THE TECHNOLOGY EFFECT
More than likely, you are reading surprised and they almost seem to be of you reading this just went, “Oh shit, this opinion article on a
offended. I worked at a summer camp the past two summers and we are required
to not have our phones for days at a time. At first I thought it was the worst policy ever and I would just be completely without my ball and chain that was my cell phone. But after two weeks you start to realize how nice it is to not have all this information flying at you at 100 miles per hour. It’s almost cleansing.
I believe that this problem now affects children and contributes to their parents’ ease to give in to get their 10 year old child the brand new iPhone, tablet, or whatever kids have
these days. My first piece of technology I had when I was 13 was the sleek Motorola Razor, and you bet your sweet ass I had it. But after that, that was it. I had my one cell phone and if I didn’t like it or wanted more, too bad. I was forced as a kid to go out and interact, talk, communicate, and make friends face-to-face.
One thing that I really don’t understand is when people sit in class on their phones for the whole duration of class. I bet a lot he’s definitely talking about me.” We’ve heard the statistics on how much money you waste by simply not going to class. You might as well consider it to be the same thing when you sit in class ignoring your professor who is investing their time in order to help you further develop as a student and competent human being in this informationally rigorous world.
So my challenge to all of you is this: look up. Consciously just look up from your phone, laptop, Fortnite, or whatever it may be and go have a face-to-face interaction with a fellow Wally instead of texting them about a serious situation. Build your conversation skills. Build personal relationships. Take moments
in your day during which you usually
sit alone on your phone checking social media, put your phone down, and go have a meaningful conversation with someone in your living unit. You’d be amazed what you could learn from the person next to you who is also reading some “amazing” article about how Kylie hid her pregnancy.
Friday as the new, fresh prints of the Bachelor have finally arrived.
The Bachelor is one of the few things that we students look forward to every week to read the satirical Hi-Fives, the opinions of students just like ourselves, or just to check in on how the Little Giants sports teams are doing. In the modern, technological world that we live in, college students who actually read the newspaper that their respective institutions distribute are more than likely in the minority. Personally, I enjoy reading The Bachelor to read the things that I mentioned above, even if one of them happens to be about myself…
Multiple arguments have been made that technology has made us less of a face-to-face society and that it has caused personal communication skills to be tarnished to the point where some people don’t know how to hold a conversation
in person. One of my favorite visuals that counters this argument consists of side-by-side pictures, one of a bus load of people with their faces buried into newspapers and another of a bunch of millennials with their eyes glued to their cell phones. The quote above says, “Are technological advances really the cause of our social disconnect?”
It seems like in today’s world, people are constantly on their phones, checking their messages, social media, and emails like it’s going to be the end of the world
if they do not check it right there. It also seems like when you ask someone with whom you’re trying to interact to get off of their phone, it’s like pulling teeth. Most of the time this person will look at you
ON NATIONAL ACT
Alot of conversation and attention has been put into reexamining National Act. National Act, as traditionally done, is a viable and inclusive event. Upon examining the off years of its occurrence, it becomes clear where the rub lies: bureaucracy.
First, let me address the financial part of National Act then second, the planning process. When I served as Vice President my sophomore year, we hosted one National Act in the two-semester term. Rap artist Logic performed with Andy Mineo as an opener. Logic and Mineo collectively cost $50,000. We paid $5,000 for agency fees. The staging and sound cost $16,000. Security fees about $1,200. Hotel, travel, and “rider” costs, about $1,000. Collectively, we spent about $75,000. About 1,100 students and their guests attended the
event, so the per-person cost for those attending was approximately $62. It should be noted that we charged $20 for guests and made about $10,000 back. While this may seem high in relation to other concerts (hosted at major revenues with much higher turnout rights), it is relatively small in relation to many other expenditures Senate approves. Senate frequently suspends the financial policy and grants a per-student cost much higher than what the student paid into the fund to go on almost any conference (as well as get food on someone else’s dime). The per-person costs of $62 to unite over 1,000 people is much more viable than a conference of about 12 for over $300 per person. However, I will grant that the latest National Act was more expensive and had a lower turnout than the year prior, which brings me to my second point of emphasis: bureaucracy.
The artist David Burd, also known as “Lil Dicky,” had a similar mandate from the student body as did Logic. The Wabash administration contends that Burd is “unbecoming” of the Gentleman’s Rule because he has, when requested, done a striptease in a “humorous” manner at revenues. Perhaps at this point it is best to point out that Mr. Burd has previously performed at Private Jesuit Schools, and they did not find such an impression, but rather a pleasant, easy-going guy trying to get people to laugh and not take themselves so seriously. While Burd’s agent assured us that Burd only does such a stunt at select revenues, Burd was still not allowed to perform at Wabash after several weeks of internal deliberations at Wabash.
While I must admit I find it troubling that a school that charges men to think critically has less freedom of speech than a Jesuit College, this is not the point I want to make. While certainly National Act is a long process and including the Administration in those decisions is of the utmost importance, several weeks of additional work to still be rejected only hurts external relations with agents and potential artists, diminishes the chance of getting the next-best artist, and drives up the cost of getting an artist closer to the date. A similar bureaucratic delay cost Andrew Powell to go from T-Pain to The
All-American Rejects. Similarly, Wabash had to settle for DJ Carnage (as one may note, a DJ is a man of few words). The costs went up, and attendance went down. In total, DJ Carnage’s National Act cost about $100,000 with an audience of about 700. Thus, the per- person cost went from $65 to $143 (a similar rise Powell would note in his tenure).
Therefore, I would resolve, National Act can be a viable and unifying event. But in order to be successful, the administration would have to come to terms that what the student body wants, just like many other students across the country, is not going to be something that should appear on the front page of Wabash’s website. Waka-Flaka, Travis Porter, and Lil Wayne have all performed at Indiana University but received
the red line from Wabash. Rather than focusing on the public relations approach that many colleges take through such performances, Wabash should champion and market the unique opportunity that a small group of students put on a large-scale event. Such events at other universities are organized by employees with master’s degrees in event planning. I believe this unique opportunity will soon be lost, to one day be revived by inspiring students who I hope come across this plea. After all, the primary purpose of National Act is to entertain students and their guests in a single night, not for an individual to represent Wabash in a serious manner.
I believe President Page and Vice President Gray have taken a bold
and innovative approach to how National Act can be done. To ensure
all are on familiar ground, Section 3.1 of AFC Financial Policy defines a “National Act” as “a large and public event targeted toward entertaining Wabash students and their guests, totaling more than $20,000.” There are no limits of National Acts that
can occur in a semester, and National Act is the only part of AFC Policy that allows
for budgeting the semester before the actual event. I believe the documents thus indicate the importance National Act has held to the classes before us, by giving it a rare exception to allow thoughtful planning several months in advance. The purpose
of this piece is neither to support nor attack how National Act is currently being re-examined, but instead take a stance on how National Act has been done in the past and to appeal to a future generation of Wabash Men and administrators.
WHAT MAKES THE FUNGAL KINGDOM MAGNIFICENT
For many people, when they think Charles surface area to volume ratio of any Any conversation on the fantastic of a fungus, they often conjure Mettler ‘18 other type of organism, which means world of fungi requires a discussion up a mental image of bread they have the best absorptive capacity of their relations to us humans. Most
mold, or a fuzzy, filamentous mass on a fruit. The question is really, how much does any one person know about the fungal branch of life, their lifestyles, interactions, and diversity? Here, I’m aiming to inform the uninformed on fungi and also about why anyone should want to know more about these fascinating organisms.
First things first, the scientific study of fungi (broadly) is termed mycology. This is reflected in the taxonomy of the lineage; groups in the Kingdom Fungi commonly have names ending in – mycota or –mycetes. In terms of their evolutionary relationships to things we’re more familiar with, fungi are actually more closely related to animals than plants, which may be surprising. Fungi are heterotrophic, meaning they cannot make food from sunlight, water, and CO2 as plants do, but instead obtain their energy comparably to animals. They are marvelously speciose; a recent estimate put the number of fungal species at 2.2-3.8 million species. Furthermore, fungi are over 1.5 billion years old as a kingdom, beating both plants and animals to make it on land. Beating them so well that early plants probably relied in part on the presence of fungi for their jump to land, and as we know, the land plants facilitated the arrival of animals, including us. So, we could thank the fungi in part for their help.
Fungi play extremely important roles in nearly every ecosystem on Earth. They and bacteria are the principal decomposers of dead organic matter, by secreting digestive enzymes into dead things they intend to eat. Things like cellulose in tough plant tissues are very hard to decompose; however, fungi are specialized to do the job and release the broken down components in a form usable by other organisms.
Thus, they are integral in mediating the input of nutrients (especially carbon) into the soil system, where it is potentially stored as recalcitrant matter. Without them, the carbon cycle would be drastically impeded, and global productivity of biomass would suffer. Fungi are well-equipped to absorb nutrients from the soil environment. Their bodies of filamentous “tubes” known as a hypha, have the highest
of any organism. Because of this, plant roots and fungi very often form
a symbiosis in which the fungi obtain phosphorus and other nutrients in exchange for carbon from the plant. This allows the plant to access much more substrate than it otherwise would be able to reach by itself.
Demonstrating the importance of this relationship, many plants cannot persist as strongly without their fungal partners. This symbiosis is thus mostly mutualistic, and is termed a mycorrhiza. Because of the ubiquity of this mutualism, many strands of plants are intimately connected by underground networks of these fungi that allow for interplant communication and transport of valuable products.
This network makes for some very interesting systems under the forest floor. One of these things that may interest those economics majors out there are what’s known as biological markets. It has been shown that these mycorrhizal fungi are able to detect
the presence of competitor fungi that intends to form a mycorrhiza with a plant of interest. When this happens, the fungi compete for the plant’s
carbon by lowering their “price” for phosphorus. Perhaps fungi beat Adam Smith to it by a few million years.
Any conversation on the fantastic of a fungus, they often conjure other type of organism, which means world of fungi requires a discussion obviously, we harvest mushrooms (the reproductive body) of fungi for their appetizing taste and psychotropic effects. More inconspicuously, fungi are essential in the production of other foodstuffs like bread, cheese, and beer, upon which humanity has relied quite strongly for most of its existence.
A British company has even managed to harvest protein from a fungal species to produce a delectable meat substitute. In addition to helping feed us, fungi are also the source of many antibiotics against bacteria. Given the competition between bacteria and fungi in ecosystems everywhere, it isn’t surprising to learn that they produce some of the best compounds against bacteria. On the flip side, fungal pathogens against humans (and many other organisms) do exist and can be devastating. Fortunately, there are only around 300 known fungi that are pathogenic to humans, representing only about 0.25% of all described species.
I hope this (very brief) essay on the importance and awesomeness of the fungi serves as an interesting point for thought. I encourage everyone to learn more about these organisms, and to eat more of them, because eventually they’ll be eating you.
IT’S OKAY TO DISLIKE YOUR HOME
It’s difficult to talk about your country in an honest and negative fashion.
I should qualify that statement: when I’m with another American (here meaning U.S. Citizen), it’s easy to talk about what we dislike about our country. There’s an implicit understanding that even as we disparage our country, we love it. The, “yes, I hate such and such, but man do I love being American,” unsaid bond does a lot for conversation. But, when I talk to someone from another country, especially with one we have a bad history with, it feels almost like betrayal to admit wrongdoing.
Even the most egregious crimes we commit are somehow defensible in the moment someone starts throwing our past around, and that doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think it really sits right with anyone. I feel uncomfortable and dishonest; yet for some reason, I find it hard to stop myself from being defensive in an honest conversation with foreigners. Whereas, I would simply nod and agree, “Yes, that was a terrible thing we did,” if I was talking to an American. Years of being brought up to love and defend a country is a hard thing to step past.
And, I do love my country. I really can’t imagine living somewhere else. Cheesy as it sounds, not being able to get a good burger and a shake would probably hurt my soul. My chest swells when we sing our anthem, and my heart stops watching a shooting on the news. I think it’s the same no matter your nationality: you can hate almost everything about your homeland, but you can’t get away from grandma’s signature meal, or your memories of playing with your friends, and the blast of nostalgia associated with those memories.
It’s always tempting to take that feeling to an extreme when you get in an argument with someone different, especially if you don’t like them. To take that ‘America first’ sentiment, whatever that means to you, and shove it in their face. So what people died?
That’s war. So what your government collapsed? You killed U.S. citizens, you killed my family, you hurt my country and me; you deserve to die. It’s not a conscious thought and it’s not something any of us are proud of, but it is there. That is an idea that is wrong in every sense, and there is no rational way to justify it.
We have to be able to take responsibility for our country’s actions. As individuals, we have to be able to admit that our country did something wrong. That we as a nation failed, we can do better, and we need to do better. Being able to look someone who just made you feel dirty about what your forefathers did in the eye and say they’re right is a huge part of that responsibility.
So, here’s my political opinion: defending your country from criticism is wrong and misplaced. At college in general, we get to look at things from a new perspective and meet new people. For me, Wabash has allowed me to travel the world and
meet new people in a way I couldn’t have otherwise: students from other countries, people in other countries, and people who I just wouldn’t have met in the regular course of my life who are good friends now.
We get into spirited debates and arguments over a variety of things, from the names of cats on campus to whether or not we are all inherently racist. It’s a great culture to be a part of. Yet, even here I still hear pretty casual nationalism and, yes, racism, in conversations about our politics [domestic and international]. I’m not trying to insult our college or country; rather I want to point out how easily anyone can fall into this pattern.
I can’t give any informed advice on how to get past our defensive cultural stance. I’m not even observant enough to have noticed this on my own. I only started thinking about it after I got called out, roasted, and stewed over it for a while. Just being aware that I do get defensive and somewhat irrational in conversations about my homeland was a huge step in being more receptive and reasonable in conversations about it for me though.
STAFF EDITORIAL: DEVELOPING A DIALOGUE MINDSET TO PREVENT SEXUAL ASSAULT
With the recent rise in consequences for sexual assault and harassment, The Bachelor editorial staff is weighing in on the importance for Wabash students to understand how they can prevent assault and advocate for victims in our society. The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”
The administration at Wabash does a thorough job educating freshmen early about sexual assault utilizing presentations, question and answer sessions, and facilitating group discussions in the Gentleman’s Rule meetings. Furthermore, each new school year finds all students attending a round
of talks with their living unit in which they discuss sexual assault and its prevention. These talks facilitate students’ education at the College.
However, not every man or woman in our society is able to attend similar talks. By virtue of this education, we have an increased responsibility, both on and off campus, to take action against sexual assault and help inform others in the community. If we do not become part of the solution, then we become part of the problem by our silence’s implicit message of support through non-action. The world needs men and women to stand together to address and prevent sexual assault, instead of acting as idle bystanders on this issue. Our awareness of sexual assault and harassment calls us to a higher level of action and responsibility, and as Wabash men, we are further compelled to spread this engagement.
Although we are educated, our attendance at an all male institution informs our view of sexual assault. At Wabash, most of the unwanted interactions transpire on weekends. It is then that we have a duty to increase our attention and focus on sexual assault across campus. While we typically do not deal with sexual assault regularly, we will not stay at Wabash for the rest of our lives.
For this reason, it is imperative that we learn to help our community, by becoming better gentlemen for the society. We cannot be responsible citizens if we ourselves do not aim to educate people about sexual assault for
future prevention. We need to make the sexual assault discussion a consistent lens in our daily lives. We must be proactive in our conversations about sexual assault, instead of simply talking about it when the topic is broached by outside stimulus.
By forming a dialog on sexual assault before the conversation must occur, we establish our worldview as part of a proactive measure against harm. We, as students in small-town Crawfordsville, Indiana, can make others’ lives better. We can take our experiences and share them with the community. By adapting our worldview to a constant state of awareness of the issue, we can address social, workplace, and public sexual harassment and assault.
FOR WHOM IS VOLUNTOURISM IMPACTFUL?
Joey Karczewski ’20
Reply to this column at email@example.com
VOLUNTOURISM, a novel industry operated by both non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and for-profit organizations, has gained popularity amongst Western travelers hoping to make a difference abroad. In its most simple sense, voluntourism is traveling to a distant destination while also performing volunteer work in the local community. The most common places that Western do-gooders frequent include underdeveloped nations in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Often these volunteer missions involve building infrastructure (i.e. orphanages, medical clinics), medical brigades, or teaching lessons to children. Currently, there has been much debate about the merits of voluntourism trips, and what and on whom is their effect most great. Unfortunately, these impacts are difficult to quantify due to the lack of record-keeping and unity amongst volunteer agencies. Economic analysis and anecdotal evidence has shown that voluntourism mostly benefits the volunteer, and can have a non-existent or negative impact on the community intended to be helped.
Economically speaking, voluntourism is a global market that is hurting the economy and job market of the local community. For example, when traveling volunteers come to a community in need of certain infrastructure, they are impeding on the local construction industry. The largest obstacle in improving infrastructure is funding. Governments or charities mostly need money to pay for laborers, tools, and materials- finding a labor force is not the issue. Volunteers are doing away with the need for local construction workers, leaving them jobless and without an income. In addition, bringing resources such as bricks, tools, nails, etc. means one less job for local craftsmen and masons. This has negative connotations simply because families become even more impoverished when their labor force is being out-competed by volunteers paying to labor. Paying volunteers create an industry that incentivizes poverty. A regular criticism of voluntourism is that organizations and volunteer members do not communicate with the locals, and that sometimes projects are not necessary, or are not items that were high on their list of priorities. This leaves the local people still in need, but now with fewer available resources to accomplish what they actually require. Voluntourists spoil local economies and job markets by providing services that were normally paid for, for free.
Other aspects of voluntourism that is oftentimes unaddressed is sustainability and qualification of the volunteers. Especially in the realm of medical brigades, volunteers come to a region for a limited amount of time, perform their medical tasks (i.e. special surgeries, diagnostics, treatments) and then abruptly leave. This event leaves local, most likely under trained medical staff to handle aftercare and provide follow up visits. Short-term medical brigades don’t improve long-term health of a community. Medical care is not a ‘one and done’ deal, it is a lifelong service. Another issue that belongs to medical brigades is sub-par treatment by underqualified individuals. It is not uncommon to hear of pre-health students performing operations or diagnosing patients when they are not trained or capable to do so. Not only is this very disruptive behavior that can have serious consequences for patients, it is unethical.
Another issue that has been receiving much publicity is the “White Savior Complex”. The White Savior Complex stems from attitudes of colonialism, superiority, and patronization. White Westerners view themselves as superior and distant from the communities they volunteer in. As Teju Cole once tweeted, “The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege”. The meaning behind this tweet is powerful and descriptive: white people volunteer abroad not to help others, but to feel good about themselves. These trips have become almost a status symbol amongst the privileged in Western society. Voluntourism is becoming an ordinary way to gain popularity and accolades from peers, because it is tied to good intentions. Despite good intentions, voluntourism has become an industry founded on catering to the emotional needs of white Westerners.
SUNDAY MORNING THOUGHTS THROUGH A STEAMY MIRROR
Dominick Rivers ’19
Reply to this column at firstname.lastname@example.org
As the road comes to an end, I look at what lies before me- the path diverges, one on the left and one on the right. “Which way is Eden?” I ask myself. The haunting is in stereo, yet I dare not turn around, for the ghosts of youth that follow behind me have been abandoned by Forever. I could make a Lazarus of them all if I wanted to, but that would simply be regression. Luckily, I am able to set up camp for the night, prolonging the necessity of a decision to be made until morning. The universe reclines in my hair, I run my fingers through it. From both trails, I hear echoes of pop-culture’s most successful fashion, self-loathing, but I am incapable to discern which one screams louder. The screams in my ears interrupt my work; but still, it is difficult to understand the maps of who I must be when I have never seen such terrain before. For the past week, nightmares have teased me, showing me visions of long-departed youth, being followed only by my lies. I cut my hand during dinner; I was too afraid to call the doctor for fear that he wouldn’t see any virtue in the blood that I bleed.
A beggar cannot deny he’s broken, but he still gets what he needs. I fear I will starve on my expectations before I even get hungry. I look at those that have come before me, some are still treading their path, some have fallen asleep, and I wonder what happened the night that they set up camp, or, more importantly, did they have time to take rest? Well, we’ve all heard rumors… But still, I am overwhelmed with questions: What compelled them to take the path that they had? Did they only have but two choices? Had cruelty called them that night? Were they smart enough to leave the phone off the hook? I shake loose from my hair a tabula rasa of a verse: “If you’re born to be hanged, then you won’t be drowned.” Is it my duty to follow in the footsteps of my forbearers? Shall I meet my grandfather at the gallows? Of which clandestine was I born, and to which path do I need more?
My momentary bliss is interrupted by my perpetual need to chase the dogs of reason. I reflect upon the actions and decisions that served as my transportation to where I am now. Sadly, they have found more freedom in a longer leash, and, before long, they will become part of the soundtrack of my life. Summarizing little, I fear you will understand less, but time is too precious, and my mortal sin is wasting others’.
My snowflake may look similar to yours, but I know that it is not. I cannot describe the intimate details, nor can I prescribe a means of keeping your snowflake from melting, but there are some variables that may overlap. So, as I rise with the morning sun, what I fear will follow me, but pray that it won’t, is this: Remember the fears of your fathers, for those are the fears that made him a man. Remember the enemies of your fathers, for those are the men that put fear into him. Remember the place from whence you came, hold it close, but don’t let it hold you back; it matters not from whence you came, but to wither you are traveling. And, if that road points homeward, to you, on the open road, I wish you well. Don’t heed this as a benediction, for the wind may roll out another warning.