The World Damba Festival, a 3-day conference highlighting the music, dance, and traditions of Northern Ghana, was held at Tufts this year from September 14-16. The festival was free and open to the public, and it featured a wide variety of events, many of them supported by the Tufts Department of Music, as well as several other departments and offices throughout the university. Highlights included a folk music concert, lectures on the history and sociology of Ghana, a performance by Tufts’ Dagomba Drumming Ensemble, and a fashion show featuring members of Tufts’ African Students Organization.
While the festival attracted participants from around the world, Tufts students and faculty were a significant presence at different events throughout the weekend. It was a festival filled with tons of energy, plentiful Ghanian food, lively drum circles, and stimulating discussions–a great way for Tufts to forge a connection with the Ghanian community at large.
Here’s a video from the event:
This week, Tufts Public Safety released their first ever PSA on pedestrian safety. Starring two 2016 orientation coordinators, Chris Blackett and Audrey Abrell (both A13), the film features an average day in the life of a very unorganized Jumbo whose careless actions lead him into trouble. Make sure you watch the whole thing for a special message from Dean of Student Affairs, Bruce Reitman!
Tufts Dining‘s third annual farmers’ market works in collaboration with the Friedman School’s New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP), which helps those with limited resources farm in Massachusetts. The market also partners with the United Teen Equality Center of Lowell (UTEC), an organization that works with underprivileged youth in Lowell. UTEC is also the source of the much-loved Magic Cookie Bars on campus – you just might find them at the next market!
Tufts Farmers’ Market
Where: Campus Center Lower Patio
When: Every Wednesday until October 10, from 11:30am – 1:30pm
Why: Get delicious, nutritious, and fresh locally-grown vegetables and fruit on campus, while also supporting local farmers and teens
A very unique aspect of the Tufts community centers on everyone’s ability to learn from one another. Though in some institutions of higher education the learning is most often top-down – transferred from a professor to a student – at Tufts, it’s sometimes a circle. Interactions in the classroom can sometimes be as thought-provoking and intellectually compelling for professors as they are for students.
In one of Tufts Admissionss videos about the eccentricities of life on the hill, John Lurz describes this special occurrence from his own experiences as an assistant English professor reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Check out this video:
It’s finally time for the Olympics! To celebrate the fast-approaching games, two members of the Tufts community have dedicated posts on their blogs to their favorite competition with a little Jumbo spin.
Patrick Haneber, A15, starts us off with a little background on the venue for the Olympics, as well as a peek into his love for the games in a post he contributed to the Uloop Blog, a blog that promotes Uloop-The Student Powered Marketplace:
Looking back four years to the 2008 Beijing Games, the architecture unleashed there still blows me away. The nest-like structure of the Beijing National Stadium, the gravity-defying façade of the headquarters for China Central Television, and the bubbly surface of the National Aquatic Center were all so eccentric and iconic that viewers world-wide had no choice but to forever implant them in their memories.
The IOC seems to have gone for the opposite effect in the 2012 Olympic venues, opting to embrace the rich history of the city rather than give it a new identity altogether. After all, how could the IOC overlook places like Hyde Park, Wimbledon, and Wembley Stadium? These, along with plenty of other previously standing locales will be heavily relied upon to accommodate many of the thousands athletes competing in 302 different events. Among the new structures specially completed for the 2012 Games are the £486 million Olympic Stadium, the lego-like Basketball Arena, and the London Velopark, used for the velodrome bike and BMX races.
Bridget Conley, Research Director at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, continues where Patrick left off and gives us a little insight into the countries and athletes competing in the games. She focuses her post on the participation of unstable, or ‘failed,’ nations in the event in one of her posts for the World Peace Foundation’s blog–Reinventing Peace:
The Olympic countdown clock informs us that in 8 days and an ever-decreasing number of hours, minutes, and seconds the2012 Olympic Games will begin. For those of us based in the U.S., this means television coverage only of sports where Americans are expected to either 1) win medals or 2) wear bikinis (or both). But in WPF’s unceasing quest to elucidate the dimensions of war and peace, we will run a series of postings on sport and political conflict. In this first posting, we offer a special pre-Olympic glimpse of teams we might not otherwise hear about: the 2012 teams from the top 20 failed states.
We’ll make use of the 2012 Failed States Index–not least to illustrate how the characterization of a state as “failed” doesn’t mean it cannot succeed in a number of important things, such as winning gold medals. The index rankings use economic, social, political, and military indicators to create a hierarchy of states based on their relative degree of stability or risk of violence and collapse.
With a bit more knowledge on some of the athletes and the city where they will compete, we’re more than ready for the 2012 Olympics! Are you?
It may be summer, but that doesn’t mean that minds are not a-churning on the hill! Aside from students in the always enlightening Tufts Summer Session courses, the hill is bustling with students taking part in the Summer Institute of Civic Studies. The Institute is an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar that brings together advanced graduate students, faculty, and practitioners from diverse fields of study. For those wishing to take part in the Institute outside the class, one of their main lecturers, Peter Levine, has taken to the blogosphere to give us an insider’s peek into his summer course. Check out a snippet from his lecture on Roberto Unger:
Here is a little fable (mine, not Unger’s) that illustrates how his theoretical position relates to everyday civic efforts:
A group of middle class students has volunteered to serve meals at a homeless shelter. They love the experience. During the reflection session later, one remarks, “Serving the homeless was so great! I hope that shelter will still be open in 50 years, so my grandchildren can serve.”
A progressive educator cries, “No! Our goal must be to end homelessness. You need to think about root causes, not just serve free food once a week. What are the fundamental causes of homelessness?” Chastened, the students do serious research and determine that homelessness results from poverty, which, in turn, is a byproduct of late capitalism.
They are trying to figure out what to do about capitalism when Roberto Mangabeira Unger happens to walk by. “No!” cries Unger. “You are assuming that the link between poverty and homelessness is natural or inevitable. You have seen patterns in our limited experience and have derived ‘lawlike tendencies or deep-seated economic, organizational, and psychological constraints’ from the data; these now limit your imaginations. We human beings have made the social world and we can change any part of it–not only the parts that you have identified as deep structures, but also any of the other elements or links.
“Your ‘confining assumptions … impoverish [your] sense of the alternative concrete institutional forms democracies and markets can take.’ By focusing on the biggest and most intractable factors, you guarantee defeat, whereas any part of the picture could be changed. It would be possible to have a capitalist society with poverty but no shortage of homes. What if we got rid of all zoning rules and rent control but gave everyone a voucher for rent? What if public buildings were retrofitted to allow people to sleep comfortably in them at night? What if some houses were shared, like ZipCars, and homeless people occupied the temporarily empty ones? What if …?
Peter Levine is the Research Director of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and Director of their CIRCLE oranization, The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. For more of his lectures, check out his blog on the Tufts Roundtable Commons.
This year Tufts Recycles! encouraged students to think about recycling and reusing while they were packing up their dorm rooms for the summer. The R²ePACK move-out initiative asks students to Reuse & Recycle everything, pack and clean. This year they collected:
- 8500 pounds of clothes and linens, to be donated and recycled
- 1 truckload of freecyclable items, to be donated to incoming freshmen in the fall
- 20 pairs of crutches, to be reused by the Tufts Athletics Department
- 15 boxes of nonperishable food, donated to Project Soup in Somerville
- 6 boxes of Dining Hall dishes, returned to Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael Dining Halls
- 5 boxes of school supplies, to be donated to the Medford Public Schools
- 3 boxes of books, to be donated to the Boston Prison Book Drive
- 2 cubic yards of broken and working electronics, to be recycled
- 1 mountain of mattress foam, to be recycled
To document R²ePACK 2012, the team took photos during the collection. Click on the photos to see more on the Tufts Recycles! blog:
While both Tufts University and Tufts Alumni have started using Instagram to document life at Tufts, it’s always nice when students, staff, and visitors share their experiences of campus through social media. Here are a few great Instagram images we came across with the tag #Tufts. Feel free to follow the school’s accounts - TuftsUniversity and TuftsAlumni - and don’t forget to tag your photos so we can check out your time at Tufts!
Want to know how to make that infamous dining hall butternut squash bisque? Have questions about the freshness of Dewick’s veggies? Just a foodie looking for a new cuisine based site? Look no further than Tufts Dining’s new blog. The tumblr site consists of posts by Tufts chefs, dining administrators, and even a fellow Tufts student and self proclaimed food lover, Veronica Richter, A13. Visit the site to snag recipes, read bios and interviews with the chefs that create your food, and get local restaurant suggestions.