The Brandeis Hoot, April 29, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 10

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

April 29, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

James Feng ‘22 raises judiciary concern

Univ. announces new dining vendor

By Sasha Skarboviychuk

Victoria Morrongiello



On Thursday, April 14, the Brandeis Student Union Judiciary held a hearing, where James Feng ’22 argued that defendants Krupa Sourirajan ’23, Student Union President, and Joseph Coles ’22, Student Union Executive Senator, had a “personal vendetta” against him which resulted in Feng’s dismissal from his position as Secretary of the Student Union. In his opening statement, Feng argued that Sourirajan and Coles had animosity against him since he was elected, and violated numerous sections of the code of conduct when it came to their interactions with him. He

The university announced that the new dining contract has been awarded to Harvest Table Culinary Group, according to an email sent to community members on April 14. Starting in July 2022, the university’s dining food service vendor will no longer be Sodexo. “Brandeis’ vision for the future of campus food service—food excellence, hospitality, collaboration, and sustainability—was directly shaped by the significant amount of feedback received throughout the process” wrote Lois Stanley—Vice President, Campus Planning and Operations—and Jeff Hershberger—

See UNION, page 3

See DINING, page 2


‘Take Back the Night’ march to raise awareness on sexual violence ByVictoria Morrongiello editor

Student organizers held a Take Back the Night—a worldwide movement raising awareness and action against sexual violence— march on April 7 to bring awareness to sexual violence on campus

and in the greater community. This was the first in-person Take Back the Night Event in three years, student organizers explained due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Take Back the Night continues to be a community action intended to raise awareness about sexual violence, empowering one another and showing

solidarity with, or as, individuals impacted by violence,” Alison Hagani ’22 said during the introduction to the march. The Take Back the Night march historically dates back to England in the late 1800s as woman protested against violence against women happening at night, one student organizer—Vidushi Pod-

dar ’24 explained to community members. The movement picked up in the 1970’s to bring awareness toward sexual violence and today Take Back the Night affiliated marches and events occur in over 30 countries, she explained. “We’d like to acknowledge that Take Back the Night originated during what some would call

“Second Wave Feminism,” a period of the feminist movement that was dominated by White women and neglected both women of color and the violence experienced by other individuals, including trans folks,” said Poddar. During the opening remarks, See TBTN, page 3

Brandeis celebrates Earth Week By Roshni Ray editor

To celebrate Earth Day at Brandeis, the Office of Sustainability, the Center of Spiritual Life and student Sustainability Ambassadors organized Earth Week, a week-long series of events, talks and activities promoting sustainability and climate activism. Earth Week also featured participation from Brandeis Dining, faculty and external speakers. Diane Lauber from the Center of Spiritual Life describes the motivation of organizing Earth Week as a means of “[combining] a sense of sacredness and appreciation for the miracle of our Earth, together with information on how we can and need to act

Inside This Issue:

these days to repair harm” in an email with The Brandeis Hoot. Student Sustainability Ambassadors Dina Millerman ’25 and Eleftheria Topaloglou ’24 brainstormed ideas for Earth Week events and worked with Lauber and Mary Fischer from the Office of Sustainability to implement logistical plans for those events. Millerman writes, “We booked spaces, contacted professors and other student groups, advertised, created a website and dedicated our time to preparing everything and making sure everything ran smoothly” in an email with The Hoot. See EARTH, page 2

News: univ. adjusts covid-19 policies Ops: switch to harvest table Features: students are crafting Sports: ye Editorial: send help everything is bad


italians are

Page 2 mad Page16 pizza bagels? no. Page 12 pizza cupcakes Page 8 OPS: PAGE 14 Page 11

Madeline Miller has my heart more books for you to read ARTS: PAGE 18


2 The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Dining contract awarded to Harvest Table Group instead of renewing Sodexo contract DINING, from page 1

Director of University Services in their email to community members. The university’s decision on which group to award the contract to was narrowed down to five companies, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. The companies included: Harvest Table Culinary Group, Sodexo, Nexdine, AVI and Bon Appetit. The search for a dining vendor spanned over the course of seven months, according to Stanley and Hershberg. During the course of the selection process, the university held stakeholder interviews in Fall 2021. Then vendor materials were posted to the university’s webpage for community members to review. The

university launched a portal for feedback from community members after posting the vendor’s information and having them present to community members in person including food samples. The vendor presentations were held for the final five companies, and according to Stanley and Hershberg were, “attended by hundreds of students, faculty, and staff.” From the feedback form the university had input from over 400 community members, according to Stanley and Hershberg, the majority of the responses were from students. Harvest Table Culinary Group previously bid for the university’s dining contract back in 2020, according to a previous Hoot article. The university’s dining contract with Sodexo was originally

intended to end at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university offered Sodexo a two-year extension of their contract, according to the article. According to Harvest Table’s executive summary from their dining bid, “[their] program is all about Brandeis. We’ve reviewed the Framework for the Future, traversed the campus, crunched the survey data and used some creative data-gathering to coalesce our proposal around these priorities that we believe match your needs: Elevated quality, variety and freshness, A more equitable food system, Programs by students, for students [and] Deep connections and community.” According to the summary, the group is invested in the same core

values as Uprooted and Rising—a movement fighting for a sustainable and equitable food system, according to their page. “[Harvest Group] joins Uprooted and Rising in their ’fight for a food system that nourishes us all,’” according to the executive summary. Harvest group is owned by the parent company, Aramark. The university previously had a contract with Aramark, according to a post on The Hoot’s Facebook page. The university split from Aramark in 2013 and took up a dining contract with Sodexo, according to the post. Harvest Table is considered an “independent division” of Aramark allowing it to operate on more local levels, according to an article from Food Management. According to the Dining Ser-

vices Requests for Proposals (RFP) page, the contract with Harvest Table Culinary Group will not be signed until June 2022. Negotiations with the contract are to be held throughout April, according to the same timeline. The Dining RFP committee involved in the selection process included: Kim Godsoe, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs, Ashna Kelkar, Student Union Senate Dining Committee Chair, Carol Osler, Chair, Brandeis Faculty Senate, Raymond Ou, Vice President, Student Affairs, Sam Solomon, Chief Financial Officer, Krupa Sourirajan, Student Union President, John Storti, Associate Vice President, Finance and Business and Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration.

Univ. updates COVID-19 protocols to ease restrictions on campus By Victoria Morrongiello editor

WIth the reduction of positive cases on campus, the university has decided to ease its COVID-19 protocols on campus, according to an email sent to community members on April 11. The university’s new guidelines are structured similarly to the Center for Disease COntrol and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines, wrote 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 of Student Affairs. “We are continuing to see a

reduction in COVID-19 rates on campus after our mid-semester peak: the measures we took to contain the spread are working. Brandeis’ positivity rate, at around one percent, is at or below statewide rates for the general population and other local college campuses,” wrote the administrators to community members. According to the email, in the new COVID-19 guidelines,the university has made changes for community members identified as close contacts who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19 and are in their 90 day exemption window. These individuals are expected to be in a “soft quarantine” for the 10 days after exposure to

COVID-19. During this time, community members are not confined to their room but are allowed to participate in campus activities as long as they follow the “soft quarantine” guidelines, according to the email. In the revised guidelines, close contacted community members are expected to be: masked at all times, monitor for symptoms, use the takeout meal option test as instructed by the Brandeis Contact Tracing Team, notify the health center if there is an onset of symptoms and begin isolation if they test positive. “Should Brandeis experience a surge in cases, or if a high-risk cluster of cases are identified, all close contacts may be required to quarantine per clinical guidance to mitigate COVID

spread,” according to the email. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact must continue to adhere to the previous isolation and quarantine policies. According to the email, unvaccinated individuals are required to remain in their residence hall, isolation housing or off-campus housing if they are identified as a close contact or if they test positive. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they are also expected to follow the university’s previous isolation protocol. The administrators also noted the importance of masking on campus. According to the email, “masking is a well-documented, simple way to protect yourself from the risk of contracting COVID.” The ad-

ministrators encourage community members to take a “risk assessment” of the activities they participate in and the likelihood of developing COVID-19. “Our revised practices emphasize making good individual choices, employing common sense, and using what we’ve learned in the past two years to keep ourselves and our community safe,” reads the email. The new protocols went into effect on April 12, according to the email. The administrators noted that they will continue to watch the COVID-19 data in the community and make adjustments to protocols as they see necessary.

Univ. hosts events for Earth Week EARTH, from page 1

Overall, the organizers of Earth Week shared with The Hoot their goals to impart the importance of environmental care and climate change action as well as a means of providing care and connection to the Brandeis community. Professor Sally Warner from the Department Environmental Studies was one of speakers during Earth Week. On Wednesday, she presented a talk concerning the science of why people should strive to reduce carbon emissions and helped students brainstorm ways to utilize their skills, communities and interests to pursue a climate and environment-related career. In an interview with The Hoot, Warner described the need for larger scale change in order to solve climate change. Warner shared, “If someone really cares about climate change and wants to make large-scale impact, the best way to do that is to make climate [their] career.” On Friday, Earth Fest will take place to conclude the week of celebration. One speaker who will be featured is Larry Spotted Crow Mann, who is an award-winning Native American writer,

playwright and poet. Mann will be sharing his interactive presentation which contains selections of stories and songs of the Nimpuc tribe, an indigenous tribe native to the New England region for thousands of years. Some of the themes that will be explored in Mann’s presentation are interspecies relationships and the role of humans within the larger scope of life on Earth. Brandeis Dining initiatives throughout the week encouraged students to participate in Earth Week by featuring plant-based and locally sourced meals that reduce the environmental impact of the food supply. Throughout the week, the Rustic Roots station at the dining halls featured Future 50 Foods, or a more diverse range of plant-based foods as opposed to the 12 plant species and five animal species that provide 75 percent of the world’s food. To start off Earth Week’s dining initiatives, Sherman Dining Hall instilled a Meatless Monday lunch, featuring exclusively vegetarian meals. For dinner, the Lower Usdan Dining Hall featured the harvest of the month, “Carrot Takeover.” On Tuesday, Sherman Dining Hall featured a special Earth Day dinner that highlight-

ed sustainable, locally derived food. On Thursday, the kosher section of Sherman Dining Hall featured the seafood caught by the company Red’s Best. According to the Brandeis Earth Week website, “Red’s Best features underutilized species or by-catch, thus making local seafood consumption sustainable by utilizing fishermen’s full catch.” This reduces aquatic ecosystem strain by using a more diverse range of fish species and makes fishermen’s work more economical by allowing them to sell the day’s catch. In addition to dining initiatives, Earth Week featured activities for the Brandeis community to partake in. On Monday, there was a clothing and book swap and donation at the Shapiro Campus Center. On Tuesday, Earth Week hosted an Environmental Justice Jeopardy and a screening of the documentary Fast Fashion: The Real Cost of Low-Cost Fashion. On Wednesday, teaching assistants from the course Tree Class led a nature walk for students to partake in and there was a yoga lesson on Chapels Field. On Thursday, students were encouraged to make their own plant pots with potted seeds to take home

and participate in a meditation session outdoors. On Friday there will be rooftop gardening activities and educational and care resources at the Fellows Booths as a part of Earth Fest, the final celebration of the week. The full schedule of Earth Week is detailed in the Brandeis Earth Week website. As the current school year comes to a close, Warner shares news regarding the Environmental Studies Department. Last fall, the university had launched the new Environmental Studies minor and this spring, there will be the first graduates of the minor. Furthermore, there will be a new course offered for the first time in the Environmental Studies department during the coming fall that explores the local waterways. Warner shares that the class’ goals are to explore how water travels the environment and through plumbing and determine some of the environmental goals to protect water passages in eastern Massachusetts. The class will involve taking field trips to sites of water processing such as the Deer Island wastewater treatment plant and the New England Aquarium. Moving forward, the Office

of Sustainability has designated the 2022 to 2023 academic year as the Year of Climate Action at Brandeis. According to the website, the President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability created a draft climate action plan for Brandeis in 2020 that recommended that Brandeis “take a year-long effort to engage the entire community, including alumni, in curricular and co-curricular programming that catalyzes and deepens our understanding of climate change as a social justice issue.” As a part of this initiative, faculty from numerous departments across Brandeis will be incorporating climate change related course assignments, activities, and explorations. Additionally, there will be guest lectures and Brandeis will facilitate partnerships and collaborations between students and climate justice leaders and activists. As Warner puts it, “Earth Day is one day and Earth Week is one week. It is important for us to continually think about the environment and climate change throughout the year and think about ways in which our actions can have ripple effects to have bigger impacts that are bigger than just us.”

April 29, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Students march to take back the night TBTN, from page 1

student organizers also discussed the prevalence of sexual violence on campus. Lyric Siragusa ’24 spoke about the Campus Climate Survey— a survey meant to understand the opinions of students regarding sexual misconduct on campus. The last survey data community members have access to is from 2019. Siragusa cited some statistics from the survey, stating that, “Among other things, the campus climate survey found that 10% of men, 21% of women, and 36% of gender-nonconforming students having experienced sexual assault since becoming a student at Brandeis University.” “We recognize that Brandeis University’s own perception and data on campus violence doesn’t encompass the true scope of this

disproportionate violence. Those who have been impacted by violence may have a multitude of valid reasons for not wanting to report or disclose their experience—fear of retaliation, of not being believed, and distrust of institutions that have continuously perpetrated violence [against marginalized communities] to name a few,” said Siragusa. Community members gathered at the Lights of Reason at 6:30 p.m. outside of the Rose Art Museum for the opening remarks of the event. Students tabled at the location to offer sensory objects to community members including flashlights and earplugs. The sensory objects were offered in order to make the event more accessible, Hagani explained. They were made available by The Disabled Students Network (DSN)—a community

on campus for disabled students to connect through their identities, according to their Instagram page—members in order to make the event more accessible. In addition, to make the event more accessible, there was a stop on the march route at the Blue Booths in the Fellow’s Garden where students had the opportunity to stop and enjoy refreshments. There were approximately 35 community members in attendance for the march. The route began at the Lights of Reason and community members then traveled up past the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) all the way to the base of the Rabb Steps. After the march through campus, student organizers of Take Back the Night and members of the DSN hosted rooms for students to reflect and heal from any experiences with sexual vio-

lence they may have had. There was a reflection and self-preservation room led by the DSN that offered different activities for students including an art station, a phone cleansing station and a reflection space. Additionally, there was another room led by the DSN and students were encouraged to move back and forth at their own comfort level between the rooms. The spaces were designated for students only. Student organizers also offered resources for students that are affiliated with the university. “Peer Advocates from the Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center on shift from 6:30 - 9:00 PM EST. They are available to meet in person in Usdan G-108 (to the right of Levin ballroom), via our anonymous Chat box and text line, or through our 24/7

hour hotline (781-736-3370),” Hagani informed the crowd. Additional resources Hagani mentioned were, “Students Talking About Relationships (STAR) also has virtual office hours tonight from 6pm-10pm. 6-Talk has a hotline open from 10 p.m. - 1 a.m. every day, which can be reached at 781-736-8255.” The university has held Take Back the Night marches for the past eight years typically being held later in the Spring Semester. The 2022 March was the first to be held in person again after the COVID-19 pandemic. The last in-person take Back the Night event at Brandeis prior to the 2022 March was in 2019. The 2021 Take Back the Night event was held virtually over Zoom, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article.

Judiciary hears Feng vs. Sourirajan & Coles over impeachment from Student Union position UNION, from page 1

added that in the week of Sep. 23 to Sep. 30, Coles and Sourirajan were attempting to fill positions from regular elections, however Feng struggled to do his job because of “pre-existing political biases.” According to Feng, Coles is a political ally to Sourirajan, and she got him to help her, because of his control in the Senate. Although Feng acknowledges the concerns Sourirajan and Coles had with his behavior, he alleges that they used their political bias to remove him from office. According to Feng, after November of 2021, he no longer received communications from the Registrar. He said that the defendants deliberately excluded Feng from further correspondence with the administration, which Feng had every right to know as Chief of Elections. He claimed that after Sept. 27, he “didn’t have any way to say anything.” Feng alleged that he was ambushed during that week by all of them, where he was issued an ultimatum to resign or be impeached; “I did not deserve to be included [in the emails],” said

Feng. On Oct. 3, Coles debriefed the Senate on the Feng concerns, whoever it was done without Feng being present during the Executive session. During the Executive Session only members of the senate can be present. This created an asymmetry of information against Feng, he alleged. Coles represented both himself and Sourirajan at the hearing. He discussed the failure of the Allocations Board elections and highlighted the importance of filling those missing A-Board seats. They also brought up why this hearing was taking place so long after the impeachment of Feng. Feng responded that both Coles and Sourirajan admitted that Feng proposed to hold an election but they turned him down, which according to him makes them not truthful when they said that Feng didn’t take initiative. According to Feng, the elections were not held because they didn’t let him. He added that he did make mistakes and even if Coles and Sourirajan thought that he was incompetent, special election are at the destruction of the Secretery, and should be used for the interest of the

Union. He emphasized once again that it was because Sourirajan and Coles said no to Feng, to holding elections, they did not happen. Coles responded that Feng was left off of election emails, because on four occasions he didn’t respond, so the administration reached out to Sourirajan herself because he neglected his duties. He also highlighted that at the impeachment trial Feng admitted to the neglect. Coles also said that special elections do not require assistance from anyone else, Secretaries do that themselves, so Feng could have done it if he wanted to. During questions, Feng was asked if in his time as secretary, what was that an environment like and whether he saw peers as advisors. Feng responded that in many ways they were, because they have more power. He said that he requested to hold elections at three meetings, two times in front of the entire board. Feng “publicly requested them and the president said no.” Feng was then asked if it was within his power to hold the elections, to which Feng responded

that the President has a say over this, and she did not grant him the approval. It was then highlighted that the president may advise but may not command, to which Feng said that Sourirajan “used her power as president to command me not to hold elections.” He added that he did read the constitution, which does not specify if there is unilateral power of secretary, according to Feng. Coles responded by saying that A-board was operational, and that the Senate sent representatives to the board, which allowed them to have a quorum to vote on things, so club funds worked. He said that there was no danger as it was successful, and that there was an impulse to simply elect people based on the request. It was then asked if the chair of the allocations board requests more members, does that constitute a binding mandate on the chief of elections. However, no one can make a binding demand on the secretary and the other concern was that no one ran when the previous round was held. Feng then argued that the allocations board had to work long

hours and put in extra work, which is why the chair of the allocations board request positions to be filled. She needed staff to help her, according to Feng. Feng also claimed that Sourirajan and Coles abused their power, however he used a clause about bribery as his backing. “There are other charges in here that I think are ridiculous,” said Coles. Matt Shapiro ’24 asked Coles if they directly attempted to communicate with Feng before the ultimatum. Coles said that they did express their concerns between the first two rounds of elections. Sourirajan also sent a Slack message to Feng, saying that they were ran poorly. Feng was then asked how he could have admitted to breaching the constitution and then in this trial you call this a small thing. However these concerns were out of the scope of the hearing as it was focused on Sourirajan and Coles. Feng re-emphasized that his main allegation is of political bias. He said that it was the motivation for their misconduct. Justice Eamonn Golden ’24 led the hearing.

James Feng speaks on judiciary hearing By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Former student union secretary, James Feng ’22, spoke with The Brandeis Hoot regarding the proceedings of the Senate Judiciary Hearing. Feng was impeached from his position as Secretary in Fall 2021 and filed a motion to remove Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 and Joseph Coles ’22 from office. Feng was impeached during the Fall 2021 semester, during the senate meeting on Oct. 17, a motion to impeach was approved with over a two-thirds majority of the senate, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. The impeachment trial was held on Oct. 22, where Feng was removed from the position as secretary, according to the article.

Feng told The Hoot in an interview in the fall, that the reason he was impeached was due to political biases of other members of the union, after a difference in political campaign support for the Student Union president and vice president position for the 2021- 2022 academic year. While Sourirajan and Courtney Thurn ’22 won the positions, Feng supported their opposition, this caused Feng to claim they targeted him for impeachment, according to a previous Hoot article. Feng reaffirmed his previous statements from the fall in his latest interview. Feng cited to The Hoot the information from the evidence packet of the judiciary complaint. In the packet, Feng includes an email from Sourirajan regarding the Allocations Board which was operating without its full staff. Feng told The Hoot that

the email shows A-Board needed more members, but Sourirajan would not allow Feng to hold another round of elections to fill the seats, Feng claimed. Feng said, that he wasn’t “on his A-game” during the first part of the fall 2021 semester and this did lead to some errors in his position as Secretary and chief of elections. However, Feng argued that he deserved another chance to host an election before getting pushed from office. Feng stated that Sourirajan kept him out of email correspondence with the registrar’s office regarding the Qualtrics election survey. Though, Feng admitted to The Hoot that he did not try to reach out to the registrar’s office when he did not receive any notifications from them prior to the election. Feng told The Hoot that the registrar’s office is typically responsi-

ble for setting up the Qualtrics election survey. It was the administration from the registrar’s office that reached out to Sourirajan about elections, Feng told The Hoot, after he had a “delayed response” to their previous emails regarding elections. Sourirajan did not cc Feng on her email communications with the registrar, which Feng said he deserved since it “deliberately stopped [him] from doing [his job].” Sourirajan involved Coles who was then serving as executive senator to help with the elections, instead of Feng, this according to Feng “cut [him] off from doing his job.” According to the Judiciary complaint, with Feng as the complainant and Sourirajan and Coles as the Respondent, “Complainant alleges intent of political bias in the decision of Respondent to push forward with impeachment

of Complainant as Secretary on October 22, 2021. Complainant asserts his stance in the 2021 presidential election created a perceived animosity from Respondent against Complainant serving in office as Secretary. Complainant also alleges Respondent violates multiple sections of the Article XI Section I: Union Member Code of Conduct from Oct. 3 to October 22., 2021 in order to succeed with impeachment of Complainant. Feng explained to The Hoot that, although both Sourirajan and Coles will not be involved in the student union next year he wanted to make sure the concerns were addressed. “Just because they’re going to be out of office doesn’t mean that these concerns don’t need to be addressed,” Feng explained.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Helller dean stepping down in June 2022, interim dean announced By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The current dean of The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, David Weil (HELLER), will not be retaking up his contract, according to an email sent to community members on April 15. Maria Madison will be taking up Weil’s position, acting as Interim dean starting in July 2022, according to the email sent by Carol Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Weil has been a wonderful colleague and leader. During his time at Heller, David worked with the Heller community to move the school forward, integrating and strengthening its academic programs including bringing its global master’s programs under one umbrella and enhancing the student experience,” wrote Fierke to community members. Weil has served as Dean of the Heller School since August 2017,

according to his faculty page. Prior to working in his position as dean, he was the Peter and Deborah Wexler Professor of Management at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. From 2014 to January 2017, Wiel worked under the Obama administration as the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, according to his faculty page. In this position, he was the first to be confirmed by the Senate in over a decade as the division head. Weil had also been nominated for the same position under the Biden administration, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article, however, his position was not confirmed by the Senate. “His experience arises from both his decades of research on labor, employment, and the structure of labor markets and labor policy as well as leading a major federal agency,” according to his faculty page. While working as the Dean of the Heller School, the Heller

School has been nominated with top rankings including being within the top 10 ranking in two U.S. News & World Report graduate school categories, according to a previous Hoot article. From the U.S. News & World Report, Heller was ranked eighth best for the social policy category and 10th for the health management category. According to the article, Heller was ranked within the top 25 percent of graduate schools. “He also strengthened Heller internally, embedding equity, inclusion and diversity into all aspects of the school’s operations and deepening bonds across the Heller community,” wrote Fierke in her email. Weil has also worked in tandem with the Heller research centers and institutes to “collaborate across boundaries” and increase research funding activity and public engagement, according to the email. Weil led the Heller School throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving

the Heller School in a state that is “strengthened financially and invigorated internally and externally,” wrote Fierke. Madison, who will be acting as Interim Dean of the Heller School, has been working at Brandeis since 2017 as the first Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. “In this role she developed and implemented a targeted, evidence-based approach to improving [diversity, equity and inclusion] for all members of the Heller community, and forged innovative and effective partnerships across the school and the university as well as with policymakers and various organizations,” wrote Fierke. Madison then became the director of the Heller School’s Institute of Economic and Racial Equity (IERE), in this position she changed the name of the institute—formerly known as the Institute of Assets and Social Policy. The IERE received a one million dollar gift from

the Kapor Center under Madison’s leadership. The grant is to be used for a new initiative on racial justice and tech policy. In her career, Madison has been named as one of GK50’s Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education, she is also a trained public health researcher with a ScD in a population and international health degree from Harvard School of Public Health, according to Fierke’s email. Prior to working at the university, Madison worked for over two decades in designing, implementing and managing global public health projects including clinical trials and registries. In her work, Madison has overseen non profit organizations including multinational budgets and teams, wrote Fierke in her email. She is also the president and founder of The Robbins House— a non-profit organization preserving and bringing awareness to the history of African Americans in Concord, Massachusetts, according to their about page.

The 2022 Festival of the Arts is here By Emma Lichtenstein editor

The annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts is back in session. Between April 26 and May 4, Brandeis is hosting many events celebrating the arts community. Some activities include student theater, art installations around campus, talks from artists and a craft market. “Buoyancy” is the theme of this year’s festival. “Our advisory committee came up with the theme of buoyancy back in October,” wrote Ingrid Schorr, the Director of Arts Engagement at Brandeis, in

an email to The Brandeis Hoot. “We wanted to acknowledge the ability of the arts to frame powerful ideas and to mark important times in history, and we wanted to honor our community’s resilience as well as the signs of growth and hope that accompany springtime.” Schorr explained that events and art installations around campus try to embody that spirit of rebirth. Students focused on that theme when creating their art. Anya Shire-Plumb ’22 painted colorful circles on sidewalks around campus, emulating the concept of joy. She wrote in an Instagram post, “Using tempera paint and months of preparation,

my concept is to mimic the way we experience the feeling of happiness. Joy comes to us suddenly and lifts us up.” Other events include the Community Talk and Art Build for Indigenous Futures, a three part event which will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. “This event aims to uplift Indigenous struggle through community learning and contextualization within the space of the Brandeis community,” reads the event description. The event will begin with a panel of Indigenous speakers, followed by a sewing circle and end with a protest and banner drop.

Featured artist Tory Fair, an associate professor of sculpture at Brandeis, has “Portable Window” displays around campus that she encourages community members to engage with. “While our digital culture has made it incredibly easy to frame and take pictures without restraint,” said Fair in a Brandeis interview. “Portable Window slows down and makes framing our surroundings a more physical act in sync with our bodies.” Those who see her sculpture, which looks like a wheel with a gap in the middle, are encouraged to look through the gap to “see what the wheel sees.” This is the 70th Leonard Bern-

stein Festival of the Creative Arts. According to the Festival History page, “The Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis was founded in 1952 by the legendary American composer and Brandeis faculty member Leonard Bernstein. It was dedicated to the belief that ‘the art of an era is a reflection of the society in which it is produced, and through creative endeavors the thoughts and expression which characterize each generation are revealed and transformed.’” Almost all events are free and open to the public. The schedule and details for the weeklong celebration can be found online.

2022 Perlmutter Award for Excellence in Global Business Leadership By Roshni Ray editor

Brandeis recently awarded Sir Ronald Cohen with the 2022 Perlmutter Award for Excellence in Global Business Leadership for his work as a philanthropist, venture capitalist, private equity investor and social innovator. As described in the 2022 Perlmutter Award webpage, Cohen is “recognized as the father of impact investment and European venture capital and is driving forward the global Impact Revolution.” As one component of the celebration, Cohen reflected on his journey in business and necessary improvements in the field for the future in a question and answer session with the Senior Associate Director of Communications at the International Business School Brian Messenger. Cohen’s experience as a refugee from Egypt who then grew up and studied in the U.K. shaped his belief that “ability is evenly spread, but … opportunity is not.” Addi-

tionally, Cohen shared some key points from his book “IMPACT: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change,” which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller that was published in 2020. He asserts, “Investors and businesses can no longer strive to make profits without worrying about the environmental and social consequences of their actions. We must shift our economies to deliver both profits and solutions to our great challenges.” Additionally, Cohen views venture capital and private equity as a means to disrupt business models contributing to environmental damage or detrimental social impact. The award ceremony featured congratulatory remarks from President Ron Liebowitz and Dean Kathryn Gaddy, and Professor of Business Aldo Musacchio moderated the ensuing conversation. One of the first questions Cohen addressed was the challenges he had faced trying to perpetuate social impact oriented business models, describing how it is challenging to initiate a new field amongst traditionally held values.

Furthermore, Cohen brought up the importance of transparency in the environmental impact and social impact of businesses as well as the importance of having objective metrics by which to assess businesses and corporations by. Cohen explains how investors require detailed information on the impact of a corporation in order to drive social impact oriented business models. Moreover, Philippe Wells (BUS), Senior Lecturer at the International School of business, discussed the role individuals play in the impact revolution of businesses with Cohen. Cohen advocates for young students and entrepreneurs to “Start young, think big, and stick with it,” and suggests that interested students get into the career of venture capital early to gain more experience. The Perlmutter Institute was founded by Brandeis trustee Louis Perlmutter ’56 and Barbara Perlmutter and seeks to equip students with the skills necessary for leadership positions in global corporations around the world. According to the website, “The Per-

lmutter Award is given to a highly select group of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership worldwide,” and par-

ticularly embody the goals of the Perlmutter Institute. The Perlmutter Award ceremony is sponsored by the Office of the President.


April 29 , 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Nine dance groups perform in Kaos Kids dance By Kristianna Lapierre editor

On April 14, in Levin Ballroom the university held its Spring 2022 semester show for Kaos Kids, a “secular, hip-hop open dance team that performs all over campus and at other universities,” as described on the show’s pamphlet.The show featured nine dance groups and many community members and outside visitors were in attendance for the performance. “Organized Kaos” opened and closed with dances from Kaos. Audience members began watch-

ing dances from famous early 2000s tunes including songs from the show “Spongebob Squarepants,” the “Little Einsteins” theme song and other throwbacks. The group left the show after a “groovy Spring 2022 Summer Mix featuring smooth cha chas, hard hits and fun vibes.” Cierra Boutin ’24 congratulated and expressed gratitude to the five seniors in the group for the energy they bring and for their friendship, after the performance. The Kaos seniors performed a compilation of their favorite dances over the last four years, celebrating and commemorating their time in the group.

The semester show showcased four Brandeis affiliated dance groups, in addition to Kaos Kids. Adagio Dance Company– a group featuring all levels of dancers and various styles– performed a number choreographed by Camila Cano ’23 following a performance by Chak De, Brandeis’s premiere South Asian fusion dance team, according to their Instagram page. “Hooked on Tap” was also featured at the event, the only tap company on campus. Brandeis’s Afro-Caribbean dance group, Rebelle’s, performance completed the lineup for Brandeis dance groups during the show.

COVID-19 Dashboard

Kaos Kids welcomed four groups from three universities in the Greater Boston Area: Lasell University, University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Lowell and Northeastern University. Lesell University Pulse Dance Team—a student-run dance team at Lessel—performed as the first guest group of the evening. Lowell’s Mill Advised, a dance group with the overarching goal of centralizing Lowell’s dance community, returned once again to perform at Organized Kaos. From the same city, the UMASS Lowell ProtoHype Dance Crew shared their Spring 2022 Semester set with the crowd, which draws

In the Senate, Apr. 24 •


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update April 28, 2022.


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update September 2, 2021.


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update April 28, 2022.

inspiration from “the idyllic nuclear family going on vacation,” according to the description in the pamphlet. The last guest dance crew was Northeastern University’s Revolve, a competitive hip-hop dance team at Northeastern, as described by their Facebook page. Kaos Kids holds auditions each semester looking to grow its group of “talented and energetic” dancers, as described in the show’s pamphlet. Kaos holds open dance classes for the Brandeis community to teach and spread the “freedom of dance.”

Leo Chen ’23 from the Brandeis Impact club attended the meeting to share the workings of the club to the Union. According to his presentation, the club is a social impact organization that aims to build bridges between students and the “not for profit world.” This would enable students to have access to a vast networking system and access to industry leaders while providing opportunities to work on the marketing and operation of Deis Hacks, a hackathon held by the university. After asking a series of questions, the club was officially chartered. The Salvation International Prayer Youth Ministry (SIPYM) club was also chartered once the President Agnes Nkansah ’22 and the Vice President Ohemaa Pipim ’24 presented the workings of their club. According to their presentation, the club is a Bible-believing youth group that aims to support Christians and help them navigate their college journey through fellowship and corporate prayer. Tamara Rubin ’25 was able to charter the Brandeis Poker Power club. According to their presentation, the Poker Power aims to create a feminist communitiy of allies through teaching and learning poker which is considered a male dominated game. The club will be open to any student that wishes to join. Rubin claims to have taught poker for the past two years and plans to hold poker lessons followed by playing as a part of the club. Rubin also mentioned that she plans to bring in a few professional female poker players as a certain club event. Ido Dinnar ’24 from the Brandeis Pottery club attended the senate meeting to gain permission to perform a constitution change for the club. Some of the changes included an updated statement of non-exclusivity, clarity and update how instructors are appointed and their responsibilities. The constitution change would also include the expansion of e-board roles, where there would be vice treasurer, secretary and communications director, and technical director while clarifying the responsibilities of each of these roles. Marco Qin ’24 was unable to get approval from the senate to charter the Brandeis Blockchain club. According to their presentation, the club aimed to provide opportunities for students to learn about blockchain technology and its applications through interactive activities and create an ecosystem where students can create an ecosystem where students can connect with Brandeis alumni who have experience in the blockchain industry. Audrey Sequeira ’24 had a question addressing the inclusivity of the club, saying, “ I really want them to do more work on how they’re going to purposefully be inclusive, not just passively say that they’re going to be inclusive.”No representatives from the badminton club attended the meeting so their club will be presenting at the next senate meeting.The Mid-day buffet will be happening on May 3 followed by the State of the Union later that evening. The SMR for the Midnight buffet was also approved. -Vimukthi Mawilmada

Dean of Arts and Sciences set to leave in 2023, search for replacement begins By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Current Dean of Arts and Sciences—Dorothy Hodgson—announced her intent to step down from the position in June 2023, according to an email sent to community members by Carol Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Hodgeson will not be renewing her appointment after her fifth year. “An award-winning scholar,

teacher, and mentor, [Hodgson] has been dedicated to Brandeis’ vision of an inclusive undergraduate liberal arts education—one that integrates the creative arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences to provide students with the knowledge, passion, creativity, compassion, and resilience to succeed and to use their gifts to improve the world,” reads the email. Hodgeson has been with the university since 2018, in her four years at Brandeis Hodgson has helped design and launch multiple initiatives. Including the Of-

fice for Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaboration, a major in Engineering Science and a suite of meaningful anti-racism plans by the School of Arts and Sciences and its departments and programs, according to the email. While in this position Hodgeson has been able to meet the demand made during Ford Hall 2015 to increase the number of faculty of color. Under Hodgson the university’s School of Arts and Sciences has seen a double in the number of faculty of color, according to Fierke’s email. Also, during her time as Dean,

Hodgeson has worked to help create, “the Program in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies; the implementation of the Brandeis Core; the transition of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from a program to a department; and the creation of the Community Engaged Scholars Program (CESP) to be launched in Fall 2022, in collaboration with the Vic and Bobbi Samuels ’63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation, funded by a $10 million gift,” according to the email sent by Fierke.

Hodgeson will remain with the university through the 2022-2023 academic year, during which she will work on the transition out of the position, according to Fireke’s email. The university will begin a national search for the next permanent Dean of Arts and Sciences, during the next academic year. More information will be released to community members as there is progress in the nomination process for a new dean, according to Fierke’s email.


6 The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Track and Field competes at UAAs By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The Judges men and women’s Track and Field team competed in four meets, including the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships in Missouri. Providence Friar Invitational, April 8 On the men’s side, Matthew Driben ’22 placed 14th in the three thousand meter run, with a time of 8:52.62. In the 800 meter run, Samuel Kim ’24 placed 30th, Jacob Grant ’22 placed 34th, Aaron Portman ’22 placed 37th and Dylan Whalen ’25 placed 41st, with times of 1:57.00, 1:58.13, 2:00.55 and 2:02.50, respectively. On the women’s side, Erin Magill ’22 placed fourth in the five thousand meter run with a time of 16:56.60. In the mile, Natalie Hattan ’22 placed 17th, Lizzy Reynolds ’24 placed 30th and Bridget Pickard ’23 placed 35th, with times of 5:10.75, 5:20.90 and 5:28.55 respectively. Victoria Morrongiello ’23 placed 16th in the eight hundred meter run with a time of 2:24.25. The meet was non-scoring. Amherst Spring Fling, April 9 On the men’s side, Danny Krigman ’25 placed fifth in the one hundred meter dash with a time of 11.47 seconds, while Parker Jones ’24 placed eighth with a time of 11.78 seconds. In the two hundred meter dash Dean Carey ’25 placed eighth with a time of 23.27 seconds. In field events, Ori Slotky ’24 placed third in triple jump with 12.11 meters. Zachary Reynolds ’23 placed seventh in the discus throw throwing 36.76 meters. Dion Morris-Evans ’22 was first in the high jump with a height of 1.85 meters; he also placed eighth in the long jump with a distance of

5.93 meters. Thomas Vandalovsky ’23 placed third in the hammer throw with 43.19 meters, and fifth in the shot put with 11.96 meters. On the women’s side, in four hundred meter hurdles Yahni Lapa ’23 placed fifth and Ianna Gilbert ’24 placed eighth, with times of 1:07.89 and 1:17.41, respectively. In the two hundred meter dash, Alya Campbell ’24 placed fifth, Liz Korn ’24 placed sixth, Devin Hiltunen ’22 placed eighth and Anna Touitou ’22 placed 19th with times of 27.00, 27.22, 27.35 and 28.31 seconds respectively. In the 1,500 meter run, Erika Karlin ’22 placed 18th with a time of 5:13.81, while Adah Andersen ’23 placed 28th with a time of 5:42.50. Campbell also placed fifth in one hundred meter hurdles with a time of 15.94 seconds; Sonali Anderson ’22 was second in the event with 15.74 seconds. Smiley Huynh ’24 placed third in pole vault with a height of 3.25 meters. She also placed 10th in the one hundred meter dash in 13.17 seconds, where Touitou and Hailey Crane ’24 placed 17th and 21st respectively. In high jump, Olivia Zarzycki ’25 placed 10th and Emma Keohan ’25 placed 11th, with heights of 1.42 meters and 1.27 meters, respectively. The meet was non-scoring. Connecticut College Silfen Invitational, April 15-16 At the Connecticut College Silfen Invitational, the men finished in 18th place with 10 points, while the women finished tied for 12th place with 25 points. On the men’s side, in the 4x400-meter relay, Dean Carey ’25, Grant, Kim and Jamie O’Neil ’22 placed second, with a time of 3:24.76, Grant also finished 11th in the eight hundred meter run, with a time of 1:56.49. Mor-

ris-Evans placed 10th in the high jump with a height of 1.80 meters, and ninth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.24 seconds. On the women’s side, the 4x400 relay team consisting of Hannah Bohbot-Dridi ’25, Campbell, Hiltunen and Zarzycki placed third with a time of 4:12.87. Zarzycki also placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:08.03 and eighth in the high jump with a height of 1.47 meters. Campbell also placed fifth in the one hundred meter hurdles with a time of 15.75 seconds; Anderson placed eighth with a time of 16.06 seconds. Hattan placed fifth in the 1,500-meter run, with a time of 4:45.55. Kirsten Man ’25 placed 10th in the high jump with a height of 1.42 meters. Huynh placed fifth in hole vault with a height of 3.25 meters. UAA Championships, April 23-24 Overall, the Judges finished in seventh place with 25 points scored. The men placed seventh with 25 points, while the women placed sixth with 51.5 points. On the first day of the com-

petition, on the women’s side, Hattan, Pickard, Morrongiello and Reynolds placed fifth in the 4x800 meter relay, with a time of 9:39.19. In the four hundred meter dash Korn placed sixth with a time of 59.13. In the four hundred meter hurdle, Zarzycki and Lapa placed fourth and eighth, with times of 1:06.09 and 1:07.39, respectively. Huynh placed four in pole vault with a height of 3.37 meters, as well as fourth in long jump with a distance of 5.39 meters. On the men’s side, the 4x800 meter relay consisting of Willem Goff ’24, Grant, Kim and Aaron Portman ’22 placed sixth with a time of 8:09.12. On the second day of the competition, on the men’s side, Reese Farquhar ’22 placed seventh in the two hundred meter dash, with a time of 22.92 seconds. In the 4x400 meter relay, Grant, Kim, O’Neil and Portman placed seventh with a time of 3:28.45. Reynolds placed 11th in shot put, with a distance of 12.36 meters, while Jonathan Hau ‘23 placed 14th with a distance of 11.18 meters. In the men’s mile,

Goff placed 16th while Spencer Lee ’25 placed 17th, with times of 4:33.17 and 4:38.99 respectively. Driben placed 13th in the three thousand meter run with a time of 8:42.30. On the women’s side, Hiltunen placed sixth in the 400 meter dash with a time of 1:00.81. In the three thousand meter run, Niamh Kenney ’22 placed sixth with a time of 10:15.38, while Zada Forde ’25 placed 17th with a time of 10:56.22. In the 4x400 meter relay, Campbell, Hiltunen, Korn and Zarzycki placed fifth with a time of 4:02.71. In the mile, Reynolds placed 13th with a time of 5:25.49. In the 60-meter hurdles Anderson placed fifth with a time of 9.25, while Campbell placed eighth with a time of 9.45 seconds. Man placed fifth in high jump with a height of 1.52 meters. The Judges will next compete in the Brown Springtime Invitational, on Sunday, May 1. Editor’s Note: News Editor Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.


Softball takes on NYU By Francesca Marchese staff

Brandeis Softball traveled to the city that never sleeps to play University Athletic Association (UAA) rival New York University. The Judges and the Violets, though, played their four game conference series on Staten Island, NY. As NYU continues to renovate their athletic facilities, the Violets softball squad competes on collegiate campuses in the neighboring boroughs. Their home match-up against the Brandeis University Judges occurred at the College of Staten Island. The Judges earned a series split with NYU, improving to 22-16 on the season, 8-12 in the UAA; Brandeis is currently third in the league. Pitcher Alex Cohen ’24 performed both offensively and defensively to help the Judges earn their first win of the series in extra innings. At the plate, she went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a double; and in the circle, Cohen pitched a career-high 10 innings and tied her career-best with 11 strikeouts in the process. She only allowed six hits and one earned run, walking three and hitting two batters. Cohen was the first Judge pitcher since March 2012, to throw double-digit innings in a game; she improved to 10-4 on the season. Tied at 1-all headed into the

late innings, the Judges had four singles in the frame; the last came from junior first baseman Jamie Pippin ’23 who drove in grad student center fielder Melissa Rothenberg (GRAD); Violets answered though, with an RBI single. While the Violets had chances to win the game in both regulation and in the ninth inning, before reaching the international tiebreaker rule in the 10th, Brandeis successfully extended the game. In the top of the 10th, with a runner placed at second base, grad student shortstop Jolie Fujita (GRAD) bunted, allowing the go ahead run to second. Marley Felder ’22 then bunted Fujita to second and Cohen followed with a crucial RBI double to left making it 3-1, Brandeis. While NYU scored their runner from second that advanced her to third and home in the bottom of the 10th, Cohen got a grounder to third to end the game. On Saturday, the Judges dropped the opener of the double-header, 2-1, before suffering a 7-1 loss in game two. In game one, the Judges outhit the Violets, 7-3, but were only able to convert once. Senior leftfield Amidori Anderson ’22 singled to open the fifth inning and successfully scored on a sacrifice fly by Fujita. In the sixth, the Judges had a chance to tie with four hits, but NYU threw out the tying run at home plate on Rothenberg’s single to right.

Offensively, both Haley Nash ’24 and Anderson had two hits for Brandeis. Defensively, Rebecca Guerci ’24 fought hard from the cycle, but fell to 3-4 on the season, while only allowing three hits and two runs in four innings of work. Sydney Goldman ’22 threw a hitless two innings of relief, walking two and striking out one. Game two on Saturday was even tougher for the Brandeis Judges, as they were only able to score one run on seven hits. Pitcher Chandra Penton ’23 suffered her first loss of the season, allowing three runs (only one earned) in three innings; Madeline Gorey ’25 allowed four runs on four hits in one inning of relief, while Goldman successfully held NYU off the board over their final two at-bats. Offensively, Brandeis had seven hits, all of which were singles by different players. In their final game of the series, the Judges defeated the Violets, 5-4, to earn a series split. Fujita singled to center to open the scoring in the second inning; Cohen answered by reaching on an error to make it 2-0 in favor of the Judges. Cohen and Fujita kept the Judges in the game in the fourth inning with two more runs - an RBI from each. Nash added a key insurance run in the sixth, the Judges first home run of the series; this was Nash’s seventh of the season, 12th of her career - she has the second most in the

UAA. Nash is now tied for 10th on the Judges’ all-time homer list. NYU tightened the Brandeis lead scoring two-runs in the sixth to make it 5-3. Cohen, though, came in to pitch in the fourth and got the next two outs on flies to left field; the Violets successfully put one more run on the board, but Cohen got the next batter on another fly to left, securing the series split. Cohen earned her second win of the series, throwing four innings of four-hit relief, giving up three runs (twoearned) with two strikeouts; she

improved to 11-4 on the season. Goldman tossed the first three innings, allowing two hits and one earned run, walking two and striking our two. Offensively, though, Anderson and Fujita led the Brandeis offense with three hits apiece; Fujita finished with two RBI, while Anderson scored two runs and had a stolen base. You can read about the Judge’s previous campaign on page 9. The Judges close out the regular season with a doubleheader against local rival Tufts University, on Wednesday April 27.


April 29, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

By Justin Leung editor

“I am finally here. We are not going to get pulled out because of COVID-19. We are not going to get pulled out because there’s a storm. It’s happening now, ” said fencer Maggie Shealy ’23. Shealy had worked hard for this moment. She had already made it to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Championships for fencing in her freshman year, but this was different. This time she actually got to compete. “She was fencing in the NCAA regional, and she didn’t really eat anything or drink anything. So, she ended up having a really bad cramp. Every time she scored, she screamed in pain, but she ended up winning the bout and qualified for Nationals. She proceeded to head straight to the hospital right after,” said fencer Lucas Lin ’22. After all of that though, Shealy would quickly learn that she would not be able to compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she knew that once the season started again, she would be back to get a chance to compete at Nationals. Shealy started her career as a fencer when she was very young. She recalled watching “Pirates of the Caribbean” when she was five and realized she wanted to do something with swords. When Shealy got the opportunity to observe a fencing demonstration, she saw saber fencing and stuck with it because she thought it was the coolest. At a young age, she started fencing saber at a local club before transitioning to various clubs as she got older and better. Eventually it became time to look at fencing in college.Some of the top fencers compete in World Cups and sometimes even the Olympics before they go fence in college. She was not a part of that pool. Shealy wasn’t even fencing at her high school considering they did not have a saber team. When it came to looking for colleges to fence for, she originally was thinking that she would just be a benchwarmer or walk-on. “I had always known Brandeis

By Natasha Girshin staff

The New York Rangers have not only clinched their first playoff spot in five years on Saturday night, but they also got their ticket to the Stanley Cup tournament with nine games left in the regular season. With a 5-1 win off the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers defied all odds. Behind Artemi Panarin’s three-point night, a two-goal push from Chris Kreider and a strong offensive showing from the top six players, the Rangers cruised to their third win in a row. Over that span, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 11-2. With a 3-0 shutout win with the Penguins, the Rangers were solidified at a number four spot in the league and second in the Metropolitan division. Injured players

had a very great program and it was run by a good coach … So, I reached out to Coach Jennie … She brought me on campus, and we did a little recruit tour. I got to see the campus and I got to talk to the teammates. I really liked the team and that’s what really got me,” said Shealy. Eventually she decided on Brandeis. After a mixed first year and a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shealy was getting ready for her biggest season yet. “I was missing competing with my team … I do a lot of individual competitions nationally outside of Brandeis and it’s just not the same. You don’t get the joy of turning around and yelling at your team when you win a point or when you win a really close match,” said Shealy. Her first competition back was at The Big One at Poughkeepsie, NY. The first competition is normally a way for the players to get into a competing mode, so Shealy was not completely focused on the results. However, she ended up winning the women’s saber competition. “It felt very rewarding, and it made me feel like I still got it,” said Shealy. The rest of the season had its

moments, however Shealy specifically recalls how great the win against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was. “It was a complete team effort, and everyone was yelling for everyone else. We were cheering and fencing our hardest,” said Shealy. Although Shealy liked to win, she also really liked to win as a team. Shealy believed that a lot of her success came off of the support of her teammates. As the season was closing, Shealy had one last chance to make a push for Nationals. She made it to the final round at the Northeast Regional championships but ultimately did not perform as well as she wanted in that round. “To have a very strong season and have it shadowed over by a not-so-great performance at Regionals. I personally felt like I deserved to go to Nationals. I deserved to represent my team and Brandeis deserved to go especially with how hard we were working this semester,” said Shealy. Even though she didn’t finish as well as she wanted in Regionals, her solid season combined with the Regionals finish got her a spot at Nationals. After almost three years, Shealy finally was going to get

to fence at Nationals. Teammate Tony Escueta ’25 also made it to Nationals and the two traveled together with the coaches to the University of Notre Dame. “Maggie is one of the most talented fencers I’ve ever met and in addition to that she plays the role of team captain and there is the weight of a lot of responsibility, and she sets a great example for everyone,” said Escueta. “I credit her for a significant amount of my competitive success due to her support and being a good teammate.”While there, Shealy was constantly thinking that this was a dream and that the experience was amazing overall. “It just kept replaying in my head over and over again, oh my god it’s happening,” said Shealy. The first day of competitions was particularly memorable because she dropped two bouts to start. She then proceeded to go 10-1 for the rest of the day. Shealy remembered looking back at the coaches and her teammate after each win and seeing their support made the day even better. “Being able to know that my coaches, my team and my school were very proud of me gives me that extra boost of serotonin to do better at the competition, ” said Shealy.

O n the second day, Shealy fought hard for each point even though she was behind. In the end she finished in eighth place overall in her first time at Nationals. This allowed her to finish second team All-American for saber. She felt like she earned her spot after how hard she practiced throughout the season and played during the competition. “I was really honored to stand on the podium with so many other amazing fencers. To be able to say, I can stand with them even though I don’t have the same international experience as them… As a collegiate fencer, I get to stand there with them and hold my trophy too,” said Shealy. Next year Shealy is set to be a captain for the first time. She has set individual goals including making first team All-American, but she also has set broader goals about the fencing team overall as she looks to maintain the hard-working community. Overall, she is excited for what the next season might bring as she continues to maintain one of her simplest philosophies. “I can’t predict the future. The goal is just to fence who is in front of me,” said Shealy.


coming out of injury reserve like Kaapo Kakko who missed nearly 40 games with a hip injury, came back just in time to see the Rangers clinch the playoff berth. Recent trades also solidified the Rangers playoff contention. Players like Frank Vatrano and Andrew Copp fit right in with the top six and developed instant chemistry with the team. Copp even scored a goal at the Senators game, making his contribution to the Rangers even more apparent. However, the majority of the praise must be placed on the Rangers’ spectacular goaltending throughout the season, done by Igor Shetserkin and Alexander Georgiev. The Russian and Bulgarian players both have 11 combined shutouts so far in the season, attesting to the greatness in Rangers goaltending. Shesterkin, beloved by the fans and the team, had spectacular

saves this season, demonstrating his potential for winning the Vezina Trophy, an achievement given to the best goaltender in the league, or possibly even the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL’s MVP (Most Valuable Player). The Rangers also reached the 100 point mark for the first time since 2016-17 and for the 11th time in team history. For all the opinions that surrounded the Rangers’ success this season under new leadership and coaching, the wins never stopped piling up. Now that they’re tied with the Hurricanes at the top of the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers are looking like the real deal. “I think everyone understood, you look at our roster, you’ve got some of the best players in the world, some young talent, a little bit of everything, probably the best goalie in the world, it’s time,” said Ryan Strome, whose goal in the second period made the score

4-1. “We took that first step. It’s a good feeling tonight. You don’t want to get too high, obviously, on this emotion. Especially the way the last few years have gone, it’s a good feeling tonight.” The Rangers broke through a 1-1 game in the second period with three goals, from Andrew Copp, Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome. But the burst of scores came after a big-time save from goalie Igor Shesterkin against the Senators’ top-line center Josh Norris, who was denied on a three on two breakaway. Copp then took a cross-ice pass from Artemi Panarin and picked the top corner on Ottawa goalie Anton Forsberg at the other end to give the Rangers their first leading score of the night at 2-1. “He always does things every single night that just make us roll our eyes on the bench,” Kreider, who scored his 48th goal in the second period and 49th in the third, said

of Panarin. “Stuff that no one else can do. I don’t think he’s any different than anyone else on our team. He understands that we were on the precipice of making the playoffs and he’s a big-game player to go along with all the things that he does so incredibly well.” Shesterkin ultimately saved 21 of the 22 shots he faced against the Senators to secure his 34th win of the season. The Rangers are safe from playoff elimination for the first time in four seasons and it can be expected that the Rangers will be set to finish the season atop the Metropolitan Division. As assistant captain, Chris Kreider said following the game, “At the end of the day, you want to make the playoffs and you want to accomplish that goal of winning the Stanley Cup,” Kreider said. “I think it’s made this group incredibly hungry and incredibly focused, this is just the first step.”


The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Niamh Kenney ’22: through work and nails to victory By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Although Niamh Kenney ’22 has been running since middle school, she was actually a soccer kid growing up. “I was always running in middle school… it was something I enjoyed,” Kenney told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. Being competitive as a kid also helped Kenney get to where she is today. “I never thought I would be running in college, I thought I was going to play soccer,” Kenney continued. Though she did track for all four years of highschool, which caused her to be recruited for track at Brandeis. “I was getting recruited for both soccer and track,” said Kenney. However she really loved the team environment in cross country in general. “With running in general your only judge is a stop watch… it is a you thing, nothing can be blamed on anyone else,” continued Kenney. “I knew stuff I could work on to get better as an athlete … With running there’s a lot of grit, you either have it or you don’t, [and] I dont have the mental block, I can push myself.” Teammate Juliette Intrieri ’23 added, “Niamh [Kenney] is one of the most devoted and toughest runners I know.” When Kenney came on the recruitment trip to Brandeis she found the coaches to be “so nice.” “People always say that you should be able to see yourself at the school that you are going to … and I could so see myself here,” said Kenney, “I felt very safe.” An additional benefit of Brandeis is that it is close to home for Kenney. On the team, Kenney hopes to make a positive impact and have her teammates look at her and see her as a positive role model. “I am an older sister in my family, so I hope they look up to me and can come to me with advice,” Kenney told The Hoot. “If they ever need anything they know I will be there for them,” she emphasized. In general, Kenney is a very positive person; Kenney has made her good humor known from the beginning. “I was scared of Niamh [Kenney] coming into freshman year because she sent everyone an email that said this is how you

pronounce my name, there will be a quiz,” teammate Erika Karin ’22 said. It is pronounced Knee-ev, by the way. “Ye” added Lizzy Reynolds ’24. Kenney is a distance runner; for Cross Country she runs the 5K and 6K, while for indoor Track she runs the 3K as well as anchoring the distance medley relay. During the outdoor Track season, she runs the 5K. But when it came to picking a favorite, Kenney was not sure; “I am long distance so I love it all,” though she did highlight relays as being particularly fun. Before her meets, Kenney likes to get up early to get everything set up, including ribbons she wears, which say “run with heart.” Kenney says that she, like most stereotypical runners, eats pasta, but she also cannot go without her coffee. Then right before meets, “I listen to my energy playlist which is full of hip hop and R&B.” A particular ritual for Kenney in particular is her nails: “I have to get my nails done.” The nails are a charm for the races she has, “if I run a bad race, I will not get the same color,” said Kenney. She even had a period of time where she had a set of nails on for around two months, since she was running so well and did not want to change them. “She always has very cool nails,” added Intrieri. Kenney’s Brandeis journey was full of growth. Her freshman year was a little tough in terms of settling in. The adjustment from high school was not as smooth as she had hoped, however as with any obstacle, Kenney pushed through it. “I was lucky enough to have two girls, Emily [Bryon ’19] and Julia [Bryson ’19] captains at the time, I really got close with them,” said Kenney. She continued to train with them during her career at Brandeis even past their graduation. “I am thankful I was a part of a team,” said Kenney, “it made it easy to adapt to routine.” The team went to the dinning hall together and studied together; “I loved every minute of it.” Routine was much needed for Kenney, being a psychology major on the pre-med track. Her sophomore year Kenney and the team went to nationals, where Kenney ran and hoped to

do the best she could. At NCAAs, Kenney placed 81st with a time of 22:25 in the 6K, while at the UAAs she finished 19th with a time of 22:57. Kenney described her junior year as quite disappointing, she said she did okay at the Regional competitions for Cross Country, however she did not qualify for nationals. However she was able to bounce back during the indoor Track season; she qualified for nationals for the 3K. However Kenney did not get to compete because the national championships were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the cancellation of the seasons, Kenney decided to take a gap year after her junior year. “It was a great decision but the hardest thing I had to do,” Kenney told The Hoot. She worked 40 to 50 hours a week while also training. The team was going to school and training together, while Kenney had to do it all by herself; “Running by yourself is hard… lucky I have a really great taste in music,” joked Kenney. Kenney went into her senior year with a goal in mind: she wanted to make nationals. “I ran very hard, was very dedicated… [going to] those 9:30 [a.m.] practices on Saturday and Sunday mornings.” The hard work she put in paid off. “Regionals were great, everyone was dressed up in blue and white stripes,” said Kenney. The team made it to nationals, and got to go to Kentucky as a team; “it was a surreal movement.” From the very beginning of the season Kenney knew that they were going to go. Going into the Indoor season, Kenney was disappointed since she got COVID-19, “I didn’t get enough workouts or run enough meets.” In general “when I get sick it sets me back,” Kenney explained, however Kenney continued to improve with every meet. The distance medley relay, consisting of Kenney, Natalie Hattan ’22, Liz Korn ’24 and Victoria Morrongiello ’23, performed particularly well, placing third at the UAAs with a time of 12:15.62. Right now, Kenney is looking forward to running the 5K in the outdoor season. “My focus is to do well, I’ve broken 18 [minutes] and am hoping to do that again.” However Kenney hasn’t run it

since 2019, so she has her work cut out for her. Kenney’s favorite part of being on a team is definitely the people on it. “Running is cool and fun but you will not be able to do those runs without the people pushing you along… Some days I don’t feel like running but when you come down to practice the people push you to be better.” The overall team environment and chemistry is so great according to Kenney, “we have great people.” “This team is everything and I am so thankful to Sinead [Evans], Nick [Athanasopoulos] and Luci [Ford], they do everything for us and they keep everyone sane… they are the best coaches I’ve ever had,” added Kenney. The people are also what Kenney will miss the most after graduation. “ I will miss the people so much. During my gap year I came to Brandeis because I missed the people so much. I am so grateful that I have them,” said Kenney. Of course, competing is something Kenney will miss too. “The most important thing too, I am going to miss Gosman… Interacting with people there,” added Kenney. After she graduates in May, Kenney is planning to travel before applying to nursing school in the fall; she’s hoping to get into an

accelerated program to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. In terms of running, Kenney is considering running marathons or joining a running club. When asked what advice she would give herself five years ago, Kenney emphasized how important it is to “enjoy every moment and be grateful for the little things,” such as the people you have around. “Don’t waste your energy on stuff that doesn’t matter in the long run.” She also added that her younger self was very focused on the future, so she wishes she was more present in the now. To first years on the team, Kenney suggests to “come in with a purpose, if you want something, go get it, don’t let anything stop you.” “If you really want something, in school, sports, or anything else, just put your best foot forward,” said Kenney. However, it is also important to take the time to enjoy the little things in life, and remember that “Any L that we take, it’s not an L it’s a lesson,” added Kenney. Overall, Kenney is extremely grateful for couches, family and friends, who have helped her throughout college and life in general. “I don’t think I’d be where I am without any of them or doing the things I want,” she concluded.


Baseball plays close matches By Jesse Lieberman staff

Since Brandeis left-fielder Sam Nugent ’23 arrived on campus his first year, he has made an immediate impact. Playing in every game since 2020, Nugent has a career 0.294 batting average and a whopping 0.419 on-base percentage resulting from his superior plate discipline and ability to foul off tough pitches. Nugent has been an excellent defender and is a terror on the basepaths, with 15 career stolen bases. However, the one thing Nugent lacked in his career was a home run. That changed Wednesday, when Nugent drilled a pitch from Patrick Cashin of Bridgewater St. that hit the scoreboard above the left-center field fence. Nugent did it again in the second, hitting another homer to left-center. Nugent’s monster night was part of another strong offensive showing for

Brandeis, who defeated Bridgewater St. 18-6. Since April 8, the Judges have gone 7-7. Twelve of those games were against University Athletic Association (UAA) opponents. The Judges now sit at 17-12 and fourth in the UAA at 6-10. Brandeis welcomed New York University (NYU) for a fourgame series from April 8 through April 10. The Violets scored four times in the first inning on April 8, setting the tone for the series. Brandeis responded with five runs, capped by a two-run homer from graduate student Victor Oppenheimer. Brandeis held a 12-6 lead going into the seventh, but the Violets scored seven unanswered runs in the final three innings and took game 1 of the series 13-12. Brandeis won the second game of the series, which featured two separate rain delays, on April 9 in walk-off fashion 6-5. The teams split the doubleheader on April 10, with NYU win-

ning 17-3 in the first game, and Brandeis winning 8-6 to close out the series. Brandeis defeated Lasell 20-6 on April 13, in the battle for Stein Diamond (Lasell also plays its home games at Stein Diamond). Brandeis scored four times in each of the first two innings and never looked back. Graduate students Mike Khoury (GRAD), Dan Frey (GRAD) and Steven Simon ’23 all homered. Brandeis muscled 19 hits and junior Reid Latham pitched 1.2 scoreless innings to pick up his first collegiate win. The strong showing against Lasell carried into the weekend when Brandeis hosted Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) for a four-game series. Brandeis took the opener, winning 11-6 on April 15. WashU took game 1 of the doubleheader on April 16, 18-8. In the nightcap, Brandeis scored four runs in the bottom of the month to defeat the

Bears 7-6. With a 10-4 win in the series finale on April 17, Brandeis won a season series against WashU for the first time in school history. The following weekend, Brandeis concluded its UAA season with a trip to Atlanta to take on the Emory Eagles. Despite each game being close, Brandeis dropped all four games. Brandeis lost 12-11 on April 22, fell 2-1 and 13-9 on April 23, and dropped the series finale on April 24, 19-10. The Judges happily returned home and knocked off Bridgewater St. in seven innings on Wednesday. Brandeis scored 11 runs in the first two innings and 17 runs in the first four. In addition to Nugent, graduate student Luke Hall also homered. Junior Brian King went 5-for-5 with four runs batted in. Brandeis totaled 18 hits and graduate student Brandon Musto struck out three across three innings to pick up his second win of the season.

With his career night, Nugent, who has been elevated to the leadoff spot in the Brandeis lineup from the nine spot, increased his batting average to 0.311. Nugent is part of a prolific offense, which averages over eight runs per game. Khoury, who leads the team with 11 home runs this season, is just two shy of tying the Brandeis record of 31 for a career. Graduate student Dan Frey is hitting 0.402 and leads the team with 13 steals. Of Frey’s 47 hits, 23 of them have been for extra bases. Hall is second on the team in homers with eight. The Judges will face Tufts on Friday, April 29, at Stein Diamond at 3 p.m. Brandeis will host Suffolk on Sunday, May 1, for a doubleheader, with game one starting at noon.

April 29, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Softball continues their season By Justin Leung and Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

As the season began to close, the Brandeis women’s softball team looked to take advantage of a recent three game win streak as they headed into a big away series against Carnegie Mellon University. The first of the four game series started out relatively quiet. In the first two innings, the teams had a few runners on base but nobody scored. Then in the third inning, the Brandeis offense exploded. Senior second baseman Marley Felder ’22 led off the inning with a walk. She later scored on a single by sophomore pitcher Alex Cohen ’24. Sophomore third baseman Haley Nash ’24 immediately followed with a two-run home run to right center field. Shortstop Jolie Fujita (GRAD) later scored in the inning on a single by junior first baseman Jamie Pippin ’23. Senior left fielder Amidori Anderson ’22 also came home to score in the inning on a wild pitch to give the Judges a 5-0 lead. Carnegie Mellon would score two runs in the game, but the big fifth inning from Brandeis was too much to overcome. Felder had three hits and one run batted in (RBI) in the game. Nash, Cohen and Anderson all had two hits, while Nash also had two RBIs. Brandeis had 11 hits in the game compared to Carnegie Mellon’s three. Cohen pitched all seven innings of the game while allowing just three hits and two runs, while striking out five. The final score of game one was 7-2 in favor of Brandeis. Shortly after their first game against Carnegie Mellon, the two teams faced off again. The Judges went down early after giving up a run in the second inning. However, Anderson tied the game up with a solo home run to left center field. The two teams were tied heading into the fifth inning where Brandeis once again had an offensive explosion to propel them forward. Felder led off the inning with a double to left center field. Cohen later followed with an RBI single to score Felder. Center fielder Melissa Rothenberg (GRAD) and Anderson both also had RBI singles in the inning. Following a sacrifice fly by Felder, Fujita put the game out of reach with a three-run home run to center field. Anderson was perfect on the day with two hits in two at bats. Rothenberg and Anderson both had two RBIs in

the game. Overall, the team had eight hits compared to Carnegie Mellon’s three. The pitching was once again phenomenal as sophomore pitcher Rebecca Guerci ’24 pitched all five innings while allowing just three hits and one run. She also struck out six batters and walked just two. The next day Carnegie Mellon started out with the advantage in game three. Brandeis gave up a quick run in the bottom of the first inning. Carnegie Mellon later scored two more runs in the fourth inning, which built a deficit that Brandeis ultimately could not come back from. The Judges got on the board in the fifth inning after back to back doubles from Felder and Fujita. However, this was the only run they would score in the game. Carnegie Mellon immediately responded to the short rally from Brandeis with another two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Felder, Fujita, Cohen and Anderson all had a hit in the game to lead the team in hits. These four hits were the only hits in the game for Brandeis, as they were out four to seven. Cohen pitched four innings and allowed six hits and five runs. She only walked one and struck out two batters. After five consecutive wins, the softball team finally lost with a score of 1-5. Looking for a bounceback game, the Judges got their chance shortly after their loss. This game was all about offense. Carnegie Mellon started the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. However, Brandeis quickly answered in the top of the third inning. After Felder led off the inning with a walk, Fujita hit a two-run home run to left field to start the scoring for Brandeis. Cohen as the catcher followed with a single. Nash and Rothenberg proceeded to walk to make the bases loaded. Freshman first baseman Fiona Doiron ’25 came in clutch with a two run double to give Brandeis a 4-3 lead. However, Carnegie Mellon did not seem phased at all as they quickly tied the game up in the bottom of the third inning. The Brandeis offense did not quit. Felder once again got on base to lead off the inning. Nash then followed with a tworun home run to give the Judges the lead again. In the top of the fifth inning, Brandeis continued to pour on the runs as both Felder and Cohen had RBI doubles in the inning. Going into the bottom of the fifth inning, Brandeis was winning 10-4. It seemed like the game may finally be out of reach

for Carnegie Mellon, however they were relentless and scored five runs in the inning to cut their deficit to one. The Judges added on two big insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning with a double from junior right fielder Lily Medici ’23 and a RBI single from Fujita. Although Carnegie Mellon scored one more run in the sixth inning, they could not complete the comeback. Fujita and Felder led the team in hits with three each. Fujita had three RBIs in the game as well as two runs. Cohen, Nash and Doiron all had two RBIs in the game. In this absolute slugfest, Brandeis outhit Carnegie Mellon 13-9. Senior pitcher Sydney Goldman ’22 pitched four innings and allowed six hits and six runs while striking out three. Guerci followed by pitching three innings and allowing four runs to get the save. In an absolutely crazy offensive game, the final score was 12-10 in favor of Brandeis. The softball team then traveled home to start their second to last home stand of the season. They first faced Wellesley College on April 13. After a clean first inning from both teams, the Judges got on the board in the second inning with some small ball. Nash led off the inning with a hit by pitch before stealing second base and advancing to third on a groundout from Anderson. Rothenberg then hit a sacrifice fly to give Brandeis their first run of the game without a single hit. Freshman Anna Kolb ’25 then walked and also stole second base. Doiron then hit an RBI single for the game’s first hit. The Judges added another run in the bottom of the third inning after Fujita tripled and was driven home on a Cohen RBI single. In the fifth inning, Wellesley got their first of the game but Cohen struck out the next batter to end the inning. Brandeis on the other hand got the offense going again in the fifth inning. Fujita hit a solo home run. Cohen and Nash then proceeded to hit back to back singles. Anderson then drove everyone home with a three-run home run. Wellesley scored one run in the top of the sixth inning but it wasn’t even close to enough. Fujita, Cohen and Anderson all led the team in hits with two. Anderson also had three RBIs in the game. Although Brandeis outhit Wellesley just nine to four, Brandeis took advantage of their base runners as they left only three runners on base throughout the game. Cohen pitched an absolute gem. She pitched all seven innings while allowing just four


hits and one run, which was unearned. She also struck out three batters and walked only one. After phenomenal pitching and timely hitting, the Judges got a big 7-1 win against Wellesley. Following their first win against Wellesley, the Judges went on to win their second game against them as well, this time not allowing a single scored run. Chandra Penton ’23 pitched six of the seven innings in the second game, during which she only walked one player, struck out three and allowed only three hits. This marks Penton’s fourth win of the season; of the 77 pitches, 59 were strikes. Goldman pitched the final inning of the game, pitching 19, 11 of which were strikes. She only allowed one hit and only walked one player. The Judges had nine hits in the game, while scoring four runs. They opened the score in the second inning, and then solidified their lead in the third, when they scored two more runs. Their final run of the day was earned in the fifth inning, which would be the last run of the game for either team. The large scorer in the game was Nash, who scored two runs. Cohen and Anderson searned one run each. Pippin and Anderson had two hits, while Fujita, Rothenberg and Felder had one each. Following their successful campaign against Wellesley, the Judges continued their University Athletic Association (UAA) campaign with four games against Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), on Friday April 15, Saturday April 16 and Sunday April 17. On Friday, The Judges dropped to CWRU, 2-1; the score was opened only in the fourth inning, when CWRU earned a run. Neither team would score again until the seventh inning, in which both teams earned a run. Cohen pitched the game, where she threw 66 strikes out of 88 pitches. She did not walk a single player, and only allowed four hits during the entire game. On the offensive side, the Judges were able to get five hits. Anna Kolb ’25 was the only Judge who was able to score a run in the game, which came in the seventh inning. Fujita and Rothenberg were able to reach second base with their hits, however were struck out before they were able to advance further. Boyer and Felder both got hits, but were unable to get to a base. Despite scoring two runs, CWRU was only able to get four hits. The Judge’s second and third games against CWRU took place on Saturday, April 16. In the first game of the day, the Judges dropped to CWRU, 3-2. CWRU opened the score in the second inning, during which they earned

two runs; they then proceeded to score their final run of the game in the third inning. The Judges scored both of their runs in the sixth inning. Guerci pitched all seven innings of the game, where she only walked one and struck out one player, allowing four hits which resulted in three earned runs. She pitched 110 balls, 68 of which were strikes. On the offensive side, the Judges had six hits, one each from Fujita, Felder, Cohen, Nash, Kolb and Pippin. Fujita was the only Judge to get a double in the game. The two earned runs of the game came from Cohen and Pippin. The Brandeis came back from their losses with a win in their third game against CWRU, with a score of 4-2. CWRU were the ones to once again open the score in the second inning, where they earned a run; the Judges however came back with two earned runs in the fourth inning. The game got to its intense point in the sixth inning, where CWRU earned another run, tying the game. The Judges clapped back earning an additional two runs in the inning, closing out the scoring. Penton came back to pitch six innings of the game, earning her fifth win of the season; she threw 81 balls, 55 of which were strikes. She walked one player, struck out three, and only allowed four hits. Cohen came in in the seventh inning, pitching 13 strikes out of 17 balls, striking out one player. Rothenberg scored two runs in the game, while Anderson and Kolb earned one run each. Fujita, Cohen and Fiona Doiron ’23 got one hit each, while Boyer got two. In their final game against CWRU, played on April 17, the Judges honored their graduating seniors. Fujita, Alyssa Renskers ’22, Felder, Fultz, Anderson, Goldman and Rothenberg leave behind a legacy of 69 wins during their time at Brandeis. Unfortunately, senior day did not end in a win for the Judges as they fell to CWRU 7-0. Goldman pitched the first 3.1 innings game for the Judges, throwing 74 balls of which 40 were strikes. She struck out four, allowed four hits, and walked two. Cohen came in to pitch the next three innings, during which she also pitched 40 strike balls, out of 59. She allowed four hits, and struck out five. Madeline Gorey ’25 pitched the remainder of the last inning. Offensively, Cohen was the only Brandeis player who was able to get a hit. This puts the Judges at 20-14 on the season, and 6-10 in the UAA. You can read about the Judge’s campaign against NYU on page 6.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Tennis closes out the season By Justin Leung editor

As the season closed, the men’s and women’s tennis teams played a few games before heading to Florida for the University Athletic Association (UAA) championships. After a season full of ups and downs, the two teams looked to close out the season on a high note. The men’s team headed into this stretch with a record of 9-3, while the women’s team had a record of 3-9. On April 9, the women’s team faced off against Skidmore College at home to start this final stretch. Freshmen Bhakti Parwani ’25 and Sabrina Loui ’25 started the day with 8-4 doubles win for Brandeis. Parwani and Loui also had singles wins later that day. Loui won her first set during her singles match 7-6, and barely lost her second one 4-6. In the third and final set, she secured the match win with a 6-3 set win. Parwani won in two sets with a 7-6 set win and a 6-2 set win. Sophomore Jiayi Zhang ’24 additionally had singles win with a 6-4 set win, but ultimately this was not enough as Skidmore ended up winning 6-5. The next day, the men’s team had an away game against the nearby Babson college. They were behind after the doubles portion as Jeffrey Chen ’22 and Simon Kauppila ’23 had the only doubles win for the day. It was a close match but Chen and Kauppila ultimately got the win 8-4. However, the Judges made a comeback during the singles competition as they won four out of six of the matches. Dylan Walters ’24, Kauppila, Aaron Basye ’24 and Chen Liang ’24 all had singles wins for the day. Walters had a first tough set as he won just 7-5, however he won his second set by a large margin of 6-1. Kauppila lost his first set 5-7, but quickly bounced back with a 6-2 set win. In the match deciding set, Kauppila won in dominant fashion 6-0. Bayse similarly lost the first set 2-6. He also had a strong turn around with back-to-back 6-2 set wins to give him the match victory. Liang got his win in two sets, 6-4 and 6-2. This gave Brandeis a 5-4 victory against Babson. On the same day, the women’s team finished their short homestand against Franklin Pierce University. Parwani and Loui

once again started the day with an 8-5 doubles win. Celia Denis ’25 and Nikita Salkar ’24 also had a very strong 8-2 doubles victory. In the singles matches, Parwani and Loui started with two wins before Anastasia Sia ’25 sealed the team victory with a singles win of her own. Sia narrowly won the first set 7-5 and continued the battle to a 6-4 victory in the second set. The women’s team snapped a sixgame losing streak that started on March 13. They looked to maintain that momentum into their last game before the UAA championships. Both teams then faced Wesleyan University on April 15. The men’s team led after doubles when Walters and Hunter Levine ’23 won their match 8-6 and were followed by an 8-2 win by Colt Tegtmeier ’22 and Aryan Nijhawan ’25. However, the team did not continue that early success in the singles portion as only Liang and Basye won their singles matches. Liang won the first set 6-0 and followed it up with a similarly dominant 6-2 second set victory. Bayse won his first set 6-4 and his second set 6-1. Ultimately, the men’s team fell to Wesleyan 4-5. The women’s team headed into the singles portion behind 0-3. Loui and Parwani did have a very competitive match against one of the top ranked doubles partners in the region. However, ultimately the two fell with a score of 5-8. Parwani proceeded to have a big upset against one of the top players in the Northeast. She lost the first set 5-7 but made a tremendous bounce back with a 6-0 win in the second set. Then in the tiebreaker set, Parwani completed the upset with a 10-4 set victory. However, this would be the lone point for the team. The Judges played multiple close matches, including Zhang’s 4-6 and 3-6 set defeats. Ana Hatfield ’22 had a similar finish as she also played two close sets ending in 4-6 and 3-6 defeats. Parwani scored the only point for the team as the Judges fell 1-8 in their last game before the UAA championships. On the very next day, the men’s team faced Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for Senior Day. Levine and Walters once again won their doubles match at the beginning of the day; however, the Judges lost the other two doubles matches. Their doubles win was a close match as Levine and Walters


scraped out an 8-6 victory to get the Judges on the board for the day. The team started a comeback late with singles match wins from Walters, Kauppila and Liang, but this was not enough. Walters’ singles match saw him narrowly win the first set 7-5, before competing hard to win the second set 7-5 as well. Kauppila played a close first set, which ended with a score of 7-6, before ending the match with a 6-2 set win. Liang won two consecutive sets both with a score of 6-4. However, Brandeis ended up falling to RPI 4-5 in their final game before the UAA championships. In the first match of the UAA tournament, the men’s team faced Washington University in St. Louis (WashU). Walters and Levine got the Judges on the board with an 8-5 victory in doubles. This in the end would be the only point for the Judges against WashU. Chen and Tegtmeier both played close matches that had 6-2 and 6-4 set losses. Liang had a 6-3 set victory, but the match was stopped due to the overall game already decided. Adam Tzeng ’22 also was tied 6-6 in a set before the match was stopped. The final score was 5-1 to give WashU the win. The women’s team faced Emory University in the quarterfinals of the UAA tournament the very next day. Brandeis fell behind quickly as they lost all three doubles matches. Out of the six singles matches, only two were completed before a winner was declared. Loui and Zhang lost in two sets to give Emory the victo-


ry. Before the other matches were stopped, Sia was ahead after she won the first set 6-0. Parwani was also leading after a 6-1 win in her first set. Both players were also leading in the second set before they were stopped. Ultimately, the Judges lost to Emory 0-5. On April 23, the men’s team played in the UAA consolation semifinals of the UAA tournament against Rochester University. The day started out extremely well for the Judges as they won all three doubles matches. Chen and Tzeng won their doubles match 8-2. Nijhawan and Tegtmeier also secured a doubles victory 8-2. Walters and Levine continued their doubles success with an 8-3 win. There were six singles matches, but only two were completed. Chen won his match with 6-1 and 6-2 set wins. Liang faced little resistance as he won his sets 6-1 and 6-0. Before the matches were stopped, Tegtmeier, Tzeng and Kauppila all were leading after winning one set. Tegtmeier won his first set 6-1. Tzeng’s lead came from a 6-4 first set win. Kauppila also won his first set 6-4. All three of them also were leading their second sets before they were stopped. The final score of the game was 5-0 in favor of Brandeis. The following day, the women’s team faced New York University (NYU) in the UAA consolation semifinals of the UAA tournament. Brandeis faced NYU earlier in the season and lost 4-5; similar to their last matchup, the Judges took two of the doubles matches to start the day. Parwani and Loui won their match 8-4, while Denis and Salkar won 8-1. Loui, Sia and Zhang secured the win for Brandeis in the singles matches with two set victories. Loui won her sets with scores of 6-0 and 6-2. Sia only surrendered one point on her way to victory as the score of her sets were 6-1 and 6-0. Zhang ended both of her sets with a score of 6-2. Parwani, Hatfield and Salkar were leading their matches before they were stopped. In the revenge match, Brandeis came out on top with a dominant 5-1 victory. In their final game of the season, the men’s team faced Carnegie Mellon University for the fifth-place match of the UAA tournament. The day started off well for Brandeis, as they won two of the three doubles matches. Chen and Tzeng won their match 8-5, while Tegtmeier and Nijhawan combined for an 8-5 win. Tzeng continued his solid day with two 6-2 set victories to add another point for Brandeis. Chen also won his match in two sets with a score of 6-4 and 6-3. Tegtmeier added a point after winning his match in three

sets. He won his first set 7-5 but lost the second set 4-6. However, in the tiebreaker set, Tegtmeier won 5-3. To clinch the victory for Brandeis, Walters won his singles match after losing the first set. After he narrowly lost the first set 4-6, he turned the match around and won the final two sets with scores 6-2 and 6-3. In the final game of the regular season, the men’s tennis team won 6-3. The women’s team played WashU for their fifth-place match of the UAA tournament on the next day. Brandeis was behind early after Parwani and Loui were the only doubles winners. They won their doubles match 8-7. Parwani won her singles match in dominant fashion as she won the first set 6-3 and second set 6-0. The only other point for Brandeis came from a singles match win from Loui. She won her match in two sets with a score of 6-2. Sia was in a tight match after she won the first set 6-2 and lost the second set. However, the match was stopped before a final score could be given. Brandeis ended the UAA tournament with a 3-6 loss against WashU. They will play one game on May 1 against Endicott College to end their season. This final home game will also be the Senior Day for the women’s tennis team. The men’s tennis team finished their regular season with a 12-6 record. They were 1-0 in conference games. The team was especially good in-home games as they were 7-2 when playing games at home. Walters led the team in singles wins with 12. He was followed by Colin Fox ’25 and Chen who both had 11 wins. The team was overall 73-51 in singles matches for the regular season. In the UAA games specifically, they were 6-3. Brandeis was especially good in doubles matches this season as they had an overall record of 5022. In the UAA games, they were 6-3 in doubles matches. Chen and Tzeng when playing together led the team in doubles wins with 19. Walters in his combined doubles matches had 15 total wins and Tegtmeier followed just behind him with 14. While the regular season is over, they may have a chance to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. If their season ends with their match against Carnegie Mellon, the men’s tennis team continued to show overall regular season success when compared to their last full season.


April 29, 2022

“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 Photos Editor Grace Zhou Editors-at-Large Abdel Achibat Thomas Pickering Madeline Rousell

Volume 20 • Issue 10 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Sam Finbury, Sarah Kim, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Abigail Roberts, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, and Alex Williams

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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The Brandeis Hoot 11

There's a lot going on right now

t’s the last full week of classes at Brandeis, so fittingly, it’s the busiest week of the entire year. It feels like every organization on campus is choosing to insert themselves into students’ lives at the exact same time. Upperclassmen have their housing selection this week. Many housing options were taken by rising sophomores, so upperclassmen only have Village, Ziv, Mods, Grad and Ridgewood to select from. If they aren’t lucky enough to get on-campus housing, they then have to worry about making arrangements to live off campus. Asking Brandeis students to deal with housing selection while the year is coming to its end is unreasonable. Students already have enough on their plates, the university’s administration has shown their lack of empathy for students in these trying times. The class registration process has also been in progress over the past few days. Students are not only forced to navigate the hellhole that is Workday, but also think in-depth about the courses they’ll be taking next semester. This requires a lot of meticulous planning and can be very time-consuming, which is incredibly frustrating for many students right now. This process should happen during the summer, when stu-

dents have less on their plates and can focus more clearly on selecting their classes. Next week is a two day school week, followed by “study days” on May 4 and May 5. But this is no usual school week. Brandeis’ administration has also decided to host a “Brandeis Friday” next Tuesday. This means that on Tuesday, Brandeis will follow a Friday schedule. This is meant to equalize the number of times that each class is held each semester, but it just adds unnecessary confusion to Brandeisian’s lives. If the university’s administration insists on hosting idiosyncratic “Brandeis days,” they should schedule them for less tumultuous times of the year. Also on Tuesday is the Research Symposium. Taking place from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Hassenfeld Conference Center, “this event will showcase the research and creative work of more than 100 undergraduate students across all disciplines in the School of Arts and Sciences,” according to an April 25 email from Dean Dorothy Hodgson. On the same day, according to the same email, seniors will be presenting their theses research. As all of this is going on, so is the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts. Brandeis is hosting events all weekend to honor the arts in our community. Many of these events

feature talks from prominent panelists or shows from campus groups. These events could potentially provide relief from a chaotic period, but also potentially add to the chaos. What doesn’t help is that unlike in most schools, we do not get a large amount of time between the time when classes end and finals begin. Most schools, such as Yale and Harvard, give their students a week to catch up on work and study for finals, but that is just too considerate towards the students. Instead, we get one or two days to study, which is also when most events happen on campus. This semester we are extra lucky to get two whole days to study for finals, which is just so generous. Although there is only one day of finals next week, it does not make it any better for the people who have finals on Friday. Brandeis’ administration has chosen to unleash an unending deluge of events and obligations upon the students, and it couldn’t be happening at a worse time. Finals start next week, on May 6, which means students need to start prepping now. Having to deal with all of these other events—housing, class selection, the strangeness of next week’s schedule—are unnecessary burdens to an already stressful time.

12 The Brandeis Hoot


April 29, 2022

Interviews with Brandeis University’s academic leadership: the East Asian Studies program By Cooper Gottfried editor

The chair of Brandeis University’s East Asian Studies program, Professor Xing Hang, sat down for an interview with The Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the East Asian Studies program, its future and himself. This interview is part of a series of interviews with the chairs of a plethora of different academic departmentsandprogramsatBrandeis. Why did you choose to come to Brandeis? I interviewed for many positions and ultimately I just felt that Brandeis was a really good choice because of the connection between different departments. I think that the programs are great arenas where different departments can interact with one another. For students, you can have majors and minors in these programs. For faculty, people from different disciplines and specialties get together to exchange ideas and work together to design a curriculum for undergraduates. The interchange and interdisciplinary nature of Brandeis [is what drew me here]. How does the East Asian Studies program’s integration into the GRALL (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature) department help the program? I’m not really familiar with how GRALL works, but I think that all of us agree that it’s a very strange creature. It essentially lumps together all of the non-Romance languages, … and puts them under an umbrella program. By talking to faculty in GRALL, [I can tell that] they have a very collegial relationship with one another. There’s a lot of other things that tie faculty together besides teaching languages, because many of them also have a comparative literature background. Someone who does Russian or German literature, for instance, mixes with a specialist in Chinese literature and that can allow for some

very meaningful interactions. What do you think that the East Asian Studies program does right? I think East Asian Studies allows for transnational kinds of interactions to occur, in that students get exposed to [more than] one part of east Asia. You can specialize in China or Japan or Korea, but you’re also able to take courses that give you an overview of [the others]. I feel that it’s just a one-stop shop for all of these things. What’s interesting is that even the students who come from East Asia and major in East Asian Studies, they don’t usually specialize in the place that they came from. For instance, you might have an international student from China very interested in Japanese and Korean history, or you might have Korean-Americans learning Chinese. I think that East Asian Studies allows for these kinds of interactions, and it’s also possible to pick up more than one language [in the program]. I also know some ambitious people in East Asian Studies who try to learn all three languages (Chinese, Japanese and Korean). Is there anything that you think the East Asian Studies program could do better? I think our key problem is a shortage of faculty. We have a committed group of people … from economics, from politics and from art history. A lot of the disciplines are well represented, but one of the issues that was raised by East Asian Studies majors is that the courses are a little bit too skewed towards China and Japan. There’s been a lot of effort to get Korea integrated [more often]. We’re also trying to find more full-time faculty who can teach Japanese and Korean history. That’s one of the shortcomings of programs, because programs cannot do faculty searches. We [as programs] cannot hire faculty that reside in our departments, [and] … our departments have other priorities. That’s a structural issue that’s very hard to overcome. Do students who are studying


one nation take classes that focus on a different nation while studying in the department? That’s the charm of this program! You don’t need to take … courses [on one language or culture], you can take any course that you want from the East Asian studies curriculum. And, if there are courses that are offered outside of the approved East Asian Studies courses, you can petition to have them count towards your major [or minor]. What is your favorite class to teach? I think one of my favorite courses has to do with East Asian pirates because it straddles the frontiers of so many different things. They’re on the margins of academic disciplines, they’re on the margins of society and they’re also on the margins of East Asia. Yet, they play a big role in the formation of East Asian civilization and how countries in the region interact with each other. Plus, we do a lot of role playing games in the class for an extra bit of fun. What initially drew you to fo-

cus on Chinese maritime history? I think it’s because of the fluidity of it. … The maritime regions of East Asia have had a very turbulent history. It’s a conduit for trade and it’s also very ethnically diverse. Communities of people from all around the world are trading and warring in these spaces. It makes research challenging because you have to deal with so many different sources in different languages from different peoples. Piecing them together into a narrative has been very, very fun. What is the focus of your current research? Currently I’m studying an 18th century overseas Chinese community on the Vietnam-Cambodia border. They did a lot of trade with China, with Japan, with the Dutch East India Company and with the English. … I initially thought [that documentation on this community may be lacking], but what I’m facing now is an inundation of documents from many different sources. The other problem is I need to focus more clearly on what I write about because

otherwise I’m gonna lose control [of the narrative thread]. It’s a good problem to have, compared to having no documentation and not knowing what to write, but having too much to write about creates headaches of its own. How has your Bachelor of Business Administration degree helped you in your career? I never intended to become a historian initially. When I went to college, I wanted to do a very classical track: get a finance degree and go out into the business world. Sometime during my third year of college, I became really interested in history and I decided I wanted to take more history classes and write a thesis. Eventually, I went all in with a PhD and went into academia. Can I say that [my business] degree has no use? Not at all, actually. What I have learned through that business program I’ve applied in my own research, mostly in terms of economic history. [It has helped me with] figuring out trading values, profit margins, … those kinds of things. So it has definitely impacted me and will continue to do so.

Brandeis hosts second annual Craft Market By Emma Lichtenstein editor

The third-ever Brandeis Craft Market took place this week! On April 26 and 27, student artists got the opportunity to showcase their work to the community. Tables covering Fellows Garden were full of handmade goods, everything from earrings to paintings to homemade macarons, available for purchase. “I was so excited to participate in the craft market. In-person markets like these are so much more fun than selling things online because you get to talk to people and meet other crafters,” said Hunter Kessous ’22 in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. As a crocheter, she had a booth available for people to purchase a wide variety of goods: scrunchies, headscarves, bucket hats, tops and bralettes. She explained that she learned to crochet as a kid, while

she and her mother watched her siblings play soccer. She’s very excited to have the chance to share her passion and craft with the rest of the community. Also selling was Bintou Baysmore ’25. “I realized art is what I love doing, and I want to do it for the rest of my life,” she told The Hoot. “I want it to be my lifestyle, not just a hobby.” At the market earlier this week, she sold prints and stickers. The stickers had cheeky messages on them, like “stressed but blessed” and “can’t spell college without a few Ls.” She said she was “excited to participate in the craft fair because I always love sharing my work with people, and the craft fair was a perfect time for me to get used to selling my artwork.” Aisha Waggeh ’22 was a particularly unique vendor. She sold cake slices and macarons, the French kind, of various flavors. “I started baking about four years ago but took it seriously starting in 2019 when we all got sent home due to COVID-19. I started making

macarons first and to say the first baked was a failure is an understatement,” she wrote to The Hoot. “However, I kept coming back because baking was an outlet for self expression, and I started exploring different recipes and changing them to what works for me.” She explained that she particularly enjoyed selling the macarons, as people tend to confuse them with Jewish macaroons, a coconut

cookie typically enjoyed during Passover. “I was excited to participate in the craft market because it allowed me to share my baked goods with more people and the Brandeis Community at large. Spreading joy through baked goods is immensely powerful!” The craft market started during last year’s Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. Since then, an independent craft mar-

ket took place in the winter, as well as this one for the 2022 Festival of the Arts. Kessous said, “Outside of Brandeis, there really won’t be an opportunity to participate in a market like this at no cost. Based on the size of the event, it can cost anywhere from $30 to $250 to participate in a craft market off campus. Do the Brandeis one while you can!”


April 29, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 13

The Brandeis Hoot

An interview with the Kiwibot team By Harry Zhu special to the hoot

There are probably few things that feel as utopian as finding yourself sharing a sidewalk with a robot, especially one that carries your lunch orders. Since last month, Kiwibots have presented themselves as Brandeis’s introduction to such reality: Kiwibots, with their slick, blocky designs, bright orange flags and expressive faces that make winks or heart eyes at passerby, have been parading from North Quad all the way down to Rosenthal Quad and beyond. The future, it seems, is now. The Brandeis Hoot did an interview with members of Kiwi Campus, the company behind Kiwibots, over zoom. They told The Hoot that Kiwibots’ missions have always been to serve communities and to “make delivery by technology accessible.” And the team has been amazed by Brandeis’ response to robot delivery: 50 Kiwibot orders were placed on the first day and the Kiwi team told The Hoot that the number of deliveries in the first week broke the company’s internal record. Brandeis is far from Kiwi’s first rodeo. A Colombian food delivery startup co-founded by Felipe Chávez Cortés and Sergio Pachón, Kiwi started out with human couriers. It then switched to robot delivery when it expanded to the U.S. in 2016, partnering with colleges in California such UC Berkeley. Now, Kiwibots operate across 15 college campuses and have completed two hundred thousand deliveries in total. Last

year, Kiwi announced a partnership with Sodexo, the hospitality company behind Brandeis’ dining services and the Bite app. Michael Reilly, Sodexo’s resident district manager at Brandeis, remarked that Bite, launched at Brandeis in fall 2020, allows for efficient, mobile ordering and helps with enforcing social distancing given the pandemic, and Kiwibots help further this goal. Sodexo has seen the success of Starship Technologies, another robot delivery service, at universities like Bridgewater State. Brandeis is actually the first school in New England who welcomed Kiwibots onto its campus, Reilly said. Why college campuses? The Kiwi team cited the high concentration of businesses and demands around school campuses as well as colleges’ willingness to experiment with robot delivery. The team mentioned that Chávez, the company CEO, regards solving students’ needs as a way of furthering his goal of “serving communities”. And Kiwi does so by offering low budget delivery. The team walked me through the process of ordering a Kiwibot delivery: open the Bite app, select “Order” from the bottom menu, click “Kiwibot Delivery,” and you will see a list of dining options which include classic dining choices like Einstein as well as virtual dining like Buddy V’s Cake Slice and MrBeast Burger. Then, you select from a list of 20 drop-off locations on campus, all of which are dorms, pick a delivery time and choose a payment method. Once an order is placed, you will receive a text message


with a link that keeps track of the delivery’s location. After restaurant handlers load the orders into Kiwibots, Kiwibots will start navigating to its destination using a pre-built map of the entire Brandeis campus. Once the Kiwibot has arrived at its destination, you will receive another text message with a prompt to open up the robot and retrieve your order. Lizzy Joo ’22, shared with me her first Kiwibot delivery experience: she initially had trouble with the tracking link she received so she checked Bite instead to see whether the order had arrived. Joo placed her order at 4:50 p.m. and she didn’t get it until 5:40 p.m.. Despite that, Joo remarked that she would use Kiwibots again and believes Kiwibot delivery to be a convenient choice, especially for people in quarantine. Currently, there are 15 Kiwibots on the Brandeis campus and only seven of them are operating on a daily basis. And the team will deploy more Kiwibots as the demand

grows. Kiwibots are eco-friendly, producing zero carbon emission, using batteries as their power source. Kiwibot 4.1, the newest iteration of the robots which currently operate in Brandeis, stay on campus overnight. They can operate for eight hours after three hours of charging. With the presence of our new metallic friends come ample opportunities for “happy” accidents. “I’m afraid for the Kiwibots,” said Eben Saveson ’24. “What if they get kicked or run over?” In response to that, the team assured me of Kiwibots’ ability to avoid people and objects. Kiwibots are capable of sensing distances using laser scan data and will stop for passersby. And if you were too busy texting and accidentally bumped into one of them, school and students will not be liable for these incidents. “We have our robot insurance,” the team added. And for those who want to prank their new metallic friends, the team said that

students should keep in mind that doing so will cause delay in others’ deliveries. Kiwibots are not fully autonomous yet, so human operators are always on standby to resolve any issues. So how do Kiwibots benefit Brandeis? The Kiwi team believes Kiwibots offer great convenience, especially for students who are immobile or confined to their dorm rooms. Moreover, Kiwi has been hiring students as part of its operations and maintenance teams in other campuses and it will do the same at Brandeis. There might be internship opportunities, too. “These robots do not take any jobs, but [they] create more jobs,” said the team. In the future, the team said Kiwi’s goal is to expand to 100 campuses. They are also launching in Dubai and partnering with Disney and Domino’s Pizza. If you want to witness firsthand the sight of a Kiwibot waiting for you at your dorm entrance, consider placing an order on Bite.

The notorious C.A.B. By Thomas Pickering editor

As one of the few clubs that was operational during the pandemic, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) is in full swing as it plans for the return of an in-person “Springfest” on Brandeis’ campus. President Abigail Winter ’22 and Vice President Douglas Vantran ’22 sat down for a virtual Zoom interview with The Brandeis Hoot to discuss this, what CAB is and why others who are interested should join. Winter shared her involvement and beginning with CAB saying, “When I was looking at Brandeis, I was looking at clubs to join. I saw CAB and thought that it looked like fun!” Then, when Winter made it to Brandeis’ campus, she “saw them at the involvement fair and started talking to one of the girls who was marketing chair at the time. I had a class with her and we became really good friends so I joined CAB on the ‘G board,’ last year I was the finance chair and this year I am President.” “I got involved when my friend Sasha [Skarboviychuk ’22] was the major events chair her first year on the board. She told me I should come to the first ‘G-board’ meeting and I listened to what the board said they do on CAB and I sounded really cool,” Vantran continued saying, “So, I joined the major events board and became the major events chair during COVID-19 and now I am Vice President.”

Winter and Vantran have both held a number of positions while on CAB and told The Hoot about a few of their favorite moments. Winter began by saying, “I am looking forward to Springfest because it is such a big deal on campus and it’s fun because COVID-19 is a little more relaxed at the moment and we can have that.” Winter mentioned as well, “I think the most rewarding thing is meeting with the E-board every week and helping everybody get what they need done. I think all of the chairs are really committed, determined and excited about everything that they do, so just being there and being along for that ride is probably my favorite part.” “My favorite things that I have done since being on CAB are some of the events we have done this year!” said Vantran. “Because last year a lot of our events were smaller. They were mainly grab and go stuff which is tons of fun to do, but I think it’s been really cool this year to see some of our bigger events like our Halloween event last October, our casino night and our formal this semester. We have been able to return to a lot of the traditions we had when I first joined CAB.” But despite all the events CAB puts on during the academic year Winter said, “we always have people asking us during events ‘what club is this’ and I say ‘oh it’s CAB.’” However, Winter continued saying, “I feel like a lot of people know about our bingos… and they are starting to know that it’s CAB putting on these events.” And when asked about some

of their proudest moments on CAB Vantran pleasantly responded with, “How to pick just one!” Vantran added, “I still love, and this was even before I was on the e-board, the library party we had in fall 2019. It was 90’s themed and I was on Sasha [Skarboviychuk]’s committee for planning that one and it was the first CAB event I was really into the planning of. It was a really fun introduction into what CAB does in a really big event setting.” “I think last semester my favorite event was the ‘Welcome back concert’ that we did right in the beginning of the semester just because it was such a nice day first of all and on top of that our chairs put so much work into that. The whole E-Board was helping out in checking passports, helping people get to the event, the food trucks, the artists and setting up the rooms and everything. We had a whole bunch of people show up and we had a bunch of cool food trucks and music and I just think that that feeling of normalcy, of being around people and having the social community connections on such a nice day was a lot of fun,” said Winter. Vantran and Winter concluded our discussion about CAB with some words to those who are interested or on the fence about joining CAB. Vantran commented, “If you’re thinking about CAB and you’re not sure if it is something that you would want to do for the whole semester or the whole year it doesn’t matter. Just come once

to ‘G-board’ and try it out, if you go to one committee meeting, you can join at any time, there is no missed opportunity if you didn’t see us at the involvement fair. We have so many events throughout the year that we start and restart the planning process for events constantly so you can always get in on what is happening next.” Winter concluded by saying, “If anybody has any interest in any part of event planning: if that’s marketing, doing the finance, actually doing the creative ideas or calling people; I know some people are like ‘I will never call

or email anyone’, that’s totally fine you can just be creative! Like for bingo, we had a ‘Springo’ themed bingo which was spring themed so we had springs and flowers on tables so if you just want to do the creative part that is totally okay. But if you’re interested in the hands-on calling people stuff there is also a place for that. There are just so many different aspects and anything you’re interested in—you can find it in CAB.” Editor’s Note: Editor-in-Chief Sasha Skarboviychuk did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.




April, 29 2022

4 Corners Pizza cupcakes: unique and delicious By John Fornagiel and Sasha Skarboviychuk editors

For our last food review for The Hoot we wanted to do something unusual, as opposed to our usual fast food reviews. After a few weeks of hunting for something cool, we found our winner: pizza cupcakes from 4 Corners Pizza in Newton. They offer eight types of savory pizza cupcakes and a dessert pizza cupcake, which will cost you $3.99 plus tax. Mykonos Pizza Cupcake The Mykonos Pizza Cupcake is described as a “Mini Deep Dish made with Spinach, Feta, Fresh Garlic and Kalamata Olives.” Sasha The Mykonos was the first cupcake we tried, and boy did it set a high bar for the rest of the cupcakes. I am not a huge fan of spinach or feta, however this cupcake manages to combine all the flavors so well that I would actually eat it again. This cupcake definitely tastes more healthy than the rest of the cupcakes we had, so maybe it can be the “salad” to your meal. The one thing I would say is that I thought it needed more dough, though this is not an issue I had with any flavor, so it was probably the individual cupcake we got. The other thing I really appreciated about this cupcake was how nicely all the flavors came together without having one dominant flavor. Overall, this was a very good pizza cupcake; I would rate it an eight out of 10. John The Mykonos Pizza Cupcake was delicious, and it was also the very first one that we tried. It came in a box with three other cupcakes but they were separated well enough such that the flavors between the cupcakes did not mix between each other. This cupcake tasted amazing! I was not expecting to like it as much as I did given the name, but the dough was great (I think they used pizza dough), and the feta was not too strong, which it usually is in most dishes. Instead, it provided a nice salty and cheesy foundation that the rest of the cupcake was built off of. Also, the spinach was grounded, which I really appreciated because it did not add to the texture of the dough and the rest of the cupcake. Overall, this one gets an eight out of 10 from me! Would definitely purchase this again. Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza Cupcake

The Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza Cupcake is described as a “Mini Deep Dish made with Nashville Hot Chicken drizzled with Ranch Dressing and Topped with a Pickle.” Sasha The Nashville Hot was delicious. Tied for my favorite of the day. The chicken and cheese (which was hot and melty) were amazing, and the ratio of dough to filling was perfect. I also appreciated the pickle on top. I think it had a good level of spice, personally I would’ve liked it to be more spicy, but I think for the average person it was perfect. Overall I would rate this cupcake a nine out of 10 and will definitely get it again before we leave the Waltham area. John The chicken portion of this cupcake was delicious and it also shared many features with the spinach feta cupcake: the dough was superb, and I also appreciate that it was a deep-dish cupcake so the filling was present throughout the entire cupcake and was not just on top, making the whole experience of eating the cupcake great. One thing that I do have to say though is that I did not like the pickle too much, I feel that it was a bit too acidic given what the cupcake was. When I took a bite of the pickle, it was basically the only thing that I could taste. Overall, I would give this cupcake an eight and a half out of 10! Buffalo Chicken Pizza Cupcake The Buffalo Chicken Pizza Cupcake is described as a “Mini Deep Dish made with Buffalo Chicken Breast and topped with Bleu Cheese Dressing.” Sasha Although we usually love Buffalo chicken pizza, this cupcake kind of missed the mark. My first issue with it was that it comes with blue cheese on top which I don’t like, but even when I took most of it off, it still left a weird taste behind. But even when I got to the part that definitely did not have blue cheese, the flavor was still a little underwhelming. I cannot put my finger on what exactly was wrong with it, but I feel like the other cupcakes we tried were so good that this just seemed particularly bad. It did have a nice level of spice and there was not too much Buffalo sauce, which is usually an issue with buffalo pizzas. Overall I would rate it a 7.5 out of 10 and would probably not get it again. John I feel like I should preface this by saying that I generally love buf-



falo chicken — in fact, a buffalo chicken pizza or buffalo chicken calzone is my favorite type of food. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to try this cupcake out given how great the last two were. However, I was a bit disappointed by this one, probably because the other two set such a high bar. The bleu cheese was a bit too strong for my taste, and in all honesty it tasted a bit like soap (in the most unpleasant way imaginable). Besides the bleu cheese, the cupcake was not bad. I probably would not get this again given how great the previous two flavors were though and would give this one a seven out of 10. Chicken Ranch Cupcake The Chicken Ranch Cupcake is described as a “Mini Deep Dish made with Chicken and Bacon topped with a Ranch Drizzle.” Sasha I was pleasantly surprised by this cupcake, I was not sure what to expect from it when I was first ordering it. I don’t mind ranch but I don’t think it belongs on pizza, but this cupcake did have an interesting flavor. I thought it could use more chicken though, when I finished my half I was actually not sure if it even had chicken in it (though maybe John got all the chicken). Overall, this was probably my least favorite cupcake, I would rate it a 7.5 out of 10 and would not get it again. Hot ranch should not be a thing. John To me, ranch dressing has a very particular tangy flavor that is characteristic of it. However, I could not identify the typical tanginess in ranch dressing in this cupcake, and my guess for that is during the cooking process it lost what makes it “tangy,” which to me, makes the ranch obsolete. The redeeming part of this cupcake for me though was the piece of bacon, which really complemented the chicken and the rest of the cupcake. It’s unfortunate that they only gave us one piece of bacon to go with the cupcake, since I feel like I got only one bite of what the cupcake is supposed to taste like! Overall, I would give this a seven and a half out of 10, with some room for serious improvement if they added more bacon! Spicy BBQ Pizza Cupcake The Spicy BBQ Pizza Cupcake

is described as a “Mini Deep Dish version of our Spicy BBQ Chicken Pizza. Made with Pulled BBQ Chicken Breast, Jalapeños, Pineapples and Smoked Bacon.” Sasha This cupcake made up for the shortcomings of the previous two. This was an amazing cupcake, tied for my favorite with the Nashville Hot (or maybe this one was a tiny bit better). I loved the BBQ sauce, it was very good, though once again not too spicy. The jalapeno on top added a nice kick, while the pineapple added some sweetness. The flavors worked together so well, it was amazing. Now I am sitting here dreaming of another BBQ cupcake. Overall, I would rate it a nine out of 10 and if I could, I’d be eating one now. John I really enjoyed this cupcake. The dough was incredible, the chicken tasted great, and I really liked the acidity and spice that the jalapeños added. It was definitely the best part about the cupcake. However, I feel that the barbecue sauce should have been a bit more spicy than it was. The jalapeños added most of the spice in the cupcake, but the bits of the cupcake without the jalapeño were not too spicy at all. Overall, I would also give this one a seven and a half out of 10. S’mores - Dessert Pizza Cupcake The S’mores - Dessert Pizza Cupcake is “made with Nutella and Peanut Butter topped with a melted Marshmallow, Chocolate Bar and Chocolate Sauce.” Sasha I have to admit I was not coming into this with high expectations, largely because I do not like smores. But this cupcake was very good. The melty peanut butter and nutella and delicious dough, ugh my sweet tooth dream. Though I do have to say that I found the peanut butter overwhelming, it took over the rest of the flavors, so I think it would’ve been better with just Nutella but I’m partial to Nutella. Overall, I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10 and would definitely get it again! John This cupcake was significantly different from the ones that we have tried previously: this one was super sweet! I believe that they used the same dough, but


nevertheless, the top was covered in a nutella/peanut butter mixture, a marshmallow, and a hershey’s chocolate. While the cupcake was delicious and everything that you would expect, the mixture between the nutella and peanut butter was a bit strange in my opinion: I would rather they had just the nutella, or just the peanut butter. Overall, I would give the sweet cupcake an eight out of 10! Great end to our dinner. Overall, these cupcakes were great. The concept is definitely very cool, especially if you are like us and enjoy pizza which has a lot of dough. Three cupcakes per person was probably a good amount of food, we were full but not too full. We really liked that we were able to get a variety, the only cupcakes we didn’t get to try were the Meat Lovers, Iraklion and Shrimp Mac & Cheese. (This is a true blessing if you are indecisive like us). If we were to go again, Sasha would get the Spicy BBQ, Nashville Hot and S’mores cupcakes, while John would get the Mykonos Pizza Cupcake, Nashville Hot, and Chicken Ranch cupcake. Although we have not tried their regular pizza, the pizza cupcakes are delicious so we’d think the pizza would be really good too. Alternatively, if you do not feel like going the five miles to Newton, we’d like to shout-out AK’s, where we have been going to fulfill our pizza cravings for the last four years (their buffalo chicken calzones are so good, ugh).

April 29, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Thoughts on over-achievement and expectations By Mia Plante editor

I constantly put way too much pressure on myself and somehow, despite always being overwhelmed and anxious, the fact that I complete everything I throw at myself means I will never learn. This might just be a me thing, but it’s something I have grappled with a lot at Brandeis since most people put up an amazing facade of having themselves completely together all of the time. Although I know that this is simply a facade — I mean, none of us are really doing well right now — it’s disheartening nonetheless. The culture of academic success and professional development at Brandeis is terrifying, as it is at so many other schools. I’m not sure if this is a generational problem, where we are all so good at internalizing our struggles and overly sharing our successes through social media, but social media sure as hell doesn’t help. Have you been on LinkedIn literally ever? I’m guilty of this myself since everyone else does it and I feel inferior if I don’t, but everyone is just absolutely bragging about every aspect of their lives on that platform. Get a job?

Post about your success. Get rejected from a job or twenty? Post about how this somehow doesn’t make you want to shrivel up and work in the food service industry for the rest of your life. This type of one-upping has infiltrated everyone’s lives. I’d like to think my passion for success is self-driven, but I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe my anxiety has been worsened and perpetuated by the need to prove to everyone else that I too am worthy of their time and energy because I got an internship, or because I got a research grant, or because I have a job lined up after college or got into a top graduate program. My drive to somehow meet the sky high expectations I’ve made for myself due to these outside pressures has tainted everything I have enjoyed. If I do something, I have to be good at it. I can’t do something just because I like it anymore. If I can’t show a product of my efforts to someone, or feel some type of accomplishment outside of myself alone, it feels pointless. This is insanely depressing, I know. It’s like I have zero hobbies besides studying for the LSAT and talking about studying for the LSAT. Even my work here at The Hoot has unfortunately become a place where I expect too much of my-

self. I would pick up articles I didn’t really have time to write and somehow get them done, and get them done fairly well, while I had significantly less time to relax or GET ACTUAL HOBBIES. I set the expectation for myself to only write what I think of as “serious” articles. You know, articles on world issues, on US politics, on public discourse. Basically, I vowed to write only well-researched opinion pieces on topics that are super upsetting to think about. While these topics are important and need to be discussed, I am the only person telling myself I have to do this, and the expectations are too much at this point. I have clearly given up this goal of “serious” articles, because I needed to. These past few weeks, even though we just finished break, have just been too much for me. Getting jobs and planning for the summer and the fall and the future after all of that, on top of the fact that I am having actual medical problems at the moment (outside of the usual!) have made me so insanely run down I can’t write anything this week besides this rambling mess. I need to take time for myself. I need to make The Hoot a hobby that I am not stressed about again, and I need to stop putting so much on my plate that I can’t

take care of my own well-being anymore. Honestly, everyone needs to do this. Why do we allow the successes of others to make us feel inferior? Why can’t we be happy for another’s success alone and not feel the need to also do something remarkable to put online, or to have your mom brag about on Facebook for you? The culture of success, academic achievement and consequently over-achievement is extremely harmful for those it influences.


I see Paris I see France

By Thomas Pickering editor

For those wondering what kinds of places you will go to when you are abroad then worry not, for I may have an answer. You will see parts of the world you have only seen in photographs and the craziest part about all of it—you’ll see them all within weeks of each other! It is hard to believe until you do it but my travels have taken me to a few major cities recently that I am excited to rank. If you are from these cities, please do not take it personally (or do, I cannot control you and if your city is last then deal with it – it deserved being last). The cities in question, as the title suggests, are Vienna, Paris and London. Each with rich

histories that date back to centuries old monarchies and empires which contributed massively to the world in the ways of politics, arts, cultures and literature. Each city is unique in its own way and will imprint themselves onto everyone differently as well so do not take my opinions to be gospel truth. But if you do not think that Vienna is the best of those three cities then you can stop reading right now. Obviously, I am kidding, but that is my honest opinion: Vienna takes top honors when compared to London and Paris. Vienna is a city which clearly has a strong sense of pride but no arrogance. It was and is still clear to me how proud they are of Austrian eggs at breakfast. On every menu they make sure to specify where the eggs came from

and sometimes even tell you the region within Austria! It is silly but goes to show how much they value what is authentically Austrian. Same goes for their art and music as well. When it comes to the painting “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, Vienna takes every opportunity to remind you that it is Austrian art and that Mozart was a true Viennese. The city is proud of what it has given to the world and when you combine that pride with the beautiful architecture of a Romanesque city with the order of a German society then you arrive at Vienna. A city ready to explode with musical and culinary traditions that seem largely overlooked. One simple walk down the Naschmarkt of Vienna will show you how diverse and lovely the city can be when you are willing to take in all the sounds,

smells and sights. Second on my list of preferences comes Paris. The city of lights really cannot disappoint when it comes to anything. Now certainly the Eiffel Tower was a little shorter than I expected so that certainly made it stumble down my list here (just kidding of course—size doesn’t matter, personality does!). But the city of lights will make you fall in love with it once you spend one night walking around almost aimlessly to take in the vibes and energy of the city. For me and my friends that meant going into a few stores to get some drinks and then stumble our way to the top of the Eiffel Tower at midnight. There are no words which can describe how amazing it is to see the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame and Parc de Princes all light up at



Stop asking yourself how you can be the best at something, but start asking yourself why. Why do you want to get this job? Why do you want to go into this field of work? Why do you want to write about that topic, or apply for that leadership role, or join that club? I need to stop doing everything for everyone else and start doing it for me, I think we all should.


night. It is a sensation unlike any other. But of course, Paris comes with its few downfalls: you will be made fun of for being an American (you just have to roll with it and laugh at yourself) and the Mona Lisa. Sure, she looks great but honestly it’s way smaller than you think. The line to see it is obnoxiously long and (cold take) it is not even Da Vinci’s best work. But overall, Paris now holds some key memories in my mind which I hope never fade because it truly is a magical city. Finally, London. What is there not to make fun of London for? “Chewsday”? “Bo’ao ah wadduh”? (Bottle of water) Boris Johnson, as both a person and political leader? Or the fact that the tube costs an arm and a leg to ride but goes in a freaking circle? However, in all seriousness, London is a gorgeous city with lots to offer. From Hyde Park to Tower Bridge to the British Museum to a Pret on every freaking street corner there is plenty to do in London and one trip will never be enough to fully take in the rich variety of things to do. I loved walking around London and not needing to worry about a language barrier. It made it easy, but in a way, I missed speaking in Dutch or Spanish. I missed being completely out of my element because living in the unknown has been a constant for me and something I’ve quite enjoyed. London was great but I found myself not feeling as if I was abroad but rather in a weird version of the US. The landmarks are beautiful and they really cover up the fact that the queen is dead super well, but the landmarks are quite far from each other and with a metro area as big as London it’s hard to say that you really took it in fully and understood it. London deserves another trip because perhaps I missed something major but when compared to Vienna and Paris I am not sure it can stand as high.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Brandeis moves from Sodexo to Harvest Table By Cooper Gottfried and Vincent Calia-Bogan editor and staff

On April 14, Brandeis announced that we will be transitioning to a new dining vendor. The university will be switching from Sodexo to Harvest Table (A subsidiary of Aramark). As members of the Brandeis community who have been eating Sodexo’s “food” for a year now, we wanted to weigh in on the decision. Vincent’s thoughts: A dining vendor has a remarkable power over a student body’s academic performance. They directly control or otherwise strongly influence the nutrition of most students, their ability to get proper sleep and rest, the ability for a student to walk uninterrupted to their classes and the mental health of students (though this list is far from exhaustive). This power over a student body is as terrifying as it is aggressively protected. The only other entity that has the ability to influence how a dining vendor exerts its power is the University itself, and even then, that influence is limited. Sodexo, the corporation, was mostly negligent of the responsibilities that are inextricably linked with the power it held on this campus. It didn’t care much for proper nutrition of the food it provided to the University and the students. Their food, as we are all painfully aware, can be so bad as to cause students to outright skip meals to avoid eating it. Even if it’s not an “off day” for Sodexo, we have also all been indiscriminately and unpredictably hit with the stomach affliction affectionately referred to as the “Sherman Shits” (or alternatively

“Brandeis Runs”). Needless to say, this all has universally negative and variably significant impacts on student mental health: poor nutrition has a direct impact on mental and physical health. Skipping meals has a debatably worse impact than consistently poor nutrition. Certainly, dreading the consumption of food cannot be good for a student’s mental state. Rather than improving this situation, Sodexo instead saw fit to spend the money to put Kiwibots underfoot– increasing congestion on walkways and draining out bank accounts even further. Sodexo’s actions have largely contributed to an increased baseline stress level on campus, which takes a toll on sleep and sleep quality– which ultimately leads to a potentially significant impact on academic performance. (As much as I would love to, I have no reliable way to track sleep and academic performance while controlling for quality of food as a study on this campus–yet). Sodexo Corporation’s actions on this campus are revealing of their true intentions: to make as much money as possible. This should come as no surprise; they are a multinational corporation. Now, to address the reason I say “Sodexo the Corporation” rather than simply “Sodexo”: The actions of Sodexo, the Corporation are not the responsibility of the Brandeis dining workers and lower level Sodexo employees who work at Brandeis. These people consistently do their best for the student body, and make the most of being set up to perform poorly. They have an outsized positive reflection on Sodexo, the Corporation– a reflection which I argue Sodexo, the Corporation does not fully deserve. The only other entity who could have offset Sodexo,


the Corporation’s actions was Brandeis itself–by paying more money for a higher tier of food service. Many may argue that this is what should have been done. I, however, am not so sure–based on what we have seen, I strongly suspect that the price increases would not have been proportional to an increase in food quality. I also would guess that the increase in cost would likely have trickled down to the students–an increase we can ill afford. Nonetheless, I am compelled to note: I have no reliable way to concretely confirm or deny either of these suspicions. Many of the problems Sodexo brought with them are leaving with them. We retain one of the best things about the Brandeis Dining experience: the staff who we see every day, and who do their best with food that is otherwise effectively inedible. However–they are also taking with them what seems like a remarkably competent everyday leadership team that is here at Brandeis–individuals like Nolan Reese and Nicole Caliendo, the dietitians and Alex Zolotov, who (from my understanding) had a role in



overseeing special events at the dining halls as well as being the marketing specialist– and all of whom, in my personal experience interacting with them throughout the year, do genuinely care for Brandeis Students–students they feel a responsibility to as “their students”. These individuals are Sodexo employees, and presumably will not be with us at Brandeis next year. To them, I wish them all the best with their future endeavors, and I thank them for making the food we eat every day bearable. Additionally, I applaud the culture they promoted of hosting special food nights at the Dining Halls–at those there was some of the best food I have had here, and more than once I found myself enjoying the entirety of my meal–food, company and atmosphere. (Usually, I only enjoy my company and the atmosphere of the dining hall). In light of all this, I should be excited to get a change in dining vendor. Indeed, I would be, if we were switching to a self-dining model. However, we are instead swapping Sodexo out for Harvest Table, who will have a tenure longer than almost everyone currently in their undergraduate at Brandeis will be here for. Harvest Table all but promises to bring the same set of baseline problems and stressors to the Brandeis student body: questionable nutrition and all the impacts that come with that. (Notably, however, there will be no Kiwibots–so the Rabb Steps will retake their crown as the foremost tripping hazard on Brandeis campus). Now–we will retain the outstanding dining hall staff we currently work with. The leadership team that will be here on the ground is a mystery; I hope that they will be effective, competent and caring. The food is, by all firsthand accounts I have, at or slightly higher than the quality of that of Sodexo, the Corporation’s food. It is my express hope that we will, at minimum, stay where we are right now. I also think that that’s very likely. Unfortunately, I am markedly less hopeful for a significant increase in food quality, especially once the novelty of a new vendor wears off. In light of this, I strongly encourage you to say an extra thank you to the dining workers you say every day–as they are where the true strength of Brandeis Dining lies: in it’s people who see us as their students, rather than the multi-deca-billion dollar corporations who see us as their customers. Cooper’s thoughts: One day, I was sitting in my room in Usen Hall and I heard a tour group pass through Massell. One of the students who was touring asked the guide, “how’s the food?” The guide responded by saying that it “isn’t your mom’s cooking.” That’s true, my mom generally doesn’t serve undercooked chicken to me every day. With Brandeis’ switch

from Sodexo to Harvest Table, students can hopefully get at least marginally higher quality food when they go to the dining halls. I’ve eaten Harvest Table’s food once before, when I visited a close friend of mine at Elon University in North Carolina. Harvest Table is Elon’s dining vendor, and the food was surprisingly not bad. However, I have a few concerns about Harvest Table as a company. Harvest Table is a subsidiary of Aramark, and is led by the former Vice President of Aramark. That name may sound familiar, as Aramark’s history is filled with scandals. In Jackson, Michigan maggots have been found in Aramark food. A former Aramark Supervisor was convicted on a felony charge of “solicitation to commit assault with intent to cause great bodily harm” when they attempted to hire an inmate to attack another inmate. Aramark has also been accused of underfeeding prisoners. Aramark has also been linked to a Clostridium difficile colitis outbreak because they used cheaper cleaning products and reduced staffing levels at Greater Niagara General and Welland sites. C. Diff, as it’s commonly known, is a food-borne bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, stomach pain and dehydration. Harvest Table isn’t Aramark. They haven’t been accused of the same atrocities that their parent company has. But, the fact that a former Aramark higher-up runs Harvest Table and the fact that Harvest Table is still technically under Aramark’s control give me pause. Brandeis’ last dining services provider, Sodexo, wasn’t perfect either. Sodexo has settled lawsuits over denying Black employees promotions, horse DNA found in their “beef ” and has elicited a great deal of invective from the Brandeis community over the quality of their food. I’m the first person to say that Brandeis needs to move on from Sodexo. Their food often violates the eighth amendment of the United States’ Constitution. But, moving to an “independent division” of a scandal-laden company whose food is probably not that much better than Sodexo’s is not the right choice. I hope that Harvest Table can be better than Sodexo, but I don’t have too much confidence in our next dining vendor.


April 29, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 17

‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once:’ a multiverse of meaning By Sam Finbury staff

From “Rick and Morty” and “Into the Spider-Verse’’ to upcoming blockbusters like “Multiverse of Madness’’ and the “Flash” movie, the concept of traversing parallel universes is currently experiencing a cultural renaissance, and it is no great stretch of the imagination to see why. It’s fun to cast off from the hum-drum wasteland of our known world to see what interesting ways our boring old reality could be twisted if only a few things were tweaked. In a world where progress is a stuttering trudge through hot mud, and our futures seem more dubious with each passing headline, it’s a relief to imagine yourself somewhere, anywhere, markedly different. However, while we seek escape in realms of possibility, the prospect of infinite other universes can be terrifying as well. If there are infinite “yous” out there in the aether, then there are infinite versions of you who are doing far better in their lives, who have accomplished great things and experienced greater happiness. Obviously, people don’t hunker down in theaters for two hours to be told they are infinitesimal cosmic failures, so most movies that toy with parallel universes stick to the shtick of wacky dimensional clones and trippy alternate futures. But “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” wades into that technicolor philosophical mire. It dances knee deep in

it, joyously kicking up sprays of nihilism and existential crises into theatergoers’ faces before waltzing out with heartwarming hope and scintillating absurdism. Directed by the duo of directors known coyly as “Daniels,” “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” chronicles the reality-spanning epic of Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), the downtrodden, unfulfilled owner of a failing laundromat. Juggling her wilting relationship with her sensitive goofball husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), her fraught relationship with her rebellious daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) and her demanding relationship with her perpetually disappointed father Gong Gong (James Hong), Evelyn is forced to visit the IRS to save her struggling business. And if all of that wasn’t stressful enough, it turns out Evelyn is the chosen one, an alternate version of her husband explaining to her that, due to her plethora of discarded dreams and missed opportunities, she has access to the skills of all of her vastly more successful counterparts across the multiverse. Whether it be kungfu mastery, sign twirling moves or opera singing, all Evelyn needs to do to access her alternate abilities is do something hilariously random to slingshot her consciousness across all possibility and improbability. And she will need all the skills she can steal, as she alone can halt the invasion of the mysterious Jobu Tupaki, a multiversal conqueror who wants to hunt down Evelyn one reality at a time. We watch as Evelyn fights her way through the IRS building, defeating Jobu

Tupaki’s minions one strange and farcical vignette at a time, all the while grappling with her own lapsed potential and nihilistic insignificance in the grand scheme of the multiverse. It is an admittedly insane premise, compounding complex interdimensional lore and somber ruminations on fulfillment and meaning with a deluge of gut-bustingly random asides of acid-baked creativity. Nowhere else will you get to witness a prolonged fight scene where buttplugs are used as threatening power-ups or a purse dog is used as a flail. It’s rare to see otherwise one-off joke tangents, like glimpses into realities where people have sausages for fingers or where a teppanyaki chef is controlled by a raccoon, brought together for intense emotional impact at the climax. But that is what sets this film apart. It relishes in its own spontaneity but never surrenders to it, using its randomness to both entertain and prove a point: that life is random, disappointing and oppressive, but to give up on life, to surrender to nihilism and hopelessness is both too easy and too harsh. We must embrace our lives, in all of their madness and imperfection, if we wish to find beauty in them, and we must see ourselves for who we are rather than what we could be if we wish to truly understand our own happiness. Appreciate what you have, the grass is always greener, hope springs eternal, blah and blah. It’s nothing new, but “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” repackages these concepts in a way that feels more honest than ever be-

fore. This film understands that living in a breakneck, comically indifferent, oppressive world leaves most of us unhappy and so presents a story about unhappy people shot in a stylistically oppressive manner, filled with comically indifferent spontaneous jokes and which flows at the glorious breakneck speed of a bullet train. It’s a work of madness that works maddeningly well and that hits closer to home than most other self-serious pictures ever could. “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” has more than earnest messaging pumping through its veins. As previously stated, it’s a stylistic marvel: kaleidoscopically dazzling scenes, wrapped in an iron-clad sound wall of music and topped with a bow of fantastically choreographed action sequences. This film is a comedic master-


piece, as well, helped by its exquisite cast who can all seemingly flip from tear-pulling sincerity to excruciating hilarity at the drop of a hat. The only pseudo-fault this movie possesses is its climax, which is seemingly 20 straight minutes of universe hopping and existential jaw flapping at the tail end of the story. Not that it is a bad climax. It’s a perfect one, but it was so unrelenting and unbroken that, while I enjoyed its content, I could feel my brain beginning to deflate from exhaustion and sugar rot. Ultimately, I’m just happy I got to see this beautiful fever dream of a film, especially considering that there are infinite other versions of me out there in the multiverse who didn’t have the same privilege. What a bunch of sad saps those schmucks are.

‘Princess Mononoke,’ an imaginative and beautiful modern-day fairy tale By Soren Birnbaum special to the hoot

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the 25th anniversary re-release of the classic animated film “Princess Mononoke” (1997) by Studio Ghibli, directed by the famed Hayao Miyazaki. I was enthralled by it and I attribute this in part due to being able to watch it in a movie theater, hopefully closer in look to how it was originally intended. After I saw this film, it has become a firm contender for one of the very best Ghibli works I have seen so far. It is my opinion that, if fairy tales were originally meant to convey ideas and messages to people in times past; “Princess Mononoke” is a modern-day version of a fairy tale, as full of wonder and imagination as anything that came before it. I hope to share my reactions to this masterpiece with you readers, and as such, it goes without saying that this review will have some mild spoilers of plot points and characters. As usual, Studio Ghibli esteemed itself with absolutely stunning animation and a fantastic soundtrack which, paired with an interesting and engaging plot, made the rather long runtime of the movie fly by for me. The plot is set in feudal Japan and we begin the film in the middle of the action, with a massive, demonic beast trying to kill the inhabitants of a small, tribal village. This

is also where we are introduced to our main character: Ashitaka, the next-in-line prince from the aforementioned tribe, who bravely fights the beast, stopping it from laying waste to his family and village. He succeeds in slaying the creature, but not before having one of his arms seriously injured by it, resulting in a curse being saddled upon him. He soon learns from the village wise-woman that this curse will slowly, but inevitably, end up killing him. Knowing this, he decides to leave his home in order to find the answers behind why this demon attacked his people, and in the process, perhaps find some sort of cure to his curse. Thus begins the journey of Prince Ashitaka and I will say that there are few things in this world that make me as exhilarated as the beginnings of adventure in any Studio Ghibli production. From fog-peaked mountains to vast plains, Ghibli’s phenomenal artwork always feels as though it has more depth than simply two-dimensions, and here is no different. Throughout the film, it feels as if we’re truly there, accompanying the Prince as he travels through the vast wilderness of Japan on his quest to find the truth behind his affliction. Ashitaka meets many people along his journey, from the scheming monk Jigo, to the mysterious forest girl San, who alongside her giant wolves, constantly attacks the inhabitants of Iron Town.

Iron Town, being named after its main commodity, is a sanctuary for former social outcasts which Feudal Japanese society has rejected. They are welcomed into the community by the commanding Lady Eboshi, who leads Iron Town in its never-ending quest to continue industrializing, even if it puts them in direct conflict with the denizens of the forest. This constitutes the main conflict of the film: the battle at the heart of the film’s themes (something which it shares with many of Hayao Miyazaki’s other works such as “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”), is the battle between Man’s exploitation of nature and the destruction which is wrought due to the death of the natural world. A theme, I should mention, which only becomes more and more poignant with time, as we grow increasingly uncomfortable with the choices we have taken as a species in regards to the health of the planet. However, Iron Town, as a stand-in for humanity’s industrial capacity, is not all bad. Miyazaki allows us to empathize with Iron Town, humanizing and developing many of the characters whom we meet, most notably Lady Eboshi, as well as the furnace women. Lady Eboshi is a fantastically complex character, as she is capable of committing both horrible and incredible acts in defense of her city. These feats range from almost succeeding in slaughtering

the Gods of the Forest, to holding her own in a fight to defend against San’s giant wolf pack. It’s noted how her citizens respect her, and how she uses this respect in order to demand hard work and loyalty. One of the groups who work hardest to fulfill her wishes are the furnace women, a group of women who were exiled from the surrounding society on account of their past profession, namely prostitution. In the society of Iron Town, they run the massive furnaces which literally keep the city running, and are treated as equals with the men, in stark contrast to the misogynistic worldview of the feudal world surrounding them. In one scene, these women openly flout the authority of a Samurai lord who comes to negotiate terms of surrender with the men of the city, shooting at him and driving him away. In my opinion, this, in addition to Lady Eboshi being one of the most intelligent and capable of any Ghibli character, makes a strong case for “Princess Mononoke” being an openly feminist film. As the mysteries behind the power of the Forest Spirit are gradually revealed to us, the conflict between man and nature becomes more and more central, and more characters are forced to choose sides. The forest girl San is particularly torn between her innate humanity and her loyalty to her wolf family. Lady Eboshi and San become sworn enemies, each committed to protecting Iron

Town and the Forest respectively, becoming increasingly hateful of each other. I think it’s worth taking time to point out, Miyazaki could have easily coded the two sides of the conflict, nature vs. man, in a simple light, like the “good guys” vs. the “bad guys.” He chooses not to, instead choosing to portray the complicated, horrific decisions sometimes otherwise good individuals need to make. Ashitaka, even as a staunch proponent of peace, often needs to commit terrible acts of violence in order to save himself or the people he loves. In one scene, the power of one of his arrows literally decapitates one of his enemies on horseback; in another, he cuts off the arm of a Samurai attacking him. This is a good example to mention, as this is probably one of the more violent Ghibli films out there. I wouldn’t call the violence disturbing, but it is graphic, and something worth knowing about going in. There really is no way to do this film justice in a review. Like with most Studio Ghibli works, it needs to be experienced in order for its full meaning to be grasped. “Princess Mononoke” is just an all-together fantastic piece of cinema, conjuring something between our contemporary, nightmarish fears and the eternal hope for a better world. I would highly recommend this movie to everyone.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

Dumbledore and bad writing ruined ‘Fantastic Beasts’ By Stewart Huang editor

Numerous spoilers ahead. After seeing “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” directed by David Yates, I think I’m done with the franchise at this point. I’m disappointed by how a series that was supposed to be about the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and the fantastic beasts has increasingly been hijacked by a completely different story. This film is Dumbledore: the movie—I mean, the name of this latest installment is kind of a dead giveaway. And even if you like this premise more than the fantastic beasts, the film’s characters and writing really suffers as a result of its identity crisis. The movie’s central conflict is one between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), as you’d expect. Grindelwald is basically trying to get elected as the president of the magical world via election fraud, so Dumbledore wants to prevent his evil ex-boyfriend from getting his way. Now, where does Newt Scamander fit into this narrative? As merely a pawn in Dumbledore’s master plan. Our poor protagonist is barely able to exert any agency in the narrative. He goes to this place and does this thing because Dumbledore tells him to do it. He never seems to question or resist any of this, which would have been a brilliant move to offset the latter’s overwhelming narrative presence. It would have also been a highly intriguing conflict to develop. Imagine standing up to the great Dumbledore! But instead, he does his bidding throughout the entire film, and the missions just seem so insulting and inconsequential. They’re all just a ploy to confuse Grindel-

wald. It is Dumbledore who ultimately defeats Grindelwald and saves the day. This is quite strange because the film tells you at the beginning that he is unable to fight Grindelwald due to a blood pact, but then it is nullified at the last second for reasons that aren’t given until after the fact, which feels like sloppy writing. In the end, I feel terrible for Newt. He’s basically sidelined in his own franchise and reduced to an errand boy to make space for Dumbledore. You can even see this in the film’s title screen: “The Secrets of Dumbledore” is in a much bigger font size than “Fantastic Beasts.” I don’t think this was ever the case with “Harry Potter” films. The other characters are also barely relevant to the story. Jacob (Dan Fogler) gets a wand (I was quite excited by this scene in the trailers) just to confuse Grindelwald and that’s it. Queenie (Allison Sudol) is already uncomfortable with Grindelwald right after joining him at the end of the second film, but doesn’t do jack about it. Yusuf (William Nadylam) pretends to join Grindelwald on Dumbledore’s orders and doesn’t do jack either. Newt’s brother Theseus (Callum Turner) does absolutely nothing except getting kidnapped and thrown into a dungeon. The most you can say for these characters is that they were required for the final act, which feels so much like a rehash of the opening scene of “The Deathly Hallows.” Tina (Katherine Waterston), the most important main character aside from Newt and Dumbledore, doesn’t appear until the ending of the film—it makes no sense! It’s also insane to me that Credence (Ezra Miller), who seems to be a really important foreshadowing and a powerful villain in the previous films, is a total pushover.

He tries to kill Dumbledore but is defeated and pacified instantly and then basically loses all narrative presence beyond that point. The titular fantastic beasts are in a similarly sad state of being, being reduced to MacGuffins and props for comic relief. At the start of the film, Grindelwald acquires a Qilin (I can’t stop thinking about the John Cena bing chilling meme whenever I hear the characters say the name), a super magical creature that can not only see into the future but also see if someone has a good and noble heart. He kills it to enhance his own ability of precognition and reanimates the poor thing later on to manipulate its pseudo mind-reading ability to rig the election. That’s pretty much the most you’ll get for the fantastic beasts in terms of their importance to the story—just as a magical object with no real character behind it. In a later scene, Newt goes to break his kidnapped brother out of jail. This strangely brutal dungeon is home to a massive scorpion-like monster that eats prisoners unfortunate enough to have the light in their cell, which are actually produced by these firefly-like creatures, extinguished. There are also these crab-looking bugs that eat people too. Newt shows off his knowledge as a magizoologist by walking in a funny pose to pacify the crabs, which gets a few laughs out of the audience. And then Newt’s adorable sidekicks, the little plant thingy and the platypus, save the Scamanders by retrieving Newt’s wand and his brother’s port key. It’s a cool action sequence, but it has zero impact on the plot and could be cut completely. It was probably included because Rowling or the editors also realized just how unimportant the fantastic beasts are in the actual story and had to find

some excuse to shoehorn them in. In addition, the inclusion of the Qilin produces some really questionable, immersion-breaking plot points. Killing the Qilin enhances Grindelwald’s ability to see the future, but having this ability ends up being counter-productive for him. He can only see bits and pieces of the future, and it seems that he isn’t actually able to hear what’s going on. This makes it easily exploitable, which is why Dumbledore sets out to confuse Grindelwald. Now, I understand why Rowling didn’t want to make this ability better, probably because it would be too overpowered and difficult to write around, but I don’t understand how Grindelwald is so gullible that Dumbledore manages to trick him without a hint of suspicion from him. For all his cunning to fake the election, he somehow failed to realize that the ability has glaring weaknesses. And are we expected to believe that for all the preparations behind Dumbledore’s trickery, Grindelwald never sees any of them? There’s a scene where Newt’s assistant Bunty (Victoria Yeates) commissions replicas of Newt’s magical briefcase, and there’s another scene later where the characters gather with all the replicas. Everything else that transpired between these two points in time is also susceptible to Grindelwald’s precognition. He might not be able to hear what’s going on, but at the very least it should be more than obvious that something’s fishy with the visuals alone. The Qilin’s ability to tell whether a person has a good heart is used in the opening ceremony of the election to show which candidate is better. On one hand, this totally defeats the point of an election because it obviously nudges voters in a certain direction, and they are

left with only an illusion of choice because one of the choices has already been revealed to be the best, unless all of the candidates have a good heart I suppose. On the other hand, it is strange how the Qilin does influence votes in the case of Grindelwald. His voters are basically racists wizards who hate muggles, and they want to vote for him for his policy: to wage a war against muggles or something like that. Then it’s hard to believe how they are so quick to change their votes when a different Qilin shows a different candidate to be of good heart. Who cares if he’s got a good heart? Shouldn’t they just want him to deliver on his campaign promise? Maybe I’m in the minority here. I really enjoyed the first “Fantastic Beasts” film that was actually about fantastic beasts. Whereas my girlfriend much prefers the stuff about Dumbledore in the two subsequent films, and I imagine probably some die-hard “Harry Potter” fans think so too, since it is fan service after all. But these two things need not be mutually exclusive—the writing just needs to be faithful to the “Fantastic Beasts” name and good. Like I suggested, having Newt resist Dumbledore’s control would have been an exciting move. Maybe we’ll see something like this in the fourth film, but I don’t think I’ll stick around for that. Rowling just isn’t competent enough as a screenwriter to get things right with this franchise, as is clear with this current installment.

BookTok worth it or not: ‘Circe’ and ‘The Song of Achilles’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

It was spring break last week and you know what that means, I stayed in and read on your behalf once again! I found a number of cute bookstores over break, now I will insert a shameless plug to Trident Booksellers and The Concord Bookstore for supporting my reading addiction. Anyway, here is my spiel—-I watch BookTok (on Instagram reels), I get books, I read books, I write about said books. You can either take my advice or leave it. Since I had a lot of time on my hands, this week’s review is a twofer. The victims are Madeline Miller’s works “‘The Song of Achilles” and “Circe”. “‘The Song of Achilles” has gotten all of the hype on TikTok. Even my roommate who I thought was illiterate has read it. “Song of Achilles” has been labeled on people’s list of “books that I would let hurt me again” right next to Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us.” So you should be aware going in that you’re gonna get wrecked—but in a good way if that makes sense. If you are at all familiar with the mythology behind the Trojan war, you already know where this story is going. But Miller puts

her own twist on the classic tragedy, which makes the story fun to read despite knowing how it will end. The plot centers around the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles. In Greek Mythology, Achilles is described as “the greatest of all Greek warriors,” and he plays a crucial role in the Trojan War. Achilles is described as having a companion, Patroclus, whose death causes Achilles to face a “deep grief.” Therefore, I think it is absolutely genius of Miller to make them more than just companions but lovers. It makes so much sense for love to drive this grief and I think the execution of Miller unpacking and building the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is nothing short of perfection. Miller’s writing is beautiful in the re-telling and the narrative does a good job of adhering to the literature it is based upon while also taking it in new creative directions. The story addresses the complexities in Greek mythology over who is who and why anyone is fighting. But amongst the war and fighting, Miller has also weaved this love story to juxtapose the brutality that is typically associated with Greek myths. I also like that this wasn’t a typical Trojan War retelling,

Briseis— a war prize granted to Achilles—has much more agency in this story, and thank the freaking lord I didn’t have to read about Paris and Helen, the couple who spark the war itself. “Circe” has also been featured on TikTok, though not nearly to the same extent as “‘The Song of Achilles.” “Circe” is more common in the sub-branch of Greek Mythology BookTok. As you could guess, it is very niche, which is how I stumbled across it. I will admit, going into “Circe” it is beneficial to have a background in Greek mythology. “‘The Song of Achilles” definitely doesn’t require as big of an understanding since it just focuses on the characters involved in the Trojan war, whereas “Circe” explores multiple myths including Dadelaus and Icarus, the minotaur, Odysseus and Jason. There are a lot more moving parts in “Circe” and it spans over a greater time frame. I think Miller executes this well, you just have to be ready to meet a lot of characters. Which I understand might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you couldn’t guess from the title, the book centers around Circe—a witch from Greek Mythology. This woman could have written a book on girl-bossing,

gatekeeping and gaslighting for everything she has done. I mean she turned a b*tch into an ugly sea monster, she transformed men who tried to take advantage of her into pigs and then ATE THEM LIKE A FREAKING BOSS and she delivered her sister’s child who turned out to be the freaking minotaur I mean come on it doesn’t get better than this. Circe is one of the older characters in Greek mythology, outdating the heroes like Achilles, Odysseus and Jason, which means there is a lot more material for this narrative. Once again, “Circe” adheres to the mythology pretty well and I love seeing the stories of the aforementioned heroes all cross over into Circe’s path. It’s interesting because she is often featured as a sidepiece in men’s stories but in this book, they are sidepieces to her narrative. This is really cool since women aren’t well represented in mythology or if they are they are typically formed through the male gaze. Be ready for incest. Miller doesn’t change the structure of the myths so get ready for that. I don’t have much more to say about this point I just feel a warning was necessary. I read “Circe” before “Song of Achilles” and I gotta say I think

I liked “Circe” more. Maybe it was because it featured so many stories within her story that you got a greater perspective on mythology as a whole. I also really liked Circe as a character, I think she definitely has her flaws—like all Greek mythological characters do—but you can see how Miller sets her apart from other gods and goddesses. These are great standalone books, without the commitment of a series. If you’re looking for a more uplifting ending I would definitely recommend “Circe” over “The Song of Achilles.” Though I could argue that neither ending is terribly sad if you really think about it. I am definitely excited for Miller’s new piece she is working on about Hades and Persephone because that is my favorite myth, so stay tuned for that one! Overall 10/10 for both books and highly highly highly recommend. I don’t think there has been a book I wouldn’t recommend yet in this book review column—this is mainly because I do not have the energy to review books I didn’t like.

April 29 , 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

‘CODA’ is an Oscar winner with a lot of heart edtior

Although “CODA” was released on August 13, 2021, people are still talking about it over half a year later. Just a few weeks ago, “CODA” won Best Picture at the Oscars, along with Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur. Most of the films in Oscar season usually come out in the last quarter of the year so it takes a special kind of film released before that time period to get this widely recognized. “CODA” is that special film. It did not always get the talk of winning Best Picture, but it was soon seen that this film is unstoppable. That being said, when the nominees were first announced and it had not yet emerged as a frontrunner, it was still the film that I was rooting for. This was my favorite film out of all of the nominees and I loved it as soon as I saw it. While it was a fairly predictable film, I was still tearing up by the end. It was a sweet story that tugs at your heartstrings, and it shows what it is like to be in the deaf community. It is available on Apple TV if you want to watch it and understand its beauty. Based on the 2013 French film, “La Famille Bélier,” “CODA” follows high schooler Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) who is a child of deaf adults (a CODA). She is the only person in her family who can hear, which leads to the constant reliance by her parents, Frank (Troy Kostur) and Jackie (Marilee Maitlin), and her brother Leo (Daniel Durant). Frank and Leo run a fishing boat and Ruby also works on the boat, mostly as the ears for what is happening. She has never seen her life outside of the family business. One day, she

notices her crush (Ferdia WalshPeelio) signing up for choir so she decides to join him. When the choir teacher (Eugenio Derbez) notices her talent, he pushes her to focus on singing. She grows to love singing and realizes that this is what she wants to do and she wants to go to Berklee College of Music. However, her family wants her to stay with the fishing business as they believe they can not survive without her. Frank and Leo are already dealing with serious money troubles with their boat and issues with the union, and they cannot deal with a change in their system. Ruby must decide if she is going to be with her family or follow her dreams. This is a very character driven film which means the film has to rely a lot on its actors. If the acting was not good, the film would have been written off as too cheesy or a glorified tv film. Luckily, this film does an excellent job with its casting. All of the deaf characters were played by actual deaf actors, which unfortunately cannot be said for the film’s French counterpart. I have to start by giving love to Troy Kotsur, who won an Oscar for his performance as Ruby’s father, Frank. He was a passionate man who would do anything for his family. We see him work everyday on his boat, fight at board meetings for better working conditions and express his love for his wife as if they only just got married. The scene where Frank first understands the beauty of Ruby’s voice is what broke me and shows Kotsur’s talented acting. I also really liked Emilia Jones acting as Ruby. She is being pulled by two worlds and she does not know where she fits in. She goes on a journey to find her voice, literally, and she learns to stand up for herself. She explains to her teacher


that she is always late because her family needs her, and she explains to her parents that she wants something more than a fishing boat. She grows more confident and she is relatable to anyone with a dream. I also enjoyed Marilee Maitlin’s performance as Ruby’s mother Jackie. Maitlin won an Oscar in 1987 for “Children of a Lesser God,” which made her the first deaf actor to win an Oscar. She has not done any prominent films since then due to a lack of options, but I want to see a lot more of her. In this film, she was the perfect caring mother. She was always willing to see her daughter’s point of view, leading to many heart to hearts between the two. She always supported her husband, but also wasn’t afraid to tell him straight if she questioned an idea of his, like changes in the fishing business. Her part was not that extravagant, but she still did a great job as a wonderful mother. I really enjoyed the simplicity

of this film. There were no huge twists or fancy effects. This was a film that was based a lot on conversations which grounded the film. You can feel like you know this family and even if you are not deaf, and you can relate to their situation. The choice between staying home or making a big life change can affect so many people, and that is what makes it easy to connect to this film. Some people did not like the film specifically because of the simplicity and the predictability was seen as a little boring. Personally, I believe that “CODA” is a straightforward film that does not need to try hard to reach people’s emotions. Not every film needs to be complex or dramatic. We see these four people who care so much and would do anything for each other. It was an emotional film because we see the issues deaf people have to face in life, such as running a boat without being able to hear what’s going on. I wanted Ruby to make ev-

eryone happy with her choices even though her parents could not understand her. I just wanted everyone in this film to be happy without feeling the need for sacrifice, which shows how well written the characters and story were. The beauty of this film is that it is timeless. There are some Best Picture winners that are so specific to their time they probably would have only won their year. There is nothing about “CODA” that makes it particularly specific for its time and I appreciate that. Anyone can enjoy this film because at the end of the day, it is a story about the importance of family and following your heart. I am really glad that this film won Best Picture so that more people will have an interest in seeing it. If you want to see a beautiful tale about gaining confidence and family, or you want to see some much needed representation of deaf people, watch “CODA” today.

The bloodless husk that is ‘Morbius’ By Sam Finbury staff

In the face of the masterfully designed entertainment domination conspiracy known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it’s difficult to recall the dark age that preceded the first Iron Man movie, when comics were silly nerd fodder and decade-spanning, multi-franchise Superhero macrocosms were laughable fantasy. In this “before time,” outside the secluded bubbles of the X-Men and Spider-Man series, the majority of superhero movies refrained from adapting the heavy hitters of the comic industry and opted for the characters that almost nobody knew or cared about: Blade, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Spawn, Catwoman and The Punisher. The heavy stink of embarrassment still surrounded the very idea of making superhero movies, so writers chose to adapt heroes who looked edgy and cool and who were obscure to the point that audiences could forget they were pulled from the pages of comic books. Their obscurity also allowed writers to do whatever they wanted with them, which is why the “Catwoman” movie has Catwoman literally sniff catnip and battle an evil Avon saleslady. These flicks were a litany of embarrassing club-footed messes (except Hellboy, which rules supreme), and while characters like Daredevil and the Punisher have found redemption in the MCU,

this grimy try-hard period of Superhero cinema serves reminder of the importance of substance over style. However, like the return of an eldritch evil thought vanquished, one last vestige of low-effort antihero movies has spasmed into theaters. “Morbius,” an adaption of “Morbius the Living Vampire,” everybody’s favorite Marvel hero, is the brainchild of, I assume, some Sony executive who was cryogenically frozen in 2002, recently thawed out, and decided it would be a good idea to lose the studio a lot of money. With all luck, they’ll put him back on ice soon. “Morbius” is the story of Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), a renowned scientist who injects himself with vampire bat DNA in order to cure his nondescript blood disease. As mad science is ought to do, his experiment goes awry, and he transforms into a vampire. He now possesses all of the powers of a vampire bat, such as a thirst for blood, echolocation, wingless flight and colored smoke trails that bleed off him when he jumps around. You know, like a real bat. To Morbius, his powers are a curse, but for his adopted brother Milo (Matt Smith), who takes the same serum, they become a dark blessing, and out of jealousy, spite or boredom, Milo begins a vampiric feeding frenzy. Morbius is forced to find a way to stop Milo and end the movie as quickly as possible so everyone can go home. Before you jump to conclusions, the presence of Jared Leto

is not an automatic negative. Sure, Leto is a pretentious stick bug of a man who runs a cult (look it up), but the Morbius character is also a snobbish weirdo, so the casting fits fairly well. Besides, though he’s not a good person, Leto is a good actor. However, Leto chose not to act in this film. Nobody did. Morbius’s placeholder love interest, played by Adria Arjona, behaves like she just walked onto the studio lot to ask for directions. Jared Harris, bless his heart, plays Morbius and Milo’s mentor and is clearly only hanging around the set to pay for some new addition to his house. The best performance belongs to Matt Smith, who also doesn’t care but decides to just have fun, grinning and hamming it up and even participating in an adorable dress-up dance montage. Even divorced from the performances, the “Morbius” concept doesn’t exactly lend itself to riveting cinema. Sure, nobody cared about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” either, and Marvel made them work, but the source material was still that of a team, with emotional backgrounds and quirky memorable style to build upon. Morbius is one Spider-Man side character without a rogues’ gallery, fan base or sense of style distinguishable from other grimdark antiheroes. It might have worked if they tried, but a lack of care runs in the marrow of “Morbius” to the point where the movie seems to have an antipathy for itself. I’m serious when I say that reading the Wikipedia plot sum-

mary for this movie and watching it are the same experience. This film has been edited down to vulture-picked bones, with all the jokes, heroic struggles, emotional depth, character growth and crucial plot stepping stones left gored on the cutting room floor. After Morbius becomes a vampire, the audience is subjected to the obligatory “hero figuring out their powers” scene. However, the director had a brunch to get to, so, rather than showing Morbius learning the ramifications of being a vampire slowly, allowing us to better connect with him, what follows is a ten-minute montage of Morbius describing what his powers are, as if he were preparing us for a quiz. This same expositional fate befalls Morbius and Milo’s friendship, Milo’s villainous intentions and basically anything that would have made the film slightly captivating. Of course, even a bad story can be saved by good stylism. Well, no, but let’s pretend it can because Morbius, if nothing else, is a character defined by gothic theming and horror elements. But “Morbius” never fails to fail completely, and this film, alongside being nauseatingly boring, is also hard to look at by virtue of the dark blue sunglass filter placed over every shot. This color grading, in combination with epileptic editing, random slow motion and obstructive mid2000s CGI smoke, makes “Morbius’” few piddling fight scenes utterly indecipherable. Although

what they are fighting about remains a mystery considering both Morbius and Milo are doomed to starve to death, living in an alternate universe where people are scarecrows full of asbestos. For those who didn’t catch that, this gothic hardcore vampire movie doesn’t feature any blood, gore or viscera, apparently striving for a family-friendly G rating. This level of backwards-shirted incompetence would be frustrating if I cared. But nobody does, not even the people that made “Morbius.” Despite seemingly gunning for a franchise, Morbius reeks of defeatism and obligation, a movie nobody asked for that exists because somebody on top floors at Sony said it should. The fact that it’s superficially connected to Marvel isn’t even upsetting. “Morbius” lacks enough impact to parasitically bring down any part of its greater cinematic universe. “Morbius” isn’t even a Marvel movie. It weakly tries to trick you into thinking it is, plastering the logo on posters, sneaking in little Spider-Man references and stapling on after-credits scenes that hint at sequels with forgotten Marvel side characters. But, this is a spin-off, the words “associated with” scrawled above the Marvel logo like fine print in some Faustian contract. But no, it’s a skin tag in the armpit of the MCU that can be blithely pinched off and discarded, ultimately rendering “Morbius’” meaninglessness its only real virtue.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 29, 2022

‘Elden Ring’s’ PVP is kinda broken right now By Stewart Huang editor

In my last article on “Elden Ring,” I hypothesized that its player vs. player (PVP) experience would feel very much like the one found in “Dark Souls 3” but with substantial improvements. Well, now that I have played “Elden Ring” for 200+ hours, I can say that this hypothesis is only half true at the moment. I still maintain that this game is the best game I’ve ever played, and its PVP is a substantial improvement in terms of its variety, but it is way too imbalanced even when compared to previous installments. Just like past entries, the multiplayer of “Elden Ring” consists of invasions and dueling. An Invasion is as it sounds: You can “invade” other players’ worlds as they’re going through the single-player campaign and try to kill them, a chaotic experience that is unfair by design since you can only invade people who are co-oping in this installment. Whereas dueling is a more controlled environment where two players agree to a one-on-one fight via summoning one player to another’s world. Many animations and sound effects were also carried over from “Dark Souls 3,” so people who have played that game will find the flow of combat of “Elden Ring” extremely similar. But this is pretty much where the similarities end.

One major problem with “Elden Ring’s” PVP is that there are many things that do too much damage too fast and too easily. There is a weapon skill called “Hoarfrost Stomp” that allowed players to create a large cone of ice that can almost one-shot people at the cost of very little resources, and it was highly spammable because the cast time was also decently fast. It was so overpowered, dominating both PVP and PVE, that it was finally nerfed about two weeks ago. But so many other weapons and skills can do the same thing if not even better. There’s “Moonveil,” a katana that shoots out magical beams of energy that come out lightning fast and do insane amounts of damage. There’s “Rivers of Blood,” also a katana, that unleashes a flurry of slashes that can bleed and stunlock you to death in one combo. Many dual-wielding bleed weapons have basically the same power: if you make a mistake and get hit by them, prepare to be stunned and bleed to death. Granted, “Dark Souls 3” also had horrible weapon balance, but even the best weapons can never one-shot or almost oneshot you. Now imagine facing two or three players using these overpowered strategies as an invader. You might squeeze out a win if you’re a “Souls” veteran using every tool at their disposal, but the truth is most players won’t stand any chance unless they’re also using the same weapons and skills. Even then the numbers advantage

is just too much to handle most of the time. And an environment where people are constantly being one-shot is just not fun anyway. On the flip side of things, some weapons and skills in comparison seem completely unviable, especially heavier weapons like great hammers and great axes. The point of these weapons is that they have lower attack speeds in exchange for high damage output, and so they are made basically irrelevant by the wildly over-tuned stuff that do way more damage at twice the speed. In addition, their movesets and speed have also been nerfed compared to the ones in “Dark Souls 3,” which is a weird choice given how they were already not very good and that almost everything else became way better in “Elden Ring.” By itself, this problem of weapons having too much damage is still not that bad, at least in duels. There is room for counterplay, and I live for the challenge of facing these weapons with inferior loadouts. Most people who abuse these things aren’t very good anyway. However, the problem is made worse by two broken mechanics: poise and a weapon skill called “Bloodhound Step.” Poise is a stat that allows you to tank through attacks without being staggered. In “Dark Souls 3,” poise only applies to select weapons (mostly the heavier weapons like the ones I mentioned previously) and only when attacking, but poise in “Elden Ring” applies

across the board: It doesn’t matter what weapon the player is using or whether they are attacking. With high amounts of poise, a character can remain uninterrupted for several attacks even by heavy weapons, which makes for very little counterplay. You can’t really punish your opponent’s attacks because they can just keep wailing at you while ignoring your own attacks. On the other hand, “Bloodhound Step” is a skill that allows a player to dash through a great distance while being invulnerable. It is highly spammable with little recovery time and low resource cost, so it acts as both a get out of jail free card and an insane tool for aggressive playstyles. It’s mind-boggling how something so absurdly powerful exists in this game—an inferior version of it is also present in “Dark Souls 3,” and it is already extremely overpowered. Now imagine going up against someone with not only oneshot weapons but also with high poise and “Bloodhound Step.” It is an utter nightmare to face, even in a dueling environment. With all this said, I still think the PVP experience of “Elden Ring” can be a ton of fun, even to the point of surpassing that of “Dark Souls 3,” with the right conditions. The first thing I would recommend is to stay clear of high-level (level 125 to 150) invasions, which is where you’re most likely going to encounter the broken stuff. I think low-lev-

el invasions roughly around level 30 to level 70 are probably the most balanced PVP experiences, disregarding the fact that you’re always outnumbered as an invader, with not too much damage and poise to worry about, though “Bloodhound Step” might still be somewhat of a problem. But I actually found dueling at high levels to be the most fun at this time with some amazing variety that “Dark Souls 3” cannot possibly match. Despite the existence of these overpowered strategies, most players I’ve met aren’t using them. Thanks to the sheer number of options available in “Elden Ring,” there are still a lot of fun loadouts that are very strong but fair, and there is still a ton of player innovation going on with how new the game is. Even when you inevitably fight a poise-stacking, dashing monster wielding “Rivers of Blood,” the fight is still an interesting one because it doesn’t come up that often. You’re also given a good challenge that pushes you to improve. So I think PVP in the form of dueling is the best the “Souls” franchise has to offer so far, and I am confident that PVP as a whole will only improve from here. The game is receiving regular updates, while most of the issues I outlined here are easily fixed by tweaking some numbers. I just hope it doesn’t take the devs too long to do so.


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