The Oberlin Review Dec. 9, 2022

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The Oberlin Review

Oberlin, U.N. Collaborating on PreCollegiate English Immersion Program

International students from the class of 2027 onwards will have the opportunity to participate in an eight-week long English language immersion program in the summer before their matriculation. The program is set to launch next summer.

Oberlin is currently developing the program in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts. While students will attend the program in Oberlin, they may thereafter pursue their higher education at any other UNITAR partner school. The motto of the program is “learning English to learn in English.”

Oberlin requires international students whose primary language or whose language of instruction in secondary school is not English to submit language proficiency scores from TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo’s English Test. According to Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Kamitsuka, students with TOEFL scores below 100 will have the opportunity to practice their skills in a hands-on format through the English for Speakers of Other Languages program. In the morning, students will learn English via a curriculum currently being designed and then spend the afternoon learning about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Kamitsuka is currently leading the effort to design the program.

“If you look at the Oberlin Arts and Sciences curriculum, about 52 percent of our courses are focused on one or more of those Sustainable Development Goals,” Kamitsuka said. “Morning will be immersive language study, afternoons are using that language, whether it’s reading, speaking, listening, writing, to study about those goals together.”

Students will live and dine on Oberlin’s campus for the duration of the program. They will study five days a week, with Wednesdays and Sundays off for potential field trips in the area.

According to the memorandum of understanding between Oberlin, UNITAR, and GFPA, programming for the partnership will be developed in three sectors: pre-collegiate, like the ESOL program; collegiate programs for when students commence their higher education; and special projects such as the Friday, Dec.

2 concert for the U.N. General Assembly. President Carmen Twillie Ambar spoke to the Review about ongoing discussions with the U.N. on the pre-collegiate and collegiate programs currently in development. While the ESOL program is set to launch next year, Oberlin is also in the process of making broader changes to its admissions process and standard curriculum.

“I think there are two things that I would say are happening,” President Ambar said. “Not only the work and creation of English [for Speakers of Other Languages], but also the admissions and recuriting procces to Oberlin in the College and the Conservatory. We’re in discussions with the U.N. about how to recruit through the different missions and what that will look like, how that process will work and so on. I think that’s equally as important as the English [for Speakers of Other Languages] program. What we are trying to do with that program is really to align the curriculum with the 17 developmental goals that the United Nations has laid out as their center of work. I think we’re hitting 12 of them.”

President Ambar added that decisions about the size of the program and several curricular specifics are still being deliberated. Some of these decisions will depend on the number of applicants to Oberlin’s existing programs. Still, Conservatory Dean William Quillen is excited about the potential for growing the ESOL program in future years. He expressed hope that in the years to come, the program may be expanded to include high school students in their penultimate or final years of study to help them navigate opportunities in higher education.

GFPA President Benjamin Woodroffe spoke to the Review about the importance of the ESOL program to the broader mission of the partnership between Oberlin, UNITAR, and GFPA.

“A major part of our partnership and commitment is that we want students in various parts of the world to learn from other students and other educational institutions in other parts of the world,” President Woodroffe said. “One part that comes with transnational education is language training and language capacity. What we are really excited to be working on with

Oberlin is to build preparatory English as a second language intensives prior to [students] commencing at Oberlin or other school, so that they’ve got a sense of where they’re going. They’ve got a cultural understanding of what life is like in the U.S.; [they] have a rapid-fire immersion experience in English to give them the best prep they can possibly have to then go and do their undergraduate degree.”

Even as they develop the ESOL program, Oberlin’s senior leadership team is excited about the potential for further curricular projects and connecting with peer institutions. Quillen spoke about possible internship and Winter Term opportunities in addition to developing postgraduate relationships with other institutions partnering with the U.N.

“As we look ahead, some of the conversations that we’ve had have to do with what would it mean to perhaps, in partnership with the U.N., develop even more sorts of co-curricular opportunities for our students,” Quillen said. “Maybe that’s internships, maybe that’s Winter Term opportunities, maybe that’s working in partnership with the U.N. and U.N. expertise as we think about the kind of offerings here on campus. One of the big things that we’ve been talking about too has to do with ... avenues for working in partnership with some of the consortium universities globally who are operating at the graduate level, what would it mean to say [that] maybe there’s programs open to Oberlin students as well as to students from around the globe, that pair intensive undergraduate study at Oberlin with a paired graduate level program at one of these top-tier global universities.”

Kamitsuka echoed Quillen’s hopes for internships, mentioning that Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications for the U.N. Melissa Fleming, OC ’86, will be visiting campus next semester.

“The possibilities for Oberlin students are as expansive as the globe itself,” Kamitsuka said. “We really want to take advantage of this opportunity because we know Oberlin students are precisely the kind of people [the U.N.] want to be forwarding the pursuit of things like the UN’s Our Common Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Title IX Legislation Has Protected Student Access to Education for 50 Years

June 23 of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Education Amendments of 1972, which includes a provision known as Title IX. On Dec. 5, Survivors of Sexual Harm and Allies hosted an information session about the legislation. At this session, SOSHA invited guests from firm Marsh Law and Leda Health, an organization centered around supporting survivors of sexual harm, to speak to attendees.

Associate at Marsh Law’s Pittsburgh office Amy Mathieu, who represents Title IX claimants and survivors of sexual abuse, was one of the speakers at this event. According to Mathieu, Title IX has evolved over time to provide opportunities for survivors of sexual harm to achieve justice in various capacities.

“The brief overview is that it provides that men and women have equal access to education,” Mathieu said. “But it provides more paths and methods for female students to gain better access to education through bringing complaints forward when something happens on campus that then, in effect, blocks their access to education. So if they have to sit in a classroom next to their assaulter, they’re not going to have full access to education. That’s how it’s been interpreted over the years to provide more avenues to justice for students.”

This presentation was one of multiple events staged this past semester in commemoration of the Education Amendments. More commemorative events are slated to occur next semester according to Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator Rebecca Mosely.

The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022 1
NEWS OPINIONS THIS WEEK SPORTS A Short History of Downtown Oberlin 08 | CAL RANSOM Oberlin’s Student Commentators Talk Reviewing Games 15 | ANDREA NGUYEN JAMES FOSTER Sports Journalism As Told by Editor on Autism Spectrum 16 | KAYLA KIM Protests Erupt in China After Urumqi Fire 05 College to Sell George Jones Memorial Farm 04 | AVA MILLER IN PRINT AND DIGITAL FACEBOOK TWITTER @oberlinreview INSTAGRAM @ocreview ARTS & CULTURE Obies Answer Your Love and Dating Questions 12 | JULIANA GASPAR DLISAH LAPIDUS Oberlin Theater Presents Or, Brings Hilarity to Campus 09 | ELOISE RICH
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December 9, 2022 Established 1874 Volume 152, Number 11
Photo by Chris Lee Editorial: UNITAR Partnership Brings Opportunity to Oberlin | 05 Oberlin Performs at Carnegie Hall for U.N. General Assembly | 13
Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society Commemorates AfricanAmerican History
Celebrate Christmas with Crafting, Not Consumerism 06 | HANNA ALWINE Crossword 11 | JORDAN MUSCHLER
Oberlin Orchestra and Choir performing at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 2.

F1rst Fridays Program Provides Support to First-Gen Students

On the first Friday of every month, the Center for Student Success hosts F1rst Fridays, an event targeted toward firstgeneration students at Oberlin — students whose parents did not attend a four-year college. Students can engage in activities meant to support them in a space where they can get resources specifically tailored to the first-gen experience.

“So the first Friday of every month, we will typically host something for our students and an email goes out to invite them,” Director of Student Success and Success Coach Nicole Williams said. “We’ve had some that have been social, but typically it’s something that’s gonna teach

them or provide them some type of success strategy. It’s also a time just to connect with other first-gen students, faculty, and staff who identify as firstgen as well.”

The most recent F1rst Friday took place last week and addressed goal setting.

Saint Franqui, an Executive Functioning Program tutor and College fourth-year, taught participants ways to implement goals toward the end of the semester.

“We talked about the challenges with setting goals and talked about what setting realistic goals looks like, especially in a first-gen/low income context,” Franqui said.

“I broke down SMART goals for the group and offered strategies for staying on the top of the

goals students set, as well as tips like using [Google Calendar] or other habit tracking apps like Habitica to keep motivated [and] on track.”

Although the CSS saw significant staff turnover at the beginning of the semester, much of the programming for students has remained the same and the overall goal of the office has not changed; many of its services are still directed to first-generation students, lowincome students, and students with disabilities.

“Historically, the Center for Student Success has served first-gen students and been a home for first-gen students here on campus, and that work continues,”Assistant Dean for Student Success Rebecca Morrow said. “F1rst Fridays

[are] something that the students know, and that’s why we have continued to do it on Fridays.”

Williams emphasized the importance of the program in helping first-generation students find their footing at Oberlin.

“I think it’s just a way of exploring your identity and also building that community, which is really important,” Williams said. “Also, it’s important to make sure that students are aware of the resources that are on campus. As a first-gen student … myself, I know if you don’t have support, you may miss something along the way because your family is not aware of the financial aid process, so you need to go ask some questions.”

Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society Commemorates African-American History at Oberlin

The Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society celebrated the kickoff of a major restoration project Nov. 12. The organization plans to restore the Wilson Bruce Evans Home, a registered national historic landmark built and inhabited by Wilson Bruce Evans, a Black abolitionist who was active in the Oberlin community during the Civil War.

The restoration was made possible by a $283,250 grant from the National Park Service. Only 80 of these grants were awarded this year, and the home is the only recipient in Ohio. The organization hopes to use the house to tell the story of its builder and first resident and to educate the community about local African-American history.

Wilson Bruce Evans was born a free man in North Carolina in 1824. In 1854, he and his wife, Sarah Jane Leary Evans, relocated to Oberlin, where his brother, Henry Evans, had already settled. As soon as they arrived in Ohio, the Evans family became involved in antislavery activity. Their home was used to house fugitives on the Underground Railroad, and in 1858, when a fugitive was captured in Oberlin, Wilson and Henry Evans were among those who rescued him in what would become famously known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue.

“The Evans family is very important in the radicalization of the anti-slavery movement in

Oberlin,” Carol Lasser, manager of the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society and former professor of History at Oberlin College, said. “Black abolitionists in general are very important in getting white abolitionists to understand that slavery isn’t going to just wither away, that it’s going to take confrontation and eventually the violence of war.”

Wilson Bruce Evans later served in the Union army and was related to the two Oberlinians who participated and lost their lives in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, which was intended to start a national uprising against slavery.

The home, located on East Vine Street, remained in the hands of Evans’ family and descendants from when it was built in 1856 until last year, when the family created the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society for its preservation. The organization hopes to open the restored home to the public as a museum and a center for African-American history education in Oberlin.

“[The house’s] historical nature makes it a living museum,” Catherine Grooms, treasurer of the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society and direct descendant of Wilson Bruce and Sarah Jane Leary Evans, said. “It will be used as a historysharing space. It will be used as an educational space for the community.”

Vice President of the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society Phyllis Yarber Hogan

hopes the house will be used to educate people about Oberlin’s untold history — beyond just the Evans family. Hogan said she never learned local history growing up in Oberlin and attending Oberlin public schools, and it was only as an adult that she started doing her own research.

“It’s important to me because I know how ignorant I felt not knowing anything about Oberlin’s history … and I don’t want any other young person to feel that way,” Hogan said. “Just knowing the history gives you an understanding of your own identity and your value and your rights and your responsibilities.”

Aside from its connection to important events in the abolition movement, the house is also important as a symbol of the Evans family’s hard work and prosperity. The house, which contains much of Wilson Bruce Evans’ original woodwork, is a testament to both his carpentry skills and his success in business.

“The historical significance of a person of color owning property is absolutely significant,” Grooms said. “It was significant then, and it is significant today in 2022.”

Lasser echoed Grooms’ thoughts on people of color owning the property.

“I think it’s also really important for Americans, Black and white, to recognize that this lovely and substantial house … was occupied by people of color — that not everybody was an impoverished fugitive from slavery,” she said.

The vision for spreading awareness and education of Oberlin’s African-American history expands beyond the house on Vine Street. “We think that restoring the Wilson Bruce Evans house will be a spark to ignite a larger preservation movement in Oberlin that will help us to really make it a destination for AfricanAmerican heritage tourism,” Lasser said.

Hogan said she hopes that the restored Wilson Bruce Evans Home will bring attention to the other historic homes and African-American churches in the southeast quadrant of Oberlin.

“I’m hoping … the history that’s in that area can make it a place to be visited to understand Oberlin,” Hogan said.

A lot more work needs to be done before any of these plans come to fruition, but there is enthusiasm from those involved. From the Oberlin College ultimate Frisbee teams setting up chairs for events to local tradespeople and business owners donating their time and skills, the community has supported the project in a variety of ways.

“It’s not glamorous work right now,” Lasser said. “It’s the tedious work. We have another couple of years of heavy lifting, and I’m just really, really grateful to the family and to the people of Oberlin who have really stepped forward.”

Oberlin Review

The newspaper of record for Oberlin College and Conservatory

December 9, 2022 Volume 152, Number 11 (ISSN 297–256)


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The Wilson Bruce Evans Home, built in 1856 and located at 33 East Vine Street, is undergoing a renovation.
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Cindy Milstein, a queer Jewish anarchist, activist, and writer, came to Oberlin last Friday to talk about their latest work, an anthology they edited titled There is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart: Mending the World as Jewish Anarchists

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Could you give me an overview of how you define Jewish anarchism?

I’ll start with how I understand anarchism, which is a political philosophy of freedom that isn’t that old; maybe 150, 175 years old. It looks at how our forms of social relationships and social organization could revolve, or should revolve, around aspiring to be a social structure of free people in a free society of free beings, not just humans. Anarchism has a dual process or practice. It’s very much about questioning and dismantling all forms of hierarchy, domination, oppression, and subjugation — things like the state,

Cindy Milstein

Queer Jewish Anarchist, Activist, and Writer

colonialism, capitalism, fascism, et cetera. In its place, and at the same time, anarchism tries to envision and experiment with how we structure our daily lives as much as possible around egalitarian, do-itourselves forms of self-organization: selfdetermination, community self-defense, self-governance. Anarchists fill that out with a whole constellation of ethics, like solidarity, collective care, and mutual aid.

We’re now in the Hebrew year 5783, and Judaism spans the whole world and all races, genders, and cultures. It’s a religion, but it’s a lot more. It’s a philosophy, an ethic, a way of being, a culture, and it’s kind of a way of thinking, too. At the core of Jewishness and Judaism is this foundation of continually questioning and interpreting and communally coming at ways of living. So, putting those together, I understand the core of Jewishness and Judaism as being ultimately a story of liberation and how we continually strive for that in the here and now, wherever we end up. I understand Judaism as a sacred duty, which goes along with anarchism.

For most of that history — and I understand myself as a diasporic Jew — we’ve existed outside of empires or states or nations. We’ve almost never been part of those bodies, yet we’ve continually created these really powerful communities. So to me, Judaism and Jewishness is this incredible experiment and beautiful lived practice of having community and solidarity and life without states. Anarchism by itself is a political philosophy in practice — it’s not enough in itself, it isn’t the whole of life. It’s a politics, in a sense. So, anarchism beautifully says we should always bring the whole of who we are to anarchism, which is how Judaism fits in with it.

There’s this emergence of Jewish anarchism and Indigenous anarchism and Black anarchism. They are ways we understand how, when we bring together the deep parts of ourselves to anarchism, it’s very complimentary, and it creates a much richer fabric and in turn makes anarchism more interesting.

Why is Jewish anarchism resurging right now? What makes it important and relevant today?

I’ll start off by saying there’s always been

a disproportionate number of Jews within anarchism, and Jewish anarchists have been completely integral to anarchism as it was established. A lot of the Jewish anarchists have said, “We’re against all forms of higher domination, and that includes religion.”

They understood religion to be this thing that was imposed upon us, which often it is just because there are largescale institutionalized religious structures no matter what denomination of religion — structures of Christian hegemony or capitalism. So, there was this real rejection of that. I think Jewish anarchism is reemerging because we’re facing a really difficult time period as human beings, with fascism, ecocide, et cetera. There’s this need for a deep sort of spirituality or sense of meaning that I think a lot of people are returning to. A lot of Jewish anarchists now are saying, “I can find that in my Jewishness and bring it to anarchism without it having to be hierarchical.”

Jewish anarchism has a lot to say from experience and wisdom around emergent phenomena right now, like fascism and antisemitism. Unfortunately, we have a lot of experience and playbooks in how you fight and try to survive fascism, and how you defend each other and protect each other.

How could Jewish anarchism be applied now in the U.S.?

For one, it offers this beautiful joy, which I think we need right now. There’s always been singing songs, and there’s a whole bunch of new young Jewish anarchists who are writing beautiful songs and radical Jews who are singing them together in public spaces — songs of liberation and freedom songs about not liking cops and wanting to take care of each other. Another powerful practice which has been reemerging among mostly queer, trans, and feminist Jewish anarchists is practices of healing arts. There’s a long, long tradition in Judaism of using all sorts of medicinal herbs. Another practice that has been really powerful is almost all Jewish holidays and rituals.

A lot of Jewish anarchists have been bringing those storytelling practices as rituals into spaces that aren’t just Jewish. We’ve been creating a lot of our own spaces, which right now is again because

the social fabric is so torn. The pandemic and other things have shut down a lot of communal spaces, and in the meantime, Jewish anarchists have been like, “We can find community around religion, though we welcome anyone in — freedom isn’t just for Jews.” In Atlanta right now, there’s a frontline defense against this forest that is slated to be cut down to build a gigantic police training facility. A lot of Jewish anarchists have been bringing all sorts of rituals into this beautiful wooded space.

What does liberation look like in the context of Jewish anarchism?

One of the core stories within Judaism is that we were enslaved and treated really badly, and people resisted in multiple ways and finally freed themselves. At the beginning of the story, the first thing people do is build this temporary space — a tent. It was meant to be this sacred space of community, where people come together to talk about what it means to wander toward freedom. They could take this space with them everywhere. The story ends with never actually getting true freedom or liberation. What I would understand about Jewish anarchism, and any form of anarchism, is that we’re always gonna have to be struggling for what liberation and freedom look like. But to me, the goal is in the here and now, constantly trying to act as if it’s already here.

So how do we actually not rely on police but rely on each other? How do we take care of each other deeply? We are here, we can form communities of solidarity and care and mutual aid and self-organization, selfdefense, all the many things I mentioned — we can do that now. That already begins to tell us what freedom should look like. You don’t really even need labels while taking care of each other, living in community. There are ways to figure out how to deal with things when they’re hard without having to rely on prisons and profound forms of structural violence like capitalism or heteropatriarchy. Jewish anarchism is a continual practice of “we are doing it here and now.”

It’s not enough, but every time we feel the beauty of having a life-giving space, it feels like liberation.

SOSHA Hosts Information Session for 50 Years of Title IX Legislation

Continued from page 1

“I do know that there are some groups that are really looking at things like the Dobbs decision and thinking about how that kind of connects in … all of this,” Mosely said. “There’s some discussion right now about that for the spring. I think there’s a lot of work happening on campus around this.”

Additionally, Mosely expects SOSHA to continue its Title IX-related programming with events similar to that which occurred Monday. She believes this type of studentrun programming around the legislation exemplifies what makes Title IX at Oberlin unique.

“I think one of the things that makes it really unique here at Oberlin is the passion that our students have for making sure that consent education is happening and making sure that folks are being held accountable for it,” Mosely said. “The other thing I would say is unique to Oberlin is [that] Oberlin has, in my experience, always been on the front edge of how things are done in best practices.”

Earlier this semester,

in conjunction with the Homecoming football game, the Athletics Department created a document exploring the history of Title IX at Oberlin titled “Title IX Across the Decades: Stories of Our Past That Pushed Us Forward.”

“It’s important to understand that before 1972, women were not just discouraged from playing on the same field as men, they were not permitted,” the document reads. “In basketball, women were limited to half-court play and restricted to three dribbles. Even here at Oberlin, the women’s team never had a uniform and often played in their own ‘cut-off jeans and any white blouse’ (Jane Littmann ’72). More often than not, games were cut short because ‘it was time for the men’s team to practice’ (Jane Littmann ’72).”

The document includes photographs and texts divided into several sections, including “Life Before Legislation” and sections highlighting female student-athletes throughout campus history. Due to its original interpretation, Title IX is rooted in sports equality on

campuses despite its broader implications today.

“I would say that it started out very geared toward spending on sports and giving women access to educational programs through academics and extracurriculars,” Mathieu said. “It’s obviously transformed into a huge protection for women on campus.”

Today at Oberlin, Title IX can be used in a variety of ways. In particular, survivors of sexual harm, harassment, or discriminatory practices can use the legislation to achieve various routes to justice.

“So the first thing that happens when somebody files a report with my office is that they receive an email from me just saying, ‘Hey, here’s information for you. You’re welcome to meet with me or not,’” Mosely said. “Once that happens, if the person does choose to meet with me, the next step would be to talk through what it is that feels most supportive to them in terms of a process.”

These avenues of support can take various forms. Individuals who file reports can choose to go no further than the report

itself. However, if they choose to engage in a further process, there are two different options: an adaptive resolution process and a formal resolution process. While the formal resolution might entail bringing the case before a hearing panel, the adaptive resolution does not.

“The Adaptive Resolution Process is a series of inclusive conflict resolution practices that yield participant-authored, effective, and just outcomes through examination of attitudes and behaviors that contributed to the conflict or harm; and that result in clear accountability measures that repair harm and discourage future harm,” the College’s Adaptive Resolution Process Procedures reads. “Adaptive dispute resolution practices — including conflict coaching, facilitated dialogue, mediation, and restorative practices — are available to participants on a voluntary basis. ARP is an alternative to the formal resolution process and does not result in College-mandated disciplinary action against the responding party. The College, however, will enforce any

signed resolution agreement.”

By contrast, the formal resolution process “is designed to provide fundamental fairness and respect for all parties by ensuring adequate notice, an equitable opportunity to be heard, and an equitable opportunity to respond to a report under this policy,” the College’s Formal Resolution Process reads. “The FRP applies to complaints of violations of the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policy, and the Prohibited Relationships Policy and consists of three phases — the investigation, the hearing and the appeals.”

According to Mosely, both processes are designed to support the survivor.

“It’s up to each individual what feels like the right process to take to resolve what happened,” Mosely said. “My job is really just to make sure they have the information, and [to] support them in whatever that choice is that they make at the end of the process, and then [to] help follow that process through to its end, whatever that means.”

NEWS The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022 3
Photo courtesy of Judaism Unbound Cindy Milstein

College-George Jones Memorial Farm Lease Ending

a course taught by Visiting Lecturer in Environmental Studies Brad Melzer.

“The farm isn’t just a farm,” Melzer said in a 2019 interview with Oberlin’s Office of Communications. “It’s also a food hub, and it works with many farmers in the area.”

Produce from other local farms is accumulated at George Jones Farm. City Fresh sets up produce stands in Lorain, Cleveland Heights, Berea, Elyria, and Westlake.

Before the pandemic, Melzer commented that the “farm is experiencing a renaissance.” However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, many students were unable to get involved in person, and during the height of the pandemic, the farm was staffed by a single employee. Oberlin students like College fourthyear Antonina DiValentin have worked to revive the farm since the pandemic and have developed a connection to the land.

Security Report

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 Campus safety officers and the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the first floor of the Firelands Apartments.

Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

Officers and the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the second floor of Kahn Hall.

Officers and the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Keep Cottage.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022

Officers responded to a Professor Street address to assist an intoxicated student.

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022

Officers and the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Price House.

The lease between the College -owned property of George Jones Memorial Farm and a nonprofit called City Fresh will end July 1, 2023. This termination comes after five years of tenantship.

“As a lease naturally expires, the College is reviewing the most effective uses of the properties to support the College’s mission,” Chief Facilities Officer Kevin Brown wrote in an email to the Review

Part of the George Jones property could be sold to Republic Services, which owns Lorain County Landfill on Oberlin Elyria Road, in order to build a methane-producing natural gas pipeline.

According to Thom Dawkins, interim director of the Bonner Center, the Bonner Center

partners with City Fresh through its community-based work-study program. According to the City Fresh agency page on the Bonner Center website, students involved with the organization through the Bonner Center can expect to carry out a variety of tasks.

“The types of work can vary greatly, from harvesting crops, to natural building, to sustainable energy, to trail building and maintenance,” the page reads.

Named in memory of former professor of Botany George Jones, the farm focuses on restoration agriculture and is home to wetlands, prairie, forest, and vernal pools. Located a mile east of Oberlin, George Jones Farm occupies 70 acres, straddling the City of Oberlin and New Russia Township. As of 2022, it is owned by the College and leased to City Fresh, formerly known as the New Agrarian Center.

Oberlin Student Workers Affected by January Minimum Wage Increase

On Jan. 1, 2023, the Ohio minimum hourly wage will increase from $9.30 to $10.10 for non-tipped workers and from $4.65 to $5.05 for tipped workers. This increase will only apply to “employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of $372,000 or more per year,” according to a press release by the Ohio Department of Commerce most recently updated Nov. 4.

This increase comes as part of a policy of annual wage hikes: Ohio State Constitution Amendment II-34a, ratified in November of 2006, mandates a statewide minimum wage increase on the first of every year to account for inflation.

“On the thirtieth day of each September, beginning in 2007, this state minimum wage rate shall be increased effective the first day of the following January by the rate of inflation for the twelve month period prior to that September according to the consumer price index or its successor index for all urban wage earners and clerical workers for all items as calculated by the federal government rounded to the nearest five cents,” the amendment reads.

College second-year and Bonner Scholar Selene Pan, who works as an employee relations liaison and a social entrepreneurship fellow, currently makes $10 an hour at both of her jobs.

“For me, it doesn’t make much difference,” Pan said.

As an international student, Pan’s financial calculations differ from those of many domestic students who receive financial aid, leaving her with limited options to both budget her current spending and earn surplus income.

“My scholarship is related to on-campus dining, on-campus housing,” she continued. “So if I actually buy things — if I actually cook for myself off campus or if I wanna switch off the meal plan or on-campus housing, I actually lose money because they decrease my scholarship. There’s not really much that I can do in terms of getting more money, apart from trying to work as hard as possible. … This is literally the minimal increase of minimum wage.”

However, College secondyear Tabitha Bird-Bott, who earns the minimum wage as a circulation desk assistant in the libraries and above minimum wage as manager of the Cat in the Cream, feels differently.

“It will make it a whole lot easier to feel like I am not

On the farm, City Fresh grows annual row crops, perennial systems, and rotational systems. The organization operates as a central packaging hub for produce, and fruits and vegetables produced at the farm are sold affordably throughout Northeast Ohio from June to October.

Per the City Fresh page on the Bonner Center’s website, City Fresh’s mission is to “repair a broken local food system by paying farmers a living wage, offering nutritious, organic, local produce to people who need it most, and training the next generation in sustainable living practices.”

As a community-supported agriculture project, City Fresh teaches community members how to cultivate produce and also welcomes Oberlin students taking Practicum in Agroecology,

drowning, because really, any money is good money when it comes to being self-sustaining.”

Bird-Bott’s decision to take on their personal finances was largely motivated by a desire to relieve their parents’ financial stress, which includes pitching in to pay their younger sister’s expenses. As for the wage increase’s impact on these finances, Bird-Bott is excited to make more per hour.

“I’ve currently been picking up probably one hour at the circ desk for every two hours at the Cat,” Bird-Bott said. “But I really like that the circulation desk is a lot more chill — I can actually hear myself think, unlike a lot of Cat events. So, it will definitely make it more appealing to work here, because I always find myself reaching for Cat hours for the money, since I do have to pay for things like food. But yeah, I’m quite excited about that.”

As for how the increase will affect their day-to-day life, Bird-Bott may choose to take on fewer hours — or perhaps days — of work to account for the increase, as the fiscal result will remain the same.

“I was looking a lot at [my] budget, and just an 80-cent increase is like three dollars per shift, which is an entire day’s worth of food,” Bird-Bott said.

“Which would be really nice to be able to just say, ‘Okay … I can take at least a whole day off work.”

DiValentin worked for City Fresh starting this past summer through early November as a farmhand and produce transporter.

“I think it’s very hypocritical for the College to ask a lot from a community-supported agriculture project,” DiValentin said. “It was hard to bring the farm back from COVID. It was almost all overgrown, and we really cleaned the place up. We are maintaining the farm for the College in the future — the College shouldn’t turn any part of George Jones into a pipeline.”

DiValentin recognizes that there are difficulties for students in finding transportation to and from the farm, reinforcing the separation between George Jones Farm and Oberlin College. However, she believes this distance is not insurmountable.

“There should be shuttles for classes and easier ways to have the farm more included in Oberlin College,” DiValentin said.

Officers and the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the first floor of Tank Hall.

Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

An Officer transported a student from a West College Street address to Burton Hall. Staff reported the theft of a dongle from their laptop located in an office at Stevenson Dining Hall.

Officer completed a student transport from a College Street address to East Hall.

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022

Custodial staff reported vandalism to several areas on the first floor of East Hall, and an Officer on patrol was advised of vandalism on the first floor of East Hall.

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022

Officers and a maintenance technician responded to a report of a bat in South Hall. The bat was removed from the room.

K&R Landscaping Replace Trees for SIP Initiative

The Sustainable Infrastructure Project’s second phase is wrapping up this week with the planting of new trees along Woodland Street. These trees are being planted where construction took place in the summer of 2022, when pipelines were being placed on campus and where geothermal wells were installed. This is the second re-installment of trees in this project — the first having taken place in December 2021.

K&R Landscaping, a company based in Hamilton, OH that provides landscaping, hardscaping, and commercial services, has been contracted to do this round of replanting. Trees were removed before construction began on Woodland Street.

Joshua Shartzer, a foreman with K&R Landscaping, said that when planting the trees, the main challenge was digging up miscellaneous non-soil items.

“Most of it is running into roots and rock … we think we’ve got a parking curb here that we’re trying to dig up,” Shartzer said.

The new trees are a variety of native and ornamental species

that College officials say will enhance the College landscape’s hardiness, sustainability, and appropriateness to the region.

Ember Carrera, a second-year College student, thinks there is value in the SIP project planting trees but sees opportunity for more to be done.

“I would say that establishing grasslands would be a better way of sinking carbon than planting all new trees,” Carrera said. “Plant new trees and do the grasslands [as well] is my personal stance.”

The College has a number of native plant sites and grassland areas around campus, including a rain garden at Old Barrows Hall funded by the Green EDGE program and the wetland area at the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies. The College planned to install Maya Lin’s “A Remnant Garden,” a natural wildflower meadow area that was to be built outside the Hotel at Oberlin as part of her collaboration on a natural landscape project, but it had to alter the project during construction in 2021.

The next phase of SIP construction will begin in summer 2023 after trees along North Professor Street, Lorain Street, and Woodland Street are removed in January 2023.

George Jones Memorial Farm offers students and members of the community opportunities to participate in its community-supported agriculture program. Photo courtesy of Oberlin College


Protests Erupt in China After Urumqi Fire

Editor’s Note: Given the political content of this article, the Editorial Board has agreed to publish this article anonymously. We feel that the content of the piece and its relevance justifies its publication, and by virtue of the uniquely extenuating circumstances described in the piece, have decided to protect the writer’s identity.

This past Thanksgiving week has been overwhelming, tough, anxious, but also hopeful for me as an international student from China. I made hot pot with my friends on Thanksgiving night, but when I woke up the following day, everything seemed to have drastically changed.

My WeChat friend circle was bombarded with news of a fire causing at least 10 deaths, with nine injured, in Urumqi, Xinjiang. I had never seen so many of my Chinese peers, students both studying abroad and within China’s educational system, uniting and speaking up for the people in Xinjiang. Some shared articles alleging that some of those injured or killed could have escaped the fire were they not locked inside their rooms due to COVID-19 quarantine measures imposed by the Chinese government. Videos of the site conditions were shared, showing that fire trucks couldn’t access the building. Users commented that the building was obstructed by parked cars, which couldn’t be moved because residents in parts of Xinjiang had been quarantined for over 100 days and their car batteries were dead from disuse. This further aroused suspicion that lockdown measures had impeded the rescue process. Seeing social media full of pictures of flames, I resonate with the rage of my people.

While protests initially targeted zero-COVID-19 measures, as the movement grew larger, people chanted slogans calling for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and democracy, criticizing the rule of the Chinese Communist Party and the rule of Xi Jinping. More and more people are marching in different cities in China. BBC News captured protesters declaring, “It’s my duty,” a phrase originating in Beijing during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. It’s unbelievable to see it reappear now. As a kid growing up in China in the 2000s, I never saw protest openly on the streets. For nearly my whole life, I thought, “Protest is just not our thing.” However, this unprecedented outburst of large-scale protests has drastically changed my mind: for the first time, I feel that we — the Chinese people, not the CCP — get to speak for China. The incident happenedrecently, but our long-suffering hearts are substantially ignited.

This outburst of protests, incited by the fire in Xinjiang, is rooted in the harsh, unscientific zero-COVID-19 policies the CCP has imposed on Chinese people throughout the pandemic. The government promotes China’s low number of COVID-19 cases, but never reveals the fact that people have suffered the most not because of COVID-19, but because of the zero-COVID-19 policies. Tragedies are all over, yet unspoken of. When one positive case is discovered in a neighborhood, is it necessary for the whole neighborhood to be locked down? When people cannot work

normally because of the lockdown, isn’t it the government’s duty to provide them with food and compensate them financially? Is it worth spending tremendous amounts of money on the construction of mobile hospitals for COVID-19 quarantine? Facing accusations of injustice and human rights abuses, the government blocked dissident voices, demonizing domestic critics as making seditious comments and blaming “foreign forces” for distorting the actual situation in China to divide the country.

Over the course of the pandemic, unrest has accumulated and ultimately exploded. Following the lockdown in Shanghai in April 2022, informal articles and videos posted on WeChat and Weibo exposing the predicaments of people in Shanghai were massively spread, though many were soon censored. On Oct. 13, 2022, right before the CCP’s 20th National Congress, a white banner with red words criticizing the zero-COVID-19 policy and calling for the removal of Xi Jinping appeared on the Sitong Bridge in Beijing. The most recent protests are symbolized by blank pieces of paper and referred to as the “white paper revolution.” When I first saw a student holding a sheet of white paper in front of her university, I immediately understood its meaning. You just feel the great power that a piece of pure white paper, without any words, can release to silently cry for the extreme injustice happening all over my country.

My mind has been racing these last few days, and I don’t want it to stop. For a long while, it seemed people had forgotten how to get angry. Whenever I called my parents, our conversations were always monotonous, centered on the lockdown, weekly COVID-19 tests, extended quarantine, and increasingly intense censorship. Every day remained as robotically terrible as the one before. My mind seemed to have been paralyzed by what was going on, but the rising protests alarmed me into realizing that now might be our last chance to mobilize ourselves.

I have seen posters at Oberlin explaining the protests hanging on bulletin boards. Flowers, candles, and explanations of the incidents have been placed by the Memorial Arch in Tappan Square, under an engraved verse by Du Fu: “I am grieved by the war and have not slept. Who has the strength to right heaven and earth?” When I saw people stopping there, I also lingered, feeling glad that more people were becoming aware of the situation. At the center of the Memorial Arch, another short, powerful sentence hangs: “YE ARE WITNESSES.” Standing there, I felt it was no longer history presenting itself; we have become part of history.

I cherish this time as a precious, rare opportunity for Chinese people to resist the zero-COVID-19 policies and call for the democratization of our country. Will governmental repression soon disperse people’s morale to fight in this revolution? If the government uses weapons against us, it’s indeed hard for protests to last any longer. However, this might be our last chance, and we must support protesters in China as much as we can. We have to relearn how to speak up.

UNITAR Partnership Brings Opportunity to Oberlin

On Friday, Dec. 2, the Oberlin Orchestra and Choir performed at Carnegie Hall before the United Nations General Assembly, kicking off the College’s partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts. This cohort of students represented Oberlin hundreds of miles from the community itself, and in doing so captured the imagination and respect of the U.N. Through one evening of music, Oberlin students reached the entire world.

By all accounts, the future of the partnership is even more exciting than the inaugural concert. Members of Oberlin’s administration responsible for mapping the next steps of the partnership spoke to the Review about possible internship and Winter Term programs, post-graduate pairings with UNITAR’s international network of institutions, and several other opportunities. Next year the College is launching an English for Speakers of Other Languages summer intensive program that will bring incoming international students to campus for eight weeks of hands-on learning. The extended amount of time international students will spend in the country before starting their four-year degree will enable them to better understand the environment they’re entering. Instead of spending less than a week in international student orientation, they will have the time and personalized space to genuinely settle in before embarking on their journey of higher education. A matter of further pride is that the students in the program won’t just attend Oberlin — rather, they might attend any one of UNITAR’s partner schools across the globe, and take a piece of Oberlin with them.

Oberlin is at the cusp of truly becoming an international institution, performing music and educating its students on a global stage. This is an exciting time to be studying at Oberlin, and a crucial

moment in the institution’s history. In just over a decade, Oberlin will have existed for 200 years — and the roadmap to that occasion is paved with exciting developments for everyone involved. Oberlin is working toward complete carbon neutrality by 2025, and new dorms are set to be constructed alongside renovations to existing buildings.

The partnership with UNITAR and GFPA promises to initiate curricular changes across the board, informing classroom interactions with U.N. sustainable development goals and guest speakers.

The scope for opportunity is stifled only by the limits of our collective imagination.

While this Editorial Board celebrates the fantastic developments in the pipeline, the only real criticism we have pertains to not knowing more specifics about the U.N. partnership. Unfortunately, the nature of the partnership is such that no one really knows exactly what is going to happen next, which means our excitement is somewhat curbed by the unpredictability of the coming years. That uncertainty also means that students in their last few years at Oberlin don’t yet know how they factor into all of this growth and opportunity. In time, we hope Oberlin can address these concerns.

Everytime someone talks about the partnership, they can’t help

Editorials are the responsibility of the Review Editorial Board — the

but characterize it as “historic.” That said, this semester has been historic in several ways for Oberlin. Midway through the first week of classes, Oberlin announced that it would pay Gibson Bros., Inc. $36.59 million in damages, concluding five years of litigation. At the end of September, the Board of Trustees announced proposed changes to the institution’s bylaws, which prompted students, staff, and faculty to join in protest. We have experienced tension and loss in these past few months, but as with any resilient community, we have also experienced profound joy. With the semester nearly at an end, this Editorial Board wants to celebrate the happiness we create together — for each other. If the mission of the U.N. and the future of our partnership with them should inspire one thing in our everyday lives, it should be a desire for togetherness.

It’s funny to think about the future as already being historic — in some ways it’s paradoxical. But paradox can be useful when it exists as proof of brilliance to come. Paradox can be exciting when it primes a place for the opening of a chapter unlike any other in its near-200-year history. Paradox can be inspiring when it paves the way for creativity and collaboration. Leave it to Oberlin to design a genuinely hopeful paradox.

After a semester of great work, we are sad to see our Opinions Editor, Elle Giannandrea go. Elle has been incredible to work with over the course of this semester. She puts so much time, effort, and attention into everything that she does. Elle has put her all into making sure that the Opinions section is the best it can be every single week. This is not an easy job, and Elle was able to jump into the role with so much ease and took the challenges that come with it in stride. She has been a phenomenal editor, and we will truly miss working with her.


The Editorial Board encourgages anyone interested in submitting an Opinions piece to email the Opinions Editors at to request a copy of the Opinions primer. Opinions expressed in editorials, letters, op-eds, columns, cartoons, and other Opinions pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Oberlin Review staff. Submission of content to the Review constitutes an understanding of this publication policy. Any content published by The Oberlin Review forever becomes the property of The Oberlin Review and its administrators. Content creators retain rights to their content upon publication, but the Review reserves the right to republish and/or refuse to alter or remove any content published by the Review. It is up to the Editors-in-Chief discretion whether to alter content that has already been published. The Oberlin Review appreciates and welcomes letters to the editors and op-ed submissions. All submissions are printed at the discretion of the Editors-in-Chief. All submissions must be received by Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Opinions email for inclusion in that week’s issue. Full-length pieces should be between 800 and 900 words; letters to the editor should be less than 600 words. All submissions must include contact information, with full names and any relevant titles, for all signatories; we do not publish pieces anonymously. All letters from multiple writers should be carbon-copied to all signatories to confirm authorship. The Review reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity, length, grammar, accuracy, and strength of argument, and in consultation with Review style. Editors work to preserve the voice of the writers and will clear any major edits with authors prior to publication. Headlines are printed at the discretion of the Editorial Board. The Review will not print advertisements on its Opinions pages. The Review defines an advertisement as any submission that has the main intent of bringing direct monetary gain to a contributor or otherwise promoting an event, organization, or other entity to which the author has direct ties.

5 The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022
Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, and Opinions Editors — and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the Review President Ambar Speaks at Carnegie Hall alongside U.N. General Assembly President Csaba Körösi and GFPA President Benjamin Woodroffe.
Editor’s Note
Photo by Chris Lee

Faster than anyone could have anticipated, December is upon us — and with it, the holiday season — in all its red and green-tasseled glory. The streets of Oberlin are lined with twinkling lights. A decorated tree sits in Tappan Square. Last week, Santa paid a visit to The Hotel at Oberlin and rode down Main Street in a sleigh pulled by two harnessed hors-

es. Stores offering holiday deals abound. Even in Oberlin, a town hidden away from the prying eyes and constant advertisements of big-box stores, I have been unable to avoid the capitalist holiday spirit.

In recent years, the relevance and ease of Christmas shopping online have increased tenfold.

Black Friday shopping is no longer relegated to in-person deals.

Cyber Monday is no longer a means of finding Black Friday

Contract Grading Detrimental to Oberlin Academics, Student Success

Contract grading is a set of grading policies that some classes and professors at Oberlin use: if a student meets a minimum set of requirements, they will automatically earn a B+ or similar grade. Despite its benefits of reduced stress, this system of grading is detrimental because it limits preparation for the real world and life after Oberlin and reduces the impact of hard work. Automatically awarding a B+ to students may reduce stress, but a decent portion of that stress can be reasonably expected from the college experience. While taking care of oneself is important, hard work is of equal importance.

Though I have never taken a class at Oberlin that implemented contract grading, it is reminiscent of the grading policies of my high school and my school district’s faulty policy of grade inflation that served to raise the overall GPA of students while lessening the hard work and learning necessary to function in the real world. The high school I went to was part of the Montgomery County school district in Maryland, which had a uniform grading policy. This grading policy split semesters into quarters, and the higher grade between two quarters would be awarded, or the two would be averaged — thereby raising the GPA of students. So, a student who got an A one quarter and a

B the next quarter would automatically get an A, and an A and a C would equal a B.

There were frequent complaints about the grade inflation that this led to. It caused problems for some students when it came to college admissions because it fails to prepare students for the work necessary to get higher grades and a better educational experience in college.

The grading policy and intensity of grading at Oberlin certainly came as a shock to me when I arrived on campus my first year. Given this, inflating grades through contract grading may likely do the same for Oberlin graduates in graduate schools and professional careers. It may mean they are less prepared to manage and adapt to more rigorous standards, workloads, grading policies, and life in general.

In the world after undergrad, there will be high expectations for the effort and work put into assignments. In most graduate schools, there will likely be no contract grading system like the one that Oberlin College has started to adopt. The workplace will also present unexpected challenges with projects.

In this case, contract grading sets a standard for students to put in minimum effort, leading to work of substantially lower quality than if students gave their full effort. In many work projects and graduate school assignments, the bare minimum will not cut it.

deals online, but simply an additional day for stores to offer increasingly desperate pleas for you to purchase their goods and services.

For weeks, my inbox has been inundated with deals and promotions from companies whose email lists I have no memory of signing up for. My most recent email came from a tea subscription service, promising me “50 percent off” and “an extra gold tea infuser of my choice” if I

signed up for a tea subscription that day.

The holiday season has become divorced from the Hallmark movie and Nat King Cole imagery of curling up around a roaring fire, marshmallows floating leisurely in cups of hot cocoa, and snowmen. Instead, it has become a time of stress and craziness — a time when in-laws come to visit, the flu wipes its sticky fingers on every communal surface, and holiday shopping is a grueling test of strength, will, and merit won only by those most dedicated to its art.

My mother is one of the few who has mastered this craft. For my family, the holiday season is marked by her characteristic gifts: boxes wrapped neatly with old newspaper articles and tied with curls of red ribbon and gift bags ornamented with bows, bells, and delicate pinecones she has collected from hikes over the years. She gives gifts in glass jars decorated with string lights and writes the kindest letters in her curving script. She has an innate talent that makes everything she lays her hands on a labor of love.

For those like my mother, whose self-professed love language is gift giving, the holiday season can present an interesting challenge. Though the term “love language” has become gimmicky and overused — yet another phrase to enter the American vernacular through a self-help book — there is a kernel of truth in it.

There is something essential about finding and making beautiful gifts for the people you care about most. But the joy and love imbued in this process have been largely co-opted by the capitalist undertones and materialistic goals that have come to define

this season. Starting as early as October, there is an onslaught of pointed advertisements from businesses trying to frame their products as necessities for life. These companies tell consumers that to buy is to show the people you love that you care.

For a broke college student, this messaging feels particularly harmful. Armed with a roomful of overpriced textbooks, empty cartons of ramen noodles, and little else, the funds to invest in expensive Christmas presents for my friends and family simply are not there. Rather than becoming another cog in the red- and greenwheeled Christmas machine, I have decided to make this holiday season one that focuses on giving meaningful, thoughtful presents that don’t cost a fortune or buy into the holiday spirit of consumerism. Oberlin, with its abundance of local shops and a student population for whom crafting seems to be a religion, is the perfect place to enact my Christmas on a budget.

Myself and a group of friends, all attending college across the country, all eating the same ramen out of the same Styrofoam cups, have pledged ourselves to this effort. Upon looking at our sinking bank account numbers and recognizing the contrived nature of the Christmas consumerism around us, we have decided to participate in a $1 Secret Santa. This functions like the traditional Secret Santa, with one major adjustment: no one is allowed to spend more than a dollar on their present. This holiday, join me as I craft and barter and borrow and bake in hopes of redefining the reason for the season as something more than clicking “Add to cart.”

dards of good work.

Contract grading also does not help Oberlin College’s reputation. If it became common practice at Oberlin, we would be viewed as a school that inflates grades to improve its overall GPA. It may mean employers would not give as much weight to high grades on a transcript from Oberlin College.

A grading system that is inflated and results in a workload that is too light and easy is a

detriment not only to the academic side of education, but to the personal development that occurs during college. If students do not learn how to navigate challenges and situations where they are out of their comfort zones and have to work hard, they will in all likelihood be less prepared and capable to meet the challenges that come with life.

In sum, the contract grading

policy is a detriment to students because it requires less effort from students. If potential employers catch on to a policy that may be reasonably seen as grade inflation, they may not give Oberlin transcripts and applications as much consideration. While contract grading may reduce some of the stress that college students experience, it is important to prepare students for life after Oberlin.

Celebrate Christmas With Crafting,
Contract grading guarantees students the safety of a B grade, with higher grades given according to the professor’s stan- Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor Small businesses in Oberlin offer a variety of Christmas gifts and decor. Photo by Mads Olsen

Students Must Take Responsibility For Dorm Cleanliness

Stevenson Dining Hall Important to Oberlin Social Life

Oberlin is a school full of kind and wonderful people. I still wave at a girl who walked me home from class two semesters ago and at a guy whose necklace I complimented over a year ago. There are even people I smile and wave at while not really remembering why — it’s just become a part of what we do.

Perishable food left in the kitchen sink. Trash in the lounge. Hair and soap scum coating the bathroom floor. Scenes like these are disgustingly familiar for many at Oberlin, all because some students lack the proper respect for hygiene. It’s understandable that this would be the case: this is a lot of people’s first time living alone, and being tidy often comes second to things like classes, extracurriculars, and social events. But all across campus, a dominant complaint is the dirtiness and messiness of public spaces in dorm buildings, and it really shouldn’t be the necessary evil of college life that many have deemed it.

Keeping one’s residence hall clean is an obligation of every student who lives there. There is an implicit contract to be clean governed by the fact that the housing is owned by the school, but the Office of Residential Education actually puts this in more explicit terms on the Oberlin website, declaring that “students living in College-owned housing are required to keep the facilities in good condition.” This is especially true for public spaces like lounges and bathrooms, which everyone has an equal right to use. Beyond just being respectful to the other people inhabiting your dorm, being overly messy and not cleaning up can be a health and safety concern. Things are hard enough with COVID-19, so even unintentionally making your living quarters into an area where students can get sick is unconscionable. A final important consideration is the custodial staff who have to clean up the messes students leave behind. Their job is difficult enough as it is, but when students consistently don’t even make a basic attempt to clean up, the mess builds up and becomes harder and harder to completely remove. Not only does this make residence halls gradually decline in quality and cleanliness over time, but it can adversely affect custodial workers, which just isn’t fair.

Perhaps all of this seems like common sense, but I’ve seen in my own dorm — and heard in other students’ horror stories about their living conditions — that students aren’t fully considering the impact their actions have on others. Fellow students begin to hate spending time in their residence halls or even fall ill. Custodians work day in and day out for naught. Something needs to change, and it should start with amending the manner in which custodians and dorm residents communicate.

In my experience this semester, it seems that when members of the custodial staff have concerns,

they have two main options: put up a sign of some sort or implore a Resident Assistant in the building to send out an email to the residents. From what I’ve seen, these do not work. I wouldn’t be so bold as to claim that no one reads signs or emails, but they are just too easy to ignore or to skim and miss important information, especially for busy college students who are just trying to take a shower before their 9 a.m. class or reheat a pizza from last weekend. It’s becoming clear that there needs to be some mechanism for in-person, dormwide meetings to take place as necessary.

When it comes to the effective dissemination of key information, face-to-face communication is superior. First of all, although reading is quicker, in most cases it’s easier to retain information aurally than to peruse a block of text with the same details present. In a meeting, people are forced to sit and listen to the whole message, so it’s harder to miss important details. There’s a sense of exigency that comes with a dorm-wide meeting that just isn’t there with other, more discreet forms of communication, and cleanliness in Oberlin’s residence halls is certainly an issue that merits that kind of attention. Additionally, the open discussion that is facilitated by a physical gathering allows for questions to be asked and policies to be explained. One of the best ways to ensure that people follow the rules is to ensure that they understand why those rules are in place. In my dorm, the custodians wanted the private bathroom doors to be propped open when not in use so that water on the ground from the showers wouldn’t pool. A sign was put up, and at first people kept the doors propped open, but within two days the request was all but forgotten about. The problem was not with students trying to foil the custodial staff at every turn — people were just absent-minded and perhaps didn’t realize that there was an important reason behind this policy. Furthermore, having the ability to ask questions often makes the act of policy-making feel less authoritative and one-sided, thus making students more likely to comply.

Naturally, the hope is that people will have the adult intuition to keep things relatively clean, but for dorms where cleanliness is a consistent issue, those who oversee RAs should, in the future, empower them to call these meetings to voice the concerns of the custodial staff, their own concerns, and also concerns residents themselves have. It may be inconvenient, but ultimately, it’s a matter of being considerate and healthy, which should always be a priority on a college campus.

In my opinion, one of the nice parts of living on a small college campus is the experience of getting to run into people — both good friends and waving-acquaintances — most places you go. I find that, oftentimes, when I do run into people, it’s when one or both of us are preoccupied: walking down the street, hanging out before class, studying at the library, and so on. These interactions are usually rushed, keeping peripheral friendships in the periphery. Even if people did want to become better friends, social boundaries tend to prevent people from moving past acquaintanceships.

Stevenson Dining Hall provides the ultimate solution to this problem, which is why I love it so much. When I told my friend that I was writing this article, she told me that nobody was more suited to write it because she didn’t think anybody loved Stevie as much as I do. I would tend to agree with her — I really do love Stevie to an almost unhealthy extent. Before joining the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, I averaged about two hours a day in Stevie. I once read an entire book, from cover to cover, while sitting in the main dining area. I used to joke that I was going to make a Warhol-esque film called 24 Hours in Stevie by wearing a GoPro and recording my surroundings for a whole day.

Given how often I am critiqued for my love of Stevie, I thought I should defend my point of view. I never crave the food at Stevie — I rarely dare to eat the meat there and have never once been brave enough to try the seafood bar. It is an objective truth that if your mother is at least a half-decent chef, Stevie food will never match up to the quality of her cooking. I think the main source of its bad reputation is that the food is not especially good. At the same time, it’s rarely as bad as people make it out to be, and

I’d argue that the sandwich bar, cereal section, salad bar, and pizza and pasta sections are sources of consistently good food.

All of that being said, Stevie is the proverbial office water cooler of Oberlin — a place where almost everybody goes, providing a casual environment for people to have longer and better conversations with the people they exchange pleasantries with on a day-to-day basis.

Being in the same place at the same time, just by coincidence, makes it appropriate to make dinner plans with somebody who you half-know and happen to run into at the salad bar. It’s even more productive for socializing when you invite someone to join your friends, or vice-versa: you join theirs. It’s how you can seize the opportunity to make friends with your friends’ friends and get to know different people.

The layout of Stevie is particularly conducive to this. There are the smaller tables in the back, which work well if you are eating with just a few people. The larger tables provide a place for people to join and pass through, creating a flowing chain of friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends. Before I switched to OSCA dining, I would go to Stevie for breakfast in the morning and stay there until lunch, watching the group at my table change around me as people flowed in and out. The constant variety of people keeps Stevie interesting.

Stevie is also different from other places where you may run


into someone, like Wilder Hall, because meal times have the benefit of being naturally social. There isn’t an option to revert to doing homework in silence with someone or becoming trapped in the contents of your phone. Stevie’s size and the variety if offers means that it draws and fits in more people than any other dining hall. So regardless of whether you’re reuniting your old friend group or meeting new people, it’s a great place to keep your community feeling strong.

When I first came to Oberlin, one of the things that surprised me the most was the realization that the things I was used to doing with my family now had to be done exclusively with my friends. We had lived together, worked together, used the same showers (at different times), and were the only ones there to support and take care of one another. The biggest shift for me was eating every meal with friends, but it was mealtimes at Stevie that helped these friendships feel like a new family.

While there are no Michelin-starred dining options on campus, my mealtimes have become much more about who I share my food and time with than the food on the plate in front of me. The opportunities I have to talk to and get more acquainted with the people I know continue to be a wonderful part of my routine. When I consider what makes that time work, it’s undeniable: there really is no better place than Stevenson Dining Hall.

Batten Down The Hatches

7 The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022 OPINIONS
Henry Messy dorms pose health and safety hazards. Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor Stevenson Dining Hall is a central location for students to eat meals and socialize. Photo by Abe Frato, Photo Editor

A Note on the Redesign

A Short History of Downtown Oberlin

The City of Oberlin has brought in Downtown Strategies, Inc. to help create a strategy for post-pandemic development of the downtown area. Downtown Strategies will present actionable solutions that downtown Oberlin can implement in the next five years.

Oberlin’s downtown was at its height in the 1940s and ’50s, a time period which Liz Burgess, OC ’73, owner of Ginko Gallery, remembers fondly.

“Downtown used to be where the entire community came,” Burgess said. “It was a community center.”

In response to the rise of the shopping mall in the ’50s, Oberlin brought in Victor Gruen Associates in 1957 to redevelop the downtown area and keep people shopping in local shops.

“Shopping centers were the real wakeup call,” Marianne Cochrane, whose family owned Ben Franklin and MindFair Books, said in an interview from the

early 2000s on the Gruen Plan. “I think that the variety of merchandise changed. Pretty soon you noticed there were no children’s shops anymore, no shoe stores, and as the competition moved in, the stores couldn’t support themselves. That is still happening today.”

The Gruen Plan would have consolidated Oberlin’s downtown into a central unit, housing cultural, commercial, and civic sections, encircled by plenty of parking space — a priority for local merchants. It was never implemented fully because it received heavy criticism during the testing phase.

“I think that we finally realized, after trying a lot of different things, that we were never to be a primary shopping destination again,” Cochrane said. “We had a secondary position. There was a niche, particularly with the variety store — if you didn’t have time to go to the mall, you stayed in Oberlin to shop.”

In later decades, Oberlin was able to establish itself as a hub for the arts in the northern Ohio area.

“In the ’90s, 2000s, back when I opened [Ginko Gallery], we really had become an art center,” Burgess said. “With the FAVA building and the New Union building being renovated and all the arts groups moving in there — and the art museum — we always had a number of artists living in town. And then I opened [Ginko Gallery], and we had a sort of critical mass of art-related activities. We drew a lot of people from out of town and became sort of a day tourist destination. People would come here specifically for the arts — for music and for visual arts.”

Since 2020, Cuyahoga County has invested $3.3 million from the American Rescue Plan in Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Assembly for the Arts, splitting the funds evenly between the two organizations, which in turn invested in the Cleveland art scene.

“During the pandemic, most [arts and culture in Oberlin] shut down, so it’s just now rebuilding,” Burgess said. “Cleveland has invested a whole lot of money in the arts … [and] built up their art community. It used to be [that] people from Cleveland all came here. Now they have so much happening up there that they stay there.”

Zeb Wimsatt, evening circulation supervisor at the Mary Church Terrell Main Library, held the first art book fair at the Mill on Main Dec. 3. They brought a few vendors to the space and said they had about 50 townspeople come by.

“It’s certainly something you probably see in an urban space, but it sort of felt

that it would be nice to run something like that in town, and that it might actually be feasible to do,” Wimsatt said. “We felt like because it was a new event, it might not really be realistic to expect people to pay a tabling fee. It’s not something I make money off of, [and the fair] definitely ran at a significant loss.”

Jill Sawyer, owner of Mill on Main, a space aimed at creating more opportunities for professional creatives to collaborate, said that they’re not looking at the Mill as a revenue source yet.

“I pay everything out of my day job,” Sawyer said. “I did take a big risk in that that money could be going toward retirement or paying for other things, but I decided it was worth it.”

The Mill joins a number of creative spaces in Oberlin’s downtown building on Oberlin’s arts identity. In addition to the arts identity that Oberlin holds, Janet Haar, executive director of Oberlin Business Partnership, said that Oberlin’s variety of shops, including consignment shops and utility shops, contribute significantly to the culture of the town. Burgess agreed that small businesses are central to Oberlin.

“If we looked like Legacy Village or Orchard Park, no one would come,” Burgess said. “I wish spaces in The Hotel [at Oberlin] would get filled, but not with chains — with little shops that people think up.”

She said that it’s important for Oberlin to enhance the identity it already holds and expand where possible.

“I think when you’re branding a place, you shouldn’t fight what you are, you should make the most of what you are.”

Ratsy’s storefront. Cal A map of the proposed Gruen plan, ca. 1957 Photo courtesy of Oberlin College Archives Photo by Abe Frato Photo by Abe Frato Photo by Abe Frato Photo courtesy of Oberlin Heritage Center The Workshop Art Gallery storefront. W. College Street from second floor, ca. 1945 The Mill on Main interior. Over the past several months, The Oberlin Review layout team has worked to reimagine the design of the newspaper as we know it. We started by closely examining our old style — questioning choices such as headline fonts and column sizes — and quickly realized that the paper was in need of a systemic upgrade. From minor technical issues to larger inconsistencies in design, we recognized the need for a long-overdue bout of problem solving. Today, we are proud to share the fruits of those endeavors. With this final edition of the fall semester, we present to you the first edition of the new Review. Packed to the brim with details and features like a more visually exciting and colorful front page, recurring comic column on page 7, and a weekly crossword on page 11 — there is simultaneously more to look at and more to do in the Review! We welcome your feedback and input as we finalize the fineries and look forward to continuing to serve and engage the Oberlin community through our ever evolving newspaper.


Students Bring Crochet Into Classrooms

If you’ve attended a 9 a.m. Politics seminar or a 1:30 p.m. Environmental Science lecture, you may have seen a classmate or two pull out a skein and some needles. Perhaps you’ve looked over at the person sitting beside you, their eyes glued to your professor, while an entire scarf emerges out of thin air.

College first-year Ella Greene knits hats for her friends during some of her classes. She attributes the popularity of knitting or crocheting in class to limited attention spans.

“Knitting is great because it’s more productive than just being on your phone, but it also just gives you two things to do at a time,” Greene said. “In the classes where I am just sitting and listening, it keeps my hands busy so that I can actually focus better. I am just thinking about what [my professor] is saying, and then the knitting is usually very consistent, so I don’t really have to think about it.”

Modern Music Guild Hosts Experimental Music Workshop

organization intent on bringing more boundary-pushing creatives like kwon to campus. The group is self-described as “focused on presenting concerts and workshops by experimental musicians,” and it brings together student musicians who want to explore the innovative fringes of music-making — of which Oberlin has many.

Oberlin showed off its vibrant electronic music scene last Friday when New York-based interdisciplinary artist, composer-performer, and improviser eddy kwon performed on campus. kwon’s concert included two parts: a solo piece that explored music as ritual, incorporating elements of movement, spoken word, and violin improv, and an ensemble piece performed by a group of student musicians from a range of musical backgrounds.

“Basically, it’s a group of people who are interested in experimental music and bringing musicians to Oberlin who wouldn’t normally be booked by other booking groups like the ’Sco,” Penina Biddle-Gottesman, third-year TIMARA major and MMG member, said. “We’re really looking for experimental musicians who focus on improv and extended techniques.”

Fourth-year Jazz Composition major Ezra Rudel played the trumpet alongside kwon during last week’s concert, and although they weren’t previously familiar with her work, they were quickly captivated by her unique ability to integrate seemingly dissimilar types of music.

“eddy is experimental and free and improvised, but also very informed by folk traditions, which

Oberlin Theater Presents Or, Brings Hilarity to Campus

The intricate set, characterized by contrasting blues and oranges, pillows, rugs, and a candelabra, as well as dramatic lighting that casts dark shadows on the floor, is almost enough on its own to make Or, a worthwhile way to spend this weekend.

However, the fast-paced and witty play of espionage and eccentricity in Restoration-era England by playwright Liz Duffy Adams has plenty more at its disposal to draw you in and capture your attention.

The production, directed by Associate Professor of Theater and Costume Designer Chris Flaharty, runs Dec. 8, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 11 at 2 p.m. in the Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater. Immersion into the set begins immediately, with the first scene opening mere feet from the front row.

The play commences with a breaking of the fourth wall, where soon-to-be-revealed protagonist Aphra Behn (College fourth-year Anire Kim Amoda), a historical playwright and prose writer from the era portrayed, enters to tell the audience with a certain grandiloquence to silence their phones and locate the exit signs, all while musing upon whether this is a production of “lust or love,” “cheap hackney art or trash.”

Though I was initially skeptical of the mixture of contemporary and 1600s English, the effect ultimately made for a tremendously engaging viewing experience courtesy of Adams’ mastery of vocabulary and the actors’ skillful delivery. However, it was still jarring at times, generally not because of the strong language and topics discussed but rather the stark

juxtaposition between conversations of sexual habits promptly followed by deliberations on parliamentary politics.

It wasn’t only language that brought a contemporary spin — themes of polyamory and fluid, undefined sexuality characterize the production as well. Although the plot initially appears to adopt the familiar theatrical trope of a royal man in desperate pursuit of an intelligent and free-thinking mistress, it soon becomes clear that Behn is actually following distinctive feminist ideals.

The character of Nell Gwynne (College first-year Alice Chastain Levy) is far more conspicuous in her declarations of “modern” feminism and the power of this

new age as she, for example, contemplates the conflation of womanhood with whorishness. However, she’s quick to ensure that men don’t go unnoticed in this discussion. Gender equality is a common thread throughout the production, making for some of the most enjoyable farce as Behn interacts with lovers past and present, male and female, all within moments of one another. Despite the tumultuous intersection of her lovers, sleazy romance never overpowers the production but still manages to be a significant component of the plot. While the play intricately intertwines Gwynne and Behn, alongside King Charles II (College fourth-year Jordan Muschler) and William Scott (College

fifth-year Sam Browning), it’s ultimately difficult not to view this as Behn’s story, distinguished by not only her current successes but her future wishes as well, where she seems to always get what she wants through witty charm and commitment to her goals.

Occasionally, the discussions of feminine freeness emerging in this era come across as overly sanctimonious in a way that detaches from the larger narrative and the legitimacy of Behn’s aspirations, which don’t necessarily need to be justified as magnificent solely as a result of her femininity. Still, her goal to be the premier professional woman playwright shouldn’t be disregarded.

Some of the most exquisite details of the play are outside of the narrative, instead coming in the form of aesthetics. Costumes are intricate, certainly courtesy of Flaharty’s extensive experience and devotion to costuming. While there is no change in the set and only minimal changes in costume, there is no need for there to be. Everything is elaborate without being overpowering — there’s no need for the play to rely on superficial elements.

At times, it was as if the cursory details were the only things to mark this show as being set in the 1600s — the play otherwise floats between eras and could have been set in any timeframe across history. As Behn herself references how she plays with ambiguity in her ownwritings, this concept is reflected in Or, a beautiful mise en abyme used to succinctly tell the story of the real Behn and her significance that is otherwise unnoticed outside of niche groups of theatrical historians.

Without divulging too much detail about the final moments of the production, it’s safe to assume early on that Behn’s ending is going to be a happy one. Was it cheesy? Perhaps a bit, though it isn’t an inherently negative way for an otherwise dramatic production where guns are pointed and fired to conclude.

Or, is best described as a battle of wits, defined by jocular banter and quick back-and-forth dialogue. The story is not only enthralling and entertaining but shockingly heartwarming. The latter comes as a pleasant surprise for a Restoration-era coming-of-age tale about a spy who turns to writing while in jail and loves who she pleases.

9 The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022
Aphra Behn sits in the light with Nell Gwynne in the background. Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor Photos by Dlisah Lapidus, Arts & Culture Editor This event was organized by the Modern Music Guild, a student eddy kwon performs in Wilder Main. Photo courtesy of Joshua Reinier King Charles II looks down at Behn. Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor
See Experimental
page 11
William Scott points at Behn during a scene in Or,. Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor

Ivy Fu is a fifth-year double-degree student majoring in TIMARA and Art History major. Throughout her years at Oberlin, she has created, conducted, and installed myriad multimedia projects, including Trace, an augmented-reality installation and Junior TIMARA recital that synchronized a scripted story and geolocation-specific augmented reality in a sonic landscape that the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s visitors were able to experience through the iPhone app TraceAllen. Fu was recently awarded a grant from immersive multimedia art production company Meow Wolf for her augmented reality exhibition The Sentient Bedroom, and she will be traveling to Meow Wolf’s site in Las Vegas to develop her work with the company’s team.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How do you synthesize your fields of study through your museum and installation work?

I’m a musician and a multimedia artist and an art researcher, so I try to merge all of those together in research-based performance art pieces, immersive soundscapes, and interactive installations. I

made Trace, my junior recital for TIMARA, in the Allen by using location-specific augmented-reality installation that viewers experience by downloading a phone app. You walk into the museum, and there are all of these beacons, which are dual-location data-tracking devices installed right next to the artworks that they are composed for. So when you walk around it and you walk in certain proximity to the artwork, it triggers certain sounds or light multi-composition that has been recomposed and concatenated in real time.

I do a lot of similar work where I try to combine the two sides of my studies. I’ve recently been specifically interested in something that is closer to surveillance and data monitoring because I grew up in China, and recently there have been a lot of situations in China related to COVID and big data tracking and use of monitoring. So, I’m interested in knowing: As normal people in this larger state-governed surveillance, how does an individual maintain agency, and how does the individual know how much is being heard and how much is being used? I think after I went to Darmstadt, a music festival in Germany, and saw Jennifer Walshe and some

Ivy Fu

other scholars present on this project called “Eavesdropping,” a collaboration between the Melbourne Law School and some other artist, I got super interested and just started working. Together with the fact that I was in a TIMARA class at the time about e-textiles, which are textile materials that are also electronic. I realized that technology is definitely a big part in this idea of information agency and in understanding how our reality is reconceptualized by technology. Our reality is reconditioned by the sensory input and output that is so close to our lives.

Your current work seems so couched in this intersection between technology, surveillance superstructures, and individual agency. How did your relationship to your work change after attending the Darmstadt festival?

I migrated into this after I worked on the interactive installation in the Allen — that project was mainly to open the museum space, which usually is a very strict and regulated space. That project was meant to dematerialize the space into something where especially non-traditional museum visitors can feel vulnerable and intimate with the art by directly conversing through sound.

I’ve always been in this intersection of technology and its social implication because of the things I study, but I feel that after viewing the “Eavesdropping” project, I started consciously thinking about how much technology affects our lives and why I’m choosing to foreground technology so much in my art. Before, it was just kind of, “Oh, I’m a major in TIMARA, so I better use technology,” but after that I think I realized there are so many complicated situations in technology, such as technological colonialism, the state apparatus using technology in a way to maintain control, and segregating and gatekeeping technology. I think about what it means for me


to use technology in my art and how I use that technology, whether I’m using technology to make the space accessible or to make something distanced from normal people that are not tech-savvy. It’s a choice that I needed to rethink and needed to investigate. That propelled me into this program of discovering how much technology we are conditioned on that we are not aware of in life, such as surveillance eavesdropping.

In many ways, Meow Wolf strikes me as an ideal space for the kind of interactions between art, perception, and technology that you investigate in your work. How did you get connected with Meow Wolf, and how do you see your work fitting into Meow Wolf’s permanent Omega Mart installation in Las Vegas?

I have an acquaintance that either worked for or had contact with someone who worked on one of the advertisements that Meow Wolf put out on their Instagram, which are usually about these imaginary products. I was very fascinated because Omega Mart is a completely constructed space, and in my studies I look at a lot of constructed spaces. On the theoretical background of the whole research, I think it’s so related to this idea of Simulacra and Simulation, which is a book by Baudrillard and highly influenced movies such as The Matrix and cyberpunk literature. According to Baudrillard, we live in the simulation already because we live in the age of media.

In an age of visuality where we only see the two-dimensional space of the TV broadcast rather than feeling connected to the truth, I think it’s super interesting because Omega Mart is something that pierces through that fourth wall in realizing that, “Okay, so if everything is fake, then why don’t we make something that is intentionally fake?” Omega Mart is something that is born in this falsehood and is reclaiming that

agency to be false. I think that traces back to my whole discussion of authenticity and the facade of the digital age.

Can you say a little more about the grant you received and vectors for your work?

The grant itself is for my TIMARA exhibition, called The Sentient Bedroom. It’ll be part research paper and part installation artwork. It’s a room full of these objects that are either functionally or conceptually sentient — objects that have sensory input and output. There is a book that breathes when it’s opened and words show up on the leather only when being touched, a bed that deflates and inflates on different speeds according to the audiences’ proximity, a chair that changes its own temperature and the light of the room when being sat on, a moving painting in a small frame, and a talking plant. I’m currently working on the chair, which is made with these stretch-sensitive rubber cords, so when you press the cords or extend them when you sit on it, they will send a signal to the central control board that will then change the ligh and possibly the ambiance of the room.

There’s a work called “I Am Sitting in a Room” by Alvin Lucier — early experimental music that is basically Lucier sitting in a room saying, “I’m sitting in a room,” and then that sentence is getting feedback or reverb from the room until eventually that feedback becomes the only thing you hear. The room itself becomes the music maker. So, the plan is a spinoff from that: different objects that have their own will and will try to exert their control onto you. They know you from you sitting on them and from the light sensor and temperature sensor and proximity sensor that’s on them. The grant mostly funds getting materials, and it also funds travel to Las Vegas to talk to Meow Wolf to learn more about their ways of doing similar things.

Digital Platforms Cultivate Shared Vocabulary Among Students

The term “meme” was coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins as a cultural parallel to the agency biological genes have over their reproduction. The theoretical claim is that memes are carriers of cultural information that can replicate, transfer, and evolve and are also subject to natural selection. Meme is a cultural analogy to genes — spreading by means of self-replication, and more importantly, mutation.

Meme iconography appropriates templates into a new way of interacting with people, using very visual language to translate jokes through references.

“When you look at the progression, from the very beginning of memes to now, I think that it really does progress in a similar way to any other art form that people would deem more respected,” College first-year Ian Lim said. “In 2010 you had the rage comics, then the white texts on images that everyone was putting everywhere, and this has kind of evolved and been deconstructed. Now it’s great to see student-run meme pages on Instagram and people on Yik Yak building these identities.”

Memes are replicated and transmitted through various mediums, although they are most commonly transferred verbally and visually. Digital platforms at Oberlin act as catalysts for the mutation and distribution of viral on-campus content.

Jokes, thoughts, and ideas are communicated through a number of different channels, making Oberlin meme culture hard to pin down.

“I don’t really know if there is one way to characterize meme culture at Oberlin,” College fourth-year Ruby Denneen said. “I feel like there are a lot of different platforms; you have Yik Yak and the Oberlin [meme] accounts, and you have The Grape, which is like a meme platform in its own way.”

While digital communication does formulate a shared digital vocabulary, much of this new language is somewhat exclusionary.

“I feel like Yik Yak has its own culture which is not easily communicated to people who aren’t on Yik Yak,” Denneen said. “A lot of jokes are in relation to other posts, so you can’t really get the joke unless you saw the other post. I don’t necessarily think it is totally transferable.”

On and offline, memes and digital con-

tent in general play a massive role in formulating our experiences and understanding of our space, the current time, and the people who surround us. This digital campus, brought on by social media platforms such as Yik Yak and Instagram, has a presence even offline.

“[This culture] sort of mutates to a new space that is no longer only digital,” College first-year Max Newman said. “Even just different ways of talking slowly develop and show up around campus.”

Despite the many negative connotations of meme culture as well as social media at large, the generational desire to transform and share content is only made possible by the cultural circumstances provided by such software. Some platforms also serve as possible tools for campus communication.

“Honestly, [Yik Yak] is a huge resource, but people aren’t really taking advantage of it,” Denneen said. “I’m a [Resident Assistant], and last year we had an event where we were just handing out ice cream, and no one was coming to it. We posted on Yik Yak, ‘Come get ice cream,’ and then suddenly people started showing up. I also tend to share a lot of campus resources, so if I see someone posting something a little more concerning,

I take the opportunity to tell them about Student Health Services or the Counseling Center.”

Platforms like Yik Yak and student-run meme pages offer people an insight into the campus. The existence of an online campus affects behaviors and vocabulary in and out of these digital spaces.

“I think that there is a digital campus, but personally, it doesn’t really affect my view of the campus as a whole,” Newman said. “I figured out pretty early on that Yik Yak and all of that is a pretty bad representation of what is actually going on around school. There is definitely a separation between the digital campus and the actual campus.”

One way to characterize current meme culture at Oberlin is by its constantly changing nature, as is the purpose of digital content. Gen Z humor has been described as post-post-ironic, and memes are a great example of that, allowing internet users to find humor in far-removed references to once-made jokes, styles, responses, or events.

“I honestly see things moving in a more surrealist direction,” Denneen said. “Memes are just getting more abstract, vibebased, and punchline-based.”

Maeve Woltring Ivy Fu experiments in the TIMARA makerspace. Photo courtesy of Ivy Fu Multimedia Artist and Meow Wolf Grant


Experimental Music Scene Vibrant, Genre-Bending

is my thing,” Rudel said. “She was amazing to work with.”

Rudel hasn’t been particularly involved with experimental music ensembles in the past, but after this experience, they hope to be in the future. For them, part of what makes participating in these ensembles exciting is that they get to play alongside musicians with all kinds of specialties and backgrounds.

“In this scene in particular, there’s a lot of variety,” they said. “In this ensemble, there were TIMARA majors, me and one other jazz major, a couple of classical music majors, and then there were people from the College folk, bluegrass, and old-time scene.”

So what is “experimental music” exactly? In short, it’s a genre concerned with exploring musical possibilities and approaching music-making in unconventional ways.

“I think experimental music is about pushing boundaries, and it’s not necessarily purely intuition-based,” Biddle-Gottesman said. “Some improv is really spur of the moment, but then there’s also a lot of people who are working with computer programming and creating multimedia work, and that can take years of planning and work. I think [experimental music] can come in many different forms, but it’s all motivated by the idea of wanting to create something that opens up your own perception of music and then opens up the perceptions of the people who hear it, too. At its core, it’s about opening up the limitations of music-making.”

Experimental music has been an integral part of Oberlin’s music scene for decades, in part thanks to the Technology in Music and Related Arts department. TIMARA is unique in its combination of traditional music skills and innovative, electroacoustic techniques, attracting students like Biddle-Gottesman, who has been interested in experimental music since eighth grade, to Oberlin.

“I studied cello really seriously growing up,” Biddle-Gottesman said. “I went to a classical music school, and there was an after-school program at the school called the John Adams Young Composer’s Program. It was led by Matthew Camille, who be-

came one of my most important mentors throughout high school. He was really interested in bringing experimental music to kids, and it started opening my mind up because until then, I had only been exposed to classical and pop music and the folk music I was raised on. That was my palette at the time, so studying these experimental classical pieces really inspired me.”

Biddle-Gottesman’s discovery of experimental music didn’t diminish her appreciation for other genres. Instead, it broadened her understanding of what forms music can take, and over time, it has helped her to mend her oncestrained relationship with music as an art form.

“For me, improvising and playing experimental music is like a way of healing,” she said. “I have a very warped relationship with my cello because I started playing it so young in a really strict context. I think that improvising with people like eddy is really a healing experience. I love classical music. I still practice it, I still like to sing, I study music history — it very much informs what I do. But I don’t think it should be taught in a way that holds it up as the ultimate ideal of what music can be. I think that any kind of limitation on what something ‘needs’ to sound like really stunts creativity. So experimental music is like the antidote to that.”

Biddle-Gottesman hopes kwon’s performance was just the start of making the experimental music scene more accessible on campus, especially as Oberlin emerges from the pandemic and the live music scene is revitalized.

“COVID really stunted the live music scene, but now I feel like it’s totally back,” she said. “I feel like there’s a renaissance beginning. I just hope that we can keep growing the experimental music scene and making it a less exclusive community, because everyone has something to contribute. I think people are afraid to because it’s improv, and that’s deeply terrifying. It’s maybe the scariest thing, but it’s also the least scary thing because you can’t mess up. So I think it’s a really good practice. Even if you’re never gonna do it professionally, I think it can help you navigate life without fear.”


1With 56-Down, locations a band might visit... or what the circled letters entail on this campus

5Run through, as a card

10Read a bar code

14Name found in "mesmerize"

15"The Taming of the Shrew" setting

16"Game of Thrones" and "Lord of the Rings" have lots of it

17Back of the neck 18"___ we all?"

19Someone who may frequent this puzzle's circled letters

20Wine improver, according to many

12/8/22, 11:44 PM

21The highest rated TV drama on IMDb, running from 2008-2013

23Euripedes tragedy

ACROSS: 1. With 56-Down, locations a band might visit … or what the circled letters entail on this campus 5.Run through, as a card 10.Read a barcode 14.Name found in “mesmerize” 15. The Taming of the Shrew setting 16. Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings have lots of it 17. Back of the neck 18.“_____ we all?” 19. Someone who may frequent this puzzle’s circled letters 20. Wine improver, according to many 21.The highest-rated TV drama on IMDb, running from 2008–2013 23. Euripedes tragedy 25. Makes out, in England 26. Easy to carry 30.Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan, for two 33.Confounds 37. Pamela of Californiacation 38.“____ live and breathe!” 39. Conspires 41. Maker of many movie lists 42. Wondered out loud 45. What dirty water may be 48.Evening get-together 50.Former Russian rulers 51. Freak out 53. Lots of lots 57. Despondent 62.BeReal, for one 63.Actor Danny of Community 64.Let out of prison, perhaps 65._____ de gallo 66. “Come ____, the water’s fine”: 67.Mexican street corn 68.Booger 69.Doe’s dear 70.Clorox competitor 71.Kings of the hill?


25Makes out, in England

26Easy to carry

30Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan, for two 33Confounds

Food, for one 21. Get-out-of jail card (but not for free) 22. Writer Ephron of When Harry Met Sally 24.Biblical priest 27. Econ. statistic

37Pamela of "Californication" 38"___ live and breathe!"


41Maker of many movie lists

Clues by Jordan Muschler

42Wondered out loud 45What dirty water may be 48Evening get-together 50Former Russian rulers 51Freak out 53Lots of lots 57Despondent 62BeReal, for one 63Actor Danny of "Community"

64Let out of prison, perhaps 65____ de gallo 66"Come ____, the water's fine!"

67Mexican street corn


69Doe's dear 70Clorox competitor 71Kings of the hill?


1Coffee break time

2County in a Pulitzer-Prize winning Tracy Letts play


43.Wiping away 44. More than a scratch 46. Women from this country were named Heroes of the Year by TIME Magazine 47. Fullscreen exit key 49. _____ Tower 52.Nickelodeon show preceded by an “i” 54. Actor Wilson of The Office 55.Disney’s future? 56.See 1-Across 57.Nav. ranks 58.Litter’s littlest 59.Some summer babies 60.Actor Leto of Suicide Squad 61.Pulitzer-winning biographer Leon 65.Awareness message, in brief

Crossword - Crossword

4R&B artist Des'___ 5Go at it 6Hard or soft follower 7In a cartoon, it might be represented by a light bulb turning on 8Hoodlums 9Chewing on food 10Waded through mud, maybe 11It includes greens, bacon, lettuce and tomato 12Song monologue 13Food, for one

11 The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022 ARTS & CULTURE
eddy kwon performs in Wilder Main with students. Photo courtesy of Joshua Reinier
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24Biblical 27Econ. 28Captain's 29Freshwater 31Vegetarian 32Cut 33Sheep 34Canadian 35Website 36Chlamydia 40Christian 43Wiping 44More 46Punchline
52Nickelodeon 54Actor 55Disney's 56See
DOWN: 1.Coffee break time 2.County in a Pulitzer Prize-winning Tracy Letts play 3.Ball-called? 4.R&B artist Des’____ 5.Go at it 6.Hard or soft follower 7.In a cartoon, it might be represented by a lightbulb turning on 8.Hoodlums 9.Chewing on food 10.Waded through mud, maybe 11.It includes greens, bacon, lettuce, and tomato 12.Song monologue Puzzle 12/2Crossword 1B 2 L O 3O M I 4N G 5D A L 6E S 7 T I B O N L I M 8 J E E P 9A E R O B I C 10F A C E E P K A 11C A P 12W 13H I T E E 14B A H T 15S O 16D E F T R 17L A C T O S E M 18I D O L L V 19I O T A C 20E V E R E S T S 21A B C 22S R R 23T A R T T 24P L E A D 25A J A E I A 26B 27Y E 28A R 29O N E C A L 30L 31O P A L U N E L N O R S 32H Y P O C H O N D R I A C
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Website where you might navigate from Harley-Davidson to Queen Elizabeth I 36. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, for two 40.Christian denom.
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Obies Answer Your Love and Dating Questions

be your best choice. So, you matched on Tinder and sent a good first line. Now what? You ask them out. Oberlin campus isn’t the biggest by any means, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to narrow down the options of first date spots.

Where is the best place to take a first date on campus?

McFarlin: On campus? Stevie. Just kidding.

Schigur: Slow Train Cafe.

Anika Kennedy, College thirdyear: That’s not really on campus, though.

McFarlin: Yeah, but where else would you take them? The Rat?

Sophia Nicholson, College first-year: What about a picnic in Tappan Square?

Schigur: Yeah, that’s cute. Or Cat in the Cream. Bowling!

There are plenty of cute spots for a romantic first encounter, but if you want to stick closer to home, Rothstein may have a better idea.

Claire Rothstein: Stevie for the terrible end-of-the-week leftovers.

The consensus: Leave your room, you’re bound to find someone.

That special someone might be closer than you think. Imagine you wake up for your earliest class and sit right next to you is your dream partner. But as the semester goes on they, show up less and less.

How do you slide in with the person who sits next to you in your 9:30 a.m. (and never shows up)?

Hoyt: Send them the homework, share your notes. McFetridge: It’s easier to flirt when you’re drunk, so get hammered at 9 a.m. If they’re there, you have someone to flirt with when you’re drunk. If not, then you have a really lit 9:00 a.m. Your class crush is tired and needs your help catching up in class. That’s the perfect excuse to reach out, but you don’t have their number. What now?

Cannon: Slide into their Obie email.

subject line that draws them in, so I would say yes.

Rothstein is proof that email may be the way to go.

Rothstein: Yes, yes, yes. Absolutely yes. That has gone really well for me.

The consensus: Go for it. What about those in the Conservatory? Musical talent is attractive...right?

How to not get the ick watching your jazz crush play at forum?

McFarlin: There’s no way. You would genuinely have to be so in love with the person.

Schigur: Close your eyes!

Nicholson: Don’t go.

Rothstein: Well, being musically talented is sexy. If they’re not good, though, you should just leave.

Wolfson: Reverse stage fright tactic: imagine them naked instead.

Tinder. Some hate it, some love it. You find yourself aimlessly swiping, not really paying attention, and might even accidentally Super Like someone. Then you match with that one person you’ve had a crush on since the beginning of your first year. What now? Lucky for you all, we crowdsourced answers to all of your Oberlin love and dating questions!

What’s a good first line on Oberlin Tinder?

Everybody has their unique way of introducing themselves on Tinder. Some (most) people’s choice is to not say anything at all. If you’re feeling bold, though,

you could try out some of these suggested lines.

Ava Schigur, College second-year: I always say “hey” with a winky face.

Lillian McFarlin, College second-year: That is not a good line.

Schigur’s line is simple, but maybe not effective.

Claire Rothstein, College third-year: Hey girl, let me use your meal swipes. My plan is all out.

Rothstein is taking this Tinder match as an opportunity to eat a Rathskeller fourth meal.

Nina Hoyt, College third-year: I’m in your walls.

Hoyt wants to leave a strong first impression.

The consensus: Saying nothing at all and waiting until you awkwardly bump into your match in the hallway or at a party might

The consensus: Go off campus. It’s more appealing. Maybe Tinder isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost — you can find your future partner anywhere on campus.

Where is the best place to find people on campus?

Nicholson: The ’Sco. Schigur:, obviously. McFarlin: The weight room.

Abby Cannon, College thirdyear: The Science Center Atrium.

Rothstein: Severance Hall, where the Psychology majors are.

Zack Butter, College fourthyear: Mudd Center fourth floor.

Rothstein: That’s where the unsexy people are.

Vivian Wolfson, College firstyear: Biggs GoYeo line.

Frances McFetridge, College first-year: Azzie’s for sure.

The Obie email might be a severely underused tool when it comes to connecting with your class crush, or any crush.

Can I slide into someone’s Obie email? Is it ethical to Blackboard message the hot person in class?

Schigur: Hell yeah! McFarlin: I would say yes. Schigur: I would totally go on a date with someone who slid into my email.

Kennedy: No, you guys are wrong. If you know their email then just look up their Instagram and slide into their Insta instead. Don’t do it with their email.

Schigur: No, I like the email method. It’s romantic. Wolfson: If you know their name, anything goes.

The email method might not work for everyone, but College second-year Colvin Iorio sees sliding into someone’s email as an opportunity to get creative. Iorio: You could have like a sexy

The consensus: Good luck! You dated and it didn’t work out. Unfortunately, this is a small liberal arts college, so you’re bound to run into them again. Especially if you have the same major. Awkward.

What to do if I end up in class with my ex next semester?

McFarlin: Leave.

Schigur: Yeah, drop it.

Kennedy: Sit on the opposite side of the classroom.

Schigur: No, sit next to them, awkwardly stare at them, and ask them what went wrong in the relationship.

Nicholson: And then they’ll leave and you don’t have to.

Schigur believes in being honest, but Rothstein thinks there is only one option.

Rothstein: Transfer.

Cannon has a different approach altogether.

Cannon: Look really hot everyday so they know what they’re missin’.

The consensus: Buckle up for Oberlin Love and Dating.

Performers Relfect on United Nations Gala Concert

Zach Wuorinen, third-year Double Bass Performance major: As a classical double bassist, there are many rites of passage that our community helps us celebrate: being accepted into a conservatory, going to summer music festivals, playing certain pieces in orchestra, and playing in venues significant to classical music are among a few of them. Oberlin’s recent concert at Carnegie Hall was overwhelming in that it delivered on three of these milestones: going on tour with an orchestra for the first time, playing a concert in Carnegie Hall, and performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Carnegie Hall’s acoustics are every bit as stunning as popular culture claims, and once the concert began, all of my anxieties melted away as the obligations and worries of “real life” were temporarily suspended. I am still astonished at the opportunity that was afforded to us by Oberlin and the United Nations and find it impossible to put my gratitude into words — to say it was a high honor would be a flagrant understatement.

Delaney Fox, second-year Vocal Performance and English major: No one could have prepared me for the experience of performing at Carnegie Hall for the United Nations General Assembly. Not only was I taken aback by the reso -

nance of the concert hall and by the heavenly sound that reverberated back to me, I also was overcome by an esoteric sense of humility. During the performance, it hit me: I am literally singing for the whole world, for nations I’ve never been to, for people who don’t speak my language. This realization that came as I sat on stage listening to the first movements of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 fueled my performance and commitment to the text. For the first time, I heard the music; I understood every word. “Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?” Do you sense the creator, world? I will never forget the feeling of singing for something so much bigger than myself, for humanity.

Gracie McFalls, second-year Viola Performance major and Senior Staff Writer:

Upon entering through the Carnegie Hall stage door, one is greeted by portraits of some of the greatest musicians of all time: Rostropovich, Louis Armstrong, John Lennon. Elevators big enough to fit multiple upright basses or a grand piano line the walls, and staircases lead to a maze of dressing rooms, each one labeled for its respective performers. It’s easy to see the thrill of the space, the history of the hall. Parts of the music that had completely gone over my head in Finney Chapel

stood out to me in the resonant Carnegie: a clarinet line here, a bass line there, the choir’s crisp pronunciation of “Freude.” As people walked across the opposite side of the stage in high heels, it sounded like they were right next to me. Being in Carnegie made me realize that the hall has seen so much history, and that this is a history which now includes Oberlin and the U.N. Before the concert, the president of the U.N. General Assembly spoke on how previous concerts were impacted by COVID. The speech reminded me that history and music are inescapably intertwined and left me thinking about how the appreciation of musical acoustics and artistry remains consistent even while the world around it changes.

Tia Leung, second-year Vocal Performance and Politics major: My Carnegie performance was nothing short of incredible. It didn’t feel real — taking the subway home to see my family, and then coming back to one of the most famous performance spaces in the world to sing for some of the most important people in the world. I got a little emotional up there, too, thinking about my grandfather and his musical roots, my mother’s painful journey to this country, and how they have given me the opportunity to be here. As for An die Freude, I think it was

the best thing we could have possibly performed for the U.N. It’s a classic, for one, but also I believe that it is relevant to its mission as an international organization and I sincerely hope that this is a reminder for the attendees that despite our cultural differences, the goal is for all people to come together for the greater good — alle Menschen werden Brüder. It’s an important message for us too: we must come together, despite how different we are, to make this world a better place for the children of tomorrow.

Cecily Miles, second-year Comparative Literature major: Performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 before the U.N. at Carnegie Hall was a very affirming experience. As a student in the College, I felt a deep sense of togetherness with my peers in College Choir and in the Orchestra despite our being in different programs and ensembles. We endured two long bus rides together, we explored the city together, and we performed together on the same stage in a world-class venue. The piece we performed definitely contributed to this feeling. It was exciting to be able to share that message with such a powerful audience. Given how effective I found the piece to be, I have hope that it was able to elicit a similar response among the members of the General Assembly.

Illustration by Holly Yelton




Anticipating Greatness

After months of anticipation, Oberlin students took to the Ronald O. Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall and performed live for an invitation-only audience of United Nations General Assembly delegates last Friday. The performance honored the work of President of the General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi, who has served in this capacity since September.

Five-and-a-half hours before doors closed, the orchestra sat on the same stage before a phantom audience, tuning their instruments and enjoying the moment with their peers. Between strums of their strings and breaths through their horns, the orchestra stopped to take in the magnificent concert room they were filling with their music: a room soon to be packed with approximately 1,800 audience members.

Backstage, staff from Oberlin and the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts prepared the venue with an electricity powered by pride for the musicians on stage. As if ready to march into battle, Director of Oberlin Orchestras Raphael Jiménez stepped out of his dressing room with a brilliant smile and resolute focus and began his walk to the final orchestral rehearsal before the concert later that evening. Walking beside Jiménez was Dean of the Conservatory William Quillen, who paused to talk about the ghosts of Carnegie — alleging a haunting by the friendly spirits of the greatest musical minds of history. Moments later, GFPA President Benjamin Woodroffe sat with the Review in Jiménez’s dressing room to discuss the resurrection of the U.N. Gala Concert tradition.

“In the early years of the United Nations, there used to be an annual concert,” President Woodroffe said. “When [GFPA] learned of that, we suggested this needs to be resurrected. We need an annual concert now because the world needs to be brought back together. … We looked at some of the past programs of these concerts, and one of them included the Rachmaninoff that we’re hearing tonight, and one of them, of course, included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We thought, let’s put it back on the map. Let’s honor what has been, but let’s bring in today’s future musicians to perform it.”

As President Woodroffe spoke, a screen in the dressing room displayed a live stream of the performers rehearsing on stage. Looking at the Obies on the

at Carnegie Hall for U.N. General Assembly

screen, President Woodroffe considered the partnership between Oberlin, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and GFPA and posed questions musicians need to consider when thinking about their futures.

“We have to create musicians — I’m looking at them on the stage behind you — and they have to be entrepreneurs as well,” President Woodroffe said. “They have to have a vision, and they have to think about what that vision is and how they will take it to the world. So performing different types of music, performing in different ways, performing in different spaces, in different venues, how they record their music, how they distribute their music. These are all questions that we would like to bring to the table with Oberlin as we go forward. But what really matters to me is that musicians play what they want to play, and they play the music that speaks to themselves now. If they play it, they’re dedicated to it.”

With four hours left before the performance, President Woodroffe prepared President Carmen Twillie Ambar, Chief of Staff David Hertz, Assistant to the President Jennifer Bradfield, and Administrative Manager Emily Speerbrecher for the proceedings of the evening. To the backdrop of fantastic orchestral swells, this small contingent toured the still-empty foyer of Carnegie Hall. Walking through the musical landmark, the group carried a refrain on the immense pride and honor they felt for Oberlin on the momentous occasion of performing for the U.N.

“This evening holds a significance that is palpable and powerful,” President Ambar said in her speech that evening. “What you will experience tonight cannot be fully measured in headlines or social media shares. We are not here to raise money or to dedicate a project. Rather, we gather — the United Nations General Assembly and Oberlin College and Conservatory — to commemorate our complementary missions to change the world for good through the power of music, beauty, and education.”

Catharsis Through Concert

Moments before the music began, the audience felt somewhat uncertain, not knowing what to expect nor the journey they were in for. The room settled, but somewhat scattered expectations remained, manifesting in light applause as the orchestra arranged itself onstage.

With instruments tuned and voices warmed-up, Jiménez waved the first notes of the night

into life. “Fanfare on Amazing Grace” by Adolphus Hailstork inaugurated the evening, with a surprise appearance by Hailstork himself at the end of the piece. “If you’re looking for the composer, he’s out here — Hi folks!” Hailstork announced from the back of the hall to roaring applause. While the room cheered for Oberlin and Hailstork, presidents of the GFPA, the U.N. General Assembly, and Oberlin arrived on stage for their opening remarks.

“Article 1 of our charter says that the United Nations is to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations,” President Kőrösi said in his address. “Much of what we are doing here — and most everything that we want to achieve — is about reaching harmony through listening to each other, acting together, and understanding the deeper context together. Just like a work of art, harmony among our nations means peace. Harmony all over the globe means solidarity. Harmony in our hearts means respect.”

As stage producers arranged the set for Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, the excitement of holding a concert with a full orchestra was palpable. In December 2021, the U.N. Gala Concert exclusively featured a solo by pianist Byron Wei-Xin Zhou, who returned to noticeable excitement from the U.N. to perform the Rachmaninoff piece alongside the Oberlin orchestra.

Ahmed Abdelaziz, legal advisor to the Permanent Mission of Egypt, spoke to the Review during the intermission and was struck by the quality of the performance and selection of music for the evening. Oberlin Trustee Chuck Birenbaum, OC ’79, also spoke about the power of the concert and its relevance to the larger

partnership with the U.N.

“It’s a fantastic partnership with the United Nations, and this concert shows how successful this partnership will be for Oberlin and for what Oberlin can do in the world,” Birenbaum said. “I’m really looking forward to what comes next. The emotion and the power that comes out of this concert is symbolizing, it’s iconic, of what kind of people we are at Oberlin or the United Nations.”

Even as they took the audience’s breath away, the musicians remained poised and graceful despite their long journey to the stage. Conservatory fourth-year and violinist Madeleine Zarry reflected on the unique challenges of performing in Carnegie Hall for the first time amid graduate school deadlines and impending final exams.

“Performing in Carnegie and rehearsing in Carnegie was extremely different than Finney Chapel,” Zarry said. “I think it took a lot of us by surprise, how different it was. Acoustically, it’s such an incredible hall, but that also comes with challenges that we have to overcome. Finney Chapel hides a lot of what happens on the stage, whereas everything that happens on the stage is projected in Carnegie. … I think we did the absolute best that we could have, and I do think that we did very well. … I think it was completely overwhelming for a lot of us, especially as a [fourthyear]. We left on Dec. 1, and all grad school applications are due on Dec. 1. It’s also right before finals, so a lot of us were very overwhelmed doing our applications on the bus ride there, exhausted. But all of that went out the window once we got on stage.”

The evening closed with the choral ensemble joining the or-

Jiménez kept up his energy and zeal. For the audience, it felt as though the power of the room was emanating directly from him as he led the ensemble with both grace and authority. As the music unfolded, fantastic sound rushed forth from the stage, wrapping around the walls and flooding into the audience from all sides. Carnegie’s acoustics together with Jiménez’s conducting wove together an immersive symphony of sounds that embraced the room. With minutes to go until the finale, smiles of excitement shot across the faces of the performers: They knew the audience was in for the best part of the night.

“I have to say, too, that there was something about [Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9] which really speaks to a vision of universal collaboration, of universal harmony, of camaraderie and kinship,” Quillen said. “Those lines from the end, ‘this kiss is for the whole world, this kiss is for the whole world.’ Singing that piece and performing that piece at that moment for that audience was particularly meaningful and particularly poignant.”

The evening put the immense talent of Oberlin students in the spotlight for a visibly awestruck U.N. audience. A standing ovation celebrated the orchestra and choir for more than two minutes at the end of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, bookending a historic night for Oberlin and the United Nations.

Oberlin students will return to Carnegie Hall on Jan. 20, 2023 to perform for a general admission audience.

13 The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022
Students pose for a group photo at a rest stop in Pennsylvania on their way back to Oberlin from Carnegie Hall. Photo by Kushagra Kar Director Raphael Jiménez conducts the Oberlin Orchesta and Choir at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Chris Lee chestra for a fierce and uplifting rendition of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Throughout the nearly two hours of music performed,

Third-year Sociology and History major Maggie Balderstone is captain of the women’s basketball team. When they’re not on the court, they’re working as a student photographer for Oberlin Athletics. Their photos can be seen on, as well as their Instagram account: @mmbphotography15

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

When did you start playing basketball, and what made you decide to play in college?

I think the first organized basketball I did was when I was five. I was in kindergarten, and my church had a girls’ league, so it was with my neighbors. We would play at the church, which had a basketball court. That was the first time I got a pair of hightops and played.

For me, playing in college was always the goal in high school. I originally wanted to play as a tool to get an education or to go somewhere that I may not have academically been able to get into on my own. But I think for me it was always just like, “I don’t want these four years in high school to be it. I want to keep playing just because I love it.”

Maggie Balderstone

Basketball Captain, Student Photographer

How did you get started with photography, and how did you start taking photos for Oberlin Athletics?

I bought my first camera at 16. My twin sister was a gymnast for 10 years, and I started photographing her at her meets because they were really long and I wanted something to do. From there, I did family portraits and stuff over the summer, and in my junior year of high school, I helped out the school newspaper. I would go to sports events for them, edit photos, and post on my Instagram. That became really fun because in my senior year, there was a group of us who did photography and videography — we’d all show up to games and take photos together. When I got to Oberlin in the fall of 2020, I was sad that we didn’t have actual meets or competitions because I really wanted to help out and take photos. I was planning on doing it for free, but after my media day photos, I talked to Assistant Director of Athletics Communications Amanda Phillips. She said, “We need photographers. Do you have your own camera?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I’m all set up.” I really enjoy it, and I like being able to have an artistic lens that I don’t necessarily get through playing basketball or being in school.

People enjoy the photos, too. I like giving people something that they’re happy to look at. I’ve had people come up to me and be like, “Oh my God, the pictures are so

good. I feel like you made me look so good.” It makes me happy to catch people in a moment of intensity and joy.

What is your favorite genre of photography?

My favorite — my girlfriend often talks to me about this — is a series of self-portraits that I did. I was also planning on making a video when I got top surgery over the summer to document the process or my own feelings toward it, but I focused on recovery and didn’t do that.

I really love doing stuff that’s more artistic, more indie, but sometimes people don’t want to do that. I don’t necessarily have as much time, but I do love, love, love shooting basketball. I’ve also done a couple weddings — I

love that because it feels so special to be a part of somebody’s special day, capturing a moment that’s only gonna happen once, so that’s another one of my favorite things. I had a really fun time going through and editing the photos and just putting stuff together for them that they would enjoy.

How do you see photography as a form of art?

Personally, I love capturing other people’s moments of joy. That feels really special. One of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken is of one of my really close friends — I shot her brother’s wedding this summer, and the photo is of her and him in the kitchen before the wedding eating pierogies over the sink. It wasn’t posed,

they were just eating the pierogies because they were hungry, but they’re in full dress, makeup on, all ready to go. I know she’s gonna like it forever, and it’s so reminiscent of their relationship. On the sports side of it, I know the amount of work people put in and the intensity it takes to be in those moments, so it’s really cool to catch teammates being excited on the sidelines. Most people are pointing the camera on the court, but when you pan over to all the people who work with you every single day and they’re excited for you, that’s also beautiful. I think that’s art in and of itself. It’s cool to get the action shot, but it’s also cool to catch moments of the coaches in their intense moments and players reacting to that.

Oberlin Track and Field Dominates at Case Western Classic

This past weekend, the Oberlin College track and field teams kicked off their seasons in impressive fashion at the ninth-annual Case Western Reserve University Spartan Holiday Classic, blowing opposition out of the water and setting records in the process.

Fourth-year thrower Iyanna Lewis was the clear star of the show, coming out of the gates in an unbelievable manner by setting a new school record in the weight throw with a launch of 61 feet, 5 inches. This incredible feat comes on the back of Lewis’s previous school record set at last year’s North Coast Atlantic Conference Outdoor Championships, making her a two-time school record holder in throwing. Lewis’s performance at Case Western has set her up as the NCAA weight throw leader, and she will clearly go down in Oberlin history as one of the greats.

Third-year thrower Abby Cannon went to work at the Classic, securing third place in the weight throw with a toss of 48–10 3/4. Cannon was also able to put up a respectable sixth-place performance in the shot put, posting a mark of 34–10 3/4. On the men’s

side of throws, third-year Isaiah Schuham-Anders cashed in a toss of 44–10 3/4, earning him fifthplace honors.

Oberlin continued its strong outing in jumping events. Firstyear long jumper Anna Fritz showed a great deal of potential, winning her first-ever college event with a dominant leap of 16–11 1/4. Third-year high jumper Hayden Hill also made skillful leaps, placing second in her event with a high jump of 4–11

Outside of the field events, Oberlin track athletes also put up impressive numbers. Fourth-year sprinter Chilly Wallace placed first in the triple jump with a formidable 36–00 3/4 mark and later continued her winning streak in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.37 seconds. Her efforts at the meet earned her a well-deserved spot as NCAC Athlete of the Week. Fourth-year Zack Lee also received the award for his outstanding clearance of 44–05 1/4 in the men’s triple jump, placing second overall in the event. Lee’s noteworthy score stands alongside first-year Namu Makatiani and third-year Jake Jarvis, who placed third and fifth with clearances of 44–02 and 44–09 1/2, respectively.

Second-year Kambinachi Obio-

ha was able to secure a victory in the men’s 500-meter dash, taking first place with a time of 1 minute, 7.88 seconds, and first-year Cecilia Vaughn was also able to turn in an impressive performance in the women’s 500, putting up 1:30:39 in

her collegiate debut.

The Holiday Classic concluded with the 4x400-meter relay, in which the Yeomen were able to secure a third-place spot. A strong group of runners including Obioha, third-years Jon Dromlewicz

and Amar Rajani-Bangser, and first-year Dhylan MacLaren set a time of 3:38:06, successfully closing out the meet for Oberlin.

Today, Oberlin track and field will head to Tiffin University for the Andres Family Alumni Open.

Maggie Balderstone at a game against Penn State Behrend. Photos Maggie Balderstone has taken throughout their photography career. Track and Field competed at the Case Western Reserve University Spartan Holiday Classic. Photo courtesy of Thomas Hill Photos courtesy of Maggie Balderstone
Photo courtesy of Oberlin Athletics

Reflections from Oberlin Fourth-Year Athlete Following FIFA at Oberlin

Continued from page 16

to communicate with others. Good communication is key with your professors, coaches, and teammates. If you need to get an extension on an assignment or take an exam at a later date because you’re too overwhelmed or it conflicts with your sport, it shouldn’t be a problem as long as you give notice far ahead of time. Professors are understanding of collegiate athletes and want you to succeed. They know we all have busy schedules, and will cooperate with you as long as you are responsible with your schedule.

When it comes to coaches, let them know what your goals are; they are here to support you — not only as an athlete, but as a student and an individual. Be honest with them if you have any family issues, injuries, upcoming exams, or stress. Coaches are humans and busy people too — oftentimes, we forget that. Make the effort to drop by their office and talk about anything you want. When a coach knows you better and sees your commitment beyond just practice, it can go a long way in shaping your role on the team. As I wrap up my last weeks at Oberlin, stopping by my coach’s office to talk to her about life, school, or athletics is one of the things I will miss most. I never could have imagined how big of an impact my coach would have on my life back when I was an 18-year-old deciding where to go to college. I’m so thankful to have had her as my coach and now as my friend.

As an Oberlin athlete, you are bound to have so much support around you through your coaches, teammates, and department. But it is important to know that comparison is toxic and that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yourself and what you are capable of is all you should focus on. When you focus your energy on bettering yourself as a person, student, and athlete, you will find success, so be your own biggest cheerleader.

While I know the Oberlin Athletics community can foster a great sense of belonging, it can also feel quite small and almost suffocating at times. Don’t feel like you have to hang out with your teammates or other student-athletes every waking hour. Venture outside of the Oberlin Athletics bubble. The high school stigma of cliques unfortunately still exists at college, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have interests outside sports, I strongly encourage you to join a club or organization that centers around it. I would not be writing this article if it wasn’t for my Review family that I joined in my second year here, and I’m forever thankful I became a part of this organization. I promise you, every student-athlete has time to have a life outside of school and sports.

Lastly, have fun. You’re going to put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for your sport, but most importantly, remember to enjoy it. Time is precious and goes by fast. Be grateful for your experience and cherish them while you can.

ball, as it’s known to most of the world — feels less culturally relevant than in my home country, however true that may be. The familiar feeling of homesickness crept up as my family flooded our group chat with spirited updates about the most recent games. However, I have been pleasantly surprised about the effect of the present World Cup on campus.

College second-year Ava Shigur decided to keep up with the World Cup in one of her classes last week. Not only did she learn more about soccer and how the tournament works, but she also made a new friend in the process.

“I was sitting in one of my classes, and instead of paying attention, I put on the World Cup,” Shigur said. “There was a guy sitting a few chairs next to me also watching. After class, he came up to me and congratulated me on the win since the U.S.A. was playing. He then asked me if I was a soccer fan, which I am not. I’m only watching because my friends are watching and I need to stay in the loop. After a whole conversation about soccer, he introduced himself and now we’re friends.”

It’s not just students who are distracted by the games during class time. Professors can be soccer fans too. College third-year Audrey Weber shared her experience in a class on Monday during the Brazil vs. South Korea game, when her professor was just as eager to stay updated on the score as the students were.

“In my Hispanic Studies class, we finished a couple minutes early after we did some presentations, and in the last five minutes of class, our professor put on the South Korea vs. Brazil

game,” Weber said. “There were already a couple people watching the game during class; my professor was even sliding it onto the screen while we were presenting. There was definitely a sense of camaraderie.”

Although some students are willing to give the World Cup their full attention, others have decided to stay focused on their schoolwork. College second-year Eliza Giane won’t miss class for a game, but acknowledges that the World Cup is culturally relevant for her, especially as a Brazilian.

“If I have class or homework, I’m not gonna prioritize watching the game, even if it’s Brazil,” Giane said. “But I won’t tell anyone — I’m gonna hide it with shame if I don’t watch a Brazil game. I’ll lose my Brazilian citizenship if anyone finds out. I don’t care about [soccer] unless it’s the World Cup, because that’s the only time that we [Brazilians] actually have to care. Everyone has to care.”

Giane may not miss class, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t keeping up with the tournament. Unlike American football, soccer doesn’t seem to hold as much importance in American culture as it does in other parts of the world. As Brazilians who are away from home and not surrounded by the familiar yellow and green jerseys during the World Cup season, we crave the feeling of community.

“It’s weird watching the game in the U.S. and everywhere being so quiet,” Giane said. “They don’t freak out for every close hit. It’s not the entire city watching that game like it is back in Brazil. Watching it here with the other Brazilian students makes me feel more at home.”

Watching the games has creat-

ed connections not just for those who are already established, such as students from the same country, but between more unlikely groups too. College second-year Colvin Iorio co-hosted a watch party for the Brazil vs. Cameroon game at Harvey House, La Casa Hispánica.

“As a soccer player and a soccer fan, I wanted to throw a World Cup watch party,” Iorio said, “At the Spanish house, we watched a Brazil game and there were Brazilians watching it with us, which was exciting. It was a nice atmosphere to watch a game that I had never experienced — anytime the ball got anywhere near either goal, they would start shrieking. It made me feel hyped up too. ”

Going to school in the U.S. for the last four-and-a-half years, I have observed that the cultural impact of the Super Bowl here seems comparable to that of the World Cup in Brazil. However, the difference between the two sporting events has to do with both the nature of the sports themselves and the countries or teams which the players are competing for. The passion behind the World Cup is largely rooted in identity, whereas the Super Bowl’s large viewership may be more rooted in American commercialism. Iorio explained why he, as an American, feels more drawn to the World Cup than the Super Bowl.

“The athletes are competing for their national team rather than for a club or their employer,” Iorio said. “Supporting that feels different than supporting the Super Bowl.”

Whether in sports teams, international student groups, or the general student population, the World Cup has a way of bringing people together to connect, watch, and banter.

Oberlin’s Student Commentators Talk Reviewing Games

Maybe you’ve seen them in the press box, dressed up in berets and suits for soccer games, or maybe you’ve recognized their voices on livestreams. For whatever the occasion, you’re watching fourth-years Jack Povilaitis, Max Anastasio, Oliver Ripps, and John Schooner in action as student commentators for Oberlin games.

This past Saturday, YeoCast, a commentating livestream on YouTube, debuted for the men’s basketball away game against Wabash College. The idea behind YeoCast comes from the Manning brothers’ commentary on Monday Night Football games that started during the pandemic. Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Compliance Mike Mancini, who also works as Oberlin’s main commentator, wanted to try something similar with away games. During the stream, Anastasio, Povilaitis, and Schooner were dressed up as if they were in the box, only this time they were commentating from their bedrooms and offices. Povilaitis could be seen showing the camera a whiteboard of the court analyzing the players’ moves. However, this system wasn’t completely perfect.

“Dude, we have to do a better job,” Anastasio said to Povilaitis during the broadcast. “You gotta get me on the mic.”

In fact, Povilaitis and Anastasio started commentating on games out of frustration. Living with two men’s soccer players in their second year, they would try to

watch whatever games they could to cheer their roommates on. However, during the away game livestreams, the two noticed that the commentators were inexperienced, incorrectly using terminology and misrepresenting basic rules of soccer. They also wanted to provide a better description to casual fans who watch the game but know little about the sport.

The two described commentating as “putting icing on the cake.” Although the audience’s main priority is the game, not the commentary, narrating the actions with expressive, poetic language adds to the overall experience. They each spend a minimum of one hour studying the home and opposing teams’ lineups before the game, writing down every player’s name, year, number, hometown, notable statistics, and any interesting facts on Post-it notes that they bring into the press box. With YeoCast, Povilaitis has been taking the lead because he knows more about basketball than Anastasio, whereas in the fall, Anastasio took the lead with his knowledge in soccer.

Halftime, as they described it, is a time where they can relax but also plan on what they might want to say for the next half of the game.

“During halftime, the two of us reflect about the game,” Povilaitis said. “For 10 or 15 minutes, we’re wondering what [each team is] gonna do next. It’s, like, the biggest thing in the world for us.”

Last year, when Povilaitis had an ultimate Frisbee tournament, he needed someone to step in to take his spot, so he called up his friend Oliver Ripps. Ripps has always been into sports commen-

tating, and as a kid he would mute the TV while narrating for his parents or friends. To him, commentary is an important part of being a fan of the sport — a lot of goals in soccer, for example, are famous not just because of the goal itself, but also because of the call. His favorite sports are basketball and baseball, but since Oberlin has established commentators for those, he says that soccer is the next best thing.

As a College student who isn’t a Division III varsity athlete, Ripps has found ways to get involved with sports. When he’s not running statistical analyses as team manager for the men’s basketball team or in the press box, he’s probably playing pick-up basketball with some Conservatory students in the gym.

It’s always been his dream to become a professional commentator, though he’s not sure if it’s in the cards for now. If there’s an opportunity, he will be taking the offer. He will miss the nerves — getting there before the game, knowing that a lot of people are going to hear his voice over the broadcast.

“I never got my goal call in soccer, but I guess I’ll miss the experience of feeling like you’re part of something professional and creative,” Ripps said. “If anyone is reading this and feels like they’re not able to get involved with sports, I know that coming into this school it was hard to find. There are a lot of opportunities like broadcasting, student photographers, and in terms of managing, [it’s been] awesome. Anyone who’s interested in figuring out what ways you can get involved, the men’s basketball team manager position is open for next year.”

During a women’s soccer game against Chatham University when Povilaitis again could not commentate, he and Anastasio called up another friend, John Schooner, to take the lead in the press box. Schooner learned by example, listening to various commentators and developing an understanding of the flow and essence of commentating. Along with the different perspective on sports that commentating provides, what Schooner will miss the most about commentating is going through the preparation process with Anastasio and Povilaitis, from doing extensive research before the game to discussing new strategies to keep

the audience engaged and entertained.

“Commentating a live game is a lot different than just discussing a game casually with friends, but hearing a lot of different commentators when watching sports gave me a decent idea about it,” Schooner said. “It allows you to engage with a game in a different way that you can’t get just from watching it.”

Thanks to the work of all four commentators, spectators get to hear a personalized touch when they listen to games, and so far, it’s been greatly appreciated.

“We would get so many parents thanking us for putting the time in,” Anastasio said.

15 SPORTS The Oberlin Review | December 9, 2022
Continued from page 16
Jack Povilaitis and Max Anastasio commentate from the press box. Photo courtesy of Jack Povilaitis

FIFA World Cup Builds Community, Connections

The FIFA World Cup soccer tournament kicked off year 22 on Nov. 20 and has brought unlikely connections and community to Oberlin’s campus. Walking through the Science Center in the last few weeks, one might see jerseys plastered on open laptops, hear an isolated cheer echo through the mostly silent atrium, or witness a heated argument about which team should win.

As a Brazilian international student, I didn’t know what to expect watching the World Cup in the U.S., where soccer — or foot-

I’m privileged to have worked with Andrea and Zoe over the course of this semester, although it’s bittersweet since this is likely the first and last time we’ll be editors together — Zoe is graduating and Andrea will study abroad in Copenhagen. They’ve done so much for the section, from connecting writers with last minute interviews on Thursday night to presenting unique pitches every week. Zoe, thanks for passing down your knowledge about the section to both of us and for your ability to keep cool through a crisis. Andrea, thanks for your sense of humor and for bringing Otis into the office. Good luck in Copenhagen and beyond — I’m so proud of what we made together. Kayla Kim, Contributing Sports Editor

Even though I was only Sports Editor for a semester, this has definitely been my highlight of fall 2022. I am so thankful to have worked with Kayla, who carried with her wonderful memes and unhinged commentary that made me laugh every single week. I’m also thankful for continuing to work with my good friend Zoe for a semester, from scrambling from our 11 a.m. class to the office, to eating corn dogs in her house late at night after production. To John and Kayla, best of luck next semester! I’ll be reading from across the ocean. Andrea Nguyen, Sports Editor

Graduating Athlete Reflects on Life at Oberlin

If it’s your first — or maybe second — year of college, you might be wondering about all the dos and don’ts, tips and tricks, and ins and outs you should know about Oberlin Athletics. As you navigate your new home here in Ohio, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along my way as a fifth-year student-athlete at Oberlin.

The most important advice I would share is to not be afraid to take rest days and listen to your body. Only you know how you are truly feeling, and your coach should always want what is best for you. If you are getting sick, feeling an injury coming on, or mentally need a break, make it happen. A day or two off is a lot better than a few weeks of forced recovery because you overdid it.

Trust me, I understand that being a college student who gets enough sleep, gets good grades, has a decent social life, and can perform at peak athletic ability sounds like an impossible task unless you sacrifice something,

but it is extremely important to take care of yourself. I know it’s hard to get enough sleep, especially when you have to wake up at the crack of dawn for practice and need to study for a test in your 8 a.m. class, but really try to aim for at least six hours of rest. Make sure you take care of your body by providing it with nutritious foods. I know Stevenson Dining Hall barely has any food by the time you’re done with practice, and that the lines seem way too long to wait in, but trust me, those are excuses that will end up hurting you more in the long run.

By now you should be able to tell the difference between pains from soreness and pains from an actual injury. Even if you feel like it’s not that big of a deal, make sure you see your athletic trainer, and at the very least get something iced, take an ice bath, and roll out. If the trainer tells you to sit out and miss practice or a game, take their advice. Competing while injured will come back to haunt you at the most inconvenient time.

It’s also essential to learn how

Sports Journalism As Told By Editor on Autism Spectrum

Two months ago, I was formally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, concluding years of questions, tests, consultations, and confusion about who I was and why I had always felt so different. My reflections on my new diagnosis helped me answer a question that I’ve had since I started contributing to the Review: There are so many wonderful sections, so why do I love writing for Sports the most?

After all, sports was not something I always enjoyed. Throughout most of my childhood, I was unathletic, had difficulty working with others, and absolutely hated watching sports. For instance, whenever I was on the field for my recreational soccer team in second grade, I mostly stared at the sky or picked at clumps of grass with my cleats, much to the dismay of my teammates and coaches. I couldn’t see the fuss about what felt like an overcomplication of people tackling each other over a ball or running in an oval. Except for the Olympics, sports events such as the Super Bowl or the US Open felt like an inside joke everyone was in on that I couldn’t understand.

It wasn’t until junior year of high school that my interest piqued when I learned about Brutus Buckeye, the mascot for The Ohio State University, through a friend. Though initially bemused by his appearance — his head is a gigantic buckeye nut after all — somehow I was inspired by the way he brings joy to fans, such as by doing push-ups after touchdowns or rapidly pounding his head before games.

Thanks to Mr. Buckeye, I became a devoted Ohio State fan and soon realized that each game

is more than just friendly competition, it’s a story that represents the best and worst of humanity. The cast of characters consists of everyone — not only the star kicker or team captain but also the bench players, the fans, the mascots, the people in sweaty mascot suits, and most importantly, anyone who has ever felt disrespected or ignored. These are the underdogs, the underappreciated recruits, the diehard supporters who find solace and comfort through their favorite teams or players, and people who overcome exceptional adversity to prove that they’re still standing. Cheering for sports means that you’re part of something much bigger than yourself — an expansive and historic collective and community.

This is an aspect I deeply connected with, especially as someone who has felt excluded in social circles and conversations, whether that be misunderstanding figurative language or feeling unable to connect with people who didn’t share an intense love for any special interest I could talk about for hours. But in the world of sports, my vast knowledge of Brutus Buckeye or March Madness isn’t judged or looked down upon — it’s celebrated. When I wrote my first piece for the Sports section in October 2021, an In the Locker Room interview, it was the first time in a while that I truly felt smart and capable of creating something meaningful.

My pride for my work has only grown as I’ve moved from Columnist to Production Editor to Contributing Sports Editor and now to Sports Editor for next semester. I learned to appreciate so much along the way. Although it can be confusing, I fell in love with carefully reading statistics, rules, and profiles for every sport.

I fell in love with the art of production, scanning through every piece written for the paper that week for grammar, spelling, and style. I fell in love with the meticulous process of reading the articles in my section at least five times over and over again and drawing cats on the initial prints of pages. I fell in love with pitches, getting the chance every week to think outside the box and notice things that people typically overlook in athletics culture. I’m passionate about telling stories of those underrepresented in the Oberlin community and beyond, people such as Jim Fixx, OC ’57, the members of Oberlin College Taiko, and even participants in the recently formed pickleball league. Being an editor does not feel like work, but rather a natural extension of my mind and heart.

Nonetheless, I still face some challenges. Sometimes, I need to work in a less simulating space, such as a room with all the lights turned off or under a table. Even after years of practice, direct eye contact is still something I struggle with, so conducting interviews can be a little nerve-wracking. Like many autistic women, who are frequently underdiagnosed, I learned to “mask,” or suppress natural autistic reactions so I can do my best to fit in with a neurotypical world. In public, I avoid doing some actions such as speaking in a monotone voice or stimming. But this filter doesn’t always work. Occasionally when I go to games to report or spectate, I can observe too much — the blaring noise of the buzzer, the squeaky shoes on the gym floor, the texture of the seat, the greasy smell of a dining hall burger, the color of someone’s sweater, the glare of overhead fluorescent lights — and accidentally forget about the actual game. However, I think it gives

me more vivid imagery to work with in my articles, and I’m proud of my ability to push outside my comfort zone.

I don’t know what the future holds for me if I go into sports journalism as a career, where there’s still a significant lack of diversity among reporters and editors. According to a report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 79.2 percent of sports editors are white and 83.3 percent are male. Even if I decide not to pursue journalism, I’m in a world where 85 percent of autistic individuals with a college education are unemployed or underemployed. I don’t know how my peers, professors, friends, family

members, future employers, and strangers will see me after reading this article. In fact, I’m still not completely sure how I see myself after receiving my diagnosis.

But no matter what happens, I will always be comforted by the work I have accomplished this semester, especially in collaboration with fellow editors College thirdyear Andrea Nguyen and fourthyear Zoe Kuzbari. Autism isn’t a dirty secret or a disease to be cured, it’s a unique part of myself that I get to embrace with every word I write and edit for this section. Thank you Sports for helping me find a voice, for connecting me to a community, and for celebrating an imporant part of me.

16 SPORTS Established 1874 December 9, 2022 Volume 152, Number 11
Reflections, page 15 See Following, page 15
Kayla Kim poses with a statue of Brutus Buckeye at The Ohio State University in October 2020. Several students watched the Japan vs. Croatia World Cup game. Photo courtesy of Kayla Kim Photo courtesy of Juliana Gaspar Juliana Editors’ Notes
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