State of the ‘Gate

Andrew Wickerham

Speakers

Ben Stein Visit

Longtime Republican pundit and poplar actor Ben Stein addressed students and faculty in Memorial Chapel on August 28. Stein’s lecture focused on sarcastic advice to students, based on his new book, How to Ruin Your Life. Topics included rudeness, financial responsibility, and drug use. Stein was commended for his embrace of the Colgate Hello during his visit, which was sponsored by the College Republicans.

Leslie Stahl at Graduation

CBS News commentator Leslie Stahl will speak at Colgate’s 2008 Commencement in May. Stahl is a long time contributor to the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes. She was selected as the commencement speaker by a panel of professors and administrators based on suggestions from students.

“I’m confident that Ms. Stahl’s address will hold a great message for the Class of 2008,” senior class president Taylor Buonocore said. “She has interviewed some of the most influential people in the world and has experience with a wide variety of fields and issues. There’s a lot of experience and perspective behind the message she’ll give during commencement.”

George Will Visits Campus

Newsweek columnist George F. Will visited campus on March 27 to give a lecture entitled “The Political Argument Today: The Presidential Campaign and Issues of American Democracy.” Will’s lecture was sponsored by the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization, the College Republicans, President of the University and Professor of Religion and Philosophy Rebecca Chopp and the Institute for Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Will discussed the present presidential campaign and the values of contemporary American society.

Will’s lecture was well attended, but not by students. President of the College Republicans Andrew Spano responded to the attendence paradox.

“We would have liked more students, but Mr. Will is not as big a draw for students as Ben Stein had been last semester,” Spano said. “He has been around for a long time, and older generations relate to him better I suppose. There are many factors as to why not as many students didn’t come out, but we were still pleased with the turnout.”

Peter King Visits

Sports Illustrated writer Peter King gave a motivational lecture to seniors on April 9 at the Barge Canal Coffee Company. King discussed how best to navigate the job world and the ways in which seniors can prepare for life after Colgate. King shared his experiences from a recent United Service Organization morale trip with NFL players to Afghanistan and praised the Barge as a unique local culture hotspot. Later in the day, King visted with staff members at the Maroon-News, reflecting on his time as managing editor at his own college paper.

14th Dalai Lama Visits Campus

On Tuesday April 22, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama began a two-day visit to Colgate that included an address to 5,000 students, faculty and community members as part of the University’s Global Leaders Lecture Series. His Holiness explored the topic of happiness as a virtue to work towards in the new century. He described his hopes for the future of students’ lives.

“The 20th century was a century of bloodshed, of war,” he said. “Now in this century there is real hope for a century of peace, of non-violence … so therefore you have the responsibility to make this century the century of hope.”

The next day, His Holiness participated in two discussion panels and a lunch with members of the Colgate community. Students were thrilled to have an opportunity to converse with the leader of Tibetan Buddhism and explore his views on religion in contemporary society.

Themes

Green Initiatives

This year Colgate began a sustained commitment to environmental sustainability, emissions reductions, and global warming awareness. Programs such as the Green Bikes initiative, the March Energy Olympics and Walk Up the Hill Days encouraged students and faculty alike to reduce the University’s carbon footprint. This year’s Senior Class Gift will establish an Environmental Sustainability Fund for the school. To increase the on-campus knowledge of environmental issues, several student groups attended and hosted conferences on sustainability including Step It Up!, Power Shift 2007 and Focus the Nation, as well as sponsoring a lecture series on campus that brought a number of speakers to campus to talk about the issues surrounding global warming. Other groups linked cultural movements and the environment with events such as the Art and Green Movement Symposium and the Art+Cinema film series, held jointly with Hamilton College.

Residential Life

Colgate’s Office of Residential Life and housing programs were a hot topic throughout this year. In the fall, disasters befell several Colgate residence halls. In October, a fire suppression sprinkler was accidentally activated on the second floor of Whitnall House, flooding several student rooms and forcing a temporary relocation of some residents into Class of 1934 House. Several weeks later, a small fire in Crawshaw House was investigated by Campus Safety as a possible arson.

ResLife also saw several changes to its programs this year, especially in terms of room selection. For the first time, room selection went electronic this year, with students forgoing the traditional paper forms and instead choosing their own rooms from an electronic database.

Crime

The crime rate Colgate also made headlines this year, with the first activation of the campus emergency alert system, a rise in DWI violations and an internet shooting threat that embroiled several Colgate students.

The first e2Campus emergency notification system activation occurred in January, when two Colgate students unlawfully entered a student room in Russell House. Students across campus received a text message and e-mail just after 1:00 a.m. on January 28 alerting them to the situation. Security was increased campus-wide after the incident, including a major push by Campus Safety to encourage students to lock their doors.

This spring, a marked increase in DWI violations drew the ire of Colgate professors and students alike. Seven years after the tragic 2001 automobile accident that killed four students, a loss of institutional memory is being blamed for the reckless behavior on the part of younger students.

Just before spring break, a posting on the JuicyCampus.com website threatening a campus shooting was reported to Campus Safety by a Colgate sophomore. A massive law enforcement investigation ensued, involving agencies from the local to the Federal level. A warrant was issued by a California court that led to the arrest of a Colgate junior for making the threat and his roommate on related drug charges. The incident encouraged a review of campus security after a year in which no fewer than three major campus shooting occurred across the nation.

News

The Edge Cafe became the Cutting Edge Bistro last September as a part of Dining Services’s redesign of Colgate’s array of dining options. The Edge morphed from a traditional dining hall-style venue to a full-service restaurant with changing entrée options and several nightly seating. Students initially expressed annoyance at the loss of the of an open-seating dining hall, but the new Edge quickly gained popularity as an option for dates and more formal group dinners.

After years of construction and anticipation on the part of science students, the Robert H. N. Ho Science Center opened in September amid much fanfare and a measure of relief. Noted Colgate alumnus Robert Ho ’56 primarily supported the Ho, which features science classrooms, laboratories and study spaces designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between Divisions of the University.

Parkside Deli and Catering, a Hamilton staple since 1998, burned down this fall, the result of an electrical fire that also caused smoke damage to student apartments on the building’s upper floors. Students displaced by the fire were accommodated in University housing and community members rallied to support the deli, which reopened several weeks after the fire in a storefront several doors down Broad Street from the original location.

Colgate began a much-anticipated change from its Microsoft Outlook e-mail system this year, opting for a customized version of Google, Inc.’s GMail platform. The Student Government Association at the start of the year designated the Outlook system, which was known for constant logouts and plagued by storage capacity limitations, for an upgrade or replacement. Beginning with groups of 100 and then moving to larger segments of the campus, users began the switch after the New Year.

Spring Party Weekend organizers for the first time this year decided to theme the annual spring festival, selecting “Welcome to the Jungle” for the inaugural unifying moniker. Individual event organizers competed for an award for the party that most embodied the new theme. SPW officials hope that future themes will continue to build on the success of the initial attempt to give commonality to SPW events.