The Brandeis Hoot, 04-30-2021

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Volume 18 Issue 3

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

April 30, 2021

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Univ. search for new Chief of Public Safety By Roshni Ray and Victoria Morrongiello staff and editor

The university’s search committee for a new Chief of Public Safety is looking for a candidate who will be involved in reimagining what public safety is on campus, according to the job description posted for the position. Lois Stanley, Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations, spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about recent efforts in reimagining the role of Chief of Public Safety, public safety as a whole and their engagement with the Brandeis community. The Chief of Public Safety at the university is responsible for managing the university’s police department as well as the transportation services at the university, including the Branvan, other shuttle services offered and parking, according to the job description. The chief would be re-

sponsible for around 20 offices, two security officers, five parking monitors, all student workers of the Branvan as well as the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) and contracted shuttle company employees, according to the description. “This is a time of transformation for the BUPD and the institution. Great potential exists for this chief to make an impact on Brandeis for many years to come,”according to the description. The job description notes the university’s goal of reimaging public safety in order to address systemic racism on campus. The new chief would be taking into consideration the major themes for the future of public safety including transparency, relationship building with community members, differential response systems and the creation of a See PUBLIC SAFETY, page 4



New student union leadership discusses plans for year By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The Student Union President and Vice President for the 20212022 academic year are Krupa Sourirajan ’23 and Courtney Thrun ’22. Elections were held on April 7, with a record-breaking amount of student participation,

according to an email sent to the Brandeis community by Student Union Secretary Alex Park ’23. “I want students to know that our platform will forever be a work in progress,” Thrun wrote in an email to The Hoot. “We designed it with the expectation of new problems arising, and the hope that students will communicate with us what they want/

need to make their Brandeis experience as enjoyable as possible.” Sourirajan and Thrun’s platform was created with their peers and it will continue to be a collaboration with students going forward, wrote Sourirajan. “We will voice the concerns with the student body and make ourselves, along with the rest of the Union, available for students to

relay their concerns so that we can advocate on behalf of the student body,” she further explained. Sourirajan and Thrun ran on five different goals in their platform: increase mental health resources both on and off campus, hold the university accountable for supporting students, implement diversity, equity and inclusion education for all students,

continue to improve the Student Union structure and continue to foster strong relationships between students and administration. Thrun noted she hopes they make substantial progress in each of these categories. Specifically, Thrun wrote she would like to improve diSee UNION, page 2

Vaccinations required for all students in fall 2021 By Sabrina Chow editor


A student receives a COVID-19 vaccine from the university-run vaccine clinic.

Inside This Issue:

News: Students seek financial transparency. Ops: Seniors reflect on their time at Brandeis. Features: That Bitch Baking continues to shine. Sports: UAA cancels springs sports. Editorial: Hopes for Liebowitz’s next term.

Page 4 Page 13 Page 11 Page 4 Page 7


All students coming or returning to campus in fall 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized vaccine, according to an email sent to the Brandeis community by Provost and Executive President for Academic Affairs Carol Fierke, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Stew Uretsky and Vice President of Student Affairs Raymond Ou. Limited exemptions will be granted to students for medical or religious reasons. More guidance on this is

forthcoming, according to their website. “Vaccines will not enable us to end all additional health precautions and it is imperative that everyone continue following all COVID-19 protocols through the end of this semester as well,” reads the email. “However, a student community that is largely vaccinated will allow us to increase the in-person experiences that we are all longing for next semester.” Fully vaccinated students will have either received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according

Fast food


Our residential food critics provide their top fast food picks of the year!

Theater has virtually returned to campus with “The Lathe of Heaven.”





2 The Brandeis Hoot

April 30, 2021

COVID-19 Dashboards



IN THE SENATE: April 25, 2021 •

The Dining Committee told the senate that they were planning a Tik Tok inspired event in the dining halls on May 4. It would feature dishes from the popular app to be enjoyed before finals season. They also announced that the dining staff would be reviewing the survey results from earlier in the semester to improve student’s experiences and keep dining accountable.

The Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) Committee announced that they had placed an order for water bottle filling stations. The items would arrive in mid-May and be installed in the first year quads of Masell and North to replace existing ones and provide new ones to residence halls without.

The Facilities, Housing and Transportation Committee reported that they had ordered small plaques to be installed on Student Union projects completed throughout the academic year to increase their presence and accountability on campus.

The Senate unanimously passed five bylaws by acclamation during this meeting. The first bylaw passed, the Endorsement Bylaw, clarifies that members of the Allocations Board and the Judiciary members are unable to give endorsements to candidates during elections to maintain their a-political nature. The second bylaw passed, the Judiciary Office Hours Bylaw, changed the requirement for office hours from three office hours per week to office hours by appointment. The third, the Executive Board Bylaw, specifies what is expected from the Executive branch of the student union during their meetings. The fourth and fifth, were two Election Bylaws: the first one is an amendment meant to clarify the process of the election, clarifying timing for campaigns and expenses, while the second is an amendment to the first amendment.

The Senate introduced a Club Bylaw, to be voted on next week, which simplifies the wordiness of the current club support bylaws. This will assist in making them read easier and be simpler to understand instating a new tier system rather to organize clubs rather than the name order they have been using thus far.

The Senate passed, by way of a roll call vote, their budget for the next academic and fiscal year.

Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update April 29, 2021.

Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update April 29, 2021.

Student Union President and Vice President discuss goals for next year UNION, from page 1

versity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training on campus. She has already begun collaborating and strategizing with community members to tackle this issue. “My experience as Racial Minority Senator has shown me, and continues to show me, that these changes and improvements are not only possible, but are well within our reach,” wrote Thrun. Sourirajan wants to bring more support to clubs on campus, specifically Intercultural Center (ICC) clubs, wrote Sourirajan. She wants to make sure there is constant communication between the Student Union and club leaders in order to make sure that their needs are met. Sourirajan said she wants to “help direct the university on communications to students and more quality programming on campus.” As the university transitions back to in-person learning, Sourirajan wrote that she will be bringing concerns to the administration like she is currently doing in her role as Student Union Vice President.


She also plans to meet with Thrun in the summer to plan the structure of the Student Union so they can effectively handle the transition back to an in-person set up. Thrun wrote that they have plans for supporting students during the transition from online learning to in-person. Something she believes will be beneficial for students is increased mental health resources. Thrun noted


that students have been experiencing large amounts of stress from the changes being made and this has led to a negative impact on student’s mental health. “As [Sourirajan] and I move into our roles as President and Vice President of the Student Union, we are planning to increase the number of morale boosting events on campus, continue pushing for breaks during class to reduce burnout and fatigue, advocate

for higher quality wellness days, and many other things that will, hopefully, improve the mental well-being of the Brandeis student body as a whole,” wrote Thrun. Both Sourirajan and Thrun encouraged students to reach out if they have any questions. Sourirajan wrote that she is excited to advocate for students in her new position as Student Union president. Thrun also wrote that she is ex-


cited to take on the role as Student Union vice president and is thankful for the students who trusted her and Sourirajan in these positions. Sourirajan and Thrun ran against Nany Zhai ’22 and Ben Topol ’24 who ran together as president and vice president respectively. Sourirajan and Thrun received 377 votes making up 50.47 percent of the vote and Zhai and Topol received 351 votes making up 46.99 percent of the vote.

April 30, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Spring 2021 Student Union election fills 14 seats By Victoria Morrongiello, Luca Swinford and Thomas Pickering editors and staff

The second round of the Student Union Spring elections took place on April 21. The Student Union filled eight senator positions and five representative positions. Senate Joseph Coles ’22 won the Class of 2022 Senator position. Coles has two years of Senate experience and is excited about this role, says Coles. In an email to The Brandeis Hoot, Coles wrote, “I want to serve as a resource to new senators.” He also expressed enthusiasm for working with other members of the Senate. Coles says, “I’m also looking forward to working closely with Krupa [the Student Union President] on issues related to student life, dining and reforms of the Allocations Board. Two seats were open for the Class of 2023 Senator position. Running for the position were Yitong (Skye) Liu ’23, Griffin Stotland ’23, Emily Adelson ’23 and Vivian Mou ’23. Liu and Mou won the seats with 26.96 percent and 30.69 percent of the vote, respectively. In an interview with The Hoot, Mou shared her past experience with the Student Union and how it has taught her how to help students and contribute to the community. In her position, Mou wrote, “I want to offer all students in class 2023 the best college experience.” The Hoot Reached out to Liu for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publica-

tion. Two seats were open for the Class of 2024 Senator Position. Running for the position were Emanuel Cohen ’24, Asher Brenner ’24, Sofia Lee ’24, Audrey Sequeira ’24 and Ben Topol ’24. Lee and Sequeria won with 28.90 percent and 25.83 percent of the vote, respectively. The Hoot Reached out to Sequeira and Lee for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication. Ashna Kelkar ’24 won one of the Senator-at-Large seats. When asked about what we should know about her platform, Kelkar wrote to The Hoot, “I want people to know that I will always be a resource to them and advocate for them however I can!” Kelkar feels prepared for this position given her past year in the Senate, says Kelkar. Charlotte Li ’24 won one of the Senator-at-Large seats in the Senate. Li has two semesters of experience in this role and explains, “I ran for re-election because I love meeting new people of different backgrounds!” Li also expresses her hopes to collaborate with others in the Senate to make positive change at Brandeis next year. Other Maxwell Lerner ’23 was elected as the Representative for the Sustainability Fund. In an email to The Hoot, Lerner expressed his commitment to Brandeis students. “I do … want to push the board to further represent and support the students.” When asked about what he hopes to accomplish in this position, Lerner explains, “I want to dedicate my time on the board to making the campus as green and


student-driven as possible.” Two seats were open for the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) Representative position. Those in the running for the position were Jiale Hao ’22, Anthony Cai ’22, Carina Luo ’24 and Zhiyu Wang ’23. Luo and Wang both won with 30.33 percent and 20.08 percent of the vote, respectively. Luo shared in an interview with The Hoot that as an orientation leader she noticed aspects of Brandeis campus life that could be improved through CEEF actions. Luo noted that past CEEF projects such as the Branda app and condom dispensers were great past examples of what CEEF has done and how much more it can do. Luo encourages all students to voice their opinions on what projects CEEF can accomplish because “I said this while campaigning, and I will say it again: Brandeis students know what Brandeis needs best.”

Wang shared with The Hoot that as a person who greatly enjoys learning about projects and ideas on campus he wants to be assisting those projects by giving them the funding they need to complete their task. Knowing that the fall semester comes with great promise and change back to normal, Wang explained, “I envision the fall semester to be a perfect time to bring constructive changes to our campus, as many students return and in-person activities revive.” Daniel Hariyanto ’23 was elected as the Junior Alumni Board Representative. As a worker for the Hiatt Career Center and someone who values connections, Hariyanto explained that he is well equipped to gauge students’ professional needs and communicate that to involved alumni. “The challenge, though, is to communicate the needs of the students, whether it be professional opportunities or mentorship or exposure, to our alumni; I hope to be

that bridge.” Hariyanto will work to be an approachable representative so he may help all Brandeis students, and he stated one way that he wants to forge that connection is through his instagram @danielhariyanto_ where students can direct message him with ideas. Yael Trager ’24 was elected as the International Senator. Since she was 11, Trager has lived outside the United States in Amsterdam and London, which, as she explained to The Hoot, offers her the advantage of understanding how to bring international students’ voices to the mainstream. Her ideas include holding a sophomore orientation for all those who have not been on campus during this academic year and creating a database of multilingual therapists in the area. “I ran for this position because I have a strong desire to represent and amplify the voices of students who are not always heard in the Brandeis community.”

Univ. requiring all students to be vaccinated for fall 2021 semester VACCINATION, from page 1

to the website. The final dose of the vaccine must have been received at least two weeks prior to coming onto campus. Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are authorized by the U.S. FDA for use in the United States. The university is still evaluating how non-FDA vaccinations will be treated, especially for international students that may have received non-FDA approved vaccines, according to their website. Additional guidance will be provided closer to the beginning of the fall semester.

Incoming students will have the ability to upload their completed vaccination card to the Brandeis Campus Passport within a week of creating their Brandeis emails and will also be asked to provide a record of vaccination on their Health Center health report. Returning students can upload vaccination records to the Brandeis Campus Passport, according to the email. Students that participated in on-campus vaccine clinics will not need to take additional steps to provide a record of vaccination. The university will be offering another vaccine clinic with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Wednesday, May 5 for current

students who missed the initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine clinic on campus, according to email. Students may also sign up for a first or second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during the upcoming vaccine clinic on May 13 through May 16. Students receiving their first shot at this clinic will be required to seek out their second dose on their own. Vaccine clinics will be held on campus weekly throughout the spring and summer “to provide a convenient and equitable way for community members to receive the vaccine,” according to the email. The university will also be hosting on-campus vaccination clinics WAITING

Students wait for 15-min after getting their shot

at the beginning of the fall semester for students who are unable to get vaccinated any earlier, according to their website. Students that are vaccinated through these clinics will have limited access to campus spaces and facilities until they are fully vaccinated, which could take up to six weeks after their initial shot. The university is still evaluating vaccination requirements for faculty and staff but has “strongly encouraged” all employees of the university to get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to the website. All faculty and staff are now able to sign up for vaccina-


tions through the university’s vaccine clinics, according to an April 29 email sent to the Brandeis community by Morgen Bergman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives and director of the COVID-19 vaccination program at Brandeis. The university announced plans to re-open campus for an “in-person experience” for students in fall 2021 according to an email sent out on March 16 by members of the senior administration. A majority of classes will be taught in-person while continuing to utilize physical distancing measures.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 30, 2021

Univ. discusses timeline for hiring new Chief of Public Safety PUBLIC SAFETY, from page 1

community advisory group, according to the description. “This new leader will lead a pivotal strategic planning process for the Department of Public Safety, creating a shared vision of the role and mission of the department as well as developing a true sense of positive and proactive engagement with students and other constituencies,” according to the description. The search committee was launched in October 2020, though the search itself was not officially launched until January 2021, according to the timeline on the university’s Chief of Public Safety Search Process page. The search committee received training that helps identify biases within searches as well as in the public safety environment both at Brandeis and nationwide, according to the page. The finalized job description was made in February

2021 and active recruitment has taken place since. Confidential first round interviews were conducted in April 2021, the candidates selected were then given to the hiring authority Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Stanley, according to the timeline. Community interviews of the candidates will begin in May 2021, and the new chief of police is set to take over in either June or July of 2021. Having surveyed student, faculty, stakeholder and university partner sentiments on the function of the Public Safety and analyses of critical metrics, the Reimagining Team has developed a comprehensive plan to evolve the role of Public Safety, Stanley explained. The input stems from 19 community check-ins and Listening Sessions, 25 interviews from campus partners and activists and interviews with Public Safety

members. Feedback from the 250 participants of the Listening Sessions indicated the desire for the university policing force to better integrate with the campus community in hopes of sharing a common vision for the safety of university constituents, said Stanley. Campus participants emphasized a need for Public Safety to understand Brandeis’s history and core values. Stakeholders such as The Board of Trustees, senior administrators, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and student groups including the Black Action Plan, a student group seeking structural change at Brandeis, and Undergraduate/Graduate Student Unions conveyed a need for more transparency and clarity in the Public Safety role and greater engagement with key partners, said Stanley. They emphasized the need for Public Safety to deviate from portraying a militaristic po-

lice appearance, surveillance and culture. Among several major themes generated from the brainstorming process was the need to delegate responsibilities across departments. According to analyses of incoming calls to Public Safety, around 72 percent of calls were not law enforcement-related. Nearly 30 percent of callers could have been served by individuals with some training and almost 50 percent of callers could have been helped by Community Living, Facilities or other staff. A prospective solution to this problem is to improve call redirection technology to better match a community member’s immediate needs with the service most suited to help them. Other ways in which community feedback can be implemented include developing an effective way of communicating complaints and commendations and a publicly available website

detailing policies, protocol, training and data metrics to enhance transparency. Stanley expressed optimism about the search for the new Chief of Public Safety, saying that many candidates align well with the vision of the Reimagining Team. She notes that while the new responsibilities of the chief are extensive, the combined efforts of the community members and key campus partners will make the transition smooth and effective. “If any school is going to be a model, it’s going to be [Brandeis],” she adds. A search input form is also available on the university’s Chief of Public Safety Search Process page, where community members can put in input or questions regarding the committee’s selection process, according to the page. The search committee consists of 11 faculty members, three undergraduate students and two graduate students.

Students seek financial transparency from univ. administration

On Monday April 19th, printouts of pairs of eyes were posted to the main entrance of the Bernstein Marcus Administration Center. They removed the following day. On one pair, flames were drawn with the word “Divest.” DIVEST

Written on some of the eyes included “We demand fossil fuel divestment,” “We demand climate justice” and “We see you.” BCJ

The 10 plagues and “Financial Transparency Now” were written in Hebrew outside the administration buildings on April 2. PLAGUES

A petition signed 278 students, 9 staff members, 30 alumni and 24 signatures of all others concerned demanding financial transparency by the university. PETITION



April 30, 2021

The Brandeis Hoot 5

The wins keep on coming for softball, Nash and Goldman awarded UAA Athlete of the Week By Justin Leung editor

After winning their first eight games of the season, the Brandeis Judges softball team proceeded to win another four games over the weekend to push their winning streak to 12 games and make their record 12-0. In the first of the four games over the weekend, the Judges faced Salem State University on April 23. The Judges proceeded to claim victory easily with a score of 8-0. Brandeis did not score for the first two innings, but they scored one run in the third inning when center fielder Melissa Rothenberg ’21 hit a double causing left fielder Bridget Cifuni ’21 to score. The Judges scored an additional three runs in the fourth inning and four

more in the fifth inning. Cifuni had an interesting day as she did not have a single registered at bat. She walked three times in the game and scored two runs. Starting pitcher Sydney Goldman ’22 continued to be elite. Goldman allowed zero runs and only one hit in the complete game shutout. She also struck out 11 out of the 16 batters that she faced. This puts Goldman 5-0 on the season. Game two against Salem State was closer, as the Judges won with a score of 4-2. The team was led by solo home runs from Rothenberg and third baseman Haley Nash ’24. Starting pitcher Rebecca Guerci ’24 was solid in her seven innings of work. Guerci struck out only two batters but also only allowed four hits. On April 24, the Judges had two games against Johnson & Wales

University. In the first game, Brandeis claimed victory, winning 5-2. The Judges scored two runs in the second and third innings and refused to give the lead up after that. Left fielder Alex Cohen ’24 had an incredible day at the plate. Cohen hit two solo home runs in the game. The first one was in the third inning and it was to right field. Her second home run in the fifth inning was to left field and put the Judges up 5-0. Nash also had a home run in the game. She also added two walks to her day. Goldman pitched a solid game. She pitched a complete game and allowed only two runs on six hits. This win puts her record at 6-0 for the season. In their final game of the weekend, the Judges had a convincing victory against Johson & Wales. The Judges scored 12 runs on


eight hits and allowed only one run, leading to a 12-1 win. In the top of the first inning, Johnson & Wales started off strong and had a run and the lead going into the bottom of the first inning. However, that lead would not last as the Judges proceeded to score six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Rothenberg started the game off with a walk and infielder Marley Felder ’22 proceeded to follow with a run scoring double. Felder would end the game with two hits and four runs batted in (RBI). Nash and infielder Alyssa Renskers ’22 also had two runs batted in RBIs in the game. The Judges were clearly working good at bats as they had 11 walks in the game. Cohen pitched the first three innings and only allowed two hits and one run. Pitcher Chandra Penton ’23 pitched the final two innings and allowed zero runs on four hits. At this game, the Judges also honored Cifuni with a Senior


Day celebration. Other seniors Rothenberg and Fujita will return for the Judges next year as graduate students. The Judges continued their excellence this past weekend with four wins. Both hitting and pitching were stellar over the weekend as there were a combined 29 runs scored in four games and only five runs allowed. So far, the Judges have not allowed more than two runs in a game. Nash and Goldman were named University Athletic Association Athletes of the week for the week of April 27. Goldman was named UAA softball pitcher of the week for the third week in a row. Nash was on fire during the week. She got a hit, scored a run and drove in a run during every game of the week. On May 2, the Judges hope to continue this season’s success when playing a doubleheader against Tufts University.

Track and field defeats UMass Dartmouth

By Francesca Marchese staff

The Judges traveled to UMass Dartmouth last weekend to compete in their first track and field meet on the road this season. The Brandeis University men’s and women’s track and field teams edged out their opponent in the dual competition, as the men won by a small margin of three points, 86-83, while the women beat UMass Dartmouth 100-72. Individually, the men took the gold in nine events on the day and the women finished first in 11 of the day’s events; many Judges also


recorded many personal bests in this incredibly successful weekend. The Brandeis University women captured all but one of the running events and took first in all of the jumping events. Anna Touitou ’22 finished first in the 100-meter dash and ran the lead leg of the winning 4x100-meter relay. Rookie runners Ianna Gilbert ’24, Alya Campbell ’24 and Devin Hiltunen ’22 completed the winning quartet relay team. Gilbert also found success in the high jump event, as she recorded a lifetime best height of 1.37 meters. Campbell won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.44 seconds, a personal record for her,

as well as the second fastest in the UAA this season. Additionally, Campbell PRed in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:10.76. Hiltunen won the 200-meter dash in 26.69 seconds and was runner-up in the 400-meter with a time of 1:01.20, recording the eighth fastest time in the conference this season. The Judges found even more success as senior leader Andrea Bolduc ’21 edged out her teammate Natalie Hattan ’22 in the 800-meter run by a quarter of a second, 2:22.53 to 2:22.78, which were both personal records. Rookie runner Juliette Intrieri ’24 won the 1,500-meter run with a time of 5:17.03. Lydia Harris ’21 won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and followed up her performance by anchoring the winning 4x400 meter relay, along with Elizabeth Korn ’24, Gilbert and Hattan. Rounding out the day were Gabrielle Tecatin ’22 who took first in the long jump, recording a distance of 4.07 meters and freshman Jordan LaPierre ’24 who captured the triple jump at 9.38 meters. The Brandeis Judges men’s track and field team began with graduate student Jack Allan ’20/MA ’21 continuing his season with two more individual victories in addition to a relay win. Allan took the 200-meter dash in 22.61 seconds, which was the eighth best in the UAA this season; Furthermore, Allan won the long jump, recording a distance of 6.77 meters and anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay. Rookie Zack Goldstein


’24, Jamie O’Neil ’22 and Domenic Raphael ’21 also contributed to the 4x100-meter relay victory. Goldstein also won individually in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.45 seconds, putting him in the top 15 in the University Athletic Association, in addition to recording a personal best. Another personal record time was recorded for junior Jacob Grant ’22, as he captured the 400-meter dash in 51.85 seconds. Aaron Baublis ’21 took the gold in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.32 seconds. Breylen Ammen ’21 took


the pole vault with an impressive height of 3.90 meters and Parker Jones ’24 jumped the furthest in the triple jump with a distance of 11.66 meters. Rounding out the wins for the day was the final relay team, composed of O’Neil, Taylor Diamond ’23, Raphael and Grant, who all posted a time of 3:39.06, beating the UMass Dartmouth team by 15 seconds. The Judges return to the track one last time for the spring season on May 8 to take on the Tufts Jumbos.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 30, 2021

Baseball finishes season strong

By Jesse Lieberman staff

After seeing their eight-game winning streak come to an end, the Brandeis baseball team had two spectacular offensive performances as the team won both games during the week of April 18. The Judges defeated Framingham State University 21–11 on Sunday, April 18, and won 9–1 against Anna Maria College on Wednesday, April 21. With these two wins, the Judges move up to 10-3 on the season. Sunday, April 18: Judges: 21, Framingham St.: 11 Josh Garber (GRAD) tossed five innings and sophomore Drew Michaud ’23 had a career-high four hits as the Judges avenged their two losses to the Rams on April 15. Leading 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Judges sent 19 hitters to the plate, scoring 15 runs on 10 hits. Michaud had two singles in the inning, driving in three runs. The Rams would score eight unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but it was not enough. Michaud ended the afternoon going 4-for-4 with five runs batted in and three runs scored. It’s Michaud’s third multi-hit game of his career and first this season. His five runs batted in tied a career high he set last season on March 8, 2020, against Western New England University. Every Judges starter had at least one run batted in (RBI). Brian King ’23 had his fourth multi-hit game on the season, going 3-for4 and scoring three times. Sam Nugent ’23 and Steven Simon ’23 each added two hits. Garber allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits over five in-

nings as he picked up his second win of the season. Garber rebounded after lasting just two and one-third innings in his previous start on April 10 against Johnson and Wales University. Zak Summy ’23 made his season debut in relief of Marc Maestri ’22. Summy entered the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs, striking out the Rams leadoff hitter to end the inning. Fellow sophomore Christian Tejada ’23 retired the Rams in order in the ninth.

Wednesday, April 21: Judges 9: Anna Maria: 1 (Final 5) Tim Lopez ’20/MA ’21 pitched five innings and Dan Frey ’21 had two hits as the Judges defeated Anna Maria in a game shortened due to rain and lightning. After the Amcats cut the Judges’ lead to 2-1 in the top of the third inning, the Judges batted around in the bottom half of the inning, scoring six runs on three hits. Following Luke Hall’s ’21 walk to load the bases, Frey doubled to left, bringing in Nugent and Mike Khoury ’21. Despite getting outhit nine to five by Anna Maria, the Judges drew six walks and were hit by pitches twice. Frey had a teamhigh with two hits and two RBIs. Frey’s third-inning double was his eighth of the season, also a teamhigh. Frey also swiped his sixth stolen base in the fourth. Hall scored two runs, as he drew two walks and got hit by a pitch. Lopez earned his third win of the season, allowing nine hits and striking out two. Lopez was efficient, throwing just 73 pitches and issuing no walks. Lopez allowed only one extra-base hit, a solo homer in the third. Hall Awarded UAA Baseball Hitter of the Week Hall has been at the center of

the Judges’ success this season. The senior catcher has started all 15 games, helping guide the team to a 12-3 record. Hall played an integral role in a doubleheader sweep over the Lasell Lasers Saturday April 24, as the Judges won the first game 22-1, and the finale 6-2. Hall continued his hot hitting, as he had three extra-base hits including a two-run homer while also scoring four runs in the doubleheader. Hall’s strong performance earned him his second University Athletic Association (UAA) Baseball Hitter of the Week for the week ending April 24. Including the Judges’ 9-1 win against Anna Maria on April 21, Hall reached base in eight of his 11 plate appearances while scoring six times this past week. Hall is tied with a team-high 17 hits, including three home runs, and has a 0.362 batting average.

Saturday April 24, Game 1: Judges 22, Lasell: 1 (Final 7 innings) Classmates Khoury, Hall and Darren Bates ’21 all homered, and the Judges used a 13-run third inning as they cruised in the first game of the doubleheader. Up 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third, the Judges sent 19 hitters to the plate, mashing 10 hits. This is the second time this season the Judges have had 19 batters hit in an inning, doing so against Framingham St. in a 21-11 win on April 18. Khoury hit a solo homer and senior infielder Isaac Fossas drove in four runs on two doubles in the inning. The Judges would add five more runs in the fourth, with Hall blasting a two-run homer and Bates hitting a pinch-hit threerun homer, which was the first of his career. Graduate student Greg Tobin



’20/MA ’21 pitched six innings, allowing one run on six hits while striking out five. Tobin earned his third win of the season and twelfth of his career. It is Tobin’s third straight start of six innings and allowing three or fewer runs. In total, the Judges outhit the Lasers 20-6. Eight Judges had at least two hits, with Hall leading the way with three. Saturday April 24, Game 2: Judges: 6, Lasell: 2 (Final 7 innings) King and Isaac Fossas ’21 each hit two-run homers and sophomore Asher Kaplan ’23 tossed six and two-thirds innings as the Judges completed the doubleheader sweep. Trailing 6-1 and down to their last out in the seventh, the Lasers mounted a rally. After an error and a single, the Lasers’ center-fielder hit a line drive to right field for an RBI-single, cutting the lead to 6-2. Tejada relieved

Kaplan, walking the first hitter he faced to load the bases before getting the Lasers’ designated hitter to strike out looking to end the game. After both teams scored a run in the first inning, graduate student Victor Oppenheimer ’20/ MA ’21 led off the second with a walk. King followed by hitting his first-career homer, giving the Judges a 3-1 lead. The Judges added two more in the third on Fossas’s third homer of the year. With the homer, Fossas leads the Judges with 19 runs batted in. Kaplan earned his third win of the season, putting him in a tie with Tobin and Lopez for the team lead. Kaplan had a season-high seven strikeouts, allowing two runs on six hits. Kaplan’s outing was his third consecutive start pitching at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs. With that, the Judges wrap up their spring season for 2021 with an impressive 12-3 record.

Senior day, UAA honors and more for Brandeis tennis teams this week By Matt Shapiro staff

It was a busy week for tennis across Brandeis! For starters, Lauren Bertsch ’21 and Anupreeth Coramutla ’21 were both named UAA Athletes of the week for the second and third time, respectively. Each captained their team to victories in the matches played this week, closing out their time on the Brandeis varsity tennis team in convincing fashion. Coramulta found himself on the wrong side of a 5-7, 2-6 match to first-ranked Boris Sorkin from Tufts Universi-


ty. The New Jersey native did win his doubles match 8-5, teaming up with Colt Tegtmeier ’22 to give the Judges the all important 2-1 lead against the Jumbos. Bertsch also won in her doubles match by the same 8-5 margin, while also continuing onto a 6-3, 6-1 victory at number one singles. In her last ever home match, which was played against Bentley University, Bertsch led her team to a 9-0 crushing of the Judges’ crosstown rivals. Brandeis Women’s Tennis vs. Bentley University Falcons, 9-0 On senior day, the Judges swept the Bentley University Falcons


9-0 to improve to 2-1 on the season. The Judges honored seniors Bertsch, Isabel Cepeda ’21 and Rachel Zubrinsky ’21 for their commitment to the team throughout their four years at Brandeis. The duo of Ana Hatfield ‘22 and rookie Ella Subramanian ’24 took a decisive 8-2 victory over Bentley’s Zoe Chin and Remi Lesage at second doubles. The Judges followed that performance by taking the next two matches 8-5 at first doubles (Bertsch/Cepeda) and 8-6 at third doubles (Olivia Howe ’22/Nikita Salkar ’24), to start the match off with a 3-0 lead. The Judges also swept all six sin-


gles to shut out the Falcons, winning in straight sets in all matches. Cepeda lost just one game against Libby Keefe from Bentley at fifth singles, winning 6-0, 6-1. Hatfield also easily won at second singles against Makena Romagnano, 6-1, 6-1. Salkar and Subramanian both won their matches 6-0, 6-4 at third and fourth singles, respectively. Bertsch and Howe had the closest matches of the day, winning 6-3, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-3 at first and sixth singles, respectively. The Judges will end their shortened 2021 season with a match against Williams College on Saturday, May 8.


Brandeis Men’s Tennis vs. Tufts University Jumbos, 6-3 The third-ranked men’s tennis team in NCAA Regional Rankings picked up a victory over the fourth-ranked Tufts University. The Jumbos got off to an early lead with a win at third doubles, where Rajan Vohra ’21 and Simon Kauppila ’23 lost to Nike Hereford and Rishabh Sharda 5-8. However, wins at first (Adam Tzeng ’22 and Jeff Chen ‘22) and second doubles (Coramutla and Tegtmeier) 8-6 and 8-5, respectively, by the Judges helped put them in the lead after doubles play. Boris Sorkin from Tufts University, the number one ranked singles player in the Northeast, beat third-ranked Coramutla 7-5, 6-2 at number one singles to even the score out. Rookie Dylan Walters ’24 was the only Judge with a straight-set victory in singles against the Jumbos, winning 6-3, 6-2 at fifth singles. Tzeng and Chen both came back to win their matches after losing the first set at second and third singles, respectively. Tzeng beat Isaac Gorelik 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, while Chen beat Sharda 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. Tegtmeier also won at sixth singles after winning the first set, 6-2, 3-6, 106. Kauppila lost 4-6, 3-6 at fifth singles. The Judges improve to 4-1 on the season and will take on the Bridgewater State Bears at home on April 29.


April 30, 2021

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

Editors-in-Chief Sabrina Chow Natalie Fritzson Managing Editor John Fornagiel Copy Editor Madeline Rousell News Editor Victoria Morrongiello Deputy News Editors Tim Dillon Arts Editors Aaron LaFauci Emma Lichtenstein Deputy Arts Editors Stewart Huang Caroline O Opinions Editor Sasha Skarboviychuk Deputy Opinions Editors Abdel Achibat Thomas Pickering Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Deputy Features Editor Emily Chou Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg Deputy Sports Editor Justin Leung Photos Editor Grace Zhou Deputy Photos Editor Teresa Shi Deputy Social Media Editor Anya Lance-Chacko

Volume 18 • Issue 3 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Jonathan Ayash, Lucy Fay, Sam Finbury, Uma Jagwani, Zach Katz, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Francesca Marchese, Claire Odgen, Mia Plante, Harper Pollio-Barbee, Roshni Ray, Mike Richard, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, Jahnavi Swamy, Luca Swinford, 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.

SUBMISSION POLICIES The Brandeis Hoot welcomes letters to the editor on subjects that are of interest to the community. Preference is given to current or former community members and The Hoot reserves the right to edit or reject submissions. The deadline for submitting letters is Wednesday at noon. Please submit letters to along with your contact information. Letters should not exceed 500 words. The opinions, columns, cartoons and advertisements printed in The Hoot do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board.

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GIVE A HOOT, JOIN THE HOOT! Writers, editors, photographers and graphic artists wanted to join The Brandeis Hoot, your weekly community newspaper. To learn more, send us an e-mail at, or visit our website

UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS We welcome unsolicited submissions from members of the community sent by e-mail to Please limit submissions to 800 words. All submissions are subject to editing.


The Brandeis Hoot 7

Looking back and forwards on Liebowitz’s presidency

fter succeeding interim president Lisa M. Lynch as the ninth president of the university in 2016, the Board of Trustees has approved President Ron Liebowitz for another five year contract. The period of negotiation was tumultuous, with the Board of Trustees originally offering Liebowitz a single year extension, which he rejected, according to a previous Hoot article. During the course of the drama, The Boston Globe revealed that the president’s base salary was nearly $800,000 per year. It is good that this figure has come to light, as it provides a concrete, layman's value by which to judge the president’s feats and failures in our eyes. Liebowitz will continue to be here after everyone on the current editorial board graduates, so we, the editorial of The Brandeis Hoot, have opted to dedicate this last editorial to examine what he’s done during this first term and lay out our hopes for his next. Liebowitz has accomplished several feats since his succession. His largest accomplishment was detailing and developing the “Framework for the Future,” which was announced in 2018, to help set a goal and direction for the university in the coming years, according to a previous Hoot article. He also increased fundraising efforts by 15 percent in the fiscal year 2019 (FY19) and secured the largest endowment professorship. In a similar vein, he secured the largest single gift to the endowment in an effort

to support and bolster student financial aid. Second, he pioneered diversity efforts on campus by hiring the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Mark Brimhall-Vargas. With Liebowitz at the helm, the university has also met and even surpassed its goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, beating the 2020 baseline with a 14 percent reduction in carbon emissions. There are many students and advocates, however, that argue that the university is barely performing above the bare minimum necessary to placate international standards for combating the climate crisis. In 2016, prior to Liebowitz’s arrival, a Climate Action Plan was developed that outlined the steps and goals that the university would take to address climate change on campus. Under Liebowitz’s leadership, the university has begun to implement recommendations provided in this plan. The recent President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability has officially set an updated 2020 Climate Action Plan for approval to the Board of Trustees. We hope that Liebowitz recognizes and implements the recommendations provided in this updated plan so the university can do their part in slowing the effects of climate change. This spring, students created a petition demanding financial transparency from Liebowitz and from the rest of the administration. The petition garnered almost 300 sig-

natures from students, plus some additional responses from staff, alumni and “all else concerned.” The organizers of this petition went as far as writing out the 10 plagues, in Hebrew, in chalk outside of Liebowitz’s office during the week of Passover this year. Not everyone has been a fan of Liebowitz, so he will have to work hard in his next five years to regain the favor and trust of the students. So where do we go from here? The president of our university should be advocating for the changes that students have been demanding. He should be listening to these demands and taking them seriously because these are the members of our community. In an effort to address the ongoing movement for racial justice occurring in the United States, Liebowitz should also push the administration to hire more instructional faculty of color to better meet students’ needs and diversify the university’s pedagogy. There is more to being the public face of this institution than securing large donations and announcing future plans for the university. Going forward, it is our sincere hope that Liebowitz will make an effort to make himself more accountable to the undergraduate and graduate student body and work harder towards making his plans a reality. Editor’s Note: Sabrina Chow and Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing or editing of this editorial.

A heartfelt thank you to The Brandeis Hoot

We, the Editors-in-Chief of The Brandeis Hoot, are sad to announce that this will be the last issue of the 2020-2021 academic year. Entering our freshman years at Brandeis, who could have predicted that our senior year would be marked by a global pandemic and online classes? Like the class of 2020, we were unable to have the same senior year experiences as the classes before us were able to. Nonetheless, we made best use of the circumstances that were presented to us. We are proud to have been a part of this newspaper for the past four years amidst all the chaos and did our due diligence in reporting on

the happenings of the Brandeis community. The Hoot is for, by and about the Brandeis community, and we have spent the past four years ensuring that the greater Brandeis community stays informed. Even as we move on and graduate from Brandeis in May, we will carry the memories and friendships formed at The Hoot into our future endeavors. We would like to thank the editorial board and all of our staff for continuing all their hard work during these unprecedented times. Producing a newspaper every week while also juggling classes and other extracurriculars requires commit-

ment and is not always easy, especially in the Zoom world. We appreciate the time and energy you have dedicated to this paper. You have made The Hoot an organization that both of us are proud of, and we know that you will continue to impress us even after we have graduated. We have no doubt that the upcoming leadership will continue the legacy set forth by our founders over 15 years ago. Sabrina Chow ’21 and Natalie Fritzson ’21 Editors-in-Chief, 2020-2021

Letter to the editor: this senior is grateful In response to an opinions piece published last week, "These seniors are really pissed." I, too, see large tour groups walking by the Shapiro Campus Center, but I have a very different thought as they pass: I am so grateful that campus tours are back. I am grateful because the return of campus tours reminds me that other students will have the opportunity to experience life at Brandeis, to sharpen their intellects and refine their characters. Here, they will live

through personal, professional and moral triumphs as well as failures. They will make new friends, find experienced mentors and construct networks of supportive peers. I am grateful because it means that our university forges on, despite the formidable institutional, financial and greater societal challenges it faces. Finally, I am grateful because I know how hard the administration, Student Union and university staff will work on the students’ behalf,

often without their knowledge. This past summer, it was not at all clear that we would be returning to campus for our last year of college, yet here we are. While graduation may not take place in its ideal form, and perhaps more could, indeed, have been done for our senior class, it is worth remembering just how lucky we are to be here this year and how fortunate we have been to attend this great institution, Brandeis University. -Benji Schwartz

8 The Brandeis Hoot



Period Activists at ‘Deis (PAD) hosting a tabling for sustainable period products.



Students enjoying the warm weather at a Farmer’s Market during Earth Week.


The Stein re-opened as Sal’s Pizza this past fall.



April 30, 2021

A student receives the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the Brandeis vaccine clinic.



If only the outside rink worked out.




April 30, 2021


The editorial board had our last editor’s meeting of the academic year. Congratulations to our graduating seniors Natalie, Sabrina, Aaron and Sophie!


Editor Emma enjoying the sunshine.



John trying all the salsas found at the grocery store

SENIORS Congratulations




to all our graduating editors!


The Brandeis Hoot 9

Thomas & Victoria hunting squirels


10 The Brandeis Hoot


April 30, 2021

‘Life in beauty: From Business to Art and Philanthropy,’ a conversation with Leonard Lauder By Jahnavi Swamy staff

The leading skincare, makeup and cosmetics company Estée Lauder was founded in 1946. Estée Lauder’s son, Leonard Lauder, joined the company in 1958. He created one of the industry’s first research and design laboratories. Lauder acquired many brands including Mac, Bobbi Brown and Aveda, gaining a reputation as one of the world’s greatest marketers. In the panel “A Life in Beauty: From Business to Art and Philanthropy,” Leonard Lauder

said the lasting lesson he gained from his mother Estée Lauder was the importance of the quality of a product. When asked about what makes a good business leader, Lauder offered three key insights. First, he said “great business leaders focus on one thing: trust.” According to Lauder, for a leader to be successful in business they must be able to instill trust in their work, products and ability to deliver. Second, he advised, “If you can bring your team together you are a good leader.” As described in his book, “The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty,” Lauder and his company

frequently took van trips to their stores in order to bring brands together and collaborate. Third, he spoke about the importance of being a good listener. On his visits to different stores he would carefully listen to people and determine who would be best for each brand based on their analytical skills. Lauder is highly regarded as a “chief teaching officer” by many of his employees. He teaches a brand equity course in his company, aiming to share the knowledge he has acquired over the years. His method of teaching focuses on the assessment of why something failed.

Lauder expressed a strong belief that “you’ll learn more from failure than you’ll learn from success.” Lauder also highlighted how social media has reduced barriers to entry in the beauty industry. He noted that in the past individuals needed a lot of money to get started in cosmetics, but now it is possible to be successful with just a good idea. Lauder remarked that social media has brought the introduction of new people who “threaten the powers” of the past. Lauder has made significant contributions to the art world and is passionate about his art

collections. He is part of the leadership of the Whitney Museum of American Art and has also donated his cubist collections to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lauder stressed that he collects art to preserve it, not to possess it. He believes that art should belong to the people and plans for his collections to be conserved in museums. “Museums are known by the power of their collections,” said Lauder. With this analogy, expressed his advice for students going into business. Lauder asked students to think “If you want to go into business what will you be famous for?”

Brandeis’s first, but hopefully not last, Craft Market By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away so much, art has persevered. The many various people—both buyers and sellers—at the Craft Market prove just that. The Craft Market was one of the many events that made up this year’s Festival of the Arts. It took place on both the afternoon of Tuesday, April 27 and the evening of Thursday, April 29 in Fellows Garden. This exhibition in particular was run by Sam Forman ’21, the Program Assistant for the Festival. Though this is technically Forman’s second Festival, it was his first time running it in person, as he was hired last fall to help out with Living Room Fest. “One of the focuses of this festival is giving,” Forman said in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. “I really hope that [Craft Market] is a space where the creativity of the community can come out again.” His hopes were definitely fulfilled. Over a dozen artists sold work between the two days of Craft Market. There was a slew of goods up for grabs, from paintings to bread to soap to earrings. Each artist seemed to be thrilled to be able to sell to people face-toface, to be able to showcase their art once again. The Hoot was able to speak with six of the sellers, all of whom had nothing but nice things to say about the Craft Market and Festival of the Arts. There were two staff members


selling their crafts. Dennis Hicks, the Director of Student Activities, was out in the booths selling his large variety of homemade products. He had soaps, showergels, lip balms, beard oils, body butters and more. Hicks expressed joy of being able to show off his talent and sell his products. “I always wanted to sell on campus,” he said, but working as the Director of Student Activities was a busy job. Aaron Needle was the other Brandeis staff member, a guard at the Rose Art Museum—the lead gallery attendant, according to his bio from Arts@Brandeis.

“Because of the pandemic, I haven’t been able to be in a craft show for over a year,” Needle explained, following by saying he typically did about five a year, making the Craft Market a rare and appreciated experience. Needle sold stunning cards, covered in elaborate artwork and filled with blank pages. Needle wanted to “make a card that looked like a book” to “inspire people to do more writing in them.” Also selling cards was Anya Shire-Plumb ’22. She sold a set of five postcards, all decorated in gorgeous watercolor imagery of Italy, as well as prints of a house

across her street. Shire-Plumb mentioned going abroad to Italy twice, each time enjoying detailing the landscapes, creating so much art that she had a collection. “There should’ve been a craft fair for years,” she passionately expressed, “It’s crazy that this is the first one!” She continued, “The Arts at Brandeis is really understated at Brandeis,” and called the Craft Market a way to “show that art is still alive at Brandeis.” Ashley Young ’22 sold stickers and tote bags with her “signature” paper crane design, blocked in bright primary colors. “I always had a thing for paper cranes … [they’re] kinda my signature at this point,” she explained. As an artist and a good friend of Forman, she wanted to be a part of this fair the second she heard about it. “I’m excited because it’s a community opportunity for Festival of the Arts … an opportunity to share our art with Brandeis.” Young’s artwork is also currently featured in Usdan, an eight-part panorama collection. Selling accessories was Hannah Taylor ’23. Taylor’s booth had pins, pencil pouches, scrunchies and headbands. She called art something she’s “always loved” and even mentioned opening an Etsy shop. She described the Craft Market as fun and good for the community, commenting, “I think it’s a really amazing opportunity to share art with the campus community.” Maggie Moran ’22 was there on behalf of her friend Viv San-

tana-Perez ’22. Santana-Perez was at home this semester, she clarified, so she was selling on behalf of them. Moran was more than happy to help out her friend: “I think [Santana-Perez] make[s] amazing art and they deserve all the credit and all the attention for their art.” Art up for sale included pins and prints, including some that had little ghosts on them. Tabling together were Sienna Bucu ’22 and Holly Newman ’22. When asked about why she was excited about Craft Market, Bucu answered, “to be outside and be near people … this is a really nice opportunity to talk to people who I know care about quality art.” Bucu sold stunning paintings and coloring pages. Newman was also a hit, with her warm, freshly baked loaves of bread. They sold out quickly. Making an appearance but not selling anything was the Brandeis Pottery club. The Hoot saw Leah Farinella ’23 and Ido Dinnar ’23 making pottery next to the booths. They said that they really wanted to just spread the word about Brandeis Pottery and connect with other art lovers. Farinella joked that she was “just really excited to let people know [the club] was still alive.” The Craft Market was a way to spread joy and bring some love of art onto campus. Forman revealed that sellers and buyers alike have expressed interest in more Craft Fairs next year, a legacy Forman hopes his successor will follow through with.

April 30, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

The proof is in the pastries By Emma Lichtenstein editor

What started as a joke has become a Brandeis smash hit! Lydia Begag ’22 started That Bitch Baking, found at @thatbitchbaking on Instagram, as a joke back in September 2020, but she has made a lot of progress since then. The idea was simple: Begag bakes and donates half of her proceeds to Brandeis Mutual Aid. When she first spoke with The Brandeis Hoot, she had donated about $200 in her first two weeks. Currently, over 100 orders have been placed and Begag has donated $1420.80 to Brandeis Mutual Aid (BMA), as Begag continued to donate even as her business unexpectedly expanded. “It’s kind of crazy still to think about,” Begag said in a follow-up interview with The Hoot last weekend. “It’s expanded in a lot of ways … ways I didn’t expect.” Proceeds aren’t the only aspect that has grown: Begag has learned so much in her experience with this, even updating her menu for the spring semester, changing the menu and experimenting with new flavor combinations. “I’ve learned a lot about mass-producing desserts and still entertaining good quality,” she mentioned, before adding that she has also gained insight to

preferences of customers. She also learned “the importance of just being gracious and easy on [herself].” The COVID-19 pandemic is a constant threat, making “intense times when things are so malleable.” Even despite these challenges, Begag was “so glad” to have started. She enjoyed making an impact for BMA and the little thrills of her hard work being recognized or acknowledged in chatter around campus, she told The Hoot. When we spoke last, her favorite recipe was for her flourless chocolate cake. While she still loves that classic, her lavender blackberry (cup)cake(s) has become her new favorite. She described the baking process as infusing lavender into the batter, adding lavender syrup to the baked good and then adding lavender flakes to the frosting in order to make sure the taste is present among the sugar and sweetness of the pastry and fruit. Her most under-appreciated pastries this semester are her pies, but she relates that to the changes in the weather, saying they were very popular in the fall, but recognizes that seasonal changes make a huge difference. Though Begag is booked through the end of the semester, a few lucky people were able to snag her cookie jar kits, part of Gifted Givers in this year’s Festival of the

Arts. Ingrid Schorr, the director of the Festival of the Arts, reached out to Begag this past winter about participating and Begag recalled being excited, calling Gifted Givers “an amazing thing.” Begag made a dozen cookie jars filled with everything one needs to make Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies, a “fun and interactive” baking project. According to an Instagram post from @thatbitchbaking, “These 32 oz mason jars are layered with all the dry ingredients — flour, sugar, chocolate chips etc. Just add oil, eggs, and fresh lemon juice/zest to mix and follow the recipe for a delicious batch of cookies! Finished with a designed recipe card to hold onto, decorative lemon print fabric, and That Bitch Baking brand stickers, these jars will make the perfect gift for any baker at heart.” Despite the huge success of her year running That Bitch Baking, Begag is still deciding on whether or not to continue. “That’s the question of my every day,” she joked when asked about continuation. She mentioned that she hopes to work in a bakery this summer to further learn about the craft and “build on the joy” of baking. Potentially, Begag may take “orders by request only” if customers reach out to her over the summer, but she is not planning on being open like she’s been


during the semester. As for her senior year, she knows that her schedule may not allow her to continue. Next year is “all up in the air right now.” “It’s senior year,” she commented, “there’s going to be a lot of change.” Many Brandeisians already got to try her pastries, with 108 orders being placed. Begag had 46

orders in the fall and 62 orders this spring, an increase of 34 percent. She also worked with various campus clubs, like Relay For Life at Brandeis University and the Campus Activities Board. Whether or not Begag continues, her impact on Brandeis is clear to see. The proof is in the pudding … or rather, the proof is in the pastries!

Raising awareness for the Indian farmers’ protests at Brandeis and beyond By Shruthi Manjunath editor

On March 26, Professor Avinash Singh (HIST/IGS/SAS) gave a talk on the farmers’ protests in India to raise awareness of the ongoing issue. He explained that India has had many farmers’ protests, and the majority of farmers who protest are from Punjab and are Sikh. The protests date back to the British rule over India. After independence, the movement was led by left-leaning organizations. There was a sense that the government did not understand identity issues that were important to farmers. Singh illustrated that the farmers’ protests in India began in September 2020 when various bills were passed in India. Some of the new laws allowed private buyers to hoard commodities that were essential for future sales. Others related to contract farming. One big change was that farmers were allowed to sell their products directly to private buy-


ers such as supermarket chains or online grocers. Previously, farmers would sell their produce to the government through markets operated by the government, and the government would set floor prices. The farmers are now scared that this will eventually lead to the demise of wholesale markets. In addition, if farmers are not happy

with the prices of the private buyers, the government market is no longer able to pick up slack using a minimum price. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government indicated that old markets will still be present. However, farmers are skeptical. The agricultural part of the market has had many difficulties for a long time, and around half of Indians work on

farms. However, farming is only one-sixth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Only six percent of farmers receive the guaranteed price. In Punjab specifically, land holdings are decreasing and debt is increasing. Because of this, farmers have been committing suicide at high rates, according to Singh. Farmers’ unions have been

asking the government to repeal laws and will not accept anything else. The government has offered to have an 18-month suspension of laws. There has been no progress in negotiations between the government and farmers. In September of 2020, peaceful protests were held by farmers. However, on Jan. 26, 2020, the protests turned violent when farmers stormed the Red Fort, a historic fort in the city of New Delhi, India. After this incident, the central government barricaded New Delhi. Farmers have been camping outside of Delhi in protest. Singh explained that it is difficult for the government to deal with this due to the fact that BJP is currently a Hindu nationalist government while many farmers who are protesting are Sikh, so it is hard to find a common ground. The lecture was followed up by a Q&A session with the audience. This event was intended to bring awareness to the farmers’ protests in India throughout Brandeis and throughout the world.

12 The Brandeis Hoot


April 30, 2021

This issue, published on April 30, will be the final issue that our graduating seniors will work on for The Brandeis Hoot in their undergraduate careers. Despite finishing their Brandeis careers amidst a global pandemic, these graduating seniors have made a lasting impact not only at The Hoot, but on campus. Here, they give one last bit of advice to all underclassmen through the wisdom that they have gained over their time here at Brandeis. Best of luck to the entire graduating class of 2021. We cannot wait to see what you will accomplish.

A singular college experience By Natalie Fritzson editor

If you asked people on campus to describe a stereotypical Brandeis student, I would bet that most people would describe a student with three majors, two minors and who is a member of eight clubs. I chose a different path. I have one major (English), one minor (Journalism) and I am a member of one club (The Brandeis Hoot). College is generally seen as a

time for exploration and trying new things, which I’m guessing is why people tend to commit to so many different areas of study and activities. However, when I came to Brandeis, I already knew what I wanted from my college experience. I knew I wanted to study English and journalism; I knew I wanted to join a student newspaper; and I knew I wanted to study abroad in Dublin. My study abroad experience did get rather rudely interrupted by a global pandemic, but I more or less achieved everything on my

college to-do list. However, just because I had a preconceived idea of how I wanted to spend my college career does not mean that I limited myself. I still experienced new things. Within the English major, I took classes that I never could have imagined signing up for when I was attending a small high school in Maine. For instance, I took an English class about Bollywood, despite the fact that I had never seen a Bollywood film before and knew next to nothing about the industry. It ended up being one of the best classes I ever took at Brandeis, and I even started watching Bollywood films just for fun. The journalism program also expanded my worldview. Coming from a small town in a pretty rural area, I had never even met a journalist. My high school didn’t even have a school paper. My admiration for the profession only grew as I heard more stories from my professors about their time as journalists. I was in complete awe of them. It was perhaps because of my admiration for my professors that it took me even longer to realize that I was capable of pursuing a career in journalism. My professors were so intelligent and worldly that I couldn’t imagine myself ever being able to match those qualities. The Hoot, and

my friends on the staff, played a large part in the realization that it was possible. I steadily climbed the ranks at the newspaper and joined the editorial board. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but, at some point, I realized that I was already doing the job of a journalist, even if it wasn’t in a professional setting. While the English and journalism departments introduced me to unknown territories, I was also able to explore many different areas of studies because I only had one major and one minor. I had time in my schedule to take classes outside of my chosen departments. For instance, I took an American studies course about American comedy because I thought it looked interesting and fun. I didn’t need it for any sort of credit, and it didn’t count towards my major, but I was still able to take it. Having only one major and one minor also allowed me to explore my areas of study more deeply. I only needed to take 10 English classes for the major, but I ended up taking 13 just because those classes interested me, and I wanted to take them even if they weren’t required. The same thing happened with the journalism minor; I was only required to take six classes, but I ended up taking eight. In short, because I chose not to


take on too many activities and spread myself too thin, I was able to devote my time in whatever manner I chose. Mostly it meant that I spent more time on the few commitments I had made. The Hoot may have been the only club that I joined, but, at times, it felt like I was spending so much time on it that it was almost a parttime job. I was willing to do that because I had the time, and I love the newspaper. The point is that I spent my college career doing what I wanted to do. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe you want to join 15 clubs and have six majors. Maybe you want to have one major and spend the majority of your free time sitting around doing nothing with your friends. It’s cliche but true: Do what makes you happy, and don’t worry about comparing yourself to others.

Advice on reading books at Brandeis By Aaron LaFauci editor

I’m an English major at the end of his rope. After years of reading books and writing essays, the startling prospect of having to actually make something of myself beyond the loving sphere of the university glimmers out of the darkness ahead. A part of me already writhes in terror. Perhaps there will be no place for me in that already bloated literary world beyond. Publishing houses, magazines, journals—all are beautiful and impossible wagons ripe and ready to leave me behind! And that’s the worst thought of them all, the thought of being forgotten. The thought of losing all connection to this implied world of thoughtful academics, readers, book lovers—the dream of writing only an impression in the brain from years gone by—is

almost too painful to bear. If you study the humanities, I suspect you share these feelings to an extent. The fear germinates in the hypothalamus shortly after telling mom and dad that you want to go to college to study novels. Own it. Don’t dawdle as I did for years between four different secondary majors. Don’t tell your relatives that you are an English and computer science major or an English major and journalism minor, emphasis on the one that isn’t English. Despite what the STEM cultists have poured in all of our ears for decades, the humanities aren’t a cake walk. Reading a 350-page novel and all the supplementary essays takes hours. Condensing this information, annotating it and finally organizing it into an essay that doesn’t read like it was compiled at 3 a.m. the day before takes even more time. Multiply that workload across three other classes plus club obligations plus the ever-looming internship search, and you’ve got one busy student on your hands. As it should be; you are, afterall, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, either now or later, to try and attain some mastery of the English language. Take this charge seriously because your wallet certainly is. Read the books. Really, try your goddamned hardest to read them all. As stated, that is literally what you are paying this school to do. If getting off your ass and actually picking up that boring 18th century brick of a proto-novel requires hiring a therapist and ordering yourself a pizza every Friday, then so be it. Do what you have to do to close yourself off from the world for a few hours and just read. Suc-

cessful publishers, famous writers, they all do the same thing: They devour books like air. Foster that old love of reading that you had when Percy Jackson and Harry Potter were still new. Place the act of reading on the same level of importance in your mind as your bio friends’ lab work or that big Cosi exam. Because if you don’t, the sense of worthlessness, the regret, the awkward silence of the discussion hall will crush you and transform you into a phantom student. Please, don’t forget why you are doing this. You love books. You love writing. You see the inherent value of analysing culture and fostering an understanding of language. Don’t lose sight of the big goal among the glamour of parties and apathy. Of course, it’s more than OK, necessary even, to acknowledge the absurdity of the college humanities in 2021. We aren’t fooled; private universities like Brandeis are bloated beyond all fathoming. Seventy thousand dollars and more is just too much to pay to read and discuss books. As the modern college is transformed into a kind of academic trade school, the less immediately practical majors continue to be pushed out. I was able to justify the decision to study English back in 2016, but I don’t know if I could do it again in 2021. The world is in a bad place, and indebting ourselves to an institution that pays its lame duck president a million bucks so he can give his graduating seniors keychains and M&Ms seems in bad taste. Love the education, not the bureaucrats. We beat on because we know that to give up and allow the world to be inherited solely

by the business majors, marketing nuts and Elon cultists would be a cruel fate for all of us. That said, why do we humanities majors have to pay as much if our departments aren’t even getting the same funding? Being an English major is often a wellspring of absurdities. It’s certainly not in vogue, though it used to be. I spoke to a Brandeis alumnus from the 70s at a wedding a few years back. I asked him if folks looked at the humanities with such scorn in his time, and he said no. Pure math majors, literature people and lovers of the impractical sciences were received well in days gone by. It was a pleasure and an honor to be attending the university at all. A utilitarian mania has overwhelmed our culture today, and I suppose we’ve just got to grin and bear it. A few minutes in Flesch’s Shakespeare class or anything in the presence of Thomas King will make it worth it. And somebody’s got to read all these books. They’ll be forgotten otherwise. Finally, don’t isolate yourself. So much of being a successful reader and writer is dependent on forging connections and immersing oneself in the greater community. It’s shockingly easy to sit in your comfortable dorm all day talking to your small circle of friends and letting the time slip by. Don’t let roots take in that cheap wooden rocking chair. Join a club that forces you to write every week if you can. I’m sure your resume will appreciate that. Might I recommend The Brandeis Hoot? Joining the newspaper was arguably the greatest decision I made at Brandeis. The Hoot gave me a platform, dedicated eyes on


my writing and a slew of amazing people I can gratefully call friends. There is nothing like seeing your writing in print every week, baby. As an editor, a role I never expected to assume, I have had the divine opportunity to witness the work of a diverse swathe of our campus’s writing community. Nothing trains your efficiency and email writing skills quite like recruiting writers and revising five or so writing submissions every week. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself once the job is done. Finish my thesis, maybe? I could complain about Brandeis all day. Here at the end of the ride, however, I must admit that I’m pretty upset it’s ending. It was nice eating food and reading books all day. It was stressful at times, sure, but it was some of the most meaningful stress I’ve ever endured. Now the time has come to see if I can make all those books useful. P.S. Don’t write a thesis.

April 30, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Enjoying the ride By Sabrina Chow editor

As I write this, I have submitted the biggest academic project that I have undertaken in my life: my senior honors thesis. In it, I described the framework of adult development, “emerging adulthood,” developed by J.J. Arnett in 2000 to describe adults between the ages of 18 and 25, who are somewhere in the middle of being a child still dependent on their parents and a fully-fledged adult. For people in this age group, this time is marked by uncertainty and instability as they explore different life choices and career paths. And it’s safe to say that this framework checks out, especially for those of us in college. Nearly four years ago when I first came onto campus, I thought I had it all figured out. How naïve of me. But reflecting on my undergraduate experience, I’m glad I thought I had it all figured out. Because it took me thinking that I had my life together to help me

realize that I actually didn’t. But hey, that’s what the whole college experience is about, right? In typical Brandeisian fashion, I overextended myself throughout my Brandeis career by double majoring, joining and running (probably) too many clubs, all while trying to find a balance between academics and having a social life. For my first two years at Brandeis, my weekdays were filled with classes all day and meetings all night before running to Upper Usdan to grab dinner before settling into the library at 10 p.m. for a late night of homework. I can still imagine the sound of the bell in the library that rings at 1:50 a.m. as a nudge to get out before closing, scaring me and causing me to almost fall out of my chair while sitting in the quiet room or down in the dungeon trying to finish my assignments. But despite the constant stress and pressure that I felt, I loved it. Or so I thought. I’ve grappled with this question a lot over the past year, especially

throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Do we really have control over the path that we’re taking in our lives? I definitely do not think that the path is a straightaway that we can just run down but that it is filled with crossroads that we decide to go down. A chooseyour-own-adventure-esque sort of thing as we go through life. Committing to Brandeis almost four years ago to the day that I’m writing this was a terrifying crossroad for me to take; I chose to move halfway across the country to go to a school I had visited for about three hours total. These past four years have definitely been a time of instability, marked with uncertainty, but I wouldn’t have changed a second of it. Cliché of me to say, I know. But for me, I think the most important junction that I’ve come to so far in my young life was deciding to abandon a career path I thought I was destined to be on. When I applied for graduate school this past cycle, the first line of my personal statement was “I always thought I was destined


to be a doctor.” Though not entirely true, I truly did think that medicine was the path that I was meant to take. But turns out, it wasn’t. But it’s really funny how something that seems so horrible in the moment can set you on a path forward. The path that you’re truly meant to be on. Finishing my undergraduate career amidst a global pandemic

and online learning is, of course, bittersweet. But instead of thinking of all the things that I’m missing out on, I’ve come to appreciate all the things that I’ve gained, especially the little things in life that I often took for granted. Everything happens for a reason. So, all we can do is hop onto the crazy roller coaster we call life and enjoy the ride.

Notes on growth, change By Sophie Trachtenberg editor

I came to Brandeis thinking I would do two things: go to school and play basketball. I had other desires to explore a part of the country I had never been to before, enjoy time away from home and even have some fun. But at the top of my list was wanting to do both of these things, and to do them well. Each had always been constants in my life, areas that challenged me but also provided comfort amidst other unknowns. Throughout high school, I excelled in the classroom and grew to love learning in all its shapes and forms. I had a bit of a harder time on the basketball court, but came out of that experience stronger and grateful for the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. I was ready to keep pushing, putting all of my focus into being the best student and the best athlete I could be. During my first two years at Brandeis, this was enough for me. I was comfortable. I loved being far away from home and


felt I had finally found my place. I had escaped what was holding me back in high school and had more room—both mentally and physically—to study and compete in ways that made sense to me. I was enjoying my schoolwork and felt intellectually challenged. I worked really hard on my game, and despite injuries, found myself playing meaningful minutes and contributing to my team in a variety of other ways. I felt confident around my teammates and had a social circle to spend time and have fun with. I remember thinking to myself, this is what college

as a student-athlete is supposed to be like. And I had made it. But as time went on, I found myself feeling as if there was something missing. For a while, I couldn’t pinpoint what that something was, but I knew it was there. I am beyond proud to be a student-athlete and always will be. But the perfectionism that surrounded this identity of mine was something I so desperately wanted to let go of but didn’t know how to. I’m not writing this to say that I have this battle all figured out. Or that my time at Brandeis gave

me all of the answers. But I am writing to say that my experiences here have taught me that it is okay to step outside my protective shell every once in a while, and that this is even healthy and needed. I have learned that a student-athlete can be anything I make it to be and that I don’t have to put myself in some arbitrary, restrictive box. I have met people here who support me and who see me for who I am, not what I can do. And I have friends, teammates, coaches and mentors who I call my family. It has taken me years to realize

that the grades and the stat sheet are less important than I once thought they were. They have given me tangible goals that I have used to guide myself, and that has been helpful, but the numbers don’t tell my story. Writing, conversations, experiences and relationships hold that space for me instead. So, I thank Brandeis for giving me a start rather than an end. For helping me begin to tear down the wall. And most importantly, for giving me people that are along for the ride, wherever I decide to write my next chapter.

Up Next

3IC Welcome to Emma, Sasha and John who will be serving as EIC’s next year!



The Brandeis Hoot

April 30, 2021

Top fast food picks of the year By John Fornagiel and Sasha Skarboviychuk editors

In case you couldn’t tell from all of our food reviews, we love fast food. Most of the food we eat is cooked at home, but the occasional fast food treat? Sign us up! Well, as a nice conclusion to this fastfood full year, we thought that the best way to conclude it would be to compile our fast food favorites. But don’t worry, we will be back with reviews soon; McDonald’s has a new McFlurry coming out in early May 2021, and Burger King promised us a revamped chicken sandwich, so pray for us when that comes out. Sasha Best burrito: This one was probably the easiest choice to make: Chipotle. As much as Moe’s tries, it just doesn’t taste as good as Chipotle (though Moe’s gets points for offering jalapenos as a topping. Chipotle, take note). When I go to Chipotle I get a fresh tasting burrito, which you just don’t get at Moe’s. Even the free chips and salsa don’t make up for it. Honestly, though, get a bowl from Chipotle. It costs the same as the burrito, but from our limited sample size, you get about 30 percent more food (by weight). If you really want the tortillas, you can buy them separately, and still end up with a value for your money. Best classic chicken sandwich: This is also probably not surprising, considering John and I basically live at Wendy’s: it’s their Spicy Chicken Sandwich. But get it with extra lettuce and extra mayo. See, my issue with basically all of the competition is that most other restaurants’ chicken sandwiches only come with the chicken and pickles. Like come on, what kind of a sandwich is that? You can’t just put something be-

tween two pieces of bread and call it a sandwich, Chick-fil-A! Wendy’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich also deserves a special mention because for $1.39, you really can’t beat it. Pro tip: substitute the regular bun for a premium bun, add extra lettuce and mayo, and you get a very decent sandwich for less than two dollars! Best dessert: Dairy Queen’s Brownie Batter Blizzard Treat, hands down. The chocolate ice cream, the brownie bits, the chocolate, it truly is a chocolate lover’s dream. It is just so good, I don’t know what else to say in its favor: it speaks for itself. The only negative thing I have to say about it (other than the utter lack of DQ’s in the Waltham area) is the steep price tag, but it’s a great special treat. Note that my answer may change if McDonald’s Caramel Brownie McFlurry lives up to its name. Best fast food coffee: This is a hard one since we agree to include only fast food chains, and not coffee shops. None of them have REALLY good coffee, but if I had to choose, I would pick McDonalds. They definitely have the widest variety of coffees in the McCafe, and honestly, it’s not too bad. (Don’t tell anyone I said this, but it tastes just like regular Starbucks coffee). Best fries: KFC Secret Recipe Fries, because oh my god it is surprisingly good? I don’t even like fries, but when John got these I basically ate all of them. I never get fries when we have fast food, but now if we go to KFC I actually get fries and enjoy them too. As over as I am with the whole “secret recipe” thing, these fries are actually a gem. If you haven’t tried the new KFC fries, you totally should. Best pizza chain: I really don’t have a hot take in this category. The best “fast food” pizza chain is Domino’s. Their two

for $5.99 deal is great: we can get two medium two topping pizzas for $12 plus tax, which is a great deal in my book. Now in case you haven’t noticed, I love chicken and jalapenos, so my entire pizza has their premium chicken on it, while half has jalapenos (and if I’m feeling very spicy, the other half will also have buffalo sauce on it). Their parm bites are trash, but they are a delicious kind of trash. Though I think that perfectly summarizes Domino’s. Best “special” chicken sandwich: This was probably the hardest category to choose a winner for: there’s the McDonald’s spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub Sandwich, but all of these still fall short of the Wendy’s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich. We already wrote an entire review about it, so I will just leave it at that. Best random item: John Best burrito: I have a very controversial opinion on this one. My best burrito award will actually go to Moe’s! Not only does Moe’s offer a better burrito compared to Chipotle in terms of size (yes, we weighed them), but they also offer free chips and salsa with your meal as well! When I go to Moe’s, I know I will be full and satisfied from the huge burrito and the many chips that they offer. However, with Chipotle, I cannot exactly say the same. Also, the fact that you have to pay extra for the chips and salsa is just so ugh. Best classic chicken sandwich: This has to go to Wendy’s, especially since they revamped their chicken sandwich. The new chicken patties that they put on the sandwiches are so delicious, juicy, and tasty. Not only this, but you can put whatever condiments and toppings that you want on

the sandwich for free! Onions, tomatoes, pickles, mayo, you name it! Not only this, but they have extremely cheap sandwiches, the cheapest one coming in at $1.39, which fills your craving for a little over a dollar with all the toppings you desire. Best fast food coffee: This has to go to Dunkin’ Donuts for me. Specifically, I am talking about their iced coffee. It has the perfect balance of acidity, sweetness and bitterness. You know, I cannot exactly place what makes this coffee so delicious for me, but my whole family agrees that there is something in Dunkin’s coffee that puts it above Panera, Starbucks, and some of their other competing brands. Although I will caution those against their hot coffee: it is absolutely delicious, but it comes straight off of the coffee maker and is boiling hot. Best dessert: When Sasha asked me what she should put for me in terms of the best dessert, the answer immediately came to mind: the Oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen (DQ). Although I generally love cookies and cream ice creams and milkshakes, this blizzard takes it to a whole new level. For me, this is mostly because the oreos are well distributed throughout the dessert (which some places do not seem to understand is important). This has been my go-to fast food dessert since my sophomore year in highschool, when one of my friends took me there after exams. Best fries: McDonald’s has actually held my “best fries” for quite a long time, especially when they are fresh and hot. However, after a recent trip to KFC to try out one of their chicken sandwiches, I have to say that my best fries now resoundingly goes to KFC. These fries were PERFECT: a crunchy outside, fluffy inside, tasty and thick. I would legitimately give

these french fries a 10/10. If you ever stop by a KFC, be sure to get their french fries. It is a significant upgrade from the potato wedges that they used to sell. Best pizza chain: If you have ever been at our apartment, we used to order Domino’s all of the time. In fact, we had to limit our Domino’s visits to once per month, otherwise we would have it for dinner everyday. There are many things that make Domino’s great: from their pizza, to their parmesan bites and their cinnamon twists, we always found ourselves ordering some new fun side or topping, all the while retaining that delicious and iconic Domino’s flavor. Best “special” chicken sandwich: If you are an avid reader of our food reviews, then you already know the answer to this question: the new jalapeno popper sandwich from Wendy’s. This sandwich provides a deliciously distinct flavor profile that I have not found in any other sandwich: the jalapenos with the cheese and the pickles, this sandwich is my absolute dream. In case I did not do it enough justice in my previous food reviews, I consider the jalapeno popper sandwich from Wendy’s to be my favorite fast food item of all time. Overall, we had a great time reviewing foods this past year: while some foods were a resounding success, others were catastrophic failures, and those foods still added to the fun. In compiling this list, we realized just how much fun we had looking for new fast food items that were coming out from various companies, and then going to those fast food restaurants and trying them. It was almost like engaging in a new foodie experience every week, and sometimes you may even find a gem that you did not even know existed!

A review of life in Rosie By Thomas Pickering editor

The Rosenthal Quad is in every way the epitome of Brandeis housing in that it can be described in the same way as the sixth season of New Girl: “eh”. Although Rosie comes in as the second-best place to live for sophomores, Skyline takes top honors, Rosie has difficulty maintaining its second place standing. As Charles River apartments and singles in East (only the Lord knows how that happened) become more appealing, the luster of Rosie is slowly turning into lack in some major areas. Rosie was built in 1969, and much like the last two numbers of that year, Rosie is sloppy in some regards and really can’t keep everyone pleased at once. With that in mind, the first and most important issue that comes with Rosie is the common room. To explain this better, allow me to first describe how Rosie is laid out. When selecting roommates for Rosie, you can only choose one half of the entire suite, which includes one double bedroom and two singles. The four of you will share one bathroom, which can get congested during high traffic

hours before class and before bed. But never fear, because so long as you have the bladder of a truck driver, waiting out everyone else is your best option. After you meander down the short hall from your bed or bathroom, you will find yourself in the common room. Since you can only select the three others who live on your side, this is where life becomes more complicated. If somehow you manage to have another friend, who also has a good number and gets the same floor in the same building as you then, you are home free, but life is never so kind to the typical introverted Brandeis student. So most likely you will find yourself in a living arrangement about as exciting as this year’s virtual Springfest. By that I, of course, mean that the four people living adjacent to you will most likely be strangers you haven’t an inkling of knowledge of. Do not fear the “others’’ though! For the battle for the common room has just begun and early assertion can change the name of the game and tilt the odds in your favor! A simple move, as done by the other side of my Rosie this year, was to buy a TV to place in the common room to watch all the time. The noise was an is-

sue to a small extent since Rosie walls, despite being cinder block, are thinner than our diploma papers. However, the real issue was the usage of the common room. I am particularly clean and the “others’’ are less so, but I guess it does not matter so much since the common room is truly only my hallway to leave. But a larger issue is highlighted here: sharing a common room with strangers is impossible. The ants, which either come in biblical marches or are never there, become less relevant. There is still the issue of the general-

ly ugly nature of the Rosie quad since it is simply paved and dull just like any business major, but the redeeming quality of Rosie is the common room! Rosie offers sophomores who do not want to walk from Grad and cannot get a room in Skyline a place to call their own! It is an apartment where they do not have to cook but can have a lounge and friends around them at all times. It is low maintenance and easy to decorate, but when the design flaw at the heart of it interferes with the student life within it, then it all comes crumbling down. Rosie

has so much potential, it is lively and generally party central, but as time sees more unhappy sides of Rosie being forced to share a common room, the whole notion of suite style becomes unappealing. Nevertheless, if you can live with all of that, including the ants and ugly quad, I will let you in on a little secret which will change your life—the Area Coordinator has cats you can see in his apartment. So, when life is just “eh” in Rosie, stop by the cats because it’ll remind you why you love living there.


April 30, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Lost and found activities during COVID-19 By Jonthan Ayash staff

Last weekend, I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and for the first time in a very long time, felt as if I had physical proof that things can eventually slowly return back to “normal,” whatever this new normal is. Due to this, I decided to take some time to reflect on the activities we missed out on this year and the substitutes I’ve come up with (and that although we potentially might not need them anymore in the near future, can still be fun as their own activity). One of my favorite things to do with a group of friends or family members is to go to the movie theater. The movie theater was not only fun because it always had the newest movies, but also because of the experience itself. Viewing a movie for the first time and being able to be im-

mersed in the atmosphere of the audience was always one of the best parts of any movie. Whether it be the chilling silence of the theater during a horror movie or the contagious laughter of the crowd during a comedy, the audience adds so much to the movie that can not be experienced by watching a movie at home. I still remember going to watch “Avengers: Endgame”—what I consider to have been the best movie experience. I left the movie with an emotional attachment as well as an engraved memory and feeling associated with the movie, which I mostly attribute to the audience atmosphere. These types of experiences have definitely been replaced during the pandemic with watching movies and shows on streaming devices, such as Netflix and Disney+. Streaming services have made it so that watching the newest movies and shows is easy and accessible anywhere, but mostly

in people’s bedrooms due to the restrictions of the pandemic. Although the audience experience is almost completely lost when using streaming services, the accessibility is definitely an upside. Additionally, there is a much larger variety of shows and movies to choose from compared to when going to the movie theater, and getting snacks won’t cost you your whole savings account. Addons such as Netflix Party have also tried to bring some of the “audience experience” back, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of these features, but I do not think it comes even close to the audience experience of a movie theater, let alone the experience of just getting to go out and watch something on the “big screen.” Still, when the pandemic ends, I definitely don’t see streaming services going anywhere. I only hope they are complemented with at least the option to go to movie theaters.

Next is activities like mini-golfing and bowling. If you ever needed a few hours to kill with your friends, these were the perfect activities. Depending on the friend groups, these activities can fulfill a large spectrum of purposes, such as being a super competitive activity, with everyone trying their hardest to win, or as a background activity to do, while everyone is just mostly focused on the conversation and the golfing/ bowling is more of a side purpose. My friend groups tend to fall in the middle, where we try to win for some of the time, but the main purpose is to just have something to do while we talk about whatever we decide to talk about. Once again, there is no exact replica to these activities during the pandemic. But something my friends and I have done during this time is starting to play video games together. Even though none of my

friends are big on gaming, we still can find fun games to play (such as Skribbl or random online games) that do not take up all of our attention so we can have something fun to do while we keep up a conversation. For those people who want to be more competitive, there are definitely more competitive video games out there, as well as less competitive games. Although these were just two activities that were cancelled by the pandemic, there are countless others. However, as we return back to a “normal” life, I assume that some of the substitutes that I have found during this time will continue to be used, even when the original activities are available. I believe that others will do the same, and I think that although there aren’t that many things to be thankful for due to the pandemic, this may be one of the very very few.

without needing to be reactivated. This type of lube is compatible with all barrier methods, and with some toys. Silicone-based lube can degrade silicone toys, however. The silicone-based lubes offered at SSIS include Pjur, Gun oil and Pink. Hybrid lubes combine the qualities of water-based and silicone-based lubes, often having the thicker quality of water based lubes with the longer-lasting properties of silicone lubes. If used with pure silicone toys, the lube may degrade the material, so do test out the lube on a non-essential part of the toy before using it on that toy. The hybrid lubes offered at SSIS include Please Cream and Sliquid Silk. Oil-based lube takes a while for the skin to absorb, so is pretty long-lasting. Some people are also drawn to oil-based lubes, such as coconut oil, because they are more simple and natural. However, SSIS does not generally rec-

ommend oil-based lubes in partnered sex because they degrade condoms, causing them to break and be ineffective. Additionally, oil based lubes can interfere with the vagina’s self-cleaning mechanisms and increase the rate of infections in vagina. SSIS does carry an oilbased masturbatory cream called “Stroke 29” intended for use on penises, so if you are using this product be mindful of the safety concerns that come with oilbased products. When trying any lube for the first time, test it out to see if the consistency and feel works for you, and to make sure you are not allergic to its ingredients. One way to do this is to try a bunch of small sample packets and see how each lube works for you! At the end of the day it’s all up to personal preference and it can take some time to figure out what works best for you and your partner(s)!

Ask SSIS By SSIS special to the hoot

Welcome back to the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email ssis@ or leave a question in our Google Form Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! (Note: These answers are goodfaith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!)

“I want to use lube, but I have no idea where to start! Help?” You’ve come to the right place! SSIS sells several different brands and types of lubes. We sell packets of lubrication for $0.25, small bottles for $3.50 and large bottles for $10. Types of lube include water-based, silicone-based, hybrid (usually around 85 percent water-based and 15 percent silicone-based) and oil-based. It’s important to recognize the differences between these lubes, as the lube’s ingredients impact which situations they can be used in, and what barrier methods and sex toys they can be safely used with. Whether you purchase your lubes at SSIS or not, always be sure to check if the lube is body-safe (All of the lubes SSIS sells are bodysafe). Water-based lubes are one of the more commonly found lubes; since they are water-based, they

are easy to clean off of clothing and bedding, absorb into the skin and are compatible with all sex toys and all barrier methods/ condoms. They do tend to dry out faster than other kinds of lubes, but can be reactivated with water (or saliva). However, many people enjoy the thicker, “cushion-y” quality of water-based lubes. Some water-based lubes contain glycerin and paraben, so if you are sensitive to these ingredients or prone to vaginal/urinary infections, you may want to avoid lubes with these ingredients. All of the lubes at SSIS are glycerin free! The water-based lubes offered at SSIS include Please Gel, Aneros Sessions and Sliquid Swirl (which comes in six unique flavors!). Silicone-based lubes are more slippery and longer-lasting than water-based lubes, and are not water soluble. Thus, they are harder to wash off than water-based lubes, but last longer

Rugby, all around you By Thomas Pickering editor

“Because I’d support a hooker, and you’d support a hooker, we’d all support a hooker together!” You may not understand the reference made there, or generally support the hooker industry but just as those two props are supporting that poor hooker in the middle; rugby is the prop on which a lot of society relies on without anyone knowing. It was brought to my attention recently by a concerned friend that too many things have the name “rugby” in them and that is confusing and upsetting since rugby is not all too big in the United States. The definition of “too many things,” as defined by my friend, was namely two articles of clothing: rugby scarves and rugby shirts. Apparently, that was too many and I am not all too sure why two is too many because to be too many one does not generally have two, they have three, or four too, but two is never considered too many to be upsetting. Yet, in this instance two was in

fact too many, so let’s break this down further. The rugby scarf is the pinnacle of scarves, what one could consider the quintessential scarf for all scarf enthusiasts and cold New Englanders. One could purchase a simple Burberry scarf for the mere cost of $470 but why? Why would you do that? Why would you do that when one could simply walk into a CVS and buy a cheap rugby scarf which will keep you warmer around your neck than the feeling of putting your hands down your crotch for the central body warmth. So, apparently the ease and cost-effective way of keeping your neck warm in the winter is too much for some Massachusetts college students; but to them I ask this: are you broke? Because if your answer like mine is “yes” then it seems you have run out of options my friend and must fall victim to the rugby scarf. Once you have taken your first step down the rugby rabbit hole your next stop is at rugby shirts. Do you want a shirt that will last you your whole life? A shirt which will be passed down in your will to your kids and then to your

kids? A shirt which will outlive your entire family and probably survive a nuclear fallout? I mean seriously you could put a rugby shirt into a bonfire, take it out and put gasoline on it and then light it on fire again, run a chainsaw through the middle of it, throw it off of the Empire State, and then put it in the washing machine and nothing will have happened to it. These shirts do not get destroyed and always maintain their look. If that is not reason enough, besides how comfortable they are, to buy a rugby shirt I do not know what is. Those shirts are majestic and to consider them “too much” is simply a shame that must be coming from a rugby shirt virgin who does not know the pleasure one has inside one. Rugby may not be huge in the United States but the two issues my friend pointed out reminded me of how those rugby items are like a scrum for real life. A scrum occurs after a foul on the pitch such as a forward pass or knock on and then three players from both teams lock arms to fight. If you do not have YouTube or the will to look this up on YouTube

you can do this with your hands. Bind your knuckles together and you’ll get the general gist, any econ major can figure this out so do not worry about doing it wrong. But the two guys on the outside are generally the biggest and strongest guys on the team and they are called “props”. Sandwiched between them is the poor sucker called the “hooker” who is generally the smallest guy on the team with a trustworthy foot. They kick

the ball back to their team from the bottom of the scrum to keep the game going. The “props” are the rugby scarves and rugby shirts and the hooker is culture. Without the big and strong game of rugby holding up culture the poor hooker would simply be crushed and die, but rugby, just like a prop and presumably a pimp, will never let go of its best hooker.



The Brandeis Hoot

April 30, 2021

Changing regional political power in the U.S. By Abdel Achibat editor

Political power within the United States can be broken down and explained through various layers, ranging from race and class to the grasp that corporations have on Congress. Who exactly has the most political power, and for what specifically, are ever changing concepts depending on the lens that is being used. For decades, political power and political domination in the United States could be attributed to the voices elected to Congress through our system of calculating representation. It is our elections, which we hold so integral to our experiment of democracy, that are able to divide the intangible concept of political power through votes. Consequently, it is the people who supply those votes that are so inherently significant

for determining the direction of the country in its legislation and movement towards liberalism or conservatism. That being said, due to the electoral formula we use and the electoral system we have in place, northeastern states and the East Coast have had higher numbers of representatives allowed into Congress as a result of historically higher populations. The higher rates of immigrants and urban centers within these states have simultaneously impacted the political culture of the northeast to be more liberal and focused on social and economic advancements. Consequently, due to the conglomeration of this political culture backed up by large populations and high numbers of representatives in Congress, the Democratic party and general alliance with Democratic party ways of thinking has had a stronghold on government and pop culture. Southern and mid-

western states, spanning a larger range of territory but with smaller populations, have had their political power much more spread out and are not as loud, consequently impacting their political culture. Southern and midwestern states’ political power stems from their accumulation of allyship and territory as a way to balance the concentrated political power of the northeast. Evidently, the overwhelming support for the Republican party in these states shifts their political culture to be more regionally focused, individualistic and with a stronger emphasis on inner-country nationalism. As population trends continue to change with global phenomenon, the political power in this country is about to change within the next few decades. Census estimations for the upcoming 2020 census dictates a shift towards the South and West, thus increasing political power for these states

and decreasing political power for the northern states that are experiencing this emigration. This in itself is alarming for the political control the Democrats have on our Congress, as slight losses for them and slight wins for the Republicans means great power shifts in Congress. More significantly, these population changes mean a growing cultural dominance that the South and West will have on American politics as they will, by numbers, dictate what is politically relevant in pop culture. Consequently, these population shifts giving more political power to the South and West will undoubtedly have impacts on the direction Congress will take in responding to the acceptance of social and economic advancements that may not be entirely relevant to them. Interestingly enough, however, population trends simultaneously show a greater increase of Latinos constituting a

portion of the United States, specifically in the Southwest. This, along with a cultural shift within northern Black and Latino populations favoring southern hotspots such as Atlanta, Houston and Miami, signifies an even greater non-white percentage of southern and western states. Therefore, while population trends indicate a shift towards the South and West, signalling greater political power for these regions, political culture and what will be most dominant is ultimately in the hands of the demographic shifts that are occurring. As we enter into a new age in which Black and brown populations are greater in numbers, more spread out and significantly more politically and culturally powerful, this population shift we see in 2021 will create a new American political scene in which Republican strongholds will be intrinsically and nationally challenged in their gradual rise to power.

Shower orange part II: grappling with grapefruit? By Mia Plante staff

This past week has been interesting, both because of housing assignment anxiety and my experiment regarding shower oranges. First and foremost, I feel the same (although possibly worse due to outside forces such as finals and the aforementioned housing anxiety). But that does not mean that eating an orange in the shower isn’t a fun thing to add to your routine; actually, I would really recommend it. There is nothing like half-peeling a cold orange and biting into it like an apple. And where’s a better place to do that than a shower? Within a shower you have free range to eat the orange however messily you

please, and I think that is part of the charm of the shower orange. The first day of my experiment, Thursday April 22, I did exactly that. I half-peeled my orange that came straight from the fridge as recommended by users on reddit, and I messily ate it while warm water rained down on me. That first day I allowed myself to really experience the orange instead of quickly eating one between classes or while multitasking. In the shower, I was able to take a deep breath and not think about anything—or at least not think of anything else but to NOT DROP THE ORANGE. That day I was terrified of it slipping out of my hands and onto the grimy floor of the Pom three showers, but for some reason, every day after that I no longer cared. Why would it

matter if I lost an orange to the filth? That is what the shower orange taught me. Reflecting on the entire week though, I honestly don’t remember much. Maybe this is because of the mystical powers of the shower orange, or maybe because every day blends together into mush in my brain. Either way, remembering nothing means there was nothing bad to really remember! Just as I expected, eating oranges in the shower was not a negative experience in the slightest but more of a weird relaxing (and delicious) one. It also helped that I held no expectations. Eating an orange in the shower may be a nice way to maybe make yourself happier if you are able to, meaning if you are a generally happy person. But shower oranges are

not exactly a pragmatic way to go about dealing with finals anxiety, and I knew that going in. It’s actually shower grapefruits that can solve all the major emotional problems in your life! Realistically, the shower orange lifestyle is a good one, and it’s fun in that you can’t take yourself too seriously when animalistically eating citrus! And for real, don’t suggest eating grapefruits in the shower on r/showerorange, I found a few users that hold serious disdain for shower grapefruit fans. Also, it just sounds gross. I may try enjoying a shower orange again from time to time, but preferably in a private bathroom with regularly cleaned showers. After this week, I realize that when going into something strange and new it’s best to not have any high

expectations, especially if said thing is as ridiculous as the shower orange. To get the most out of any experience you have to truly experience it: feel the cold juices running down your face, taste the sweet citrus and allow warm water to cascade over you for no reason other than it feels good. Finally, this week-long journey would not have been possible without some lovely people. Thank you to my boyfriend and his friends for allowing me to shower in their grad to try and get the more secluded shower orange experience. And thank you to Thomas Pickering, one of the deputy opinions editors, for grabbing two oranges for me from the dining hall that one time. Editor’s Note: This is the second part in the series, “shower orange”

Owl horoscopes

By Thomas Pickering editor

Out of duty to my friends and you guessed it! A lack of content, I present to you all some horoscopes for the Owls on the We Wear Blue shirt. May I first commend Brandeis for getting rid of the owl as our mascot yet still using it. Good job, guys. Really teaching your students how to not be hypocrites! But without further adieu here they are: (Disclaimer—I will be referring to them at first by their location on the shirt then I will rename them as I see fit) Top row on the left (Keith) You are the concerned parent of the bunch; I mean just look at those angry eyebrows! Unfortunately, you will experience a moment of true joy with your family but because—like a Botox job gone wrong—you will not be able to show your true excitement due to all your frowning, you will be forced to sit at the kids table for all future events. I hope you like sticky iPads and chewing with your mouth open! Top row center left (Sarah) You are Keith’s loyal companion, and it is clear to see how similar you two are, but a horrible dif-

ference will come over you when your actual Botox injection will freeze, and you will appear to be perpetually happy. Keith will not be happy when he thinks you are not sympathetic to his familial rejection this week. So start saving for a second nest, it may come in handy. Top row center right (Scarlett) Your judgmental eyes will finally meet their match at the DMV this week as both you and the overworked DMV employee will stare directly into each other’s eyes and neither will see a soul in the other. Top row on the right (Stacy) You seem sweet, but this week will be majorly revealing to yourself and others around you as you start throwing Raisin Bran at C-Store employees yelling, “Two scoops? Two scoops of what? How about two scoops of these wings up your butt if you do not give me the two freaking scoops of raisins!” Middle row on the left (Eddie) After reading “Into the Wild, you, an obvious book worm, just look at you, will suddenly take off just as Jack Supertramp did to find a new meaning to life! Too bad that book also didn’t give you a passion for dodging hunter’s


Middle row center left (Mark) Mark you take too far the Ron Swanson quote, “The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so. To me, that’s beautiful.” Except, this week, it will not be beautiful for you because when you accidentally fly into an East window because you couldn’t fly higher, there will be lots of little bits of Mark all over. Middle row center right (Toby) Toby, you really gross me out. I mean how do your eyes even manage to emerge from the top of your head? You are the flounder of birds in all the wrong ways, and that is why, over the course of this week, you will find that you will need specialized glasses. I am not saying your eyes will start growing out of your head, but I am not not saying that as well. Middle row on the right (Marvin) Marvin, I have no idea how many drugs you are on at once to have those disturbed eyes, but inside them, I know that you are thinking that there truly is more than one way to skin a cat. But, Marvin, you will have some


learning to do in the coming days as the limited market for cat skins makes learning more than three methods impractical for you and your wacked out eyes. Bottom row on the left (Johansson) You need to stop copying Scarlett, dudette. Your face is practically the same due to all the surgeries, and I am of the opinion that you will soon be finding out that identity theft is not a joke! Nor is it a good look on you, just like those feather reconstruction surgeries. Bottom row center left (Kenneth) Animal rights activists will accuse you of cruel and inhumane conduct, even though the chicken is already dead and that’s just the way you eat wings you bird eating freak.

Bottom row center right ( Victoria) Although Mercury is rising in Venus this week, do not worry; this is just a mystic-sounding horoscope term. No actual planetary collision is taking place, it is really a warning to let you know that the real collision will be on I-95 this week. When you see a Mercury car and a bumper sticker saying, “In case of rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned,” don’t say I didn’t warn you! Bottom row on the right (Brick) As a bird you’re not the kind of owl who constantly goes around saying the sky is falling, making you ill-equipped to cope with the events of this Thursday. Although, by virtue of your name you are simultaneously perfectly ready to take in the irony of what will happen.


April 30, 2021

The Brandeis Hoot 17

‘The Lathe of Heaven:’ the pinnacle of pandemic entertainment By Joshua Lannon staff

The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on many things in our lives as we have had to learn how to reinvent the way we interact, learn and live in a world separated by at least six feet. One casualty of the pandemic was live theater. I have seen many shows this past year of varying quality that try to keep theater going through this troubled time. Of all of these, the Brandeis Theater Department’s production of “The Lathe of Heaven” was by far the best theatrical performance that utilizes alternative means of socially distanced storytelling. Despite the many limitations and challenges brought on by the pandemic, “The Lathe of Heaven” managed to turn these limitations into strengths to create a truly unique theatrical experience. “The Lathe of Heaven” was originally adapted by Natsu Onoda Power from the Ursula K. Le Guin novel of the same name. It is very difficult to explain the plot of the novel, but very generally it involves a man whose dreams can seemingly alter reality. Brandeis’s production, directed by Isaiah M. Wooden (TA), does an excellent job of portraying the fluidity of reality through a combination of fantastic performances by the cast and creative production design. The performance is broken up into scenes featuring the main character George Orr, portrayed by Pierce Robinson ’22, during therapy sessions with the ambitious Dr. William Haber to try and cure his unique dream condition. In between these scenes are segments that indicate the various

changes in reality brought on by Orr’s dreams. Robinson gives a frighteningly stellar performance as a man losing touch with reality, or perhaps in this particular case a man trying to make sense of his reality. The main conflict revolves around Dr. William Haber, who manipulates Orr’s dream to enrich himself rather than cure them. Haber is played by Anderson Stinson III ’21, who portrays Haber as both charismatic and complex. Stinson’s performance captures Dr. Haber’s gradual shift from charismatic charmer to a power-mad egomaniac as he continues to abuse his patient’s mysterious power. In contrast to Haber, Heather Lelache, played by Tamara Tarwoe ’21, is both a love interest for Orr and an opposing influence to that of Dr. Haber. Tarwoe’s calm and controlled performance as Lelache is a perfect counter to Stinson’s more impulsive and energetic portrayal of Haber. These three primary actors interact both with each other and the audience. When in a scene together, the show makes clever use of split screens and backgrounds to have characters interact with each other in a believable way. I really appreciate how the actors maintained eye contact during the split screen. This eye contact is key to selling the narrative without ruining the audience’s immersion by reminding them they are essentially watching two clips that have been edited together. At other points, however, this production actually uses jarring editing techniques to enhance the audience’s sense of disorientation. Usually, fourth wall breaks are jokes made directly and consciously to the audience, but this


show breaks the fourth wall to convey an eroding sense of reality In some parts of the show, the actors directly address the audiences and break the fourth wall, in contrast to when they maintain eye contact across split screens. Rather than ruining the audience’s immersion, these fourth wall breaks actually meld into the show’s greater narrative. The audience is first greeted by a masked doctor asking questions seemingly directed at the audience while holding a flashlight at the camera, although we later learn the doctor is speaking to Orr. This doctor is actually multiple doctors portrayed by three different actresses, Jaramie Cataldo ’24, Sophie Lee ’21 and Abigail Roberts ’24 who all serve as the show’s narrators and a plethora of other unique roles in the production. In this first instance, all three are playing the doctor as the camera shifts between them between their lines. The clever camera work combined with the brightness of the flashlight results in a disorienting effect that makes the

audience question what they are seeing, despite the fact that the actors are seemingly addressing them directly. This simple effect in the first few moments of the show not only gives the audience a glimpse into the disoriented mind of George Orr, but is also an effect that cannot be easily replicated in a theater setting. The show uses other elements to denote its more fluid interpretation of reality. Sometimes, scenes and dialogue will be repeated but slightly altered to denote changes in reality. Other minor details, like alterations to a character’s costume, are also used to showcase how Orr is changing his world through his dreams. For example, Dr. Haber’s increasingly expensive-looking apparel is a visual clue to the audience that he is profiting from manipulating Orr’s dreams. The three narrators often reappear in brief segments to further disorient the audience, in one case giving them a quiz involving the altered reality, which included a question about when the book

was originally published, 1971. In any other play with any other story, this kind of fourth wall-breaking would immediately ruin my sense of immersion. However, this show’s dedication to altering the audience’s perception of reality through superb acting, clever camera work and meta commentary results in a production that makes full use of its unique medium to immerse the audience in a complex yet compelling sci-fi narrative. Despite the many limitations on theater during the pandemic, “The Lathe of Heaven” turned what could have been many weaknesses into strengths. Although the show uses things like camera tricks and clever editing that would be impractical or difficult to replicate in a traditional theater setting, it doesn’t rely on these things as a crutch. Instead the show embraces new ideas and elements, while still feeling like a theatrical performance rather than a Zoom meeting with actors. As a result, “The Lathe of Heaven” proves that theater isn’t dead, but adapting.

Springfest 2021 was like a virtual mosh pit, minus the sweat By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Charli XCX always puts on a stellar show, even from the comfort of her living room. As the headliner for this year’s Springfest, Charli utilized all the elements available to her, from lighting to camera work to choreography. This year, Springfest was completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Campus Activities Board (CAB) brought five acts to the (Zoom) stage this weekend: YaGirlTam, Miranda Rae, Notebook P, DVSN and, of course, Charli XCX. The concert was three hours long, with time allotted for intermissions and Q&As. The concerts were hosted by Oompa, an absolute legend who kept the audience engaged and excited, even though she couldn’t see us. YaGirlTam, aka Tamara Tarwoe ’21, opened the show and perfectly set the mood. She looked absolutely stunning in a matching dress and gloves set. She performed her two original songs, both of which are available on Spotify. I loved her first song “Coming In Hot” so much that I added it to one of my playlists. Her performance was full of energy and fun and all around good vibes. She’s a fantastic rapper and

matched the hype expected of Springfest. After YaGirlTam was Mirande Rae, followed by Notebook P, both R&B artists. Mirande Rae performed four songs, each smooth and soulful. Her voice was absolutely beautiful. Notebook P seemed like he wasn’t having the best night. The girls set the bar really high, and his voice was really pitchy throughout his setlist. To be fair, this might just be a consequence of performing over Zoom and not a reflection of his talents, but it was disappointing to see. It was also strange to have these two acts right after each other, or at least right after YaGirlTam. She brought the hype and energy, and the next two performers brought the mood back down to a mellow vibe. Sure, they were good, but I felt like I was having a lazy Sunday instead of getting ready for a hyperpop show. Up fourth was DVSN, an R&B duo from Canada, opening with their hit “Too Deep.” Like Charli, DVSN utilized the environment, actually performing on a stage decked out with purple lighting. There was even a giant flickering neon division sign—in their signature purple of course. DVSN even had graphics to back up the performance! For “Nuh Time/ Tek Time” the graphics changed

from a purple division symbol to footage of a woman going about her day. Closing with “Hallucinations,” the performance was solid from start to finish. There were a couple technical issues with the audio, but it was as good as it could be over Zoom. DVSN clearly made an effort and it paid off! Finally, after an hour and a half of anticipation, Miss XCX came to the stage. Her first song was “Spinning,” her new collaboration with the 1975. It seems like Charli forgot how to design setlists after not touring for so long. She followed it with “I Love It,” her smash hit with Icona Pop, but then let the energy die by playing “Gone,” her collab with Christine and the Queens, right after. I would’ve loved to see some actual Charli in her setlist, but six of her nine songs were collaborations. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still lost it when “Blame It On Your Love” and “Unlock It” came on, but I wanted more of that pure Charli sound. The entire Zoom call rioted when Charli announced she was closing with “Boom Clap.” It was the ninth song, making this a puny setlist that eliminates her best song “Vroom Vroom.” The chat flooded with comments, pleading for her to play her best track. It’s not that “Boom Clap” isn’t

a fitting closer, it’s that it came at the expense of some of her best work. It makes sense to choose this song, though, as it’s her most popular song. You may remember it from “The Fault In Our Stars” soundtrack; the chat certainly did. The beauty of having Springfest on Zoom is that there was a chat for the participants. It’s like being able to chat with everyone in a mosh pit at once, but without the sweat flying everywhere. When “Boom Clap” started, everyone took to flooding the chat with reminders about the soundtrack it’s on. I have never seen the name “John Green” spelled incorrectly that many times. Also iconic in the chat were the conversations happening during the entirety of Charli’s performance. I saw “Glee” discourse, Swiftie slander (ouch, by the way), marriage proposals and generally chaotic comments. Honestly, it was a real highlight. In between the mess, there were a couple people asking genuine questions. However, I don’t think anyone wanted a Q&A that was as long as the one we had. I think the Q&A went for about half an hour, but it felt like an eternity. No one wanted to accept that the show was over. Still, we all begged for “Vroom Vroom,” or, at the very least, a 10th song. I saw the setlist from her virtual show at

Penn State University, and it was 13 songs. I know that Penn State probably has a larger budget, but I would’ve rather had more songs and a shorter Q&A. In fact, I would’ve sacrificed the entire Q&A if it meant getting to hear songs like “Claws” and “Break the Rules,” both of which were on the Penn State setlist. Why couldn’t we do that instead? Springest 2021 was pretty solid. It’s really hard to keep people engaged during virtual events, and the engagement and hype were through the roof for this year’s Springfest. Brandeis was practically buzzing with excitement. YaGirlTam proved herself to be a true icon and a fantastic rapper. Mirande Rae was a soulful stunner. Notebook P was the weakest of the bunch, but still far from bad. DVSN was all around groovy, and wearing the coolest jackets that I have ever seen. And, of course, Charli XCX was legendary. In the words of Charli herself, “um yes queen skinny legend versace boots the house down slay queen hunty mama and oop daddy work charli xcx snatch my wig!” Editor’s Note: Opinions Editor Sasha Skarboviychuk is the Vice President of the Campus Activities Board and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 30, 2021

The Oscars make history but misses the beat By Anya Lance-Chacko editor

Perhaps as a result of the pandemic or maybe as a result of a larger issue of the place film has in the modern age, the Oscars was not a hit this year with the general public. Ratings were lower than ever and everything felt, to say the least, “off.” In an age where we are constantly being overwhelmed by information and messages, it seems as though the power that film once had to impact and change society has maybe faded away. With all the awfulness that is constantly overwhelming our world it seems as though we have just begun to stop listening. This year’s Oscars, the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, saw wins like Chloé Zhao taking hold of the Oscar for Best Director (of “Nomandland”), and her film winning Best Picture, Youn YuhJung winning for Best Supporting Actress in “Minari” and Daniel

Kaluuya getting a well deserved win as Best Supporting Actor for his powerful acting in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Despite being revolutionary with diverse wins compared to previous years, the ceremony still didn’t seem to resonate with most people. Although it was groundbreaking to see women and men of color take hold of previously white male-dominated categories, I worry that much of it is performative. Despite Chadwick Boseman’s impeccable acting in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and all that he had brought to Hollywood, he got little respect and tribute besides being the last slide on Angela Bassett’s tone-deaf presentation of Hollywood’s “In Memoriam.” It seems as though Hollywood has begun to celebrate diversity only to the extent that it benefits the industry and makes them appear in a good light. When it comes to genuinely recognizing someone after they are already gone, Hollywood fell short.


Overall, the common chatter I’ve heard in film classes and among peers seems to be that the Oscars were a disappointment this year, but I think the issue is so much more than Zendaya’s yellow highlighter dress or the lack of aesthetics in the venue. At the beginning of the ceremony Regina King exclaimed, “I have to be honest, if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I may have traded in my heels for marching boots. Now, I know that a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you. But as a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with, and no amount of fame or fortune changes.” However, it seems as though people at home did in fact reach for their remotes as the Oscars hit a low with only 9.85 million viewers. With the pandemic this past year many individuals, including myself, have spent less time watching recent films because many theaters haven’t been open. Without the traditional movie watching experience of sitting down in a theater and enjoying a movie, the value film has held in past years seems to have diminished. In many regards, the films of 2020 failed to capture the energy of their year. I would argue that what our world needs more than ever is a real revolution rather than a two-hour-and-10-minute reminder of one that happened 1969 like the one represented to viewers in “The Trial of the Chicago Seven.” This past year,


whether it was a result of the pandemic or the overwhelming amount of injustice that was all around us, the films of 2020 did not meaningfully represent the tribulations of our time. Beyond the screen, there was also a great deal of action, with the Black Lives Matter protests being some of the largest movements in the history of the country, but many are disappointed by the lack of significant change. The Oscars seem insignificant in comparison to this revolutionary fervor. The real power of the event came from the stories of the nominees themselves. Many of the winners and nominees commented about how they had worked their way up from telemarketing and janitorial positions to get to the stage they were on, and throughout, the ceremony seemed to celebrate the American Dream. Many winners exclaimed that they could have never pictured their positions on the stage as a remote possibility. The core of the ceremony came when Tyler Perry was presented the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian

Award. In his speech, he presented examples of real action and was an example of what the world needed, and would be more likely to actually be able to receive. He exclaimed, “In this time with … social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way—the 24-hour news cycle— … I want to take this … award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the walls, stand in the middle because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens.” We need to stand up from our couches and stop scrolling through the media to the point that we become exhausted and actually fight for change. The Chauvin trial was a step in the right direction, but we still have a great way to go. Films that make it into the Oscars often exist to encourage action, but if we’ve reached a point where we are tired of listening, we need to reassess ourselves and take to the streets to create change “in the middle.”

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier:’ what it really means to be Captain America By Caroline O editor

The MCU/Disney+ hit series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has just concluded its six-episode season, and its six hour-long episodes covered and packed more of a punch than almost anything that the MCU has ever released, mostly for its nuance in discussing issues of race and American history. These themes are most explicitly demonstrated in the way in which the transfer occurs of who gets to be Captain America after Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dies. Before dying, fans will remember that in the events of the last movie “Endgame,” Steve had passed on the shield—the legacy of Captain America—to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). However, the show opens with Sam deciding to give the shield to the American government, claiming that he doesn’t think himself the right person for the job. However, the government, after congratulating Sam on making the “right decision” and claiming that the shield would be safely stowed in a museum, goes and chooses a different—and noticeably white—military man named John Walker (Wyatt Russell). Everything about Walker is unsettling: the fact that he came from a school with a largely Black and brown population and yet remains the sole star of his school, the fact that he exclusively introduces himself as Captain America (whereas fans will remember Steve Rogers only ever called himself by his first name first), the

fact that he believes that being a super soldier is the only way to become Captain America. Essentially, Walker is everything that Captain America isn’t supposed to be—or, more accurately, Walker is the flawed, titled version of Captain America that unmistakably parallels some unsettling beliefs and ideals of America itself: pro-military, white and obsessed with power. On the other hand, we have Sam: a Black man who represents all the dreams of America that could be or still might be. Since his introduction in “The Winter Soldier,” Sam Wilson has always been hard to not love—he helps veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and unquestionably sides with Steve in the events of the later movies, but it’s in this show that viewers see even more to his already-stellar character. Sam defines himself by how he helps people like his family members and his community. His first priority after handling save-the-world business is to go straight to helping out his sister, Sarah (Adepero Oduye), fixing up the family boat and even staying in touch with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who has his own history of trauma after being a brainwashed super soldier. In addition to his kindness, Sam is ultimately someone who isn’t concerned with prestige. For instance, when asked if he would take the same serum that gave Steve Rogers his strength, Sam doesn’t even hesitate to say “no.” Sam understands that the true power of being a hero isn’t about the super strength, magic or even high tech—it’s about the ability to connect to people. Another

instance of this is in the fourth episode “The Whole World is Watching,” in which Sam goes in to negotiate with a young revolutionary named Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), who was labeled a terrorist for taking extreme measures to procure medicine and supplies for people in need. Whereas characters like John Walker want to confront Karli with guns blazing, Sam is the only one who wants to talk things through—he knows where Karli’s coming from and understands that Karli’s goals are essentially to help people first, and that is why Sam is almost successful in reaching out to her. To any viewer, it’s obvious that Sam is the Captain America everyone is waiting for. However, this is America we’re talking about, and the show doesn’t let us forget for one second how much bloodstained history there is between America and its Black citizens. The show does this in multiple ways: Firstly, in how the government thanks Sam for turning over the shield and then goes around and chooses a white man to “represent all of us”—and then in smaller ways, like the fact that a banker refuses to help out Sam’s sister, or the fact that the police only back away from Sam once realizing he’s the Falcon. And then, perhaps the most haunting and telling nod to the struggles Black people face in America is the introduction of Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly): a super soldier himself, but unlike Steve Rogers, one was incarcerated and experimented on. In the fifth episode titled “The Truth,” Isaiah explicitly points to the larger implications


of his whole story: “They erased me. My history. But they’ve been doing that for five hundred years.” He goes on to tell Sam that after everything America has done to Black people, “no self-respecting Black man” would ever want to carry the title of Captain America. That gets to the main point of the show: what it means to be a Black superhero, what it means to be a Black American superhero and all the complications and implications that come with that. Sam Wilson ultimately takes up the shield, despite Isaiah Bradley’s warnings. There is, of course, the classic superhero training montage to go with his newfound comfort with the shield, but one of the most touching moments is when Sam’s nephews Cass and

AJ Wilson (Chase River McGhee, Aaron Haynes) reach out to touch the shield. The awe on their faces is unmistakable, and the quiet joy on Sam’s is hard to miss. This feels important—a reminder to the audience that there is more to Sam Wilson inheriting the shield than just being the new Captain America. Sam being Captain America also sends out a message to the younger generations of a new hero that could actually, finally not only represent them but also represent the better future of what a hero—an American hero— could be. Not the violence or the foolish pride that self-proclaimed Captain Americas like John Walker possess, but the kindness, compassion and genuine optimism for the future that Sam Wilson has.

April 30, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Student writer spotlight: Cyrenity Augustin ’24 By Aaron LaFauci editor

When I became an Arts Editor at The Brandeis Hoot last year, I set myself a couple of goals to enrich the section. Chief among these was to actually get student art into the newspaper. We cover theater and gallery events when the resources are available, of course, but our direct engagement with student artists has not always been consistent. Over the course of my last two semesters, we’ve succeeded in releasing a series of art spotlights containing beautiful submissions from students working across a variety of visual mediums. We’ve also managed to pick up a consistent comic artist, the wonderful David Shapiro ’24. All of these efforts have gone off swimmingly—better than I could have ever anticipated, in fact— but my greatest and oldest Hoot dream has always been to publish a small column for our campus’s creative writing students. Fiction doesn’t exactly have a home in a fact-based journalistic institution, so perhaps that column in its purest form will remain a dream. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t make an effort to give the students of Brandeis’s creative writing department a voice on our platform. When Cyrenity Augustin ’24, a COVID-19 pandemic-era freshman that hasn’t even taken a class on campus yet, enthusiastically reached out to me about writing stories for the paper, I could not resist. I’ll let the writer speak for herself. Augustin consented to an interview and submitted an array of projects to spotlight. An excerpt from one of her short stories, “Positive Thinking,” is included below the interview. The Q&A: Q: What are your favorite books or pieces of writing? A: I love the “Percy Jackson” series, “The Ever Afters” series and “They Both Die At The End,” which sounds very depressing in comparison to the first two. I am also really into webcomics, so that opens up an entire new can of worms! (If you’re looking for some recommendations, hit me up). Q: Do you have favorite genres or styles? A: My favorite styles in terms of

writing are sci-fi, action and dystopian, the last one being a new development for me. I used to stick with fantasy, and I still love the genre, but I haven’t been writing it as much. In terms of reading, I love fairy tale remakes (“Ever Afters”), action and adventure plots (both in fantasy and sci-fi). Q: What sort of writing and/or other creative activities do you pursue beyond the classroom? A: I am working on a webcomic that I am hoping to start by the end of the year as a personal goal of mine. I am still in the scripting phase, but I have had the idea for a hot second, so I am excited to get it out. I also have a novel that I am working on, slowly but surely, and a movie script that I am reformatting and editing. I wrote the movie script as a personal challenge for my senior year of high school without knowing anything about screenwriting, so I have to go back and make it actually look like a movie script. Q: When did you get into writing? What made you fall in love with it? A: I got into writing in middle school, because I had a friend who started writing stories. I had never realized until then that I could actually write one myself, since I was so used to being on the reading side. I haven’t stopped since. I originally just focused on novels, but I’ve recently branched out into other formats, which has been a lot of fun. I think my love for writing is attached to my love of reading, which isn’t that surprising. Seeing the adventures that characters embarked on made me want to go on an adventure too, so I made self inserts that could. Over time, those self inserts became fleshed out characters, and my plots and settings became more and more elaborate. Currently, the characters and their relationships are what draw me to writing the most, and how they are affected by the different situations they are in. Q: What do you dream of writing/creating? A: Though novel writing is my first love (and I still love it) I am really into visual storytelling, like animated shows, webcomics and graphic novels. I hope to one day be able to turn my ideas into web-

comics, and I have a particular idea that I have been planning as a show. I don’t know the first thing about animating, however, so that will definitely take some time. Q: What do you like to do besides writing? A: I usually spend my time looking at webcomics, art or anime, but I have also worked on drawing digitally on Procreate. Besides that, I spend way too much time thinking about stories that I have not written. I should probably find another way to spend my time, but it is fun, so I don’t really mind. Q: Favorite thing to watch? A: I really enjoy anime, like My Hero Academia and Durarara!! I also love the Marvel movies, and would gladly recommend them without hesitation. Q: What drew you to Brandeis University? A: I visited Brandeis University with my sister for her college visit, and I really liked the range of classes that was offered and that it wasn’t a big school. Then, I applied to be a Posse Scholar with the hope of getting picked for Brandeis, and here I am! In terms of meeting expectations, I have been off campus for the first year, so the social experience this year was not what I imagined it was going to be like, but I am hoping that when campus opens up in the fall that I’ll be able to have more connections with people on campus. Q: At this point, do you think you will continue to pursue the Creative Writing program at Brandeis? A: Oh, definitely! I took a class with Professor McCauley, and I really enjoyed having a set time with other writers to share and talk about our work. I am looking forward to being in more of these spaces throughout my time here. The excerpt: The following is an excerpt from Augustin’s sarcastic but heartwarming story of a fateful coffee shop encounter, “Positive Thinking:” “A bit frosty, isn’t it?” The woman came up to the counter, leaning on it as she smiled. Ted had to stop himself from rolling his eyes as he shrugged in response, mumbling an affirmative. Of course

she had to be a talker. He couldn’t understand why customers always wanted to talk to him about personal matters. He just wanted them to order their coffee and go. “What can I get you?” Ted punched a few buttons on the screen, preparing to take her order, but was met with silence. After it dragged on a few seconds longer, he looked up to find her staring at the menu above him. Ted watched her for a bit, before the realization of what was happening made him grip his fist in frustration. She had no idea what she was going to order. She wasn’t in a hurry, like everyone else. She was leaning on his counter, staring at the menu with a lazy smile and wasting his time. “Miss?” She looked at him, laughing at herself a bit before speaking. “Sorry, I heard you. The thing is, I actually don’t know what I want. I was thinking of trying something different from the norm. I mean, I usually get a hot chocolate, but I thought ‘Why not shake it up a

bit?’ and now I have no idea what to order.” She stood up straight, giving an almost embarrassed smile as she stuck her hands into her bomber jacket. “Got any suggestions?” “Suggestions?” “Well, yeah! I mean, you work here, what do you suggest?” Ted sighed, putting a hot chocolate in the order as he spoke. “In complete honesty, the drinks are more or less the same to me. I don’t have a preference for any of them. And if you like the hot chocolate, you might as well get it. Why pay for something you might not even like?” He figured that she would probably just complain about his bad attitude and default to the hot chocolate, and at this point didn’t even mind taking the scolding for it. So, when she laughed, Ted was definitely taken aback. Read the whole story online at

‘Campus Life’ comic


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