The Brandeis Hoot, April 1, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 8

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

April 1, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

A Surge of COVID-19 Cases and Updated Policy on Campus By Jenny Zhao staff

Since the University announced its easing of COVID-19 policy on surge of cases. his is shown in the most recent cases report according to the Brandeis COVID-19 dashboard: from the past week of March 20, there have been 133 positive cases out of 4,026 individuals who got tested. From the week of March 27, there were 13 positive cases from 555 individuals who got tested. The 7-day positive test rate as of the week of March 27 reached 2.3 percent at Brandeis, exceeding the overall positivity rate at Massachusetts of 2.02 percent. According to the Dashboard, Waltham is labeled as a yellow zone, indicating its higher level of infection.

Currently, there are 62 students in isolation who tested positive and 154 students in quarantine who ing to the Dashboard. According to Brandeis Community Tracing Program, the number of students who tested positive and need separate quarantine housing has gone beyond the capacity of the designed quarantine housing of 567 South Street. There is currently a waiting list for the positive students who are in need of isolation housing. The BCTP would evaluate the urgency of the individual cases depending on the severity of symptoms, current residential situation, and the timeliness of the positive result. Some urgent cases would be placed at the top of the housing waiting list, while others with milder symptoms would have to self-quarantine in their own dorm rooms. Due to the shortage of housing, even positive students living in a double and using a shared

Univ. separtes from MESA By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university announced on March 24, that it would be disassociating from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) after the organization announced it would be supporting Palestinian boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The university stated that “as a matter of principle” the university does not support academic boycotts in any country, according to a BrandeisNow article. “The resolution attacks the fundamental principles of academic freedom and association to which MESA specifically refers in its mission statement, and to which Brandeis is committed,” reads a BrandeisNOW article with the universities response to the resolution. The university announced its disassociation from MESA on March 24 to affirm its support of academic freedom, according to the article. MESA made the decision to support BDS on March 23 after many years of discussing taking a stance, according to an article on the MESA website. “In a 768-167 vote, members of the Middle East Studies Association have voted in favor of a resolution endorsing the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment, and sanc-

Inside This Issue:

News: Frumhoff talks climate action with students Ops: April fools! Please enjoy we have jokes Features: Equestrian team isn’t horsing around Sports: Collin knows some stuff too Editorial: COVID-19 spikes on campus

Photo from

See COVID-19, page 5

Photo from

Student Union holds elections for next academic year

tions of Israel as a way to hold the government accountable for ongoing human rights violations,” reads the article. The decision had about 80 percent support within the organization and the proposed resolution does not target individual scholars or students but rather institutions, according to the resolution. In the resolution, it also states the right of individual MESA members to make an individual choice over whether they will participate in the academic boycott. The academic boycott is designated for Israeli institutions that are complicit “in Israel’s violations of human rights and international law through their provision and direct assistance to the military and intelligence establishments,” according to the resolution. There was a 50 day voting period for this resolution from January 32 to March 22, according to an article. Though the BDS vote has been in consideration by MESA members since 2005 and the academic boycott is intended as a way to support Palestinian scholars who are at risk due to Israeli occupation, according to a statement by Eve Troutt Powell— President of MESA’s board of Directors. “In light of this vote and the See MESA, page 5

bathroom might still be quarantined in their original rooms. According to the BCTP, all the positive students would receive daily phone calls to check in with their health conditions and symptoms. All the positive students would experience a quarantine period between 5 to 10 days depending on their recovery. As long as they have been cleared by the BCTP, they would be exempted from COVID testing for a 90 days period. The University also addressed this surge of cases by indicating “we are currently experiencing the highest number of isolating andwhile others with milder symptoms would have to self-quarantine in their own dorm rooms. Due to the shortage of housing, even positive students living in a double and using a shared bathroom might still be quarantined in their original rooms.

By Victoria Morrongiello, Vimukthi Mawilmada and Sasha Skarboviychuk editors

The Student Union released the list of candidates running in the spring 2022 elections via email on March 27. There are ten positions that are being filled in this round of elections including: Student Union President and Vice President, Secretary, Head Treasurer, Junior representative to the Board of Trustees, two representatives to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Board, two seats to allocations board and CEEF representative. President and Vice President For the President and Vice President positions, students must run on the ballot together. The position is open to anyone in the student body. The two pairings running for the President and Vice President respectively are Ariel Schultz ’25 and Elisha Gordan ’25 and Peyton Gillespie ’25 and Lia Bergen ’25. Gillespie spoke with The Brandeis Hoot in an interview over his campaign for President with Bergen as Vice President. “We are running for the position of President and Vice President because of our shared passion for using our experiences and skill sets to elevate the voices in our student community to affect positive change,” wrote Gillespie. Both Gillespie and Bergen have

Interview with Nolan

Page 3 Page 16 He knows there weren’t sky Page 9 cameras in Rome Page 12 SPORTS: PAGE 13 Page 10

experience in the Senate, having together worked on projects on sustainability, dining and menstruation accessibility. If elected, in the position, they plan to continue their work from these projects to, “build a strong campus community, based in student agency, where everyone feels as though they have an equal chance to have their voices heard on issues that matter to them,” wrote Gillespie. Initiatives Gillespie and Bergen would like to tackle include ensuring access to free menstrual products for all students and improving access to facilities for the Brandeis Health Center, the Brandeis Counseling Center and the Intercultural Center. Other initiatives they would like to handle include: improving campus transit— using Bergen’s experience as a BranVan Driver— and expanding sustainability measures on campus— using Gillespie’s experience as Chair of the Senate Sustainability Committee and Co-Chair of the Brandeis Sustainability Committee. “Both Bergen and I are strongly committed to appointing an Executive Board that is diverse, qualified, dedicated, and engaged; this includes the creation of a new position devoted to raising awareness about sexual harassment and assault on campus,” wrote Gillespie. The Hoot also spoke to Schultz and Gordan on running for the position of President and Vice President. Schultz told the Hoot he was running for the position for two reasons: his

belief that he has the ability to make positive changes for the students in this position and this position is an opportunity to give back to the community that has meant so much to her. “The people I have met continue to amaze me and I want to do everything I can to enhance the community and improve the Brandeis experience for the people here,” wrote Schultz. Gordan shared a similar sentiment for wanting to run for the position as Vice President writing that it is, “a want to give back to the community and utilize my strengths.” For experience, Schultz wrote that he was Student Council President in high school which is a similar position to the Student Union president position. In this previous role, Schultz gained experience working with administration at his school to organize wellness and morale events which he also wants to execute on Brandeis’ Campus. Gordan has worked on the Allocations Board which gives him an understanding of the Student Union and its finances, he explained in an interview with The Hoot. Both Schultz and Gordan want to make student mental health on campus a priority. They want to improve mental health services offered on campus so that students have easier access to getting help. Their goals are threefold, wrote Gordan, with a focus on mental health services, improving COVID-19 policies and communica-

Oscars a night to remember Who won, who lost? ARTS: PAGE 6

See UNION, page 4


4 The Brandeis Hoot

UNION, from page 1

COVID-19 policies and communication and establishing student union accountability and visibility with the student body. Secretary There are three students running for the Secretary position. This is one seat, open to the entire student body. The students running for the position are: Emma Fiesinger ’23, Ashna Kelkar ’24 and Gonzalo Palafox ’24. In an interview with The Hoot, Fiesinger wrote that she wanted to run for Secretary since she wanted to give back to the Student Union. Fiesinger has served on the Allocations board for six semesters, with three of those semesters serving as chair of the Allocations Board, and wanted to take her skills in communication and organization to assist the Executive Board. “I want to be concise and effective with my communication towards students. No one likes being barraged with emails, and I hope that by conducting elections properly and being fully informed on current events hosted by the Union and other clubs, my weekly briefings will be succinct,” wrote Fiesinger to The Hoot. In an interview with The Hoot, Kelkar wrote that her experience in the Student Union as the chair of the dining committee and the Executive Senator will help her in this position. She has an understanding of how the Student Union communicates with the greater Brandeis community and how they implement their initiatives. “I want to be a part in continuing and improving that so-called ‘power’ and increasing transparency, access to resources, and communication the Student Union gives to the student body,” Kelkar wrote to The Hoot. Kelkar’s main goals are to increase transparency, maintain regular communication through means that work for students and increased access to resources for students including professional development, self-care, education and personal opportunities.

April 1, 2022

Student Union holds elections for next academic year The Hoot reached out to the third candidate Palafox, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Head Treasurer There are two students running for the position of Header Treasurer: Maggie Chang ’23 and Emily Adelson ’23. “I am very excited to be running for this position this year because I want to be able to serve the clubs on campus and be able to provide support through p-card and reimbursements. I am experienced in both processes and believe that I can be of help to not only the deputy and assistant treasurers but also the rest of the club treasurers on campus,” Chang told The Hoot. In terms of experience, Chang served as Deputy Treasurer for the Brandeis Student Union Treasury and has also been club treasurer for clubs before.”My experience of working as both club treasurer and deputy treasurer gave me the opportunity to see how the process works on both sides and I understand the importance and responsibilities of being Head Treasurer for the Brandeis Student Union Treasury team,” added Chang. “If I were to be chosen as Head Treasurer in the upcoming school year, I will support and train my Treasury team to be able to effectively assist the club treasurers on campus. I understand how difficult and confusing some of these processes can be to incoming and new treasurers and I will ensure that any and all questions or concerns will be addressed and answered,” said Chang. Adelson also served as a Deputy Treasurer as well as Senator for the Class of 2023 for the Student Union. “I know the two critical areas of the P-Card and reimbursement process and am knowledgeable about how to use Presence. Most of all, I’m passionate about helping clubs and making a difference in the Brandeis community, and if elected I would bring all of these qualities to the role,” Adelson told The Hoot. “In addition, I also serve as a BUGs tutor for Financial Ac-

counting, Corporate Finance and Study Skills, and have served as a TA in Financial Accounting which further expands my knowledge of finance, and will help me to effectively work with you if elected,” she said. Junior representative to the Board of Trustees There are two students running for the position of Junior representative to the Board of Trustees: Shelley Polanco and Meshulam Ungar ’24. Ungar spoke to The Hoot regarding running for the position and said, “ I have three priorities on this campaign: invest more in the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC), effective & empathic COVID-19 management, and strengthen the communication between Trustees and students,” said Ungar. Ungar noted that despite not having served on the Student Union before, he has had leadership positions in the Brandeis community serving as mid-year representative to the Brandeis Orthodox Organization (BOO). He is also involved in the Brandeis-Israel Public Affairs Committee (BIPAC), where he has held the position as legislative director and event advisor. The most important part of his campaign, Ungar said, is to engage with the student body. The Hoot reached out to Polanco but did not receive a response in time for publication. Two representatives to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Board For the two representatives to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Board, there are three candidates running: Aman Qutab ‘24, Max Lerner ‘23 and Ana Loza Pérez ‘25. Lerner has spent three semesters on the board; additionally, he is in the new Climate Justice, Science, and Policy minor, and participated in the sustainability pre-orientation,” he told The Hoot in an email. “I’m running for this position to attempt to continue representing the student body and fighting for increased voice from the Brandeis community in the fund,” said Lerner. “One thing

the board is currently working on with the senate sustainability committee is the ‘year on climate action,’ which is an upcoming academic year with increased emphasis––in and out of class––on sustainability and environmental justice,” added Lerner. “Furthermore, one hope of mine is increasing the voice students actually have in the administration, particularly in sustainability related ways,” he concluded. Pérez also spoke to the Hoot and said that she is running for this position because she believes, “in the importance of sustainability, and that Brandeis can, and should, be doing a lot more in this sense.” Pérez said that her commitment to environmental action and climate justice will help her in this position. She has taken environmental classes since high school, and is currently a Climate Justice, Science, and Policy minor. For students in this position, Pérez wants to prioritize supporting individuals and groups on campus and listen to what they want to see on campus to make it more sustainable. The Hoot reached out to Qutab but did not receive a response in time for publication. Allocations Board Member for a two-semester seat For the Allocations Board Member seat, there are two seats open which are held for two semesters. There are four candidates running: Jacqueline Floro ‘25, Lexi Lazar ‘24, Peter Meng ‘23 and Owen Chan ‘24. The Hoot reached out to Lexi Lazar for comment on why she is running and she explained that her current seat on Allocations Board is ending and she wants to reapply. “I was a member of the allocations board for the past two semesters,” Lazar explained, “so I know the ins and outs of a-board.” Lazar explained that during her time on the Allocations Board, she has been a part of the initiative to make marathon more sustainable. According to Lazar, she was unable to complete her goals due to her term ending and would like to continue this proj-

ect if re-elected to the position. Lazar explained a goal of hers is to make marathon more equitable for community members. She wants the marathon process to be equitable for clubs, “that may feel underrepresented or not advocated for.” In this position, Lazar hopes to be a “friendly and approachable face” so that students feel comfortable coming to talk with the Allocations board. The Hoot Reached out to Floro, Chan and Meng but did not receive a response by the time of publication. CEEF Representative There is one seat open for the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) Representative Position. The seat is open to the entire student body and one candidate is running for the position: Carolina Jacobs ‘25. Jacobs spoke to The Hoot via email about why she is running for the position, according to Jacobs, “I am running for the CEEF Representative position in the Student Union because I am determined to effectuate change in the Brandeis community.” The CEEF Representative works with the CEEF fund which provides funding for student initiatives, according to their webpage. Jacobs has already begun talking with students about initiatives which can enhance the Brandeis community and improve the campus for community members. Jacobs wants to work with students on projects which will have long term benefits for our campus. Jacobs has experience with different clubs and activities on campus which have shown to her the “importance of teamwork and communication, both of which are essential components for the role of CEEF Representative,” wrote Jacobs. “I really want to be able to hear students’ ideas for improvement first hand which the position of CEEF Representative will allow me to do. I believe that there is always room for improvement and Brandeis is no exception, I know that with the input of students we can help better our community..” wrote Jacobs.

U.S. News and World ranks Heller School as top ten graduate By Roshni Ray editor

U.S. News and World Report issued its 2023 rankings for the graduate school programs in the U.S.. The Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis was listed as a top 10 public affairs school in two categories: social policy and health management. Currently, Heller is ranked as eighth best for social policy graduate programs in the U.S. and tenth for social policy. Within the entire public affairs category, Heller is ranked within the top 25% of graduate schools. According to past U.S. News rankings data, the Heller School has been a top-ranked social policy school for over a decade. The U.S. News rankings are determined through a survey of numerous deans, directors and

department chairs at 267 graduate schools of public affairs across the country. Heller was founded in 1959, where it was a singular doctoral program. Since then, it has expanded to include six master’s degrees “spanning global and domestic social policy and social impact management,” according to the Heller School webpage. The Masters of Public Policy program at Heller focuses specifically on domestic social policy with a curriculum drawing from research and policy studies. The Social Impact MBA offers graduate students the opportunity to learn about how to take on leadership roles at non-profit organizations and mission-driven organizations. More details about the other programs are available at the Heller academic website. The graduate school also offers 10 different research centers and

institutes, including the Schneider Institutes for Public Health and Policy, the Institute for Behavioral Health and the Institute for Global Health and Development. The Heller School and its students were recently featured in Commonwealth, a nonprofit journal of politics, ideas, and civic life. Corrinne Thomas, a graduate student in Heller School’s Master’s in Public Policy program wrote about a recent malfunction and tragedy in the Boston MBTA system and called for lower commuter rail fees. Additionally, Dr. Andrew Kolodny was quoted in GBH News Magazine that detailed how the Massachusetts Trial Court has come to the decision to stop pressuring drug court defendants to detail specific medical treatments for opioid use disorder cases.


April 1, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

University dissociates from MESA MESA, from page 1

scholars who are at risk due to Israeli occupation, according to a statement by Eve Troutt Powell— President of MESA’s board of Directors. “In light of this vote and the boycott, Brandeis dissociates from MESA and reaffirms our support for academic freedom,”

reads the university’s statement on the BrandeisNOW article. BDS is a Palestinian lead movement, according to the BDS movement page, seeking freedom, justice and equality. The campaign launched in 2005 and it is built on the three pillars of boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Boycotts are held against companies and organizations which are complicit in the violation of Palestinian

rights, divestment from State of Israel companies and sanctions to push governments towards aiding the end of Israeli apartheid, according to their page. The university is not the only institution that has decided to cut ties with MESA and also announced a condemnation of MESA for supporting a boycott against Israeli higher education institutions, according to a

BrandeisNOW article. Universities began rescinding from the organization back in December 2021 when MESA first voted to consider endorsing BDS, according to an Algemeiner article. Florida State University and an academic center at the University of Arizona, both ended their association with MESA in January 2022, according to the article.

The dissociation of Florida State University and the University of Arizona from MESA due to the threat to “academic freedom” posed if MESA endorsed BDS. In Florida, there are specific state laws that prohibit the use of public funds to support BDS, according to the article, and since the university is a state university it could not be associated with MESA.

COVID-19 cases surge and updates to Covid policy COVID-19, from page 1

According to the BCTP, all the positive students would receive daily phone calls to check in with their health conditions and symptoms. All the positive students would experience a quarantine period between 5 to 10 days depending

on their recovery. As long as they have been cleared by the BCTP, they would be exempted from COVID testing for a 90 days period. The University also addressed this surge of cases by indicating “we are currently experiencing the highest number of isolating and quarantining students at any point since COVID arrived”,

according to the email sent out by Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President for Student Affairs on March 25. The University suspected that the cases spread among the stu-

dents are the BA.2 variant of Omicron, which has a milder flulike symptom but is more contagious and requires a longer quarantine period. The updated COVID policy makes wearing a mask a requirement again and requires everyone to obtain a green passport only to attend any indoor gatherings where food is served.

Due to the high volume of cases, many indoor activities now only provide food on a grab-andgo basis. Some bigger classes and recitations are switched to online in response to the isolating students who are unable to attend in person and to reduce the potential risk of spreading the virus.

Climate action discussion with Richman fellow By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Peter C. Frumhoff— an ecologist named as the 2022 Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life— spoke to community members about his work and how he is translating it to action on climate change. Frumhoff is a global change ecologist who has experience in climate change impacts, climate science and policy, tropical forest conservation and management, and the conservation of biodiversity. “I also knew that I couldn’t live with myself professionally if I weren’t finding some way to contribute to problem-solving. To slowing global changes that we were witnessing through informing policymaking,” Frumhoff said, “ I did a lot of thinking about how I could contribute towards the science and policy gap.” Frumhoff offered an anecdotal story to community members which inspired him in his work. He explained that he grew up in Las Angeles in 1973 when there was a thick smog. The smog was

so prevalent that, Frumhoff explained, he often could not see the mountain range which was a mile away from his home. The air quality today in Los Angeles is better than it was back in 1973 even though there are more cars on the road, Frumhoff told students. “This change didn’t happen overnight,” Frumhoff explained. It was due to the work of Arie J. Haagen-Smit— a biochemist at CalTech— who identified where the smog came from by looking at the science behind air pollution. Haagen-Smit was the first to demonstrate that smog came from the mixture of the exhaust from the tailpipes of vehicles mixing with sunlight. Haagen-Smit received pushback against his work and raised doubt about his work. But Frumhoff said he was “intrigued” by Haagen-Smit’s story because he fought back and turned to public advocacy to support his findings. It took three decades, but Haagen-Smit’s work led to the development of policies against smog, like the Clean Air Act signed by former President Richard Nixon. “It’s important that we think

about successes, that we do not forget them. There are not a lot of them right now, we don’t feel them very clearly. But I want you to put in your mind’s eye the cleanup of Boston Harbor,” Frumhoff said to community members. Success stories, Frumhoff explained, show the remarkable change that results from “good policy that is informed by good science”. Fumhoff explained the importance of equity when it comes to thinking about these success stories. Frumhoff told community members that communities do now “benefit equally or equitably” when it comes to these successes. Oftentimes, communities of lower socioeconomic status do not reap the rewards of the successes, according to Frumhoff, “places where there haven’t been investments in clean air or where traffic is heavier or heavy industry is more concentrated. Places where people are poor or disempowered— often black and brown communities— where people of color live. Do not benefit equally or equitably from the successes we rightly have claimed.” Frumhoff spoke of his experience working as a climate scientist

and director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)— a non-profit based in Harvard Square focused on creating a safer and healthier world. The organization is an advocacy program that, Frumoff explained, was started in 1969 during the Vietnam War. According to Frumoff, students and faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who were primarily physicists called for physicists for the public good— we now know this as sustainability. Contextually speaking at the time, physicists were primarily sought after for their contribution towards the nuclear arms race. In the UCS’s first document, they noted the importance of looking at pollution and ecological change. Colleen Hitchcock (BIOL/ ENVS) was a part of the selection committee for the Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life award. “It was a difficult choice. But a more fitting individual for this fellowship is hard to envision. Especially given the crossroads at which our planet now stands,” said Hitchcock. Recent reports regarding climate change have

shown that there is “precious little time,” left to take action against climate change. “We all need to work together and essentially sprint as fast as we can on those climate actions now to hopefully minimize damage, restore nature and communities, and invest in ways that both equitably and justly bring health and prosperity to our communities,” said Hitchcock. She explained that it is because of the severity of the situation that Frumhoff ’s work is as important as it is. Carol Fierke explained that Richman Fellows are selected based on the impact they have had in public life including: strengthening democratic institutions, improving American society, advancing social justice or increasing opportunities for citizens to become aware and share the benefits of the country. The Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life was created by alumna Carol Richman Saivetz ’69 and her two children Michael Saivetz ’97 and Aliza Saivetz Glasser ’01. The award was named in honor of Carol’s parents, Fred and Rita Richman, Fierke explained to community members.

Brandeis celebrates 2022 Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship By Roshni Ray editor

Brandeis celebrated the 2022 Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship recipient Stephanie Tilenius ’89, MA ’90 and the founder and CEO of Vida Health, Inc. in a recent webinar. Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz and Dean Kathryn Gaddy shared congratulatory remarks, and the award was presented to Tilenius by Leonard Asper ’86 who is the founder of the award. Afterwards, Louis Woolf ’76 and Tilenius had a conversation about Tilenius’ journey in entrepreneurship and her company Vida Health. Vida Health is a virtual care platform that provides wellness care via tele-appointments and

medical consultations to help patients struggling with chronic and behavioral conditions. By integrating mental health treatment with physical health treatment, Vida Health seeks to treat the “whole person,” as described in the company website. Additionally, Vida leverages the evolving ability of artificial intelligence and technology to provide patients with useful digital tools. These tools include video meetings with nutrition coaches and licensed therapists, an app that connects and syncs with vital sign measuring tools such as a weight machine and fitness trackers and virtual lesson plans to keep patients informed with accurate medical information. Tilenius described how her personal experiences

shaped her motivation to develop a virtual healthcare platform, saying, “When my father became sick with multiple chronic conditions, I was frustrated by the lack of solutions available to help him.” Analyses of user data show that on average, one year of Vida Health usage results in about a 7 percent loss of weight and a 1.3-point AIC level reduction, which represents a particular molecule’s level in blood. Additionally, symptoms of depression measured by PHQ-8 levels have been shown to reduce by about 60 percent over the course of six months and stress levels measured by PSS-10 decrease by about 33 percent over the course of six months. The user retention rate is 70 to 90 percent of on-

boarding members who continue to use Vida Health for six months or more after starting. Currently, Vida Health is deployed in several Fortune 500 companies and insurance companies and health plans. After graduating from Brandeis, Tilenius was a presidential management intern working on trade negotiations between the U.S. and Japan. In the webinar, she describes how at the time, she had intended to pursue a Ph.D. and “change the world through economic policy.” However, she was frustrated by the “slow pace of change” in economic policy and at her internship in Washington D.C. This motivated her to pivot to the technology sector, where she spent over two decades building products and marketplaces

for commerce and payments that scale to many users worldwide. Prior to founding Vida Health, Tilenius worked at a venture capital firm called Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers where she invested in companies such as NextDoor and MyFitnessPal. Additionally, Tilenius held a position working at Google as the Vice President of Commerce and Payments. This position entailed helping construct and develop new Google products such as Google Wallet, Google Shopping and Google Express. According to the Aspect Award webpage, the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship seeks to understand the emerging trends in entrepreneurship across different cultures and borders.


6 The Brandeis Hoot

April 1, 2022

The 94th Oscars brought the stars and the slaps editor

After months of speculation, it all came down to this one night. On March 27, the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theater. The ceremony celebrated the best in film for 2021 and this certainly was an entertaining show. Hosted by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, this show made for a night to remember. A few weeks ago, it seemed that this was going to be an unpredictable night with possible surprises. However, after more precursor awards came out and more critics’ predictions were posted, the awards given out seemed to be fairly expected. After changing my mind on some of my earlier predictions, I predicted 23 out of the 24 categories on my Oscar ballot (Darn Best Animated Short). That being said, I don’t watch the Oscars just for the winners. I watch it for the outfits, the emotional speeches, the laughs and the shocking moments. I mean, did anyone have Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on their Oscar ballot? It was a night for the history books and my family group chat was buzzing the whole night. A lot of that chat was complaining about how there were too many old white men or thirsting over Jacob Elordi, but overall, we had a great time watching the ceremony. Twenty-four awards were given out during the ceremony, but some of the awards were not presented live. Eight awards were presented before the show and recorded to be shown during the ceremony in an effort to make the ceremony shorter. I still do not agree with this move as I like seeing people’s reactions live and seeing their full speeches. We seriously do not have time to see Riz Ahmed earn an Oscar for Best Live Action Short film, really? Despite some awards being shortened, we still got to see every award and it was an important night for many films. Walking away with the most awards, Dune received six awards

out of 10 nominations. People thought Denis Villeneuve’s snub for being nominated Best Director was the biggest snub, so this shows that the academy does see the value of this film, and maybe Villeneuve will get a nom for the second part of “Dune.” The other big winner of the night was “CODA,” which won all three of the awards that it was nominated for, including Best Picture. It seemed that for a while, “The Power of the Dog” was going to take the top prize, but after winning the SAG awards, the PGA awards and after so much buzzing for the movie, “CODA” emerged as the frontrunner and rightfully took home Best Picture. It was my favorite of the Best Picture nominees (For the record, I have seen all of them except for “Dune” and “Drive My Car”) and I have been rooting for it to win even before it got the recent buzz. One of my favorite speeches of the night was when Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for “CODA.” He is the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar, and he signed his speech with a translator saying it. He expressed deep gratitude and showed why this award was important, and it was beautiful to see. He dedicated his award to the deaf community and to his dear father that lost the ability to sign after being paralyzed from the neck down. I could hear Kotsur’s translator tearing up. Another award I was happy to see was Jessica Chastain’s win for Best Actress in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” as the titular role. Her performance was easily the best out of the Best Actress nominees and I am glad she is now an Oscar winner. Her speech preached positivity and to stop violence, and it was wonderfully put. She dedicated her speech to the hate crimes against the LGBTQ community and how she only wanted love. She expressed how she was inspired by Tammy Faye’s acts of love and how she believed in her message of accepting everyone. Honestly, there was not a bad speech all night and every winner seemed extremely grateful, and I am glad we got to witness these gorgeous moments. When there weren’t awards be-

ing handed out, the ceremony had comedy bits, songs and tributes. Every Best Original song nomination was performed, except for “Down to Joy” by Van Morrison from the film “Belfast” as he was busy on tour, which is probably for the best since he is notoriously unvaccinated. The night started with Beyonce performing her song “Be Alive” from “King Richard.” She performed this on an actual tennis court and she was in a dress the color of a tennis ball, as was everyone in her band and her backup dancers, which made for a fun performance. Later, Sebastian Yatra performed “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, which was a pretty folk song in Spanish and a pretty performance. There were a lot of bright colors and plants decorating the stage along with dancers that were dressed in traditional outfits to honor the Colombian culture of the film. I found it all to be beautiful. Also from Encanto, the viral hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was performed by the cast, dancing and singing all over the theater. The song was not nominated, but the Oscars wanted to cash in on this popularity in an expressive way. Reba McEntire later performed “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days.” I don’t think anyone has seen this film but songwriter Diane Warren has been nominated thirteen times so the Academy loves her. Finally, Billie Eilish and Finneas performed the titular song from “No Time to Day” which ended up winning the award. It was a great song and Eilish certainly has a nice voice. The performance was understated with a dark color scheme which fit the tone of the song. The song was smooth and combining it with the presentation showed why the song won. There were also some fun comedy bits throughout the night. The three hosts had some fun jokes at the beginning including,“This year, the academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man.” Not every joke hit, but they got some chuckles out of me. Some later bits did not work for me, like Regina Hall joking about the hot guys needing COVID tests and basi-


cally groping them or the hosts dressing like the nominated films, but I still found it to be a smooth show. Then there is the moment of the night that everyone is talking about, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Chris Rock was on stage to present the award for Best Documentary FIlm. Since he is Chris Rock, he had to crack some jokes first. One of his jokes was saying that Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, could star in a sequel to G.I. Jane. The joke was that the titular character in G.I. Jane is bald, as is Pinkett Smith. However, Pinkett Smith has alopecia, so being bald is out of her control. Even though he seemed to be laughing at first, Will Smith was offended by this joke. This is what led to the famous slap. Audio was cut out for American audiences, but other countries got to hear Smith say “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” Then later, Will Smith won best actor for “King Richard,” and he got very emotional during his speech. People thought this turnaround was a little awkward and a little hilarious. Honestly I can see where Smith was coming from, but I don’t think hitting someone on live television while millions of people are watching

is the answer. However, I’m sure the Academy is pleased since that slap gave the awards a lot more attention. It’s like the old saying goes, any press is good press. I look forward to the Oscars every year. I do research for months and annoy everyone around me by talking about my research. I would say that this year’s ceremony did not disappoint. To compare this year’s Oscars to last year’s, I would say that I liked last year’s movies more, but I liked this year’s ceremony more. Even though it was predictable, it was a pretty smooth show with minimal cringey jokes. Everyone looked amazing (Jennifer Garner’s and Timothee Chalamet’s outfits were my favorites of the night) and all of the speeches were amazing. As always, the show went over the three hour time slot, but it did not feel that long to me. This ceremony was a wonderful love letter to this year’s films and I look forward to next year’s ceremony.

BookTok Worth It or Not: ‘Lovely War’ By Victoria Morrongiello editior

After a brief hiatus, I’m back with more ammunition. Fresh out of quarantine I’ve literally spent all my time reading and watching Bridgerton Season 2, so you know what that means? A lot of content for our arts section that’s right. Here’s my deal, I find books from BookTok, and if I can get a copy through my dealer Jenny then I read it! This week’s victim: “Lovely War” by Julie Berry. Based on the cover, since I do judge a book by its cover, I thought this was going to be another World War I or World War II retelling and I was hesitant. I finished “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr earlier this semester and it took a lot out of me emotionally. Same with “Salt to the Sea” by Ruby Sepetys, which I adored, but still they are dense reads. And just maybe not the most uplifting stories to be reading when you’re sitting alone in your room for five days.

While, yes, “Lovely War” is a retelling of World War I, it puts a spin on it by having the reader see through the perspective of different Greek gods. A weird combination I admit, but perfectly executed by Berry. So get this: Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaestus, Apollo and Hades walk into a hotel room and Aphrodite tells two love stories from World War I. Everyone knows Greek gods aren’t known for their fidelity to their partners, and Hephaestus—god of the forge and Aphrodite’s husband—has had enough of Aphrodite sleeping with his brother Ares—the god of war. Hephaestus confronts them in a hotel room and traps them in order to bring them to Mount Olympus to stand trial for being unfaithful. Aphrodite argues that instead of embarrassing themselves in front of everyone at Mount Olympus they have the trial in the hotel room. Hephaestus agrees to this. In her defense, Aphrodite does not deny that she has been cheating on him, but she argues that no one has ever loved her—despite

herself being the goddess of love. Ares and Hephaestus are both skeptical about what she has told them, since she is the most sought-after goddess so she surely must be loved. But Hephaestus lets her prove her point to show what love truly is through the story of four mortals: Hazel, James, Aubrey and Colette. The rest of the story is spent with Aphrodite narrating the two couples’ lives during World War I and the lengths they go to for each other. Hades—god of the dead—and Apollo—god of song—also come in to better tell parts of the story. It is a heartbreaking story for Aphrodite as you realize she does not have the one thing she brings to everyone else. She acts as an invisible string throughout the story, weaving together the lives of the couples and letting their love be her impact. But it is something no one has ever felt for her. She tells the other gods that they can relish in what they make. Hephaestus can hold the swords he forges. Ares can participate in the war he in-

cites. But she can never feel loved as she has made others love each other, since no one has ever listened to her. They believe the love she brings is trivial and pointless, but it isn’t. But that doesn’t make her bitter; she enjoys what she does and she fights for others’ love to persist in spite of the way things are in the world. You grow to love James and Hazel and Aubrey and Colette, but Berry does a great job of always making you aware that while they’re the focus of the story they are not the ones telling it. While telling their stories, Berry weaves in themes of prejudice and trauma as the four cope with life during the Great War. We see how the beauty and innocence in the world can be stripped from people, but love can restore some of what is lost. Love brings out the best in the four individuals, and they find their strength in each other. It is not superficial or fleeting, but strong and resilient. This book has easily become one of my all-time favorites. I love

when authors put a creative twist on their narrative and I think having Greek gods tell this story is a really bold move that is blended perfectly. It reminds me of “The Book Thief ” by Markus Zusak by having this out-of-left-field narrator. It’s a bit of a longer read; I finished it in a day because I literally couldn’t go anywhere, so if you need a quarantine read this is the book for you. It is relatively uplifting at the end, so you don’t finish and feel completely emotionally destroyed. It is also a stand-alone book if you aren’t looking for the investment that comes with a series. Lastly, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote: “Let them start their dreadful wars, let destruction rain down and let plague sweep through, but I will still be here, doing my work, holding humankind together with love like this.”

April 1, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 7

The Brandeis Hoot

The slap heard around the world: the politics By Pa Camara special to the hoot

You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. Unless you live with Patrick Star, we all know about the highlight of this past Sunday’s Oscars: Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in front of millions during the globally televised event. When I first heard about the slap, I was a little surprised, but I did not need to drop everything to look it up. After all, there was debate as to the authenticity of the slap, considering this would not be the first example of a “show” being put on for attention. So I guess the LAPD is a paid actor? However, many, and I mean many, were quick to post memes. Nearly every instagram story I opened had posted either a meme or as they say, “a hot take.” The basic rundown was that Rock made a joke about Jada Smith’s lack of hair due to a condition she dealt with in secret for years. This led to Will coming up on stage and slapping, or as instagram comments say, “rocking” Chris. As expected, there comes debate about who was in the right and wrong, but it is not as simple as Black and White. Those who side with Will say that Rock “crossed the line” and that “street rules” were applied. On the contrary, many say that Smith “overreacted”, and that not only was it meant as a joke, but Rock apparently did not know of Jada’s struggle. People also say that there were better ways for Will to have dealt with it. The way I see it, there was definitely a better way for Will to have dealt with the situation. He could have voiced his opinions in private or public, but instead made sure that

the joke was to be remembered. The interesting part about the whole situation is not the situation itself, but the reactions. This warrants a much more deeper analysis of the scene at hand. Rock is on stage poking fun at the audience when he jokingly says “Jada, I love ya, GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, aight?” For those who don’t know, GI Jane features a female protagonist who shaved her head, so the joke makes sense. It’s also important to note that Jada went public with her Alopecia diagnosis in 2018. Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss, which is much more likely to affect African-American females. She even laughed during the reveal, which I suppose is all she can do about it considering the current lack of a cure. Even Will found the joke to be funny, but Jada’s reaction pointed to the contrary. It is when she gives him the same look that things shift and Will slaps Rock, before shouting “Leave my wife’s name out your f—-ing mouth.” Well, at least he took the hit like a champ. He even proceeded to make a joke out of the slap and declined to press charges. Now to get into the entanglement of ideas. According to an instagram post by Black model, American Author Glennon Doyle in a tweet rejects the notion that violence is proof of love, citing said idea as a culprit behind domestic violence. That prompted a response which called into question Dolye’s stance, saying that White people do not believe in the concept that “Violence is never the answer,” referring to a troubled White history of violence and oppression. The unknown user also claims that Doyle’s intention with the tweet is to “... have the moral high ground and correct Black people…” which is

also apparently what all Whites strive to do. Not only that, but something which I wasn’t aware of, was that Amy Schumer apparently made a joke about being a White woman calling the cops on Blacks, which many note in addressing the hypocrisy and irony surrounding Doyle and the Oscars. To keep it short, Hart summarizes the cadence of the reply with one sentence : “White people—keep it cute and silent on Will, Chris, and Jada”. Now for another tweet which left me scratching my head: “Will Smith defends his wife on national TV with violence and gets praised. Parents defend their children at school board meetings with words and get labeled as domestic terrorists.” The caption of the post went as far to describe it as the “best take I’ve seen so far.” A quick Google search explains further, as last year, school board meetings fueled by parents being unhappy regarding critical race theory, the core principle of which is that race is a social construct. This lead to a letter from the National School Board Association writing to Joe Biden for action against those threatening the school board and faculty, in which parents were called domestic terrorists. This tweet tries to focus on a sort of double standard, but what is occurring is a comparison of two fairly different issues. Yet another Twitter user argues that it is “beyond offensive for Chris Rock, as the black male host of a historically and predominantly white awards show honoring talent within an equally white industry, to get a chuckle out of his audience by making a black woman’s hair loss and autoimmune disorder the butt of a joke.” This account of the slap is worth considering because it introduces the concept of policing

of Black hair, as well as all the historical and political aspects related to hair. After all, I do recall reported instances of Black students forcibly getting their hair cut, or facing disciplinary consequences because of their hair. Apparently some have gone as far to call it “the Oscar’s ugliest moment,” which is nothing short of a reach. In 1973, Marlon Brando, who is said to be one of the 20th century’s most influential actors, refused his award in protest of poor representation of Native Americans in film. In Brando’s place was sent Native American activist and author Sacheen Littlefeather to represent him. This led to a contest of boos and cheers from the crowd. The worst part of it was that John Wayne had to be held back by six guards to prevent him from attacking Littlefeather. In addition, Clint Eastwood even mocked their genuine intentions. When people say that Will Smith slapping Chris Rock was the ugliest moment of the Oscars, it goes to show that not only is there a misdirection from actual problems like lack of representation and misrepresentation which are still rampant today, but if your people or messages are not desired, then they will not be embraced.


With all being said and done, the slap stole the show, and created a conversation about some problems of society with many viewpoints and implications. This begs the question, would the joke have gotten the amount of criticism it did without the slap? After all, it did actually make it easier to overlook the actual accomplishments that were made that night. Samuel L. Jackson got his first oscar, Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an oscar for acting, and Jane Campion was the third woman to ever win ‘Best Director’ just to name a few. Also, while Smith did issue a public apology, it may also be a safe bet for Rock to apologize to Jada. However, none of this changes that the Oscars are still a predominantly White space, and only through time and effort will more and more minorities make their cultural mark and create a legacy bigger than the slap that was heard around the world.

‘Sweet Home’: Simple, satisfactory and coming back for a second season By Caroline O editor

Recently, “Sweet Home” started production for its second season, so I thought that now was an excellent time to finally start this horror-apocalyptic Netflix Korean drama. Based on the webtoon of the same name, “Sweet Home” follows a group of people living in an apartment complex trying to survive as humans mysteriously start turning into monsters. Now, these monsters aren’t your typical run-of-the-mill zombies or ghouls. They’re all different, some of them being huge, Hulk-like beings that can bash your brains or slithery, slimy shapeshifters that can also rip a hole through your chest. No one knows how this phenomenon exactly started, save for that the symptoms of a human changing into a monster are the same: First they start to have intense nose bleeds, and then, after a few days, they’ll change— and no one knows who will start turning into a monster next. In the midst of this chaos, the trapped residents of Green Home Mansion Apartment try their best to fend off the monsters. Do not be fooled by the luxurious title of the apartment complex—this place was run down even before the monsters, usually being for those who don’t have anywhere else to go. Among these residents

include Cha Hyun Soo (Song Kang), a depressed high school drop-out who is able to control his ability to change between monster and human mode, the medical student-turned-apocalypse-survival-team-leader Lee Eun Hyuk (Lee Do Hyun) and his younger ballerina sister Lee Eun Yoo (Go Min Si). The story mostly follows these characters, although other stand-outs in this assembled group include Christian pastor-slash-excellent swordsman Jung Jae Heon (Kim Nam Hee), the down-to-earth bassist Yoon Ji Soo (Park Gyu Young), the badass firefighter Seo Yi Kyung (Lee Si Young), the mysterious gangster Pyeon Sang Wook (Lee Jin Wook) and last but not least, the handy, kind veterans Han Du Sik (Kim Sang Ho) and Ahn Gil Sub (Kim Kap Soo). As you can imagine, there are a lot of characters here to love—but given the genre of this show, this also means you will be holding your breath during every single episode, wondering which one of your beloved faves might potentially meet a grizzly end. Because grizzly endings are definitely something that this show doesn’t shy away from. I personally am mostly okay with watching violent things while eating meals, but “Sweet Home” is one of those shows where my appetite dropped. This is because in between the awful nose bleeding

and spiny monster parts splitting people through their chests, that drippy pizza suddenly looks kinda gross. Admittedly, some of the monsters are a bit laughable when it comes to the computer generated imagery (CGI). Once I got over the initial shock of the nose bleeds and black eyes, the monster that looks like a literal mop or the monster that’s just one huge eyeball just kind of reminded me of the bad, mildly campy CGI of “Doctor Who” back in 2005. But at least 2005-era “Doctor Who” knew not to take its own CGI seriously—but “Sweet Home” takes itself completely seriously, and sometimes, that seriousness isn’t totally warranted. But there are other monsters—like the monster whose entire jaw comes off to kill humans from miles away—that still made me shiver. (And also very suspiciously stare outside my window whenever some idiot on the Ziv quad starts screaming for no good reason. If someone is screaming like that, there better be a legit bloodthirsty monster out there.) My personal favorite effect is Cha Hyun Soo’s own transformation into his monstrous form. I will not spoil what he looks like, but the effects are genuinely fascinating, and even a week after finishing the show, I’m still thinking about that one epic moment—so I’m willing to forgive the show for having some roughly animat-

ed monsters in the beginning. But outside of the effects and the characters, the real strength of “Sweet Home” lies in the relationship dynamics between the residents of Green Home Mansion. When it comes to grim, gruesome shows about the end of the world brought on by the rise of some kind of monster, humanity becomes the central focus of the plot. There are certainly a few characters in the apartment that represent all the worst people we know in an apocalyptic setting—the stingy money hoarders and the shifty-eyed opportunists. “Sweet Home” is relatively simplistic in addressing this question of humanity, boiling it down to those who were always bad will remain bad—those who are good will remain largely good, even in the face of hardship and, more interestingly, even when turning into a monster themselves. We see this time and time again, like with all the times Cha Hyun Soo put his neck on the line to protect the residents of Green Home. Or the time a mother turned into a monster to protect Ji Soo and two just-orphaned children. Although the monsters are still very much dangerous, unpredictable beings, there is still this underlying message about how the connection and protectiveness we feel for our fellow humans are the things that keep us from turning into mind-

less, violent creatures. At the end of the day, that is all the residents of Green Home have left—their connection to one another, and, by extension, their will for all of them to survive together. This message is such a common one in all horror/apocalypse stories, but it still hits home every time— no pun intended, of course. That said, I cannot wait for a second season. So far, actors Song Kang, Lee Si Young, Park Gyu Young and Lee Ji Wook have been reported to reprise their roles, but there is still news of new characters being announced. So far, Kim Shin Rok (“Beyond Evil,” “Hellbound”) and Yook Jun Seo (“Steel Trap”) have been cast for the second season. It is hard to say what kind of characters they will be playing at the moment, but it is clear that “Sweet Home” is gearing up for a killer return. With all the excitement of the first season and the hype that is slowly accruing over its second season, you can bet that I will be steeling myself for another horrifying— but fantastic—watching session.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 1, 2022

‘Our Flag Means Death’: A queer pirate rom-com By Lucy Fay editor

We all know the story of Blackbeard: The violent, sociopathic, demon pirate who put fuses in his beard to terrify his victims and ended up with his decapitated head strung up the mast of his own ship. What you may not know is this dangerous homicidal man once co-captained a ship with Stede Bonnet, or the Gentleman Pirate: a wealthy landowner who abandoned his wife and kids to fulfill his dream of being a pirate captain, despite having absolutely no experience in crime or sailing. “Our Flag Means Death,” a new HBO comedy, tells the— largely fictionalized—story of the romantic relationship that formed between these two men. While Blackbeard/Edward Teach (Taika Waititi) becomes a central character by episode four, the show primarily follows Stede (Rhys Darby) and his incompetent but lovable crew as they try

to be real pirates, aboard The Revenge. Full disclosure, piracy is the least important part of the show. “Our Flag Means Death” is a show about finding love and friendship in unexpected places, that happens to take place on a ship during the Golden Age of Piracy. The pirating setting adds a nice aesthetic to the characters’ wardrobes and provides certain drama and characterizations that would not be possible in other shows, like the constant threat of death or the characters’ varying levels of literacy. While this setting is fun and has become less common in the past few years, piracy is not what makes the show entertaining or original; the creativity expressed through character relationships and dialogue is what sets “Our Flag Means Death” apart from other group ensemble comedies or period pieces. For any comedy to carry a meaningful plot or lovable characters, it must have some semblance of realism. “Our Flag Means Death” is an extremely silly show. Blackbeard attends a

fancy French dinner party and must learn how to be passive-aggressive, the crew of The Revenge design a haunted house to scare rival pirates, crew member Buttons (Ewen Bremmer) breaks the news to a seagull that her seagull husband, Karl, has died. It is a comedy above all else, and yet its emotional arcs, especially the dramatic season finale, hit hard. I credit this to the show’s incredible script being depicted by a perfectly cast group of actors. The chemistry among the crew and, more importantly, between Blackbeard and Stede, is palpable. On top of that, while there are a few strictly comic relief characters, all the protagonists speak in quite modern ways and react to things how real people would react. It keeps the show grounded while never limiting its comedy. This meeting of wackiness and realism also shows itself in the comically wide variety of stakes throughout the show. While some episodes force the pirate crew into death-defying situations, ripe with sword fights and gore, the

majority of episodes are kind of just outlining the crew becoming a family and the romantic pairings realizing that they love each other. There are at least three episodes that contain little to no violence because the plots are Stede and Blackbeard or Oluwande (Samson Kayo) and Jim (Vico Oritz) doing cute activities and staring longingly into each other’s eyes. Zero stakes and yet I care so much. I’ve held off on discussing an important feature of “Our Flag Means Death” so I could emphasize that this is a wonderful show, by any measure. Its organic and unapologetic inclusion of gay and trans characters is what makes this show important, groundbreaking even, but the show does not rely on those characters’ sexualities or gender orientations to make the plot happen or the episodes worth watching. By the end of season one, this show has featured three non-heterosexual relationships and one nonbinary character, yet not a single storyline was brought up dealing with internal nor ex-

ternal bigotry. All the queer characters happen to be queer; it is an incidental trait to further flesh out their personalities, and no characters take issue with that. Realistic or not, this portrayal of LGBTQ characters is extremely rare. Disney brags about its out-of-focus background lesbians, while David Jenkins, the creator of “Our Flag Means Death,” is making it as clear as possible that the show he created should not be construed as anything other than a rom-com following relationships between non-heterosexual people. Shows like this one do not come around often. So whether you are sick of ensemble shows full of queerbaiting and heteronormativity or just want a great romantic comedy with pirates and comic stylings straight out of “What We Do in the Shadows,” I give “Our Flag Means Death” my highest stamp of recommendation. And let us collectively pray it gets a second season.



April 1, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 9

An interview with Brandeis’ Comparative Literature and Culture Program By Cooper Gottfried Editor

The chair of Brandeis University’s Comparative Literature and Culture program, Professor Pu Wang, sat down for an interview with The Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the Comparative Literature and Culture program, its future and himself. This interview is part of a series of interviews with the chairs of a plethora of different academic departments and programs at Brandeis. Why did you choose to come to Brandeis? I was doing my comparative literature Ph.D. at NYU. To be honest I hadn’t known Brandeis very well before coming here. But, Brandeis gave me this offer and gave me this opportunity. For me, it was a really exciting journey coming to New England to teach both Chinese literature and comparative literature. I admire the history of Brandeis, even though it’s short. The shortness of Brandeis’ history is rooted in a very important 20th-century experience and I am a scholar of 20th-century politics and literature. So I think there is, [even] though I came here just because of the opportunity, a deeper affinity with the Jewish experience. What languages do you speak? I am a Mandarin Chinese native speaker. I was born in a Northern province of China not far away from Beijing. I grew up in Beijing … and then I went to college at Peking University …. I’ve always aspired to this deep combination of Chinese identity and cosmopolitan life. So why come to the

United States? I had two fellowship offers for [my] Ph.D. studies. One was in East Asian studies, and the other was in comparative literature. I decided to go to NYU for comparative literature rather than going to Columbia [University] for East Asian studies …. So I speak English and I started to learn French when I was a college student at Peking University. I was persuaded to learn German while I was at NYU. CUNY [City University of New York system of schools] has a great program for German reading knowledge. [Additionally,] … I have been failing in learning Japanese …. I have to say, on top of Chinese, I have a secret kind of love for French. Comparative Literature is … about your interest and passion to try out different languages. What do you wish students knew about Brandeis’ Comparative Literature and Culture program? One thing about Comparative Literature is our faculty. Just go over the long list of our affiliated faculty members, and you’ll see we have so many faculty members in the English department, in the Romance studies department, … [and] in classics. They are experts in their fields, and at the same time, they speak other languages. They excel in comparative literature. So everyone who’s doing national literature culture is already doing comparative literature. You might already be [studying] competitive literature without knowing you are a good candidate for this program. What language do most students end up taking to fulfill the department’s language requirement?

That’s why this program is so exciting, but at the same time so daunting because you need to take content courses in languages other than English …. [There’s a pattern:] you can always find great courses in French, Italian and Spanish. Romance studies has always been central to higher education in our modern times. If you are Russian, you’d better know French to read one piece [of literature]. But at the same time, we also see a process of decentering. We have more and more courses taught directly in non-Western languages. For example, I’m teaching a Chinese literature course directly in Chinese. What can you tell me about COML 100A - Introduction to Global Literature? This course is an eye-opening process, the rite of passage into Comparative Literature. It’s not an entirely theoretical course, but sometimes students get that kind of impression. It’s because, through this course, we want to be conscious of our global existence in literary and cultural terms. So right now this course has been undergoing a lot of changes in recent years and … [at] the hands of professor David Powelstock. This course is a great experience because first of all, it’s no longer just an introduction to Comparative Literature. It’s comparative literature and world literature and global literature in general. So it’s not like we’re going to read … the whole library of Harvard and Yale …. It needs to have an overview of how we are going to engage literature globally and comparatively. There has always been a feature of this course that we’ll have one major instructor but this course

will feature a great number of affiliated faculty members …. So for example I will sit in on one session of this semester’s … [course] to talk about my perspective on what Professor Powelstock has been discussing with students. How is the Chinese education system different from the American education system? I think … there are a lot of similarities as well as important differences. If you just go online [and] take a glance you may see a lot of conversions of the two systems over the years because China’s higher education tries to imitate North America’s higher education system. North American higher education has remained the standard globally. At the same time, there are some radical differences [between the Chinese higher education system and the North American higher education system] …. One thing that is most relatable to our students: when you come to a Chinese university as a freshman you will have to choose a major immediately. [Here,] the most popular major is undecided, right? So that’s a huge difference. The disadvantage is quite obvious in the Chinese system, but there are also advantages. [Students] will have a very coherent experience …. In the United States … we give more freedom. We attach more importance to students’ free will and creative development. But in China, the courses you take are … more structured. So if you choose one major, … in China, you will have a very clearly laid out path of work courses to take this year, this semester, next semester and so on. [But] that is changing. That is the Chinese system nowadays tries to

give students more freedom, but that kind of more structured base of students’ academic training is still there …. [At Brandeis,] you have a COML 100A, but you can decide to take it your sophomore year or junior year or even senior year. It’s more an experience of self-development …. The liberal arts education model means a kind of more engaging and active participation [from] students in [the] classroom and outside [of the classroom too]. In the Chinese case, the liberal arts model is not everything. So they have more structured knowledge acquisition in which student participation sometimes cannot be fully [realized]. So I do see pros and cons in … [both of] these models …. [Additionally,] in the European system, in the Japanese system and in the Chinese system the best universities are publicized universities, whereas [here they are] private institutions. And [in America] we have private higher education institutions that are as rich and powerful as a small country…. In this regard, the U.S. is radically different. Is there anything that you wish that the students knew about you? I wish our students also knew me as a poet. I’ve been very active in poetry writing in Chinese, but my work is not sufficiently translated into English. So students will not directly see my existence [as a poet] because they see me as a scholar …. But I also want them to know that I’m a poet and I see that creative life as essential not only to my identity but also to my existence.

The Brandeis Equestrian Club: in stable condition By Sasha Skarboviychuk Editor

Another club that was reborn from the ashes after the coronavirus pandemic was the Brandeis Equestrian Club. According to co-captains Alex Martin ’22 and Izzy Eisendrath ’22 the club is more of a club sport than anything else. “It is like a sports team,” Eisendrath told The Hoot in a Zoom interview. “We have fun, we compete and go to shows with other schools in the region. We are definitely a club that requires more commitment… I love people who are really interested and wanna see what it is like, [but] it is hard to keep people on the team if all they wanna do is come to the barn and touch the horses and leave,” continued Eisendrath. “There are a lot of resources that go into this, so it makes it easier for people who are really committed to the team. If you are on the team, you go to practice and you go to shows, if you are not competing, then you are cheering on your team.” This is definitely “not a club you can show up once a month for,” concluded Eisendrath. That is not to say, however, that beginners are not welcome in the club. “Beginners are welcome, you can join at any level. We are happy to have these people, as long as they are willing to commit,” said Eisendrath. “Recruitment usually happens at the

beginning of the semester, since it is hard to bring in new members in the middle of the semester because you need to evaluate their skill level,” added Martin. Both Martin and Eisendrath emphasized that the club deals with horses, who are live animals and are dangerous. It is “dangerous to show up not knowing how to deal with a horse, and learning takes a lot of time, so if you cannot have the time, it is not the best situation,” said Eisendrath. Currently the club has around 15 members, including people who compete and who are beginners. “The goal is to get beginners to compete at the end, but we don’t force anyone to,” said Martin. “We have a lot of practices because we don’t have 15 horses, so usually we practice in groups of four.” Most of the team’s shows are during the fall, with only a few during the spring. The team practices at Cornerstone Farm, which is around an hour away from campus. The horses are not owned by Brandeis, but by the team’s coach. “We obviously keep our horses in Gosman … in the basement,” joked Eisendrath. “We transport them to practice at night,” added Martin. The question of where on campus the horses are stored appears to be a question the Equestrian Club is often asked. “All our shows on the soccer field,” they joked. The club itself has been around for a long time; however, “we

don’t know when it was founded and we cannot find it on the internet,” said Martin. They did however find a ribbon in Gosman dating back to 1981. However, because of COVID-19, the club struggled with retaining members. “There was no one else other than us,” they told The Hoot. “We had to rebuild the entire team, we had to get a new coach, barn, team members.” Because most of the members were new, they were competing for the first time and it was basically impossible for them to get enough points to qualify for competi-

tions. However, Martin qualified for Regionals and now for Zones. “Basically, there are a bunch of shows during the season, and when you show you get points depending on how well you place and the points qualify you for Regionals, and then if you place well at Regionals you qualify for Zones,” explained Martin. “If you qualify in Zones, you go to Nationals.” Eisendrath qualified for Regionals in her sophomore year, but didn’t get to go because of the coronavirus pandemic. Eisendrath is a senior majoring in biology, who began riding for

fun in middle school, but only started competing in her freshman year. Martin is a senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in psychology. She started riding 14 years ago, but only joined the club in her sophomore year, right as the pandemic was beginning. “It’s been a wild ride since we became captains,” said Eisendrath. The club is a source of joy for the co-captains; we get a “fun little emotional support animal time once or twice a week where you get to see all the horses, dogs and cats,” Eisendrath concluded.


10 The Brandeis Hoot

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

Editors-in-Chief John Fornagiel Emma Lichtenstein Sasha Skarboviychuk Deputy Copy Editors Logan Ashkinazy Emma Stott News Editor Victoria Morrongiello Deputy News Editors Vimukthi Mawilmada Roshni Ray Arts Editors Stewart Huang Caroline O Deputy Arts Editors Cyrenity Augustin Lucy Fay Rachel Rosenfield Opinions Editor Mia Plante Deputy Opinions Editor Cooper Gottfried Sports Editor Justin Leung Layout Editor Anya Lance-Chacko Photos Editor Grace Zhou Editors-at-Large Abdel Achibat Thomas Pickering Madeline Rousell

Volume 20 • Issue 6 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Vincent Calia-Bogan, Sam Finbury, Sarah Kim, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Abigail Roberts, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, Alex Williams, Daniela Zavlun and Nataniela Zavlun

MISSION As the weekly community student newspaper of Brandeis University, The Brandeis Hoot aims to provide our readers with a reliable, accurate and unbiased source of news and information. Produced entirely by students, The Hoot serves a readership of 6,000 with in-depth news, relevant commentary, sports and coverage of cultural events. Recognizing that better journalism leads to better policy, The Brandeis Hoot is dedicated to the principles of investigative reporting and news analysis. Our mission is to give every community member a voice.

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April 1, 2022

COVID-19 positivity spikes on campus

he university saw an increase in positivity rates on campus last week, with 135 students testing positive on the week of March 20, according to the Brandeis COVID-19 dashboard. Even though the numbers have decreased in comparison to last week, the numbers are still strikingly higher than what the university is used to seeing, with 42 students testing positive. The university had been experiencing an uptick in cases prior to the week of March 20, but policies were not changed until the community was well into the spike. It is alarming to see this rise in numbers, and students have been confused by the guidelines set by the university. The language used to describe COVID-19 protocol is ambiguous, students are getting mixed messages over how long their contagious period is and when they are allowed to resume regular campus life. Some students have been allowed out on day five, due to the lack of symptoms but continue to test positive on rapid tests. Despite the positive rapids, students are allowed to resume all campus activities—except for athletics. We appreciate that the university resumed its mask mandate in Gosman for areas with twenty or more people. We think the move to peel back mask mandates might have been unfortunately timed with the increase in cases and may have exacerbated the issue. We understand there was no way to predict the new variant — Omicron BA.2 — and that it would spread like wildfire. So we appreciate the reinstatement of some mask mandates on campus to keep community members safe. We also understand that the university’s contact tracing system was overwhelmed these past two weeks. We want to thank the contact tracers who have been tirelessly working to help mitigate the spread as fast as possible, which is a difficult take. When you have 135 individuals test positive it is difficult to get in touch

with all of their close contacts, especially if people were at large gatherings. We understand that the delay in contact tracing was not ideal but this is when community members need to step up and take initiative for themselves. Students should inform their close contacts when they become aware that they have tested positive. It becomes your job to protect the people who are your friends after all and alert them that they have been exposed. Even if your passport is green, if your friend tells you they have tested positive and you are a close contact it is your job to quarantine yourself. You may feel fine, but you could be unknowingly spreading it to others. We need to take care of ourselves and others during these times. It may be unfortunate to miss that club meeting or not be able to get dinner with your friends. FOMO hits hard in COVID-19 times. But at the end of the day you have to look out for people’s health, and that includes telling people who you have contact traced that they may have been exposed when our contact tracing team is behind. It can be scary to tell your friends that you have exposed them to COVID-19, but it shouldn’t be! It wasn’t done with malicious intent, or even done on purpose. You may feel guilty about it, but we have to work to get rid of that stigma surrounding COVID-19. It can be hard to break a habit that we’ve built for two years after we’ve created this mentality to avoid COVID-19 at all costs. At the end of the day we will probably all get it at some point, and it is not a matter of if but when we will get it. Professors are also contributing to this problem by not making their classes accommodating to students in quarantine or isolation. Students may not adhere to contact tracing protocol if their passport is still green because they feel they have an obligation to go to class. Despite receiving warnings from friends that they are a close

contact, some students have continued their lives on campus until their passport is gray because they do not wish to fall behind on their course load. Some members of our editorial board have received deductions in their grades due to not attending in person class due to being quarantined. There’s also no real way of enforcing any of the policies put in place, especially with regards to masking after testing positive. Students are allowed to be released from isolation after day five if they are not experiencing symptoms. However, they are asked to remain masked in all public settings on campus through day 10 of testing positive. This puts a lot of trust in people to actually follow the rules, with no method of enforcement. Additionally, students are just expected to be trusted when in isolation or quarantine to social distance and remain in their residences or masked outside while getting food. Students also have been seen not following the rules put in place on Brandeis transportation since these rules have been enacted. Not having any type of enforcement efforts on these issues will perpetuate the spread of COVID-19 on campus. University administration, in an email to students on March 25 stated that contact tracers have concluded the “spread is coming mainly from student indoor, off-campus gatherings.” While this may be true, this statement takes blame away from the University’s loosening of on-campus restrictions, the obligation students feel to attend classes due to professors not having remote options and the very likely transmission of COVID-19 in on-campus spaces. We are beginning to see the end of this though, as the dashboard updates have shown a decrease in positive cases. Despite this slow decline, we encourage students, faculty and Brandeis administration to keep the safety of the greater community in mind.


April 1, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 11

Late game heroics and strong pitching helps Brandeis sweep weekend to extend win streak to 8 By Jesse Lieberman staff

The Brandeis Baseball team defeated two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) opponents this past week, defeating Bates 4-3 on Friday in walk-off fashion and sweeping a double-header against Amherst 8-0 and 7-4. The Judges have won eight in a row and are 9-2 this season. Friday, March 25: Brandeis 4 – Bates 3 Asher Kaplan ’23 pitched seven solid innings and junior outfielder Steven Simon ’23 hit a walk-off double as Brandeis defeated Bates 4-3 to sweep the season series. Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, shortstop Drew Michaud ’25 led off with a popup to second. Freshman Aidan Schleer ’25 struck out, sending outfielder Sam Nugent ’23 to the plate. Nugent singled to left and advanced to second following a fielder error by the Bobcats’ left fielder. That brought up Simon, who blasted a ball off the wall in left, allowing Nugent to score easily and securing the win for Brandeis. Leading 3-2 in the top of the eighth, Jakob Newman ’23 relieved Kaplan. After retiring the leadoff man, J. Newman loaded the bases following an error, a single to left, and an infield single. Bates’ Noah Jankowski hit a ground ball to second, but it was

bobbled, enabling the tying run to score. J. Newman then recorded a strikeout and induced a lineout to preserve the tie. Newman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and recorded the first win of his collegiate career. Kaplan was excellent in his second start of the season for Brandeis. Kaplan set a new career-high with 11 strikeouts while walking just two. Kaplan allowed five hits and two runs, though only one was earned. Offensively, Dan Frey (GRAD) led the way for the Judges, going 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. Simon added two hits and third baseman Brian King ’23 drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Saturday, March 26 (Game 1): Brandeis 8 – Amherst 0 (7 innings) Left-hander Marc Maestri ’22 pitched an 8-hit shutout and catcher Luke Hall (GRAD) hit a home run as the Judges cruised in the opening game of the double-header 8-0. Brandeis opened the scoring in the fourth. King hit a single to right-center with two outs. After Aidan Schleer walked, Nick Heafey ’24 hit a bloop double down the left-field line to bring in King. Second baseman Mike DiCenso ’24 then singled to right, allowing Schleer and Heafey to score. Brandeis added two more in the fifth on a Hall 2-run homer and three more in the sixth. Maestri threw 79 pitches, 58 of which were strikes. Maestri struck out seven and walked no

one. The complete-game shutout was the second of the week for the Judges after Mason Newman (GRAD) tossed nine scoreless frames against Wentworth Institute of Technology in a 9-0 win on March 23. The offensive attack was balanced for the Judges, as seven of the nine starters had at least one hit. Saturday, March 26 (Game 2): Brandeis 7 – Amherst 4 Luke Hall hit two homers and the Judges scored three runs in the sixth to sweep the doubleheader against Amherst. Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Nugent drew a walk. Nugent then stole second and scored on a Simon single to right. Khoury, who won Division III National Hitter of the Week for the week of March 14-20, crushed a home run to right to extend Brandeis’s lead to 7-4. Brandeis navigated through a jam in the top half of the sixth. Amherst’s Jackson Reydel led off the inning with a homer off pitcher Gavin Dauer ’22 to the left-center, which tied the game at 4-4. After Dauer issued a walk, Brandon Musto (GRAD) came out of the bullpen. An infield single put runners on first and second with no one out. Musto got Amherst’s Christian Limon to strike out but walked the subsequent hitter to load the bases with one out. The next hitter hit a slow roller to third. King barehanded the ball and threw a strike to Hall at the

plate to force out the Mammoth’s runner trying to score. Musto got out of the inning by inducing a fielder’s choice. Pitcher Sean Decker-Jacoby ’24 relieved Musto in the seventh and retired all three hitters he faced to seal the win for the Judges and pick up his first career collegiate save. Christian Tejada ’23 looked sharp in his second appearance of the season, throwing 1.2 score-


The Seattle Kraken is a bust

By Natasha Girshin staff

Sorry to the NHL, but the Seattle Kraken is a bust. When I watched the Seattle Kraken draft in July 2021, I was hopeful that this would be a fun new addition to the NHL lineup. A fresh expansion to the Pacific division with good promising players on the roster, high hopes were in the air. The Kraken’s name, inspired by the Norse legend of a giant Leviathan-like octopus sea monster originating from Scandinavian folklore, made even the aesthetics of the team seem fresh compared to the stale aesthetics of NHL teams that have been around since the 1920s. Raw fish being thrown onto ice to celebrate hat-tricks, snazzy turquoise logos and jerseys and even a brand new Seattle arena for the team, titling itself the Climate Pledge Arena to set a gold standard for future NHL expansions and a world being plagued by global warming and a pandemic. NHL expansions are nothing new and some expansions have even gone on to be successful, like the Vegas Golden Knights who made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their first season as an NHL franchise. But comparing the Kraken to the Golden Knights would honestly be an insult to the Las Vegas team. To put it bluntly, the Seattle Kraken Suck with a capital ‘S.’ For their first NHL season as an expansion team, they are second to last in the league. What makes this disappointing is that their team was by no means a rebuild. They didn’t draft college

prospects, they drafted already seasoned and good players. So, why the sudden decline? It could be narrowed down to bad coaching, low morale, minimal fan presence, etc. There isn’t a clear answer as to why the Seattle Kraken is doing so bad in their first NHL season. It’s a stark contrast to the team that almost promised greatness with the breath of fresh air the draft provided the hockey community in July 2021. With players like Jamie Oleksiak, Philipp Grubauer, Yanni Gourde and Jordan Eberle the team seemed to be in good hands. But, with high expectations, the reality set in when halfway through the regular season, the Kraken were sorely last in the league right in front of last season’s near Stanley Cup winners, the Montreal Canadiens. With a new shock of the Kraken trading their captain Mark Giordano to the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is obvious that something isn’t right in Seattle. When a team trades their captain it is usually a sign of desperation, a result of injury or a lack of funds. My guess is all three. It seems that Seattle is at the end of their rope this season with low performance, a traded captain and simple hypocrisy. Hypocrisy? We all know by now that the NHL is a flawed franchise. Participating in any trend to get its hands on some cold hard cash, exploiting and damagings its players just to maintain a semi-decent reputation. But never would I expect the NHL to dabble in cryptocurrency. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have been done by other NHL teams like the Washington Capitals and the.New York Rangers. It was no surprise

that the Kraken would jump on the trend but it didn’t make it any less ironic. An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, and they are mined using specialized computers, also known as nodes or mining rigs, which validate transactions for a specific cryptocurrencies and, in turn, receive a mining reward for their computational effort. These mining rigs emit about 37 kilotons of electronic waste and a single NFT or cryptocurrency transaction computed by a mining rig emits 2,145 kilowatt-hours of electricity per transaction, the same amount of power consumed by the average American household over 73.52 days. Etereum, the cryptocurrency mainly used to buy and sell NFTs, is the second-largest cryptocurrency network and it is estimated to use 112.6 Terawatt-hours of electricity per year—more power than is required by the Philippines or Belgium. Mining for Ethereum produces more than 62.9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the same amount as Serbia and Montenegro combined and many crypto developers rely on fossil fuels such as oil to mine, further damaging the environment. So you can imagine my surprise when I heard of the Seattle Kraken, a team whe’s main arena is named the Climate Pledge Arena, participating in such an environmentally damaging act. Although, on the official Seattle Kraken NFT page, they claim that they are using a cryptocurrency called Net

less innings while striking out three. Khoury’s homer was his team-leading seventh of the season, while Hall hit his fifth and sixth homers of the year. Brandeis will open University Athletic Association play this weekend when they travel to Cleveland to take on Case Western Reserve University for a fourgame series beginning Friday, April 1.

Zero Avalanche, and that it “has been verified by an independent study by the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, as being 99.999 percent more energy efficient than the Ethereum Blockchain.” Despite this, there are still emissions present and the general concept of releasing NFTs and cryptocurrency isn’t exactly softening the blow. Furthermore, it can be established that the Seattle Kraken are a bust, despite what their social

media accounts and flashy merchandise would make you think. They are a team that has a long way to grow and will hopefully have much improvement ahead of them. And with a new coach and fresher players, the Seattle Kraken might be the next big franchise. But, to call the Seattle Kraken’s first season as an NHL franchise a humble beginning would be an understatement and a blatant lie.



The Brandeis Hoot

April 1, 2022

Collin Sawyer’s wild basketball career By Justin Leung editor

Some choices are difficult to make, while others appear to be so obvious. Brandeis men’s basketball player Collin Sawyer (GRAD) made one decision that was almost obvious at the time, but ended up shaping the next six years of his life. Before attending Brandeis, Sawyer had to make a decision about where he wanted to go to school. The choices he was down to were Bates College and Brandeis. This was a big decision, but Sawyer described how the decision was easy in the end. Bates had a really good basketball team and he wanted to play, so he ended up coming to Brandeis. Sawyer’s first season was not the greatest college season ever. In fact, Sawyer found his first year to be one to remember and forget. According to Sawyer, the team was not good. This created a lot of tension throughout the program as the team went 8-16 on the season. Sawyer had very little play time to start the season but slowly got more and more as the season progressed. That was until he broke his wrist after the seventh game of the season. His Brandeis career was already off to a rough start. The team overall was in a strange spot. Sawyer found his teammates to be a good group, but it was difficult to keep the morale of the team up. The losses and disagreements with the coaches contributed to this rocky start. Sawyer not only had to make adjustments on the court but also in academics. He had a transition year before coming to Brandeis, which caused him to have to make a lot of adjustments in his studies. Although it was difficult to adjust to, Sawyer eventually found a way to balance school and basketball, and this carried on throughout the rest of his career. In Sawyer’s sophomore year, the team had a lot of reshuffling which resulted in a lot of play time up for grabs. He took advantage and began becoming one of the team’s best offensive weapons. In the middle of the season, Sawyer had a stretch of 10 consecutive games where he scored in double digits and averaged 13 points per game during that span. Although he said it was “nice to be playing again”, Sawyer still could not say that he had fun during that season. This is because the team was still losing and losing is not fun. The final season record was 7-18.

Sawyer did show an uptick in scoring as he averaged 9.4 points per game and 2.2 made threes per game on the season. Although he showed improvement, he was disappointed in himself. His final games he described to have left a “sour” taste, as he did not play as well in the conference games to end the season. In his three of his last four games of the season, he scored under 10 points and shot under 30 percent from the field. Sawyer went into his junior season believing that he was ready to make big strides. This year was coach Jean Bain’s first year. A lot of the team remained the same, so he knew that they had the talent, but that they just had to be better to win games. As the season went on, Sawyer just got better and better. The team overall was making adjustments from the previous coach. For example, coach Bain had the team memorize over 100 plays including some that were put on game day. Although it was difficult, the team did get better. The Judges went 18-11 on the season, and it was Sawyer’s first winning season. Although Sawyer once again scored the ball more, with 10.6 points per game, he knew he could be better. His performance was important, but he also wanted to make sure that his team was still doing well. The overall comradery was up as they banded together to adjust to the new coach. This was the start of an increased level of connectedness throughout the team. As they needed to move on from the old coach and work with the new. Not only was it a big mentally taxing season, but this was also the first season that was truly taxing on his body. He stopped scheduling Friday classes because of how most games were scheduled, but ultimately the physical taxing did not make a difference on his academics. Sawyer had already gotten adjusted to this lifestyle and got work done whenever he could. This sometimes included in terminals waiting to travel. Then came senior year. Sawyer knew that he could always be better and this year he wanted to prove that. During the summer, he spent extra time shooting and tracking his shot percentage so he could be more selective in game. This practice proved to be really important as Sawyer had his best season up until that point. He set career highs in points per game and field goal percentage during the year. His points per game jumped up to 15.6 and his field goal percentage was 47.6

percent. Most notably though, his three-point percentage went up to a whopping 44.2 percent. This was 6.1% higher than his previous season. He was truly becoming a lethal shooter. “I probably should have shot more than I did to be honest,” said Sawyer. Sawyer alsz found that he was getting used to the new coach as he began to overthink less during the games. “Because I know the first year with Bain… we didn’t know the plays that well, so you were kinda just hesitating and unsure of yourself at times. And you don’t want to get yelled at for missing a shot,” said Sawyer. The stronger performances led to better results. As Sawyer improved, so did the team. Their final season record was 17-8 overall and 9-5 in conference games. Three big losses against conference teams hurt their chances at winning the entire conference, but the team was still making progress compared to the year before. The next season didn’t happen. Sawyer was a part time graduate student at the time, so he didn’t get to practice with the team until the spring. Even then there were no games and so it was all about keeping everyone in the right mindset for the next season. In his last season, Sawyer wanted to win the conference and make the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. Another aspect of this goal was to win player of the year, but Sawyer knew to win that, the team had to win the conference. His personal goal was quickly shaken up as the team added Tommy Eastman (GRAD). “I mean it was definitely fun at times. It takes a lot of pressure off of me having other guys who are threats,” said Sawyer. The scoring didn’t really matter to Sawyer. All he wanted to do was win and the team was indeed winning for the first half of the season. Then the team went home shortly for a break before returning to find COVID-19 issues had arisen. This caused the team to miss practices and games and resulted in 41 days without a game for the men’s basketball team. After that the season took a turn for the worse. Players had to get back into shape and the freshmen were lacking practice they missed. All of the sudden the season came crashing down. Their hopes of winning the conference flew away after losses against Rochester University and Emory Univer-

sity. The team ended with a solid 15-9 overall record but just 6-7 record in conference games. Sawyer also suffered a hip injury late in the season that caused him to sit with the trainers before games. Although the season had been flipped upside down, Sawyer still had one thing to do. That was to play his final game at Brandeis. Sawyer ”came out of his death bed every day to play basketball with low efficiency,” added teammate Nolan Hagerty ’22. In a home game against New York University, Sawyer played his final game and he put on a show. “I did know in the back of my mind… I was maybe eight threes from tying the second place threepoint record. So, I was trying not to think about that,” said Sawyer. Sawyer went off in the game as he scored 29 points with seven three pointers, which were both career highs. He stopped the NYU comeback in the second half and led the team to a 74-57 victory. Throughout the game, Sawyer was just shooting from everywhere. It seemed like he could not miss. He was unstoppable. “That’s definitely what athletes call the zone… It feels like you just throw it up there and it goes in. And there is no thought or hesitation in it at all, it’s just doing

the entire time,” said Sawyer. Although Sawyer left just one three pointers shy of second place all time, he did leave 15th all-time in points, 10th in three-point percentage and fourth in free throw percentage. “Damn, I could have done better,” said Sawyer. Sawyer has spent a lot of time with Brandeis men’s basketball. Although he did not get to accomplish his goal of winning the conference, he still found it fun in his last season. “So even with the wins and losses not going the way we wanted, I still had a lot of fun with those guys,” said Sawyer. The team grew to be much closer together as the years passed by. Hagerty has known Sawyer for four years and he had this to say about him, “[Sawyer] has the hips of a much much older man and I am not sure how he walks let alone is a decent shooter.” Overall, Sawyer had an incredible career on the Brandeis men’s basketball team. He acknowledges that although playing basketball was important, the most important thing was the ”guys.” “I will miss that. I will never get to laugh as frequently as that again. Those are some funny guys,” said Sawyer.


Women’s tennis falls to Babson in tight match By Jillian Brosofsky staff

In a match on Sunday, the Judges fell to Babson 4-5. It took place even as many on the Brandeis team are still in isolation and quarantine following COVID-19 policies. The head-to-head also reunited the Brandeis team with Mike Kopelman, the Judges assistant coach who left in 2018 to coach for Babson. After the doubles matches, Brandeis got an early lead 2-1. Bhakti Parwani ’25 and Sabrina Loui ’25 continued to show the strength of the first-years on the Judges, winning 8-4 in first doubles, after Brandeis lost in third doubles 4-8. In second doubles,

Anastasia Sia ’25 and Ella Subramanian ’24 saw success, beating their opponents 8-3. Following the straight-forward wins in doubles, the singles matches were closer and streakier. Playing at first singles, Parwani stayed competitive in the first set eventually losing it 5-7 only to run out of steam and get bageled in the second set. Close matches at second and third singles showed that the first-years’ successes were not limited to the doubles matches. Loui won in a very tight match 7-6, 7-5 and Sia won a deciding third set, bouncing back after getting bageled in the second set. She won 6-3, 0-6, 6-3. In fourth and sixth singles, Brandeis fell in all their matches, some closer than others. After

holding off her opponent for most of the first set, Subramanian lost in fourth singles 4-6, 1-6. Summer Quinn ’22 lost handily in sixth 2-6, 1-6. In fifth singles, Olivia Howe ’22 split 6-3 sets with her opponent before ultimately losing the final set 0-6. This loss brings the Judges’ season to 3-7. Going forward, the women’s team plays NYU at home on Sunday April 3 and Tufts in an away match on Tuesday April 5. The men face NYU and MIT at home on Sunday April 3 and Thursday April 7.


April 1, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Basketball has been a major part of Nolan Hagerty’s ’22 life for almost two decades now; “my dad is a coach, he coaches basketball and football back home, so he encouraged all the kids in my family to play a sport,” Hagerty told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. Hagerty chose basketball. “I started playing in kindergarten, when I was around four or five years old,” he stated, and it has been a constant presence in his life since. Yet, he didn’t plan on playing basketball in college until his freshman year of high school; “at that point I understood that this was one of my best paths to college,” he noted. “Basketball is a big part of the reason why I came to Brandeis,” however, strong academics was another integral part of what he was looking for in a school. “Brandeis’ psychology program is one of the best in New England as I was planning for graduate school and my future career, that was important for me,” said Hagerty. An additional benefit of Brandeis was that it is only two hours away from home which “means that [his] parents are able to come to all the games.”

Hagerty’s career at Brandeis has been a long journey, full of improvement, friendship and laughter. “As a freshman, I did not get to play for too long … maybe eight to ten minutes per game,” Hagerty told The Hoot, noting that this is the case for most firstyears. “It was largely about getting used to the speed of the game as well as the new team and coach.” From the very beginning, Hagerty showed promise in his career. He played in all 29 games of the season, for a total of 297 minutes. In that time, he scored 48 points and got 79 rebounds, more than any other first year on the team. He also averaged 6.5 points per 40 minutes played and made 60 percent of field goals attempted. The Judges finished with a 18-11 record in that season. Jesse Lieberman ’22, who commentates on Brandeis Basketball games, told The Hoot that “Coach Bain, told [him] that Nolan [Hagerty] spent a lot of time improving his game in the off-season.” “The work he put in paid off,” added Lieberman. His sophomore year, Hagerty started being trusted more with the ball; “Nolan got a lot better so we gave him the ball a lot more,” said teammate Collin Sawyer ’20 MA ’22. “I started playing center and playing with these great


guys,” Hagerty told The Hoot, and that was when his career really took off. His improvement was evident: he played in all 25 games of the season, starting 23 of them, for a total of 608 minutes. In that time, he was able to get 171 rebounds and score 211 points. However, scoring was not Hagerty’s main objective: “we had many great shooters on the team, so I focused more on passing the ball to them.” He notes that unless he was presented with a good opportunity to score, he opted to pass the ball. Hagerty is “really really skilled for a big man, [and a] really good passer,” added Sawyer. Lieberman agreed, describing Hagerty as an “incredible passer, which is something not usually seen from a center. He has a tremendous understanding of where his teammates will be. He is always willing to pass up a shot if it meant a teammate got a better look.” Despite scoring not being his primary goal, Hagerty still managed to average 8.4 points per game and 13.9 points per 40 minutes played. The team finished the season with 17-8 overall, 9-5 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The coronavirus pandemic interrupted Hagerty’s career as there were only practices and no actual games. As “there weren’t sky cameras in Rome, there weren’t any games for us to play,” said Hagerty. “Senior year was full of ups and downs,” continued Hagerty, but overall “it was a disappointing year.” The team went 41 days with no games which was not great for rhythm. “We went home for break, which usually we get a week and then we are back to practice, but this year we got shut down after one practice,” because of COVID-19 cases on the team. A similar pattern continued, as they kept having a few more practices then getting shut down again. “At that point we missed five games when we came back and were off to a slow season,” continued Hagerty. The season continued with mixed results, as the team went on to losing two games for every win they had. “By that point we lost too many games,” he told me. Overall, the team ended the season with a 15-9 record, 6-7 in the UAA. Hagerty himself had his best season yet; he played in all 24 games, starting 22 of them, for a total of 540 minutes played. He scored 254 points and got 170 rebounds, improving to 10.6 points per game, and 18.8 points per 40 minutes played. Hagarty is the


team’s third leading scorer. He ended the season with 59.3 percent field goals made. However, despite all of his improvement, he still continued to struggle when it came to free-throws, making only 52 percent during his career. In the words of Hagerty himself, just like you “can’t teach a horse to read braille, you cannot make me good at free-throws.” “Maybe I should have had pre-game rituals,” he joked. “Nolan’s [Hagerty’s] footwork improved over his career, especially this season. There were times this season where he used his strength to score, but he added a lot of skill moves in the post and was quite efficient with those moves as well,” added Lieberman. Regarding his role on the team, Hagerty described himself as someone who is “directing traffic, trying to get [his teammates] clean shots.” “There were a lot of scorers on the team… Tommy [Eastman], Collin [Sawyer], Chandler [Jones], so I didn’t have to score as much,” he explained. It took off pressure to score during games, so he could focus on assisting his teammates.” To put it in the words of Jonah White ’22, another sports commentator, Hagerty “is one of the most generous big men in the game.” Lieberman, continued to describe Hagerty as “as tough as they come. His style of play was extremely physical. He backed down from no one. He routinely had to guard opponent post players who were three to four inches taller than him. More often than not, he won the matchup.” For his performance his senior year, Hagetry was named honorable mention in All-UAA, his first time being recognized. He had the most blocks and steals per game, with 1.1 and 1.0, respectively, and finished second in rebounds, with 7.1. Throughout his career at Brandeis, Hagerty scored 513 points, playing in all the games and starting more than half. He is first in all of Brandeis’ history in terms of career field-goals made, with 58.2 percent; his 61 blocked shots places him 10th at Brandeis. “I had good guys around me,” Hagerty humbly commented. “My favorite part of being on the team was definitely being a part of a great group of guys,” they are “a lot of fun to hang out and play with,” Hagerty told me. Though it is unclear whether they made up for having to run sprints, the worst part of being on the team, according to Hagerty. “I will definitely miss the guys the most… just hanging out in the

locker room after games,” he continued, “and of course, winning games.” “I wish someone told me four years ago to start a better weight lifting program sooner; while playing inside, being bigger and stronger soon is very important,” explained Hagerty. He also wishes he focused more on recovery and doing more yoga. To first-years, he advises to “focus on school, get a lot of sleep, eat the right foods and, of course, recovery.” But alas, the ship is gone, as is Hagerty’s time on the Brandeis Basketball team. Despite basketball being a part of Hagerty’s life, he likes to think that there is more to him than just basketball. “Nolan [Hagerty] has always been on the surface a quieter kid but he’s very opinionated and I definitely consider him a smartass,” Sawyer told The Hoot. “Outside of basketball, I like to read and play chess,” said Hagerty, not surprising activities for a philosophy and psychology double major. “I also like nature and the woods,” he added. “He has a very unique personality,” said Sawyer, which is made evident by his interest in mythology and choice of Latin as a foreign language. Outside the court, Hagerty appeared to be a lot more lighthearted. Although he wants to do a clinical psychology or a clinical and forensic psychology doctoral program after graduation, Hagerty’s favorite classes at Brandeis were in the philosophy department. “I really enjoyed Symbolic Logic with Eyal Tal and The Meaning of Life and Why it Matters with Andreas Teuber … two classes on opposite sides of the spectrum,” he laughed. Overall, “I am thankful for my family for where I am and all the support,” continued Hagerty, “and of course my teammates.” He is also thankful “for the athletic trainers who worked tirelessly and were always there when we needed them.” Although he has another year of eligibility left, Hagerty is not sure if he will ever use it, but says nothing is off the table. “All I can say is, I am glad I played basketball,” Hagerty concluded.

Tony Escueta ’25 has impressive performance By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Maggie Shealy ’23 and Tony Escueta ’25 traveled to the University of Notre Dame to represent Brandeis at the NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships. Shealy ended the tournament with 14 wins and nine losses placing eight in the tournament, while Escueta ended with six wins and 17 losses placing 22nd overall. Brandeis as a whole finished with 20 points, placing 17th in the tournament. On the first day of the compe-

tition, sabre fencer Shealy ended in fourth place, winning 12 and losing three. Her longest winning streak was 10 matches in a row. On the second day of the competition, Shealy won two matches and dropped six to her opponents; in four of the six losses, she was down by only one point. At the end of the second day Brandeis was in 15th place, with 14 points. Shealy herself finished in eighth place, for which she earned second-team All-America honors. Shealy is tied with Tracy Marien ‘03 for third place in terms of most wins at NCAAs among Brandeis women.

On the third day of the competition, sabre fencer Escueta finished with three wins and 12 losses. At the end of the first day, Escueta placed 23rd; he added three points for Brandeis for a total of 17, putting it in 17th place overall. On the fourth day, Escueta ended up with another three wins as well as five losses. This puts him at six wins in total and 17 losses. Brandeis finishes with 20 points and in 17th place, out of 27 teams. The Judges finished second among Division III schools. NCAA championships were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.



The Brandeis Hoot

April 1, 2022

Sam Dienstag ‘24 competes in Nationals By John Fornagiel editor

Sam Dienstag ’24, a leading swimmer for the Brandeis Judges and a business and economics major, has recently competed in Nationals against the best college swimmers in the nation. Dienstag’s swimming career began when he was seven years old, when he “tried basically every sport at a young age, and then [he] realized that he enjoyed swimming more than other sports,” Dienstag told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. Dienstag later elaborated that he “eventually stuck with it and got involved in more competitions, though at first it was mostly just for fun.” Dienstag has been swimming ever since. Despite swimming throughout the majority of his life, Dienstag has additional interests that have shaped his identity. “One of the things that I am starting to get passionate about is learning about stocks and the stock market,” in line with his business and economics majors. To this end, he has also said that he plans on reading more books and watching videos to learn more. Notably, being a sophomore, Dienstag had to make the transition from high school to college in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was actually nice transitioning from high school to college during the pandemic. High school and college are very different places, and the online classes made it easier to transition. The lack of massive parties also helps to keep you in line.” However, Dienstag did state that “it was a bit difficult to make friends in my classes, but the swim team makes it much easier to make friends.” “When me and my swimmer friends went home during winter break, we would

By Justin Leung eidtor

After starting the season with a nearly month-long break, the Brandeis softball team is off and running with quite a few games at the end of March. Between March 25 and 30, the Judges played six games. Four of those games were against Washington University and two were against Lesley University. Game one against WashU, WashU used one big inning to propel them to victory. The Judges scored two runs on a double by first baseman Jamie Pippin ’23. However, WashU proceeded to score four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning to give them a lead they would not give back. Brandeis ended up losing game one 3-5. Shortstop Jolie Fujita (GRAD) led the team in hits with two, as well as in runs with two. The next day saw the Judges get blanked against WashU. Alex Cohen ’24 got the only hit in the game. Sydney Goldman ’22, Cohen and Rebecca Guerci ’24 combined to pitch the five innings in the game. The final score was 9-0 in favor of WashU. On that same day, Brandeis faced WashU for the third time. This time, WashU just kept putting on runs in every inning. The Judges scored a run in the top of the first inning off a single from left fielder Amidori Anderson

train together and this would get us fired up for swimming,” he further elaborated. At Nationals in Indianapolis, Dienstag placed 30th in the nation in the 500 yard freestyle, and 19th in the nation for the one mile freestyle. In terms of preference, he says that he “prefers the mile to the 500 yards. I enjoy it much more in a high-competition setting and I’m able to outlast people and perform better as a result. You also do not have to pace your-

self as much in the one mile, and it’s more about endurance.” Going to Nationals, Dienstag thought that he would “initially be intimidated, but [he] was not since [he has] been to club nationals a few summers ago at the same pool and it was a similar environment.” Despite, this, he also said that he “was not too sure what to do in his free time since it was over the course of two days,” but he also mentioned that he was happy that his girlfriend,

Ema Rennie ’23, also a swimmer for the Brandeis Judges, was able to join him. When asked what he attributes to his great success in going to Nationals, Dienstag admitted that it “kind of sucks to be staring at a blank line ahead of you, but I find a way to make it therapeutic and fun, honing in on the single task, putting my head down and putting the work in.” In terms of a practice regiment, he said that he would “swim for long periods of

time just to get my endurance up for around an hour or so.” Dienstag has a promising swimming future ahead of him. Not only did he go to Nationals as a sophomore, but he still has two years of swimming ahead of him during his college career where he can improve and receive even more impressive placements in his events.


’22 but this was not enough as the WashU offense could not be stopped. Madeline Gorey ’25 pitched five innings while striking out two and only walking one. Brandeis lost 2-8. In their fourth and final game against WashU for the season, the Judges once again took a lead in the top of the fourth inning. Anderson hit a home run to center field to give them that lead. However, WashU once again answered back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brandeis began a comeback in the very next inning as second baseman Marley Felder ’22 drove in Pippin with a single. Center fielder Melissa Rothenberg (GRAD) then followed that up with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring right fielder Lily Medici ’23. However, the comeback fell just short and Brandeis lost their final game against WashU 3-5. Goldman and Gorey combined to pitch six innings while allowing eight hits and five walks. The Judges then returned home to play two games against Lesley. Their first game started off with Lesley playing small ball to score the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. Brandeis proceeded to shake off their previous weekend and countered with a huge three run home run by third baseman Haley Nash ’24. The offense did not stop there as they scored two more runs in the second inning on singles from Felder and Rothenberg. Nash then con-

tinued her excellent game with a single driving home Anderson in the third inning. Brandeis put the game away when Rothenberg doubled home a run and Cohen hit a two run home run in the fourth inning. The final score was 9-1 as Brandeis snapped the losing streak with a big win. Cohen had an all around strong game. She pitched all five innings while allowing just a single run and striking out five. Additionally, Cohen had two hits and two runs batted in (RBI). Nash also had a phenomenal game, as she had three hits and four RBIs in the game. On that same day, the Judges faced Lesley for the second time. Brandeis once again got off to a fast start, scoring three runs in

the second inning. Felder singled in a run and Rothenberg doubled before scoring on a passed ball. In the very next inning, Anderson stepped up to the plate and absolutely smoked the ball to give Brandeis a 4-0 lead. They put the nail in the coffin in the fourth inning as Rothenberg led off the inning with a double and was immediately followed by Cohen’s double. Nash and Fujita then proceeded to hit RBI singles to give the Judges a 7-0 lead. In terms of pitching, Chandra Penton ’23 had an incredibly gutsy performance. She allowed multiple base runners in the game, but just two runs. In the second inning, Penton struck out Lesley’s right fielder to leave two runners on base. The big inning however was when

she escaped the jam in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and one run already scored by Lesley in the inning, Penton proceeded to strike out two consecutive batters looking to get out of the jam. She finished with a complete game and seven strikeouts. The final score was 7-2. The Brandeis softball team will continue their home stand with four games against Emory University in the upcoming weekend. One game is on Friday April 1, followed by two games on Saturday and one on Sunday. They will also play two more home games on April 5, against Framingham State University before playing more away games.


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