Student experience: life on the campaign trail: This week, Obama for America volunteers relay their experiences
While many Carleton students were relaxing and enjoying their well-deserved free time from school this past winter break, four politically conscious students decided to stay busy and get involved in probably the biggest political event this year, the 2008 presidential election. Ben Garwin ’10, Robert Martin ’11, Erika Pearson ’09, and Julianne Skinner ’11, worked for the Obama For America campaign in Iowa.
Two years ago, I found myself in Puebla, Mexico for Valentine’s Day. In a foreign country and without boyfriends, a few friends and I decided to do what any red-blooded American girls would do on Valentine’s Day; get some chocolate-peanut butter Hagan Daaz, slip into sweatpants, and enjoy and evening with the spicy Mexican soap operas. However, we failed to anticipate the scene we would encounter when we arrived on our university campus the morning of Valentine’s Day.
This past Saturday night, over 800 students and local residents crowded into the Skinner Memorial Chapel for the annual performance of “The Vagina Monologues.” The stage was swathed in pink and red blankets, pillows and sheets, serving as a backdrop to the thirty-five female students who performed or narrated one of the twenty-one monologues during the show. Sitting in the front row of the audience were several dozen male students who were recognized at the beginning of the show as being the “Pink Party guys” - men who had volunteered themselves to promote the prevention of sexual violence as being not only an issue important for women, but for men as well.
This year marked the national tenth anniversary of “V-Day,” a global movement to end violence against women that raises awareness through benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues. In writing the original pieces over ten years ago, activist Eve Ensler remarked that “what we don't say becomes a secret, and secrets often create shame and fear and myths.” In this regard, the Monologues are often seen as a vehicle to empower women to speak honestly and openly about their body. With a general theme of gender and sexuality running through each monologue, many of the pieces address difficult issues such as rape, domestic abuse and self-exploration. This year, performances around the country also gave special recognition to “Katrina Warriors” –the women of New Orleans– for their “strength and resilience in the face of devastating loss.” Temera Holt, a sophomore from New Orleans whose family was affected by Hurricane Katrina, performed this monologue, which opened the show.
As a fundraiser, The Vagina Monologues collected over $4,000 dollars through ticket sales, merchandise and a raffle. A portion of the funds raised by the Carleton production is being donated to the non-profit group Women of New Orleans, with the remaining proceeds being given to the Hope Center in Faribault, an outreach organization aimed at domestic violence prevention. However, the primary purpose of The Vagina Monologues is not just to raise money, but also awareness, argues Leahruth Jemilo, one of the senior producers. “It's not just a show, and not just a performance,” Jemilo said. “Giving voice to the Monologues, it's like storytelling. It's empowering. It's the process that is so important.”
On Friday, February 1, famous hip hop artist and activist Raymond “Boots” Riley spoke for a crowd of students in the Concert Hall as part of a series of events taking place at Carleton in honor of Black History month. Traveling from the West Coast, Riley is famous for combining his two passions, music and activism, in a new medium he has dubbed “Raptivism”; hip hop for social justice.
Carleton’s Pre-Freshman Orientation Trips have been a tradition at this school for many years. The school has organized canoeing, backpacking, and service trips for incoming freshmen to participate in for the four days prior to New Student Week. Before the school provided sponsorship, the trips were run and organized by students, who would find the names and addresses of incoming freshman and send out invitations, asking these frosh to go on canoeing trips with them before officially starting their first year at Carleton.
The highly anticipated Super Tuesday results bring the nation one step closer to determining the party candidates for the 2008 Presidential Election.
February at Carleton marks the beginning of Green Wars, a national competition in saving energy and reducing waste through recycling. So unplug your televisions, adjust your thermostats, and shutdown your computers. But do not throw your obsolete or unwanted electronics in the landfill.
Dumping the everyday electronics of a technologically advanced community like Carleton College in the trashcan with last week’s disposable silverware could mean allowing cadmium, mercury, beryllium, and lead to leach into groundwater and pollute the air. Exposure to these heavy metals can cause brain damage, impair learning, and harm the central nervous and reproductive systems.
The Sustainability Revolving Fund (SRF) was officially established this term, making available $40,000 to students, faculty, and staff who want to make Carleton more carbon neutral. The fund will distribute money to energy conservation projects proposed by members of the Carleton community. Money saved as a result of these projects is expected to compensate for installment costs and build the fund.
Over 300 Carleton students traveled through bumper-to-bumper (election-related) traffic Tuesday night in order to participate in the Democratic Farm Labor (DFL) caucuses held at the Northfield Middle School. Student participation helped make the caucus the most well- attended in memory, and may have helped Barack Obama defeat Hilary Clinton in Carleton’s precinct with 84 percent of votes.
A much smaller group of about 15 Carlton students participated in the Republican primary at the nearby Northfield High School. Turnout was lower at the Republican primary, but it nonetheless attracted 290 voters. Northfield Republicans favored Mitt Romney with 33 percent of votes while John McCain received 29 percent.
When voting began at the DFL caucus, organizers were soon overwhelmed by the 787 voters who turned-out from the Carleton’s precinct alone. Carleton Political Science Professor Roy Grow took on the role of unofficial caucus organizer, and helped guide voters towards ballots. He said he had never seen caucus participation of this scale in three decades of political activity in Northfield.
“It was bigger by twenty-fold than anything we have ever seen before” he said.
Organizers had to scramble to collect all ballots by 8:00, when by DFL rules, voting must cease. Many out-of-state students unfamiliar with caucuses system remarked on the informality of the ballets, simple shreds of blue paper on which voters wrote the name of their candidate.
According to several sources, Carleton College has decided to eliminate its Pre-Frosh Trip program. The program, which annually brings 100-120 first year students on backpacking trips to the North Shore, canoing trips to the Boundary Waters, or service trips to the Twin Cities, has been canceled in favor of a program that sends first year students on similar trips throughout the year, sources have said. Carleton’s decision to eliminate the program stems from the fact that not all first-year students are able to go on trips – every year there are up to 40 students remaining on the waitlist – and, in the opinion of the college, the trips create a community of exclusivity among the incoming freshman class.
Wednesday night and all day Thursday students participated in discussions, activities and a concert to spread awareness about global warming and promote sustainability topics on campus. “I guarantee, even the students who couldn’t participate because of class know someone who did,” said Bessie Schwarz ‘08, a student organizer. 1000 institutions across the United States participated in the two-day event called Focus the Nation. The discussions approached not just environmental sustainability, but also social sustainability. “It seems like an elitist and privileged topic, but it needs not be.” said Schwarz.
Marjority of students to support Obama in MN: Survey considers the importance of race, gender and personality
On this coming Tuesday, residents of Minnesota and twenty-three other states will participate in the largest Super Tuesday in history. Here in Minnesota, Carls will have the opportunity to be a part of this state’s caucus and voice their say for which candidate they wish to send to the national convention. But what will our Carl attendees be saying, and why will they be saying it? The Carletonian took a closer look.