Feature

Feature

The Jewish high holidays as a college student

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During the fall semester, every year there are some very important days. Those are the Jewish High Holidays that occur between late September and October. They start with the new year, Rosh Hashanah, which is followed by Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Jewish year; it is a day that we think about who we were during the past year and who we want to be in the next. We also eat apples with honey, to represent the very sweet new year that we wish to have. Ten days later comes Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a 25-hour fast during which we pray and ask G-d for forgiveness for all our sins that we have committed in the past year.

Five days after Yom Kippur, we celebrate Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, for seven days. This one is by far the hardest to explain to people that have not experienced it. We celebrate the union of the society by gathering the Four Species, which represents all kinds of people and that one cannot live without the other. We are also required to eat everything inside specific huts, and there are rigorous laws of how to build this hut. The roof, for instance, is made of plants and must reveal part of the sky. This naturally makes people from the same area eat together, celebrating their union even more.

Immediately after Sukkot, we celebrate Simchat Torah, in which we party with our Sacred Scrolls, the Torah, and accept it for the incoming year. An interesting detail about these last holidays is that we have to be happy—it is a commandment, but definitely not a very hard one to fulfill.

All of these holidays have many restrictions, which are similar to Shabbat restrictions, for Orthodox Jews like me. These include no use of electronic devices, cars, buses, or planes, and all kinds of work and writing are prohibited. They are somewhat easy to maintain during the weekends, when you are used to them, but things get more complicated when the holidays fall during the week.

Coming from a religious high school, all of these holidays were eagerly awaited, since they meant school would be closed and we got to enjoy them with our families and amazing food. But since college started, I and some other friends have had to deal with missed classes and exams, as well as missing our families for those of us that could not travel home.

This year we are lucky that many of those days are Fridays, when most of us have no classes at Babson. Still, for the ones who can go home, they need to get there before the holiday starts because of the travel restrictions.

With all of the missed classes and exams, I’m glad to be in such an understanding and respectful college that lets me and other Orthodox Jews be excused for such important days in our tradition. It hurts to say that not all of my friends have the same luck. Back in Brazil, most of my old classmates have to deal with class absences and all the consequences that come with them. If an exam happens to be on these days, they must just hope that their professors will let them take it at another time. Here at Babson, I know that I can continue to practice my traditions freely for years to come.

Talking Babson over Turkey

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A course-by-course guide to explaining Babson at Thanksgiving dinner

Being the smart and astute people that all Babsonians are, we all know that preparation for Thanksgiving is a must. However, while Thanksgiving preparation for typical college students starts and ends with making sure that you come hungry to the big feast, Babson students face an additional task: being prepared to talk about Babson (especially if you’re not from the state of Massachusetts).

Although we all know how awesome and amazing Babson is, not all of our relatives do. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the scenario:

It’s Thanksgiving Dinner time and you’re ready to dig into all the delicious food on the table… but your journey to this year’s annual food coma is interrupted by your forgetful grandmother/distanced cousin/annoying uncle: “What’s Babson!?”

Just as with any good Thanksgiving meal, you want to make sure you start off your deluge of Babson facts lightly (the basics), then lead into the juicy (and more interesting) details, and end the presentation with a soothing touch.

Here’s a great way to appease your relatives’ hunger for Babson that won’t interfere with your relatives’ (and your) quest for the after-meal glow.

The Appetizers


As with any good round of Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres, you want to make sure that your appetizer of Babson facts are simple but varied. Try these basics:

  • Small private business school located in Wellesley, Mass founded by Roger Babson in 1919
  • Total size of around 2,900 students (2,100 undergrads and 800 grad students)
  • Our mascot is Biz E. Beaver (did you know he’s the grandson of TIM, MIT’s mascot?)
  • Three campus locations: Wellesley, Boston (for MBA students), and San Francisco

The Main Course


We all know that the turkey is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving meal. Just as the turkey is juicy and hearty, you want to make sure that you recite some facts here that will keep your relatives’ attention. After all, your ability to properly execute this part of the meal will play a huge role in whether or not you get asked the dreadful question again next year.

  • Every Babson student will leave being able to say that they’ve created and operated a business (through our hallmark FME Program)
  • Roger Babson is buried on our campus! Don’t think that’s crazy enough? He’s buried between his first and second wives!
  • ETA means something a little different at Babson. It’s not boring “estimated time of arrival;” it’s “Entrepreneurial Thought and Action.”
  • By the way, we’ve got some famous alumni:
    • Arthur Blank: Co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons
    • Akio Toyoda: President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation
    • Roger Enrico: Former Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo and former Chairman of DreamWorks Animation
    • Daniel Gerber: Founder of Gerber Baby Foods
    • Alberto Perlman: Co-founder and CEO of Zumba Fitness
    • Remember the guy that bought Google.com for a bit? Yeah, he’s a Babson grad too. (Sanmay Ved)

The Dessert


Oh dessert, the part of the meal that we all know we shouldn’t have. The part of the meal that we don’t really need… at least, that’s what you say until you see the gorgeous pumpkin pie screaming to let it be the pièce de résistance of the entire (and already superfluous) meal. Just like dessert, you don’t really need our rankings and accolades to describe the greatness of Babson. But, come on, why wouldn’t you want to boast about these?

  • U.S. News & World Report: #1 Entrepreneurship (19 consecutive years)
  • The Princeton Review: #1 Entrepreneurial Program
  • PayScale: #5 overall ROI (#1 among all business schools)
  • The Economist: #2 for Value, 2015
  • Money Magazine: #2 Best College in the U.S., 2015 (#1 in 2014)

 

How to respond to the eternal question: “What’s Babson?”

With all this great information, hopefully you’re well equipped to properly answer the all-annoying question: “What’s Babson?” If you’re not…you are (I mean, we all had to write an essay to get in). But seriously, if you don’t think you’re ready, just speak on the experiences you’ve had as a Babson student. Trust me, any Babson experience is an interesting one.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! As you conclude your meal, you’ll realize how thankful and blessed you are to attend an amazing institution such as Babson.

How to get into Boston

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Unfortunately, a direct trip to Boston is not part of Babson College’s shuttle itinerary. However, with a little creativity, there are multiple ways of overcoming this setback. Below is a chart outlining various modes of transportation to Boston (Copley Square), their respective costs, and their estimated times.


 

Uber-Logo

Out of all these options, Uber is most convenient, because its drivers can pick up students from anywhere on campus. Additionally, first-time Uber users get a free ride of up to $20. Fares for pre-existing users, however, can get costly, especially with added fees. Still, there are ways around this: invite a friend to sign up using your personal invite code and you get a free ride of up to $20. However, with more that 8 million registered Uber users, finding newbies to earn credit is becoming increasingly difficult.

Cost (one way): $25-33

Time: 30 minutes


 

lyft-miami-logo

Lyft, an alternative to Uber, claims to be less expensive, but fares often end up about the same. Launched in 2007 and introduced on the East Coast just this past summer, Lyft once offered a better benefit to first-time users, giving them $30 more free credit, but have since lowered it to match that of Uber’s. Likewise, Lyft offers the free $20 credit each time your personal code is used.

Cost (one way): $27

Time: 30 minutes


 

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Students with a license have the ability to rent a Zipcar. Depending on the length of your stay in Boston, this option can be the cheapest alternative, compared to Uber and Lyft. The Zipcar fee also covers gas and insurance. Unfortunately, usage is contingent upon the availability of the cars themselves. There are currently four Zipcars on the Babson campus.

Cost (per hour): $8.50-9.50

Time: 30 minutes


 

bicycle-clipart-bike-clipart4

Biking is another option. However, this is contingent upon the ownership of a bike and other uncontrollable factors, such as weather. Students must note that this alternative is a massive time-consuming, and not to mention strenuous, effort. But for broke college students, biking is an excellent option.

Cost (one way): FREE

Time: 2 hours


 

T-Logo

Public transportation via the MBTA is a cheap, but fairly inconvenient, option for Babson students. On Thursdays through Saturdays, Babson shuttles transport students to the Woodland station. From there, students can take the Green Line. Babson is also fairly close to the Wellesley Hills station, which offers a slightly shorter commute on the Worcester Line and a slightly larger fare of $7. Regardless, it is time consuming. Also, students must be cautious of shuttle pick up and drop off times and the fact that the T closes around midnight. Despite these unfortunate downfalls, the price is as cheap as it gets.

Cost (one way): $2.65

Time: 45 minutes

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.

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.

Exploring Boston’s hidden gems: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Photo courtesy of Irene de la Torre

If you have ever been to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, you can think of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as being its lesser known, yet equally captivating, slightly older cousin.The outside of the museum boasts a modern and sleek facade that hides the hidden wonders just beyond the entrance. Once the visitor ventures through a glass-enclosed path to the original foundation of the museum, they encounter Isabella’s initial vision for the space, a Venetian inspired, pale pink and stucco building enclosing a tranquil courtyard. Ferns, exotic plants, and white stone fountains sprout from the ground, filling the sunlit space. Visitors of the museum can be seen in a daze, sprawled out on the outskirts of the garden, most likely imagining themselves transported to one of Isabella’s favorite places in the world: Venice.

Wandering into the building itself, visitors venture through a personal collection of Isabella’s, one which she curated during her extensive travels across the globe. The museum houses incredible works from artists such as John Singer Sargent, Botticelli, and Rembrandt, all integrated into a collection of oddities such as ostrich eggs, a silk Napoleonic flag, and leather wall tiles. Undoubtedly, walking through the museum can feel random, especially because none of the art pieces have blurbs explaining their context or artist. As I ventured through the decorated rooms, I often struggled to make some of the connections Isabella was trying to make among the various works. However, there is an aspect of roaming around the museum that is freeing, seeing that each visitor can have a different encounter with the collection.

Yet, every visitor comes away with feeling as though they are experiencing Isabella herself, making her acquaintance through the walls of her gallery and former residence, where almost nothing has been altered since her death. I say “almost” because one thing has been changed: the picture frames that once held paintings, such as Rembrandt’s only known seascape The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and The Concert by Vermeer, hang empty on the walls. These frames serve as symbols of the museum’s loss from the infamous art heist that took place on March 18, 1990, by two thieves disguised as police officers who stole thirteen works of art worth 500 million dollars—the greatest single property theft in world history. There is still an ongoing investigation that will grant you five million dollars for any information relating to the incident, double the reward being offered until December 31, 2017.

I invite you to experience the curiosities of the museum for yourself and to keep your eyes peeled for any clues relating to the theft, as we hope the museum will be restored to Isabella’s complete vision once again.

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.

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.

Virtual Reality in BabsonCODE

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Step into the shoes of a college student in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. The newest “craze” are personal computers – big, bulky machines that only displayed command prompts and weighed a ton. They honestly looked stupid.  And the people who sat hunched over those tiny screens might have looked like idiots – or worse – nerds.

Fast forward a little less than a decade and the Apple 1 comes out; soon computers start to become mainstream. A few short years later and a bright student from Harvard noticed that these computers lacked meaningful software, and launches a startup called Microsoft.

I don’t need to paint the picture any further. The point isn’t that computers started out as stupid machines and then became ubiquitous.