Haverford & Bryn Mawr

Four stories about college life at Bryn and Haverford.

Hannah Turner writes about how Haverford and Bryn Mawr students has distinct — and often negative — views of each other.  The story is based on a survey of students on both campuses.

Amanda Kennedy,  who whose beat was single-sex education, writes about how Bryn Mawr women define themselves. This story is also based on a survey taken in the fall of 2010.

Vanessa Ide, whose  beat was music, writes about the phenomenon of listening to music while studying.  In short, nearly everyone does it — though there is evidence is does more harm than help.

Julie Maziotta, whose beat at political activism on campus, writes about the Bryn Mawr College Republican Club, which sounds like an oxymoron.  It turns ouot it isn’t.

Snobs vs. Weirdos

For Haverford and Bryn Mawr students familiarity sometimes breeds contempt

By Hannah Turner

The relationship between Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges is advertised as “close”, “remarkable”, and “special” by both institutions.
Students can attend classes, eat, and socialize on both campuses, simultaneously getting a small college experience with the resources of a larger school. The liberal arts schools on Philadelphia’s Main Line are only two miles apart and have shared their “Bi-Co” relationship for decades.
Sounds wonderful, until you ask students at both schools what they think of each other.
Students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford readily admit that they have strong-and often negative-stereotypes about the students at the other school. radio-club-use-this2
In a series of interviews conducted on both campuses last fall, students used words such as awkward, weird, exclusive, crazy, and judgmental to describe students from the other campus. Clearly, there was some tension beneath the surface.
To test these attitudes, a survey was devised to measure what students at both schools thought of students on their own campus and the one two miles away. The email survey was sent in November. In all, 412 Bryn Mawr students and 133 Haverford students replied, a sizeable sample when taken together. Bryn Mawr is a Women’s College, so the majority of respondents were female.
The questions asked were identical on both surveys. Respondents were given a list of 10 attributes and asked to pick the ones that best described students at their campus and the other. The list, based on attributes mention most frequently in the earlier campus interviews, included: approachable, awkward, hardworking, eccentric, outspoken, partyer, shy, smart, snobby and strange. Respondents could also pick “Other” and room was given to type in additional comments..
The survey results revealed that students had strong and distinct opinions about each student body. To give the top responses, Haverford students saw themselves as smart (92 %), hard-working (85%) and awkward (83%), yet approachable (70%).
Bryn Mawr students saw themselves as hardworking (91%) and smart (87%), but added eccentric (67%) to the mix. However, as one Bryn Mawr respondent added, “This is a good thing!!”
In other words, students at both schools generally had high opinions of their brain power and work ethic. Next, the survey asked: “How would you describe students at the other school?” This is where the picture went negative.
Bryn Mawr respondents saw Haverford students as snobby (47%) but otherwise described their counterparts as Fords saw themselves-awkward (69%), smart (64%), and hardworking (50%).
Haverford students were not as kind, calling Bryn Mawr students strange (86%), eccentric (83%), awkward (74%), and outspoken (68%). Only 41 percent identified Bryn Mawr students as smart.
Here are explanations – taken from interviews with Bryn Mawr and Haverford students — about why they chose the attributes they did for themselves and for students at the other campus.

Haverford students’ awkwardness came through in descriptions from both Bryn Mawr students and the Fords themselves. Bryn Mawr senior Sadie Marlow said Haverford students were “too smart and well educated that they’re not capable of being in a normal social setting.” It may sound harsh, but Haverford students actually agree.
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The Essence of a Bryn Mawr Woman

Bryn Mawr students describe themselves as hardworking,  smart — and a little strange

By Amanda Kennedy

Bryn Mawr College students are like diamonds. They have many facets.
Each student stands out in different ways, but many share qualities that define the student body at the women’s school on the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia.
Sophomore Kendra Kelly has noticed a radiance about her peers, a “certain something” that brings everyone together.
marianne-moore-use-this“It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is, and I definitely noticed it,” she said. “And I think for me that’s why it’s been so easy…to make friends here because there’s so many people that have a certain something that makes it really easy to click with them, even if we have completely different interests…”
To get a better picture of how Bryn Mawr students characterize themselves, the English House Gazette composed an online survey that listed various attributes that Bryn Mawr students could pick from to best define their student body. About one-third of the student body-412 out of 1,293 students-replied.
The survey was devised by conducting a series of campus interviews with students, asking them to name the one- or two-word attributes than best defined Bryn Mawr students. The top responses were then put into survey form and sent to the student body in November. The 10 attributes they were asked to consider were: approachable, awkward, eccentric, hardworking, outspoken, partyer, shy, smart, snobby and strange.
The results give telling insights into the essence of Bryn Mawr students, about how they see themselves collectively. The top five attributes students chose to describe themselves were hardworking (chosen by 91 percent of respondents), smart (87 percent), eccentric (67percent),  outspoken (60 percent) and approachable (also 60%).  See chart below for a complete listing.
At the other end of the scale, only 9 percent of the students described themselves as ‘partyers’; 15 percent said snobby and 25 percent picked shy.

Loveable but Strange
On her way to dinner at Haffner Dining Hall on a recent December evening, Kelly found a wand.
It was really just a stick lying in the middle of the road, but Kelly immediately picked it up, thinking it was the “perfect” size for a wand, much like the ones used in the Harry Potter series. Excited about Bryn Mawr’s upcoming Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry End of Term Feast on December 9, she took her newfound treasure back to her dorm room and began shaving off the outer layer of bark to transform it into her wand.
Her roommate, sophomore Sarah Henkind, was inspired by Kelly’s “wand” and found one of her own. The pair “played Harry Potter” in the hallway of the Rhoads South dorm, Kelly said, and had a duel, shouting spells at each other and pointing their wands at each other with flicks of the wrists. Kelly recalled Henkind yelling “Expelliarmus!” a spell from author J.K. Rowling’s series, which is meant to disarm one’s opponent. A mint shot out of Kelly’s mouth. It was, she said, “hilarious.”
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The iPod Goes to College

A survey shows that music is an integral part of studying for most Bryn Mawr students.

By Vanessa Ide

Whenever Lillie Catlin goes to her college library to study, her Audio-Technica ATH-M30 headphones are always with her.
Catlin, a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College, who lives in the Pembroke East Dorm, usually visits Rhys Carpenter library on weekends, where she studies while listening to music on her computer.
“They’re really good headphones,” Catlin said. “Which I think makes a difference because for a while I didn’t have my good headphones and I was using these little head buds and I hated how they felt and they didn’t make the music sound good.”
Lately, Catlin, a devoted music fan with 3,333 songs on her iTunes library, has been listening to a lot of Christmas music, Disney songs and Arcade Fire. She mainly studies social sciences and listens to music whenever she does her readings.study-music
“I do think it kind of distracts me though,” she said. “I mean, I think I’d be distracted if I didn’t listen to it but also sometimes when I need to focus on something I’ll turn it down or turn it off and read a section and then I’ll get back to it [the music].”
Catlin’s habits are the same as large number of Bryn Mawr students. A recent survey found that nearly 62 percent of Bryn Mawr students found it helpful to listen to music while studying. The remainder of the respondents said it hurt studying.
The “Music & Studying” survey was conducted during the week of Dec. 4-10. It was sent via e-mail to all 1,293 Bryn Mawr undergraduates; 27 percent responded to the five questions asking about music studying habits and music preferences.
The survey makes clear that music is integral part of studying for most students.
To begin with, 13 percent said they always listened to music when studying; 31 percent said they listened frequently; another 47 percent said they listened sometimes. Only eight percent said they never listened to music while studying.
Not all subjects are created equal when it comes to studying and music.

Turn it off

When asked what subject they would turn off the music while studying students said language (50 percent) and humanities readings (63 percent respectively). In comparison, the music usually goes on when it comes to math and science. With math, 36 percent of the students said they listened, for science is was 27 percent who listened..
As one student noted on the “Music & Studying” survey: “[It’s] not a definite process: where the ideas keep switching (when I’m writing) I usually stop listening to music or I turn the music down. In general, if I have to use the right side of my brain – the music usually stops.”
(The survey was blind and the names of students who responded were not recorded.)
In an interview, junior Lee Wacker said that when she was a freshman her music listening habits depending on the subject. Continue reading

The World of Food

Four stories about innovation and change in the world of food.

Carl Sigmund writes about the arrival of community supported agriculture, a new way of connecting consumers with farmers by allowing them to buy shares in a crop in advance.

Olivia-Haber Greenwood profiles the owner of Los Gallos restaurant and grocery store in South Philadelphia, a Mexican immigrant who is pursuing the American dream.

Stephanie Trott chronicles the expansion of vegan establishments in Philadelphia, profiling a bakery, a restaurant and a new vegan coffee house.

Dana Eiselen writes about a day in the life of her family’s bakery in Roxborough whose future is in doubt because her father is aging and no one is in the line of succession.

A New Way to Farm

Community supported agriculture is a new way to expand the read of organic farms

By Carl Sigmond

In 1998, after applying pesticides to her 37-acre farm in West Brandywine, Pa. for 10 years, Karen Vollmecke wanted to convert to organic growing practices.
“I came to the conclusion that the use of chemicals was a never-ending cycle,” Vollmecke said, “and that wasn’t leading to the health of our land and property.”
Vollmecke, who along with her mother owns Vollmecke Orchards & CSA, publicized her desires to create a healthy product and protect her land. She looked for like-minded consumers in her area. Upon finding a small but committed base, the family decided to create a community supported agriculture (CSA) program and sell “shares” of their harvest ahead of time.
“When we first started, most people didn’t know what it was all about,” she said. For the first few years, the family had difficulty getting enough people to sign up.
Now, Vollmecke says, she and her mother operate a 160-member CSA, and “our waiting list is often as deep as our membership.”
Vollmecke is one of a growing number of farmers across the United States who want to develop a more direct connection with their consumers. Sparked by the popularity of the local foods movement, there is also a growing demand on the part of consumers for the freshness and variety of vegetables that come with being members of a CSA. Community supported agriculture emerged from these desires.
A form of direct marketing, CSA is a system in which consumers pay for a portion of a farm’s harvest up front, before the growing season even starts. The farmer then knows how much to grow and has the resources to plant and cultivate the crops. buyfreshbuylocal
During the harvest season, the consumers, or “members,” receive a “share” of the crops each week in return for their prior commitment. The consumers also share the risks with the farmer by agreeing to receive equal parts of that season’s harvest, no matter how big or small the yield.
The Robyn Van En Center at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa. has been monitoring the growth of CSAs for the last 10 years. In 2001, the center took over hosting a national CSA database from the United States Department of Agriculture. According to program manager Christine Mayer, the database contained 600 CSAs in 2001. Now, she said, close to 1,500 CSAs are listed.
“It’s almost tripled in 10 years,” Mayer said. She added that the actual number of CSAs in the U.S. is probably much higher, because the center’s database is voluntary.

The idea grows locally

Mayer said that 18 CSAs in the database service Philadelphia and many more service the greater metropolitan area.
CSAs are an “opportunity for consumers to get very fresh produce and have a bit more control over where their food is coming from,” said Bud Wimer, founder and farm manager of Wimer’s Organics, a 200-member CSA in East Earl, Pa.
After working on Paradise Farm in Paradise, Pa. for five years, Wimer created his CSA in the spring of 2009 to develop a more direct connection with consumers. Continue reading

Living the American Dream

The grand plans and busy life of Luz Jimenez, owner of Los Gallos Restauran

By Olivia Haber-Greenwood

Ask Luz Jimenez a direct question, he will answer you directly.
“Do you believe in the American Dream?”
Looking around his bustling grocery store and growing restaurant, where a young Mexican couple feed their toddler bites of quesadilla next to chatty FBI agents with full sleeves of tattoos, it does feel awfully believable, tangible, tastable.
Los Gallos, a taquería and Mexican grocery located at the corner of 10th and Wolf Streets in South Philadelphia, is the successful result of the hard work of its hustling owner and his family..
“I’m here 14 to 16 hours a day,” says Jimenez, 31, who has owned Los Gallos since he opened it a year ago. The front half of Los Gallos is a grocery store; the back half is a taquería with just six tables and a handful of newspaper reviews mounted on the walls. Jimenez is seated at the table that abuts a fruit hutch hung with paper mache pears and oranges, and displays pineapples, avocados, limes, tomatoes, and jalapeño peppers arranged in wicker baskets.
Wearing a blue sweater and baseball cap over his dark hair, he greets each person that walks past the fruit to sit down at a table. He is affable, gregarious, always moving. A charmer who can slip between Spanish and English in mid-sentence.
He says to a young man with piercings and skinny jeans selecting a glass bottle of Jarritos soda: “Hola, amigo, que dice?” meaning approximately: “Hey, man, whad’ya say?”luz-jimenez1
Three Anglo men in sweatshirts walk in and sit at a table next to the counter.

Hola amigo!
“Hey guys, how’s it going?” Jimenez welcomes them, speaking English with hardly a trace of an accent. “Thanks for coming in.” They nod and smile back, turning to the menus that Lupe, his cousin, puts in front of them.
“Everything here is made from scratch,” says Jimenez, moving his hands across the green table top like an umpire calling a runner safe as they slide onto home plate. This call is black and white, his standards for Los Gallos are not negotiable.
If a tomato is served in this establishment, Jimenez can vouch it was chopped that very day. He starts each day early in the morning, working in the kitchen with this brothers and cousins doing prep work for the food that will be served later.
“What I have tried to do here” he says, “is something a little different. I want people to have a reason to come here.”
Is the aroma of Mexican sausage and spices that you can smell wafting up the street a block away not reason enough?
“This is mostly an Italian neighborhood,” he says, “and, I’m not going to say,” he pauses and glances at two Latino guys drinking coffee at the adjacent table, “I’m not going to say they’re racist. But sometimes, it feels like that. I used to hear people walking by, saying ‘This is an Italian neighborhood’, you know?”
Jimenez wasn’t much fazed by the frosty reception. He set about getting his neighbors inside Los Gallos. “I tempted the Italians to try my food. They said they wanted some hard shell tacos like at Taco Bell.” He laughs, shaking his head.
“I said, ‘no, this is better than Taco Bell,’ they said ‘No, I don’t think so, Taco Bell is real Mexican food, this is crap!” But, he is happy to report, he won a lot of them over. Continue reading

Vegan Expansion

More and more vegan food establishments are popping up in Philadelphia

By Stephanie Trott
Amidst the sea of cheddar cheese sauce and soft pretzel salt lies a select group of culinary gems in Philadelphia. Long known for its cheesesteaks, hoagies and pizza pies, the city is now home to a steadily increasing population of vegan restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops.
“Philly has a really big and growing vegan population,” said Sweet Freedom Bakery owner Heather Esposito, citing four other establishments in Center City alone. “It’s going to be one of those things that start coming up more and more. Everyone makes so much of it.”
In this piece, we will profile three of the vegan businesses in the city. Sweet Dreams bakery, Horizons Restaurant and the Grindcore House coffee house.
Sweet Dreams, 1424 South Street
Owned and operated by Esposito and business partner Allison Lubert, Sweet Freedom is a vegan (dairy-free, egg-free, casein-free) and kosher bakery, serving goods void of gluten, soy, corn, peanuts, and refined sugars. The organic bakery opened in January 2010 is located on South Street just west of Broad.
Esposito, who received her Master’s degree in Counseling in 2004 from Philadelphia Biblical University, worked in mental health counseling before realizing her passion for food. After two years in private practice, she decided to delve into the culinary world after discovering the impact diet had on clients.
“When I was counseling I started to realize both with my clients and also with myself how much of a difference diet and lifestyle make,” Esposito explained. “You can make changes in people relatively quickly when you change diet and lifestyle in comparison to just doing therapy.”
Esposito decided to go to culinary school while still counseling, and attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2007 and the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in 2008, both located in New York City.
Esposito, 36, cites her own health concerns as another reason for opening Sweet Dreams. “I’m hypoglycemic and very sensitive to gluten, and so I really wanted to start creating items that I could eat, she said.allison-lubert-and-heather-espositot1
Sweet Freedom serves a variety of baked items including cupcakes, cookies, and donuts, as well as cakes and pies. Also featured are weekly, seasonal, and holiday specials.
One of the biggest problems Sweet Freedom has encountered, said Esposito, has been finding sources for the ingredients for their baked goods. “You have to make sure all of the things you’re getting are ‘-free.’ It was definitely a lot of research and took a lot of time.”
Most of the ingredients are purchased from the West Coast, said Esposito. “We would love to be more local, but there’s nothing on the East coast.”

In addition to those with food sensitivities, the bakery also has a steady following of Philadelphians who are simply in the market for a sweet treat
“We want to have products that anyone would eat and not be able to tell the difference,” she said. “You can’t really tell the difference.”
Although the bakery has only been operating for about a year, Esposito said that they have expansion plans, including a possible cookbook and opening a second location.
“We definitely want to be able to serve as many people with food allergies as possible, who can’t have typical baked goods,” she said.

Horizons, 611 South Seventh St.
Eight blocks East of Sweet Freedom lies Horizons, a restaurant opened in 2006 that uses local and seasonal ingredients to create one-of-a-kind vegan fare.
Working alongside co-owner, executive chef, and husband Rich Landau, Philadelphia native Kate Jacoby serves as Horizon’s pastry chef and manager. Whether working directly with ingredients for menu items like Pumpkin Cheesecake or managing the front of the house, Jacoby’s food ideology is an ever-present motif of this modern vegan venture.
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The Baker’s Daughter

The Eiselen Bakery in Roxborough has been a family business for 100 years.

But can it remain in the family? A daughter explores the options

By Dana Eiselen
The door bell chimes as I walk into the bakery. Heat from the oven defrosts my cheeks of the bitter November air. It is 7:30 a.m., and the store is bustling.
A boy of three or four presses his nose and hands on a glass case, staring down a cupcake. The cases are filled with piping hot pies, cinnamon buns, Danish and donuts. Freshly baked rolls are piled up on tables for sale. Cellophaned cookie trays dot the store with sprays of color.
A customer walks in behind me. “It smells wonderful in here,” she says. I take a deep breath, though the wonderful smells are not new to me. For 21 years I’ve been walking into Eiselen’s Pastry Shoppe in Roxborough; long ago I became immune to its sweet smell.
It is the price I pay as the baker’s daughter.
I squeeze my way past the customers, give a nod to my sister, Allie, who is taking an order, and make my way to the back of the bakery.
Mom is decorating a cake. Dad is adding ingredients into the Hobart mixer. They both look up.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” says Mom. Dad just smiles as I put on my red apron.
There is an unspoken understanding that this Thanksgiving at our family bakery could be the last.
My father’s salt-and-pepper hair is lightly dusted with flour. Reading glasses, smudged with butter cream, hang around his neck. His “white” apron is a Rick Eiselen original – it’s spotted with evidence that he’s already been working for several hours: a brownie’s dark fudge, blue icing from a Happy Birthday cake, and the molasses of pecan pie.
I turn toward the store, ready to man my usual post as manager.
“We could use you back here, Dana,” says Dad.
He limps towards me, his body gently tilts to the right as he rests his hand on bench to bench for support. rick-dana-eiselen-use-this
In the unforgiving fluorescent lighting, he looks all of his 67 years.
Eiselen’s Pastry Shoppe is a full-line retail and wholesale bakery, making over 300 different products from scratch. My father takes pride in being able to make “whatever the customer wants.”
“In Northwest Philly, we’re the only bakery left like this,” he says. “There are niche bakeries that sell just cupcakes or just specialty cakes, but we put it altogether.”
We are known for custom cakes. My father was one of the original celebrity super bakers, he says. Cakes from Eiselen’s have been made for Philadelphia icons from The Phillies to the Mike Douglas Show and for landmarks such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They’ve been featured in movies, TV commercials, and at Tom Cruise’s birthday.
For 50 years, Eiselen’s has sat tucked away in the Ivy Ridge Shopping Center on the corner of Ridge Avenue and Domino Lane in Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, though this location is relatively new compared to the business’ colorful 114-year history in America.

Back to Germany

The Eiselen line of bakers extends back to the early 1800s in Germany. My great- grandparents emigrated from Germany in 1886 and opened two bakeries in South Philadelphia. My grandfather and then father continued the baking tradition. Our roots run deep.
Eiselen’s Pastry Shoppe went on to be Philadelphia’s first supermarket bakery for The Baltimore Market on Broad and Cheltenham, and later opened locations in Oak Lane, Erdenheim, Devon and lastly, Roxborough.
“In fourth grade, the teacher asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to be a baker like my dad. Little did I know I’d still be in it,” he laughs. Continue reading