Do you remember the books you read in high school English? If you grew up in the United States, chances are your reading list bears striking resemblance to the syllabi of students across the country. It’s also likely that titles like “The Great Gatsby” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” bring back not-so-fond memories of color-coded annotations and slideshow presentations put on by apathetic classmates.
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Founded in 1975, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs has published cutting-edge scholarship on contemporary issues in foreign diplomacy for almost 50 years. Past contributors and interviewees are a distinguished bunch: prime ministers, ambassadors and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright can be counted among their ranks. Esteemed by the Fletcher community but somewhat unknown among undergraduates, the Forum could be considered the university’s hidden gem.
Established in April 2014, the Tufts Center for Awareness, Resources and Education has been a campus resource for topics like sexual health and consent for almost nine years. In CARE’s near decade serving the Medford/Somerville campus, its initial office of one has transformed into a collective of more than 150 people. Green Dot and Sex Health Reps, CARE’s two sibling programs, have reached ubiquity at Tufts, cropping up everywhere from stickers on people’s laptops to high-profile, thoughtfully curated programming at first-year student orientations.
Language programs have always played a curious and multifaceted role in academics at Tufts University. As a foundational requirement for School of Arts and Sciences students who don’t test out through a language proficiency evaluation, they could be considered the closest thing to a universal experience at a school with more than 70 undergraduate majors. Also noteworthy is the extent of the language requirement: The six semesters Tufts students must spend studying another language and/or culture is unusually rigorous for universities of its kind. Language education is also a key part of the international relations major and international literary and visual studies major, both of which require eight semesters of commitment to studying a single language. In this sense, learning a foreign language is quintessential to a Tufts education.
Studying abroad is a widely popular opportunity at Tufts University, a school well-known for its internationally minded student body. Every year, 40–45% of Tufts undergraduates participate in a year- or semester-long program in a foreign country. As impressive as this statistic is, Tufts Global Education is seeking to bring even more students abroad with a newly minted program that will take place over this academic year’s winter break. Taught by Bruce Hitchner, professor and chair of the classics department, the Greeks, Romans, and Celts in France program will take a group of students to significant archaeological sites in and around the city of Aix-en-Provence in southern France.
In October 2021, the Division of Student Diversity and Inclusionannounced its plans to create a new identity center for Indigenous and Native American students. This center will join the seven currently established identity centers: the Africana, Asian American, FIRST, LGBT, Latinx and Women’s Centers and the Center for STEM Diversity. The plans have been both celebrated and criticized by Indigenous students, who see the center as the most significant move the university has taken to show its support. Below, students share their experiences with Indigeneity at Tufts, as well as their thoughts about the university’s places for the new center.
On June 1, Tufts University Infection Control Health Director Michael Jordan sent out an email describing much-anticipated changes in health guidelines for the fall 2021 semester. Among them were the addition of a vaccination requirement and the removal of outdoor mask mandates and physical distancing protocols. The changes were indicative of the potential for a socially safe semester. Naturally, those working for the Office for Campus Life and Tufts University Social Collective became optimistic about a return to near-normal social life at the university.
Professor Marina Bers, chair of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, has been teaching the course Technological Tools for Playful Learning every spring for the 20 years that she has been at Tufts.In the class, students are tasked with creating a curriculum around ScratchJr — a coding software that Bers helped develop — and using those lesson plans to teach children ages four to seven to code.
Editor's note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Before joining together to teach a course in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life for the spring 2021 semester, longtime friends Jesse Mermell and Dave Cavell (LA'06) were competitors in Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District Democratic primary. Their course, "Talking Points, Tweets, and TikTok: Modern Political Communications and Message Development," reflects their experiences on the virtual campaign trail.
It’s a Friday afternoon, and my Zoom classes have just wrapped up for the week. I could be thinking about what I have to look forward to (another weekend alone) or what I’m missing out on (a fulfilling college experience), but instead I look out the window to see if I’ll need a raincoat for my walk. This is the routine I’ve developed: school until noon, then walk, then tea and finally, a queer movie.
A confession: I am one of a great many people trying desperately to limit their time on social media. Earlier this week, I programmed actual restrictions into my phone, allowing myself a measly 30 minutes per day. I’ve also mentioned it to a few friends, publicizing the decision as a way of forcing myself to uphold this self-made contract.
Back in March, when people were saying that quarantine would be a month-long shut in, I probably wasn’t alone in thinking it would feel like an extended spring break. It was supposed to be a time during which productivity was forgone. I watched TV, listened to music and took long walks. I stayed up to date on outbreaks and guidelines and tried not to acknowledge the whiplash I felt after my abrupt removal from a busy college lifestyle. Online school seemed manageable, but I felt a mounting sense of dread in anticipation of the long hours outside of class that I would have to fill.
The power of a long, meandering walk is often underestimated. One of my favorite authors, Rebecca Solnit, wrote an entire book about walking called "Wanderlust" (2000). It’s something that all of us do every day, something ordinary and unremarkable. It’s an activity in service of a basic need: getting from one place to another. So, what's the big deal?
Every sad pop banger that takes itself seriously culminates in collapse. The restrained verse-chorus-verse-chorus decorum must break into a bridge of absolute desolation. The artist can no longer channel the emotions through clean precision; the fabric of the song tears in the same way you rip off a Band-Aid. It becomes a sort of glorious, self-gratifying mess.
I was a sophomore in high school when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. On the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, my 15-year-old self woke up to a torrential downpour outside my window and a notification on my phone that told me yes, he had actually won. Even more poetic than the miserable weather was my first class in our unmistakably changed world: AP Government. That morning, I walked into the solemn classroom and found my friends in equal states of shock. Before the bell, we commiserated on the cold metal frames of our desks, wondering what the next four years would hold. Our teacher was at a loss of words, restrained by the required political neutrality of his position. I don’t remember much of what I did or said that day. I don’t really want to.
Last week, I shared some general thoughts about the election and the four years that preceded it. In my veryfirst column, I spoke about the importance of representation of marginalized groups in the media. Today, going deeper into the field of politics, I want to discuss representation at its core. What is it, actually? What forms can representation take? Most importantly, what are the material consequences of representation (or a lack thereof)?
Whenever I return to my parents’ house, it’s like traveling back in time. My childhood room, filled with personal artifacts I can’t bring myself to throw away, seems to shrink every time I enter it. The whole setting doesn’t seem quite right. This new life I’ve been living on my own feels incongruous with everything here, and reincorporating myself into the comings and goings of life at home feels like new skin being grafted onto an old frame.
Readers, I have to come clean about something: Over the past however many months we’ve been stuck in hellish isolation, I’ve become absolutely addicted to Pitchfork, an online publication whose tagline is “the most trusted voice in music.” Its writers cover anything and everything music related, from album release schedules to high profile disputes between artists and their managers to Travis Scott’s collaboration with McDonald’s.