Campus Conversation

Few thrills compare to the rush of amazement that a student feels when, upon entering a new dorm room for the first time, he or she is greeted by a free gift sitting on top of the desk. And few free gifts bring more pleasure than one item without which most college students would never be able to survive: a plastic cup. For this reason, every student arriving on campus for the 2001-2002 school year can thank Mike Proman ’03 and the Change for Change Program (see article, page 6) for the white cups we found awaiting us in our rooms.

There is, however, a catch to this freebie. At some point, most of us have discovered (a wet discovery, for the less observant among us) that the cup, which bears the advice, “Keep your loose change in this cup,” has no intentions of serving as the container for any other substance: it has a small hole in the bottom, preventing any liquid from remaining inside.

Amherst’s Change for Change program initiated the idea for the hole, which has a very specific function. “We wanted the cups to be used for one purpose and one purpose only,” said Proman. “We know that people are going to drink here, but it’s really important for us that this program is totally separated from that side of college life. And the idea allows all students to be active, because the cup is sitting right on your desk, so you might as well just put [your change] in there.”

Despite the program’s efforts to minimize inappropriate drinking, innovative notions of duct tape, super glue, and melted plastic have already circulated around campus as methods of circumventing the precautions. Some students, including Kirsten Carleton ’05, have doubts about the ultimate success of the project. “I think people are just going to use them for pens,” she said.

Regardless of the cups’ use or misuse, the project offers the school an opportunity to reach out to the community with relatively little effort. In the words of Elan Ghazal ’05, “That is one ‘holy’ cup.”

Hot fusion

Freshmen-cold, hungry, lost, lonely, scared. This is true in some cases, at least. Fortunately for those freshmen who feel the heavy burden of college bearing down on them already, the school has provided a week-long orientation to ease them into their new life. Among the headlines of the week’s activities was Monday’s Fusion dance party at the Octagon, hosted by the Diversity Coalition.

An annual event, this year’s Fusion was organized by Daniel Altschuler ’04 and Jun Matsui ’03, who took over the co-chair position of the Diversity Coalition following the graduation of Patty Chang ’01. Plans began last spring, and Matsui and Altschuler worked over the summer to prepare for the event.

“We basically wanted to provide a low-key way for freshmen to meet each other, sort of a departure from the other heavy diversity stuff,” said Matsui. Many freshmen who attended the party came directly from the Diversity Coalition’s presentation of the movie “Blue Eyed,” a film about racism and discrimination in Kansas City based on a real-life experiment conducted by diversity educator Jane Elliot.

At the party, freshmen and upper-classmen had the opportunity to meet each other in a social setting and to listen to the music of Amherst’s DJ Sumo, who played a set of world music, and DJ Brother O, who specializes in old-school hip hop and R&B. Students appreciated the time and effort dedicated to making the event happen. “It was an awesome party. I’m so happy that we have something fun to do right from the start,” said Anne Grabowski ’05.

“The party was hot-blazing hip hop and R&B, hot chicks and cool dudes,” said Cushing Donelan ’05. “Definitely a great time.'”