Carrie Murphey ’06, assistant dean of students for first-year programs, likens the experience of Orientation to a kaleidoscope.
“If one thing isn’t fitting quite right, or they’re feeling like, ‘Hmmm, not quite sure how this feels,’ they have lots of opportunities and lots of clicks of the kaleidoscope to see themselves in other parts of Bates,” she says.
Photographers Phyllis Graber Jensen and Theophil Syslo followed members of the Class of 2021 for much of Orientation, as they walked Lewiston, learned about the importance of reasoned inquiry, and spent their days and nights in the woods, on a farm, or at sports practice.
The clicks of the kaleidoscope start last Tuesday as the new students met advisers in various First-Year Seminars, continuing with off-campus AESOP trips late in the week and on-campus varsity sports practices, then back to campus for Tuesday’s Convocation and the start of classes on Wednesday.
As their first meeting on Aug. 29 concludes, Assistant Professor of History Patrick Otim collects ad-hoc paper nameplates from his First-Year Seminar students. “I know you are making the transition from high school to college,” Otim, who is also his students’ first-year advisor, said. The most important thing is to believe in yourself.” Otim’s seminar is “Beyond Nelson Mandela: Themes and Personalities in South African History.”
Students in “The Literary Insect,” a First-Year Seminar taught by Lecturer in English Myra Wright, walk along the banks of Lake Andrews looking at ants and bees. The class, along with all other first-year seminars, met for the first time this morning as an opportunity for students to meet their classmates and connect with their instructor, who will also serve as their first-year adviser.
Associate Professor of Anthropology Elizabeth Eames leads an ice-breaker outside a Pettingill Hall classroom for the students in her First-Year Seminar, “Disney Demystified: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Magic Kingdom.” Individuals grouped themselves according to different categories such as, “You are happy with your dorm room” — everyone joined together on the “agreed” side.
Annual Entering Student Outdoor Program trip leaders emerge on Aug. 30 from around the Keigwin Amphitheater, interrupting AESOP co-coordinators Katie Hartnett ’18 of St. Paul, Minn., Kurt Niiler ’18 of Freedom, N.H., and Adair Andre ’18 of Edina, Minn., during the annual AESOP kickoff. The coordinators pretended to give the first-years a serious talk about the student-organized trip program before the traditional ambush. (Video by Theophil Syslo)
AESOP co-coordinators Katie Hartnett ’18 of St. Paul, Minn., Kurt Niiler ’18 of Freedom, N.H., and Adair Andre ’18 of Edina, Minn., get covered with pies, glitter, and other unsavory substances during the AESOP kickoff at Keigwin Amphitheater. To clean up from the traditional pelting, they’ll take a dip in Lake Andrews. On Aug. 31, the first-years and leaders will embark on a four-day, three-night trip.
First-years on the volleyball and men's soccer teams, along with other first-year varsity athletes, will not go on AESOP trips, training and bonding with their teammates instead. Under the direction of head coach Melissa DeRan, the varsity volleyball team held its pre-season practice in Alumni Gymnasium, while men's soccer, under the supervision of its coach Stewart Flaherty, practiced on Aug. 31 on the Russell Street Track.
AESOP enables two upperclass student leaders to continue the welcome of first-year students to life at Bates throughout the course of a four-day, three-night trip. These trips include everything from hiking to meditation or community service and take place throughout Maine and New Hampshire. Through stories and guidance, AESOP leaders will help clarify expectations in the classroom and long-lasting campus traditions, all while cultivating valuable friendships before the year even begins.
On Aug, 31, Leaders Caitlin Keady ’18 of Darien, Conn., and Matt Bodwell ’18 of Concord, N.H., put up the tarp under which nine people will sleep on the first night of their AESOP trip, at the Rattle River Shelter campsite. In the morning, the Carter Ridge Backpacking trip will continue to hike in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, a stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
On Sept. 1, Callie Abouzeid ’21 of Belmont, Mass., poses with a harvest of fresh vegetables she helped pick as part of the Nezinscot AESOP trip. The organic farm is a favorite of Bates students for its homemade goods and delicious farm breakfasts. AESOPers on this trip learned about farm life through hands on participation in daily activities such as feeding the animals working in the vegetable fields, and making peach jam.
ASEOP participant Samuel Melcher ’21 of New York City, left, and trip leader Randy Peralta ’18 of New York City, center, receive instructions from Lewiston Middle School literacy teacher Lizzie Arlint in her classroom, where they assisted in labeling books. Peralta and Margaret Trombly ’18 of Arlington, Va., teamed to lead the Lewiston Service Trip that provided an opportunity for first-years to learn about the greater community of Lewiston-Auburn. Along with partnering with organizations in the community, the trip explored the area in the afternoons with day hikes, swimming, and canoeing on the Androscoggin River.
Johnny Rex ’21 of Andover, Mass., Mia Eisenfeld ’21 of Farmington, N.M., Abigail Kany ’21 of Phoenix, Ariz., and Maximilian Friedenwald-Fishman ’21 of Portland, Ore., are part of two groups of AESOPers who head towards the water at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg during a surfing-themed AESOP trip.
On Sept. 4, Tory Dobbin ’18 of New Canaan, Conn., a double major in psychology and French and Francophone studies, leads a group of first-year students who live in Chu House on a walk along Lewiston’s Lisbon Street, where they pass “The Lewiston Rattle.” Created by noted artist and Lewiston native Charlie Hewitt, the sculpture is inspired by the heritage and history of Lewiston.
On Sept. 5, the day before classes start, first-years and guest discussants, including President Clayton Spencer, gather at the Common Read Brunch to talk about Brian Stevenson’s "Just Mercy," a book each incoming first-year is expected to read. The book tackles inequality in the U.S. justice system.
The Class of 2021 gathers for a portrait in Commons.
Bates president Clayton Spencer and student body president Walter Washington ’19 of Fleetwood, N.Y., are nearly at the front of a procession of students, faculty, and staff at the beginning of Convocation, the traditional welcome to the new school year. Washington and Spencer, along with Professor of Sociology Emily Kane, were the featured speakers at the event.
After Convocation, Marshall Vale pours a cup of water drawn from Lake Andrews on the soil around a red oak sapling near the Class of 1929 Gate. Each year, a memorial tree is planted to honor members of the Bates community who have died in the past year. Marshall Vale’s wife Katie Vale, college librarian and vice president for information and library services, died in December.
On Sept. 6, Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies Lisa Maurizio gives her First-Year Seminar students a sense of time on the first day of class. This first lesson of “Classical Myths and Contemporary Art” concerns Homer’s “Odyssey.” Students in the course “explore the ways in which myths give members of a society, whether ancient or modern, meaningful tools to describe and explore issues, values, and conflicts.”
A Sept. 6 reception at the Office of Intercultural Education welcomes the Class of 2021 and gives returning faculty, staff, and students a chance to connect and reconnect.