Coming Apart

Whatever happened to Haverford College’s strong sense of community?

Haverford First-Year students, 2018-19

By Zachary Broadman

Haverford College has an enrollment of just over 1,300 students, making it one of the smallest private liberal arts colleges in the country.

Its students live and learn on a beautiful 500-acre campus where they can engage in academic discovery, participate in athletics, clubs, and student organizations, and support each other’s growth as they experience new ways of thinking about and participating in their community and their world.

It sounds like a perfect recipe for a tight-knit, cohesive, and engaged community centered on Haverford’s stated values of “trust, concern, and respect.”

But tragically, it is not.

Talk to students, teachers and administrators about the community at Haverford, and many will say they are dissatisfied with it. Most feel that any sense of a campus-wide community is either in decline or nonexistent.

Sydney Dorman, a senior astrophysics major at Haverford, has watched people become less interested in large campus-wide events and more focused on their increasingly-small friend groups.

“People were a lot more passionate about school events,” Dorman said of the community she encountered upon arriving at Haverford. Now, she says, “school dances seem smaller and there’s less energy and excitement about them.”

Her concern extends beyond the events. In her first two years at Haverford, she said that friend groups tended to be bigger and more diverse – full of people with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and living spaces. “Now,” Dorman said, “I feel like there are smaller friend groups of people from similar backgrounds.”

Dorman is not the only senior who feels the community has become more fractured during her time at Haverford. Neel Shah, a senior who transferred into Haverford his sophomore year, said that his first impression of the school was that it was a very close community. But in the past two years, he has noticed a change.

“As I’ve spent more time here… Haverford has become slightly more individualistic as opposed to whole-community oriented,” Shah said.

Haverford College football team 1897-98

These views are echoed by faculty and administrators whose detachment from day to day student life gives them a wider field of vision when it comes to campus affairs.

Michael Elias is the Dean of Student Engagement, Leadership, and Divisional Initiates at Haverford College. He oversees Haverford’s freshman orientation program and is one of the primary advisors to all student council positions, student organizations, and campus programming.

He, too, said that he’s noticed a change since he first came to work at Haverford in 2010.

“I think that some of our larger events that we have historically planned – I don’t know that they necessarily feel like community events anymore,” Elias said. “I feel like we’re missing something.”

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The Bryn Mawr Lexicon

What you need to know to be a true Mawrtyr. 

By Chloe Vilkin  

Bryn Mawr College is known for its major traditions, but the everyday traditions are just as important. Learning the campus lingo can be confusing as a new student. Here is a lexicon of helpful words to know to become a true Mawrtyr.

Bra tree [brah][tree]   noun

  1. a Weeping Hemlock located outside of Rockefeller dorm. This tree is often found with a bra or two strewn about its branches.

The scent of pot can be smelled wafting around the walkway next to this tree most days, as it is visited daily by students who wish to smoke marijuana cigarettes under the privacy of its floor-length tangle of branches. At some point, probably years ago, students maneuvered a wooden bench between the branches of the tree so they could sit comfortably while smoking:

“I heard a few underclassmen outside of the canopy ask each other if they thought it smelled like weed, and I looked over to my friend and whispered, “Don’t they know they are right by Bra tree?

Bryn Mawr Chop [brin][mahr][chop]   noun

  1. a dramatic haircut often gotten at some point during a student’s time at Bryn Mawr College. The haircut stereotypically involves one “chopping” their hair from a long

    A Bryn Mawr student getting her chop

    length to a collarbone-or-shorter length. This change often—but definitely not always—coincides with some sort of shift in the student’s gender identity or pronouns. This haircut is not necessarily a one-time-only experience:

“I saw that Meagan had shaved her head before the school year began when I walked in to the first journalism class of the year. The year before she cut her long locks into a short bob, and the year before that she shaved one side of her head. I asked how she would continue her yearly tradition of the Bryn Mawr Chop if she had already shaved her head, but she did not have an answer.”

  1. see also: post-breakup haircut

 Cancel culture [kan-suhl][kuhl-cher]     noun

  1. the general ease with which people are “cancelled” for because of statements or actions made that go against the unspoken norms of the political, social, and philosophical beliefs of the student body and faculty. The cancel culture at Bryn Mawr is substantial, despite the fact that the norms shift with time. Students seem always ready and willing to call each other out for doing or saying “problematic” things; the issue with this sort of culture is that students are so ready to “cancel” other people they often do not give them a chance to correct their behavior or change their point of view:

“I told my friend that I like to watch Jeffree Star’s YouTube videos and she asked me if I did it ironically, because he is cancelled.

“In my head I thought: “Well, he apologized for using a slur, which was like 10 years ago, and he has changed his behavior since then, and this is why I hate cancel culture because people are not allowed to move on after they make a mistake.”

Out loud I just said, “no.”

 Chamber of Secrets [cheym-ber][uhv, ov][see-krits]   noun

  1. a small, unlit room within the depths of Old Library. This room sits at the very end of the odd tunnels in the basement of Old Library, formerly known as Thomas Hall. It is located next to a door that leads from the tunnels to the lobby area of the graduate student lounge.

The Chamber has been blocked off with a chain link door and a padlock since 2015, although this has not stopped students from maintaining the tradition of writing their names in the Chamber. Instead of writing on the walls and across the pipes that run along the low-hanging ceiling inside the Chamber, students scroll their Sharpies along the edges of the door and the eggshell-colored walls:

“It was 2016 and I was a first-year contemplating what incredible thought to write outside the Chamber of Secrets as part of the first night of Hell Week. “Fuck the Patriarchy,” I said out loud as I uncapped my pen.”

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Can a Jewish Center Be Too Jewish?

Some Haverford students are suspicious of a campus center for Jewish life

By Molly Hawkins

Th Rohr Center for Jewish Life, located in a house just across the street from Haverford College, has had a strong relationship with the school for years. It also has a controversial reputation on campus.

The Center is also known on campus as Chabad, and affiliated with the organization Chabad, described as, “one of the world’s best-known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities,” according to Wikipedia.

Haverford’s Chabad house is run by the Rabbi, Eli Gurevitz, and his wife, Blumia. Together, they host a variety of events that support the Tri-Co’s Jewish community, including Shabbat dinners every Friday evening to welcome in the Sabbath, as well as services and gatherings during Jewish holidays.

A Hanukkah Party at Chabad House

Despite being affiliated with a national orthodox organization, The Rohr Center’s doors remain open to all regardless of religion, race, nationality, or gender. Shabbat dinners are made up of observant Jewish people, people who identify as culturally Jewish but not very observant, as well as others from different religious backgrounds who go to Chabad for reasons — such as spending time with friends and eating a delicious, home-cooked meal.

All that is needed to attend Shabbat dinner, or any other event held at the Rohr Center, is respect for Judaism and Jewish culture, and the ability to keep an open mind.

Even having both a Jewish friend and a need for something to do on a Friday night could be all it takes to get through the doorway of the Rohr Center. During Shabbat dinners, Rabbi Gurevitz always reserves a few minutes to go around the room and allow each person to give a short message.

Every week, many people express gratitude for Chabad as a comfortable Jewish space. But many express gratitude for Chabad as an inclusive, welcoming place that allows them to spend time with friends and eat good food.

Despite this praise, the general attitude towards Chabad on campus is often negative. Students who choose to attend Shabbat dinners and other events are automatically thought by some to hold Orthodox values.

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Book Smart

Staying Indie in the Age of Amazon

By Colin Battis 

In 2007, Amazon released the first Kindle e-reader. It sold out in less than six hours. This was the start of what many believed would be the death of printed books. Amazon had already begun shaking up the business of bookselling by making it easier to have reading delivered than to go out and browse the shelves of the nearest bookstore. Then, with the Kindle — which was quickly joined by the Nook, the iPad, and a swarm of less successful e-readers — people wouldn’t even need to buy paper books.

he future seemed dark for the printed word. The popular bookstore chain Borders went out of business without warning. Publisher profits plummeted, as e-books started capturing more and more of the market. Newspapers were filled with authors and columnists making pessimistic predictions.

Luckily, the end of paper books and comfortable neighborhood bookshops failed to arrive. The past five years have seen a lot of growth for the book. Compared to the 1,651 independent bookstores that were clinging to life in 2009, there are now 2,524 indie bookstores in the US. Still, things aren’t the way that they used to be. While independent sellers are doing well, the enormous chain Barnes & Noble has struggled to keep their footing. The “Big Five,” publishing houses in New York that have dominated book publishing for decades, have seen losses over the years that are shaking their hold on the publishing industry.

With Amazon and the Internet on the scene, the old ways of doing things are threatened like never before. Today, the book market is wider and more diverse than most could have imagined. Thanks to e-books and new printing methods, many writers unable to find a seat at the Big Five’s table have been able to publish their own work anyway.

Consider Philadelphia as an example. The city is home to a thriving literary community, one with deep roots. Many writers who hope to find mainstream success move to New York City, where they can be close to the agents and editors at the heart of the publishing industry. Those who stay in Philly, which lacks a powerhouse of its own where writers can score major book deals, tend to embrace the indie scene.

I went out to talk to some of the publishers and booksellers who are part of literary Philadelphia, to ask them a question — how do they keep their head above water in a business that has become so tough? What I found was that for these people on the margins of the market, it isn’t enough to have a business strategy. They need a personal reason to stay in the game.

For David Castro, the founder of Arch Street Press, that reason is his lifelong mission of advancing social entrepreneurship and leadership. Castro founded a nonprofit called the Institute for Leadership Education, Advancement, and Development, or ILEAD. “I had an interest not just in leadership development as it stood, but in evolving leadership into the future,” he said.

Wanting to be part of that change, Castro wrote a book, and didn’t know where to publish it. That made him interested in the business model of publishing.

“First of all, it’s so New York-centric,” he explained. “It’s heavily driven by a phalanx of editors and PR people, and I was not convinced. I talked to people in the industry who told me that most of what they publish didn’t make money, and the things that did only made money because people were already throwing lots of money behind them… I started to look at the whole publishing thing and I said this is kind of ridiculous.” Continue reading

A Matter of Faith

David King’s fascination with Christian theology began when he was 14

By Molly Hawkins

While most kids his age were playing outside, going to the movies, or playing video games, you could find 14-year-old David King reading theology.

Not that King didn’t engage in typical kid activities, as well. But when his pastor gifted him two books on theology when he was in the ninth grade, he found himself absorbed in a new world that felt somehow familiar to him.

“It was like finding a language that was familiar, something that made sense and excited me,” King said.

Eight years later, 22 years old and a senior double major in Religion and Philosophy at Haverford, King is looking ahead to attending Divinity School after graduation, and is considering possible careers in the ministry and academia.

King was born in Washington D.C., but grew up in Alexandria in northern Virginia. He returned to D.C. to attend Georgetown Day School for high school. He was raised in the Methodist Church, and attended services on Sundays with his family. King considers his early and consistent presence in church as a key factor in shaping his Christianity, in a way that was very authentic.

“…It’s not just something you do because that’s what you do on Sundays,” King said, his hands moving emphatically before him as he spoke, his dark hair swept over his forehead, his eyes bright and kind. “In the same way that going to church and worshiping should change who adults are, it does the same thing for children. When you go to church and you worship and you take the sacraments, those are things Christians believe actually affects a change on people. I came to understand who I was through the things that I was doing in church.”

In this way, King had no one moment of realization of his faith. Although he wants to pay moments of conversion their proper respect, and recognizes that many people have had truly authentic experiences of coming into faith within a moment that is simply not his story. Rather, his faith community was given to him at birth due to his family’s background. His faith is something he was able to grow into and come to understand more clearly as he continued to go to church and engage with Christian practices and worship throughout his childhood and into his adolescence.

“I wouldn’t be a Christian if I hadn’t been baptized as a child. There’s a really distinct sense in which, I’m a Christian because at least in part, my family raised me to be one,” King said.

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The Problem with Student Wages

Haverford and Bryn Mawr students speak out about campus jobs

By Amana Abdurrezak

There are two types of students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges: those who do work, and those must also go to work.

For the former, work requires setting aside time outside of lectures and lab sessions to finish papers and problem sets. But for almost 1,500 Bryn Mawr and Haverford students, work is more than classwork—it’s also attached to the on-campus job they have.

On both campuses, students spend an average of six-to-eight hours per week managing front desks, helping fellow students with class assignments, ensuring smooth operation of the dining halls, and attracting prospective students to the Bi-College community. The list of student jobs is a long one.

Based on their home campus, the type of job they have and their experience level, students are paid between $9 and $11.15 an hour. What do they think of their jobs and their wages?

To find out, our News and Feature Writing class interviewed over 85 students on both campuses to understand the nature of student jobs in the Bi-Co and find out if students believe they are paid fairly for the work they do. Here are our findings:

  • Since many jobs on-campus allow students to only work up to a certain number of hours, it’s very common for students to sidestep that restriction by having multiple jobs.
  • Students who use their earnings for smaller purchases like food, clothing or setting aside money for savings accounts are generally satisfied with their pay. However, many recognized that they are satisfied because they don’t have to worry about bigger costs like tuition. The students who use their earnings to pay for tuition, room and board, bills, or even sending money to family back home, wish their wages were higher. Their money is not used for extras but for the basics.
  • Opinions on pay depended on how demanding the student’s job was. Those who work low-pressure jobs were satisfied with their wage. Those who felt their jobs were more laborious or required more expertise were also generally satisfied with their pay, but felt that they should be paid more.
  • The fact that both campuses’ baseline pay is higher than Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour factored into many students’ opinions. This trend remained consistent with out-of-state students who compared their wages on-campus to their home states.

We also noticed that Haverford’s baseline pay of $9 an hour is a dollar lower than Bryn Mawr’s baseline of $10 an hour, despite having most of the same jobs across both campuses.


Bills, Bills, Bills

For many in the Bi-Co, juggling multiple jobs on top of classes is the norm, but many can justify adding a job or two to their schedule if it means they can enjoy nights out in Philadelphia with friends or a new pair of boots when the weather gets chillier.

However, some students have to use their earnings to pay for larger expenses.

Princess Jefferson, a Bryn Mawr College junior, juggles supervisory positions at two dining service establishments. At Haffner Dining Hall and Wyndham Alumnae House, she delegates duties to workers, oversees the desert bar, and drives Wyndham’s catering van. When she isn’t in class or working in dining services, she’s at the Civic Engagement Office prepping ACT/SAT test-prep curricula or driving a Bryn Mawr van for student programs. At all of her jobs, she makes $10.95 an hour, working a total of 36 hours a week.

“For all of my jobs except one, I think I get a fair wage,” said Jefferson. She puts all of her earnings towards tuition, food, her phone, and transportation.

“If I take into account the management at Wyndham & how my back feels after work, then I think we should get paid at least $12 an hour,” she said.

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Underground Philadelphia

Students unlock the secrets of the region’s geology

By Stephanie Widzowski

Mineralogy, one of the four 200-level major requirements for geology students, has been taught in a myriad of ways – some more successful than others. Professor Selby Cull-Hearth has tried everything from lectures to a life-like research experience. She works hard to create the best environment for students every year.

She refuses to assign a textbook because none of them explain mineralogy well enough. So she writes her own chapters on Microsoft Word, draws her own figures, and uploads them all to Moodle.

This year class time is entirely for the students. Need to study for the next exam? Pore over the readings or work with someone else to quiz the concepts. Test your memory with optional Moodle quizzes or get familiar with a tray of minerals in the back of the classroom.

All the deadlines are listed on Google Sheets files  Cull-Hearth made, and all students have to do is fill their box in green after finishing something. It’s collaborative, so people can see where others are stuck and offer a hand.Cull-Hearth is there to help too, but students often depend on each other more.

Final exams and papers are standard, but this final is neither.

The class is putting together something the whole Bi-Co can enjoy: an exhibit to go in the long-empty display cases in Park Science Building. It will tell the geologic story of Philadelphia and the evidence behind it.

“The best way to know what you know is by explaining things to others,” said Cull-Hearth.

But telling the entire geologic story of the region, a history over a billion years old? Where should a handful of undergraduate students start? And what does mineralogy have to do with it?

Scholars like Howard Bosbyshell have spent decades studying the region and published papers on their work. To start, each person in the class picked a local rock unit and scanned the articles for any mention of it, trying to figure out the age of the rock and how the experts think it formed.

The major rock units being studied and where they meet the Earth’s surface. Cull-Hearth.


There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the rocks in this region. For one, there are hardly any exposures that aren’t covered in plants or weathered by rain, and getting funding to excavate rock is near impossible. Continue reading

The Buzz About Bees

Philadelphia is passionate about beekeeping

By Sally Pearson

There are many unknowing Philadelphians living with a beehive right next door.

“When a hive is happy and healthy and non-aggressive, there’s no issue,” said beekeeper Eli St. Amour. “Neighbors don’t even know that there are bees.”

St. Amour’s hives at Haverford College are likely overlooked by many students. They hide in the corner of campus on the small Haverford farm.

Most beekeepers fall into one of two categories: hobby beekeepers or commercial beekeepers. Hobby beekeepers might sell honey and break even on a good year, but don’t treat beekeeping as their main job, said St. Amour. Whereas commercial beekeepers do, often owning hundreds of hives.

St. Amour doesn’t fall into either of these categories.  He operates about 20 hives at 10 different locations around the Philadelphia area and focuses on the educational aspect of beekeeping. In the younger schools where he keeps hives, like Friends School Haverford, the focus is on sharing the importance of bees and getting kids excited about them. “‘Hey look, bees, bees are good bugs’, that sort of education,” said St. Amour.

At the colleges where he operates, like Haverford and Bryn Mawr , education factors into their wider sustainable education initiatives.

Eli St. Amour

“It’s one of the most easy insects to study”, said St. Amour. “You can take apart one of these hives and look at every single cell and put it back together and you haven’t destroyed anything”

The bulk of his income comes from the contracts with these locations to install and care for hives, but he also sells honey and lip balm.

St. Amour is experienced–he has been beekeeping for 10 years he’s only 23. He started when he was 12  after a field trip.

He was homeschooled so had time to pursue beekeeping. He apprenticed at Harriton House, in Bryn Mawr, where he learned a lot about beekeeping. He started his first hive soon after. He’s just graduated with a degree in Sustainable Business from Saint Joseph’s University and plans to pursue beekeeping full-time. Continue reading

The Year of Redemption

Haverford’s soccer team comes back from a bad year

By Alexander Clark

For the Haverford men’s soccer team, 2017 was a year to forget.

Starting the year in all of the national rankings, the team started 6-1-1, accentuated by a 2-1 win over eventual national champion Messiah College. After the strong start, Haverford finished the rest of it’s their games a combined 4-4-2.

A 10-5-3 record with an appearance in the conference tournament is nothing to scoff at. For the Haverford standard, though, it simply wasn’t good enough. A 5-0 thrashing by Dickinson in the first round of the conference tournament ended the Fords’ season of bitter disappointment.

As those who follow Division III soccer know, keeping up dominance for years on end it an extremely challenging task. After two straight Centennial Conference championships and an appearance in the NCAA Elite 8 the previous two years, those within the program knew that the 2018 season would be a defining year for the Fords.

Losing three all-conference performers and the entire coaching staff from the 2017 squad, the spring and summer would prove to be vital if Haverford were to restore its place as one of the premier teams within the region.

Safe to say, Haverford soccer is back.

Led by the 10 seniors in the class of 2019, Haverford soccer reestablished itself as the team to beat in the Centennial. Picked fifth in the preseason conference poll, the Fords’ revenge tour resulted in a 14-4-1 record, highlighted by another Centennial Conference championship, the seniors’ third in four years.

After a 2-0 start to the year under new head coach Zach Ward, the Fords ran into a rough patch. Losing four of their next five, with two of those games being against nationally ranked opponents, Haverford had run into an early stumbling block. The season had reached its turning point, for a slow start sometimes can doom a team, keeping them out of the at-large bid discussion when it is time to select teams for the NCAA tournament.

The seniors, through their experience and leadership, had the roster regroup and refocused heading into the bulk of the conference schedule. Sitting at 3-4, the Fords ripped off 11 straight wins, including an undefeated October, en route to the Centennial Conference championship.

Haverford’s year of redemption was brought on by uncharacteristic losses during the 2017 season. A 2-0 loss to Johns Hopkins, a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Gettysburg, and two losses, 3-2 and 5-0, to Dickinson had left Haverford out of the national conversation.

This year? The Fords went undefeated in matches against those teams. A 1-0 win against Johns Hopkins opened the conference slate, while 2-0 wins against both Gettysburg and Dickinson helped the Fords to win the regular season title, giving them the right to host the conference tournament. Continue reading

Nerd House’s Magical Yule Ball

How Haverford’s Nerd House becomes Hogwarts for a night

By Chris Xue

Every child who grew up with Harry Potter dreamed of attending Hogwarts and living through all the magical adventures it held within. They’d stare out windows and peek into mailboxes in hopes that their Hogwarts letter will come to them. Maybe instead of getting an owl to deliver the letter they’d get a Hogwarts professor to deliver it instead.

Unfortunately for these children, their Hogwarts letters never came in the mail, much less from one of the famous characters in the franchise.

However, if you happened to attend Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or Swarthmore Colleges, then you would have had a chance to attend Haverford Nerd House’s Yule Ball event which was just as magical as the books were.

Haverford’s Nerd House is a specialty dorm on the main campus. Its specialty is anything nerd related. Ranging from obscure tabletop games to large franchises like Harry Potter. No matter what it is, Nerd House has got it covered.

Throughout the semester they host events that fit in different parts of nerd culture. For the dramatic book-lovers there’s a murder mystery night. For the more active gamers there’s a laser-tag night. Then, at the end of the semester, there’s the Yule Ball for the Harry Potter fans.

Nerd House’s goal isn’t just to cater to nerds. Ever since its formation six years ago, members have wanted to share their interests with the rest of their fellow students. All these events are open for students from any the three sibling colleges. Anyone who has any amount of interest is welcomed with open arms.

The Yule Ball is a special case amongst all the Nerd House events. Haverford once had a Winter Formal, which served as the fall semester’s large dance. Anyone who wanted to relax and party before finals attended. Around the same time of year, Nerd House’s Yule Ball would be held in the small common room of Nerd House. It was a small and low-key event.

Late fall of 2017, Nerd House got some special news. It would be getting a budget increase for their event!

But there was a catch. Continue reading