Fashion, Food & Religion

Three stories on the diversity of college life.

Beth Curtiss, whose beat is religion, has a piece about students who organize Quaker Meeting for Worship at Haverford College.

Kaori Hatama, who covers international students, has a story on how these students adjust  — or don’t — to American college food.

Mriganka Lulla, whose beat is fashion, has a piece about Sarah Kim, a Bryn Mawr student with a finely-honed sense of fashion.

Meeting for Worship

Bringing Haverford College’s Quaker past into the present

By Beth Curtiss
The living room in the college apartment was small but full of light from the windows. Mismatched chairs and futons sat in a circle around the edges.
A large poster, hand-colored in crayon, adorned one wall, filled with illustrations surrounding the words “simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality.”
Students wearing sweatpants and old t-shirts trickled in. Some came out of their rooms with wet hair. Others turned the corner from the kitchen with mugs of coffee. Several hurried in through the front door, shrugging off light jackets. There are about 20 in all.
It was Sunday at noon, and it was time for the Haverford Quaker Community, or QuaC, to hold its weekly Meeting for Worship in Quaker House.
Molly Minden, a Haverford sophomore, explained the basics of Quaker belief to a pair of visitors. Quakers believe in something called the Inner Light, she said.
Many believe that this Inner Light is the manifestation of God or the divine. Worship consists of listening to it, and, if moved to do so, speaking any messages that come from this Inner Light.

A bench in a traditional Quaker meeting room

A bench in a traditional Quaker meeting room

Minden soon called the meeting to order. Students hurried to sit down on the futons, chairs, and footstools. Silence fell.
For the next few minutes a few more students trickled in and took chairs from the kitchen, enlarging the circle. But the silence did not lift.
Some closed their eyes. Some stared ahead. A few fidgeted for a few minutes, and then quieted their bodies. One sat reading for a few minutes, and then put down the book and shut his eyes. A few sipped their coffee intermittently.

Silent moments

Time passed. Still. the silence did not lift.
As if at some unseen signal, a sigh suddenly rippled around the room. The students sat up straighter, laughed, shook hands with their neighbors, and exchanged murmurs of greeting. An hour had passed, and worship was over.
Noah Lavine, a junior, suggested a round of names. He also invited everyone to share anything that they had been thinking about that had not rise to the level of a message to be spoken during worship. Continue reading

Life as a Fashion Maven

One tip is to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize, according to Sarah Kim

By Mriganka Lulla

“Even when I am already fifteen minutes late to class, I just cannot leave my room unless I have eyeliner on and my hair is done!” said a rueful Sarah Kim..
The onset of winter has the flowers fading away and if you are one of those individuals that miss the presence of these brightly colored flowers in your life, a word of advice- befriend Sarah Kim. Tiny flowers dot her umbrella, the hem of her high-waist skirt, the silver ring on her finger and even the clips in her hair.
She stops suddenly, in the midst of heavy rain storm, and despite the drops falling around her, takes a moment to look down at herself and then up at her umbrella and say: ” I never realized just how many flower-y things I own!”
With that, she turns and smiles widely; bright as the flowers she was talking about.
Kim seems to be well suited to all sorts of weather conditions. She would also make a good and impartial judge. Contrary to what one would expect, she cannot pick a favorite: East Coast weather versus West Coast weather. There is absolutely no bias towards the West, which is surprising because Orange County of sunny California is her home. Eternal sunshine as opposed to rain, hail, snow and sleet?
” What can I say,” she said.” Seasons are my reason for fashion!”
Multi faceted is the perfect adjective for Kim, as she is an apt example of the ‘geeks’ that do also read Vogue. She does not let her Pre-Med workload interfere with her role as Clothe and Make-Up Stylist for ‘Hepburn’s Closet’, Bryn Mawr College’s online fashion magazine.

Sarah Kim

Sarah Kim

In Bryn Mawr, ” fashion meets function” whereas in California, “fashion is just fashion.” said Kim. Fall and winter do serve the purpose; it seems, of allowing fashion fanatics like Kim to wander away from the bareness of bathing suits and tiny shorts. “Bundling up in cute winter coats is unique of the East Coast, and they serve the purpose of keeping you warm

High fashion research
Fashion is Kim’s domain, and she comes prepared to rule. It takes time and effort to maintain her position on the throne, and Kim regularly spends hours reading fashion magazines and visiting fashion blogs such as ‘The Satorialist’ and ‘Garance a dore’. “I know it’s high fashion versus local fashion, but the important bit is to notice the similar trends,” Kim explained. “You have to look at high fashion in a way that is applicable to students. You have to let the trends trickle down!” Continue reading

Searching for Kimchi

Adjusting to American college food can be hard on international students

By Kaori Hatama

Seung Ah Bae and three other friends started their way to the Bryn Mawr R100 SEPTA station on Friday evening carrying big backpacks and bags that were nearly empty..
“It’s going to be packed on our way back,” said Bae a Bryn Mawr College freshman from Korea.
Riding the R100 for 20 minutes, they got off at the 69st St. Terminal and walked a couple of minutes until they finally reached H-Mart, a Korean supermarket in Upper Darby, which borders Philadelphia..
Normally, there would be fruits, vegetables and bread stacked near the entrance of a supermarket, but not at H-Mart. Here, the entrance is filled with stacks of rice instead. The smell of kimchi, the spicy Korean cabbage dish, is also obvious after passing through the automatic doors into the supermarket.
“Let’s eat first before shopping,” said Bae, hopping on the escalator to a second-floor food court.

Fish on display at the Upper Darby H-Mart

Fish on display at the Upper Darby H-Mart

“We always sit here,” said Bae settling to the table nearest to one of the shops. After looking through the menus, Bae stood up and headed to one of the shops. She switched her language to Korean and ordered traditional Korean food with rice.
“We really miss rice,” said Bae. “That’s why we come here and eat on weekends.”
Adjusting to the food is one of the challenges freshmen face in adjusting to their new life at college. And it’s doubly true for international students, who grew up with their countries’ traditional food and have to adjust to a new country, a new school and a new diet.
Take rice as an example, one of the staples in Asian cuisine. Haffner, one of the dining halls at Bryn Mawr, offers specialty food bars that this semester includes Japanese food. Some international students say they eat at Haffner because it offers steamed Japanese rice at the Japanese bars. Others say the rice at Haffner is not the ‘authentic’ rice that they grew up with. Continue reading

New & Old Alt Sports

Three stories about sports, broadly defined.

Kulia Wooddell, whose beat is about “green” practices, writes about students who dumpster dive for food on the Main Line.

Jordan Schilit, who beat is alt sports, writes about the storied tradition of cricket at Haverford College and the more recent — and less storied — games of  Quidditch at Bryn Mawr College.

Diving for Donuts

A crew of Haverford students dumpster dive for food

By Kulia Wooddell

It’s 1 a.m. and Jaime’s Haverford College backpack lies partially unzipped on the ground, already full of dozens of day-old bagels.
“I think the rest is just trash,” she said from within the dumpster, her voice muffled by mounds of black garbage bags.
“Let’s get out of here before anyone gets curious,” Jamie added. “The last thing I want to do is explain that, ‘no, we’re not vagrants, we’re not penniless hobos, we’re students at Haverford College..”
The practice of sorting through discarded items that are intended for the landfill is called ‘dumpster diving’. A select number of Haverford students do it, but with a twist. They aren’t looking for old lamps or useable junk. They are hunting for food.
“Lots of people think it’s gross,” said Josh, a Haverford senior. “It’s the way I get all my bread-type food, though, like rolls, bagels, doughnuts.”
Jaime, a junior, estimates that she and her seven apartment-mates get 60 bagels from this dumpster per visit, and they stop by two or three times a month. (Her name and the other names reported here have been changed at the students’ request to assure their privacy.).
Jaime says that there are five or six dumpsters along Haverford’s Main Line that she frequents every few weeks, though not every late-night run is successful.
“That’s all part of the excitement-you never know if you’re going to go home empty-handed or if you’re going to score,” said Katie, Jamie’s roommate.dumpster-dive-21

While there are dangers associated with dumpster diving — questionable legality and food safety being two of them — a number of Haverford students remain undaunted.
“You get free stuff, it’s environmentally responsible, and it’s fun-these things definitely outweigh the hazards,” Katie added.
While the majority of students will not go dumpster diving during their time at Haverford, the number that does participate is increasing. Interestingly, so is the number of Main Line stores taking measures to prevent diving.
“I think there are more Haverford students dumpster diving now, but only within select groups,” Katie said. “When I moved into the Haverford College Apartments last year everyone went diving, so I just went along with it. It’s funny because now I’m the one instigating these missions.” Continue reading

Cricket Anyone?

Haverford College carries on the collegiate cricket tradition

By Jordan Schilit

Philadelphia is the capital for cricket in the United States. And Haverford College is the home of that tradition.
“Cricket is included in every bit of admissions literature,” said junior cricketer James Merriam. “It’s one of Haverford’s most unique traditions.”
The school is cricket’s American headquarters. The C. Christopher Morris Cricket Library, located in Magill Library, is the largest collection of cricket literature and memorabilia in the Western Hemisphere.
Haverford has maintained Cope Field’s picturesque home pitch for over 170 years. The “pitch” is a clay strip with wickets on the ends, located on a massive field of grass.
Cope Field is named after Henry Cope, who graduated from Haverford in 1869. He was one of the earliest varsity players for the school.
William Carvill, the landscaper for Haverford College, introduced the game to the school originally. Thirty years later, the first intercollegiate cricket match, between Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania, was played in 1864. haverford-cricket-club-1878
Haverford’s defeat over the University of Pennsylvania in 1864 started the third-oldest rivalry in intercollegiate sports, only behind Williams/Amherst baseball and Princeton/Rutgers soccer. That Haverford squad was the first cricket club made up entirely of American-born youth.
Cricket was a distinctive element in the social life of the Philadelphia area in the 19th century, since crowds of up to 20,000 would attend matches played at Haverford. At the time, attendance and media coverage were on par with baseball games. Continue reading

Hogwarts Visits Bryn Mawr

The High Table Club carries on the Quidditch tradition

By Jordan Schilit

It started as an April Fools Day joke, but the Bryn Mawr College muggles just couldn’t stop playing.
For the past decade, Quidditch has soared across Bryn Mawr’s campus. “Doublestar,” the Science Fiction and Fantasy club, started its presence in the late 1990’s. “High Table” has continued the tradition.
High Table, led by junior Rebecca Rubin-Glanz and senior Beth Curtiss, now organizes Quidditch games for both the Fall and Spring Semesters. The club promotes a carefree, stress-relieving environment, known for using distinct table linens and table decorations for Sunday brunch.
The Quidditch games definitely don’t lack silliness. It’s hard to miss a group of students, with brooms between their legs and capes on their backs, running around on Merrian Green tossing Nerf balls towards golden hula-hoops. One team wears magenta for Gryffindor, and the other green for Slytherin.quidditch-at-college
The most recent match on Oct. 25 saw eight people. Meanwhile in Vermont, Middlebury College was hosting the annual Intercollegiate Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup.
“We had no idea that they were playing today,” Curtiss said. “We typically don’t keep track of the other teams around the country.”
Quidditch squads from colleges and universities across the country have caught on to the game’s competitiveness, and many aspire to compete in the IQA World Cup – only 24 qualify. A total of 226 schools are part of the IQA.

Muggles welcome
YouTube videos and advertisements for muggle Quidditch depicts the sport as a competitive activity, best suited for varsity collegiate athletes. Even in Harry Potter the game is described as violent and dangerous. But that isn’t Bryn Mawr’s style. Continue reading

‘Broke Is the New Black’

Thrift stores are chic in this recession

By Rachel Park

Amid the plethora of flannel and faux fur coats, Emily McDowall found a black military jacket for $25.50. “It seems like a lot of money for this jacket,” she said, but upon further examination, she decided to buy it.
It was Saturday night, and McDowall, 20, was one of many young customers perusing through the second-hand clothing at Buffalo Exchange in Center City. Although many businesses are experiencing difficulty in the economic recession, thrift stores seem to be doing just fine.
In fact, Buffalo Exchange has witnessed a “bigger boom in sales,” said manager Matthew Williams, 25. Through this nation-wide company – 34 stores in 14 states, according to its Website – customers can exchange their clothing for credit. “A larger amount of people are shopping here in general, and a lot more people are trying to sell their clothing,” Williams said.
Valerie Lowry, sales associate at the store, said that she has noticed more college students in particular shopping at thrift stores. It could be because of the recession or the simple thrill of finding a bargain.
“This place is mostly for kids who can’t afford expensive clothes but want to look amazing,” said Lowry, 20.

The ‘cheap chic’ aesthetic

The store’s Website says, “We offer great fashion finds at low prices at Buffalo Exchange…where recycling is always in style.” Recycling and reusing clothes is essential to the “cheap chic” aesthetic, which has attracted a growing youth subculture.
Bought at Buffalo Exchange

Bought at Buffalo Exchange

Mainstream fashion corporations have picked up on this aesthetic and have even spelled it out for consumers. For example, “Broke is the new black” was printed on an Urban Outfitters tank top. Black clothing has always been fashionable, as exhibited by the “little black dress” a.k.a. “LBD,” but one of the latest trends is distressed jeans.
“Broke is the new black” is a provocative phrase because it implies the irony of the recession: financial turmoil has provided creative fodder for fashion designers. In other words, looking “cheap chic” seems to be desirable. Continue reading