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Brown Campus News

Spring 2016 Poll Results and Methodology
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 15, 2016
“This article is part of the series Spring 2016 Poll
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christina Paxson is handling her job as president of the University?
8.3% Strongly approve
37.8% Somewhat approve
34.2% No opinion
17.4% Somewhat disapprove
2.2% Strongly disapprove
2. How informed do you feel about events on campus?
16.7% Very informed
63.2% Somewhat informed
10.9% Somewhat uninformed
2.7% Very uninformed
3. What factors have impacted your concentration choice? (Circle all that apply.)
92.5% Passion for subject
50.8% Chances of employment after graduation
23.3% Influence of faculty memberes
18.8% Influence of peers
25.1% Influence of family
4. Do you agree or disagree that all students should be required to take a course with the Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning designation before receiving an undergraduate degree from Brown?
29.6% Strongly agree
28.8% Somewhat agree
19.9% No opinion
13.6% Somewhat disagree
8.1% Strongly disagree
5. The University’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan includes the opportunity to participate in diversity training programs for faculty members but does not require them to participate. Do you agree or disagree that diversity training should be mandatory for faculty members?
49.4% Strongly agree
26.3% Somewhat agree
11.2% No opinion
8.7% Somewhat disagree
4.5% Strongly disagree
6. How often do you attend Brown athletic events in their entirety or close to their entirety?
3.5% More than once a week
5.7% Once a week
11.6% Once or twice a month
21.8% Once or twice a semester
20.3% Once a year
37.1% Never
7. How often do you attend artistic events (theater, comedy, music, etc.) in their entirety or close to their entirety?
3.2% More than once a week
8.2% Once a week
30.8% Once or twice a month
38.1% Once or twice a semester
11.7% Once a year
7.9% Never
8. Do you agree or disagree that the Department of Public Safety makes you feel safe?
24.5% Strongly agree
50.9% Somewhat agree
15.8% No opinion
6.6% Somewhat disagree
2.1% Strongly disagree
9. Do you agree or disagree that DPS should continue to be armed?
22.6% Strongly agree
28.4% Somewhat agree
20.8% No opinion
18.1% Somewhat disagree
10.1% Strongly disagree
10. What resources did you use when preparing to apply to college? (Circle all that apply.)
29.4% Professional testing tutor (paid)
6.6% Student testing tutor (paid)
21.5% Testing classes (paid)
69.1% Preparation books
45.1% Free resources offered by community or school
11.8% No resources
11. Do you agree or disagree that Brown/RISD Hillel should not have sponsored a talk by Janet Mock, a transgender rights activist, because of its ties to the state of Israel?
3.9% Strongly agree
6.2% Somewhat agree
39.0% No opinion
17.6% Somewhat disagree
33.3% Strongly disagree
12. How have you met the people with whom you’ve hooked up (meaning: making out or more intimate encounters including those in relationships) during your time at Brown? (Circle all that apply.)
12.0% Dating apps
26.4% Classes
48.0% Mutual friends
18.9% Housing arrangements
50.4% Parties and other social gatherings
27.6% Extracurricular activities
9.1% Other
24.5% I have not hooked up with anyone at Brown
The results come from 937 surveys that were collected at J. Walter Wilson, the Stephen Roberts ’62 Campus Center and the Sciences Library over the course of three days — April 6-7 and April 11. The margin of error is 2.95 percent with 95 percent confidence. The margin of error for specific subsets are as follow: 3.95 percent for females, 4.53 percent for males, 5.8 percent for first-years, 5.13 percent for sophomores, 6.28 percent for juniors, 6.74 percent for seniors, 4.36 percent for students who receive financial aid and 4.03 percent for students who do not receive financial aid.
The sample of students who took the poll is demographically similar to the undergraduate student body. The sample was 43.4 percent male, 55.6 percent female and 1 percent other. First-years made up 25.9 percent, sophomores 31.9 percent, juniors 22.2 percent and seniors 20.0 percent of the poll. Of students who receive financial aid represented in the poll, 4.3 percent receive just loans, 17.8 receive grants and loans, 15.8 percent receive grants covering some costs, 8 percent receive grants covering all costs and 54.1 percent receive no loans. Varsity athletes made up 12.6 percent, while non-athletes made up 87.4 percent. Of students surveyed, 81.6 percent identify as heterosexual, 6.1 percent as gay, 7.9 percent as bisexual and 4.4 percent as other. Students reported all of the races/ethnicities they identify with — 57.9 percent of students identify as white, 29.9 percent as Asian, 11.5 percent as Hispanic, 9.1 percent as black, 1.1 percent as American Indian/Alaska Native, 1.4 percent as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and 4 percent as other. Students also marked the concentration area(s) that they are in — 29.9 percent are in the humanities/arts, 13.1 percent in business (business, entrepreneurship and organizations and econ), 19.8 in social sciences (not including BEO or econ), 24.5 percent in life sciences and 32.3% in physical sciences. Of students polled, 14.3 percent of students are legacy students, meaning they have a parent, grandparent or sibling who attended Brown, and 85.7 percent are not. First-generation students make up 16.9 percent and non-first-gen students made up 83.1 percent of the sample.
Statistical significance was established at 0.05 level. All cross-tabulation are statistically significant.
News Editor Lauren Aratani ’18, Sports Editor Taneil Ruffin ’17 and Senior Staff Writers Kasturi Pananjady ’19, Alex Skidmore ’19, Shira Buchsbaum ’19, Suvy Qin ’19, Julianne Center ’19 and Jackson Chaiken ’19 coordinated the poll. Herald section editors, senior staff writers and other staff members conducted the poll.
Over the next several weeks, The Herald will publish a series of articles about individual poll questions. Find results of previous polls at”

Young Hummus spreads ‘creamy jams’ across campus
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 14, 2016
“Persevering on its quest to spread “nutritious, thick and creamy jams across Providence,” student band Young Hummus will play at downtown music venue Aurora Sunday.
The band is composed of hummus cognoscenti Noah Goodman ’18 (also known as Gooey Noodleman) and James Wenz ’18 (Jim Bag), both on guitar and vocals, Isaac Davis ’18 (Sploopy Davis or Spoony Davis) on drums, Jack Kane ’18 on bass and Sam Levine ’18 on tambourine.
Young Hummus was at its youngest in March 2015. The group formed after Goodman and Davis met at a jam session organized by the Brown Music Co-op, Goodman said. 
“I went to (a jam session), and Isaac was there. I was like, ‘I want to start a band to play funky rock music,’ and we did,” Goodman said.   “I knew Jack — he lived in my dorm, and Isaac brought James. Sam is a friend of all of ours, and he always wanted to be part of it in some way.”
Other members joined the group with no real expectations for their future together, Davis said, “but we all really enjoyed playing together.” After a number of performances, they started to consider themselves a group.
A passion for music
The members of Young Hummus have always been rhythmically and musically inclined. For some, like Goodman, appreciation for music was almost innate: “I guess I started singing when I came out of the womb,” Goodman said. “There’s home videos of me as a baby in diapers baby-bouncing with a little cassette player.”
After graduating from diapers, Goodman’s musical palate expanded rapidly. “In pre-K, I exclusively listened to the Backstreet Boys, some soft rock and top 40 radio,” Goodman said. He would discover the Dave Matthews Band in sixth grade, to which he “devotedly and religiously listened for five years,” Goodman said. Today, Goodman calls himself a “Dave Matthews Band apologist.”
Like Goodman’s, Davis’ musical influences took root early. “The Clash were very formative for me as a five-year-old.” Today, Davis “listens to a lot of weird crap, like ’80s post-punk,” he said.
Wenz honed his musical chops “through high school musical theater performances” and grew up looking to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and pop-punk groups for professional examples.
Kane, the current bassist for Young Hummus and member of Brown trombone group Bear Bones, began learning the guitar and trombone in middle school and the bass guitar in high school, he said. Kane “enjoys post-punk and grunge music,” Goodman said.
Levine, tambourine-player for Young Hummus and member of Daudalaggio’s Traveling Spacetime Band, is “the most musically knowledgeable of the group,” Davis said. “Levine has composed at least one complete orchestral symphony,” Goodman said.
The “hummus-y”
The band members “each bring something different” to Young Hummus’ sound, Goodman said. Wenz added that the group’s style of music is heavily influenced by Fleetwood Mac, Wilco, the Clash and the Beatles’ “White Album” and “Abbey Road.”
“Our sound has been described as ‘folk punk,’ but we aren’t that punk,” Goodman said. “We aren’t hard-core enough to be punks, and our music would be folk if we weren’t just some college boys.” Sticking to the theme of Mediterranean spreads in describing the band’s sound, he added that “it’s like hummus-y rock. It’s creamy, thick and messy.”
With a fan base composed of friends, freshmen and “people who go to parties at (Watermyn Co-op),” Young Hummus has found the student body quite receptive to its musical aspirations. “I feel like we are taken somewhat seriously as a band, and we like that,” Goodman said.
The sophomores speak of their public profile with humor.
“We are usually followed by adoring fans and hordes of groupies,” Kane said, with tongue in cheek.
“Sometimes people say, ‘Oh my god, is that Young Hummus?’ But it’s mostly ironic,” Davis added.
Of making it on the Brown music scene, Kane said, “As a band, it’s usually hard to get started, but we got started pretty quick. At Brown, there’s always a venue to play. The opportunities were there, and all we had to do was step up and take them.”
“We play a lot of original songs, and that’s saying something,” Goodman said. “We could play songs everyone knows and everyone wants to hear, but we get a lot of satisfaction from playing songs we’ve written even if people don’t know them.”
The Hummus dynamic
Despite a few instances of creative friction, the members of Young Hummus maintain a very close relationship and have experienced few challenges as a group. “The biggest challenge has been that we have been playing too many shows,” Wenz said.
“A douchey complaint,” Davis joked. “We’ve also experienced certain difficulties in transporting drum sets.”
Members have maintained a positive relationship outside of the group by bonding over shared interests. “We are all big Mac DeMarco fans,” Wenz said.
“I’d like to be him, but shower more and smoke less. Or smoke not at all, maybe,” Davis added.
When not meeting to practice, the group can be found making “squad appearances at Jo’s,” Kane said.
The band’s knack for repartee gave rise to its name, which resulted from Davis’ mispronouncing Wenz’s nickname, “Young James.”
“I made it up as a joke, and then everyone really liked it not as a joke,” Davis said.
Aged Hummus
Since the band’s formation last spring in the members’ first year at Brown, Young Hummus’ sound and the band itself have evolved, Goodman said. “We’ve gotten a lot tighter, we’ve learned a lot more and we don’t play ‘Max Can’t Surf’ by FIDLAR, so that’s an accomplishment.”
“We are getting to know each other better as musicians and slowly figuring out how to fit our voices in at the same time,” Wenz said. The group’s members are also learning “how we can contribute to songs so that they’re not just some chords and singing,” Wenz added.
After Brown, the band members’ ideas about the future of Young Hummus vary. “I want to record and promote an album. … That’s my only concrete plan,” Goodman said.
“We would probably go on tour and make millions,” Kane joked.
For now, Young Hummus is concentrating on the here and now.
“It’s like a college relationship. We don’t want to prognosticate about the future because we should focus on the present,” Wenz said.”

Chun, Saal awarded Guggenheim Fellowships
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 14, 2016
“Two faculty members, Alberto Saal, professor of earth, environmental and planetary science, and Wendy Chun, professor of modern culture and media and chair of the department, have been awarded Guggenheim Fellowships, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced April 6.
The organization was founded by U.S. Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife in 1925 in honor of their late son. The foundation offers the Guggenheim Fellowship to further the scholastic and artistic endeavors of researchers in any field of knowledge, according to its website.
The foundation typically awards about 200 fellowships to a pool of between 3,500 and 4,000 applicants annually. This year, 178 people were chosen for fellowships from a pool of over 3,000 applicants. In order to apply, applicants must submit a short essay about their research interests, create a proposal containing plans for the projects they wish to pursue and obtain letters of reference from colleagues and experts in their fields.
During the competitive selection process, the Guggenheim website states, applicants are first pooled with others from the same field and reviewed by experts in that field, all of whom are former Guggenheim fellows. The recommendations of these experts are then sent to a committee of selection, which determines the number of awards to be given in each field.
Saal received a bachelor’s of science degree and a PhD in geology from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and a PhD in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
His research entails examining volatile elements in moon dust collected from the Apollo missions. This dust may indicate the existence of water both on the surface and within the Earth and moon at the time of their formation.
A French group disagrees with Saal’s hypothesis, arguing that water came to Earth and the moon at a much later date.
“I thought: One way to solve (the disagreement) in a civil way is to work together … and they said yes,” Saal said. The prospect of working with his French colleagues — and the financial capital he would need to do so — prompted Saal to apply for the Guggenheim Fellowship.
Using his fellowship, Saal plans to spend a year-long sabbatical in France trying to obtain concrete proof to support his hypothesis.
“I wanted funding that would give me some level of independence,” Saal said.
Chun, who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a PhD in English literature, works to tie these two fields together in order to analyze digital media.
Chun applied to the Guggenheim Fellowship in order to fund her sabbatical and follow in the footsteps of the many talented scholars and artists who have earned the honor before.
“You send out an application never expecting to receive the fellowship, so it was a surprise,” Chun said.
Chun intends to use the fellowship to start a project looking at the ways that race, class, gender and sexuality are re-emerging in data analytics. The project will reveal assumptions underlying supposedly neutral machine-learning algorithms that group individuals based on certain identifiers and will create strategies to disaggregate these assumptions.
“Usually (the fellowship) goes to someone who works on more traditional things such as film, radio and television, and my work is in the field of new media,” Chun said.   “I’m very grateful, and it’s a wonderful opportunity.””

UCS debates value of DPLL designation
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 14, 2016
“The Undergraduate Council of Students debated the effectiveness of the Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning course designation in a discussion with members of the Task Force on Diversity in the Curriculum at the UCS general body meeting Wednesday.
Dean of the College Maud Mandel, Associate Professor of Engineering and Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty Janet Blume, Professor of Economics David Weil and student representative Ryan Lee ’17 listened to feedback on the DPLL designation from general body members, who expressed a range of views on the topic.
DPLL appears on the course descriptions of certain classes on Courses@Brown, the online platform on which students register for courses. The course designation is one of various initiatives designed for “moving diversity-related intellectual questions to the center of the curriculum,” according to the task force’s charge on its website.
The designation was introduced in 2002 after a reevaluation of its predecessor, the American Minorities Perspectives courses, Mandel said. It was decided that a course label with a more global focus, as opposed to the domestically oriented model in use at the time, would better position the designation to accomplish its goal, she added.
A major concern with the current model is its lack of specificity, Mandel said. After the Ray Kelly protest in 2013, the DPLL designation went through another round of reviews. “The version they settled on is so broad that almost any class would fall under it,” she said. Under the current system, any faculty member can request that his or her course fall under the designation.
UCS Treasurer John Brewer ’17 suggested changing the way the DPLL designation relates to course offerings in order to address the fact that many students do not use it when choosing their courses. “Perhaps we can look at using this title not as just a way to find classes but as a way to create classes that bring diversity to the curriculum,” he said.
Community and Business Relations Liaison Ryan Lessing ’17 spoke similarly of DPLL’s impact on course choices. The designation is “not something that fits into” his search for courses every semester, he said.
“I use it more as a validator than a search tool,” said Chief of Staff Elena Saltzman ’16. She noted that when shopping two or more classes with similar subject matter, the DPLL designation often helps her decide which one to take.
Academic and Administrative Affairs Chair Tim Ittner ’18 expressed concerns with the concept of labeling courses in general and noted that the DPLL mark can be something more akin to the writing requirement than a promoter of diversity. “I don’t think it gets at issues of foundational knowledge,” he said. “Issues of diversity become tangential to the curriculum.”
General body member Christine Mullen ’16 agreed, raising the idea that every course could have some kind of diversity component embedded within its material.
UCS also categorized two student groups on appeal at the meeting. Brown Trading Club was constituted as a Category I group and Hospice Volunteering Club as a Category S group.”

Esemplare ’18: Redefining diversity
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 14, 2016
“Over the course of the current academic year, perhaps no topic has been more in the consciousness of the Brown community than diversity. Diversity is a common buzzword on college campuses, and we all have at least some sense of what it represents. Whether you have joined in a protest this semester or not, you’ve probably at least considered what diversity means and how it affects the University.
At Brown and across other campuses, diversity has come to be narrowly defined as the representation of   certain marginalized groups. Indeed, attracting these groups to Brown’s campus is an important aspect of making Brown the type of diverse community that it strives to be. The purpose of such diversifying efforts is twofold: On a societal level, access to a college education has a meaningful effect on the opportunities open to individuals. Providing equitable access to higher education can thus serve as a tool to combat systemic social issues. On the university level, such diversifying efforts also aim to create an enriching environment on campuses, fostering various perspectives that reflect a large breadth of experience. We expend a great deal of energy addressing the first purpose of diversity in uplifting marginalized groups but sometimes overlook important factors that help us achieve the second purpose — to create a campus environment with truly diverse perspectives. As a result, we limit the meaning of the word diversity in both concept and action and are unable to reap its full benefits.
While I support the effort to advocate on behalf of historically marginalized groups, I do find it interesting and sometimes frustrating that, at Brown and campuses across the country, we often have difficulty imagining what diversity would look like beyond this narrow definition of the word. Indeed, to call for increased diversity on campus is essentially shorthand for calling to increase representation of marginalized groups. In literal terms, this significantly narrows the word’s true meaning. In no trivial sense, we have redefined diversity as the need to combat marginalization. This is not to dismiss the value of one definition of diversity but to call attention to both definitions.
But I have more than a linguistic qualm with the word diversity’s modern usage. While the current connotation is consistent with my progressive values, I am still frustrated by the extent to which intelligent people fail to consider that diversity can exist outside the realm of historically marginalized groups. One area of this issue that Brown students would benefit by paying particular attention to is political diversity on campus.
While Brown proudly boasts its minority enrollment as diversity, anyone who has attended the school knows that to call Brown a diverse community is to blatantly ignore the lack of diversity of political thought on its campus. Most people who have heard of Brown know its stereotype — a recent Forbes list of college rankings mentions Brown’s reputation as the most liberal Ivy. A campus survey from this past fall states the matter more clearly: The leading Republican candidate for Brown students at the time was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, with the support of 1.6 percent of the student body. That number is staggeringly low, even for a liberal campus. In fact, cumulatively only 4.2 percent of students supported any of the three Republican candidates listed in the survey. Think of it this way: In a representative sample of 100 Brown students, you would expect to find about four who supported a Republican candidate at the time. That’s a diversity problem.
As stated above, one of the common arguments of those who support, for example, racial diversity, is that the exposure to a variety of different cultures and opinions helps improve educational experiences for all students. Using this logic, how can Brown be so complacently uniform in terms of its political orientation? If diverse opinions are what we are after, and if diversity is worth a $165 million investment, how can the campus’s current state of political uniformity not be harmful to education? Regardless of the party you vote for, it is necessary to come into contact with and exchange ideas that differ from your own. If Brown is a liberal bubble, it is to the detriment of the education it attempts to provide.
Earlier this semester, I attended a workshop run by the Brown Center for Students of Color entitled “Telling Diverse Narratives” for The Herald. The workshop was informative and addressed, among other topics, how language can be used to perpetuate marginalization. Nothing about the topic bothered me, and I felt that the workshop was well-intended and well-run. But I was bothered by the workshop’s inability to distinguish diversity from marginalization because the workshop, in truth, was not about “telling diverse narratives” in any sense, not if we consider diversity’s broader definition. Over the course of the workshop, it was impossible not to be struck by the fact that there was a very clear general air of agreement in the room as to what was right and wrong. Liberal values were, by the general consensus, correct, and the word “conservative” was occasionally used interchangeably with “unaccepting.” While the discussion centered on how language can be used to perpetuate marginalization, it often focused on language used specifically by Republicans. As an Independent with socially progressive views, it was easy to stay silent during these proceedings and be comforted by the like-mindedness of the group. But looking back, the uniformity of thought in that room diminished the conversation’s value. What could have been an educated debate was, due to a lack of diversity of political representation, reduced to a one-sided discussion that lacked an alternative perspective.
As a generally progressive student body, it is tempting to collectively decide that Brown’s liberal nature is explicitly good. Socially liberal ideologies are frequently deemed more accepting and inclusive than conservative ones, and liberal students in general are thus often convinced that a progressive cam pus indicates the type of inclusivity that Brown fosters. Nonetheless, if the workshop’s purported goal is to be achieved, one must first recognize that liberalism still does not represent diversity   in any meaningful sense. My qualm is not truly with the workshop, but with its title, which neglects the meaning of diversity outside of marginalized groups. Brown students often express a breed of snobbish ignorance when they chastise Fox News for its political bias but can’t seem to see their own. As a progressive student at a liberal university, I receive almost no conservative opposition to my social views. This can be comforting, but it is also patently dangerous. People are often quite sure that the opposition should hear their opinions but far less certain that they have any use for the opposition’s. 
This problem is not new to Brown, but perhaps this lack of diversity feels more alarming in light of the polarized political environment in our country. Compromise is an afterthought in a political system that revolves around ideological warfare. Our presidential debates are contemptuous. In its current state, Brown serves only to perpetuate this divide that, more than any crisis of national defense, threatens the demise of our nation. Indeed, we can only become the solution to this national emergency if our campus is a politically pluralistic environment and its students are comfortable and well-versed in the healthy exchange of disparate views.
Nicholas Esemplare ’18 can be reached at .
Please send responses to this opinion to and other op-eds to .”

Eat@Brown app lists dining hall menus, builds on Hack@Brown project
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 13, 2016
“A team of first-years has launched an app called Eat@Brown that allows students to check the menus at the Sharpe Refectory, Verney-Woolley Dining Hall and Andrews Commons from their phones. The app is a more convenient way of accessing menu offerings and dining hall hours than the Brown Dining Services website, said Joseph Romano ’19, one of the creators of the app. It also allows users to set a default dining hall and easily compare menu offerings between eateries, he said.
“It’s so much easier to just click on the app” rather than navigate the BDS website, said Alex Sekula ’19, another one of the app’s creators.
Some Eat@Brown users have complained that the menus on the app can be inaccurate at times, but Sekula said that since the app retrieves menu information from the BDS website, the app is wrong when those menus are incorrect.
Eat@Brown began as a project for the Hack@Brown, which took place earlier this year. Other than Brandon Welch ’20, the creators had not made an app before making Eat@Brown, so the team had to learn as it went. The language that Hack@Brown is written in was also new for some of the team members, said Sekula. 
The app is relatively simple now, Welch said, but the team has plans to further develop it in the future. The creators hope to implement a feature that would alert users when their favorite foods are being served, Sekula said. Additionally, Eat@Brown hopes to coordinate with BDS to allow users to provide feedback to BDS on various meals, Romano said. Welch said he hopes to make the app Android-friendly — it is currently only available for the iPhone.
The team aims to raise awareness about Eat@Brown by securing official promotion from BDS, Romano said, adding that they could potentially advertise Eat@Brown in dining hall napkin holders or on the BDS website. But even without promotion, the app already has over 300 downloads, Sekula said.”

Engaged Scholars Program expands to 12 concentrations
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 13, 2016
“The Engaged Scholars Program — a collaborative initiative between the Swearer Center for Public Service, the Dean of the College and multiple academic departments — will expand to encompass 12 concentrations, an increase of seven from the previous year. 
The new concentrations will include business, entrepreneurship and organizations, contemplative studies, education studies, political science, sociology, urban studies and independent concentrations, according to the Swearer Center’s website. Students in anthropology, engineering, environmental studies, public policy and theatre arts and performance studies have been able to participate in the program since it launched last year.
The purpose of the ESP is for students to connect their academic work with community-based organizations. In addition to fulfilling their concentration requirements, students in the ESP must take an “engaged course” within their concentration and an ESP-specific seminar, SOC0310: “Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship.” They must also complete a capstone project and along with a 150-250 hour practicum with a community partner, according to the website.
The hope is for the program to expand every year and ultimately include at least half of the concentrations offered at the University in order to cover a broad range of subjects, said Dean of the College Maud Mandel. This will allow the program to have the “most diverse set of students,” she added.
“Many Brown students feel empowered and driven to fix some of the biggest problems facing our society locally, nationally and internationally, and figuring out ways to link what they’re learning in the classroom with the kind of work, passions and commitments they have outside of the classroom is woven into the ‘Brown student mentality,’” Mandel said, noting that 29 percent of Brown graduates go into nonprofit work, as The Herald previously reported .
The program’s current cohort includes 51 students within anthropology, biomedical engineering, engineering, environmental studies, public policy and theatre arts and performance studies, wrote Alan Hance, director of engaged scholarship, in an email to The Herald.
Kaori Nagase ’17, who is in the ESP and concentrating in environmental studies, said that she participated in “engaged courses” before the program existed. For example, in her environmental studies course, ENVS 0110: “Humans, Nature, and the Environment: Addressing Environmental Change in the 21st Century,” every section had an engaged component that focused on sustainability and social equity, she said. Students participated in group projects with a community partner organization, where Nagase worked with Childhood Lead Action, a nonprofit that mitigates poisoning from lead pipes in Rhode Island.
The program also allows students to gain work experience both within the local community of Rhode Island and internationally.   For example, Nagase completed her practicum last summer with Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a nonprofit organization, and also worked in rural villages in Thailand that face issues with land development and health.
“The community-based work we want to encourage is however those communities are defined,” Hance said, adding that even the possibility of engaging with virtual communities has been proposed.
Ben Miller-Gootnick ’17.5, an engaged scholar in public policy, completed his practicum in Washington D.C. with the Office of Legislative Affairs, where he did research on seaport trade and later, Iran.
Miller-Gootnick’s experience during his practicum was “phenomenal,” and crystallized the engaged scholarship he was already doing, he said.
In their mandatory seminar, students in ESP are posed with a problem and then asked to solve it from the lens of their concentrations, Miller-Gootnick said.
“All these kids tackled it from a different perspective and as (the program) expands to more disciplines, it will definitely become a more vibrant community,” he added.
The program “creates a true two-way street” and a “melding of ideas within a collaborative environment,” Miller-Gootnick said. “It’s a really exciting model for the integration of academic learning and community experience.”
Currently, there are many social science disciplines represented in the program, but other departments in different fields have expressed interest in participating, Hance said, adding that there is   “a lot of opportunity” for pre-med students, for example, to do engaged work.
The program is open to all students declaring their concentrations, though it may be more difficult for those beginning past their fifth semester to complete the program, according to the website. But, it really depends on the passion of the students as the selection process seeks to gauge “the intention and passion around doing community based work,” Hance wrote.
“I really see this engaged scholars initiative as the next phase of the open curriculum,” Mandel said. “I would like if any student in any concentration who wanted to do this ultimately could.””

With GELT grants, students learn by immersion
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 08, 2016
“In just a few weeks, 12 students will be standing in the middle of a Greek colonial site — Empúries — founded in 575 B.C. in Spain, where they will examine artifacts as part of their fieldwork, said Peter Van Dommelen, professor of archaeology and anthropology.
During reading period, the members of ARCH 1155: “Cities, Colonies and Global Networks in the Western Mediterranean” will travel to Spain with the support of a grant from the Global Experiential Learning and Teaching program. Now in its third year, the GELT program is funding several trips in the spring 2016 and fall 2016 semesters. It is currently accepting applications for trips that will be taken in the next calendar year, said Besenia Rodriguez, associate dean for the curriculum.
Faculty members may apply for one of two types of grants from the GELT program, Rodriguez said. Phase I grants provide up to $4,000 for a professor intending to use the trip to develop a new course, she said. Phase II grants provide up to $35,000 for the travel expenses of a professor and a class of 12 students, she added.
These proposals are judged by a committee of five faculty members and administrators who “consider the strength of the proposal in light of the faculty member’s connections to the host country … and how well integrated the international travel is to the actual learning goals of the course,” Rodriguez said.
Caroline Frank, visiting assistant professor of American studies, was awarded a Phase I grant to develop a course called “Collecting Culture: Indigenous Artifacts in North America and Taiwan,” with the objective of taking her students to Taiwan in spring 2017, according to an online announcement from the Office of Global Engagement.
During the fall semester, RELS 1442: “The History, Philosophy and Practice of Rinzai Zen Buddhism” will prepare for a trip to Japan over winter break, Rodriguez wrote in an email to The Herald. A class titled “Displacement and Refugees in the Middle East” taught by Sarah Tobin, associate director of the Middle East Studies program, was also awarded a GELT grant for a trip to Jordan in the fall, but it has been postponed to a later date, she added.
“Cities, Colonies and Global Networks” was one of three winners of Phase II grants. Despite close interactions with students at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, the course does not have a language requirement because it is conducted entirely in English at both schools, he said. At Empúries, students will have the opportunity to visit a museum and directly handle storeroom artifacts with the guidance of museum officials, Van Dommelen said. Students interested in housing may tour excavated sites and walk much closer to the structures than general tourists are allowed to do, he said.
Students in HIAA 1850H: “Berlin: Architecture, Politics and Memory” also visited Berlin over spring break, but the trip was not supported by a GELT grant because the program’s former policy prevented professors from applying in consecutive years, said Dietrich Neumann, professor of history of art and architecture. Instead, the class traveled this year with MUSC 1675: “Music, Religion, Politics,” and both trips were funded by the Arts Initiative and the Hornig Fund for student travel, wrote Michael Steinberg, vice provost of the arts and professor of history and music, in an email to The Herald.    
Now that the grant’s policies have changed to allow professors to apply for a GELT grant every year, Neumann is submitting a proposal for a third trip to the German capital, ideally for a class that will be held during the 2016-2017 winter term, he said. “Since the city has had such a dramatic history, there are memorials to the Holocaust, the building of the wall, German reunification, Prussia and individual events, like the Nazi book burning,” Neumann said. “We went to these places to see how they commemorate the events and discuss if they are successful or not.”
But not all GELT proposals win a grant. While it may be difficult to decide which proposals to accept or reject, some of the committee’s decisions may raise questions about consistency and how the committee deems one trip more essential to a course than another.
Erika Edwards, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, submitted a proposal for supplemental funding from the GELT program to take students in her class BIOL 1585: “The Biology of Desert Plants” to Peru over spring break, she said. Costs of living in Peru were already covered by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and Edwards sought additional funding for the students’ plane tickets, she said.
The committee rejected the proposal. Edwards received an email with feedback that while the committee found the proposal “engaging,” “two of the reviewers were unclear as to why travel to Peru was essential.”
“The committee also expressed reservations that there was no language requirement, which would impede the experiential learning component for the students,” the email continued.
Edwards was surprised by the outcome, considering the trip was already mostly funded by the NSF and had already been through a rigorous review process, she said.
As a recipient of a grant during the 2014-2015 academic year, Neumann was also tapped to serve on the review committee for trips taken this year, he said. When considering language requirements, the committee took into account the English fluency of locals in the destination, Neumann said. Traveling to a country in which fewer people speak English would make a language requirement more important than traveling to a European country in which much of the population knows English, he said.
“The committee is more about helping whoever applies create the best possible experience for the students,” Neumann said, adding that an applicant who is rejected will use the feedback from the committee to improve the proposed itinerary.
Despite the setback, Edwards consulted Katherine Smith, associate dean of biology, and eventually found additional funding for the trip through the biology   department and the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, she said. The class joined eight other students from universities around Peru and collected samples along an elevation gradient, including parts of the Atacama Desert — the driest place on earth — to analyze how plants with different photosynthetic systems are sorted in the environment, she added. 
Though the committee’s decision not to fund the trip this time was disappointing, Edwards said she understands that resources are limited and that rejection is a part of the grant process. The decision will not deter her from applying for future GELT grants, she added.
Regardless of the results of the committee’s review, faculty members agree that the GELT program provides necessary funding for trips that are deeply enriching experiences for students.
“As archaeologists, we deal with material culture,” Van Dommelen said. “We depend very heavily on slides and Power Points and only the images of the material culture. To actually be able to go somewhere and handle the material culture directly and engage with it … it adds an important dimension to the whole experience.”
“You can’t appreciate the desert without having been there,” Edwards said. “Some of the papers we read kept talking about the differences between arid and hyperarid areas. I remember there was this moment (when we got) down to the coast, which is the really hyperarid zone, and one of the students (said), ‘Okay, now I get it!’ There’s really almost nothing that grows there.”
“You move around the city and walk to the sites, and you will understand them in an entirely different way,” Neumann said. “You get a sense of the surrounding urban fabric. It’s the best way of understanding art and architecture.””

Paxson P’19 visits leading Chinese universities
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 08, 2016
“President Christina Paxson P’19 travelled to China during spring break to demonstrate the University’s commitment to building substantive and collaborative partnerships with Chinese universities, Paxson said. She spoke at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai during her trip.
Her visit was not only “to signal to universities, government officials, academics and researchers that we are serious about these collaborations,” but also to meet with alums, students and parents to show that “we’re serious about trying to attract talent,” said Professor Edward Steinfeld, who is the director of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Brown China Initiative and accompanied Paxson on the trip.
“China is increasingly important to Brown,” Paxson said, adding that the largest group of international students for both undergraduate and graduate students is from China.
Paxson visited these two universities for the first time because the University already has existing research relationships with them, Steinfeld said.
“Both are the cream of the crop,” said Max Song ’15.5, who spoke to Paxson before her trip because of his previous involvement in Chinese projects and scholarship, such as with the Year of China and as a Schwarzman Scholar.
“If you want to develop your presence, you start from the top and go down,” Song said, adding that Tsinghua is “like the Harvard or Massachusetts Institute of Technology of China.”
Moreover, Tsinghua and Fudan offered “important platforms,” Steinfeld said. The talks will be heard beyond the students and faculty members of those campuses, he added.
Steinfeld also noted that these two universities are trying to become more like a “modern liberal arts research university along American lines.”
“These institutions are looking to universities like Brown,” Paxson said. “They’re thinking about how to cultivate creativity and move away from a rigid system.”
Paxson also met with Yang Wei ’85, a graduate of the University’s PhD program in engineering, who currently leads the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The purpose of that visit was to “learn how the Chinese NSF is developing collaborations internationally with the United States and other countries,” Paxson said.
If the NSF and National Institutes of Health create more calls for research proposals from American and Chinese universities, then “we might be able to use that to build stronger connections with Chinese universities,” Paxson said.
Paxson received “great enthusiasm” at the talks and alumni events, Steinfeld said. He observed that there were many undergraduates present at the lectures who were eager to ask questions. Some students asked about the open curriculum. There were also questions about the experience of a woman being a leading researcher, he said.
The audiences “were lively and a lot of fun,” Paxson said.
At the alumni events in Beijing and Shanghai, Paxson gave a lecture on “the importance of the Brown education,” said Song, whose parents attended the event in Beijing.
“They’re hungry to learn about what’s going on at the University,” Paxson said.
Paxson not only met with alums and parents of current students, but also students admitted to the class of 2020 through early decision, she said.
Through speaking with admitted students, Paxson said she learned of the advantage of translating some of the University’s admission materials into Chinese for the parents of students.
It was important for people at the universities and alumni events “to see that Paxson is not just a university president but also an economist, which showed the University in a positive light,” Steinfeld said.
Moving forward, this visit is a first step in building international connections that reflect the University’s investments in research and education, Paxson said. The best partnerships are different for different areas of scholarship, so “having a single partnership (to one university) does not yield richer connections,” she added.
“We want solid, substantive relationships with these universities, but we’re willing to be patient for it to happen,” Paxson said.
“I don’t think establishing a brick-and-mortar center is a good idea — at least not yet,” she said, adding that some other peer institutions that have created centers in cities in China have found them to be not as successful as they would have wanted.
Currently, the Watson Institute is important as “an anchor for a lot of the work with China at Brown,” Paxson said, adding that she hopes Steinfeld’s work in the China Initiative will be a China center where scholars and students can gather for events and lectures to learn more about the country.
Song envisions a “grassroots approach” through which a general set of world problems is being tackled through different academic collaborations. This approach will allow the University to “increase the brand value of Brown in China” since the University is not prominently known yet in comparison to other Ivy League schools, he added. “I hope that Brown becomes a household name in China.”
The University already has existing research relationships in China that are spread out among many Chinese universities because “each of us is finding the best collaborator,” Steinfeld said. “In terms of investing infrastructure in China, we have to recognize that geographic and institutional diversity that we have.”
“We’re serious about building our reputation in China as a leading global liberal arts research university,” Steinfeld added.”

UCS presidential candidates outline social justice-oriented agendas
by Brown Daily Herald
Apr 08, 2016
“Candidates for the Undergraduate Council of Students presidency brought the role and mandate of UCS into focus as they squared off on social justice activism, the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, mental health, sexual assault and other hot-button campus issues at the debate Thursday night.
UCS Campus Life Committee Chair Kevin Garcia ’18, UCS general body member Zachary Nelkin ’17 and Viet Nguyen ’17 took part in the discussion, moderated by current UCS President Sazzy Gourley ’16. The candidates each emphasized their unique perspectives and experiences, with all three taking aim at the administration and vowing to hold it accountable for its promises to the student body.
Nguyen elaborated on the importance of recognizing the intersectionality of identities when constructing campus policies. The specific needs of each student must be addressed in a way that is conscious of their multiple identities. “Right now, Brown utilizes a blanket policy,” he said.
Nguyen’s experience communicating with administrators and student groups and drawing up the proposal for the First-Generation Student Center that will open in the Sciences Library this summer makes him uniquely suited for the role of UCS president, he said.
Garcia noted the importance of continued progress on the DIAP and the need for individual departments to take up the issues the plan addresses. Each department should be responsible for initiating and implementing its own action plan, he said.
As a self-identified first-generation, low-income student, concentrating in engineering has been a challenge, Garcia said. “I know what it’s like to go into a STEM field and not feel supported,” he said, adding that it is a “constant uphill battle” for students of color and low-income students to have their needs met in many departments.
Throughout his remarks, Nelkin stressed the need for a reevaulation of the internal structure of UCS. The organization “has a critical role, but without a significant change, we will not be able to fulfill that role,” he said.
On the topic of UCS partnership with social justice activists on campus, the candidates agreed that the council should expand its cooperation and serve as a promotional forum for the work being done by activists. “There’s no room on this campus to opt out of being aware of your surroundings,” Garcia said.
Nguyen noted the University’s “hesitancy” to implement mandatory awareness training for faculty members and criticized the diversity training measures currently in place, specifically the online portions of the faculty Title IX training. “We’ve all taken online courses, and we know they don’t work,” he said.
In an interview with The Herald in February, President Christina Paxson P’19 and Provost Richard Locke P’17 affirmed that opt-in diversity training for faculty members — which the DIAP sets up — has proven more effective than mandatory diversity training .
In addition, departments need to meet standards — regulated by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion — for active work on issues of diversity and inclusion. Departments that do not meet these standards, such as those in which many faculty members choose not to participate in diversity training, could be refused funds to hire new faculty members, Locke said.
The candidates also agreed on the need for increasing resources allotted to mental health support. While all counted abolishing the seven-session limit at Counseling and Psychological Services among their goals, each candidate highlighted a different component of his personal experience.
“For most of my life, I’ve struggled with eating disorders and, recently, significant depression. I don’t talk about that because I’m ashamed and afraid — I fear the stigma,” Nelkin said. Mental health must be treated just like any other health issue, he added.
Nelkin also lambasted the idea that financial issues could be used as a reason for the understaffing of CAPS. “I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a budgetary constraint so long as there is enough money to build a giant cake in the shape of University Hall,” he said, referring to one of the celebrations to commemorate the University’s 250th anniversary last year.
“I want intersectional mental health at Brown,” Nguyen said. The experiences of students are very different and require a variety of approaches, he added.
The administration’s alleged lack of consideration for the needs of international students, the topic of the UCS general body meeting Wednesday , garnered harsh criticism from the candidates. Referring to the suicide of an international graduate student last March , “Where was the conversation about intersectionality and suicide?” Garcia asked. The differences in cultural background and difficulties of transition to American life went without attention, he added.
Nelkin stressed the need for a discussion about going need-blind in financial aid for international students, acknowledging the difficulties but demanding action. “If we say that we’re not going to talk about it because it’s unlikely, it will always be unlikely,” he said.
Nguyen called for yearly reevaluation of financial aid packages for international students on aid and emphasized the need for an international student center. “I think I’m the best person to facilitate that discussion because I’ve built a center,” he said, referring to the first-generation center he helped to design.
The new Title IX policy implemented this year must be expanded and streamlined, and the weight of educating the community must not fall entirely on students, the candidates said. “The fact that the majority of (Sexual Assault Prevention and Education) is unpaid is unacceptable,” Nguyen said. “It can’t just fall on the three students on the Oversight and Advisory Board,” Garcia added.
During the question-and-answer session, Austin Lessin ’19 asked the candidates how they would represent students with whom they fundamentally disagree. Garcia called for direct confrontation. “Sometimes you’re going to have to tell people, ‘This is what makes you a more responsible member of the community,’” he said.
UCS as an institution must “balance away from the president towards the general body,” Nelkin said. It would function as a more representative institution for all students, no matter their viewpoints, if it were structured in such a way, he said.
The debate also featured a question-and-answer session with Tim Ittner ’18, who is running unopposed for UCS vice president. Ittner’s platform stresses the creation of departmental DIAPs. “I see concrete ways undergraduates can get involved” in the creation of these plans, he said.
Ittner also noted his experience as chair of the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee and his work with student groups, proposing increasing partnership with them as part of the overarching UCS strategy.”

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