SIMULEX 2018

One of the highlights of the academic year is taking place this weekend at Fletcher. SIMULEX, the annual crisis management exercise hosted by the International Security Studies Program (ISSP), will take over the building on Friday and Saturday. While my mental image of SIMULEX sometimes resembles a game of Nukem!, or involves tense standoffs and commands of “turn your key, sir,” in reality it’s a major learning and professional networking opportunity for the Fletcher community, and not limited only to students formally focusing on security studies.

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Decolonizing International Relations

It’s been a busy week at Fletcher, which means a busy week for this blog, as well. There are so many events that take place throughout the year here that it’s impossible to highlight them all on this platform, but one happening today particularly caught my attention. The inaugural “Decolonizing International Relations” conference is currently in progress, and it’s an impressive event. Organized by the student-run Fletcher Students of Color and Allies (FSCA), the conference will apply critical theory to a variety of subject areas, highlight non-Western contributions and perspectives in academia and the field, and explore the role of power and access in the study and practice of international relations.

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Happy National Coming Out Day from Pride at Fletcher!

In celebration of National Coming Out Day, Pride at Fletcher, a student organization for those who identify as LGBTQIA+ as well as allies, is offering cookies and support to passers-by in the Hall of Flags. I was lucky enough to happen upon the display when it was still relatively full, which I don’t expect will last (to my friends at Pride, you make great cookies!).

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Experiential learning at Fletcher

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: graduate school is about much more than taking a handful of classes over a couple years. Fletcher students are of course deep thinkers, but they’re also active doers. It’s been gratifying, then, to see an uptick over the past few years in programming and available funding to help support the various professional and scholarly pursuits of our students.

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The beautiful chaos of the Social List

The Fletcher student Social List has received periodic blog attention over the years, but it’s worth re-introducing for newer readers. Jessica has previously called it the “virtual glue for the community,” a description upon which I really can’t improve, although I’d elaborate that the functional ingredients of that glue are Social List as soapbox, marketplace (of ideas, goods, and services), bulletin board, classifieds, catchment for arbitrary musings, and general collective id of the Fletcher student body. A bustling e-list available to any member of the Fletcher community, the Social List can arrive as a constant ping of individual items on your device (and I do mean constant) or, for those bent on trying to impose order upon raw, teeming chaos, in daily digest form.

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Fletcher student organizations on display

With all the conversations I have with prospective students about the admissions process and academic requirements at Fletcher, I often try to remind people that grad school isn’t just about taking a bunch of classes. One of the key components of the vibrancy of our community is the variety of active student organizations, which make up what I think of as Fletcher’s civil society. These groups include student-run academic and professional journals, regional or issue-specific organizations, and affinity or activity-based groups. Whether your thing is food policy or fermentation, climbing or countering violent extremism, you’ll find something that speaks to you among the seventy currently active student organizations at Fletcher. A lot of friendships develop through the work of student organizations, and I’ve heard plenty of Fletcher students and alumni point to their involvement in them as among the most important aspects of their time here.

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The new old cannon

Tufts familiars may know about the tradition of painting the cannon. For the uninitiated, Tufts has an old-timey cannon (a replica of one from the USS Constitution) on campus, which is constantly getting repainted by various campus players ranging from official student groups to wildcatting pranksters. The cannon has announced campus events, wished people happy birthdays, commemorated important dates and anniversaries, and helped spread activist and protest messages.

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Another academic year begins!

One of the great things about working in Admissions is that early September, with its typical end-of-summer and back-to-school pageantry, is far more focused on new beginnings than a sad adieu to long days, flip flops, and the smell of sunblock. While it’s true that things around here get mighty busy mighty quickly, there’s a special energy that comes with the arrival of a new class, and the return to Fletcher of second year students. Jessica has already shared some details of the goings-on at last week’s orientation, and this week sees the start of classes. In short, it’s on!

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Orientation rolls on

This morning I completed my one official task for Orientation (beyond meeting students and drinking coffee). I ran one of the 13 ice-breaker activities taking place around the building or, in my case, next door in Olin Hall. I met a group of about 25, most of whom I had (surprisingly, to me) not interacted with previously. Here they are, squeezed into a classroom that was not quite right for the job.

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