TUFTS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 7, 2011
Innovative cities and how they grow (page 2)
volume CxxIIi / issue 4
Somerville in photos (page 13)
Barceloneta, a poem (page 27)
ARTS & CULTURE
OFF CAMPUS A tour of JP, Boston’s patchwork neighborhood
22 Zachary Laub
A review of Portugal. the Man at Paradise Rock Club
Somerville’s wants, needs, and how it’s innovating the way cities function
NEWS America’s youth have lost their political activism
POETRY & PROSE Poetry by Shir Livne and Theresa Sullivan
The Observer has been Tufts’ publication of record since 1895. Our dedication to in-depth reporting, journalistic innovation, and honest dialogue has remained intact for over a century. Today, we offer insightful news analysis, cogent and diverse opinion pieces, creative writing, and lively reviews of current arts, entertainment, and culture. Through poignant writing and artistic elegance, we aim to entertain, inform, and above all challenge the Tufts community to effect positive change.
November 7, 2011 Volume CXXIII, Issue 4 Tufts Observer, Since 1895 Tufts’ Student Magazine www.tuftsobserver.org
editor-in-chief Eliza Mills managing editor Zachary Laub
production director David Schwartz section editors Eric Archibald Anna Burgess Kyle Carnes Molly Mirhashem Cara Paley Nicola Pardy Molly Rubin Katherine Sawyer Natalie Selzer Ariana Siegel Evan Tarantino
photography director Catherine Nakajima photography editor Louise Blavet art editor Becky Plante lead artist Natasha Jessen-Petersen copy editors Kristen Barone Gracie McKenzie Isobel Redelmeier Michael Rogove production assistants Paul Butler Ben Kurland Angelina Rotman Lenéa Sims web editor Bradley Ooserveld business manager Claire McCartney
2 feature Somerville: The Little City That Can, by Natalie Selzer 5 news No Voices, No Votes, by Katherine Sawyer 6 news A Newspaper for the Future, by Anna Burgess 8 opinion Tweet Like It’s Your Job, by Will Vaughan 10 opinion A New Look at Tufts’ Reputation, by John Mazzoli 12 campus Cardibo: The Creative Process, by Molly Mirhashem inset 13 photo Photograph by Number: Somerville, by Ian MacLellan 17 interactive Find the Observer Geocache 18 campus Reverse Culture Shock, by Madeline Christensen 20 culture Euphrates: Prepare for Peace, by Ariana Siegel 22 music A Review of Portugal. the Man, by Claire McCartney & Maria Stracqualursi campus 24 off Jamaica Plain: The O Visits Boston’s Patchwork Neighborhood, by Nicola Pardy & prose 26 poetry Mine, by Shir Livne & prose 27 poetry Barceloneta, by Theresa Sullivan 28 campus Police Blotter, by Becky Plante
Contributors Knar Bedian Madeline Christensen Chizorom Izeogu Shir Livne Ian MacLellan John Mazzoli
Charmaine Poh Maria Stracqualursi Theresa Sullivan Will Vaughan
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Somerville: The Little City a million different “About dimensions give a city its identity.”
n astounding 80 percent of the US population is now urban. That means more people than ever before are driving, walking, living, eating, consuming, polluting, and working in American cities. As more and more people move to metro areas, existing city fabrics will need to adapt in order to accommodate more people, greater public demand, and expanded infrastructures. More important, however, are the expectations we have for this adaptation, what standards we, as a society, demand of it. If we expect that our cities will act as livable spaces where increasing numbers of citizens have the opportunity to thrive, we’ll need innovation and fresh ideas to ensure success in the face of potentially tumultuous change. The question then becomes: How can a city best serve its residents? What makes a city successful? And, once identified, how can we recreate those magical conditions across the country? The long and the short of it is: it’s complicated. As anyone can see, cities are a complex beast, functioning as intricately as their ecosystem counterparts in the natural world. Different cities consume different levels and types of inputs (water, food, raw building materials), require different workers to fill specific niches (different industries call different cities home), and have wildly diverse physical forms across the nation (squat and sprawling Dallas, tall and dense New 4
ElizaOBSERVER Mills TUFTS
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York). Just as a temperate forest, a coral reef, or a desert may seem similar to one another, these very disparate cities have more in common than you might think. “About a million different dimensions give a city its identity,” explained Justin Hollander, a professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts. “Its history, how it was founded, what its immigration patterns have been, its current physical form, the local government—all these things and more can have an effect.” There’s also the issue of scale. How we interact with and experience a city can be viewed from different angles, ranging from big-picture perspectives down to the level of minutiae. This could mean the difference between contemplating big ideas about how current levels of economic inequality affect the overall climate of a given city and small ones like about whether crosswalks are safe enough for a certain neighborhood. By switching perspective from big ideas to the everyday concerns of a given city, different individuals, from planners to developers to local and state government officials, will have greater influence. Creating a city that citizens are happy calling home can mean big policy changes and budget overhauls, or it can simply mean filling in potholes and switching to single-stream recycling. Or, it can mean all of those things, all at once.
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That Can by Natalie Selzer
“What makes a city successful… That’s a really tough question,” admitted Hollander. “And it depends on how you are measuring success. A lot of people will measure success in terms of economic success. But there are other ways to measure it… Say, with happiness levels.” So, creating a successful city really depends on perspective. Decisions to “better” a city community will be based around the values of those individuals with the power to make such decisions. Will they focus on economic prosperity? Social justice? Equal opportunity? Safety? Education? Sustainability? A combination of this or that? The answer probably depends as much on the values of the decision-makers as it does on the issues that seem to be most pressing in a given city’s present climate. The thinking should then, hopefully, be: Who better to understand the issues facing individuals in a given city than those selfsame individuals, living out their daily lives among the very issues that we’re debating? Not every city effectively gives such a voice to its citizens, but inclusive strategies are probably the best way to turn cities into communities and to give them a leg-up in successfully (however you may define it) adapting to the continuation of the urbanization trend. “It’s the most important thing,” Hollander emphasized when asked about citizen inclusion and its role in bettering communities.
Interestingly enough, Somerville is a prime example of a city that has taken citizen inclusion to heart. Though we campus-dwellers tend to see it simply as an auxiliary space in our everyday lives, where we can find some good restaurants and a cheap movie theater, Somerville is actually a city in which innovation and new thinking thrive. Under the guidance of Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Somerville has rolled out a number of new programs and projects in recent years focusing on giving Somervillians a greater platform to voice their opinions— a platform on which the local government will actually listen to them. Many of these projects and programs have garnered national buzz. This seems fitting in a place as unique as Somerville. Located on about four square miles of land and home to a population of 76, 000, Somerville is one of the most densely populated cities in America. Residents are an interesting mix of blue-collar families, young professionals, college students, and recent immigrants. This large immigrant population means more than 50 languages are spoken in its schools. And only New York City can claim more artists per capita than little old Somerville. “Somerville is a teeming city,” described Christine Cousineau, also a professor of urban and environmental policy and planning. “It has managed to remain affordable for much longer than a lot of similar places, and so there’s a diversity of people NOVERMBER 7, 2011
Charmaine Poh TUFTS OBSERVER
RE FE AT U here. It’s very much alive and changing. And because it’s not a precious community, like Cambridge, it’s more funky, more flexible.” “We’re a tough, scrappy community, because we’ve had to fend for ourselves for a long time,” said Brad Rawson, Senior Planner in the City of Somerville’s Economic Development Department, in an email. “And we are proud of Somerville. Our residents, people from every walk of life and every corner of the world, are really informed and engaged in civic affairs.” Indeed, Somerville, like many other municipalities of its size, is on a tight budget that relies heavily on state aid. With aid declining by nearly eight percent between 2000 and 2006, Somerville doesn’t have a whole lot of financial resources to put into its projects and programs. But with innovation and enthusiasm, the city has formed what Rawson describes as “excellent” public services while still spending the least amount of money per capita of any municipal government in Massachusetts. One of the programs that allows for such fiscal efficiency is the SomerStat program, which regularly brings together key city decision-makers in different departments to talk data. With extensive financial, personnel, and operation data at their fingertips, they can better assess opportunities for improvement. They can also track the changes that occur when they put something new into practice. This is Somerville’s tool in answering the perpetual question: How can we improve our city? But the most important program in discussing citizen inclusion is undeniably the
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program’s corollary ResiStat program, which, according to the ResiStat website, “is the City of Somerville’s effort to bring data-driven discussions and decision-making to residents and promote civic engagement via the Internet and regular community meetings.” Meetings occur semiannually and provide citizens with an opportunity to voice their opinions and give input on various aspects of the city in the presence of officials that have the power to enact change. The meetings are also informational, and present an opportunity for residents to formulate opinions on the basis of concrete data. Though ResiStat’s pilot year was 2007-2008, it has met with success thus far. “Thousands of Somerville residents are part of the ResiStat network, and hundreds show up for the semiannual community meetings in their neighborhoods,” said Rawson, adding, “These programs have really enabled a culture change in Somerville, where municipal agencies have bought into transparency and accountability on all levels, and residents are more informed and empowered than ever before.” The project that has arguably created the most buzz around Somerville, however, is the “happiness survey” that went out with the census in 2010. Asking questions such as, “How happy are you right now?” and, “How satisfied are you with Somerville as a place to live?” the survey was the first of its kind to be implemented by a municipality in the US asking residents to gauge their own happiness and well-being. In a wonderfully progressive nod to Somerville’s inclusiveness and diversity, the survey even had “Transgender” listed
right alongside “Male” and “Female” under the options for “Gender.” Not surprisingly, of the 7,500-plus residents that mailed back the survey or spoke to a surveyor on the phone, the average ranking of happiness with Somerville came out at a solid 7.5 out of 10. It’s no wonder, in light of all this, that Somerville won the All-America City Award in 2009 for “outstanding civic accomplishments” and demonstrating “innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration.” The Boston Globe also described it in a 2006 article as a “model city” and “the best-run city in Massachusetts.” This year, the America’s Promise Alliance listed it as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People for the fourth consecutive year. Other cities ask for advice from Somerville to implement similarly inclusive programs, including the not-yetmentioned 311 phone-number system that allows Somerville residents to call and get any piece of information, be it simple or complex, about the city. It’s basically a customer-service line for an entire city—and bigger, more notable cities want one of their own. So it becomes clear: our cities have an obligation to step-up to the challenge of an increasingly urbanized US population. There’s no simple solution to creating community-minded, sustainable, and equitable city places with effective public services. The first step, however, is most definitely to ask residents: What do you think? As Hollander noted, “You can only really know how well you’re doing if you ask.” O
sRE wU AeT FEN Michael Rogove
ust two years after a surge in youth voting helped Barack Obama clinch his presidency, a new poll by Harvard’s Institute of Politics reports that young people find the president’s performance underwhelming and are also unlikely to vote in upcoming midterm elections. Although the youth vote has become especially important for Democrats, specifically Obama, the lack of young adults who plan to vote presents a challenge for politicians today. Most registered voters age 18 to 29 years old say they would prefer to see a Democratic-controlled Congress, the poll found. Youth are less much less likely to vote in midterm elections, however, which indicates how perilous it is for Democrats to look to young adults for support this year. In fact, only 40 percent of young adults registered to vote say they will definitely vote in November and a mere 25 percent say they are politically active, according to the poll. In fact, in the last two midterm elections, only one in four individuals under age 30 voted, a rate about half that of the most recent presidential elections. This reflects the current trend that young Democrats are presently even less politically ac-
tive than they were in 2006, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center. Even more disturbing, nearly 3 in 10 young people in America are not even registered to vote. Conversely, older Americans are much more likely to be registered and much higher percentages say they will vote. In a CBS News poll conducted in October, nearly nine in 10 adults age 45 or older reported that they were registered and over eight in 10 said they absolutely will vote. Looking beyond midterm elections, the poll indicates some troublesome signs for President Obama, since strong youth support was a critical factor in his 2008 victory. Current Institute of Politics polls show that the percentage of young adults who approve of the work Obama has done as president is steadily decreasing. About half of youth voters, 49 percent, currently approve of Obama’s work as president, which is down from 58 percent a year ago. On specific topics such as how the president is handling the economy, the current deficit, the war in Afghanistan, and the issue of immigration, majorities of youth disapprove of Obama’s policies. Among youth voters, the split on approval of Obama’s health care policy is even greater. With all of this in mind, President Obama continued his efforts to reengage
youth voters last month. He held a town hall-style meeting on MTV, and a rally with the band the Roots in Philadelphia. Obama is looking to reignite the passion he saw from young Democrats in 2008. This group represented the Democrats’ strongest support in that election, and is still the demographic to rate Obama the highest. Obama knows that if he wishes to win reelection, one of his most important tasks will be to engage with the youth that swung the 2008 election. In that election, the final tally for 18-to29-year-olds was 66 percent for Obama, which is a full 12 points more Democratic than in any other presidential election in the past forty years. The youth were key to Obama’s success and he must win over this group again if he wishes to gain reelection. At this point, the youth represent uncertainty, both for midterm elections and for the future of the Obama presidency. Not only is support for Obama wavering, but youth voting itself is at a standstill. If Obama wants to target the young adult audience again, it appears he has his work cut out for him; and if the youth want to take a stand, they need to get out there and vote. O NOVERMBER 7, 2011
one in a different direction. Where ther papers are less gung-ho bout pushing web subscriptions, e Globe is strongly emphasizing s new website’s innovative echnology, device-friendly atures, and ability to fit individual eeds. The corporation is trying FN EAe TwU sR
A Newspaper for the
By Anna Burgess
ournalism is dead. This is a phrase uttered by many in recent years--one that news corporations around the country have been valiantly trying to prove wrong. A phrase that calls to mind the struggle of journalism professors, courses, and schools learning to adapt to a new age of information technology. And now, a phrase that The Boston Globe is battling in a new way: with aZ subscription-only website. Billed as “a newspaper for the future,” BostonGlobe.com was launched on September 12,2011, along with an editorial assuring readers of its commitment to journalism and a page of frequently asked questions to help readers understand the site. Typing in the URL BostonGlobe.com leads readers to a homepage that looks like the front page of a print newspaper. The headlines are there, as well as photos and descriptions of the paper’s content. But clicking on a link to an article featured on the “front page” leads to a new page featuring only the article title, an opening sentence, and a friendly box telling readers to “continue enjoying BostonGlobe.com, please sign up or log in.” This website is truly for subscribers only. BostonGlobe.com is now one of two online branches of The Boston Globe. The other is Boston.com, which has been around for years, has five million visitors monthly, according to Nielsen ratings, and does not require a subscription. Ac-
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cording to the Globe’s statement, “Boston.com...will continue to offer full daily sports coverage, breaking news updates, online features, and lifestyle information, as well as five stories selected from each day’s print edition...[it] will also include summaries and headlines of stories on BostonGlobe. com, but you must be a subscriber to read those stories in full.” BostonGlobe.com, on the other hand, has a subscription fee of $3.99 a week and offers full access to an online version of the print newspaper. It also includes online-only features, such as a tagging system to save articles for later, video adapted to the size and quality of viewing devices, support for touchscreen devices, and crossword puzzles that save progress and check for errors. The website may not sound monumental or groundbreaking, but it does represent a new approach to a battle many news corporations have been fighting for years. With the rise of informational blogs and interest-specific websites, declining revenue and readership for newspapers has been the norm. Many of these print newspapers have developed online equivalents, which are necessary in the Internet age. But the problem with many of these equivalents is that they are just that—there is nothing new about them. For instance, the site for the San Francisco Chronicle is a series of links, with almost no images, let alone exciting interactive technology. The New York Times online offers non-subscribers access to the whole paper, as does the LA Times. Like other
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e o , g e y l g
papers, the Chicago Tribune encourages subscriptions but does not pretend that subscribers gain any huge advantage. Benefits to an online subscription with the Tribune include the ability to comment on articles and to upload images—but non-subscribers can still access the entire paper. This strategy of offering some perks for subscribers but keeping access free is one that has been adopted by almost every newspaper in the US. But now The Boston Globe has gone in a different direction. Where other papers are less gung-ho about pushing web subscriptions, the Globe is strongly emphasizing its new website’s innovative technology, device-friendly features, and ability to fit individual needs. Their reasoning seems to be that though the paper has a strong loyalist
subscription base, the average age of a subscriber is 52. With its new emphasis on apps and app-like technology, the Globe and new BostonGlobe.com are targeting a younger demographic. As publisher Christopher Mayer stated in a September 12th press release, “Our research showed that we have different segments of news consumers in our market, and we need to reach them in different ways.” The corporation is trying to show readers--especially young readers--that they will get something from BostonGlobe.com that they wouldn’t from an independent blogger or a subscription-optional news site. The Globe editorial published along with the site launch states, “The new technologies...will help extend the Globe’s mission of service...providing a state-of-the art version of the Globe
THE BOSTON GLOBE 88
a new DIRECTION
As to whether BostonGlobe.com will achieve the goals of its parent company, it is far too early to tell. If the site doesn’t do well, the corporation will face a whole new set of challenges. Even if the site is very successful, the words “journalism is dead” will likely still be spoken by some. Right now, though, Boston’s “newspaper for the future” is an innovative strategy that proves journalism will certainly not die without a fight. O
a loyal SUBSCRIPTION BASE
is the largest newspaper in New England and is delivered to towns & communities
newspaper for readers everywhere. By remaining proudly and steadfastly independent of all political parties and private agendas, and speaking only for its readers, journalism stands tall as a check on unmitigated power, and as a truly reliable source of news. BostonGlobe.com will be propelled by that strength as it carries Boston journalism into a new era.”
percent of subscribers have subscribed for 2 or more years
average age of subscribers is
52 median household income is
76,000 FACEBOOK FANS THROUGH 85 150,000 DIFFERENT PAGES TWITTER ACCOUNTS WITH 200+ FOLLOWERS DOWNLOADS OF THE IPHONE NEWS APP SINCE MARCH 2010
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tweet like by @willvaughan
his past summer, I was introducing myself to someone at a networking event, and after I said my name she asked “Will Vaughan as in @willvaughan on Twitter?” I stood there, mouth slightly agape and eyes wide before mumbling some sort of affirmative reply. For the first time that I can remember (outside of family friends who squeeze my cheek and reminisce over how tiny I was the last time they saw me), someone knew who I was before I met her in person. While it’s always been a conceited fantasy of mine that this might happen when meeting someone new, I had never really expected someone to know me from Twitter. Who knew people were actually reading the beautiful bits of prose I’ve scattered across the web? Over the past few months I’ve started going to more and more technology and entrepreneurial networking events around Boston, and at almost all of them my name tag has said @willvaughan. You could still swap business cards when you meet someone you want to connect with later on, but they often stay forgotten in your wallet, replaced by an instant Twitter-follow from your smartphone. The MassTLC unConference I went to this week even had a custom app that listed everyone at the conference and sent an automatic tweet to each person I’d just met. While Twitter has taken the tech community by storm, it still suffers from a lack of recognition and use in the general population. Whenever I try to convert friends to Twitter, I get the age-old “why would I want to see what people are eating for breakfast” response. While I may be guilty of the occasional #breakfasttweet (how can one not share his child-like excitement over finding toaster strudels in the freezer?), Twitter has much more to offer than silly messages about your day. The easiest and most popular way to use Twitter is to keep up to date with people and concepts that are important to you. Want breaking news? Follow @cnnbrk. Is knitting more your style? Hit
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up @knitting for links to cool knitting supplies. Want to get a message every time there’s a new entrepreneurial networking event in Boston? @GreenhornBoston has you covered. Whatever your interest might be, you can guarantee that people and organizations are tweeting about it. And you could take it one step further by sharing your own thoughts and ideas with the entire world in under a minute. Have a new article published in a super-cool campus magazine that you’d like friends and potential professionals to know about, for instance? Just compose a new tweet and hit send. #theobserveristhebest. Above all, I’ve found Twitter to be a fantastic way to make a mark on the Internet and start creating an online presence, which could be a real asset in the job hunt. By default, your tweets, who you follow, and the people who follow you are all public. This creates a fairly detailed picture of what interests you and who you like to interact with. While this may seem intimidating or invasive, you can use it to your advantage. By choosing who to follow, you can generate a public page that not only acts as a profile detailing your skills and interests but also serves as a mini blog, where people can read what you have to say and see what you believe is worth sharing. And here’s where the most unique aspect of Twitter comes in: with nearly everyone on Twitter using a public profile, you can have informal dialogue with people and professionals who would normally be entirely inaccessible. For me, Twitter has been indispensable in staying abreast of the fast-paced changes in the tech, design, and entrepreneurship communities. With @LadyGaga recently becoming the first person to reach 15 million followers, Twitter is clearly not just for geeks like me. But where does one go to directly connect with professionals and actively participate in discussions about a par-
it’s your job
social media can get you hired ticular field—to stay linked in, if you will, to what’s happening in your professional community? Remember in high school when you found out that your favorite (or not-so-favorite) teacher was on MySpace and/or Facebook and all you wanted to do was add them, but it was pretty taboo and would just create a weird situation in class the next day if you tried? Well, fret no longer because now you can add them on LinkedIn. Instead of being nerdy or creepy, it’ll make you look proactive and professional. I originally signed up for LinkedIn the summer after my freshman year. I registered, filled out my resume with my previous work experience, and sat back with a smile, content in knowing that my information was out there on the Internet for any prospective recruiter to see. And then I forgot I had it. I wasn’t going to update my LinkedIn status with the latest tidbit about my life, nor did I really have anyone or anything to interact with. It sort of sat there, an occasionally updated static page highlighting my valuable career experience at Market Basket and CVS. It wasn’t really until this past year that I began to understand the actual importance of LinkedIn. As my classes began to have more real-world implications, and I started to see connections forming between what I was learning, what interested me, and where I might want to work, I realized the importance of staying up to date and involved with the professional community. I joined a few user experience and design groups on LinkedIn, became part of the Tufts professional network, and started to read and even post in discussions about topics that interested me. More recently, LinkedIn has allowed me to get in touch with a Tufts alumna and organize a tour of a company. Generally speaking, it has allowed me to engage with people notoriously hard to contact, connect with
people I’ve met at conferences, and even track the people scoping out my profile so that I could see who’s interested in me. All of us are familiar with how social media has completely changed the way we keep in touch with and keep track of our friends, enemies, and lovers, but the social media revolution is also very much happening in the professional world. Sign up, log in, and start sharing. A connection on LinkedIn or an awesome tweet to the head of marketing at Hill Holiday may be the key to getting your dream job right after graduation. Or, if nothing else, it will hopefully raise your Klout score. O
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CLIMBING THE HILL A New Look at Tufts’ Old Reputation
By John Mazzoli
hen I got into Tufts my senior year of high school, I felt like a failure. I applied to every Ivy League school and got rejected from every single one. I cried myself to sleep many a night and tried to look deep inside myself for a sense of self-worth. Now that I was going to this “Ivy-League reject” school, I wouldn’t get a good education, let alone a decent job. My life was over… right? Wrong. First of all, none of this happened. Not only was I overjoyed when I got into Tufts, but it was the only school that I even applied to. I’m not going to claim that Tufts’ reputation as an “Ivy League-reject” school isn’t still alive and well. However, I think that this idea is not only ridiculous and overblown, but also hardly true. When I was applying to college, I stayed the hell away from the supposedly hallowed “Ancient Eight.” What kind of name is the “Ivy League” anyway? Not only is it incredibly pretentious, but also it makes me think of some sinister society
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,like the “free-masons” or the “Illuminati.” But enough of my ranting. The Ivy-League schools are definitely impressive; they’re well-connected, offer prestigious academic programs, and have been around forever. They are some of the top schools in the country. But so is Tufts. When I first started out here, I thought people would respond by saying they’d never heard of Tufts or simply feigning interest. However, the news has instead been met with overwhelming interest and respect from professionals, interviewers, and peers. I certainly don’t feel like I’m getting shafted education-wise because its academic programs, research opportunities, and resources are ranked as top-notch. The perception of Tufts as the “reject” school is definitely still out there; the question is, is it still true? Sta- tistically, it’s certainly not. As evidenced by slimming admissions rates, Tufts has become extremely competitive, joining its exclusive Ivy-League peers as one of the most selective schools in the country. This past year, Tufts accepted less than 22% of its applicant pool, mirroring the admission trends of other Ivy-Leagues. This signifies not only that more people are hearing about and applying to Tufts, but also that it’s attracting a more intelligent and overall impressive student body. I even know some people that got into Ivy League schools and got rejected from Tufts. Wouldn’t that classify the Ivy schools as Tufts-reject schools? I can’t speak for other people, but the reason I applied to Tufts wasn’t because I
didn’t consider myself “Ivy-League” caliber. First of all, I didn’t want to deal with the boiling levels of competition that tend to characterize student life at Harvard or Yal e—not to mention the high rate of suicide at Cornell with its notorious “death bridge.” The academic atmosphere at Tufts is stimulating and challenging, but it isn’t absurdly competitive or backstabbing. I have never felt like I’ve had to fight tooth and nail to get a leg up on my classmates; instead, I just learn. And of course, I love the social life at Tufts. There are countless things to do to occupy your time, from student groups and club sports to the nearby city of Boston. From my experience, the students have all been diverse, imaginative, passionate, and just crazy in the best way possible. I love how we get really amped up about ridiculous events like Naked Quad Run and TDC, which speak to Tufts fantastic sense of unity and student camaraderie. We don’t need to be defined by how we compare to the supposedly almighty Ivies; we define how great we are all by ourselves. Petty jabs at the Ivies aside, Tufts is a prestigious and truly unique university, one that shouldn’t be consistently judged against the famous Ivies Likewise, I don’t think the Ivy League schools should be lumped into one group either. Every college and university is special in its own right, embodying a unique sense of intellect, community that far surpasses any one label. I’m proud to be attending Tufts University. It’s certainly becoming more and more of an upper echelon university, on level ground with Ivy League schools. Maybe it’s just my inherent bitterness and cynicism, but anyone who thinks that my university is simply a “reject school” isn’t fit to come here anyway. O
Tufts Students Talk Finance With the sector as whole on the precipice of a new era and regulatory practices and the shape of the industry evolving constantly, the financial system in the United States and abroad is in need of a new generation of leaders. by Nick Vik and Stephen Collins
hroughout our young adult lives, financial markets have been in a tumultuous state. As high school students in 2008, we saw the collapse of our overextended, highly-leveraged financial system, an event that had irreparable damages for our country as well as the global economy. The financial crisis of 2008 has brought about a host of increasingly more precarious and intricate problems for our global financial system. This summer, a highly partisan U.S. Congress irresponsibly engineered one of the most precipitous point drops in the history of our stock market, essentially evaporating the modest gains investors have made since 2008. In addition to these partisan debates and the downgrading of our country’s credit rating, the global financial system has been further pummeled by its exposure to the sovereign debt crises of Europe, which have caused foreign investors to seek safer markets, further contributing to the continent’s crisis of confidence. Meanwhile, throughout these tempestuous years, Tufts University has witnessed a consistent increase in the number of students pursuing careers in finance. Some may argue that this trend reflects our generation’s greed or obsessive pursuit of material satisfaction; however, based on the moral values engendered by our liberal arts curriculum and community, we would argue that Tufts students are exactly what is needed in today’s world of finance. With many big banks slashing jobs in large numbers, an already competitive job market has increased in selectivity. Nevertheless, Tufts students—now more than ever—are setting their sights on the variety of careers the finance industry has to offer. With the sector as whole on the precipice of a new era and regulatory practices and the shape of the industry evolving constantly, the financial system in the United States and abroad is in need of a new generation of leaders. The concept of active citizenship figures prominently as a cornerstone of the Tufts liberal arts education. As such, the opportunity to reform an industry so key to the existence of our current political and economic systems is a worthy calling for Tufts students whose aspirations to change the world may have previously trumped the appeal of big paychecks offered by banks. Beyond the opportunity to serve as reformist leaders in the finance industry, Tufts students have before them a considerable array of opportunities within finance. While the industry is frequently stereotyped based on portrayals in popular culture of frantic traders shouting across a trading floor, or investment bankers watching their social lives dissipate as they work 20-hour days
on the weekend to get ready for a big deal, careers in finance are diverse in both the type of qualifications they require and the workplace environment they provide. From high-octane fields such as investment banking, asset management, and sales and trading, to the more contemplative and deliberate side of divisions like research, structuring, and compliance, the financial sector has a wealth of different career paths to appeal to college graduates seeking challenging yet rewarding work. The growth of finance at Tufts can also be attributed to the active involvement of a group of generous and successful alumni. On September 17, Tufts alumni working in concert with the Office of Career Services and the Tufts Financial Network organized the second annual Wall Street Crash Course, a day where students had the opportunity to learn from and network with Tufts alumni working in finance. Listening to the experiences of alumni from such institutions as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and UBS, students felt inspired to enter the challenging field of finance. Author of Goodbye Gordon Gekko: How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul, Anthony Scaramucci, Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital and Tufts Class of ’86, passionately promoted the need for Tufts students to responsibly enter the world of finance. These dedicated alumni create an environment at Tufts in which students are motivated to become actively involved in finance, while still maintaining the university’s principles of social responsibility. As Tufts students continue to pursue careers in finance, many have been deterred by two factors: the tremendously competitive nature of breaking into the field, and the widely publicized vilification of Wall Street as a source of corporate greed. While many blame the financial sector for the global economic woes in recent years, setting one’s sights on a Wall Street career may seem to contradict the responsibility of active citizenship that Tufts strives to instill in its students. That said, Tufts students may actually be ideally equipped to succeed in finance, and to become leaders as the financial system attempts to rebuild itself with sweeping reforms. Due to the nature of the Tufts liberal arts education, graduates are uniquely prepared to approach jobs in finance and take a holistic approach in their assessment of complex obstacles that exist in the world of finance today. Thinking globally and openly, Tufts students may be ideal candidates to propel the financial sector into the future, working to avert the types of crippling crises that have afflicted global economies in recent years. O NOVERMBER 7, 2011
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Cardibo: The Creative Process BY MOLLY MIRHASHEM
t’s a dreary, rainy morning and after much internal debate, you drag yourself out of bed and make the trek to Cousens Gym. Upon arriving, you see that all the machines are occupied; you have to wait for a half hour before getting on the treadmill. If this scenario sounds familiar, you are one of the many students on the Tufts campus affected by overcrowding in the gym. And, in case you haven’t heard, there is a solution.
Jackson Dolan and Rameen Aryanpur, two fifth-year students in the Master’s program for mechanical engineering, have invented the new smartphone application “Cardibo” as a way for students to see how crowded the gym is before they decide to head over for their workout. Cardibo, earning its name from the words “cardio” and “jumbo,” made its launch earlier in October, and has been largely well received by the student body. A few days after it debuted, the website crashed from such heavy user traffic. “We’ve gotten such a good response from everyone,” Dolan said, “that it’s really driven us to keep working.” 12
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Dolan and Aryanpur seem to make a great team. They are dynamic and easy-going, while also passionate about Cardibo and about innovation in general. “We try and do things that we think are going to help people and also be cool,” Aryanpur explained. “We like doing these kinds of [projects] because it’s inherently fun. We both get really into [working on a project] and, before you know it, it’s three months later.” And that description is definitely accurate in the case of Cardibo. Dolan and Aryanpur explained how the original idea was born as a project for a design class last fall, and has taken much longer than they expected to reach their standards of perfection. The duo is always making small changes and tweaking various features, keeping their goals and additional ideas in mind as they work. Most recently, the Cardibo app now has the ability to use past data to determine the typical level of gym traffic at a given time during the week. In the future, for example, they aim to allow users to track personal data from different workouts as a means to creating an online personal training log. While Cardibo is their main focus, both Dolan and Aryanpur have other invention ideas floating around their minds. Dolan is not shy about labeling himself and Aryanpur as “very creative people,” and listening to them talk, it’s pretty undisputable. Dolan described another of his projects (shoes that light up different colors based on how fast you’re running), and it wasn’t long before they proceeded to share their perspectives on continuing their inventive endeavors after graduation. Their answers show signs of both zeal and self-control. Aryanpur explained, “Now is the time to do this kind of thing,” adding that, thinking in the long-term, he doesn’t like the general lack of security that would arise from pursuing a career as an entrepreneur right out of college. Dolan elaborated by saying, “We don’t want to have to ‘quit the day job,’ we want to do this before we have that day job.” But while both students may seem convinced that they’d be content taking on regular old “day jobs” at any time in the midst of creating their inventions, putting an end to their innovative pursuits may prove to be a difficult task. Referring back to the time it’s taken to get Cardibo off the ground, Aryanpur said, “The timeline has definitely expanded, and life kind of got in the way. But luckily for us, this has turned into life a bit more, so there’s more time for it.” O
Photograph by Number: Somerville Ian Maclellan
This photography project started out as just a checklist; I wanted to see all of Somerville. It was designed at a creative low point last spring when I needed a mission and some structure. I was finishing up my GIS mapping project and Tronâ€™s Daft Punk was blaring on repeat in the geology lab, so my mind jumped to the obvious solution: photograph a grid (I now own the domain photographbynumber.com).
I quickly fired up my old friends Illustrator, Earth, Chrome, and Photoshop, and set to work building a “randomized” grid of Somerville as a roadmap. Besides the missing checkboxes, this project would be the same as the other tasks on my chalkboard, like “clean: self,” “ride: bike,” and “eat: candy” (this whole project actually came out of a to-do list item called “create: new,” but I was embarrassed to put that in the first paragraph of this essay).
I love Somerville, but so much of its history and culture has been hidden to me and my camera, lost under a dense, complex tangle of one-way streets and unwelcoming suburban enclaves. To jumpstart the exploration of the grid, I added some ordered integers to the grid (the numbers 1-100) to force me to explore more easily areas that I could easily have biked or walked away from.
I continue to photograph Somerville in fits and starts, and I still find new parking lots and pools every time I set out. This selection is my first real edit of the city and my best attempt at capturing the entirety
of it all. This is just the beginning of the project, and I need some new spots and new connections. I want to hear about the nicest corners and roofs and the most magical trees and parks so I can further
document and share this city with the world. So whether you volunteer, live, work, or travel through Somerville, let me know about it at email@example.com.
Geocache GE•O•CACH•ING - noun An outdoor sporting activity in which participants navigate to seek containers, or “geocaches,” hidden somewhere in the world.
? e b
- The -
1. Find the geocache. 2. Open the jar, and take out its contents. 3. Leave a message or signature for others to find! 4. Return geocache to its hiding place. 5. :)
1. Look beyond the gates of Tufts. 2. There is a photo of this spot somewhere in this issue. 3. Once you’ve figured it out, look low.
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Reverse Culture Shock W
hen students go to a different country to study abroad, they anticipate some life adjustments. Students are generally prepared for different food, different weather, and different customs. When it comes time to return home, many students look forward to getting back to life as usual. Some students effortlessly transition back to life and school at Tufts, but those who find that settling back into American college life takes some getting used to are certainly not alone. Many have dubbed this phenomenon “reverse culture shock” or “reentry shock.” For some students, daily facts of life – the weather, for instance – might be a cold, wet slap in the face. Aisha Farley returned to a New England December after her fall semester in Ghana. “It was really hot, no lie, 18
but I was in good weather,” said Farley. “I was used to the sun every day, which really does affect your mood . . . When we got off the plane in Amsterdam we felt the cold and everybody was just upset.” For other students, the change in academic style is most unsettling. Many programs are light on homework but emphasize experiential learning or field-based study. Others have rigorous workloads but use different educational systems based more on seminars or tutorials. “Readjusting to having class every single day was very hard,” said Chelsea Ongaro, who spent her junior year on Tufts in Oxford. With about half of the junior class going abroad each year, students at Tufts can look forward to finding friends and acquaintances with stories of their own. But it can sometimes
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be hard to relate experiences back to friends and family. “It was a culture shock to come back and to have people have these misconceptions of Ghana, I was annoyed by people’s stereotypes of the continent [of Africa],” noted Farley. Students who go abroad for the year may see fewer familiar faces on campus when they return. Often, social dynamics shift during junior year, and the atmosphere at Tufts is new. “Things reset and you feel like Tufts is how you left it, but things are different now because people have changed and you’ve changed,” said Hannah Wellman, who spent the year with Tufts in London.
Brian Libby, director of non-Tufts programs in the Tufts Office of Programs Abroad, pointed out that much of the shock of returning home might have more to do with students’ personal discoveries. “Study abroad is a transformative experience. It’s an opportunity to learn a lot about a culture, but also to learn a lot about yourself,” he said. “Coming back can be difficult for that reason because you’re coming back to.your life as it was before you studied abroad, which can sometimes be a big difference for people.” Reentry shock might actually be the most intense for students who adjusted very
Art by Leslie McCracken
BY MADELINE CHRISTENSEN
successfully to their host countries. “I think it’s really a sign that you’ve immersed yourself and really taken part in your own abroad experience and been an active participant in your experience,” said Libby. As Libby also noted, studying abroad can bring students new perspectives for their entire lives. Students might approach going home as yet another adventure, one that calls for the same enthusiasm, flexibility, and open mindedness that helped them make a home in another corner of the globe. Jumbos might find these reentry tips helpful: Anticipate. Try to reflect on your semester before you
return home. Know in advance that home might not be exactly the way you left it. Keep busy. Your favorite European bar might not be an option right now, but try to rekindle your love for quirky Tuftonian traditions. Use the plentiful resources and opportunities at Tufts to explore interests you developed overseas. Explore new things on campus, in Boston, or even New England. (Selectively) share your adventures. You probably have some awesome stories. Try not to share too much right away. Ask questions. Let your friends fill you in on life at home. Most people like a good listener.
Actually do share those stories, though. Seek out the situations where people would love to hear your stories. Students considering going to your country will likely lend an ear. People who also went to your country might be eager to swap travel tales. Blogs allow friends and family to peruse your adventures at their leisure, and on-campus publications like Tufts Traveler will even print them. Keep in touch. Call up your host mother. Shoot your friends an email once in a while. Keep up those valuable relationships you began abroad. Plan your next trip. It might not be easy to live and work in the country where you studied abroad again, but there may be ways to make it happen. Fulbright offers research and teaching grants abroad—
notify Tufts and start planning months before the internal September deadline. There are many opportunities to teach or volunteer abroad after graduation. Students do not always feel “ready” to return home from abroad. “When it’s your first time in Europe and traveling around and seeing all these things and not having a lot of work, you’re never ready to stop that,” said Toka Beech, of her semester in Paris. But students coming back from abroad have a lot to look forward to—old friends, new people, and everything they missed while they were gone. It may take some time to feel completely at home again, but students returning to Tufts can learn an enormous amount about themselves and their own community from the process. O
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Euphrates Prepare for Peace
photos by ariana siegel
Tufts Students talk Mid-East peace on the banks of the Mississippi BY ARIANA SIEGEL
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” This Albert Einstein quote served as the platform for the Euphrates Summit, a gathering of American and Middle Eastern change-makers who shared their wisdom with students and other future leaders during a two-day conference at Principia College in St. Louis. Among these were three Tufts students and one alum. Years before, following the US invasion of Iraq, former CIA analyst Janessa Vans Wilder stood by the banks of the ancient Euphrates River, marveling that such a peaceful body of water had flowed through a war-torn city just a few miles north. Inspired by the river’s communication of calm in such a violent space, Wilder decided to leave her position as part of the American war machine to found the Euphrates Institute. 20
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“Most people in the US know about the Middle East from media sound bites at best and politicized talk shows at worst,” Wilder said in her opening remarks. The summit was designed to broaden understanding through three sessions, labeled “Inform,” “Inspire,” and “Transform.” During the “Inform” session, the audience in Principia’s auditorium and those watching via live online streaming were addressed by Henry S. Enscher, the current US ambassador to Algeria, followed by Dr. James Zogby, the president of the ArabAmerican Institute and author of the novel Arab Voices. Zogby cited a study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs showing that teachers were vastly ill-equipped to answer their students’ questions about Islam, the Arab world, and Afghanistan. “Like blind people in a darkened room, we bump into each other without knowing who’s there,” Zogby said, referring to the American-Arab relationship. Tom Quiggin, a Canadian counter-terrorism expert, defined the highly politicized word “terrorism” as “the practice of generating fear through use or threat of physical or psychological violence, in order to achieve political aims.” Quiggin noted that
popular discourse often takes terrorism out of context, as with the popularly flaunted claim that Islam promotes the murder of infidels, which excludes necessary pre-conditions. In context, the Qur’an permits this only after a majority-Muslim country fails to negotiate freedom with non-Muslim invaders, Quiggen said. The audience delved further into the post 9/11 psyche as Gulten Ilhan, a professor of Islamic Studies and a Muslim Turkish émigré, spoke of frightening trends of “othering” Muslims in the United States. Ilhan cited a 2006 USA Today/Gallup finding that 49 percent of respondents thought American Muslims’ primary allegiance was not to the US, and 59 percent thought Muslim Americans should be required to carry a specialized ID card. Though these facts certainly sobered the crowd, the “Inspire” session that followed was more than adequate to lift their spirits. Leaders engaged in effective peace-building programs paraded through the auditorium, addressing a wide range of problems and populations. Among these were Dr. Yehuda Stolov, the Israeli head of the Interfaith Encounter Association, and Zainab al-Suwaij, president and founder of the American Islamic Congress. Courageous tales were related with the utmost humility, such as that of the quiet Dr. Douglas Johnson, head of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. Deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, Johnson presented bold ideas about the anti-extremist message of the Qur’an to Madrassa teachers who belonged to a violent Al Qaeda chapter. Various speakers emphasized the importance of finding common ground between the Abrahamic faiths, but solutions were not limited to inter-faith dialogue. T.H. Culhane, a Middle East sustainability expert, insisted that replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources could dramatically change the face of the Middle East conflict. Culhane’s Solar C.I.T.I.E.S. project works in Egypt’s “Zabaleen” trash-picking community, turning garbage into renewable energy gold. He has even crafted solar panels from empty water bottles. But perhaps the most inspired message came from a speaker during the following day’s “Transform” session, which moved participants toward action. Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian who directs the Holy Land Trust, an organization that nonviolently supports and mobilizes the Palestinian community. Through his journey to Auschwitz, Awad began to understand what it would mean to feel true empathy for the Israeli soldiers from whom he had long held nothing but hatred and resentment. He watched a group of Israeli teens tour the camps, listening to leaders tell them that, to
Awad spoke of the religious principle to love one’s enemy. It’s not a suggestion, he said, but a direct commandment.
honor the victims of the Holocaust, they needed to be strong and protect their country. These future soldiers, Awad realized, saw the Palestinians as the new face of anti-Semitism. To end the enmity between them, he would have to help Jews heal. “One’s political identity is not an absolute truth,” Awad said. “Create your identity from the future, not from the past; from what you want, and not from what you have suffered.” Though the summit lasted only two days, its impact will stretch into the coming academic year and beyond. Euphrates nominated seven Warriors for Peace—young entrepreneurs working at American, Iraqi, and Palestinian institutions whose initiatives advance the Euphrates vision in fields from technology to business to education. On the undergraduate level, Wilder advises a group of Euphrates fellows at Principia who hold meetings in which they learn about an aspect of US-Middle Eastern relations and run programs to spread their awareness to the campus as a whole. Adrian Dahlin, who spent a year at Principia between his years at Tufts, thought this campus would be a suitable next destination for the Euphrates fellows program. During breaks between speakers, the Tufts contingent brainstormed with Principia fellows to devise a new space for US-Middle East peace-building on campus. Megan Maher, a Peace and Justice Studies major who had previously focused on conflict resolution in Africa, is looking forward to continuing to build upon her newfound understanding of the Middle East. “There are plenty of groups on campus interested in the Middle East, but they don’t work together as much as they could. Right now we’re still brainstorming where we want to go with Euphrates at Tufts, but I think a good first step would be to bring together members from all these groups and collaborate. We may even be able to bring a speaker from the summit to Tufts.” On the final evening of the summit, Euphrates honored Awad’s work with its Visionary of the Year Award, which Wilder had founded specifically for him. At the podium, Awad spoke of the religious principle to “love one’s enemy.” It is not a suggestion, he said, but a direct commandment. Pouring out of the Principia dining hall that evening, the informed and inspired Euphrates participants smiled brightly and vowed to keep in touch. From their vantage, the US-Middle East conflict had indeed been transformed. O NOVERMBER 7, 2011
Portugal.* the Man a live show review
Bec ky Pla nte
By Claire McCartney & Maria Stracqualursi
nter the Paradise Rock Club in the Boston University neighborhood of Commonwealth Avenue. Itâ€™s Saturday night in Boston, and the low-lit, intimate venue is packed with concertgoers pushing towards the low stage. Most of the audience members are well over the 21-plus status their neon wristbands give them, and a palpable buzz of anticipation circulates through the pumped-up crowd.
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Finally, after the rock band Alberta Cross wraps up their opening set, the four male band members of Portugal. The Man excitedly waltz on stage, guitars in hand. The crowd goes nuts as the band begins to play “So American” off their new album In The Mountain In The Cloud. Lead singer John Gourley’s smooth and versatile voice fills the packed room with such effortlessness that it should send the audience into a frenzy, yet this crowd isn’t really into dancing (a dramatic contrast in energy from these columnists’ beloved dubstep concerts). Nevertheless, the audience bumps along to such songs as “Floating (Time Isn’t Working My Side)” and “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now).” Popular enough to warrant his own “fuckyeahjohngourley” Tumblr site, the singer never wavers in passion or charisma, pausing only once during his set, in a crowd-pleasing move, to switch to a white and gold semi-hollow electric guitar. The alternative rock band is based out of Portland, Oregon, but two of its members, including Gourley, originally hail from Sarah Palin’s own Wasilla, Alaska. A northwest influence is apparent in some of the group’s music videos, including the 13-minute long cinematic experience that is “Sleep Forever.” Premiering this year on the Independent Film Channel, the short film was used as a promotion for the band’s new album, released this past July. Gorgeous shots of the frozen Alaska landscape and Gourley being pulled by majestic sled dogs suddenly shift to a shocking and gruesome ending. This juxtaposition between the beautiful and the grim is the band’s signature style. Many of their songs mix ethereal synthetic sounds with dark and political lyrics, so that you may find yourself smiling and bobbing your head contentedly to such lines as “What a lovely day, yeah, we won the war/May have lost a million men, but we’ve got a million more.” Whoops. The popular music video for the aforementioned upbeat song “People Say” features members of the band undergoing disturbing wartime interrogation, including Gourley being forced to receive the trademark hipster triangle tattoo on his upper arm in real time. The band has been producing albums since 2006 under a variety of labels, most recently signing with Atlantic Records in 2010. They previously released tracks through the indie label Fearless Records as well as their own inde-
pendent label. Lately, Portugal. The Man has been garnering more attention from the mainstream, leading more hardcore fans to question whether the band is “selling out.” However, it seems unlikely that this would deter the passionate foursome from further pursuing and enjoying their newfound success. Portugal played at both Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza and recently made their national television debut on the Conan O’Brien Show. Avid social media users, the band promoted the July 2011 drop of In The Mountain In the Clouds by releasing a 30-second clip of a track from the album every week on their YouTube channel, in addition to the release of the “Sleep Forever” film. In keeping with their D.I.Y. mentality and experimental attitude towards music, Gourley himself often creates the band’s psychedelic album art. Back at the Paradise, Portugal. The Man is clearly thrilled to be playing in Boston for the first time in two years. Gourley and bass player Zachary Coruthers keep grinning at each other, and the slight, curly-haired keyboardist Ryan Neighbors appears pleasantly absorbed in his own contented world. Overhead lights that can best be described as giant strings of pearls flash blue, red, and white, much to the delight of the audience. The enthralled fans go crazy for a cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” and the band manages to keep its cool through crowd surfer after rowdy crowd surfer. One determined man even manages to climb up on stage to jump into the audience’s arms but is shoved into the crowd by a roadie when he comes too close to Gourley’s mic. Despite the antics of the crowd and the trippy light show, it is Gourley’s voice that truly steals the night. In a show of impressive range, the singer continuously switches from a resonating baritone to his unique piercing falsetto without breaking a sweat. Finally, before wrapping up with a much-demanded encore of “People Say,” a giddy Coruthers whips out a camera and points it at the audience. The crowd happily hams it up for him, and when he gets the picture he wants, the musician smiles widely at the cheering room with refreshing enthusiasm that clearly shows the thrill the band still feels at each performance. Living the music dream, it appears the rising stars of Portugal. The Man really have “Got It All.” O
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Jamaica Plain By Nicola Pardy
amaica Plain is a hodgepodge of a neighborhood. No single economic or social background pervades this area, and the people who walk along the streets here seem to bask in its diversity. Young couples ride their bikes to the nearby Jamaica Pond while bohemian down-and-outs read outside coffee shops, and immigrant mothers and children amble along the bustling main street carrying bags of groceries. Located just south of downtown Boston, JP— as it’s commonly referred to by local residents— is one of the oldest streetcar suburbs in the US. The region was originally considered a part of Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, but later became its own separate region through new divisions created by the streetcar transportation lines of the late 19th century. JP’s strong sense of community speaks to its transportation hub origins: walking down Centre Street, it’s hard not to notice the strategic crisscrossing of JP’s residential side streets, which all intersect this same arterial route. The district’s grid system literally knits the different ethnic and residential communities together, providing a geographical explanation for the sense cohesive community felt at the heart of the larger neighborhood. In fact, Jamaica Plain’s strong sense of community manifests itself physically in several ways. One of the most striking features of the neighborhood, for instance, is its vibrant street art—most notably, the colorful murals that mark every corner of the town. The artists of these murals are the residents of JP themselves; student groups, church organizations, and other local interest clubs. Despite the differing subjects and styles of the murals, the prevalence of street art visually unifies the neighborhood’s aesthetics, acting as a colorful common thread throughout the town, so to speak. In addition, the abundance of small-scale neighborhood resources that line Center Street and its surrounding side streets reflects JP’s self-sustaining nature. A local grocery store called “City Feed and Supply” puts a twist on the traditional neighborhood convenience store by offering, local, organic, and specialty options instead of the usual snacks and junk
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offp am c us
Boston’s Patchwork Neighborhood Photos by Nicola Pardy
food. The existence of such a resource implies values of sustainability in more ways than one. By creating appropriately sized businesses that support both local producers and employers, the neighborhood has created a self-contained dependency, which has fostered a sense of social responsibility paired with high quality service. In many ways, I would say, JP is the example of what many cities today are shifting towards today— cities in which businesses and people are becoming progressively connected to each other in a more human way. And that’s the other thing about JP—the people are not afraid to talk to each other. During my time there I was surprised at people’s enthusiasm to strike up conversation (granted, the good weather may have induced more sunny dispositions that usual). Within a single afternoon I found myself stumbling into long-winded conversations with local residents waiting for buses, idling on benches, and working outside storefront stoops. I talked for a while with a man who introduced himself as C-Ay, who had been working in Jamaica Plain for 42 years in the same auto-repair garage. C-Ay had a deep knowledge of JP and spoke of the shared community history that so profoundly shaped the neighborhood’s dynamics. He told me family stories of storekeepers I had just met that day (he had known them for years), and showed me photographs of when he first inherited his garage way back when. What became clear though C-Ay’s narratives was his genuine understanding of the community he lived in. This notion, as we all know, is becoming more and more antiquated in an increasingly globalized world, and is ultimately what I think accounts for JP’s strong sense of togetherness. The very structure of the Jamaica Plain causes the residents to share so much, on top of their already close-knit relationships sprung from a rich community history. The result of this? A rare intersection of ethnic diversity and community atmosphere—a refreshing quality that exemplifies JP as a truly unique neighborhood within the modern and metropolitan context of communities today. O
PLACES TO SEE IN
tropical foods market 2101 Washington St.
bikes not bombs
centre street café
18 Bartlett St.
669A Centre St.
diablo arnold arboretum glass school park 125 Arborway
123 Terrace St. NOVERMBER 7, 2011
I Can by Shir Livne
NOVEMBER 7, 2011
my hand can move if i want it to. reach past dark space and trace a jaw, rigid until it melts in my palms. i can spin the sky around if i drink a lot i can be skinny with pills and soggy time but. my hand i can move all on my own.
Barceloneta by Theresa Sullivan
Somewhere a tidal wave holds still for us/… - Jeffrey McDaniel Nobody lives for ordinary things except us, so it seems. After dodging train doors and plane flights even thin coffee and twin sheets are a foreign marvel, tinged in the miracle of waking in the quiet beside you again. On this side of the world the wind greets us with a fierceness whistling through the pier and tonight thick fog rolls over the beach, brown waves tossing over and over as we hold cold hands and make our stormy peace with the undertow. Before you I inventoried holes, the emptiness instead of the flesh. I catalogued all the places where life had taken something in return— the scar through my palm, the knuckles I’ve scraped, the knees I’ve skinned, failed leaps of faith like falling up the stairs. But here the Mediterranean is dark and beneath my feet the sand forgives this pavement, water lapping over the stains of spilled wine running in rivulets, misgivings trickling away through the slate and crimson cracks. Here I want more of this, more midnights and chances at wholeness, wet ropes of hair clinging to my back, the slow sting of Spanish rain. Nearby our lamplit friends sit drinking cervezas on this plaza but we’re dancing, slow-revolving on the wet tile, tiny beneath this velveteen sky, laughing, always running and running out of time.
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E BLOTTER POLICE BLOTTER POLICE B compiled btye be c k y pl a n
A pot fiend is on the loose! Police have received several reports of marijuana use in the past week, but have yet to find the perpetrator. He seems to smoke in the dorm rooms of innocent students, then promptly disappear, leaving his paraphernalia and incriminating stench. He marks his victims by somehow giving them bloodshot eyes, and instilling in them a craving for Pizza Days. The only description so far of this elusive hooligan is that he is “not me.” VICTIMS OF THE GANJA GANGSTER SPEAK OUT: MON, Oct. 24th, 11:48 PM Police were called about an odor of marijuana in South Hall. When they arrived at the room, they found a grinder, rolling papers, a glass bong, and a person. The paraphernalia were confiscated, but the student found with them denied having used them. Said the student; “It wasn’t me smoking, it was another kid!” Which kid... the BUD BANDIT?! Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2:12 AM Police responded to a fire alarm at 92 Pro Row. Upon arrival, an officer noticed a strong smell of weed, and observed that the room had an open window, with an outward facing fan placed in front of it.
All of the residents denied having smoked marijuana. Who could have snuck in and set off the alarm with his voracious appetite for weed? Only the CANNABIS CROOK! Wednesday, October 26th, 3:38 PM Residents of Hill Hall reported a smell of marijuana to Tufts Police. When officers investigated the suspicious room, they noticed that the AC vent was rigged to deposit air outside. However, both of the room’s residents informed the officer that they had not been smoking. Who on campus could have framed the noble students of Tufts’ Healthy Living Dorm? The GANJA GANGSTER!
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NOVEMBER 7, 2011
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Published on Nov 7, 2011