention with all my friends in high school. And now I’m at college here, and they’re at colleges everywhere else. – Jennifer Anderson

Going to Brazil/Insper this semester. – Anonymous

I regret not getting to know my professors better – while I am friendly with most of them, I don’t think there’s that one professor I’ll be rushing to see when I come to visit Olin after I graduate. – A Senior

I regret nothing. – Anonymous Chloe

Study abroad! Do it, even if you don’t want to. – Anonymous

Be out publicly (as gay) in college. College is an important time for building relationships, and hiding this from people can really hinder relational growth. That doesn’t mean I can’t still make amazing friends here, though! :) – Anonymous

Breaking the six week rule as a first-year. – Anonymous

Next month we are changing things a bit. An open ended will be targeted at Faculty and Staff, to be published in the December 2014 issue. Stay tuned for an email to submit questions.