Op/Ed

Op/Ed

Suite selection process spurns seniors

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Mandell Family Hall has four-person suites.

Sunday morning, 11:30 a.m.: figures straggle into the common room one by one. “What a night, huh?” “Trim in a bit?” “I’ll give you my One Card if you get me a coffee from Dunks.”—all common phrases heard throughout a Babson suite on a Sunday morning after a long night spent studying. All participating in a scene that is as traditional as Woody at Dunks, Midnight Breakfast, or stooping.

Having the opportunity to live in a suite at Babson is a privilege. However, that privilege is currently being taken away from those who have earned it the most: seniors. After this year’s suite selection process was completed, it was clear something was awry. Instantly, large numbers of seniors took to social media to display their dismay at how quickly the suites ran out. Numbers that were previously considered locks for a suite did not even come close. One common theme was prevalent: there are currently a large number of senior students without suites.

Numbers have been thrown out, such as 65% of suites being composed of juniors. Furthermore, examples of suites being occupied by a majority of juniors are being cited left and right. Over 85 seniors without suites are currently a part of a Facebook group message. Amongst all this speculation, one thing remains clear: something went wrong.

The housing system is supposed to be designed to ensure fairness. However, there are rising juniors with better housing numbers than rising seniors. As the current housing code is written, rising juniors with enough credits to be considered rising seniors are entered into the same lottery as all rising seniors. This provision was designed considering that these rising juniors would be graduating early with rising seniors. However, there is no stipulation that these rising juniors must declare their intention to actually graduate early. This leaves a large number of rising juniors with the same opportunity to live in a suite as a rising senior.

The grievance is not with juniors living in suites. The grievance lies in the fact that certain juniors were given the same opportunity to live in a suite as seniors. It is understood that it is common practice for seniors to pull in one or two juniors to complete their suite, but the fact that there are suites composed mainly of juniors is simply not right.

Seniority is a term that has never been more applicable. Seniors who have contributed to the Babson community for three years are now being hung out to dry by the very community they helped to build. No senior wants to spend their final year living in a single in Putney while the suites are occupied by a large percentage of juniors.

Senior year is supposed to be a year spent making memories and cultivating relationships that have been formed over the first three years of college. The current housing system seriously compromises that opportunity, and something must be done.

Four- and six-person housing must be redrawn. Juniors should not be placed in the same pool as seniors unless they declare their intent to graduate early. Occupancy of suites should also be reconsidered. Suites should be forced to be occupied by a majority of seniors. Therefore, two juniors could live in a Mcullough or Pietz suite, or one junior could live in Map Hill.

As a rising senior, I want to look back on my Babson experience positively. I want a fair opportunity to have that Sunday morning in a suite comprised of my closest friends. I want the same opportunity for rising juniors when they become rising seniors. I want a housing system that rewards seniority instead of deeming it insignificant.

I am not alone in these sentiments, and we urge Babson to hear our concerns. As future graduates going out into the real world, we will certainly be asked about our college experience. Will we say that we had an amazing four years fostered by a supportive administration, or will we say #ThisIsNotOurBabson?

Multi-level marketing: One student’s experience

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Multi-level marketing is a business model that often gets criticized as a get-rich-quick or pyramid scheme. Companies such as Vector Marketing, Vemma, Avon, Wake Up Now, and others utilize this structure in order to simplify training and increase the reach of their direct selling by tapping into the networks of their sales representatives. Personally, I only have experience with one company, Vector Marketing.

I began work at Vector the summer before my senior year of high school. I had been looking for a summer job and found a sales opportunity available off Craigslist that promised a base pay of at least minimum wage, and the possibility of making commission. I didn’t know anything about Vector; I just knew they were offering me an opportunity to make money, so I scheduled an interview. After being hired to join the team I began my career as a sales representative. The first step was a three-day training to educate new representatives on the product and the sales pitch used by the company. I was given a demonstration kit with a sample of the products Vector marketed, Cutco cutlery. This allowed me to perform in-home demonstrations, which are the key to the Vector sales pitch. The success of the direct sales method lies in the strength of the product itself. Cutco knives are exceptional quality and I can honestly say there was not a single home I visited which had better knives than the Cutco blades. The knives are priced to compete on the high end of the market, with some sets running into the thousands of dollars.

At first, you are tasked to visit friends and family to give a demo and refine your pitch, but an even bigger part of the marketing strategy is that after every demo you are expected to get the names of ten or more recommendations of people you can call to schedule another demo. By doing this, your list of potential customers grows exponentially. This is an effective system of selling. By getting college age students to tap into their family and friend network, Vector is breaking down the barrier to the customer right off the bat. People are far more likely to trust a friend of a friend than a salesperson at Macy’s. The potential customers do not even have to be in the market for cutlery because the sales reps will get paid whether or not they make a sale.

We have to remember that customers have a choice to buy or not to buy and that people have a choice to go into sales or not.”

Now that I have described a little more about Vector, I will talk about why they can sometimes get flack. One major factor is that some offices force new representatives to buy their demonstration kit. People feel that this is just a quick way for Vector to make a buck, without any regard for the success of the sales rep. Luckily, in many offices Vector has begun to offer you free kits for your entire tenure as a sales rep. The kit is a necessary part of the job and by making one small sale a person can offset the cost of the kit.

Another common criticism is that profits trickle up the ladder in a pyramid scheme-like flow. While it is true that office, district, and regional managers get a percentage of the sales in their area, it is all part of the motivation to strive for success across the board. Sales reps benefit from commissions when they do well, and managers benefit from a percentage when they have trained a sales force to do well. This is part of the allure of Vector—there is no limit to your potential to earn or advance. Vector is a great example of a “get what you give” arrangement. For this reason, a lot of people end up making very little money. Vector is not like a typical retail position where you are essentially guaranteed pay whether or not you excel at your tasks. Some people come into Vector expecting a big paycheck, but don’t put in the effort or the hours in order to learn the system and get in front of enough people to make a sale. Sales is a tough job, even for those who are good at it. It can be a long time between sales and nothing is guaranteed. This is not the right job for everyone.

Babson Professor and Chair of the Marketing Division Victoria Crittenden is on the Academic Advisory board of Vector. Her first experience with the company came when she was putting together a case on Cutco, Vectors manufacturing and product lines. She met with the startup team to review their efforts to expand internationally and toured the manufacturing facility in Olean, New York. She was able to get a grant from the Direct Selling Association to write a case on Cutco. She joined the Academic Advisory Board in 2000.

“We have to remember that customers have a choice to buy or not buy and that people have a choice to go into sales or not. Setting that aspect of selling aside, working in sales always involves a salesperson who is attempting to sell something. When the salespeople are doing their jobs well, everyone in the organization thrives. That’s not a pyramid scheme or a scam—as long as the legitimate practices are in place to make sure all are compensated legally and that customers are receiving the quality products they thought they were purchasing,” Professor Crittenden said.

While I personally believe that working in a structured environment like Vector may not allow an entrepreneur to thrive, Professor Crittenden made a good point that no matter what business you are in, you are always selling something. I can definitely support her view that Vector allows its reps and managers to hone skills that are applicable to other business situations, but also in daily life. Being a sales rep teaches you skills in sales, marketing, organization, and communication. You learn to have an interaction with a customer in order to make a sale based on their needs. Vector is a rarity in that it allows people the chance to dive into the sales and management experience.

Vector may not be a long-term fit for some, but after spending 8 months as a sales rep and assistant manager, I believe that Vector has something to offer everyone, and can be an ideal platform to thrive. Professor voiced to me what she thought were the greatest strengths of Vector, and I completely agree. She mentions that the system “enables a young person to expand his/her people skillset in a nurturing environment.” A young person can be proud of the product and the company itself. Cutco is a premium product, no question. Possibly most important is the “investment that the company makes in creating and delivering sales training for students.” Vector is not going to be perfect for everyone, but it is a system that puts the power in the hands of the sales representatives. If you commit to the training and listen to your manager, you will be able to sell. Not everyone is going to have a six-figure sales campaign, but the life skills that I learned at Vector are more valuable than the money I made.

Life and social media, discordant

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Morgan Roth questions why she posted an Instagram photo in the midst of a family crisis. Photo courtesy of Morgan Roth.

Saturday morning, I posted a Instagram picture from the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. By then the tears had stopped, and I had begun mentally preparing for the journey ahead. My 14-year-old brother commented, curiously inquiring why I was in Miami. My heart hurt as I thought of how much he didn’t know. On Saturday afternoon, I hugged a cop whose partner had just committed suicide as I stood across from my dad’s hospital bed.

48 hours earlier: “Who am I speaking to?” An unfamiliar female voice answered the phone. I hesitated for a moment; it was far from the “Hello sunshine!” my father’s warm voice usually greets me with when I call. Regardless, I smiled, then responded that I was his daughter. The women, who turned out to be a nurse, nonchalantly answered, “We found your father unresponsive in his home this morning. Nurses tried to wake him up, but they couldn’t, so he’s on his way to the hospital. It’s not looking good. I have his phone, though I didn’t know who to call.” My mind went blank. It felt like a year passed before I finally thanked her. As if she had just realized the gravity of what she had told this man’s daughter, she added a shaky apology and hung up.

I wasn’t completely unprepared for a phone call like this, because my father’s health had been deteriorating for almost a year. But at this moment I was in the most helpless position. I put down the phone and stared blankly out of the 24th floor of my apartment in Shanghai. Days before all this happened, my Instagram featured a picture in Shanghai with the caption “I think I’ll stay here.” How ironic, because after that I was on the next flight out to Miami.

It is so easy to paint a pretty picture of a perfect life online—the hard part is getting through real times.

Why in the world did I Instagram while my dad’s life was in crisis? Was I being selfish, vain, ignorant or insensitive? As I think back and wonder why I did, I look at all the filtered moments of my life and realize I did it because it’s nice to see something that looks so pretty and perfect when you are living through what feels like the worst moments of your life.

It is rare to see a grown man in uniform crying in public. He stood silently weeping in the corner for this fallen friend. He recounted to me how it was completely unexpected, because his partner “was the happiest guy”; he had wife and a kid who he loved with all his heart. He told me that he just couldn’t wrap his mind around how this could happen. I thought silently to myself how it is always the ones who we least expect it to be. The ones who are in the most pain are usually the ones who are able to hide it the best.

Instagram and Snapchat make it so easy to make it look like life is perfect. There are filters, edits and timed views to give people a window into your life. You get to choose exactly what people see and you hold the power to control people’s perception of your life.

Every day, social media is flooded with endless images of the seemingly perfect lives of celebrities, models, socialites, and our own friends. They draw a range of emotions from those who view the images, from happiness, inspiration, and awe, to anger, jealously and sadness.

Whether it is freshman year of college and everyone looks like they’re having the time of their lives, or junior year and everyone is posting glamorous pictures from study abroad, it makes me wonder: is everyone’s life perfect? Of course not, but people aren’t going to post the moments of their lives where they are stressed out or in pain; they’re going to post the happiest, most exciting times.

I think I know what my friends are going through because I commented on their last Facebook post or liked their last Instagram picture. But it is not until I finally see them that I understand the whole story. It’s so easy to assume that you’re the only one going through a hard time and no one would understand if you told them. But chances are, no one knows you’re actually going through anything. Some problems are definitely bigger than others, but it doesn’t mean we are helpless. It is so easy to paint a pretty picture of a perfect life online—the hard part is getting through real times. So lean on your friends when you need to, because the real ones are always going to be there for you.

We may never get this chance again, so please make the right vote on election day

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In one of the most publicized election years in recent memory, it seems everyone has an opinion on the US election. However, the only plausible choice for president has never been more clear. For students reading this article, this is the most important presidential election in our lifetimes, and I–as a middle eastern American and registered Independent–am pleading you, it is vital we do not make a catastrophic error by electing Hillary Clinton, in which the consequences would simply be destructive for generations. In order to protect our constitutional values, basic freedoms, and classical liberal Western ideologies, we must vote Donald Trump.

To many readers, my plea for the presidential candidate may come as a surprise to you. The mainstream media has of course indoctrinated us to believe Donald Trump is “racist”, “sexist”, and “xenophobic” among other names. For a long time, these trigger words utilized by the media worked effectively to influence the opinions of the masses. However, as the electoral process continues to develop, Donald Trump has now taken the lead over Hillary Clinton in many polls in several key states as well as nationally. Regardless, many voters (especially younger ones) are still not sold on Donald Trump. This article will explain while he is simply the only option.

The most common argument against Trump is that he is “racist”, and many point to his comments regarding illegal immigration. Mr. Trump “stereotyped” all Mexicans, calling them “rapists” and “drug dealers”. Truthfully, Donald Trump has said countless times he is in favor of legal immigration from Mexico and has expressed a level of great respect for the millions of Mexican Americans living in the United States:

I happen to have a tremendous feeling for Mexican Americans not only in terms of friendships, but in terms of the tremendous numbers that I employ in the United States and they are amazing people, amazing people. I have many friends, so many friends and so many friends coming to Mexico and in Mexico. I am proud to say how many people I employ.

And the United States first, second and third generation Mexicans are just beyond reproach. Spectacular, spectacular hard-working people. I have such great respect for them and their strong values of family, faith and community.”-Donald Trump on August 31, 2016

Clearly, these are not the words of a man who has deep hatred for the people of Mexico.

In reality, Trump was referring to an influx of crime coming in from illegal immigrants across the southern border. The statistics show Trump is not incorrect. Between 2008 and 2014, 40% of all murder convictions in Florida were criminal aliens. In New York it was 34% and Arizona 17.8%. During those years, criminal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions in the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York, while illegal aliens constitute only 5.6% of the total population in those states. These numbers were compiled by the Government Accountability Office using official Department of Justice data on criminal aliens in the nation’s correctional system. The term “criminal aliens” refers to non-U.S. citizens who have been convicted and incarcerated, and about 90% of criminal aliens happen to be illegal aliens. Furthermore, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, between 2008 and 2014, 35% of the all murder convictions were illegal aliens.

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, while illegal immigrants accounted for about just 3.5% of the U.S population, they represented 36.7% of federal sentences in the fiscal year of 2014. Taking a closer look at the numbers, illegal immigrants represented 16.8% of drug trafficking cases, 20.0% of kidnapping/hostage taking, 74.1% of drug possession, 12.3% of money laundering, and 12.0% of murder convictions. What is most frightening, is the fact that the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border is increasing majorly this year, according to data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Donald Trump’s concerns of illegal immigration are seemingly valid, and to argue that being against illegal immigration is equivalent to being racist is pure lunacy. Proving this point, African-American civil rights activist Clarence Henderson, one of the men who helped stage the 1960 sit-in at a North Carolina Woolworth’s lunch counter to protest segregation, endorsed Donald Trump and touched on the meritless accusations of him being a racist, “I come from a time known as Jim Crow — and I know what racism is and isn’t.” Clarence Henderson made a fantastic point that it is Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump who has ties with racism. Hillary Clinton has been open about her relationship with former democratic congressmen and Ku Klux Klan leader/recruiter Robert Byrd, whom she considered a friend and mentor. Donald Trump meanwhile has no affiliation with white supremacy groups, and has said along with his running mate Mike Pence that he disavows and does not want the support of white supremacists.

Clarence Henderson is not the only civil rights activist who is in favor of a Donald Trump presidency. African-American civil rights leader and former mayor of Mississippi Charles Evers has also endorsed Trump and stated he has not “seen any proof of [Trump] being a racist.” Both Henderson and Evers agreed that Trump would be the best president for jobs and the economy in general. Evidentially, those that are wise enough to look past the mainstream media’s attempts of demonizing Donald Trump, realize he is not racist. This can be seen through the fact that Lynne Patton, a female African American executive of the Trump Organization, released a powerful video slamming those who try to align Donald Trump with racism, and revealed the Trump Organization has hired more minority and female workers than any other company she has ever worked at. Patton states, “to equate racism with my boss’s call for a temporary moratorium on a flawed immigration system that radical Islamic terrorists continue to exploit, or the construction of an impassable wall to protect our borders from the influx of illegal drugs, is not only incendiary, it is wholly irresponsible.”

“Sexist” is another term used to attack Trump. However, an article published in the Washington Post on November 25, 2016 reports: “many women who have worked closely with Trump say he was a corporate executive ahead of his time in providing career advancement for women…his companies nurtured and pro­moted women in an otherwise male-dominated industry.” Taking all the aforementioned information into account, the primary cases against Donald Trump have been debunked.

With that being said, the case against Hillary Clinton becomes much more alarming. I already mentioned some of Hillary Clinton’s ties to racism, an area where Hillary Clinton has gotten off the hook is sexism. Firstly, we know Hillary Clinton remained married to Bill Clinton, who committed adultery in the Oval Office, solely for political clout. On top of this, Bill Clinton has a long history of sexual assault. As a matter of fact, Bill Clinton has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by at least 10 women. One victim, Juanita Broaddrick, spoke out: “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.” Knowing her husband was doing such horrific acts, and not doing anything about it (or worse, silencing the victims), makes Clinton a clear enabler of sexual harassment and assault.

It does not make much sense to call Hillary Clinton a feminist when she supports and arms Saudi Arabia, as the International Business Times reported. Saudi Arabia is quite possibly the worst country in the world when it comes to civil rights. Women in Saudi Arabia are second class citizens, atheism and homosexuality are punishable by death, and citizens are still beheaded. With the weapons given to them by Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia massacres innocent women and children in Yemen, confirmed by the United Nations. Even more appalling, Hillary Clinton has happily accepted tens of millions of dollars from oppressive regimes, according to the Wall Street Journal. This includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Morocco (reported by politico). In the United Arab Emirates, laws exist that allow husbands to assault their wives and children. In Qatar, women again have no rights and are second class citizens, atheists and gays are sentenced to death, marital rape is permitted, and having sex out of wedlock is also punishable by death. In Oman, women particularly face discrimination pertaining to domestic issues such as child custody and rape. In Morocco, authorities restricted the rights to peaceful expression, association and assembly through several laws and continue to prosecute print and online media when they criticize the government, and the king. All of this information comes from the Human Rights Watch. For someone to say Hillary Clinton will fight for civil rights, when she supports, arms, and is affiliated with regimes that completely disregard basic human rights, is laughable.

Donald Trump has smartly called out Clinton for supporting these corrupt governments, and ordered she returns the money, which she has not done. A Hillary Clinton presidency would see the further empowerment of these oppressive Islamic countries that strictly enforce violent, outdated scripture in the Quran that states “men are a degree above women” and “If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them.” We simply cannot let this disgusting ideology continue to remain in great power and spread throughout the global world. The ideologies directly threaten our values of basic human rights, the constitution, free market capitalism, civil liberties, political freedom, and democratic representation. There is no free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, or freedom of individual thought in these corrupt countries Hillary Clinton loves to empower. Citizens in these nations have no right to bear arms, and thus are defenseless against the terrorizing authorities. Again, we simply cannot afford to elect a candidate who enables these horrendous ideals.

Hillary Clinton’s disregard for constitutional rights can also be seen in the policy she has imposed on America. Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the patriot act, which completely disregards the fourth amendment, stripping away our protection of unreasonable search and seizure. She proposes an agenda that seemingly diminishes our second amendment right to bear arms which would leave us defenseless against a corrupt government. She supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that allows large corporations to bypass regulations and standards by going overseas, diminishing the environment and costing our country significant jobs while incentivizing the continuation of unethical labor practice overseas, where workers get slaved for insignificant pay.

Hillary Clinton has an infinite list of blunders. She has armed and trained Syrian rebels that have given the weapons to ISIS to use against us, according to Amnesty International. She destroyed Libya by ousting Muammar Gaddafi, whom under him the country was thriving both in terms of the economy (Africa’s richest democracy under his power, per Centre for Research on Globalization) and civil liberties (women had immense rights and privileges), and left the nation completely destabilized. She opted to intervene in Syria, further fueling fire to the radical Islamic terrorism movement. She voted in favor of the Iraq war, which cost our nation over $6 trillion (according to Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University) and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and led to the foundation of ISIS in the first place. She claimed she had suffered a brain injury so severe she could not answer FBI questions. She directly lied to the American people on what she did and did not send and receive on her private email server. In Benghazi, she personally felt it was not worthwhile to attempt to rescue our ambassador, staff and military personnel due to possible diplomatic complications. The list of inexcusable detriments to our country and to the world goes on and on, and goes to show Hillary Clinton has no business being President of the United States of America.

It goes back to my original point, in order to protect our constitutional values, basic freedoms, and classical liberal Western ideologies, we must vote Donald Trump. I understand Trump is not a perfect candidate. While I agree with the majority of his policies (strengthening the border, increase vetting from Islamic immigrants, upholding the second amendment, cut and simplify taxes, end ties with oppressive regimes, etc.), I understand he can be crude and obnoxious at times. However, there is no such thing as a flawless candidate. As an 11-year-old Trump supporter intelligently said on CNN, “listening to a few bad words coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth is a lot better than people blown up by terrorists, people getting burned alive, people’s heads being chopped off, and people being drowned.” An 11-year-old can understand it, so should you.

Accomplished retired neurosurgeon and politician Ben Carson said it best: “Although Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have their flaws as well, to argue that they even come close to the level of corruption displayed by someone who lied about sniper fire in Bosnia, lied about a videotape in Benghazi to help secure an election result, lied about what was sent and received on a forbidden private server, attacked women who were taken advantage of by her husband, defended the brutal rapist of a 12-year-old girl and laughed about it, admired and befriended Saul Alinsky, the community organizer who hated America and wanted to change it, used a charitable organization and her political position and power to enrich herself and her family and largely avoids press conferences because she might have to answer questions about all of these things, requires the suspension of rational thought processing.” We may never get this chance again, so please vote Donald Trump on November 8, 2016.

Conflicted student seeks internship solutions

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“Middle-market. Leveraged capital buyout. T­–M–T.”

My friend is wearing a pink striped tie and a blazer. He has a video interview tonight, his eleventh recently, and recites contrived phrases as he paces the room.

“Enterprise software solutions. Accretion.”

I am lounging on a bed wearing a loose-fitting kurta and sipping iced coffee. I do not have an interview tonight, nor have I had one this month or the month before.

“This isn’t for lack of trying,” I would like to write. But, except for a few consulting applications, I haven’t embarked on my Junior Year Internship Search, that all-important third-year rite. Until now, I’ve hurdled through my college years like one of those Spartan racers. Having overcome classes and clubs and jobs, I feel like a mud-streaked champion, successful if not graceful. Now, an unexpected roadblock. I can’t bring myself to upload my resume and click submit.

The volume of words

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A rose may rise solemnly in solitude, but if it grows in unison with its brothers and sisters, it creates a beautiful scene, a backdrop, art. Words are of the same mold; when alone, their connotation is underwhelming, however, when strung together to form sentences, their essence is multiplied. An innumerable combination of phrases, arguments and statements may stem from the simple formation of words. It may be as plain as a command, or as intricate as scholarly text. Words are flavours, each with their own dynamic personality.

The words ‘interesting’ and ‘electrifying’ may be cousins in terms of similarity, but their demeanors are polar opposites. They are both incredibly valuable when trying to express a conjecture, but are used differently, at different times, and with different intent. Words also may appear ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’. For example, the word ‘plethora’ is an efficient and imposing word, but it reads and looks unappealing. The opposite is true for the words ‘embellish’, and ‘patronage’, which sound as good as they look.

This is the very lure of writing; it is vast and perhaps, endless. There are infinite ways to reshape a sentence and still retain its meaning. This is how authors make a living, how students set themselves apart from their peers, and how different forms of writing are conceived.

Words allow for us to personalize our plays, poems and essays. One can create a piece with a professional, serious impression, or, at the simple exchange of words, breath a radically different life into it. Our writing, just like the condition of our room and the clothes we wear, is representative of who we are. It adds an element of style and flair to our writing personas, or in certain cases, eliminates such sophistication.

This is due to the flexibility of languages; we can contort words to convey messages or to provide descriptions under any given context. For example, authors often push words to the extreme extent of their meanings and usage, in favor of creating literary illusion, or to cleverly annunciate a point. The word’s definition may not directly align with its usage, yet it is manipulated in such a fashion so that the reader still understands what is being expressed.

Beyond decorating our papers with layers of ingenuity and slick phrases, words come together for another purpose, for the very reason they were breed. Writing was, and still is, the industrious and immune foe of time. Used primarily as a method of ancient communication, its resilience allows it to stand alongside its contemporaries (the telephone, Facebook, Snapchat).

The human race, like it or not, still reads and writes,which can take the form of billboards and signs, or texts, emails and letters. We write for fun; we write songs; or we write to transmit meaning. This mutualism between writing and reading is eternally significant, for you need one to do the other. Writing possess a multitude of faces; it can be used to provide entertainment, to inform, or to teach. Writing is permeable; it disregards the bounds of languages, and passes through them all.

And writing is universal: it exists in even the most remote of civilizations, and its ubiquitous characteristics make it a necessary and very basic human right. A foundational aspect of our lives is robbed of us if the skills of writing and reading are not well, or even at all, versed.

In this regard, books are essentially the harvest of writing. Books provoke one’s desire to obtain information and intelligence. When reading, you are reading the words of another man or woman, just as you are reading this.

Significantly, this means as we read, we delve into the mind of the author’s words, their perspective on any given subject matter, and their ideas. In turn, we may borrow elements of their themes, words, and concepts. The primitive composition, or the complex amalgamation of words, is responsible for the texts we read every day.

Books, as a product of writing, are necessary in documenting our thoughts, the inner-workings of our imagination, and our intellect. It then acts as a platform to share and obtain knowledge from those around us. There is a simplicity in the book that revives and beckons the words of millenniums ago, but dually, it bears a variable element of purity that allows it to prosper yet in the modern world.

A Binary Choice

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When Americans cast their vote for president on November 8th, they will be deciding between two and only two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  While many voters, particularly millennials, are justifiably angry and frustrated with a political system that divides Americans in a way not seen since the Civil War, there is no room for a protest vote or for staying home — not this time.

If you are not convinced that a protest vote can have severe unintended consequences, we need look no further than 2000 when Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, throwing the election to George W. Bush, who started the Iraq War under false pretenses, ballooned the deficit, and drove our economy over a cliff.  The protest candidate that year was Ralph Nader, whose 97,488 Florida votes were directly responsible for the Bush victory.

We face a choice between two candidates with very different visions for America.  Trump proposes mass deportation, building a wall to stop Mexican “rapists,” and banning Muslims from entering our country.  He believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax and that massive tax cuts for the rich will somehow trickle down to the middle class without ballooning our deficit.  He admires Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin and encourages Russia to conduct Internet espionage on Trump’s political opponents.  

Trump’s birther movement has falsely challenged the legitimacy of our first black president.  He promotes violence at his rallies to the point of encouraging “Second Amendment people” to take matters into their own hands should he lose the election.  He would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and start a war with Iran when they make “gestures” at our sailors.  He would walk away from the Paris climate agreement signed by over 100 countries and appoint conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe vs. Wade while limiting a woman’s health care options.  

Alternatively, Hillary Clinton would carry forward the President Obama agenda that has focused on addressing climate change, expanded healthcare coverage, largely ended two wars, cut our deficit in half, and produced a record 78 consecutive months of job growth.  Clinton would also push forward an agenda of debt-free tuition for students whose families make under $125,000/year, a $15/hour minimum wage, gun safety initiatives, and increased taxes on the wealthy to pay for a needed infrastructure jobs program.  She has more experience than any previous presidential candidate having served as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state.

When we go to the polls on November 8th, we should heed the advice of Senator Bernie Sanders, whose extraordinary campaign brought millions of millennials into the election process.  

“I’m the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress, okay? And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton.”

Sen. Sanders has it right.

America, race, and prospects of harmony

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At lunchtime on September 8th, I attended a faculty meeting for a dialogue and presentation discussing the causes and effects of racism in America- specifically in reference to the African American community. Headed by Professor Elizabeth
Swanson, who teaches African American Literature, the faculty diversity meeting began by listening to Professor Swanson’s presentation on what she refers to as “The Changing Same”. It describes the constant oppression that the collective African American people have endured since the very foundation of colonial America. The presentation touched on topics such as Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen”, the triangular trade, slave
codes, lynching, and the red-lining of specific neighborhoods. The discussion
laid the foundation for why organizations like Black Lives Matter are entirely justified for protesting the systematic oppression of African Americans in the United States.

America has a long and ugly past with race relations, and yet American history is black history. It is important to note that at every chance, American culture and
government has consistently and overwhelmingly oppressed it’s African
American population. Ghettos, Jim Crow, and a history of racially
inspired killings have only served to cut a deep, bloody, and painful gash
in the abdomen of racial harmony. Beyond racism is oppression, the
step before subjugation. America has always had at least two of these
awful traits, as Professor Swanson’s “Diversity Matters” made clear.

This is why she asserts the justification of Black Lives Matter.
There are two issues I take with BLM, however, I find their approach
unproductive, shortcoming, and needlessly attention seeking. I am
fully aware that their cause is just, and their goals are right, but their means? I can not support it. The atmosphere bred by the violence and outright hatred of members of this
group only serve to evoke equally passionate emotions from the reverse
side of the conflict. It was hatred that bred segregation, hatred
that built the yoke of slavery. Yet, here we are, ignorantly hating another
only to create more contempt. Looking at the news, it’s clear to see a
possible backwards turn in the cycle of racial harmony. By embarking on the path of hatred and division, by both BLM and others, I can only see
one result that will follow; one everyone can see unfolding before our
eyes: the obvious breakdown of race relations in the United States.

I start to wonder though, how can we salvage this wrong? What can be done? Are we beyond righting racial injustices? Many, even in the faculty meeting, say yes. Beyond the shortsightedness of that assertion, I find it offensive and wholly ignorant.

There is absolutely no reasonwhy the African American community should stay neglected and patronized as it is currently. This is the community that endured, at every
turn, America’s darkest realities. To suggest that economic and social redemption for these Americans would be unattainable, truly betrays one of a revolting order of racism.

In principle, solving the issue of racial tension and inequality is not a complicated one. It would require a strong and simultaneous reformation of three crucial areas of American
culture.

Primarily, inner cities need an effective and influential education system. In today’s market, not graduating high school is, quite literally, economic suicide. Time and
time again, African Americans have shown strength in the face of systematic
adversity. There is no reason to think that our most neglected population is not capable nor willing to learn and strive for a quality education.

Secondly, the business community must be assured that investment in the inner cities and poorer areas of America will be respected and rewarded. African American
youths desperately need jobs. This is a fact beyond any measure of refute. Riots and looting must be stopped, as they only hurt our poorest communities beyond what the accumulation of decades of negligence has
brought. Once investors see the inner cities as a viable and profitable market, they will flock to the inner cities to not only turn a profit but help our nation’s neediest communities as the moral social entrepreneur ought.

Lastly, this society that propagates racism must be brought to an end. Period. Everyone with any sense of reality agrees that the entire premise that one race is superior
is false, offensive, and bigoted. Why then, must we make race such a defining feature of societal identity? Morgan Freeman eloquently answered
this problem is a resounding manner. When asked, “How are we
going to get rid of racism?” Freeman replied “Stop talking about it!
I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.” We are humans. There shouldn’t be a separation. There isn’t a separation.
To see a difference, good or bad, between two men purely because of the difference of the concentration of melatonin in their skin would be the literal Oxford definition of racism.

Professor Swanson’s discussion on Diversity and race was enlightening and opened my eyes to the real need for justification in the black community. That is, justification though inclusion and brotherhood.Only once we learn to act as one, not two, can we then begin to walk together the path towards harmony and peace.

“To my fellow first-years…”

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Dearest collegiate freshman,

Here you are, the class of 2018. You’ve studied, you’ve crammed, you’ve been the president of school clubs, directors of plays, producers of television shows, and editors-in-chief of newspapers. You’ve done so much already in such a short period of time.

And now, here you are. Standing before me, I see a class filled with potential, a class that exudes charisma and charms that go beyond the classroom. Your passions bleed beyond the small Babson community into the global world. I see you all going places – some will be CEOs of Fortune 500, while others will take their innovative ideas into the nonprofit sector. Of course, there will be a plethora of careers in between, all gearing up to do more.

But before we go off and explore the infinite possibilities that lie ahead, let us take the time to reflect on some of the most important, and oftentimes overlooked, parts of our college experience. First off, high school may have adequately prepared some for the vigor of college academia, but for many of you, this is a new experience. Now, I’m no expert on college, nor do I have any exceptionally amazing credentials. These thoughts are mere suggestions and tips that I’ve picked up during my short time at Babson, and they are subjected to change as I morph into the entrepreneurial leader I wish to become. Here are three things you should keep in mind as your journey at Babson continues.

One

This marks the beginning of your adult life. You’re free for the first time – free from daily familial obligations, free to be your own person, free to explore your own boundaries and take charge of your own future. Take advantage of that freedom and go explore the unknown. Get out of your comfort zone, and be proactive about your future. Join that club or organization you’ve been interested in, or better yet, join and run for that e-board position. Take the time out of your day to recognize your strengths. Build upon them.

Two

I know this is an abstract concept, but I encourage failure. Our FME professors tell us “failing is growing” and “failure only leads to success in the long run.” But let’s be honest here: from the student perspective, failing sucks. Failing means you did not accomplished what you set out to – or that’s the definition as we know it now.

Let’s re-define failing. Failure is not defeat. Failure is a mere road bump which leads to greater understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and builds stronger leaders. We’ve been trained as a society to think that failure is the ultimate form of defeat, when in actuality, failure may lead to success. The ambitions that we, as a class, have are stronger than the adversities and naysayers that try to hold us back. We are resilient, we are strong, and we are united.

Three

As we grow up and migrate away from the metaphorical “nest,” we often lose sight of the important things in life. We change as individuals, and sometimes, we stray from our core values and beliefs in hopes of discovering something better. I’m not here to tell you not to experiment and not to find yourself. What I will say is the grass is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes you must be adamant with your beliefs and stay true to your values.

College is a time of discovery and rediscovery; it’s a time of innovation. As cliché as it sounds, it truly is the time for you to be selfish and find yourself. Don’t waste this time. Take advantage of all the resources and activities offered, and live these next four years with no regrets. Put yourself out there and stay forever young in your thoughts and unafraid of change—set forth to make a difference, and do it.

Letter to the Editor: On the diversity petition Op/Ed

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Dear Babson Free Press Editor,

I applaud your effort in taking the initiative to research and put forth factual data so that we as students are more informed about the various clubs and resources we have on campus. An article such as yours will receive backlash due to its sensitive subject matter however, it does what all great journalism pieces do: It forces people to have a difficult conversation from different points of view.

I cannot validate nor invalidate any individual’s experience at this school as every person’s experience is different. I can however, share my experience in the hopes that people realize that Babson is diverse in many aspects. I am not one to actively seek diverse courses or subjects but as my experience will convey, diversity permeates all throughout the college.

My second semester during my first year here I was required to take Rhetoric II in which an openly gay, white male professor taught us about the experiences of black lesbian females and the intersectional oppression they face from not one, but three groups. The professor was neither black nor female yet was still able to teach us and open our minds to the idea of oppression as “the sum of all parts” and apply those critical ideas to various topics including our own lives. The professor excelled at two things: exposing us to a group whose oppression often goes unnoticed and helping us realize that this oppression can be universally applied to every form of oppression. Once again, I did not know the topic of the class before I took it nor did I actively seek out this subject matter however I was exposed to it, and thereby allowed to make my own critical analysis.

This semester I took a course called South Asian History. Many people would expect a person from South Asia to teach this course. However, the person who taught me about the region where I am from was from Maine. Yes, a white man from Maine who has a PhD in History taught me about the South Asian region. He was able to deliver the material in a clear unbiased manner that taught us to think critically about the problems that plague the area. His race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender or sexual orientation simply did not allow him to have any advantages or disadvantages when it came to the delivery of the subject matter.

Professors at this school are hired because they are learned academics who have devoted years of their lives studying the subjects that they teach. Discrediting them because of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or perspectives is shamefully wrong. Professors who qualify for an open position based on merit should not be forgone in favor of professors who have a diverse social backgrounds. If hiring new faculty and staff to ‘be more diverse’ is the goal, what happens to the current faculty?

Furthermore, I would like to remind the first year students who are so vehemently in favor of this petition to realize that they have only experienced one semester at this college. There is simply not enough data for them to make conclusions about the entire institution without having experienced it fully. Their opinions are valued and offer a perspective into their experiences but it must be realized that most of them have only experienced 4 or 5 courses.

Lastly, I welcome informed discussion, debate and conversation about this topic but I will not stand for attacks on my own or other people’s character, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or socioeconomic background because they should not discredit my own opinions that I have expressed above. I further acknowledge that my experience may not be the same as other’s experiences but I am open to hearing about these. I would like to remind all students that diversity encompasses the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

Thank You,
Vikrant Ghate