Feature

Feature

Greek Life at Babson

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For an undergraduate school of just over two thousand, Greek Life has a strong presence at Babson. The school holds roughly a thirty three percent participation rate, which represents not only Greek Life’s strong presence within the community but also a shared desire among the student body to explore and invest themselves in the values of scholarship, leadership, service, respect and unity. The Greek system here has historically done an excellent job of not only maintaining these values, as since the fall of 2009 the All Greek GPA has always been higher than the all Babson GPA. Fraternities and sororities have also done an excellent job of exemplifying the school’s value of integrating students from all backgrounds, philosophies, and socioeconomic statuses.

Wildlife on Campus

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The fact that wild animals live in and around the Babson College campus may come as a surprise to many urban-dwellers or international students who aren’t used to four seasons, trees, or forested areas. The Babson College campus is a great edge habitat for raccoons, squirrels, or other snack-hungry wild animals because it is the boundary of two different habitats: the wooded forest of Wellesley and the human development that makes up our school.

According to “Wildlife in the Suburbs” on the Wellesley government website, wild animals are coming “too close to people and begging for food”.  When people feed wild animals, the creatures lose their fear of human interaction and soon expect handouts from everyone they meet. While playing with these adorable animals, people need to be more careful with it in case they cause legal problems unintentionally. In fact, the town of Wellesley imposes a fine of up to $200 for feeding any wildlife.  

In the past, the town of Wellesley has had problems with encounters between household pets and wild animals.  Animals coming from their forested habitat into the edge habitat of suburbia take advantage of food, trash, or small household pets (yikes!) that have been left outside by accident.  Members of the Woodland dorm community, like myself, agree that there is no shortage of skunks and raccoons playing around near the dumpsters by the Woodland parking lot.  When walking past dumpsters (where they like to hang out), they generally run away when approached.

Here are some suggestions to avoid attracting a raccoon into your dorm at night: Secure trash in raccoon-proof containers, which are easily found around campus.  For the most part, the dumpsters have heavy lids that raccoons cannot open.  Given this, don’t leave the lid open.  Near the Woodland dorms of Babson College, behind Trim, and in many more locations, it could be helpful to put ammonia, bleach, or red pepper on the trash bag in the evening to deter animals at night.  Don’t leave snacks or leftovers on the picnic tables or on the barbecue grill.

Overall, this is a great campus filled with wildlife, but it can quickly become overrun by hungry critters if we’re not careful.  We’re lucky to share such a great space with our abundance of wildlife, but we need to be more careful in the way we are treating them.

Islam at Babson: Culture and religion

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Members of Babson’s Muslim Student Association. Left to right: Mintis Hankerson, Samina Baig, Gyda Sumadi, Shazeem Siddiqi, Anas Ahmed, Tareef Rahman, Mahd Sharif, and Irfaan Kazi. Photo courtesy of Lyda Sumadi.

Editor’s note: In the wake of the tragedies in Paris and Beirut, perpetrated in the name of Islam, let the beloved community members featured in this article serve as proof that Islam is a religion of peace.

As Fatoumata Sow (‘18) says, “Islam is a religion of peace, and like any other religion people pick and choose what they want to follow. The people who made the attacks in Paris were not just Muslims—they were terriorists.”


Babson College has always taken pride in its diversity, with enrollment statistics for the class of 2019 consisting of 39% domestic minority students, 25% international, and 45 represented nations from around the world. However, despite these impressive numbers, some would argue that diversity is still quite lacking at Babson, especially in religion.

“We [at Babson] are ethnically diverse, but I don’t think we are in social, religious, and even economic terms,” Noora Al-Mana, a recent Babson grad who identifies as Muslim, said. “I think I’ve only come across around ten Muslims throughout my four years at Babson, and they were all international except for one person.”

Most would agree that the Muslim population on campus is not as present as it is on perhaps other colleges across the country, which is mainly believed due to the almost nonexistence of hijab (headscarf) wearing women at Babson. This is true except for a few students—one in particular, Gyda Sumadi, has covered her hair since age 13 and continues to do so in college.

When asked about the lack of hijab-wearing women on campus and the Muslim student representation overall, Sumadi traced it back to the differences between culture and religion, and how that affects the way students express their faith.

“I wouldn’t say that the Muslim student body isn’t active, but when it comes to religion…a lot of people who come from a more secular and cultural background may connect culturally with Islam, but don’t really practice. I think people sometimes believe that culture and religion are the same thing, when in reality it isn’t quite so,” she said.

Mintis Hankerson, another Muslim student, further explained, “When you grow up in a Muslim country, it pretty much affects how you live, in my opinion. Because everything is Islam, including the politics, so it makes your whole life culturally Islam. Whereas when you live in America you have to put in that extra effort to practice Islam.”

This highlights America’s, and even Babson’s, slightly ignorant belief that the only true way of proving a person’s faith is through their dress, diet, and prayer. In actuality, one can be Muslim through their lifestyle—a lifestyle that may be obvious in Islamic countries that value modesty, but becomes less obvious in the US, a country that often demands a very Western “in-your-face” attitude in order to prove one’s identity.

Not to mention, it can be challenging to even want to prove one’s religious faith in the explicit Western way, considering that “Muslims have already faced so much scrutiny in the U.S. due to negative stereotypes created from terrorist attacks,” according to Shaz Siddiqi, another member of Babson’s Muslim Student Association.

However, there are some deeper reasons why certain Muslim students are more culturally, rather than religiously, connected to Islam, and these reasons stem back to the socioeconomic status of Babson students.

“To be blunt about it, within these Islamic countries abroad, the more affluent people sort of… not lose their religious identity, but they Westernize themselves through lavish lifestyles and all kinds of stuff. And most of the international population on campus is rather ‘up there,’ so they really bring with them that Western aspect of their country in order to perhaps assimilate,” Irfaan Kazi said. “However, it’s not a loss of religion, it’s a tweak in culture.”

But regardless of these areas of ambiguity for understanding Islam in Babson, people are overall accepting and welcoming of the various religions represented in the undergraduate class.

“Babson is great. The main thing about having an international population is that nothing is seen as odd because everyone is accustomed to everything. Even though there aren’t as many women on campus here that cover their hair, no one is unfamiliar with it, especially the international population,” Sumadi said. “Even the domestic population—everyone knows what it is.”

Al-Mana agrees: “In my experience, the people I met and surrounded myself with at Babson are generally very prideful of their faith and background and express it as they always have without being rude or disrespectful to differing beliefs.”

Millenial voting: Stats, trends, and how to vote

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Graphic by Lydia Stetson

In less than a year, the United States will be electing its 45th president. However, will the elections be truly representative of the population? The statistics say no.

Those between 18 to 24 years of age have a significantly lower voter turnout, meaning they are being greatly underrepresented. This has been the case for decades, and it begs the question: why aren’t young people voting?

One of the biggest problems seems to be that the young feel that they don’t know enough to get involved in the political world. After all, a lot of what is discussed and debated does not have any direct effect on them. Issues like Social Security and foreign policy may not be very high on their list of concerns when they are in the midst of a grueling battle against college debt and struggling to find a job.

Another contributor to the poor voter turnout may be the fact that young adults tend to move around more frequently. As a result, they feel less attached to their community and less motivated to try and make an impact. Voting is also much harder for college students; in order to vote away from home, registering to vote is a chore. In fact, many do not even know how to register if they are attending a college away from their home state. In an attempt to eradicate this problem, here’s a quick tutorial on how to register to vote:

NOTE: Because students can choose to register to vote in either their home state or their college’s state, Massachusetts will be used in the following example.

1. Voting in Massachusetts 

First, register to vote. If your signature is on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, you qualify to use the online application to register, update your address, and change your party.

Otherwise, you will need to fill out the voter registration form and deliver it to your local election official, whose address is listed below.

TOWN CLERK
525 WASHINGTON ST
WELLESLEY, MA 02482

2. Voting in your home state

If you are unable to make it home to vote, you will need to request an absentee ballot. Because voting is different in every state, you will have to contact your local government and see what their process is to obtaining an absentee ballot. One you have received it, you can simply fill it out and mail it back to your local election officials.

Mighty Well, A Year Later

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Just last week Babson College announced its 2017 Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (B.E.T.A) Challenge finalists, which included from the undergraduate school: Womentum (Prabha Dublish ‘18 and Derek Tu ‘18), Vinci (Eagle Wu ‘19) and DetraPel (David Zamarin ‘20, Jacob Heller ‘20, Ali Eldessouky and  Larry Ng ’20). With the recent success of these entrepreneurial finalists, we take a look back at where last year’s BETA finalists currently are, particularly “Mighty Well,” founded by Emily Levy ‘16.

Mighty Well is a growing line of medical accessories that put strength, confidence, and mobility back into the toolkit for those coping with an illness or health setback. These accessories range in products, but what the company excels most in is the PICCPerfect Line Protector, a sleek and fashionable sleeve-like cover to protect insertion sites on the arm from contaminants, and to normalize these insertion sites into everyday settings.

The story behind the founding of Mighty Well traces back to Levy’s sophomore year at Babson College when she was diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease, a disease in which symptoms of lyme disease continue to occur despite use of antibiotics. These symptoms include fatigue, joint/muscle aches, and cognitive dysfunction which requires a PICC line, a long and thin tube inserted into the vein to pump in antibiotics or other medications.

Why Babson Students Are So Not Dateable

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About two years ago, Time Magazine came out with an article stating a belief that we probably all secretly knew, but didn’t want to admit. Babson College students are the #1 most un-dateable.

Paid matchmaking service “The Dating Ring” had conducted the poll by taking 7,500 post-date feedback reports from 1,600 people located in the New York City and San Francisco area. The data collection process spanned over an 18 month period to see which college alumni “served as the most enjoyable dates.”

For a little background information on the dating platform that doomed us all in our future romantic rendezvous (“Oh Babson? Wait isn’t that the school with that Trump incident, AND the most un-dateable alumni?”) The Dating Ring describes their process as “We search through our database of successful professionals to find you the best matches.”

Of course we win the most un-dateable award from a dating service for “professionals.”

When asked their thoughts on the Time article’s outcome, most members of the Babson community were not surprised. Our campus’ hook-up culture, obsession with networking, fixed determination on meeting career goals, and even our “entrepreneurial mindset” surfaced as reasons of blame.

Tips and Tricks for First Years

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  1. Spend money! You get student discount now. From Spotify to Amazon Prime, companies across the world sympathised with us quintessentially break college students and are willing to do all they can to make our lives just a little bit easier.
    2. Do all you can to avoid the dreaded freshman fifteen. Even if it means actually doing, you know, exercise. Or worse, eating a salad.
    3. Always go to class. Even 8AM’s. On Mondays.
    4. Find study spaces that suit you! Not all of us can concentrate at Horn, and our noisy
    roommates may make studying in the room an impossibility (hint, hint), so find small
    nooks and crannies around campus where you can focus.
    5. In the generic ‘Tips and Tricks for First Years’ article, there is always at least one line
    about joining clubs. They say to join as many as possible, but since this is Babson and
    we’re filled with overachievers, I’ll say this instead: do those activities that you are truly passionate about. Don’t let yourself get pulled in multiple directions when you really only like one.
    6. Visit professors during office hours. It will be incredibly useful for class and for building relationships so you can ask them to write you letters of recommendation in the future.
    7. Make flip flops your best friend. Never enter a bathroom barefoot. Unless, of course, you want to witness firsthand how quickly foot fungus can make you lose friends.

Faculty profile: Patricia Bossi

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Photo by Tatiana Trauslen

Babson College recently welcomed returning family member Patricia Bossi, who completed her MBA at Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business and is now returning as a QTM professor.

Free Press: Where are you from?

Patricia Bossi: Well, I’ve lived here my whole life. I was born in Boston, and as a small child moved up to Chelmsford, Mass. I moved to Bedford, Mass nine years ago, which is about 20 minutes away from Babson without traffic.

FP: What brought you to Babson?

PB: Well, I got my MBA here and have been very involved ever since that point of time. Also my prior boss is here, so that kind of influenced me quite a bit. When he came over here, it was only a matter of time before I came over to teach a course or two with him. I adore him, so I couldn’t wait to come over.

FP: What’s the transition like from teaching at Bentley to Babson, considering that the two schools are known to be rivals?

PB: I don’t really consider them as rivals. I think Bentley is more of an accounting school and it’s much more focused on being a fear for the accounting world. I think Babson is more of an entrepreneurship school, so I don’t really see them as rivals. I think Babson is much more focused on a global education, entrepreneurship, educating all around, so it’s not so much of an accounting structure. I see much more of a rounded student coming out of Babson. I see the school as a lot more competitive with, I think, the Ivy League schools, personally. The Harvard’s and the Stanford’s and the Kellogg’s quality of their students are similar to those at Babson.

FP: What would you say are the focal differences between the two schools?

PB: Students here are much more rounded, they are go-getters, willing to take that extra step, ask questions, and are not shy. In my classroom experience at Bentley, students wouldn’t talk, they wouldn’t raise their hands. They would just sit there, take notes, and leave. It was not very interactive. At UMass Lowell, I was teaching a different type of student. I was teaching engineering students, and engineers are known to be more introverted, so I expected that over there. As far as business students go, it’s very refreshing to see outgoing, assertive and confident students in their skill base, and a lot of students here have started businesses and have done entrepreneurial things before and during their attendance. That is not something you see at other business schools in the area.

FP: Could you tell us a little bit about your work experience before coming to Babson?

PB: I started out in pure engineering, and then after getting my MBA I got much more into the business end of things. Of course, all the business was still in technical-based companies, so having both skills, a business background and a technical background, made it a very strong combination in the business world. I could understand the technology, so nobody could pull any blinders over me, and I understood the business side to things, so nobody could fudge the books on me. And I could help with the business planning and the startup process. It was great to have both; you need to have both.

FP: When you made the decision to pursue an MBA, was that because you recognized that you needed this business side?

PB: Absolutely. I would sit in meeting after meeting, and I understood math very well, but I did not necessarily understand what all the accountant and finance people were talking about when they discussed pro formas, year-to-years, and all these financial statements. I would wonder, “Am I missing something, are these real, is there a little bit of smoke being blown at me?” I knew I needed more understanding, and that’s when I went back and got my MBA.

FP: As an alumni, you know Babson’s focus on entrepreneurship. So how do you bring this focus into your own classroom?

PB: I try to get people to think on their own, to solve their own problems. I think a lot of the time by pushing back and giving in-class activities, and having people work together, you get a feel for what really happens in the business world. Not every one situation in life is someone going to be handing you a problem and solution. So you have to be able to think and solve problems on your own by doing some of the work. My students learn the skills and then they try it, solve it. I give them questions like, “What do you think about this?”—more open-ended questions versus a yes or no. I really try to get the thinking going.

FP: What is something that you’d like students to know about you or your class that they might not know about as of now? 

PB: Well, about me, I certainly never thought I was going to get into teaching based on my career, and it was one of those things that people say “when the teaching bug hits you, it hits you,” and it hit me hard. I am here because I love what I do, and I do want to give back some, hopefully all, of the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years. I always want students, and everyone, to know that I am approachable, I am here for them, and that there is never a dumb question. I don’t care what the question is, it will never be dumb, and it will always be answered with respect and treated with respect. I am here to help, I am never here to insult you or treat you poorly because you need or want help.

I want people to know that there was a day when I sat in that same chair as a student, and I don’t forget those days. And I have kids, and I’ve had times when they come home and tell me bad experiences with teachers and it breaks my heart that teachers can be short or mean to students. I want everyone to know that my door is always open and I’m always here. If I can find a way to help, I will.

How to start a club

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Academics are the main focus of any college, but with a strong co-curricular environment, Babson stands firm with 137 organizations, according to the Life@Babson online hub. Year after year, students leave their mark by finding new clubs. Here is the process one must go through to start a club:

Come up with an idea for an organization that would benefit the Babson community.

Find at least five people that share the same interest and will make a commitment to help start the club.

Go to life.babson.edu  > Campus Links > Create a New Undergraduate Organization

a. Fill out a form for a general idea of what your club is about.

b. Find a faculty advisor.

c. Select a President and VP of Finance (or Treasurer).

Wait for an email that says when you will give a presentation to the SGA E-board.

a. This meeting is casual, and generally takes place on Monday at 8:00 pm in the SGA office in Reynolds.

b. Pitch your idea to the E-Board as a presentation.

c. Field questions in the follow-up Q&A.

Wait for their approval.

Sweet Treats Around Babson

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With so little time and such a tight budget, as a college student, it is easy to push aside fun, dining experiences for a routine visit to the cafeteria. However, it would be a shame not to take advantage of Babson’s close proximity to such delicious food choices. Here are some fun and affordable ways to get out and explore the area with treats that you can’t find on campus.

Yogurtology: frozen yogurt ($5-10)

Located right here in Wellesley, Yogurtology boasts some of the best frozen yogurt around, offering more combinations of flavors and toppings than you could imagine. The abundance of seating and the sleek interior makes for an ideal late night hangout with friends, just a quick drive away.

Recommendation: cookie butter frozen yogurt

Tea-Do: bubble tea ($3-5)

Tea-Do is the perfect place to stop by in Boston’s bustling Chinatown for a bubble tea you will not forget. This funky spot has every flavor of bubble tea you can imagine, like taro and green coconut. While you wait for your drink, watch the whole fast-paced process unfold before your eyes as the baristas mix and shake your order.

Recommendation: Thai iced tea with tapioca pearls

Treat Cupcake bar: cupcakes ($4-6)

Hands down the best cupcakes I have ever eaten are from Treat Cupcake Bar, just a five minute car ride from campus in Needham. The bakery is a bright and inviting space, showcasing a large variety of cupcakes, including seasonal favorites, classic combinations, gluten free and nut free options.

Recommendation: red velvet and bugs bunny

Amorino: gelato ($5-10)

Although Amorino’s small storefront is hard to find, you will not want to miss out on the most delicious gelato and macaroons in Boston. The gelateria is on the pricier side, however, it is well worth the small splurge, given that the ingredients are shipped straight from France. Word of advice: snap an instagram worthy shot before this famous flower shaped gelato melts!

Recommendation: hazelnut and tiramisu flavors

Cafe Nero: sandwiches, coffee, and pastries ($5-15)

In the mood for a quick getaway from the frenzy on campus? Look no further than Cafe Nero, a cozy cafe just down the road. Nero is a great place to study or meet up with friends in order to enjoy a coffee and small treat on one of their many, inviting, plush couches.

Recommendation: cappuccino and zucchini bread