A Letter to the Trinity Community

November 10, 2016

To the Members of the Trinity Community:

During the past 48 hours, we have all felt a range of emotions. Surprise. Disappointment. Fear.  We worry for ourselves and our classmates, our friends and families, our nation and our future. For the past year, we have witnessed Donald Trump spew hate in an effort to campaign for the presidency. At the same time, we have watched Hillary Clinton, the first ever woman to run for president, promise us equality for all. Between building walls or making bridges, it seemed like an easy choice.

On November 8th, 2016, Americans chose a path that was very different from the one that we had hoped and planned for. We do not deny that, in this moment, the future feels bleak.

Friends, family—where do we go from here? Starting today, let us come together. Let this be our rallying cry. Let us remember that the man propped up in the White House was placed there by the people and thus, he answers to us. And let us not forget what is truly plaguing America: our division.    

As students, we came to Trinity with ambitions to learn, to expand our minds and to expose ourselves to new worldviews. Going forward, let us be students outside of the classroom. Let us listen to what has happened and why it has happened. Let us be teachers, too. Let us engage and discuss and fight for what is right and good and just.

We hope that none of you are so disheartened that you will shy away from politics, but rather that you are awakened, that you realize that our country needs us now more than ever. This country’s well being, its future, its success, its peace, is all in our hands. For the next four years and for the rest of our lives, we will reject any normalization of hate, any act of hate, any form of hate. We will listen and teach when there are chances to do so. We will fight.    

We will fight the walls that Trump has advocated for, because we believe in bridges. November 8th has taught us that those bridges are going to take a lot more work—but hard work has never scared us. It has never deterred us. We do not give up. We are resilient, we are fighters, and we are the strongest among the many because we are fighting for love.

Finally, for those of you who are a part of the LGBTQ community, for those of you who are undocumented, disabled, Muslim or have been victim to racism, sexism or police brutality—please, know that you are not alone. We stand beside you, in solidarity. We will fight every day, in every way that we can, together.

Today is not an end. It is a beginning. Let us never again stand divided, as we were on November 8th.

Love,

Emily Dowden and Alicia Abbaspour
Editors-in-Chief of The Beacon Newsmagazine

Income Inequality: the Hartford vs. West Hartford Divide

What comes to mind when you compare Hartford and West Hartford?

Hartford is typically viewed as dirty, crime-ridden, and full of poverty. In contrast, West Hartford is usually seen as beautiful, clean, well-off, and safe. The disparity between Hartford and West Hartford is one many have taken notice of.

Last semester, Shanelle Morris, a recent Trinity graduate, presented on the difference in cafeteria foods for Hartford and West Hartford for the Moylan Mentorship Program. The fifth grade mentees took notice quickly that Hartford had one supermarket and more public schools, while West Hartford, a smaller town, has a variety of supermarkets and fewer public schools. I distinctly remember one of my mentees stating that the reason for this was that West Hartford “had more money, so that’s why they can have more and better things than Hartford.” According to city data, the population of Hartford and West Hartford is approximately 125,000 and 63,000 respectively. Thus, it was no surprise for another mentee to say, “If Hartford has more people than West Hartford, then why does West Hartford have more food markets? That’s not fair!” Access to fresh, healthy food is just one of the many issues Hartford and its public schools face.

I was stunned the first time I visited West Hartford. The county was clean, with no random pieces of trash. The air smelled fresh; there were a variety of clothing and grocery stores, and many types of restaurants. On my way back to Trinity College, I noticed the shift quickly, almost as if there was a barrier splitting both cities. Henry Chavez, a junior at Trinity, expressed that Hartford itself “has a lack of infrastructure. Almost every apartment building and house is falling apart, there are no bike lanes on streets, no street crosswalks, and no trash bins.” In West Hartford there are both trash and recycling bins at every street corner, accessible sidewalks, bike lanes, smooth roads, and beautifully constructed apartment buildings.

In a Connecticut NBC article, NBC reporter Jamie Ratliff, stated that currently Hartford is in a $32 million deficit, and by next year, “the deficit is projected to hit $48 million.” It gets worse: in the next few years, the deficit is projected to jump “to $63 million…and then $67 million.” In February of this year, Ratliff stated that Hartford paid “$5.5 million to finish the Yard Goats stadium,” which is a baseball stadium for the Hartford Yard Goats, a minor league team. While the mayor expressed that this investment was “certainly not the main cause of the problem,” the situation still raises eyebrows. Researching the prices of trash and recycling cans that would be suitable for the city, I discovered that if Hartford purchased 1,000 recycling and trash bins each, the total would be about $975K; this is about 18 percent of that $5.5 million that was used to develop the Yard Goats stadium.

It is clear that Hartford is not spending its money wisely. More funds need to go toward expanding accessibility toward healthy foods – for example, opening a Trader Joe’s that accepts food stamps. Additionally, the city needs to provide more trash and recycling bins to minimize the amount of litter, and establish crosswalk lights at every street to provide safer routes for residents. My recommendation is for Hartford to devote a large amount of its funds toward its schools and city infrastructure. Additionally, the city should partner up with West Hartford, and determine the steps that the county is taking to drive its high quality infrastructure.

By: Juliana Perez ’17

How Much Has Trinity Changed Over the Years?

Using the recent comments made by Trinity alum, Jesse Watters, staff writer Collete Grimes ’18 analyzes the results of a harmful campus atmosphere back in the 90s and wonders how much Trinity has truly changed since then.

Jesse Watters, a Fox News commentator and alumni of Trinity College, recently found himself in the midst of a scandal after a Chinatown Edition of his segment “Watters World” aired on the third of October. Watters’ segments are intended to be satirical, but when one watches his skits, it becomes clear that his talent is making jokes at the expense of others.

In his Chinatown segment, Watters was tasked with finding out the political sentiments of China, especially in regards to the upcoming election. Rather than engaging in substantial interactions, Watters proceeded to ask his interviewees if it was the year of the dragon or if he should bow when greeting someone. Many of the people he interviewed were older, did not speak English and were visibly uncomfortable. Watters’ routine others the passersby on Mott Street, placing himself and his viewers in a position of power. By failing to engage in a meaningful political exchange as equals, Watters further perpetuates Asian stereotypes and depict Chinatown and the people who live there as intellectually inept.

Rather than demonstrate how complex the immigrant and first-generation American experience can be for Asians, Watters decides his time is best spent getting a pedicure. Watters’ segment exemplifies the American tendency to celebrate and mock diversity in the same breath.

In an interview with Philadelphia Daily News’ Ellen Gray, Watters claims, “I try to make it enjoyable for the person I’m interviewing. We always come away from the interview all smiles, for the most part. And it’s always fun to come back and look at the footage and say ‘Oh my gosh, what just happened.’” Some may come to Watters’ defense, urging that his segment was a joke and that the liberal media needs to stop being so politically correct. Believe it or not, it is possible to be funny without being offensive.

Take, for instance, Comedy Central’s Drunk History. This hilarious show features arguably lesser-known celebrities recounting important points in history while in a drunken stupor. Last week, writer and comedian Crissle West retold the account of Stonewall Riot, a series of noteworthy demonstrations in queer history. Comedy Central did something that apparently no one else has been willing to do. In their dramatic re-enactments of Stonewall, they actually cast trans people. The same television network that brings us our beloved celebrity roasts was able to be funny without being offensive by simply doing the right thing and allowing trans people of color to be the agents of their own stories.

The question is, how does Trinity contribute to this lack of empathy and ignorance? Granted, Watters matriculated from Trinity fifteen years ago. The logical conclusion would be that much has changed about Trinity’s culture. The cover of the November 1998 Tripod features seven trailblazing Trinity women.

However, the rest of the newspaper is littered with stories of sexual harassment, date rape, and eating disorders. Then-Tripod opinion editor Ian Lang suggested that if women wanted to stop the aggressive frat culture, that they should “just put away those short skirts and revealing blouses and stay at home.”

By no means does the blame for Watters’ actions solely rest on Trinity, but the lack of accountability and responsibility for one’s bad behavior seems to have been a problem then and continues to be a problem now.

By: Collete Grimes ’18

Campus Safety Incidents This Week

Campus Safety Audit 

March 3 – March 9 

March 9
Vandalism-Property; Reported @ 11:06; 59 Crescent St; Disposition: Open

March 8
Nothing Reported

March 7
Vandalism-Property; Reported @ 10:46, Life Sciences Building; Disposition: Open

Drug Use Violation; Reported @ 22:48; Jones-3 students involved; Disposition:Disciplinary Referral

March 6
Vandalism-Property; Reported @ 9:26; Ogilby; Disposition: Open

March 5
Nothing Reported

March 4
Vandalism-Property; Reported @ 23:45; Jones; Disposition: Open

March 3
Nothing Reported

Provided by: Jake Villarreal ’16 

Bringing Real-Life Issues into the Classroom

The Moylan Mentorship program creates a safe space in which Trinity Students and Hartford Youth can discuss racism and discrimination. 

During the summer of 2015, I had the privilege of working as a Dream Camp counselor in Hartford, Connecticut, where I led a class of 30 children for four weeks. There, I realized the importance of directly interacting with a younger generation and, consequently, was inspired to join a similarly structured organization: The Moylan Elementary School Mentorship program.
This program was started by Professor Dyrness, the Associate Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity College. Her idea came into fruition after she realized that Hartford Public Schools focus strictly on grades and test scores, rather than holistic life lessons. She wanted to design a program for students to get out of the classroom and to discuss topics like discrimination and racism, which directly affect the lives of many students. Professor Dyrness focused on specifically helping public schools, due to the fact that private school students generally have access to more resources. She partnered with Moylan Elementary School, a neighborhood school in proximity to Trinity, and thus started the Moylan Mentorship program.
In this program, teachers select fifth grade students who they believe would benefit from being paired with a mentor. Approximately 10 Trinity students are involved, each assigned two mentees. Every Monday evening, mentors and their mentees engage in a dialogue about racial relations. To guarantee sensitivity regarding these topics and knowledge about their associated challenges, mentors have to be of a minority group. Most Moylan students are from minority groups, with 97% being either Black or Hispanic/Latino(a). Most people may wonder why mentors would want to talk to ten year olds about such serious topics, but the reason is simple: most of the students have faced these challenges themselves.

At my first session at Moylan, the mentor facilitator stuck blue and green sticky notes on each child, at random. After everyone introduced themselves, the children with the blue sticky notes were given snacks, while the children with a green sticky note had to wait. Professor Dynress then asked all of them what they thought of this unequal distribution. One of the students, Kayla, who sported a blue sticky note, said, “[The kids with the blue sticky notes] represent the white people, and [the kids with the green sticky notes] represent the black people.” All of mentors, and even Professor Dyrness, were caught off guard by her response, but we immediately understood why she had answered as she had. She further explained her reply: “Back in the day, white people and black people were separated, and the white people treated the black people badly.” The mentors brought up the word racism and asked the kids if racism still existed today. Janiyah said, “Yes. Down South.” Another student responded: “Even here, I see discrimination.”
Many of the Moylan students have faced racism and discrimination throughout their lives. As students who are also of color, mentors have walked the same path. By talking about these issues together, this program has created a safe space for the Moylan students.
Toward the end of the sticky note activity, Professor Dynress asked the students with the blue sticky notes if they’d give their snack to the kids with green sticky notes. They nodded their heads and agreed, echoing sentiments of fairness and equality for everyone.

By: Juliana Perez ’17 

Student Spotlight: Henry Chavez ’18

Staff writer Gus Daly ’19 sits down with fellow student Henry Chavez to hear about his experience unexpectedly living in El Salvador this past summer and through the fall semester, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lost his refugee paperwork.

What is your relationship with El Salvador?
I was born in El Salvador but came to the U.S. in 1997. All of my family is actually refugees from the Salvadoran civil war. So when I went back this was really my first time seeing El Salvador but I had always followed up with [Salvadoran] politics.

Could you give some background about the Salvadoran civil war?
El Salvador had its civil war during the 1980s, which was basically the left versus the communist right quote unquote death squads, which were supported by the U.S.

So you went back because of a Google internship?
Well, I went back because I wanted to go back, I’m Salvadora. I have a Salvadoran passport. I’m a refugee here, and I’ve never been back to where I’m from.

Had you heard a lot about present-day El Salvador?
I have distant family there and a big chunk of my father’s family, we’ve always sent money back. It’s a lot different learning about the country than actually being there.

What are the major differences between studying a Latin American country and actually being there?
We always study Latin America, and we always talk about little things the U.S. did in Latin America and U.S. imperialism and what it is. I think what stood out to me the most is how much the U.S. really affects El Salvador: how U.S. foreign policy and U.S. economic investment affects every day life. Growing up here, I thought that having U.S. investments in El Salvador was good – like how it provides jobs. But once you’re there, you see how these American corporations are paying Salvadorans the minimum wage of El Salvador while selling their products at American prices. American companies are making huge profits while paying their Salvadoran employees way less than their American counterparts. U.S. companies are making a lot of money but are not investing in El Salvador.

Do you think American ignorance feeds into the problems in El Salvador?
It’s pretty sad to see how unaware many Americans are to what the U.S. has done to many Latin American countries. Historically, U.S. involvement in Latin America just shows why there are so many Latinos in the us and an influx in immigration because how the U.S. has wrecked these countries and how Latin Americans will do whatever it takes to get to the U.S.

Do you think the U.S. government thinks they’re actually helping El Salvador?
I think they do. El Salvador is part of the triangular countries, and these countries are the main Central American countries experiencing huge waves of illegal immigrants. The U.S. believes they’re helping these countries, so they [propose] a billion dollar investment plan for these countries in order promote social and economic gains but really it just funds policing and security. It’s true we have a violence problem, but what people are really facing are structural problems, so if you don’t provide the economic opportunities to improve their lives it’s just the same cycle of poverty where people buy into violence and gangs to survive. The U.S. thinks they’re helping with security but they’re not helping with the basic structure of making successful country.

Do you think the lack of economic opportunity causes this influx of American companies entering el Salvador?
Since El Salvador is so poor, the government will do anything to provide jobs to its people. These companies enter rural areas to help agricultural development but are really there to create a profit, for example sugar cane production. These corporations have plans to gain profits, create a few jobs, then get out of there. The government has tried to put these corporations on trial, but the tribunal courts that deal with these cases just take bribes from these huge corporations and nothing is ever fixed.

How present are gangs in El Salvador?
If you type “El Salvador” into Google the first thing that pops up will be about gangs. One of the first things I learned in El Salvador is that the government has been controlled by the right wing for so long and that the right wing has a huge influence on social media in El Salvador and recently, this past presidency, was the first won by a left-winger. The right wing is using social media as a tool to make the left look bad so this is why you see the issue of gangs so present in media seen in the U.S. Yes the gang problem is a big problem in El Salvador that will need deep analysis to solve it. Gangs are almost respected as a government agency. The citizens and police know not to go to areas because gangs control them. I was given a map telling me where not to go because of gang activity. They control large areas, and what’s interesting is that there’s two gangs with big issues with each other. The media covers the violence between them, but an ordinary citizen is not likely to be shot by a gang member, as long as you stay out of their business you’re usually fine.

So gang activity does not affect the day-to-day?
A lot of these gangs are composed by youth. They’ve given up hope on education and the gang provides security, they pay you, and are your family. I completely understand why these kids join gangs. Gangs put a tariff on small businesses that needs to be paid or they’ll kill them.

Do you think Americans have a skewed view of El Salvador?
Well, social media only focuses on gang violence. But the U.S. government isn’t happy with the left government being in charge and they fear something is going to go wrong. So this social media effect of making the left look bad is not helping the view of people outside of el Salvador, not just Americans. With 1/3 of the Salvadoran population living in the U.S. I think its time for people to take a serious look at what both parties are doing. The U.S. needs to realize that investing in el Salvador isn’t going to solve the problem.

So you ended up with a Google internship while in El Salvador – how’d you score that?
Well, the Department of Homeland Security had lost my paperwork, so they told me I needed to say in El Salvador for a few more months. So I had been applying to Google (before I was planning on leaving) and after [the Department of Homeland Security] told me I needed to stay [in El Salvador], I took the 6-month commitment to Google. It was interesting to work for Google there. I never expected them to have an office there. It was interesting to see why they were [in El Salvador]. I learned that a main reason Google was there is that the Salvadoran accent is very subtle, and most can speak English very proficiently. Google likes to keep a clean communication through English, so it’s helpful that most of El Salvador is proficient in English. If Google has to pay someone $60,000  in El Salvador, they can someone in El Salvador $12,000. I was expecting Google to invest more in el Salvador, but it was really just Google in a different, cheaper place.

Did you do the same work as in Silicon Valley ?
I was in contact with Silicon Valley every day – we worked as if they were right downstairs.

Do you think the U.S. should stop all political involvement in El Salvador?
Historically, the U.S. has been extremely involved in El Salvador. In the 1980s, the U.S. poured millions into the Civil war, the U.S. has a duty now to help the people. As sad as it is to say, El Salvador wouldn’t exist without the U.S. The U.S. employs so many Salvadorans, so many Salvadorans live in the us, if the U.S. just stepped out it would be kind of unfair. The U.S. started this problem they should help fix it. I would appreciate if the U.S. did not really get involved in Salvadoran politics. The American embassy in El Salvador has received a lot of criticism for critiquing Salvadoran politics because they are supposed to just there to support the U.S.’s goal. When the U.S. wants to fix the problem in Central America, they need to solve it bottom up, starting with the people.

 

Dear White Trinity: Sit Down and Listen Up

What does celebrating black history month mean within the Trinity community? 

What is privilege? One could waste time looking in the Merriam-Webster, but examples are always the best tools for learning. Privilege is a white kid walking into a church in South Carolina, shooting nine people and getting a pit stop at McDonald’s on the way to booking. Privilege is knowingly poisoning an entire city and avoiding the label “terrorist.” Privilege is growing up knowing a college education is a given. Privilege is the fact that white history is a necessity at an esteemed liberal arts college, while black history is just an elective. Privilege is the inherent value of fair skin over dark. It is the assumption of goodness in the former and not the latter, and the manifestation of that perverted assumption in behaviors. In short, privilege is a practical offense.

This author is willing to bet that most white people have stopped reading by now. Privilege is a factual phenomenon and yet white people who find themselves offended and throw these words to the side will not feel the effects of their dismissal. Why will they never feel it? The answer is simple: they are protected from the consequential realities of their identity. This is part of a much more elaborate scheme of privilege in which the privileged group is given the choice to face themselves with the knowledge of their unearned advantage, whereas the underprivileged are forced to face the realities of their similarly unearned submission.

Here lies the true potential of Black History Month. It could very well be a time that mitigates the ability of privileged people to walk away from the conversation because of the prevalence of the issue.  State-sanctioned awareness of the history of black people in the United States could be an actual inroad to successful diversity, a term that implies genuine respect and compassion for fellow people across racial lines.

At Trinity College, much like the rest of the country, Black History Month is a concept that has been perverted beyond recognition. It is seen and treated as a historical and social severance package. The majority of students, faculty and Americans who are white will, in a broad sense, treat it as they would a highway accident. They will drive by the twisted, burning chassis and charred and broken bodies in the street that is the historical and contemporary state of black America in relativity; and they will shed the obligatory, pitiful tear for those affected. Of the many tragic aspects of this situation, one of the most problematic is the fact that two minutes later, when the wreck is just a dot in the rearview mirror, those road tripping will have forgotten about the carnage. There will be no reflection on what brought that situation about in the first place. It will be cast off as a “that is so unfortunate,” or even, “thank God that was not me.”

People know tragedy when they see it. So why don’t they do something about it? The basic answer is that they feel removed. The “not my battle” phenomenon is rampant. Simply put, that is disgustingly false; however, there is something that reinforces this mentality. I am going to offer two answers: “ignorance of privilege,” and “apathy toward privilege.”

What is ignorance of privilege? It is driving past the traffic accident and not asking why those circumstances did not befall you as a driver in another car. Or, more importantly, why did those circumstances befall someone else when both you and the other person were in seemingly similar situations. It is seeing “Black Lives Matter” hanging from the chapel and reacting with viciousness instead of asking why those students have grievances that you don’t. It is scrolling past an event put on by Umoja, MOCA or Temple of Hip Hop, and failing to investigate its cultural importance in relation to your own. It is self-centered. It is only seeing something for what it might do to you, and not what you might do for it. Fortunately, ignorance is the most reconcilable piece of this puzzle. The solution to ignorance is something done everyday: education.

With that being said, what an education is for you has an emotional or existential cost for those who have an experience. People will educate you on their circumstances only when they trust you to respect the effect it has on their soul. So, while they may be the most able, it is not their responsibility, burden or mandate to help the ignorant become educated on history that is effectively public record with the availability of the internet. If it is not clear already, this is my message to white Trinity: educate yourself on the circumstances of black people in this country, and care about the answers you find, even if they conflict with or offend your sense of yourself. The quarter-life crisis you will feel, if you truly educate yourself, simply does not come close to the pain that ignorance has caused in the past. Nor does it compare to the good that education will do for the future. Most importantly, when you listen or read someone’s truth, hear it to learn and not to respond.

There is a much stronger force at play, however. What is apathy toward privilege? It is a paralysis experienced by people who have white privilege when they feel the effects of a concoction of fear and selfishness that resides in the reinforced privilege of the white power structure and its participants. I know that many tempers flared at this last sentence. “Fear of what?” Fear of losing social status and opportunity and footing toward more status and opportunity. “How is it selfish?” It is selfish to allow a system to exist, which subverts the rights and opportunities of others for the purpose of elevating yours. These are my answers, and I know they are right. How do I know? Because I have participated in white supremacy and racism my whole life. I have given the justifications for my lack of education and inaction before, and I am aware that they were and are the concepts I had and have to overcome before I can move toward truth.

In light of the thoughts above, I direct these final lines to white Trinity. First, failure to educate oneself on one’s participation in a system that is racist makes one racist. Second, allowing apathy to create inaction against a racist system is a racist inaction.

By: Nico Nagle ’17

The Significance of Language: a Reflection on the Posse Plus Retreat

Hadjj Mare ’18, a member of Posse, and Molly Santora ’18, an invited guest, recount their experiences on the annual Posse Plus Retreat and the important dialogue constructed in order to further the Trinity community.


 

Being a member of Posse, a college access and youth leadership development program, every year, I attend the annual Posse Plus Retreat. At this retreat, Posse students invite guest students to come together to talk about issues occurring on campus and around the world. I try to invite as many people as possible so that I can help spread the message of positive change and diversity that Posse is trying to promote within the Trinity community. The retreat centers around a specific theme to evoke conversation. Last year, the theme was crime and punishment, discussing the increase of police brutality and the legal system. This year, the topic was words and how they can have a strong impact on a person.

There are many sensitive segments incorporated into the activities, such as a student-led talk where people share some of their most personal stories. Segments like this are planned in order to alleviate some of the tension and stress that burdens students. I’ve always been a fan of these retreats; mainly because they challenge me to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people that I would probably never talk to independently. It allows a level of comfort where although everybody is an unfamiliar face to everyone, the feelings of embarrassment and awkwardness are erased. The retreats allow me to speak my mind freely without fear of being judged for my opinions and emotions.

This retreat’s activities were more concise than they were in previous years, allowing students to get to the bottom of problems. By not prolonging activity times unnecessarily, ample time was left to spark new conversations outside the scope of the planned activities. I also created more connections with people from campus than I did at last year’s retreat, expanding my pool of connections and increasing my social capital.

When surrounded by engaged and open-minded listeners, it is easier to voice my thoughts on issues involving our college and country. These retreats are not only an opportunity to get off campus, but also to allow a “safe space” for like-minded individuals to devise plans to help better Trinity College. If I could invite 20 people or more, I would, just so that everyone on campus can express their thoughts and become more aware of the challenges students endure daily. Posse retreats are vital to those that want to create change at Trinity and make a better community.

By: Hadjj Mare ’18


A few weeks ago, I was invited on this year’s Posse Plus retreat. The only information I received was that it was a weekend away with other Trinity students serving to foster discussion about social issues. Though I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, I figured it would be a nice alternative from the typical college weekend routine and a good opportunity to make some new friends.

The theme of the weekend was words and language – whether certain people are “allowed” to say specific words, how coded language can be just as powerful as speaking bluntly and how the choices we make in what we say can both help and hurt people. I quickly realized that I was in a room with some of Trinity’s best leaders and most socially conscious individuals.

Everyone who spoke brought a thoughtful perspective to any discussion we were having, whether they were speaking to everyone in the room, in smaller groups or in one-on-one conversations. We learned about mirco-aggressions — that is, subtly offensive remarks that usually come from a place of ignorance. We discussed how media, often negatively, shapes culture. We analyzed polarizing language and why it is used. However, we also used language to bring a room full of people together.

In some ways, I felt like the weekend was preaching to the choir. I was with a group of people who already knew that words can hurt, people who were aware of misjudging others and the world around them. However, the true importance of the weekend was to foster a space where these issues could be discussed and to remind people that others either feel the same way or offer different perspectives that are worth hearing. In doing this, the weekend was an indicator that your voice matters and everyone has the power to make a valuable contribution to the Trinity community and beyond.

Throughout the weekend, the word “assumption” proved to be the most thought provoking for me. We don’t always want to be who others assume we are based upon how we look, what we have or don’t have, or where we’re from. We aren’t in control of those things. We are, however, in control of how we treat others and the impact we have on the world. We are in control of the parts of our identity in which we take pride. Not least of all, we are in control of how we perceive others. This weekend taught me, above all else, that everyone has a different story: take the time to learn it. Control your judgments. We’d be a better school community if we remembered to do so.

By: Molly Santora ’18

Campus Spotlight: New Student Initiative for a Greener Trinity

Sophomore Vanja Babunski ’18 describes a new student initiative that she and other Trinity students led in order to make Raether Library more environmentally friendly and sustainable. 

The library is the cornerstone of the academic environment at any college. It is the place where students do the majority of their schoolwork, and even at times, socialize. High school counselors urge students to look at the characteristics of a college’s library when deciding between different schools. We, as college students, can all agree on what should be in our libraries: good resources for classes, helpful staff, a well-developed library system website and a positive atmosphere. It is important to be in an environment that supports productivity – we all know how easy it is to get distracted while studying.

Raether Library is the place where the majority of Trinity students spend their time studying for exams, writing essays and lab reports. It is a place where overall progress is highly encouraged. The oldest part of the library was built in the 1950s, and it has not been an easy job keeping the infrastructure up-to-date. Despite the undertaking, this semester Trinity has started a project that aims to switch all the lighting fixtures and bulbs from CFL to LED.

Why is that relevant to us? First of all, LED lights are more pleasant and comfortable to the human eye. In addition, they last for a significantly longer period of time compared to CFL. These installations will save around 450,000 KWH each year, which is the amount of electricity that about 54 homes use in a year. Moreover, this initial investment will compensate for itself in only two and a half years, which is a very short period of time for an investment of that size. About 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided with the installation of LED lights.

This project is really important for a small liberal art college like Trinity because this institution has always aimed to compete side-by-side with fellow NESCAC schools and even Ivy League universities. One of the things Trinity was lagging behind in was the improvement of sustainability on campus. This project is one of several steps towards becoming a more environmentally friendly institution, using cost efficient alternatives.

Contributed by: Vanja Babunski ’18

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