Sufjan Stevens and Resurrecting Small Town America

I discovered Sufjan Stevens' Illinois during a period in my life when my hometown was too small, an ill-fitting sweater. It was also a period in which I felt compelled to pin down the meaning of everything, so I spent a lot of time on songmeanings.com. I learned a lot about the album, like how Sufjan scoured historical records while also compiling personal anecdotes from friends and Internet chat room users during the album's songwriting phase. A lot of the allusions are to pretty famous events or figures—like the Sears Tower or Carl Sandburg, but I found myself drawn to reading about the localities mentioned in "Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!"

On the Other Side of the Bench

When biology major Marina Good ’19 started working in a biosafety cabinet during her summer internship with biotech company Adimab Lab in Lebanon, N.H., she became acutely aware of how she moved. Cell culture requires sterile conditions, so Good put on gloves, had her hands sprayed down with ethanol and donned a lab coat before getting to the task at hand. She felt like a giant trying to maneuver around her surroundings the first time, but now it feels natural.

Documentary brings world issue to Newport

At the midpoint of Seeing Through the Wall: Meeting Ourselves in Palestine and Israel, an Israeli father whose child died in the ongoing conflicts tells a group of American tourists something. It is a message that he has made his life’s work to spread. “We are not doomed, we can break this endless cycle of violence,” he says, “and the only way to do it is simply by talking to each other.” And on July 26 at the Library Arts Center (LAC), a group of people took time out of their week to do just that.

True Blue

On a warm June day in 1953, just hours after she graduated from Colby Junior College, Gretchen Hoch watched her family’s car drive off as she stood in the college parking lot. Gretchen was engaged to a man whom her father did not approve of because of religious differences, and given an ultimatum, she’d chosen her fiancé over her father. It’s not a unique story, but what happened next is: Gretchen’s professors took her in, helped plan her wedding and on-campus reception, and Gretchen and her husband made New London their home.

Testing the Water

Symbiosis describes a relationship between two or more organisms that live closely together, often for the benefit of both parties. From the microbes taking up residence in the human gut to the bumblebees that pollinate flowers on their search for nectar, life depends on—and is better—in partnership. The same holds true for research. Learning is most meaningful when applied to real-world scenarios, and the relationship between Colby-Sawyer College and its hometown of New London has allowed envir

A Zero-Sum Game

In the last few months, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four jumped to Amazon's bestsellers list and The Handmaid's Tale earned Hulu its first-ever Emmy series nomination. Such is the cultural landscape in which Eduardo Rabasa makes his novelistic debut with A Zero-Sum Game: an audience attuned to the way our society's biggest ills can be exposed through exploring an exaggerated depiction of them. Rather than Orwell's totalitarian state, it's neoliberalism that Rabasa takes to its logical conclusion.

Beyond the Map: Building a Future in Nepal

As a dense fog receded into the Nepali jungle, 60 students, teachers and volunteers from Maya Universe Academy gathered before the school day to participate in a game of dodgeball—students versus adults. The playtime followed the delivery of morning announcements and recitation of original student poems. When I and three other members of the Wesson Honors Program volunteered at Maya, we were welcomed into the community, which means the kids did not hold back—they pummeled us in every round.