051624 (Graduation Issue 2024)

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Dear Class of 2024,

Your time in the College began like no other. Coming into a new environment during an unprecedented era defined by masks, social distancing, and virtual hangouts, you displayed not only creativity in the ways you learn, connect, and grow, but also resilience. Overcoming the challenges posed by COVID and the transition to a nineweek quarter alike, you can confidently characterize your time as an undergraduate at UChicago as one of a kind.

The Class of 2024 is composed of some of the most talented people we’ve

Editors’ Note

ever met. You’ve been our teaching assistants, RAs, and RSO leaders, but, above all, you’ve been our friends. Whether in the classroom or the house lounge, you’ve inspired us in too many ways to detail in one short letter, and we cannot imagine our UChicago experience without you. As you go on to whatever adventures await, know that we’ll be eagerly cheering you on. We’re confident that you’ll bring the same intelligence, humor, and grace to the rest of the world.

To the graduating Maroon staff, your presence unequivocally brightened the office and Slack, and we are equal parts sad that you’re leaving us

and proud of the legacy you have built within the paper and beyond. To our fearless predecessors—Nikhil, Solana, and Michael: we were incredibly lucky to have your leadership (or incredibly unlucky—you’ve left big shoes to fill).

To the graduating members of our onthe-ground encampment reporting team: thank you for staying on for one last story. This class of Maroon staffers is immensely talented and has shaped the paper for years to come. Be sure to come back and tell us of your accomplishments.

UChicago is a place defined by the people who come together for “the life

of the mind.” Your presence here shaped this university, and we have no doubt your time here shaped you. As you step into the next chapters of your lives, we hope the pages written here will inspire you in the same ways that you continue to inspire us.

Here’s Where the Class of 2024 Is Headed After Graduation

Disclaimer: Data was shared with the M aroon on the day of the interview, April 17, and may have changed since.

In a new addition to the usual Graduation Issue lineup, the Maroon spoke with the Career Office about the class of 2024’s plans after convocation. Executive Director of Career Advancement Meredith Daw shared information about the Class of 2024’s accomplishments and where they are headed, as well as some interesting trends she has seen over her past 20 years with Career Advancement.

By June 2024, 1,905 students will have graduated in the Class of 2024. This also includes students who graduated earlier this year. The Career Office closely monitors students’ career journeys throughout their four years by maintaining records of jobs students apply for, advising notes, program sessions, career fairs they attend, and more through a system called Salesforce.

In comparison with the current class, as of April 17, 2023, 71 percent of the 2023 graduating class had post-graduation plans. It was a smaller class, with 1,675 students. By the same date this year, 81 percent of the 2024 graduating class had plans. Though these numbers will continue changing and will only be finalized around mid-June, Daw said

that this is the best students have ever done by that point in time.

By the end of last June, 99 percent of the 2023 graduating class had plans. Of this 99 percent, 77 percent of the class went into employment, and 22 percent went to graduate school. Of the graduate school attendees, half were pursuing professional degrees, and the other half were pursuing Ph.D. or academic master’s programs.

This year, it is projected that 22 percent of the Class of 2024 will go into grad school. As of this interview, 26 percent of that 22 percent going into graduate school are pursuing a Ph.D. According to Daw, the number of students confirmed to be going into a Ph.D. program will jump significantly.

As of mid-April, 36 percent of the 2024 graduating class are going to the Midwest, 35 percent to the Northeast, 13 percent to the West (mostly California), nine percent to the South (mostly Texas and Florida), and seven percent to international locations.

Of the 81 percent of students of the 2024 class who had reported post-graduation plans, 77 percent are going into the workplace. These careers span across several different industries. 15 percent are going into management consulting, which Daw said was exception-

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While 83 percent of the total graduating class has plans, that percentage is higher among Odyssey Scholars.


ally high this year. 30 percent are going into financial services. 6 percent are going into the arts, which Daw said should increase as offers keep rolling in. 11 percent are going into education. 4 percent are going into startups. 12 percent are going into coding and the tech industry. 12 percent are going into science, such as laboratories. 5 percent are going into healthcare. Education and non-profit job offers had not yet been released at the time of the interview.

Daw also highlighted that Odyssey Scholars are doing very well this year. While 83 percent of the total graduating class has plans, that percentage is higher among Odyssey Scholars. Daw said that, throughout their four years in the College, about 92 percent of students consistently engage with the Career Office, meaning that they meet and/or interact with the career advisers.

The Class of 2024’s Gems of Hyde Park

As graduation approaches, we asked the Class of 2024 to share some of their most beloved Hyde Park businesses. From elevated Southern cuisine to a classic cup of coffee, which slice of Hyde Park’s food scene will remain in their hearts?

Virtue Restaurant

1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Chef Erick Williams opened Virtue Restaurant in 2018 with the vision of bringing classic southern hospitality to the Hyde Park community. Over time, this upscale eatery has received many accolades, including a prestigious James Beard Award and a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand. As Richa Pillai describes, “Virtue has perfected the art of elevated southern cuisine, and their corn bread is to die for.” Other menu stand-outs include their roasted chicken and blackened cod, both bursting with flavor and southern charm.

Build Coffee

6100 S. Blackstone Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Nestled in the red brick wall of Blackstone Avenue is Build Coffee, a coffee shop, bookstore, and art gallery in one. According to Mason Harris, the shop serves “the best breakfast sandwich in Hyde Park and has such a great vibe for doing casual homework with friends or for a quick pickup coffee before a walk to the Point.”

Designed as a hub for radical collaboration, Build Coffee has deep ties to the community-driven nonprofits of the South Side. The shop is also located right next to the 61st Street Farmers Market, which hosts outdoor markets every Sat-

urday from May to October.

Valois Restaurant

1518 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

A longtime staple of 53rd Street, Valois serves a smorgasbord of classic comfort dishes including pancakes, omelets, and eggs. Over its 100+ years in operation, the cafeteria-style breakfast joint has won the hearts (and stomachs) of generations of Hyde Park residents, from former president Barack Obama to Nish Sinha.

“There are plenty of newer places that I like too, but Valois really is special. A #4 omelet with hash browns has single-handedly recharged me after multiple brutal reading periods,” Sinha said. “Whatever morning you’re there, it feels like all of Hyde Park is there too, and that’s a really warm experience: I’ve run into friends with their family, longtime Hyde Parkers, and even visiting prospies. If I have a free morning and I’m needing energy, I’m there.”


1440 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

According to Brianna Liu, no brunch in Hyde Park compares to Salonica’s. This cozy Greek and American diner offers familiar menu items in a vintage-style storefront on 57th Street. In particular, Liu notes that “the pancakes, skirt steak, and diner-style setting make for a homey and hearty brunch experience.”

Cheesie’s Food Truck

Usually parked at 58th & Ellis.

If you ever see a bright yellow truck roaming around campus emblazoned with a giant, grinning grilled cheese, you

know that Cheesie’s is in town. The food truck serves old-fashioned grilled cheeses made fresh to order. “On a good day, when I want to treat myself, their Tendy Tots or Tenderizer combine cheese, carbs, chicken, bacon, and an onslaught of sauces into the most delicious midday meal I could ask for,” Sam Johnson said. “The owner is also really kind and makes really interesting conversation while you wait for the food, so I always leave really happy.”

Ascione Bistro

1500 E. 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Ascione Bistro is a local eatery serving contemporary Italian cuisine, featuring a spacious dining room and backyard patio. When Julia Marcussen visited the University for the first time after being accepted, the salmon dish from Ascione Bistro sold her on the idea of coming here. “I went to Ascione [with my brother], so it was very


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From elevated Southern cuisine to a classic cup of coffee, which slice of Hyde Park’s food scene


special… to celebrate getting in,” she said.

Woodlawn Tap

1172 E. 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Woodlawn Tap, affectionately known as “Jimmy’s” after the barkeep who owned it for a half-century, offers an array of classic pub snacks to accompany late-night hangouts. “The food at Jimmy’s is nothing to shake a stick at,” Xochitl Carrera

said. “Sometimes, you just need a cheap, greasy, unpretentious burger with a side of cheese curds.”

For any readers planning on visiting, remember that Jimmy’s is cash only.


1400 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

While the Subway on 53rd Street may not be your first choice for date night or a girls’ night out, it has become a sentimen-

will remain in their hearts?

tal favorite of Gabriel Reyes Esclasans: “[It] never closes and is always reliable after partying/clubbing and during finals. One of the guys there is also super nice.”

Perhaps, most decisively, it is only a 2-minute walk from Esclasans’s apartment.

Robust Coffee Lounge

6300 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Perched on the corner of Woodlawn

and 63rd, Robust serves free-trade brews, breakfast sandwiches, and Belgian waffles in an industrial-chic lounge. The coffeehouse has become the “go-to place for weekend study sessions” for many students living south of campus, including Isaiah Escapa. “They have the best smoothies in Hyde Park, alongside the perfect atmosphere,” he said. Escapa notes that he will especially miss their Honey Nut Latte after graduating.

Uncommon Interview: 2023–24 USG President Jefferson Lind

Per tradition, the Maroon interviewed outgoing Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President Jefferson Lind to discuss his time in USG, the initiatives he is most proud of, and his advice for incoming cabinet members.

Lind is an economics and psychology major and a cinema and media studies minor. He joined USG at the beginning of his second year and found a passion for the organization there, becoming executive vice president in 2022 and president in 2023.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Chicago Maroon (CM): What initially inspired you to get involved with USG, and what has been your involvement with USG prior to becoming president?

Jefferson Lind (JL): I ran pretty much a joke campaign. At the end of my first year, at the time, I was home in Austin, Texas, because of COVID. It just seemed like, you know, a funny, fun thing to do because I liked marketing, and I like to try to put myself out there for things, and I had a few things I cared about the University doing a better job on. But really, at the time, I was not invested in USG for the work that we actually do. I was honestly just trying to find something new and interesting to do, and I had no idea that [I] would win.

But I ended up winning [College Council elections] at the end of my first year,

going into my second year. I served as a representative for that year, and by the end of [my second] year, I was serving as the vice chair of College Council because they were looking for one, and I had found that there were a lot of things I was really excited about, particularly the Lyft program.

Advocacy was something that [...] continued to be very big [for me] but was originally established during that summer prior to the start of my second year. I ran with my friend Summer Long, [who] asked me to run with her as her vice president. And so I did, I ran, and I became executive vice president of Student Government for my third year in college. And then at the end of that year, I ran for president with Ariana Ukaonu [as executive vice president].

CM: What do you see as your greatest success?

JL: I don’t think I can take sole credit for it, but I played some part in getting the Lyft program initially established. I still think that’s probably the greatest program that USG has ever done, at least in my time. It’s something that I use all the time and that a bunch of people, almost everybody I know, uses the Lyft program in some way. I think it’s really rare to have an opportunity to suggest and advocate for a project like that and have it actually be successful and reach as many people on campus as it does.

CM: What do you see as the relation-

ship between USG and the University?

JL: We’re in a new era with that [relationship], I think, since about 2021. One of the other big things I did as a member of Student Government is that, in 2021, there was a constitutional redrafting process that happened that I played a role in, but I wasn’t in Student Government when it was starting to be authorized. I ended up being part of the team that was working on fixing up and creating the new constitution, but I didn’t know that that would be my role when I started being in Student Government.

And then after the end of that year, once I got elected to be executive vice president, the previous president had said that he was going to help draw up that constitution and its bylaws but then did not end up drafting any bylaws. So it fell on to me to draft the bylaws for all [of] Student Government pretty much from scratch last year, and that was a really hard step, but that’s probably my biggest thing that I feel I was personally [responsible for], but I still think that also included a bunch of other people’s work as well.

Anyway, to answer your question more directly, the constitutional amendment really changed the way that we interact with the administration. We now have gotten, in the last three years, to meet with lots of top administrators who never used to meet with USG, including the president, the provost, the dean of students, [and] the dean of the college. So, nowadays, we have direct lines of communication to all those offices.

And, obviously, they’re not always talking to us, but we have standing meetings with each of them. We meet with the president once a quarter at this point, so that’s a pretty big thing that previous student governments didn’t get to do, and the Lyft program has resulted in actual forward progress for students. They don’t have to do anything we say, but we can suggest it firmly, and sometimes they listen.

CM: Currently, what are some of the primary initiatives that USG has been focusing on, and what are some initiatives you hope to see the next slate continue?

JL: Well, I would say that this has been kind of a unique year for USG. I didn’t think it would be this way when I started, but it’s ended up being kind of an oddly journalistic year. Most of the big


courtesy of jefferson lind
“Lyft is the single issue that most students have talked to us about, and in my ideal reality we would not ever leave the Lyft program.”


achievements we’ve had have been going into meetings with the directors of transportation or with the provost and getting new insights on what the University is doing, in terms of the budget tightness that has become public now and in terms of potentially switching off the Lyft program, which we don’t want to do, but at least we are getting updates and assurances about it at minimum.

When I look at this year, in particular, it’s been a big year of going into meetings and trying to get information that we can then share with the Maroon or share with the student body, and hopefully get the University to stay committed on a few key issues, in terms of what they’re not going to cut funding from or what the new Lyft program will look like.

One big program that I’m hoping to see continue to expand that has started to be established this year, through the work of [College Council Chair] Elijah Jenkins, is that the University is debuting some new interesting programs in African languages that I think is a really interesting, cool, and valuable course of study that I hope whoever the next administration is continues to see through its development and expansion.

One other thing that I am hoping to see future student governments work on that I’m proud of accomplishing this year is that we worked with the housing office to establish a small subsidy program for laundry for students who have need in that space. It exists now, which we’re very excited about and proud of. But it’s still fairly small and not always the easiest to get access to. I would love to see an expansion of cheaper or free laundry resources for students around campus.

And then one that I think is something that we’ve been interested in but honestly haven’t gotten to see a lot of progress on this year would be Maroon Dollar flexibility: the idea that Maroon Dollars can pay for more than just stuff you get at Bart Mart or a few campus restaurants and dining locations, but maybe you could use it for expenses like laundry or printing around campus. So, little ways to cut costs for students all around campus is a

big interest and focus.

And one last thing I would say is, probably the hardest meeting I think I’ve had this year was this one where we met with the provost and asked about whether the University would ever explore divestment from less-than-ethical investments, in our opinion. In the previous meetings where we’ve brought that up to them, they have always said something like, we’ll look into it, or that’s interesting. They’ve always just avoided that question, in my experience. And the provost very directly said to us that [they] do not have any plans to interrogate [the University’s] investments on a level other than financial because if we do, then we set the precedent that we are evaluating our investments qualitatively, rather than just for their financial value, and that would dramatically change the investing practices and strategies of the University.

So essentially, they can’t divest because it opens up the floodgates to other investments being potentially zeroed in on or criticized, which, I think, is a harsh thing to hear from my point of view. But I’m also shocked that they said that as directly as they did, and I would hope that a future student government can continue to try to press on the issue of divestment and, hopefully, find some sort of leverage or avenue to make more progress there that we haven’t been able to do so far.

CM: To dive a little deeper into the Lyft program, do you have any more insight into why the University decided to make a shift to the Via system?

JL: Well, they are concerned about a couple of things. I think that cost is obviously a major factor for the University right now, and the Lyft deal that exists is not a particularly efficient deal from the University’s side. It’s a very costly program, and I think the Via deal would be less costly for them by a dramatic margin.

So, if I’m trying to read the tea leaves, the number one rationale is that Lyft is very, very expensive for the University, and Via would be less so. But they also would like to have a program that they can find a way to integrate with their bus system better. The app that you would use to navigate all of this next year, which I

believe is a new app, would both have Via availability nearby and also accurate bus tracking.

One big thing that they’ve been trying to do for a while is expand the number of shuttles that are going on, because right now the campus shuttles are not always reliable, nor are the routes very convenient. But they can’t add new routes until they get new buses, which have been ordered, but there’s some sort of supply chain delay right now.

From the University’s perspective, they want a solution that they’re going to couple with a much more robust bus system than exists right now. But that system can’t really come into being until the new buses are actually here and they can have all the buses running on convenient, reliable, and easy-to-understand routes. So that is to say that I think that Via essentially offers the University less cost and more control over what this system looks like.

CM: As someone who was initially involved with the Lyft program, do you have any concerns about this switch?

JL: Extremely. I understand that it’s costly, [and] I understand that the University is having to have a lot of resources invested in a third party, which they don’t love. But the fact is that the Lyft program is an extremely successful one that brings safety and convenience to a lot of students, and we have no guarantee that this program will be equally reliable to Lyft.

The best that we’ve been able to do is to have [the University] guarantee that the Via program will call a Lyft if you wait 15 minutes and there’s still no Via, but 15 minutes can be a long time when you’re trying to get out of a party you don’t want to be at. So, I am massively concerned about Via being worse than Lyft. But the upside is that Via is completely unlimited, whereas Lyft is not. So there is some silver lining. But we have spent pretty much every admin meeting that we’ve had since the Lyft program was cut from 10 to seven rides re-emphasizing and advocating for the expansion of the Lyft program.

We posted a survey over the summer to have some data to back us up on this,

and we got more responses in favor of Lyft than any survey USG has ever conducted in its history. Lyft is the single issue that most students have talked to us about, and in my ideal reality we would not ever leave the Lyft program, but as it stands, given how much we’ve made this a focus of literally every avenue of advocacy we’ve had in the year, I think that there’s no way around [the University] pivoting to Via. So the best that we can do is keep a very watchful eye on it and try to get as many assurances that it will be as reliable and easy to use as Lyft is.

CM: Finally, looking forward to next year, what would be your advice to the incoming USG slate and cabinet members?

JL: My number one piece of advice would be to realize that you have an organization of almost 100 people working with you and that all of these people are excited to be a part of it. That’s a resource not only you should use, but you almost have to use [it] if you’re going to keep your sanity while you do this; it’s a lot of work. And, use the fact that you have a team. That would be my number one piece of advice because if you try to shoulder it all on your own, you’ll get completely overwhelmed. The other thing is, it’s college, and this stuff is important, but also living a little and maintaining your own mental health is very important through all this.

From a political point of view, my advice would be, as far as meetings with administrators go, it’s better to have fewer items on an agenda but more time to talk about them than more items with less time to talk about them. I think we found a lot of new information through having smaller-setting meetings that deal with fewer issues but let us dive really deep and ask a lot of follow-ups and drill the questions that the administrators might not be expecting.

This organization is big and stressful and does a lot of different stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s really been worthwhile to be a part of it, and I would encourage anybody reading this who wants to get involved one day to absolutely do it. I notice this is the graduation issue, so maybe all I’ve got to say to my fellow graduating seniors is, it’s been a heck of a ride.


Forging Leaders: ROTC Fourth-years Reflect on Journey

Following Convocation on June 1, graduates will embark on their post-college journeys. For the Class of 2023, 99 percent of students had received offers for either employment or graduate school by the day of graduation, a trend expected to continue for the Class of 2024. However, a select few within the graduating cohort will embark on a different kind of journey—serving in the U.S. military through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

ROTC programs offer students scholarships and other monetary support over four years of education at a participating school. After graduating, students are obligated to various durations of service depending on the program. There are two branches of ROTC at UChicago: Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC, with about 20 students enrolled in each branch. Among the Class of 2024, only two students have chosen this unique path: Spencer Scott, enrolled in Army ROTC, and Pierce Pramuka, enrolled in Air Force ROTC. The Maroon spoke with both graduating fourth-year students, as well as ROTC alumni, about their motivations and plans for the transition into duty.

For Scott, the decision to join ROTC was heavily influenced by family tradition and a desire to serve the country.

“My whole family has been in the

Army… so I’ve been raised around that, and I’ve always been very interested in serving the country and giving back,” Scott said. “There are legitimate problems with America, but there are a lot of things that America does well, and so if I can give back and do public service in some way, shape, or form, I feel like that is a net positive and a good thing to do.”

Scott isn’t alone in being influenced by his family: Pew Research Center reports that 60 percent of veterans under 40 have an immediate family member who served. However, both Scott and alum David Jaffe, A.B. ’23 note that they and many students are also drawn to ROTC because of the many scholarships offered through the program, with many able to have their undergraduate education partially or even fully paid for by the military in exchange for a contract of service.

“If you serve four years… they pay for all four years of your undergraduate college, while also paying you to go to ROTC, paying for your room and board,” Jaffe said. “So, for a lot of UChicago students it’s a very prestigious job that they can do straight out of college that also pays for college.”

Though Jaffe is currently undergoing Basic Officer Leadership training to become an infantry officer, he finds that most of his peers in UChicago ROTC

tend toward logistics-oriented branches, which is reflected in Scott’s choice to enter the Ordnance Corps. “There aren’t many UChicago students that want to go into combat arms branches, like infantry or field artillery,” Jaffe said.

Regardless of their chosen branch, however, all ROTC members attend rigorous physical training sessions, leadership labs, and other specialized training. According to Jaffe, these sessions, often commencing in the early morning, instill discipline and foster essential time management skills.

“ROTC teaches you good time management skills, and then the more time you spend in the army, the better your time management skills are,” Jaffe said. “In the infantry, especially, you’re given a task, [and] you almost always don’t have enough time to do it… but you have to figure out a way to accomplish the mission anyway… so you learn how to allocate time and resources.”

Scott echoes this sentiment. “It forces me to already kind of have a schedule because I know that if I have to wake up at, say, 6:30 every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, I need to be in bed by probably 10 or 11 the night before,” Scott said. “The structure really helped me to get used to college and to understand my work.”

Beyond providing structure, Scott and alum Lola Fisher, A.B. ’23 believe that ROTC instills important qualities in

its members, emphasizing communication, understanding, and support. Fisher, who is currently pursuing a master’s at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service while serving as a reserve platoon leader, cites ROTC as responsible for building her confidence during college.

“I came in [to the program] really shy, [but] because [ROTC students] could get so much attention, that was something that was clocked and worked on with me really fast,” Fisher said. “So, four years later, I wouldn’t call myself the most extroverted person, but [I am comfortable] holding leadership positions, able to tell people what to do, and [can] confidently walk somebody through a plan or something like that.”

When asked to offer advice to prospective cadets, Pramuka emphasized the benefits of ROTC beyond potential scholarships.

“Don’t do [ROTC] for the money,” Pramuka said. “Do it for professional development or because you want to serve, and then I think it’s definitely doable. People think, ‘Oh, I’m going to join the military… it’s going to suck, it’s going to be hard,’ but there are just some things you have to embrace the suck for. I think it’s an overall really positive experience that contributes a lot to personal and professional development, and I don’t think you can get an experience like that almost anywhere else.”

Two Professors to Receive Honorary Degrees at the 2024 Convocation

The University announced on January 4 that professors Randall Kennedy and Bernd Sturmfels will receive honorary degrees at the 538th Convocation, which will take place on June 1.

Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School, is best known for his work in contracts, race relations, and criminal law. He is the author of Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity and Adoption, which examines racial biases in intimate relationships, and testified before Congress

on the modern usage of the N-word.

In an interview with the Maroon, Kennedy said his focus on often controversial topics arises from a desire for interesting conversation.

“Much of what I’ve written stems from conversations,” Kennedy said. “If I encounter a subject and it has provoked a number of very vigorous conversations, then here’s something to write about.”

While the University adheres to a general nomination process that involves reviews by divisional committees and

approval by the dean of their respective departments, nominations are often a surprise for their recipients.

Kennedy said that he has “tremendous respect” for the University and is thankful for the support he has received from the University of Chicago Law School during his career. He remembered receiving a request from the Law School to contribute to the Supreme Court Review, a scholarly journal published by the University of Chicago Press that evaluates Supreme Court decisions, only to have his submission later turned down.

Kennedy has since seen the University

as “academics who take their craft seriously” and has written in appreciation of the criticism he received from the journal towards advancing his legal academic career.

Bernd Sturmfels is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences and a professor emeritus in mathematics and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written 12 books and more than 200 research articles on the applications of abstract mathematical concepts.

“What I’m really known for in this CONTINUED ON PG. 7

“I would say this particular award is for turning a very pure subject of mathematics into many different fields.”


context is bringing algebraic geometry to application,” Sturmfels said in an interview with the Maroon. “I would say this particular award is for turning a very pure subject of mathematics into many different fields.”

Sturmfels credits Lek-Heng Lim, a professor in the Department of Statis -

tics, for the nomination. Lim collaborated with Sturmfels during his postdoc at UC Berkeley, with Sturmfels embodying an advisory role. During his two years as an advisor, Sturmfels helped put Lim into contact with another colleague of his, Chris Hillar, with whom Lim then produced a highly cited research paper. “[Sturmfels] was very kind to me and

involved me in his research group meetings,” Lim said.

When Lim set out to nominate his previous advisor for this award, he helped collect letters of recommendation from faculty not only at the University of Chicago but also at other universities. “He was outstanding not only to me but to other people in the community,” Lim

said. “A lot of others owe their careers to Sturmfels and are very supportive of his nomination.” As the catalyst for Sturmfels’s nomination, Lim will read a brief statement explaining Sturmfels’s accomplishments at Convocation.

Kennedy and Sturmfels will both speak at Convocation during the reception of their honorary degrees.

Actor Anna Chlumsky A.B. ’02 Announced as 2024 Class Day Speaker

On March 19, actor Anna Chlumsky was announced as the speaker for the University of Chicago’s 2024 Class Day ceremony, held during convocation weekend on Friday, May 31.

Best known for her role as Amy Brookheimer in the HBO comedy series Veep, Chlumsky was a child actor before attending UChicago and graduating in 2002. She took a hiatus from acting after graduation and moved to New York City, first working as a fact-checker for restaurant-rating organization Zagat and then as an editorial assistant for publishing company HarperCollins. She returned to the screen in a 2007 episode of Law & Order, and along with Veep, Chlumsky has continued acting post-UChicago in projects such as Armando Iannucci’s movie In The Loop and the Netflix miniseries Inventing Anna Chlumsky sat down with the Maroon to talk about the unique path she took to the University of Chicago, how gaining fame as a child actor affected her career, and her favorite spots on campus as a student.

“I was honored and very surprised,” Chlumsky said about receiving an invitation to speak at Class Day. “You don’t go around each day thinking that you’re qualified to speak to a group of accomplished strangers about anything.”

Originally from Chicago, Chlumsky grew up in the Proviso Township area. She had had roles in television and movies for

almost ten years as a child actor, but when she paused her acting career to attend UChicago, she found that her on-screen success had an unwanted side effect—attention.

“Attention, no matter what, was unwanted. It’s one of those things that makes a professional childhood not recommended. No matter what, it was always surprising—and not surprising at the same time—to have people anticipate my appearance on campus,” she said. “But I was totally excited to come to school because, number one, I’m just totally excited to be out of my mom’s house and embarking on a life of my own, and number two, I got to do things that had nothing to do with that profession that I had known my whole life. I got to write essays, and I got to be graded on my own merits. It was fantastic.”

Chlumsky graduated from UChicago in 2002 with a degree in international studies. She named John Mearsheimer, her thesis advisor, as one of her favorite professors and remembers spending time at a few special locations on campus, like Pick Hall and Cobb Café.

Her go-to order at Cobb Café? “A blueberry Pop Tart and a cup of milk. That was my life during my first year,” Chlumsky said.

It was during her time at UChicago that Chlumsky decided she wanted to quit acting and pursue a career in government, a decision that she would go back on years


“When I was at school, I thought I was actually going to apply [to work] for the State Department. I got the [Foreign Service Officer Test] exam study packet and I looked at it and it just sucked my soul. It was probably my first existential crisis moment because I really thought that was what I was gonna do,” she said.

“Fast forward, I’m in New York for a variety of reasons, and I decide that I do want to be an actor, but with a craft and for all the right reasons. Kind of like how a U of C student would have approached it, as opposed to being forced into it,” Chlumsky said. “So I pursued that. I went to the Atlantic [Acting School] and they had a very U of C application in that they had you not write about acting. And then I’m acting again and doing theater.”

Chlumsky mentioned Armando Iannucci’s movie In the Loop as a project she particularly connected with based on her studies at UChicago and her career goals while in college. In the movie, Chlumsky plays Liza Weld, an aide to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy.

“When I got [to the cold read], I saw that [my character] was this chick from the State Department writing a paper, and I’m just like—I got this. This is great. This is my alt[ernate] life. And so much of it was about the threat environment in the State Department, which was legitimately what my thesis was about—the threat environment in the world and how it affects policy. So it was a major ‘let go and go with what

you already know’ moment.”

Chlumsky commented that her time playing government figures on television coupled with her time studying international relations and government at the University of Chicago have made an impact on her view of both government and the people behind it.

“In The Loop was all about satire and how ridiculous it is that human beings are making all these decisions for people, and that the human beings are extremely flawed and that’s fine,” she said. “And to this day, this is a huge problem with the world right now, the concept that there’s gods and monsters that we vote for. I mean, what are we doing? We used to think that there was a divine right to royalty, and then we were like, ‘Screw that’, and enlightenment happened, and then here we are again! Like, ‘Oh, this person I’m voting for can do no wrong.’ That was exactly the type of story [In The Loop] was telling—stop pretending that this is somehow a comic book and there’s good and evil, because it’s really these assholes who just got out of college.

“And that’s where Veep came from—Armando Iannucci wrote Veep as well. And it was kind of my stance, and it’s still always my stance, that we’re not in a democracy to figure out what happens after death. There’s a separation of church and state, and we’re not doing fantasy here. It’s actually real life. That’s definitely a stance I always had at school and that I developed even more once I got out of school.”

“I really want to make sure that by the end of my little speech, people know that it’s really important to just brush your teeth.”


And in terms of what she wants to impart on the audience on Class Day, Chlumsky mentioned two ideas. One was about finding your way as an individual post-college.

“In school, we all come from this world of, ‘If I work hard and I figure it out then I’ll get the A, or if I don’t get an A I’ll talk to the professor,’” she said. “There’s this sys-

tem in academia that, once you crack the code, it feels somewhat reliable. And I think what gets scary for people is that the world outside of academia isn’t necessarily as systemic as that, and that can be very scary. So the only thing you can do is offer up what you can do. If you’re doing a job interview, or if you’re like me in my profession doing 100 job interviews a year because we’re always auditioning, you can’t get in the brain

of the person. You can’t do it. And if you try, you’re not presenting yourself, you’re presenting this bullshit idea that you have of what they want. And maybe it’ll hit the mark but not at a reliable pace. So you just have to do you.”

Chlumsky also said she hoped to impart on the audience that, while it’s easy to trade self-care for more hours spent studying and working as a college student,

that mindset can end up doing more harm than good.

“I really want to make sure that by the end of my little speech, people know that it’s really important to just brush your teeth,” Chlumsky said. “There’s that virtue to cramming that we all come out of school with, but truly just make sure that your rent is paid and that you’re getting sleep and that you’re getting your square meals.”

John List Discusses Upcoming Convocation Address,

Offers Advice

John List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, noted for his work in field analysis. He is also the Class of 2024’s Convocation speaker. List sat down with the Maroon to discuss what he hopes to accomplish with the address.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Chicago Maroon (CM): Could you introduce what you do here at UChicago and perhaps outside the University?

John List (JL): I’ve been an economics professor here for nearly 20 years. My research focuses on using the world as my lab; what that means is I go out to the world, and I run field experiments. That could vary from working with a charitable organization like Smile Train to figuring out, why do people give? What keeps them committed to a cause? What are ways to get them to give more money for the charitable cause? It’s really about the economics of generosity. Along the way I started a preschool in Chicago Heights for three-, four-, and five-year-olds. And it was meant to learn about how education functions at young ages. And what that means is, what are some of the best ways to give people who are in underserved communities a chance to succeed?

I think there’s a big opportunity gap, where low socio-economic status (SES) people have [a] much less likely chance to succeed in America or around the world than the high SES kids. So that’s a field experiment that I started in 2010.

A lot of my work is trying to make the world a better place using field experiments. The classes that I teach here at the University of Chicago range from beginning classes, like Economics for Everyone or Principles of Economics at the undergrad level, to more advanced undergrad classes, like behavioral economics or experimental economics. I’ve also taught environmental, experimental, and microeconomics at the graduate level. So, over the last 20 years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time teaching both undergrads and grads here.

CM: Could you talk about your own educational background?

JL: I’m a first-gen kid. My dad was a trucker, and my mom was a secretary. They’re retired now. My grandpa was a trucker. My brother is a trucker. So I come from a blue-collar or bucolic family. I was raised in Wisconsin. I went to college largely to become a professional golfer, [on a] golf scholarship to UW-Stevens Point. I figured out early on that I wasn’t good enough to ever make money playing golf. And my next passion was economics, to be an economics professor.

So, I finished my degree at Stevens Point and went to the University of Wyoming. That’s where I got a Ph.D. and graduated in 1996. And my first job was at the University of Central Florida. I was there for four years.

I then moved to [the] University of Arizona, and from there I moved to the University of Maryland. And when I was in Maryland, I took a year and a half off and worked in the White House as an adviser to President [Bush]. I worked on environmental and resource issues in 2003 and 2004 for the President. That was very cool.

CM: Do you have any stories about one of your graduations?

JL: My impression about graduation is [that] it’s a time to stop, reflect, and take stock of what you’ve just accomplished. And our students have just accomplished a lot. Because, to be fair, the odds didn’t want you here; the odds didn’t want any of your brethren or the seniors who are graduating. It’s a long shot game. It’s a real long shot game for all the first-gen kids who are just lucky to go [to] college like me, much less come to the University of Chicago.

Then, once you arrive here, it’s pretty intense. I can’t imagine another undergraduate experience in the world that is more intense than the University of Chicago. It starts with the Core. And then, regardless of what major you take, you will be pushed to your limits. And it will

involve critical thinking skills; [it] will involve developing [the] types of skills that you need to succeed and change the world. So I think the University of Chicago is a very special place. But if you can graduate from the University of Chicago, you are a very special individual.

I’ve gone to a lot of graduation ceremonies here. I’ve never given the graduation speech. At the University of Wyoming, I was chosen to give a five-minute speech as the top graduate there from the economics department. That was fun. I reflected a bit on what happened there. My job is, first and foremost, to celebrate the undergrads and grad students who will be at the ceremony for a job well done. Also, to celebrate their parents, because at the end of the day this is a team game... and it’s a time to celebrate everything that they’ve done. It’s also a time to both reflect on what has gotten you here but also talk about how you yourself are going to change the world with all of these great gifts you’ve been given. But hopefully at the University of Chicago, we’ve also given you some tools.

I’m just going to give some advice about how I think all of them can change the world. And how I’m hoping that each of them uses their comparative advantage to change the world. A lot of times [in] these types of speeches, people talk about themselves and their own work. It’s not what I’m going to be talking about. I

“I want them to come away with an understanding that you can change the world in many different ways.”


want to talk about what I’ve learned over the years and how they can take what I’ve learned and leverage it themselves to change the world.

CM: Were there any speeches or writings you found particularly inspirational as you began to draft yours?

JL: Steve Jobs gave a remarkable graduation speech, [but] mine will be a little bit different than that. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in government, both at the federal level, the local level, and now even more at the international level. I was lucky enough to negotiate aspects of the Kyoto Protocol in 2003, which is the international treaty on climate change. I’ve now worked for several organizations as chief economist—at Uber and now Walmart. I’ve been a lifelong academic. I understand a bit about what happens in the ivory tower, so I want to draw upon those experiences in my speech.

It’s very difficult to look for a precursor to that, and I think that’s good for me. It’s good news for me on the one hand because I’m going to be unique in some way, but it’s bad news because I can’t draw inspiration from somebody else who has these similar types of experiences. But there are brilliant speeches out there. Sometimes you can be funny; sometimes you can be serious. Sometimes you can have a little bit of each. I hope I can combine a little bit of wit with a little bit of wisdom, and I hope that’s what the students can take home.

CM: UChicago’s convocation ceremonies are somewhat unique in how they integrate professors. Do you see any advantages in this?

JL: I don’t know if that’s common, but I like the uniqueness of having professors discuss their views and, in a way, give one last lecture. I feel a special bond with this class because I can still remember giving a model lecture four years ago… so I really enjoyed seeing these students from the beginning, meeting their parents, [although] it was all over Zoom at the time. But then when they arrived, I also taught a Principles of Economics course that first fall. And it was still all over Zoom, kind of a crazy time, because… we said

you had to come to campus. But then, for the greater good, you have to sit in your dorm and listen to your classes. So that was unique. And then just last quarter, I taught a class called Economics for Everyone… [and] there were a lot of seniors there. So that was kind of a special bond that I started with a lot of them. I think that is a special feature of having an insider to give a lecture at commencement because we’ve sort of lived and matured and learned together.

Now, I just have such deep respect for the students that, in a way, I feel I owe them one last lecture. And one last, let’s say, “learning moment” some of the students have never had before, and maybe they’ll hear something that they like or don’t like. I want to be provocative, but I also want to reflect and hopefully teach them something that they’ll be able to use in the future.

CM: The pandemic has really made the Class of 2024 an exceptional cohort. Do you have any reflections on this?

JL: That’s a great point because I will forever think about this class as the COVID class. Think about what they went through. When they were high school seniors, [they] didn’t get a graduation. They likely got their graduation diplomas through a car window. I have three seniors myself, three seniors in college. I know exactly what they went through. There was no senior prom. There was no graduation to speak of, no celebration for them. And then their first year of college is something great… it’s your first time away from home. It’s a little bit scary. There’s some ambiguity, so you’re not sure what’s going to happen. But it’s beautiful in many ways. It’s sad. And now… we repress that. It’s like, well, what happened, nothing really happened. It’s not true.

Now this class gets to celebrate a little bit. This is really their first real graduation since eighth grade graduation. And you know that eighth grade graduations are like, dumb. Your parents don’t come; nobody really cares; you don’t get gifts. So I do think now, in some ways, I hope that we’ll make this class stronger. And we’ll see in the end, when the data all comes

out, our classes end up having incredible success. And we’re incredibly proud of our undergrads; they always change the world. Maybe it’d be interesting to see if this class does something different. I think they have a real opportunity. This is a really unique and strong class.

CM: Do you have advice for how they should navigate today’s world?

JL : I have three little secrets to how [you] can change the world. One is [that] you’re going to have to be monomaniacal. And to be monomaniacal, you really have to do what you’re good at or what your competitive advantage [is]. Because if you’re not doing what you’re good at, you’re not going to do something you love. And that’s really, really important in today’s economy, where the meaning of work is a very important driver of the happiness and mental health of people at work. My second lesson will likely be around quitting. I don’t think people quit enough. I’m going to talk about the optimal quitting rule. My third will be around critical thinking skills and being constantly curious. I think a lot of times people lose their inner scientist, and I don’t think you ever want to lose your inner scientist. And really uber successful people I’ve seen in my time in government or academia or the private sector, they all have these three threads [of] the DNA of success.

CM: What do you mean by inner scientist?

JL: For me, the inner scientist means you’re constantly curious. And that means when you try new things or think of new ideas or roll out new activities—whether it’s you as an individual, or in your organization—where you’re trying to change the world, you do it in a scientific way. So you can learn about whether it worked, and you learn about why it worked. And then you update, and you make yourself better, and you make your organization better. I think a lot of times we get in the mode of when we try something new… we don’t take stock. And we don’t use our inner scientist to make sure that it did work and roll it out in a way to test whether it worked. That’s a constant mistake that I see really, really

smart people making. But the people who really change the world never lose their inner scientist.

CM: You mentioned you have three kids graduating from college this year. Will their experiences be reflected in your speech?

JL: I think I have a good understanding of the trials and travails that modern students have gone through during this period. Not only through the time that I’ve spent being a professor over these four years for this class, but I’ve lived it as a parent. I’ve seen the difficulties of the transition. My three sons were taking all of their classes in our house over Zoom as freshmen. I’ve seen their transition into college and adulthood, through their eyes, and also as a parent. I think that gives me a unique perspective about what our students who are graduating this year had to go through... I’ve seen it from two different directions. That’s somewhat unique, I believe.

CM: What is one thing you hope everyone will come away from your speech with?

JL: I want them to come away with an understanding that you can change the world in many different ways. We all have our own special traits, characteristics, and abilities that represent our competitive advantage. I want to give them a sense of moving forward, how they can leverage those comparative advantages to truly change the world. I think that, at the University of Chicago, we have given them tools.

What I want to do is give them some advice about what I’ve learned. Let’s call it three little secrets to change the world. I want them to take those three secrets and hopefully leverage them in their own special way to change the world in a manner that’s going to make me proud. That’s what I want them to know. They’re always going to have somebody by their side, being proud of them, besides their parents. There’ll be professors like me being their biggest fans, and I want to give them a last bit of advice about how they can best leverage themselves and what they’ve learned here at the University of Chicago to change the world.


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Congratulations to the Class of 2024! Celebrating the Class of 2024!



Editors’ Note

Dear reader,

On April 29, UChicago United for Palestine (UCUP) launched an encampment on the quad, joining peers across the globe in protesting the war in Gaza. Nine days later, the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) conducted an early morning raid, bringing the encampment to an end. From the beginning of the encampment to the raid that ended it, Maroon staff produced constant live updates and in-depth stories.

This is our on-the-ground reporting team:

Eva McCord and Kayla Rubenstein, Co-Editors-in-Chief; Anushree Vashist, Managing Editor; Zachary Leiter, Deputy Managing Editor; Nikhil Jaiswal, Co-Editor-in-Chief Emeritus; Peter Maheras, Head News Editor; Eric Fang, News Editor and Photo Editor; Sabrina Chang, Emma Janssen, Tiffany Li, and Katherine Weaver, Deputy News Editors; Elena Eisenstadt, Grey City Editor and Senior News Reporter; Finn Hartnett and Austin Zeglis, Senior

News Reporters; Nathaniel Rodwell-Simon, Deputy Photo Editor and News Reporter; Eli Wizevich, Grey City Editor and News Reporter; Gregory Caesar and Jake Zucker, Co-Head Podcasts Editors; and William Kimani, Deputy Podcasts Editor In this feature, we bring a summary of the encampment’s most notable moments, an extended photo essay, and a look back at building occupations and camps at UChicago. To read all of our encampment coverage, scan the QR code on the right.

Eva McCord and Kayla Rubenstein, Co-Editors-in-Chief

Anushree Vashist, Managing Editor

Zachary Leiter, Deputy Managing Editor

RECAP: The Pro-Palestine Encampment at UChicago

UChicago United for Palestine (UCUP) launched an encampment on the main quad of UChicago at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 29. The encampment was set up outside of the Edward H. Levi Hall administrative building, which houses the Office of the President and has been the site of many protests against the University, including a UCUP rally April 26. A sign outside the encampment gave it the name “UChicago Popular University for Gaza.”

At its height, the encampment included an estimated 150 tents. Each day, UCUP hosted a full schedule of events, including rallies, teach-ins, art builds, shared meals, music events, and different religious services. UChicago Police Department (UCPD) officers patrolled near the encampment alongside Allied Security officers and the University’s Deans-on-Call.

The move followed a series of similar encampments set up by student groups in support of Palestine across the country. Students at Northwestern, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and DePaul University all set up encampments around the same time as the UCUP encampment. While some encampments, such as Northwestern’s, ended in agreements made with ad -

ministrators to end the encampment in exchange for some of their demands, others, most notably Columbia University in New York City, ended in police intervention and, in some cases, arrests.

The encampment was based around three demands encapsulated in the slogan “Disclose, Divest, Repair.” Under “disclose,” UCUP demanded full disclosure of University investments and holdings. The “divest” demands included the end of partnerships with Israel-based institutions, withdrawing funds from weapons manufacturers and fossil fuels, eliminating UCPD, and halting construction projects on the South Side. For “repair,” UCUP called on the University to establish reparations programs for the South Side and Palestine, as well as acknowledging the destruction of every university in Gaza and signing the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

The University has long maintained that divestment would violate its policy on institutional political neutrality, as articulated in the Kalven Report.

Five hours after the encampment was launched, UChicago community members received the first of many communications from University President Paul Alivisatos on the situation and the University’s response.

Alivisatos reaffirmed the University’s commitment to free expression as a “core animating value,” and stated that “[UChicago] only will intervene when what might have been an exercise of free expression blocks the learning or expression of others or that substantially disrupts the functioning or safety of the University.”

While Alivisatos said the encampment was in direct violation of several policies, such as those against building structures on campus or sleeping overnight on the quad, he said it would be allowed to continue “for a short time” due to “the importance of the expressive rights of our students.” Another email from Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen reiterated the points in Alivisatos’s email.

The encampment was set up on the western half of the quad; throughout the week, the eastern half was host to several demonstrations from different groups. The Friday before the encampment launched, Maroons for Israel had installed a University-approved display consisting of a string of Israeli flags and a sign that read, “When they show you who they are: believe them. Scan here to see the truth about Hamas.”

Maroons for Israel re-erected both the signs and flags several times after unidentified individuals took them down over the course of the encamp -

ment. Chabad affiliates erected a table across from the encampment on several days with a sign that said “Hamas wants me dead” and loudly played music in Hebrew through a speaker.

Graffiti appeared at several campus locations during the encampment. The wall of the Classics building was spray-painted with “Escalate for Gaza” on the first night; on Thursday, “UC Funds Genocide” was chalked on the doors of Kent Chemical Laboratory.

The statue of Swedish biologist Carl von Linné, located on the Midway, was spray painted with several phrases, including “death 2 amerikkka” and “death 2 academy.”

Shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, the fourth day of the encampment, Facilities Services took down the American flag that usually flies above the quad following a National Weather Services severe thunderstorm warning. This was in keeping with University flag policy for inclement weather.

Before the American flag could be reinstalled, protesters from the encampment raised a Palestinian flag on the flagpole and created a human barrier with linked arms to prevent the flag from being lowered.

The human chain disbanded around 6 p.m. after UCPD made clear to encampment members that anyone who

“The encampment is not just tents... We are the encampment, and we have plans to do something again. We’re coming back stronger.”


touched or interfered with an officer would be charged with felony obstruction. Encampment members taped down the flagpole’s halyard to prevent the flag from being lowered. Early Friday morning, UCPD removed the Palestinian flag from the flagpole, and Facilities cut the halyard to prevent anything from being raised.

Around 8 a.m. on Friday morning, Alivisatos sent a second email to the University community titled “Effects of the Encampment.” While he reiterated the University’s commitment to free expression, he listed several instances where he believed the encampment was disrupting campus life and said the University and encampment organizers had not reached common ground in negotiations.

“On Monday, I stated that we would only intervene if what might have been an exercise of free expression blocks the learning or expression of others or substantially disrupts the functioning or safety of the University,” the email read. “Without an agreement to end the encampment, we have reached that point.”

At noon, Maroons for Israel began a picnic in support of Israel and America on the eastern side of the quad. One student cited the Palestinian flag raising as “a direct attack against our freedoms as Americans.”

At 12:30 p.m., the encampment began a rally; at the same time, students from several UChicago fraternities and some participants in the picnic began marching towards the encampment with American flags and a speaker loudly playing America-themed music such as “Born in the USA” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Protesters and counterprotesters faced off in the middle of the quad, waving flags and chanting. More than 20 UCPD officers, some in riot gear, arrived on the quad and stood in a line between the two groups with officers facing both sides. For a little over three hours, UCPD officers remained on the quad, not allowing anyone from either protest to cross to the other side. The

Maroon estimated that the total number of people gathered on the quad peaked at around 1,000.

That night, protesters put up orange plastic mesh barriers around the less populated areas of the encampment. Throughout the day on Saturday, encampment leaders held several strategy meetings, and that night, protesters encircled the entire encampment with barriers of various forms, including caution tape, plastic mesh barriers, wooden boards, and wire fencing.

Negotiations between protesters and administrators, which had begun during the week, continued into the weekend. As part of the negotiations, UCUP demanded reduced UCPD presence on the quad, a guarantee that for the 12 hours after negotiations ended the University would not order any raids on the encampment, and amnesty for negotiators. During the day on Sunday, UCUP announced that the University had agreed to establish a “Gaza Scholars at Risk Initiative,” a continuation of the existing Scholars at Risk program at UChicago.

On Sunday night, protesters began adding more barriers around the encampment. They brought wooden pallets, boards reinforced with metal, and chain link fencing with green mesh to the encampment and supported the barriers with hay bales and chairs.

Later on Sunday, Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP) released a statement that said a midnight deadline was set for protesters to leave the encampment before police would raid the encampment. FJP later clarified that the deadline referred to the expiration of a 12-hour period during which police would not take actions to end the encampment.

After many hours of safety drills, chanting, and preparation with more than 200 protesters and onlookers on the quad, encampment organizers ultimately advised participants to go home and rest around 3 a.m.

On the morning of Monday, May 6, around 30 members of FJP hosted a press conference outside the encampment to call for University administration to allow the encampment to contin-

ue, to acknowledge the destruction of universities in Gaza, and to resume negotiating with encampment organizers.

Monday at the encampment was largely uneventful. Shortly before midnight, however, multiple reporters and a state senator posted on X that a police raid was set to occur at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7. UCUP called for protesters to mobilize through social media; the Maroon estimates that about 150 protesters were on site in the next three hours.

3 a.m. passed with no police action, except for a slight, temporary increase in Allied Security officers. At 3:50 a.m., organizers announced the end of the emergency rally, and many protesters left.

At approximately 4:30 a.m., UCPD officers arrived on the quad and ordered protesters to leave or face arrest. UCPD also instructed members of the press, including Maroon reporters, to vacate the quad.

Protesters had only minutes to comply before several dozen UCPD officers in riot gear entered the encampment. As UCPD officers overturned the encampment’s tents and barriers, protesters chanted in unison, repeating the phrases they had used during their daily rallies over the past week of the encampment. People could be heard screaming from the encampment as police continued to overturn tents and break down barriers. Police pushed all protesters off the quad.

Around 5 a.m., protesters began demonstrating just outside of the quad in front of the campus bookstore. Police formed a line with plastic shields and pulled yellow barricades between themselves and the protesters to keep them off the quad.

More than an hour after the raid occurred, police handed out slips of paper with instructions to depart the encampment or face disciplinary action titled “Final Notice to Students Participating in Encampment on Main Quad.”

In the following hours, Facilities Services trucks carried dismantled tents and barricades off of the quad and engaged in a “Quad cleanup,” according to a safety alert sent to the UChicago com-

munity. In an email titled “Ending the Encampment,” Alivisatos explained his reasoning for the raid and stated that no arrests were made.

According to the email, the encampment was ended due to mounting safety concerns and because “many aspects of the protests also interfered with the free expression, learning, and work of others.” The email stated that protesters and University administrators “could not come to a resolution” during negotiations because “ultimately a number of the intractable and inflexible aspects of their demands were fundamentally incompatible with the University’s principled dedication to institutional neutrality.” A second email from Rasmussen and Associate Vice President for Safety & Security Eric Heath echoed these sentiments.

The quad was reopened around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and UCPD officers took down the crowd control barriers. By 9:30 a.m., most protesters had dispersed, and the only physical remnants of the encampment were debris in dumpsters and rectangular patches of yellowed grass on the quad where tents had stood for almost eight full days.

In a statement to the Maroon, one UCUP organizer spoke on future plans for the group. “The encampment is not just tents. We’re still here, and this is not the end of it. We are the encampment, and we have plans to do something again. We’re coming back stronger.”

This article was compiled from the Maroon ’s coverage of the encampment, including live updates from all nine days and several accompanying articles. The full list of contributors is as follows: Eva McCord and Kayla Rubenstein, Co-Editors-in-Chief; Anushree Vashist, Managing Editor; Zachary Leiter, Deputy Managing Editor; Nikhil Jaiswal, Co-Editor-in-Chief Emeritus; Eric Fang and Peter Maheras, News Editors; Sabrina Chang, Emma Janssen, Tiffany Li, and Katherine Weaver, Deputy News Editors; Elena Eisenstadt, Finn Harnett, and Austin Zeglis, Senior News Reporters; Nathaniel Rodwell-Simon, and Eli Wizevich, News Reporters.

A growing crowd of protesters chanted at UCPD officers dressed in riot gear as the encampment was cleared on the main quad, May 7. eric fang Protesters in the encampment set up the “Refaat Alareer Library,” which housed several dozen books and a table of zines. The library is named after Refaat Alareer, a Palestinian writer and poet killed on December 7 in an airstrike, April 29. nathaniel rodwell-simon .
UCPD officers installed plastic barriers to separate the police and protesters, May 7. eric fang Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. visited the encampment on its second day, stopping to chat and take photos with protesters. Jackson Sr. is joined in the photo by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, who co-founded the left-wing militant group Weather Underground in the 1970s, April 30. nathaniel rodwell-simon .
Friday afternoon saw the second major escalation of tensions between the encampment, counterprotesters, and UCPD. Following a picnic on the quad organized by members of Maroons for Israel, individuals associated with several campus fraternities marched toward the encampment waving American flags, May 3. nathaniel rodwell-simon . Protesters rally in front of Levi Hall after being let back onto the quad, May 7. nathaniel rodwell-simon
A group of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students visited the encampment on Wednesday evening to lend their support. The group was part of Chicago Youth For Justice, an organization of pro-Palestine Chicagoland high school students, May 1. nathaniel rodwell-simon. Several protesters held up peace signs as they were allowed to march past UCPD officers and onto the main quad, May 7. eric fang
A group of protesters carry a piece of wood painted with the Palestinian flag and the words “Free the People—Free the Land” on the first day of the encampment. This would become part of a wall that stood in the center of the encampment, April 29. eric fang . A scrap of paper torn from the leaflet handed to protesters after they were removed from the quad by UCPD, May 7. nathaniel rodwell-simon A piece of cloth with the word “Palestine” on it tied around a tree was the only part of the encampment not removed during UCPD’s raid, May 7. nathaniel rodwell-simon

A Brief History of Occupying Buildings and Camping on the Quad at UChicago

“Obstinately, Chicago refuses to let in the spring…. Most students are staying inside, reading their books, keeping dry. But 20 are out on the wet lawn of the quadrangle in small tents, not eating anything, waiting for the administration to change its mind.”

This 1969 description of a quad covered in tents and an administration estranged from its students is strikingly reminiscent of the current encampment on the quad, which began in the early hours of Monday, April 29, to protest the war in Gaza and demand the University’s “full divestment from companies complicit in the ongoing occupation and genocide in Palestine.”

Before their “tent-in,” the 1969 student demonstrators occupied the University’s Administration Building to protest, among other things, the inauguration of President Edward Levi. The Administration Building—now known as the Edward H. Levi Hall and emblazoned just two nights ago with projections of “From the river to the sea,” “By any means necessary,” “Free Palestine,” and “Fuck Paul”—bears the marks of an ongoing conflict between administration and students.

Edward H. Levi Hall, formerly known as the Administration Building, has long been the center of student protest against the University. finn hartnett

The pro-Palestine encampment is but the latest—and largest—iteration in a tradition of occupations, sit-ins, and tent-ins at the University of Chicago.

The Maroon ’s deep dive into digital archives presents a lineage of civil dis -

obedience and radical action by students against the administration over collegiate, local, and international issues. Grey City has compiled some of the more notable examples here.

1962: Students sit-in against segregated University-owned housing

The first sit-in at the University took place in 1962, when the Maroon revealed that the University would not rent off-campus properties to Black tenants in Hyde Park.

Undergraduate members of the UChicago chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), confronted the University’s president, George Beadle. But Beadle’s administration showed reluctance.

The front page of the Maroon from January 24, 1962 reported on the first night of the sitin, which saw 33 students occupy the hallway outside the office of University President George Beadle. the maroon archives

Nina Helstein (Ph.D. ’95), a second-year in the College at the time and a member of CORE, recalled a letter from the President to the group that said, essentially, “We agree with you, we think what you’re saying is totally right, but this isn’t the time.”

She and 30 of her classmates were led by Bruce Rappaport (A.B. ’64) and Ber -

nie Sanders (A.B. ’64), student leaders of CORE, into the President’s office in the Administration Building. “We feel it is an intolerable situation when Negro and white students of the University cannot live together in University-owned apartments,” Sanders said at the time.

“We were sitting all night on the floor,” Helstein recalled of the sit-in. “It was very, very boring, and I personally got sick of all the pizza boxes on the floor.”

“It’s not fun doing those things,” she said of her years of civil disobedience. “But I think it made a difference actually.”

Bernie Sanders, a student leader of the UChicago chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), speaks against segregation in University-owned properties in 1962. courtesy of uchicago library archival photographic files.

In a 2015 interview with UChicago Magazine, Sanders only breathed a “weary sigh” when reminded that his 1962 sit-in ended with a compromise: “the formation of a committee of faculty, students, and representatives of civic and community groups to discuss and investigate the matter.”

But his moral resolve and support for campus protests remain the same. Just this Friday—as counterprotesters in cigar smoke and black cowboy hats clashed with the pro-Palestine encampment—Sanders wrote on X that “we were right.”

“I’m proud to see students protesting the war in Gaza,” he said. “Stay peaceful and focused. You’re on the right side of history.”

1966: Occupation against Selective Service

As the 1960s wore on, the rift between administrations and student bodies was pulled even wider by events both international and hyperlocal.

In May 1966, students occupied the Administration Building again for a week to protest “university co-operation with the selective service system,” which has maintained data about U.S. citizens in case of a draft since 1917.

The administration took issue mostly with the tactics of the protestors. “You can march around the building, carrying picket signs. You can sit in front of the building—we’ll even provide tables and lounge chairs. But just move out of the building,” urged Wayne Booth, then dean of the College.

Some demonstrators remained in the building for seven days, although most of the 450 initial students had dispersed before the weekend. On the final day, the remaining students left the Administration Building voluntarily to deliver a statement to the president’s house on University Avenue along with a glut of other protestors.

“Carrying sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and books they turned south on University Avenue. A feeling of emotional elation pervaded the 400 marching demonstrators. Many of them had been in the ad building [for] more than fifty four straight hours, and now it was over,” the Maroon reported on May 17, 1966.

1968: On-campus housing shortages spur

tent encampment on quad

The war in Vietnam continued to put stress on the administration’s relationship with its students as the University had to reconcile international pressure and federal obligations with undergraduate discontent. At the beginning of the 1968–69 academic year, students faced an on-campus housing shortage at UChicago. Over the summer, the administration predicted that a significant number of students would be drafted for the war, which would open up housing space. The University’s expectations, however, were

“They have turned Hyde Park into an upper-middle-class neighborhood. The irony is that this is no longer even a place for students.”


inaccurate, leaving it scrambling to find housing for a surplus of students, including “placing bunk beds in single rooms to house freshmen and arranging with local hotels to provide University-subsidized housing for other students.”

To protest the University’s housing mismanagement and cold calculations against its undergraduates, 200 students staged a “tent-in” on the main quad in mid-October. “Many students were charging that the administration was not dealing realistically with the combined effect of increased enrollment and loss of housing units to urban renewal,” a Maroon article from 15 years later reflected.

UChicago students “struggle to put up the first tent” at a protest against the University’s mismanagement of housing policy in October 1968. the maroon archives.

The students claimed that the tent-in was distinct from a sit-in. “It should be really clear that it’s not a confrontation,” said one student at a planning meeting for the tent-in. It was instead a way of making the housing crisis in Hyde Park exceedingly and dramatically visible. As another student put it at the time, referring to the administration,“they have turned Hyde Park into an upper-mid -

dle-class neighborhood. The irony is that this is no longer even a place for students.”

Part of the “tent-in” on the quad protesting the University’s sloppy housing policy for students. The sign leaning on the tent reads “free housing.” the maroon archives

A week after the tent-in began, a 170page, University-funded report concluded that it “must either provide additional housing, or realistically reduce further growth.” Soon enough, however, new issues to protest surpassed housing concerns.

1968: Black student inequality triggers short-lived occupation and scoff from admin

In May of the same year, a group of 40 Black students occupied the Administration Building for just four hours, before marching out of their own volition. According to a Maroon article, the Black Student Alliance (BSA) demanded, among other things, “an eleven percent black quota in the College” and the “conversion of Boucher Hall into a coed black dormitory.”

The University called the BSA’s efforts “disruptive,” and Dean of Students Charles O’Connell dismissed the students’ demands, noting that “next year’s freshman class would have more black students than any other class in the University’s history.” (As of 2022, the University’s Black population was only 6 percent.)

The front-page of the Maroon on May 17, 1968 shows Black student demonstrators occupying the Administration Building. The administration called the sit-in “disruptive.” the maroon archives

1969: A two-week occupation of Administration Building brings 37 expulsions

During the inauguration of University President Edward Levi in November 1968, sociology professor Marlene Dixon stepped out of the procession of faculty to join a group of students protesting the Vietnam War and Levi’s appointment. “Dixon’s action was considered insignificant until it was discovered in early January 1969 that she would not be offered a three-year reappointment by the University, despite a unanimous decision by the faculty on the Committee for Human Development to recommend her for reappointment,” the Maroon later wrote.

An issue of the paper from January 7 correctly predicted that “the campus left will suspect underlying political motives.” The discontent manifested first with picket lines, protests, and ineffectual meetings with administrators. Then, students broke into the office of the dean of the social sciences, who, upon returning, “found that students were occupying it, that although he was permitted to sit in his chair he did not have access to the telephone, and that one student was engaged in looking through his files,” according to official University documents.

The same document noted that over 800 students massed in Kent Chemical

Laboratory and voted to decide that a sit-in was a necessary form of protest “against discrimination against women, political suppression, and the narrow academic standards of the U. of C., and as an educational experience to explore the nature of the University and the education we are receiving here.”

(40 years after the occupation began, Classics professor James Redfield, who was the associate dean of the College at the time of the sit-in, suggested a more diverse range of motivations, telling Grey City that the demonstrators included “people who are ideologically committed. There are angry people. And there are guys who are picking up chicks.”)

In January 1969, 444 students in Kent Chemical Laboratory voted in favor of a sit-in to protest the University’s decision not to renew sociology professor Marlene Dixon’s contract, allegedly because of her involvement in leftist causes. They were informally known as the Committee of 444. the maroon archives

On January 30, between 400 and 500 students “marched into the Administration Building and claimed it as their own, and insisted that they would keep it forever or until Marlene Dixon was rehired,” an editorial by student radio station WHPK in the Maroon noted on the first anniversary of the occupation.

“The students had prepared for a lengthy stay,” the Maroon noted, “bringing large supplies of food into the



The tensions... between administration and students ebb and flow...

But the methods of protest—and repression—remain more or less the same.


building and dressing as casually and comfortably as they could. Many had written the names of two law students who were acting as legal liaisons on their hands with ballpoint pens. Student marshalls patrolled the floors.”

During the first week, demonstrators held teach-ins, the Maroon published special daily issues about the occupation, and the group, which had dwindled to about 150 students, voted to stay another week.

Levi, notably, refused to call the Chicago city police to evict his own students from the Administration Building. But the University took aggressive disciplinary action against its students once the two-week occupation had ended. 164 went before a disciplinary committee. 37 were expelled, and 62 were suspended for varying lengths of time.

Just one year after the chaos on campus, the WHPK editorial saw a general “retreat into apathy.” The revolutionary spirit, it seemed, was over.

“There has been a reaction against the unilateral theatrics which so shocked Middle America,” the editorial continued. “This is only natural and by itself might have led to a concern for more practical causes than simply disrupting the provincial lives of various universities.”

In the end, Dixon was never rehired, and the Administration Building is now called Edward H. Levi Hall.

1980s: Students politely and unsuccessfully demand divestment from South African Apartheid

In the 1980s, students at universities across the country protested against South Africa’s apartheid regime, pressuring their schools to divest. At UChicago, however, students made a conscious effort to keep the tension low and to adopt much milder tactics than those of the occupation of the Administration Building in the 1960s.

Sahotra Sarkar, Ph.D. ’89, a student leader of the divestment movement at UChicago in the late 1980s, told Grey City in 2015 that “after a lot of talking back and forth… it was decided that we did not want to commit civil disobedience because we did not want to divide the community.”

2011: Students and professors arrested at Occupy Chicago

In more recent years, student activism on campus has regained some of its bolder character and tactics.

2011 saw the Occupy Wall Street movement spread across the United States from the canyons of corporate skyscrapers in New York City. Thirteen students and faculty were arrested at Occupy Chicago in Grant Park, where protestors set up 500 tents and refused to leave at the park’s 11 p.m. closing time.

tionality, we are [complicit] in systemic harm.”

The #CareNotCops activists spent the week gathered around Lee’s home, holding rallies, delivering speeches, chanting, and shining lights into the house’s windows. The group also spray-painted vulgar messages in both English and Chinese characters on the sidewalk near Lee’s home, prompting accusations of anti-Asian racism and protest tactics that undermined the group’s original aim.

A sociology Ph.D. student told the Maroon at the time that “the people who stayed in the encampment knew they were going to be arrested and were determined to follow through. That made the action particularly powerful.”

Peer institutions—like Columbia, Harvard, and the University of California system—divested after seeing greater disruption from students. In Berkeley’s case, there was “a level of activity the campus hadn’t seen since the ’60s disruption from student groups.”

At UChicago, as activists like Sakar intended, the community was not divided. Protests were tame, confined mostly to picket lines and letters to the Maroon from faculty and students alike. The University was not especially inconvenienced by these posters and letters and never fully divested from South African apartheid.

2020: #CareNotCops occupies the Provost’s block in Kenwood

In 2020, the student group #CareNotCops occupied the UCPD office for one night, as well as the block outside then provost Ka Yee Lee’s home in verdant Kenwood, to demand the abolition of UCPD and the creation of an ethnic studies department.

In a statement to the Maroon , #CareNotCops stated their demands for a public meeting with Lee, who controlled the budget in her capacity as provost. “The provost, her husband, and her neighbors are not innocent in the same way none of us are innocent,” the statement read. “Without action and inten-

“We are there as part of the long lineage of students organizing alongside Southside communities in opposition to UChicago and its projects of extraction and displacement,” the #CareNotCops statement continued, situating itself in a lineage dating back to Bernie Sanders, his 32 undergraduate peers, and lots of empty pizza boxes sitting in the hallway of the Administration Building to protest housing segregation.

The #CareNotCops occupation ended with a block party outside Lee’s house, which fizzled as the police issued dispersal orders and the protestors marched to UCPD headquarters on 61st Street.

Still, as Lee told #CareNotCops, “the University has no intention of disbanding the UCPD.”

The tensions in this decades-long conflict between administration and students ebb and flow, and the causes change. But the methods of protest— and repression—remain more or less the same.

A demonstrator acting as a security guard for the sit-in chats with his comrades over walkie-talkie. the maroon archives Students marching on the quad in the 1980s, demanding that the University divest from South Africa’s apartheid regime. the maroon archives UChicago students joined the citywide Occupy Chicago protests and encampments against corporate greed in 2011. courtesy of zeynep yavuz Students occupying the block outside Provost Lee’s house face down members of UCPD, the organization the activists sought to abolish. the chicago maroon

Insights from a Virtual Scrapbook

As a first-year, Makayla MacGregor refocused her high school YouTube channel on college life. Over a hundred videos later, MacGregor has a unique record of her time at UChicago.

Three years and 161 videos ago, the Maroon first wrote about Makayla MacGregor. As a UChicago first-year, MacGregor turned the focus of her high school YouTube channel toward the University of Chicago, her videos covering everything from dorm tours to study tips. The channel also served as a snapshot of ordinary life: the details she noticed as she walked across the quad, what she thought of a class on a particular day, remarks about the food she ate—the everyday monotony of college life.

Now in her fourth year, MacGregor continues to vlog. With more than 100 videos from her time here, MacGregor has a unique perspective—and record—of the personal, professional, and social changes that took place over four years at UChicago.

The Maroon reached out to MacGregor, asking if she could break her usual custom of refraining from rewatching her videos. We asked if MacGregor could look back now on one of her earlier videos and react to it, with the video serving as a sort of time capsule from which changes and insights on the college experience can be determined. MacGregor agreed.

We selected a vlog from the beginning of MacGregor’s second year. (Her first was dominated by COVID.) The vlog, a day-inthe-life video, is intended to be just that—an unfiltered day—as MacGregor explained. “I’m not doing anything exciting... It’s representative of a very standard day, I think, in my life, and probably the lives [of many] other students here,” MacGregor said.

MacGregor met up with the Maroon at a fifth-floor study room in the Reg on a quiet Wednesday morning. As we opened the video and pressed play, MacGregor interjected anxiously, “Oh my gosh, I’m nervous. What

am I even going to say?”

One 15-second, un-skippable ad later, our experiment began.


If you’ve ever rewatched your old self on video, you’re probably familiar with the sort of uncanny feeling of hearing your own voice; MacGregor’s case was no different. The video begins with second-year MacGregor narrating her routine over clips of her brushing her teeth, doing her homework, walking to class. MacGregor’s initial reaction was one of discomfort.

“As if people need to know that… oh man,” fourth-year MacGregor reacted as she saw her old self brush her teeth.

Second-year MacGregor continues her vlog, “I wrangled my hair into something. I don’t exactly know what it is, but it was something.”

Fourth-year MacGregor cut in. “Yeah, that’s not changed at all. That’s one thing which is always so uncomfortable with making videos. People can see me in my pajamas—my hair is terrible and everything. And watching back [I think], ‘Did people need to see that?’”

But even though these moments may not be needed, they say a lot about the style and effect of MacGregor’s videos. Beyond speaking about the University, her videos also establish a more personal connection with the viewer.

“It always feels intimate when I’m [making videos] because it’s just me alone in my room with a phone. So in a manner of speaking, it technically is public speaking, but it doesn’t feel that way at all,” MacGregor said.

MacGregor mentioned that even though

she sometimes doubts these decisions of what to include in her videos, this doubt largely goes away when she hears from her viewers.

“I ran into someone this fall who asked to hug me, and it’s funny because I don’t expect that,” MacGregor said. “When I watch and edit my videos, I just feel the flaws in it.

[I’ll think,] ‘This is bad editing,’ ‘Why did I record this?’, ‘The camera is shaking so much.’ So it’s always really inspiring when something like that happens and someone is genuinely enjoying the videos.”

Looking Around

As the video progresses, more insight appears from these seemingly dull moments. As she walks across the quad, second-year MacGregor mentions her appreciation for the campus’s architecture. “As you can see, there’s this ornate thing at the

top on the ceiling here, and it’s things like that that I just really love about the campus, the architectural details about it.”

At this, fourth-year McGregor reacted, noting that this sort of fascination with the architecture on campus is something that can go away if we aren’t careful.

“I feel like after many years on this campus with its Gothic architecture, it’s something you just walk by and you don’t even look at,” MacGregor said. “That’s one thing this year I’ve been trying to not be desensitized to. It’s not something you’ll get to live on every day, this Gothic campus.”

Noticing, experiencing, and appreciating dull moments is something MacGregor still tries to emphasize today.

“I tell myself to hold on more to the present and to stop wishing for the next thing to happen. I think that I’m still kind of


A screenshot from the November 15, 2021 vlog the M aroon reviewed with MacGregor. courtesy of makayla macgregor
“I want my videos... to be genuine glimpses of what life is like.”


trapped in that attitude of always looking to the next step rather than focusing on what I currently have now,” she said.

Tracing Interests

Watching a past version of herself, MacGregor was forced to think about her passions—how they’ve originated and changed.

In the video, second-year MacGregor shares that for a creative writing class, she had been doing research on Christmas tree farms during the Great Depression. Unbeknownst to her, the Great Depression would soon become one of MacGregor’s primary topics of interest, and creative writing would become her major.

“That’s so funny. I didn’t remember that I’d set that [creative writing assignment] during the Great Depression. I guess that’s when I started being interested in the 1920s and ’30s.”

Fourth-year MacGregor added, “Right now I’m writing my thesis as a historical fiction set in 1929, when the Great Depression starts, so it’s kind of interesting watching back.”

The video continues, cutting to a few scenes of MacGregor’s life, including a cut of her reading a book. Fourth-year MacGregor cut in—“The Kite Runner. That’s weird. I would not have thought it was years ago that I read it.” MacGregor paused for a few moments, as if the book materialized in her head. “It’s a good book,” she remarked.

These remarks about her classes and other academic topics may seem trivial, but they get at the root of why MacGregor chooses to produce videos.

“A lot of [the YouTube channel] is academics. It’s just me talking about studying and everything. So it’s an area that I feel very familiar with,” MacGregor said. “I’ve always really struggled with being able to communicate with people, and I think academics have always been my safe spot.”

Some Things Never Change

Soon, a group of people walk into the room second-year MacGregor is in. She stumbles a bit as she tries to conceal her phone, and the video shakes. A message appears as a text bubble in the video: “filming with other people is very difficult :(.” Fourth-year MacGregor chuckled a little.

“This is one thing that has been con-

stant all four years. Sometimes I wish I had the confidence to just take the phone out in front of everyone, but it stresses me out,” MacGregor said. “I think at least outside I’ve gotten better about holding [the camera] steady.”

While it might be surprising that MacGregor, as a YouTuber, feels many of the same anxieties about filming in public that the rest of us do, it’s part of what gives her videos a genuine charm—the shakiness of the videos, the sudden cuts because someone walked in.

“I try to keep it as genuine as possible. I want my videos to be authentic,” MacGregor said. “I want them to be genuine glimpses of what life is like.”


After watching the video, MacGregor discussed the changes in perspective that occured from second to fourth year, both for herself and also in a broader sense.

One shift that MacGregor pointed to between the early and late college experience is that of intention: taking classes as a form of exploration versus taking them to accomplish a specific goal.

In MacGregor’s case, for example, she did not decide to major in creative writing or follow a pre-law track until the end of her second year. Her first two years at the college included many uncertainties, especially as she tried to navigate her choice of major.

“For me, in second year, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with anything. It was kind of this gaping abyss in front of me: ‘I’m graduating in a couple of years, and I have no idea what I want to [major in],’” MacGregor said.

For MacGregor, this “gaping abyss” meant that much of the focus was around trying new classes, often to little avail.

“I was trying to fit in with certain majors, trying to find a place for myself that wasn’t there. I tried to force Global Studies upon myself, and I tried out a couple other majors. I tried to force myself to decide because I thought I had to double major to get the most out of my time here at UChicago. I didn’t end up double majoring.”

MacGregor mentions that, once she’d made a final decision to pursue a specific major, it really changed how she engaged with the University.

“[My first and second years] were a very

untethered experience, going through taking classes not knowing what I was taking them for. In fourth year now, I feel like there is intention to what I’m doing. There’s a contrast between second and fourth year, where second year is just an opportunity to explore, and now when I feel like I’m working towards something,” MacGregor said.

At the same time, MacGregor believes this type of exploratory process is a useful and positive part of the college experience.

“Not to say that it’s bad to not have intention. I think I’m very glad I had that opportunity to kind of explore and have the opportunity to not know what I was doing,” MacGregor said. “It’s helpful in learning who I am and what my passions are.”

The After Becomes Real

Another contrast that MacGregor pointed to is between internal and external concerns. She mentioned that, as a second-year (recall that her first year was disrupted due to COVID), questions about what the future looks like were very focused within the scope of UChicago: worries about classes, friends, and RSOs.

“The biggest way that the culture has changed is, everyone’s on the brink of the next chapter in their lives. Second year, it was like everyone’s navigating this new thing of college. It’s figuring out who we are as students and how do you even give a presentation in a college class? How do you do lab reports? How do you study for final exams? I think it was all still very new at that point. And now it’s just something I’m so accustomed to,” MacGregor said.

MacGregor noted that this focus shifts toward adulthood and professional life as the college experience progresses.

“It’s no longer, ‘What are my next steps at UChicago?’ but ‘What are my next steps in adulthood? In life?’ It gets very real in a wonderful, bittersweet, and grim way all at once. Just because it’s so daunting,” MacGregor said.

Same Routine, Different Perspective

MacGregor also mentioned a sense of security in oneself that comes as one matures in college. She explained that, although much of what she does in her dayto-day is the same as it was when she was a second-year, her perspective on her own routine has changed.

“I think that my routine honestly hasn’t

changed much. I do violin, I study, I read, I go to the dining hall,” MacGregor said. “There’s this expectation going into college that it’s going to meet these glorified cinematic kinds of depictions that we see in movies and TV shows and on TikTok and everything, of college being full of parties and meeting with big groups at the dining hall and doing all these things that yes, [some] students do here.”

MacGregor mentioned that, at first, she aspired to one day have a more stereotypical college life.

“And that’s one thing I kind of expected to change throughout the four years. [I thought,] at some point, ‘I’m going to attain that sort of Legally Blonde or Pitch Perfect vision of college,’ and that just never happened for me,” she said.

But now more than ever, MacGregor has learned to be at ease with her own college routine.

“I’m not disappointed about it or anything. I enjoy every day that I have here, and I’m trying to cherish each one because it’s so short-lived. But that’s one thing that has stayed very consistent in my four years: I have not been part of, and I don’t think I’ll ever be part of, what you expect when you think of [the] ‘American college experience,’” MacGregor said.


In large part, MacGregor’s own journey was one of learning to live more in tune with everyday moments, whether this was appreciating and being at peace with her own routine or recognizing that even classes that weren’t directed to a major still had their own, important function.

MacGregor said the main lesson she has learned from her experience making videos is the importance of being in tune with and appreciating life’s wonderful moments.

“I was talking about this with my family at Christmas. There’s this obscure vintage Christmas song, and I don’t remember what it’s called, but the lyrics are like, ‘The only thing I want for Christmas is just to keep the things that I’ve got.’ And it’s really been hitting me this year,” MacGregor said. “I wish I could tell both my present self and my past self to stop trying to rush the future. Stop counting down to the next thing that’s happening. Stop willing the future upon yourself.”


Yours for Food, Part II

Hutchinson Commons’ adoption of the Grubhub point-of-sale system, and what we lose when our daily interactions with the world go virtual.

The first part of this story was published in the Maroon’s week seven print issue and can be found at https://chicagomaroon.com/ e385.

Look. I am a professional and did not want to vilify Grubhub and the University of Chicago without doing my journalistic diligence. Maybe I was wrong about Hutch. Maybe it was better this way. And besides, even if I couldn’t help feeling appalled when I first laid eyes upon the new Hutch, one man alone can do nothing, except maybe complain. It was only right to take the temperature of the student body, and, more vitally, the workers who cooked their food.

The students were easy. “Yeah, interview me for your article, man. That would be cool. Yeah. Hutch is weird now.” Then a rip from a green apple vape. I liked listening to them speak; their comments were colorful and came from a genuine place of care for the Reynolds Club. A large populace of students, like myself, were saddened by how corporate the place had become, that future generations of students wouldn’t get to talk to the guys at the Middle Eastern place. (I remember those guys. I used to try to be really nice with them, like weirdly polite, so they’d throw me an extra falafel. It worked once or twice.) These gaggles of students encouraged my article, although, in typically jaded fashion, they weren’t hopeful about it inspiring any change.

On the other hand, some students didn’t mind the changes made to Hutch; they liked that they could order everything ahead of time and that there were fewer lines. Fair points both. This crowd was somewhat self-selecting; first-years visit Hutch more than anyone, and these broken youth didn’t know Hutch without Grubhub. They liked the screens. They were surprised to hear that wasn’t how it had always been. Next, I tried to speak to the staff. I expected some hesitation on this front. Lord knows an air of enmity exists around workers paid to hang around privileged kids all day, who have to clean their trash and make

sure no homeless people enter their sacred learning spaces or whatever. Still, I wasn’t prepared for just how onerous it would be to get the workers to speak about, you know, their workplace. In previous reporting projects, I had spoken to food truck owners, sports coaches, and campus ROTC managers about their jobs. Sometimes people took persuading, but I was always able to convince them I meant no harm. That just wasn’t the case at Hutch.

Let no one say I didn’t try. For weeks on end, I strolled into the Reynolds Club, sometimes tapping a few buttons on an Ultimate Kiosk so as to not look as conspicuous, really just so I could linger around the space (not exactly encouraged these days) for as long as possible and try to finagle an interview. Hi, sorry. I’m trying to write an article. For the student newspaper, about how Hutch has changed in the last six months. Would you be interested in speaking about your experiences working here? Boom. I attacked the supervisors first. They were more accessible, as they flitted around directly across from me on the other side of the stanchions. They were also extremely against the whole interview idea. They told me, flatly and later threateningly, that they wouldn’t speak to reporters. It was in their contracts, or they would have to inform their manager first, or something. No, I wasn’t allowed to ask their manager. I emailed Campus Dining to try to get to a higher-up, but they wouldn’t speak to me in-person. They answered some PR-type questions in writing. Q: Are there any plans to expand the Grubhub partnership to other vendors on campus? A: After holding conversations with students and stakeholders, we will consider expansion to other UChicago Dining Cafés that might benefit from mobile ordering.

These rejections just made me more determined to speak to some semblance of staffer. I began leaning over stanchions while supervisors floated around on the other end of the hall, like a middle-schooler passing notes, trying to convince kitch-

enworkers to meet me on their breaks, or after their shifts, for an interview. They too were apprehensive. Some refused with a curt shake of a hand; some echoed the same “We’re not meant to speak to reporters” line. And some accepted—which somewhat undercut the idea that they weren’t allowed to speak to me—before failing to show up the day of, or else telling me they had changed their minds later.

I was hurt—maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was. Did they not like the look on my face, the clothes I was wearing? Did they think I was a privileged dick (and only one of those things is true)? Some supervisors had gotten truly angry. One of them told a friend of mine to tell me to stop coming, that I was making their jobs harder. I understood, but I was sad it had come to this. I wanted to grab an Ultimate Kiosk by its glass sides and stare into its vacuous monitor. Look, I would say. Look what I’ve done because of you.

Mikhail Bulgakov burned his first draft of The Master and Margarita after a manic episode. When it was finally published, Russia’s government censured it until long after his death. Herman Melville had to borrow money from friends to set the type of Moby-Dick after his publisher refused an advance. This was the one bright side I could see: like all great stories, a problem had broken out in mine’s telling.

It was a Wednesday night, and I was washing down my sorrows with cider. I was with a friend, Brenda; we were sitting in a booth in UChicago’s oaken campus pub. The place is a real vestige of the past. Weird paintings on the walls. Foosball table. You almost expect to see Philip Roth or Bernie or some other famous alum here, sipping an Old Style and trying to sidle up to a nearby redhead.

I told Brenda, as I had told many others in the past week, about my difficulties interviewing the staff at Hutch. “My friend works there,” she replied. “You could speak to them?”

This was news to me. I didn’t realize undergraduates were even allowed to be employed at the food court. Even before the

changes, the gap between us and them felt too drastic for such intermingling to ever happen. But I wasn’t one to question fate. This was an in.

This friend of a friend we’ll call Rae. They were a year younger than I was, though they looked older. They had worked in the food court for about 18 months. This quarter, they were there for a few hours during the week, as well as on Saturday nights, covering the influx of patrons. Previous quarters, they said, they had worked much more, but right now they just didn’t have the time.

Rae told me the Grubhub point of sale system was implemented in August. The staff were corralled and told how the orders would now reach them; how instead of a customer verbally asking them for food, text boxes would float to them, quickly and gently, screen to screen. The new system was okay, they said. They liked that they didn’t have to deal with particular kinds of customers anymore. “There are certain people who take forever to order, and they don’t know what’s on the menu, and then they try to convince us to add things,” they told me. But the new technology wasn’t perfect. During one lunch rush, the screens in the kitchens shut off; the workers couldn’t see the orders streaming in. They were still there, of course, piling up on each other in the cloud, whimpering out to be made. But without any tablets, they may as well have not been. During another busy period, the sticky slips that printed out with the customer’s name and which the staff attached to the containers as a kind of receipt ran out. Workers no longer knew which order went where. But now, it seemed they’d worked out all the kinks. The modish system worked well.

I asked Rae if they mourned the loss of interaction between worker and student. “Even though it’s nice to not have to deal with annoying people, it’s also…” they trailed off. “I don’t know if dehumanizing is the word, but we’re so separated. They don’t even let anybody approach us anymore.”

Rae introduced me to a man who worked

ON PG. 25
The food was a picture on a phone screen, or it was there, in your hands— no in-between.


in the kitchen, who told me he’d rather go unnamed. Well, he’d told Rae, who was translating from Spanish to English for me. The man was short and stout; the assembler of untold stews and platters. He told Rae the new system crashed sometimes, which slowed things down for the staff. There were also more complex dishes at his station which wouldn’t get ordered as much anymore, because the students weren’t able to look at the food in the real world or ask the server if it was any good. The ingredients, in a sense, didn’t exist anymore. The food was a picture on a phone screen, or it was there, in your hands—no in-between. It was a Magritte painting, or maybe it was a pipe. Me gustaba hablar con los estudiantes que hablaban español. He had made friends with a few regulars. He assumed the change was done to keep up with the technological advances of the world. “If I were the owner of Hutch,” he said, “I would change it back.”

I jotted it all down and thanked Rae. I should be happy, I told myself afterwards. I’d gotten words from those whose words I’d wanted most. But I still felt like I was going nowhere fast. What were all these words for? What was I doing here?

Maybe I was being dramatic. At the bakery I worked at, I never minded doing the mobile orders. I didn’t have to add up the cost on the register. I drew Hillary’s name in cursive on her bags when it was slow, just to be nice, and convinced myself she’d appreciate it. There was something sweet, fresh-feeling, about the simplicity and the solitude of it all.

But then, isn’t that exactly what they wanted? To privatize everything, make every step of the process asocial? The promotional tape was full of pretty, blank screens, each one staring upwards, looking for something in your eyes. It sure felt like we were being trained to forget each other. “We are all alone, born alone, die alone,” Hunter S. Thompson mourned. And with every order we drift, a plastic raft, towards that platitude.

A couple months later, another Reynolds Club worker agreed to speak with me. She worked at Pret, it should be said, not Hutch, but I would take what I could get at this point. It was a more spontaneous

interview than I had previously attempted. Usually, I asked what day the worker would like to speak, tried to be amenable to their schedules. This time I just ordered a coffee and, tapping my card against the reader, asked if she was interested in speaking about working in the Reynolds Club. “Yeah,” she said. “Now?” Maybe that was why it worked out.

Diana—that’s what I’ll call her—had worked at Pret for three years. A few times a day she wandered over to the food court to talk to her friends, to the mild irritation of her supervisors. But she’d also help out at Hutch when it was busy: jockeying traffic, restocking drinks, and the like. “I’ve enjoyed my three years,” she said. “Coming here, seeing y’all. Helping y’all and just getting to know y’all.”

I asked Diana if she thought students were in favor of the new system. She said no, at least not at first. “They’re used to telling them… how to assemble their food. So when they food is made already, and they just come and grab, they weren’t really into that. They weren’t feeling that at all. Just how we like to interact with the kids, they like to interact with the cooks as well.”

I followed up: Do the cooks at Hutch like the system? “It’s really like 50/50. Some of them like it, some of them don’t. Some of them want to talk to them, some of them just want their food. It’s 50/50. But it’s all coming along.”

I looked at my phone, where I had pecked out some questions, and I thought about how it really was all coming along. There were no real controversies, no protests. Six months into the Grubhub takeover, and it already felt like it had been there for years.

“Okay,” I said. “Well. Which workers like to talk to the kids?”

“Like Kabob-it,” Diana said, referring to one of the restaurants, “[My coworker,] she likes to ask the kids how they doing with they day, how the classes going. Some of them right now be needing somebody to ask them, are they okay. ‘Do you need to talk?’ They be looking for that. Some of the kids be looking for that. It keeps their day going.”

I have to admit something, and it is this: working at the New York City bakery

was the most deranged time of my life. My then-girlfriend and I were breaking up that August. She was going back to college in Boston; I would remain in New York until UChicago started up in late September. We couldn’t do long-distance. We had tried before (we would try again), but it had always turned out pretty awful. So, we were breaking up.

Before her lovely exodus, I tried to see her as much as I could. And it was terrible: I’d wake up, a cough slipping down my throat, at five in the morning for the early shift. Watch the rats skitter across the subway tracks, hot and wet with summer. I’d work until two—nice to have half the day left, but I was always exhausted and dizzy and sad, no matter how brightly the sun shone or how much pastry I’d swallowed.

Talking to the customers in the bakery granted me some reprieve. I got to know regulars, ask people how they were holding up, because Lord knows I wasn’t. The variety of faces I saw each day was astonishing—you don’t know just how many noses exist in the world until you’ve worked service. I’d play morality games with them, sometimes—give them the bigger cookie if they were polite, the runt of the litter if they didn’t tip, that sort of thing. Did that make me a bad person? Maybe. But I was depressed, and one of the only good things about being that way is that you have an excuse to do things like that.

I worked until mid-September, torturing myself with lack of sleep, with the humid subway system, with thinking about her. What was she up to these days? She had a septum piercing now—I saw it in a photo she posted. I cried on the closing shift a few times, usually at around 9 o’clock, when I’d go outside and Windex the metallic dining tables. I wasn’t happy; for all the kindness of my coworkers, and all the allure of strangers, my mental health was bad, and I was relieved to return to Chicago.

I was privileged too; I could afford to leave, to busy myself with school. My fellow cashiers—How’s it going, guys?—Tino, Nikkol, and Sanjid, each worked part-time while they took classes. Others were working as much as they could as they saved up to go do other things. One of the managers, Martin, was trying to go into theater; he’s

in L.A. now, still trying. Justin moved to a different bakery. Rocco quit. There was a Japanese guy whose name was Gane. I got it wrong about four separate times before I figured out it was pronounced “gain.” One morning, I saw him in the back, putting the finishing touches on a rack of croissants. He proudly told me he’d worked the first-ever overnight shift in the bakery’s history. I couldn’t even imagine. “Coffee,” he explained happily.

Every service worker must deal with their 9-to-5 or 6-to-2 or (God forbid) 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. while the world spins awfully and forcefully around them. There’s no free time, save the weekends; you end up calling in sick quite a bit, skirting around the real issue. Things are less than ideal. The only thing that can save us is human interaction, and it is human interaction that Grubhub yearns to do away with. With more isolated convenience we consume more efficiently. It’s far easier to turn the lonely into data points. I’m not saying striking up a rapport with every kebab guy you meet isn’t also transactional. There will always be a worker and a consumer; to feel more virtuous than those who only use Walmart self-checkout just because you know Ahmed or Tony or Esteban’s name behind the counter at the local bodega isn’t the point. But a bit of understanding between warm bodies might make us all feel a bit better.

I’m not sure where Rae or the man she introduced me to have gone; I haven’t seen them around the University for a long time. I never got to speak with Diana’s coworker, either. But I will occasionally run into Diana when I stroll into the Reynolds Club. On those occasions, I think back to the time she made time for me, when she told her coworker to cover and led me into a table inside Hutchinson Commons and spoke to me about her life. I was paranoid, at the time, sitting in the familiar brown dining room spackled with portraits of past University presidents. I hoped no one would overhear us. It wasn’t a rational fear, I know, but the supervisors had been so angry with me—they surely wouldn’t like the look of this covert interview. The wrath of it all hung over me like a chandelier.

We were just talking, I realize now.


To you, my freshman self, I have a great deal of advice to give. These next five years will be some of the most rewarding of your life and will define the path you take going forward.

Yes, I came back in a time machine. Look, I can’t stay for too long, and I have life advice to give, capisce?

No, it won’t take you five years because of time shenanigans, it’s just the plague, now sit down and listen.

You’ve grown a lot through high school: you’ve gone from a lonely, antisocial dork with no friends to a content, somewhat social dork with a few friends. And you know you chose the right place for college. Ever since your prospie hosts entertained you in the dining hall by trying to gargle phonemes that weren’t on the IPA table, you knew that you had found your people.

Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

In the next few years, you will be in close proximity to some of the strangest and most fascinating people you’ll ever meet. Some wear it on their sleeves, while others seem downright ordinary until you gain their trust. They will have very strong and developed opinions about fields you have never before considered entering, and their enthusiasm will sweep you off your feet and make you regret ever doing anything in your life but studying them. You will have knockout, dragdown arguments about whether to one-box or two-box in

Reflections on What Not to Miss VIEWPOINTS

An Admissions Tour with a Time-Traveler

Newcomb-like problems (one), or whether Dracula is both a vampire and a werewolf (yes) [edit: no].

I hope that got your attention. Because so many of your classmates won’t be like that, and you will come to cherish them anyway. In high school, you looked down on the kids who were more athletic, outdoorsy, and artsy than you. Well, you’re going to meet them here, and they will drag you kicking and screaming out of your comfort zone into new worlds full of wonder. So go into those O-Week activities with enthusiasm. Cherish the days before the upperclassmen get too busy and stop playing Secret Hitler with you in the common room. Go to the first-quarter Hum professor’s three hour movie showing and form lasting friendships with the other masochists. Allow a bus ride to spontaneously burst into Tom Lehrer karaoke. When, in the Ryerson basement’s dark corridors, you hear a strange and compelling lecture around the corner, don’t mind your own business: follow it and see what devilry the grad students are getting up to.

Because it won’t always be there. You’ll be halfway through one course you wish could end early and another you wish you could stay in forever, and you and all your classmates will be unceremoniously shipped home. You’ll experience the wonders and joys of an entire university switching to remote classes with all the agility of a one-legged cat (taking a leave of absence through the Zoom

year will be the second-best decision you make in your college career).

But you’ll come back older, wiser and with a bit more confidence, ready to take in all you can experience. Accept invitations to a cappella concert afterparties. Attend events for weird political RSOs you’ve never heard of before nor since. Allow yourself to flounder between majors until you become entranced by a class you took by chance. And for the love of God, get involved with your house culture (you’ll have the good luck to be in one of the best); march through the snow while reaffirming your tribal

commitment to drink battery acid! Conduct counterespionage to steal back your house’s precious phallic object! The House of Dodd and Mead shall last forevermore!

There will be highs and lows; the friends you meet in impossibly coincidental ways; the roommate whose alarms wake up everyone on the floor but himself; bookstore meet-cutes and reuniting with chance acquaintances years later. You’ll get infected with the plague and quarantined on Stony Island (UChicago’s Elba), and you’ll have to figure out how to code in a command line through a half-delirious fever, but that

one fellow inmate who can teach you LaTeX will come to the rescue.

At some point, you’ll make the best decision of your college career, and you won’t even recognize it for weeks afterwards. I’m not going to spoil that one for you, so keep an eye out. Oh, and make sure to take Professor Schmitz’s Electromagnetics course in your second winter, it’ll put you in the right set of circumstances to steal a time machine two years later.

Nico Posner is a fourth-year in the College and a Columnist at the ChiC ago M aroon.

sophia zeglis .

Autistic at UChicago

Former Maroon managing editor Michael McClure reflects on how being diagnosed with autism affected his college experience and his career as a student journalist.

My mother likes to say that I eat data, not food. Whenever she tells this joke, she pulls up a clip from the 1986 film Short Circuit in which the robot Johnny 5 flies through dictionaries and flings each one behind him upon reading them. Stephanie Speck, who adopted the robot, appears stupefied by the mess he leaves behind in her living room. Johnny 5 looks to her and earnestly begs for more input.

I always struggle to remember the name of the film or the robot, but I remember that the length of the “more input” clip is 1:19, slightly above the length of the average qualifying lap in a Formula One car (1:23.564 for the 2023 season). It’s 10:20 p.m. as I write this, and, naturally, I still haven’t had dinner. When the time comes, I will eat the salmon I purchased at the Hyde Park Whole Foods at 6:13 p.m. earlier in the day, which weighs 0.36 ounces and cost me $9. I’ll microwave it for 68 seconds and do 40 push-ups before enjoying the meal in solitude at my dining table.

I’m sorry to shatter the illusion: I’m not a robot in human skin, and I don’t actually eat data. I am a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Chicago who happens to be autistic. This label means many things to many people; for me, it is the reason I process human existence, and inputs, differently from most others, and it is what has come to define my perspective on life at UChicago.

Eight months ago, before I discovered I was autistic, I was “just” weird. Few who heard my recitations of classmates’

birthdays and home addresses at five, my meticulous yet blunt critiques of older piano students’ performances at 10, or my study hall tirades about curriculum design at 15 would have disagreed. But these one-sided conversations were comfortable for me in a way many other social interactions weren’t. Why ask your new second-grade classmate how they’re adjusting to school when you could instead approach them on the monkey bars, ask what car their parents drive, and reply by saying it received the lowest reliability score in the April 2009 issue of Consumer Reports?

(They were one of the first people I told about my diagnosis 14 years later. Dana, if you’re reading this, your dad’s Jeep Liberty turned out to be pretty handy for getting us to and from chamber music camp.)

Thanks to severe bullying in middle school and my desire not to endure four more years of it in high school, I attempted to shed the “weird kid” identity I had been given. I listened to those around me so I could learn to hold conversations in ways that pleased others. I always hated when people tried to copy my homework—which happened often—but I was shameless in copying others’ facial expressions, words, and mannerisms. By the time I became the student body co-president at the end of my junior year, I was famous if not conventionally popular. My more offbeat traits suddenly became cool. Starry-eyed teachers would tell me to pursue piano performance full-time in college, but I was sick of performing. It was already something I did for eight hours every day.

When I was admitted to UChicago, I hoped for a reprieve from the carefully manufactured person I felt myself becoming, yet I felt confronted by a dilemma: reclaim my so-called weirdness, or retain the leadership roles and social acceptance I feared I’d lose otherwise.

When I started my pandemic-affected first year from home, I tried not to overthink it—a battle I fight about everything—and simply go with the flow. My relentless craving for input and my lifelong interest in proofreading instantly drew me to the Maroon ’s copy desk, and I spent almost every day of my remote first year copyediting anything I could find, fact-checking article drafts, and poring over my hardcover copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. By the time I became a copy chief at the end of the year, I had learned many lessons about English grammar and news style. But the most important one directly concerned neither of those. I learned I could authentically be both a weird kid and a leader. When I was elected the Maroon’s managing editor during my third year, in large part because of my obsessive dedication to the copy desk, I felt I had succeeded despite all the things that I thought should have set me back.

I was brutally naïve. I didn’t know for certain if I was autistic back then. I’d suspected I might be since I first learned of autism at age eight, but for much of my youth, I knew no openly autistic people in real life who could serve as a proper reference. When I received the diagnosis on September 27, 2023, I felt I got an answer to a lifetime of questions, but this answer like-

michael mcclure.

wise opened up another round of questions, these ones much harder to resolve.

If my parents had known, when I resisted their homemade soups, meat stews, and vegetables and immediately vomited after tasting them, that I had autism-related sensory issues rather than mere picky eating, would they have chastised me as much as they did? Would my eighth-grade classmates have bullied me if they knew that my insistence on perfect grammar in texting, my stimming during standardized tests, and my unsolicited infodumps were related to autism? Would teachers and

administrators have let them get away unpunished and instead told me not to react when they teased me? Would I even be graduating from UChicago in June, or would I have become part of the four in five autistic undergraduate students who do not graduate within four years? This interrogation is part of the continual process of revising the story of my life since learning I was autistic. What comes after is a balancing act in its own way. Three hours after receiving my diagnosis, at 6:02 p.m. on that Wednesday, I arrived at Harper Memorial Library to

“I could finally label this practice of

social disguise autistic masking—

except... it felt too genuine, too comfortable, to be a mask.”


lead a Maroon hustling session. As I stood at the podium with 35 prospective new staff and 12 of my fellow editors at my mercy, I recognized how fundamentally contradictory my new existence was. I was a leader of a large organization in a people-facing role that required me to engage in small talk and banter on the fly, and I was comfortable and enthusiastic about doing so. I could finally label this practice of social disguise autistic masking—except that by this point, it felt too genuine, too comfortable, to be a mask. That day, I simultaneously knew myself better than ever and didn’t know who I really was.

I have zero regrets about getting evaluated; almost everyone I’ve told about my diagnosis thus far has responded with compassion and curiosity rather than discomfort or hostility. But until my last day as managing

editor on March 8, 2024, I also wondered how much others’ perceptions of my leadership might have changed had they known I was autistic. To the handful who did know, I’m forever grateful that you embraced me for who I was and stood by me when I struggled to cope with the world. With the exception of the Maroon, I never truly felt part of the UChicago student community that many of my neurotypical peers seemed to find. I imagined UChicago to be a haven of quirky souls who were proud of their unusual and often incompatible interests, but I still felt I was an outlier. People were overwhelmingly acting “normal,” eating communally in Bartlett and watching movies in house lounges and making small talk at Promontory Point. I struggled to relate to those I met, feigning interest in the interactions but internally counting down the seconds until I could leave to

copyedit an article, write about car racing, or play the piano. Instead, I cultivated a web of fellow motorsport enthusiasts from around the world, a number of them also autistic, who have supported me through the best and worst of UChicago, my interpersonal relationships, and my journalistic pursuits on and off campus. In moments like these, surrounded by people who uplift one another and celebrate their passions and quirks, I realize that my autistic traits are beautiful gifts too. And while I still cringe at the thought of professional networking and struggle to stave off a meltdown when my routine gets disrupted, I know that my autism also illuminates the moments—the on-record scoops, off-record stories, and the perfectionism-fueled copyedits—that give me the greatest pride.

Of course, autism is not all sunshine and rainbows. The

costs of getting evaluated are astronomical, the process of receiving post-diagnosis accommodations laborious. As many as 84 percent of autistic people do not have full-time jobs, and hiring discrimination and inadequate workplace support keep this rate high. Even though a diploma from such a world-class institution as UChicago and being relatively adept at masking give me enormous privileges that many of my autistic peers may not have, publishing this column carries with it tremendous risks. The fact any of us on the spectrum have to worry at all about our futures underscores the continued need for both awareness and unconditional acceptance of autistic life.

I’d like to believe people aren’t evil, just misguided. When autism is primarily caricatured through film characters such as Raymond Babbitt and Sheldon Cooper, people understandably

A Phoenix Rising: My UChicago Rebirth

fail to grasp the diversity of those on the spectrum. Misdiagnosis too is rampant—one professional dismissed the possibility I was autistic because I apparently had too many friends—and some still view autism as a problem in need of fixing. But my autism doesn’t make me broken; it makes me whole. I frequently find myself moved by the brilliance, bravery, and compassion of my peers on the spectrum, and I’ll always be proud to count myself among them.

I hope this piece can be a positive step toward increasing visibility and humanizing a label that has long been stigmatized. At the very least, my output through this piece can be more input for the next person like me.

Michael McClure is a fourthyear in the College. He served as the 2023–24 managing editor of the ChiCago Maroon.

On the trials and tribulations of college and emerging with my head held high.

Dear Solana, Once upon a time, in a land very far away, there lived a poor farmer whose only horse ran off. When his neighbors heard the news, they expressed great sorrow for the farmer’s loss. However, the farmer dismissed their concerns and replied, “We’ll see.” Later, the horse came back with several other wild horses in tow. All the neighbors remarked how fortunate he was to now have this many horses. Yet, the farmer brushed off the

news and said, “We’ll see.” The next day, the farmer’s son tried to tame one of the horses but broke his leg in the process. Again, the neighbors lamented the farmer’s misfortune, but the farmer said, “We’ll see.” The following day, officers came to the village to collect young men for an upcoming military campaign, and the son was overlooked because of his injury. Elated at the news, the neighbors congratulated the farmer for this wonderful news. The farmer still said, “We’ll see.”

You, past-Solana, haven’t

heard that story yet, but that story will find its way to you in different forms from various people over the next four years. Right now, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “It’s just monkeys singing songs, mate,” (This reference will make sense to you in a little while) and “Why does this story apply to me and my life?” Well, you’ll just have to see.

Nonetheless, I know you’ll believe that what I wrote wasn’t a satisfactory response. Right now, you feel like you’re swirl-

ing in a sticky pot of emotions that you can’t seem to climb out of. Since school was moved online, you managed to avoid failing more AP Calculus tests, but you’re filled with anxiety about going to UChicago. You’re wondering if there was a mistake—they really let you off the waitlist? The girl who had to take the ACT three times only to get the same mediocre score and wrote her Common App essay about being the Rat Queen in the Nutcracker? Will you fit in with all the talented and clever peers around you

that seem to have accomplished so much? Will you even be successful among this group of high-achieving students? It felt like the stress of the college application process, which had caused our hair to fall out before, was heading for greener pastures once more.

The farmer’s story was not meant to confuse you, but rather highlight something I’ve learned since I left Texas. Unlike what we were taught, not every move we take or decision we make is black and white and CONTINUED ON PG. 29

“Never forget that strength as you step into the gates of UChicago with your head held high.”


leads to objectively good or bad consequences. Life is a spectrum made up of our decisions and the truths we live by change over time. It doesn’t mean we were wrong, misinformed, or dumb. But we should take pressure off ourselves to always make what we were taught is the right decision. Even now, I’m still learning, but in that time, I’ve gotten to see part of the vivacious color spectrum life has to offer and I can’t wait for you to experience the highs and lows.

Don’t worry. Take a breath; the contents of this letter aren’t alarming but know that UChicago changes us into a Solana you wouldn’t believe.

You’ve heard that UChicago is where “fun comes to die,” and, at least for you, it’s not true. We both know there’s nowhere more hellish to be than a racist, white flight private school in the Deep South as a Black girl for thirteen years.

Our Sailor Moon-esque transformation starts in some expected and equally unexpected places: long-lasting friendships you’ll cultivate in spite of the borderline authoritarian upperclassmen in the dreaded I-House (which isn’t as shitty as everyone says); late night point and quad parties you’ll attend due to COVID restrictions; sneaking into North to hang with new friends; getting drinks with people you meet from the Maroon (which you will one day lead as its first African Editor-in-Chief—the only spoiler I’m giving you); finally learning German and majoring in visual arts; making even more friends and mentors; and even winning a scholarship to study abroad in Berlin and becoming a model for Vogue Ger -

many (last spoiler for sure).

Although these good moments are everything you’d think they be and more, including much more I didn’t mention, there are also some equally unsavory moments: being rejected by dream jobs, internships, and opportunities; fighting extended emotional battles with close ones from home; being told after months of building up your art portfolio that your work is “juvenile;” being yelled at during a work shift by another student who questioned you attending this university; having a high-profile professor and a former preceptor in the Social Science department question your English language skills, despite being a native speaker and an editor-in-chief; losing someone special extremely close to you in a time of extreme distress; being harassed and accused of supporting war crimes by a community leader; and, most painfully, being asked to reconsider your dreams of living abroad for a few years and go back to the hometown where you were indescribably hurt, solely because you can’t seem to get an offer from employers.

I won’t sugarcoat it. Some of these moments push us to limits that rival the darkest times in high school, perhaps even becoming some of the darkest moments in our lives. But, in that unfathomable struggle that, some days, keeps you confined to the four walls of your apartment bedroom with only hot, streaming tears as companions in this abject sorrow, know that great positive change comes from these difficulties too. You turn your sadness and failure into strength, transforming the communities and people around you.

For instance, after noticing

many students claim to fight against racism and prejudice, there is little substantive movement in that direction within the newspaper. In response, you create the Maroon ’s very first Black History Month Special Issue, forging a dedicated, inclusive space for Black students to express themselves. There, your extended community had complete, guaranteed creative expression as they took the helm and were prioritized as editors, videographers, illustrators, poets, and so much more. From there, you inspired others in the Maroon to develop other special issues and inserts, forging a new legacy for the paper as a more inclusive organization where even more diverse stories are told going forward. And, as a fun bonus, you got to chat about your work to some very powerful people on and off campus.

Still, don’t get it twisted. I’m still scared of the future, though less so than I was about coming to UChicago. I have several viable options, and I still worry about some of the same things I thought of in the past: what my family might think of me, what others will think of me, and whether I’ll ruin the legacy I left behind for my communities by doing something foolish. However, though my identity as a UChicago student has caused me some strife, leaving some aspects of campus left to be desired, I’ve emerged a stronger person who is more secure in what I want for myself.

As the farmer’s fortune turned around day by day in the parable, so does your own personal growth. Great change doesn’t happen overnight, but over time you’ll understand what you stand and fight for, even if that means leaving behind your sometimes infu -

riating and sometimes sweet siblings. Your best quality is being resilient and persistent in your dreams. Never forget that strength as you step into the gates of UChicago with your head held high. This letter was as much for me as for you, as you can probably tell, but I wish you the best as a future UChicago student. Now, give Kobe as many belly rubs as possible and “we’ll see” if you start packing on time.

Yours truly, forever, and always, Solana

P.S. Take the Sonic the Hedgehog class fourth-year. It’s gonna change your life for real. Trust.

Solana Adedokun is a fourthyear in the College. She served as the 2023–24 co-editor-in-chief of the ChiC ago M aroon

solana adedokun


ARACHNIDAE: A Celebration of Eight Graduating Visual Arts Students

This year’s visual arts B.A. thesis exhibition is a curiously woven patchwork of materials, moods, and moments.

Through April 21, the visual arts B.A. thesis exhibition ARACHNIDAE showcased the work of eight undergraduate artists who will be graduating this June. A curiously woven patchwork of materials, moods, and moments, each piece stood simultaneously on its own, within its artist’s collection of works, and in the midst of the exhibition as a whole.

Some of the pieces are literal patchworks. Julia Fennell’s paintings are done on sewn-together pieces of canvas, mosaics of psychedelic colors. They are a strange kind of nostalgic, depicting living rooms and childhood beds and butterflies. Wide angles and exaggerated proportions unbalance and reframe the world. Something is just beyond reach—or perhaps is just coming into being among the swirls of paint.

A large, column-like structure stood in the middle of the room with paintings on each of its four sides. Some of those paintings were Jordan Yi’s works. Evocative of mythology and fantastical worlds with a distinctly gory tint, the oil paintings feature hares, birds, and other animals. There is a current of indistinct violence and ominous energy that runs through the paintings, which unsettles the softness, elegance, and, frankly, cuteness of Yi’s animal subjects. Looking at the works, I’m pulled into a kind of captivating quiet chaos—into a world I can’t quite understand, but that I feel compelled to look deeper into.

The exhibition also featured a striking array of other artistic media beyond painting. Isabella Diefendorf’s evocative sculptures and installations were scattered throughout the room. Suspended from the ceiling, foraged branches are held by strings of yarn in a delicately balanced structure reminiscent of spiderwebs. Some branches, two with the translucent halo of a disc caught between their tips, wave shadows

on a wall. An entire world is distilled into a jar filled with rainwater that has run off a work of chalk art. Diefendorf’s work seems to bring the outside back in, capturing and recreating natural phenomena in a new form.

Natalie Jenkins offers another take on sculpture. Blurring the line between artificiality and nature, Jenkins’s works often juxtapose natural forms with sharp, geometric lines. Roots and bark and stones are pinned against grids and yet seem unable to be contained by these grids. Cacti carved of insulation foam stand in buckets, awash in a sea of overflowing sand. Time, in a way, is suspended, and growth and change held in place for a moment.

I was halfway around the room when I noticed the black curtain on one side of the center column. Some of the sounds I’d heard when I entered the exhibition emanated from within. Behind the curtain was the pocket of experience that Otis Gordon created. In the corners of the dim space are cylindrical lanterns, translucent with distorted faces printed on them. They cast a flickering, obscure, orange-tinted light on oil paintings of buildings and more faces. One of them, with its spectacled eye warped as if through a fisheye lens, peers down at me. I feel on edge, out of place—a newcomer in a cold, unsettling city. There is the sound of wind, a static buzzing, soft music, and noises that sound like crying or laughing or maybe the screaming of an animal. I am both relieved and reluctant to escape back through the black curtain from Gordon’s immersive and alien world to the bright white walls of the rest of the exhibition.

Marbling through some of that whiteness were the drawings of K. Thornburgh-Mueller. Pages of white card paper are covered in lines that are a little like human or animal figures, a little like fac-

es, and a little like nebulae all at the same time, held up with metal screws and bars over one wall. The lines strain against the bars with the same sense of motion and ephemerality as birds in flight. Another one of Thornburgh-Mueller’s drawings is done on a handmade sheet of paper taller than a person. The work truly embodies the word “battered”—it is pockmarked with holes and torn edges, dark tendrils wisping across the surface in a melancholy fashion.

Thornburgh-Mueller’s black and white drawings were contrasted by the neon green and burgundy color scheme of one of Leah Chappell’s oil paintings. A medical patient with a device strapped to their head stares at the viewer from within a slime-colored doctor’s office. The device is connected by artery-like wires to a monitor. What’s going on? Chappell’s disquieting piece leaves us with more questions than it answers. Another of Chappell’s paintings portrays a pale, beheaded sculptural figure reminiscent of a Hellenistic marble, albeit with its color scheme, posture, and body proportions not altogether right, combining to be just a little eerie.

As I was about to leave the exhibition, I noticed the little theater tucked near the

entrance. Yisong Tang’s “Tars, Ears, and the East,” the only work of film in the exhibition, was playing inside. “Alright, let’s start over again,” says a voice in Chinese at the beginning of the film, as if self-conscious of the work’s own looping repetition. Son and father commence counting through the multiplication table, each number they recite marking the passage of time as memories and rhythms of emotion weave into one another. Music flows throughout the film, but there is a conspicuous absence of talking outside the steady pace of the times tables—there is much, perhaps too much, left unsaid as the pair within the film inhabit their tense bubble of a universe. The camera roves across dark trails of filled-in cracks in the asphalt and lingers on the two faces of father and son. Tang’s portrayal of this relationship is universal yet intensely personally and culturally anchored.

As a whole, ARACHNIDAE was somewhat disorienting but full of variety and personality and plenty of surprises to stumble upon. And, as the exhibition website describes, it captures a moment in time for each of the eight student artists—like “the fleeting instance when a fresh spiderweb catches the sunlight and glimmers like fire.”

ARACHNIDAE at the Logan Center. tiffany li

Strings Attached: Puppet Love

Associate arts editors Toby Chan and Nolan Shaffer review “Strings Attached,” an original musical written, directed, and composed by fourth-years Jefferson Lind, Adrian Lo, and Althea Li and third-year Eleni Lefakis.

Flesh or fluff, human or puppet? From April 18–20, Strings Attached, an original musical written by fourth-year Jefferson Lind, composed by fourth-years Adrian Lo and Althea Li, and co-directed by third-year Eleni Lefakis and Lind, performed to four sold out audiences at Theater West in the Logan Center. With witty songs, endless puns, juggling performances, and a fake bear, Strings Attached was an endearingly self-conscious musical about friendship, love, and whether or not we’re all really puppets.

The story follows Jason (Spencer O’Brien) as he works up the nerve to propose to his girlfriend of 10 years, Amy (Abigail Scharf). Jason is clumsy and sincere, and he lives with his brother and friend, the loyal and caring Walt (Joseph DePaula). Hoping to make a proposal that Amy can’t refuse, Jason hatches an ambitious plan to propose at the edge of Niagara Falls. The fate of this proposal (and of the idyllic landmark) is put in jeopardy when the characters learn that a comedic and stereotypical villain, oil baron Dallas (Robert Stimpson), is plotting to secure an oil reserve underneath the national landmark with a series of explosions.

But there’s a second plot in the works. Along this song-filled adventure of securing love and foiling evil, the characters wrestle with a deeper inquiry—who’s human and who’s puppet? For the audience, the fact that Walt is a puppet is made clear, if not by DePaula’s excellent physical comedy, then by the menacing Marionettist (Henry Kerrey), who plays a silly kind of God, and his two slapstick henchmen Hilton (Jacob Halabe) and Astoria (Maisie Thompson). Hoping to appease his wife, The Marionettist conspires to make Jason’s proposal happen by any means necessary. The Marionettist and his minions lend the production a sinister comedy that both relaxes the plot and adds much needed depth, prompting heavy questions about insecurity, agency, and begs the question—who’s pulling our strings?

Strings Attached carefully toes the line

between comedy and sincerity, a difficult challenge for a three-hour musical, but one that the production embraces wholeheartedly. The actors handle the comedy deftly, keeping the production balanced and on its feet. Amidst the witty lyricism of Proposal Opposal, puppet pals DePaula and O’Brien are both lighthearted and heartwarming, and one can’t help but feel an endearing attachment toward them. Halabe and Thompson, The Marionettist’s henchmen, clearly have a background in comedy, and with a steely commitment to the bit, they help the musical’s moments of absurdity stay grounded—even as Halabe becomes the waves of the ocean, or Stimpson an angry bear, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “PRETEND I’M A BEAR.”

The question “human or puppet?” acts as the premise of Strings Attached and drives it forward. Wearing a beard that doesn’t seem to grow, Walt is plagued throughout the show by the existential angst that he might be a puppet. His fears ring true when his arm is torn and thrown over the edge of the Niagara Falls—revealing cotton stuffing underneath. However, Walt has a greater degree of agency than any of the other characters in the show, puppet or human. Jason is bound by his anxiety of proposing to Amy, while Dallas is bound by an ill-made promise to a group of second graders that he would one day finance their college education. Perhaps the real question that Strings Attached poses is whether “human or puppet?” is a question that matters when we all have strings attached to each other. Explosive and unexpected moments are scattered throughout the production, which works hard to keep the audience engaged. In the musical number “Oil Down There” (also rife with puns—a notable favorite: “Petroleum? I barely know him!”), Stimpson holds nothing back, even as he departs into a surprisingly smooth and measured rap performance. Scharf shines particularly bright as Amy, and she seizes the moment (and perhaps the show), in “Fermented

Love,” a beautiful lament performed with high energy and a voice to match. Care and creativity are two of Strings Attached ’s strongest traits, evidenced by the unwavering commitment of the actors and the production team’s work. The band (Althea Li, Adrian Lo, Surya Chinnappa, Genevieve Evans, Peter Scheidt, Abby Kanes, Arjun Singh) perform an impressive range of musical styles with fluidity and are even shouted out by the actors during the show. The lighting design (Emily Curran) creates beautiful images and transforms moments of the performance, with breadth that steps up to the production’s wide range. It takes creativity to recreate everything from a quiet church scene to the cliffs of Niagara Falls to the depths of Walt and Jason’s psyche, all of which Curran does effortlessly in the small space of Theater West. Set design and digital projects (Emma Linderman and Yifan Zou) also creates a compelling visual metaphor, with a towering platform for The Marionettist and a large projection screen that embraces irony, displaying large, satirical messages like “THIS SHOW TAKES PLACE IN AN ALTERNATE REALITY WHERE ROMNEY WON THE 2012 ELECTION.”

Strings Attached, an 18-song musical, is above all, an ambitious undertaking. It is endearing in its content as well as its backstory. The culmination of an almost twoyear journey, it began as a passion project

for Jefferson Lind, director and book writer, who turned 25 prospective pages into writing a script that was “definitely not a bit,” he told the Maroon. After recruiting Althea Li and later Adrian Lo, co-musical directors and songwriters, the three worked tirelessly together in a constant loop of learning, revision, trust, and of course, cramming for deadlines.

“We rewrote almost every song,” Li said. Even after their inspiring and arduous journey, the writers remained full of energy and passion for Strings—in our interview, Lind couldn’t help but interject frequently with musings about what he wanted to do next with the musical.

Asked where they hope to take Strings Attached, Lind replied that they’d like to put on the show again, and Li is intent on adapting the music for a full orchestra. “I feel closer than ever to an ideal Strings,” Lind told us. For now, however, both are moving on to other projects. Lind is working on three more musicals, two about the state of Texas in different ways and one set in the world of Harry Potter on wizard boxing in the fifties, while Li is aiming for “capital C” composing and plans to write a chamber piece for string quartet.

In the end, Strings Attached wears many hats. It’s hilarious, absurd, touching, all of those things, and none of those things. “It’s as if it’s profound,” Lind told us, “and I don’t know what that means.”

Henchmen Astoria (Maisie Thompson) and Hilton (Jacob Halabe) join hands with oil baron Dallas (Robert Stimpson). coco liu and courtesy of university theater


“Midnight” Soccer: The Bright Light of UChicago’s Sports Scene Shrouded in Darkness (Literally)

An inside look at the intricacies of one of UChicago’s most chaotic—and enjoyable—student-organized sporting activities.

As I prepared to take a goal kick, I saw a hand raised high above the others, a clear indication of whom I should aim for. The ball initially made its way in that direction but soon appeared to have a mind of its own, moving in the opposite direction. Instead of going toward the other goal, the ball seemed to be returning to its starting point, meaning only one thing: I had mistakenly passed it to a player on the other team.

As the opposing player bore down upon our goal, I tried to sprint into position, serving as my team’s last line of defense after my disastrous error. Yet, three steps into this sprint I found myself sprawled on the ground, tackled by a moist mud patch. Having just joined my team five minutes earlier in true pickup soccer fashion, my claims of being a ten-year veteran of the sport became moot as my blunder allowed the other team to score.

My first touch of the ball at the University led to an errant shot-in-the-dark pass, a top-ten-montage-worthy slip, and, worst of all, a goal for the other team. A true midnight soccer introduction. I refused to look at my teammates, preparing for the well-deserved criticism sure to come my way. Yet, the humiliation never came. My teammates, who I had known for all of five minutes, helped me up and we continued to play, an atypical reaction for an outlier representation of the sport.

Before midnight soccer’s nuances can be appreciated, a better understanding of the typical expectations for the sport is necessary. Take a professional soccer game for instance. Each game’s highlights feature a tense atmosphere, two well-rounded starting elevens competing head-to-head, and a bellowing group of ultras (over-the-top supporters of a soccer team) looking on from the stands.

However, these qualities are not exclu-

| Sports Editor

sive to the world’s most competitive leagues, with UChicago’s varsity soccer teams, including the reigning NCAA Division III Champions, embracing the sport’s awe-inspiring nature for a local Maroon audience. Moreover, even though the University’s winter quarter intramural indoor soccer league deviates slightly from the rules and customs of the aforementioned fixtures (5v5 competition), the tactical and organizational components of the game still reign true.

That leaves midnight soccer as the last variation. A comparatively hectic jumble of the game’s best components combines into perfection every single time.

Granting midnight soccer the status of “hectic jumble” is perhaps slightly generous. After all, this classification almost levels the playing field between midnight soccer and its more organized soccer counterparts, which is ironic given that the midnight soccer pitch is notorious for not being remotely level. Yet, the hectic jumble makes every game, a very flexible term for this version of the sport, a masterpiece.

Unforgiving, high-flying tackles at every end of the pitch, a dewy mud patch with more goal contributions than any of the players, and an invisible referee who always makes the wrong call are just a few of the timeless qualities that midnight soccer offers to its participants. Yet, above all, where the pitch falters in evenness, it makes up for in leveling the competition.

Even the best soccer players are reduced in skill by midnight soccer’s unpredictable playing conditions, displaying UChicago’s special take on the classic British adage, “but can they do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?” This quality, along with weekly intra-house games ranging from a 5v5 to 16v16 affairs, gives midnight soccer an inclusive reputation among other sports on campus. It’s an inclusivity that extends to both soccer

lovers and new students trying to connect with housemates and other peers.

Second-year Andy Cheng, a goalkeeper for Salisbury House—a team that has unofficially “not lost a single match” since Cheng put on the gloves—knew that midnight soccer was perfect for him from the start. In an interview with the Maroon, Cheng discussed a personal history with the sport dating back to his high school years.

While Cheng, a former high school varsity soccer goalie, acknowledged that “UChicago has always been [his] dream school,” the appearance of midnight soccer as the “first thing that popped up on the housing page” during his research into the school motivated him to pursue the sport immediately.

Fortunately for Cheng, he was not the only Salisbury House resident eager to take to the Midway. Cheng’s goalkeeping experience made him a perfect fit for a team complete with players that “had been on soccer teams in their high schools” but had never encountered the Midway’s one-of-a-kind playing conditions. Of course, Salisbury House’s resumé stood out among other teams at the time, but the team still had a long way to go from a chemistry standpoint.

occasion enabled the positive components

of the game to shine through. The Salisbury House team’s pairing of success with fun was both “great for house morale” and a “great way to vent some stress” in Cheng’s experience.

While a house cheer squad is a regular sight at most midnight soccer games, Cheng fondly recounted a special appearance by UCPD officers this past fall.

What started as an inquiry into the raucous match, including a spotlight directed toward the otherwise dark field, soon became an enjoyable relief from a patrol for the officers. The officers, like the other students on the field and sidelines, took a break from their duties, stopping to support a group of unknown students by “cheering on from afar.”

Spontaneous, unpredictable moments such as these are the true essence of midnight soccer. As Cheng emphasized, “Midnight soccer is best when it is most chaotic.” While cold nights, overcrowding, and a lack of light are just some of the features fondest to Cheng, even midnight soccer’s evident shortcomings of the beautiful game still perfectly uphold the true spirit of soccer in the first place.

For Cheng, and every player who enters the hallowed Midway, “having fun” is the

Eka House celebrates a win on the Midway. courtesy of eka house.
“Welcome to your life... There’s no turning back...”

We are so proud of you!

love, Nema, Papa, Papi, Mommy & Cody

J u s t a g i r l f r o m S a n f o r d

W a n t i n g t o c h a n g e t h e w o r l d

A c h a l l e n g e s e e k e r f o r h e r

L e f t b r a i n / r i g h t b r a i n s w i r l

E n d e d u p i n H y d e P a r k

W h e r e f u n c o m e s t o d i e ? !

S h e g r a c e f u l l y b r o k e t h a t

n o t i o n

W i t h h e r o p t i m i s t ' s e y e

S h e p u t h e r h e a r t i n t o i t

L e a d i n g H i b i n o ' s l a b

S h e s u r j e d t o n e w h e i g h t s

I n m a k i n g M o d a f a b

F o u n d j o y i n i v y w a l l s ,

T h e P o i n t e , a n d t h e Q u a d

T o o k t o S o u t h w e s t s k i e s a

G r a n a d a a n d a b r o a d

N o w m a r o o n i n h e r b l o o d

T h e n e x t c h a p t e r s h e a i m s

B u t n e v e r f o r g e t s w h o ,

w h a t a n d w h e r e s h e c a m e


Everybody Wants to Rule the World tears for fears 1985


Surrounding you with love & laughter. CONGRATULATIONS

So proud of you! Oma & Pops



77. The UChicago Student’s Journey


Call into question 25 Alcoholic drink whose name comes from the Italian for “a little bitter”

Like the edges of something well-cooked, often

San Francisco cable car, for one

The Texans, on scoreboards

“So are we!” 30 Roughly 97% of Americans are, or are descended from, one of these

Length of a UChicago undergraduate education (usually)

Some late-night brews

Peak where Frodo travels to destroy the One Ring, in “The Lord of the Rings””

Like the range of tenors and basses, relatively


What you might be charged extra for



21 Next step after the ER, maybe 22 Abbr. before “Robinson”, “Dalloway”, and “Doubtfire”, in famous titles 23 Abyss 24 Country you’re probably in right now, for short 25 Insect known for conducting “raids” in large groups 27 Wear down 31 Landmark whose builders famously used sticky rice to hold its bricks together

32 Said “maybe”, maybe

34 The hybrid “chopfork” and others

35 Turns down, as the lights

36 Relative of a heron

37 One who often doesn’t want to let you go

39 Spanish time word whose middle letter has a tilde

40 New prefix

56 Put to work Solutions to our puzzles can be

41 Uncle ___ (symbol of the 24-Down)

46 “The Jetsons” son

47 Supermarket division

48 Honeycomb-like mushroom

50 Stead

52 “I’ma keep it real...”, in textspeak

53 Russian fighter plane acronym

54 Words between “pigs” and “blanket”

55 Egyptian god of evil

9 Angry 12 “Star
plot twist 13 Opera solo 15 Concept
there 16
shore, as a ship 18
eating word 19
38 Captain
Chris 42 Tennis player Swiatek 43 A tremendously long time 44 Breath-taking problem 45
51 Chest areas: Var. 52 Chocolatey Italian desert 57 Word after stop and drop 58 Direct routes 59 “Absolutely!” 60
landmark that incoming first-years
underneath after Convocation
with an often misquoted
that’s really out
Ties to
When repeated, onomatopoeic
America portrayer
Anthropomorphic mascot of Planters
Series of numbers?
Campus landmark that graduating fourth-years walk underneath after
drug 5 Disappearing 6
9 2008
on the same day as “The
1 Cut down, as a tree
Onetime rival of the Associated Press: Abbr.
Adjective in many a rapper’s name
Highway east of campus...that shares its initials with a
Abound (with)
Actress Mendez or Longoria
film that came out
(proto-Barbenheimer!) 10 Noisy 11 The D in LED 14 Franklin who topped “Rolling Stone”’s list of
“100 Greatest Singers” in 2010 17 Utilize, as a bench 19
“My room is very disorganized
found at chicagomaroon.com/crosswords.

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