After graduation, many students enter into a frenzy of concern regarding how they are going to cope with living in the "real world." The mad postgraduate scramble leaves many seeking further education in graduate school or entering the workforce. But while many Tufts grads move on to make it big in the business world or pursue lofty careers as doctors or lawyers, some choose to follow less conventional paths after leaving the Hill. Rocking the boat Graduating senior and English major Ezra Furman decided that, rather than continue his education or enter the conventional professional world, he wants to pursue his music career. Furman's band, Ezra Furman and the Harpoons, plans to go on tour this summer after Commencement. "We're trying to wrangle going on tour with various bands that are more famous than we are," Furman said. Furman and his band, which also includes seniors Jahn Sood, Job Mukkada and Adam Abrutyn, are unsure of their exact plans. But they do know that they want to continue to play music and, hopefully, make a career out of it. "We've got big dreams," Furman said. "And the plan is to chase them around and be fearless about it." The Harpoons are already off to a good start: They've signed with eminent indie label Minty Fresh Records, and their last album, "Banging Down the Doors" (2007), received rave reviews from critics as diverse as Paste Magazine and National Public Radio. Furman said that although he realizes it is difficult to make it as a musician, he is in no rush to pursue a backup career. "For now, I'm going all out with music," Furman said. "There's a good chance that I'll have to work in a record store or something like that in between [going on tour]." According to Furman, many college students decide to do what's safest rather than pursue their dreams because they're afraid to take the risk. "People get scared that they're not going to have a good thing to do or make enough money, and then they get scared and they don't try things that they actually want to do," Furman said. "There are people who are just abandoning dreams of theirs that could have worked out if they'd just stuck to [them] … it seems obvious that that is a road to spiritual ruin."
Meredith Vieira (J '75) will return to the Hill today to deliver the Commencement address to the Class of 2008. Vieira has won nine Emmy Awards throughout her career in journalism, and she currently co-anchors NBC's "The Today Show" and hosts ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" As if nine golden statuettes aren't enough, Vieira will receive an honorary doctorate today alongside five other distinguished Tuftonians. Vieira was born in Providence, R.I. to Portuguese-American parents in 1953. She grew up as the youngest of four siblings. After graduating magna cum laude from Tufts with a bachelor's degree in English, Vieira began what would be a long career in journalism. She worked as a news announcer for the radio station WORC in Worcester before moving on to a variety of news stations in Providence, New York and Chicago. She then signed on to CBS' "West 57th" and "60 Minutes." But when Vieira's manager refused to let her work part-time in order to take care of her children, she left the show, sparking a controversy over whether women can truly balance a career and a family. Vieira picked up her career with "CBS Morning News." Next, Vieira served as chief correspondent for ABC's "Turning Point" and became a moderator on "The View" before making her way to her present broadcast positions. Aside from her distinguished journalistic background, Vieira has been deeply involved in a variety of philanthropic organizations and charitable foundations. She presently resides in Westchester County, N.Y. with her three children and husband, CBS journalist Richard Cohen.
Despite plans to extend the T's Green Line to Tufts' campus by 2014, the next T stop to bear the university's name will actually be on the Orange Line. The station in question is not new at all, but its name is: After the Tufts-New England Medical Center (NEMC) dropped the "New England" from its title in March, the current "New England Medical Center" T stop will soon change its name to reflect this, switching to the "Tufts Medical Center" station. The hospital made the moniker switch in order to highlight the "exceptional partnership [that the hospital] has with Tufts University," the hospital's President and CEO Ellen Zane told the Daily in March. Although the process of renaming the station may seem simple, the name change will come at a heavy cost to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), according to Daniel Grabauskas, the MBTA's general manager. In addition to changing all references to the NEMC name on the walls of the station, every "spider," or system, map in the entire T system will have to be reprinted to reflect the hospital's new name. "There are over 600 spider maps in the system," Grabauskas told the Daily. These maps can be found in nearly every T stop and on trains. Furthermore, there are numerous tourist maps in the Boston area that now display the incorrect station name. Grabauskas said that the process of changing the name of the station is not only costly; it also takes time. "We will eventually recognize the name change, [but] it's a process that takes a year," he said. Although he did not have an exact cost estimate, he said the price is "pretty significant." The medical center, however, is planning to help the MBTA finance the project. "We are going to be working with the MBTA ... we are aware that we both need to partner on [the project]," said Julie Jette, a spokesperson for the hospital. "We appreciate that this is a process that the MBTA will have to go through."
Leila Fawaz, the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies, director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies and a professor of history and diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, received a Carnegie Scholar award in April for her work in spreading understanding of the Islamic world. The prize, which includes money for research, is presented by the Carnegie Corporation, which launched the award in order to spotlight "renowned scholars who will contribute to our understanding of Islam," according to Provost Jamshed Bharucha, who nominated Fawaz for the honor. After her nomination, Fawaz submitted a project proposal and was ultimately chosen as a recipient of the award and grant. Fawaz's proposed project focuses on research around "The Experience of War: Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia, 1914-1920." Fawaz's grant was one of 20 given out this year and will be worth up to $100,000, according to the Cambridge Chronicle. "I focus on World War I in the Middle East and South Asia because the Great War was a global war involving several continents and a multiplicity of people who seemed to have little in common and, yet, dealt with challenges in recognizable ways," Fawaz said in an e-mail to the Daily. She is currently traveling in Europe and Istanbul. "I am humbled and honored by this great gift from the Carnegie Corporation," Fawaz said. "I feel immense gratitude." In order to pursue this project, she predicted she will take time off from teaching but continue directing the Fares Center. "The Fletcher School is proud to have Dr. Fawaz among its faculty ranks and we congratulate Leila on her recent distinction as a Carnegie Scholar," Fletcher School Dean Stephen Bosworth said in an e-mail. Most of the grant money awarded to her by the Carnegie Corporation will finance her research and allow her to travel to archives so that she can access original sources. She will translate and extract data from these sources for her book.
Most outgoing Jumbos will go on to lead careers in a wide array of fields in all corners of the world; many will become lawyers, doctors or politicians or spend time living abroad. But a few might find that their careers land them right back on the Hill. Currently, there are a large number of alumni working for the university, most of whom initially worked for other organizations. By getting involved in alumni events and groups, these former students remained close to the school and eventually accepted job opportunities here. Such Jumbos have the unique position of being able to witness the changing landscape of Tufts and to compare their own college experiences to the lives of current students. Usha Sellers (J '58), who graduated from Tufts in 1958 and is now the program director for the alumni relations department, remembers the more formal manner in which students dressed when she lived on the Hill. "[The] mode of campus student dress then was what is today known as 'smart casual,'" Sellers said in an e-mail. "Men students wore chinos, collared shirts and white bucks [shoes]; women wore collared blouses, skirts and 'bobby socks' and shoes similar to white bucks. Similarly, faculty dress was suits, jackets and ties." Sellers came to Tufts from India in 1953 when she was only 16 years old. At the time, there were fewer international students, and many Jumbos commuted to campus from neighboring towns. Despite her international background, Sellers said she felt welcome at Tufts. "All of the above was new for me, and thus part of my favorite memories," Sellers said. "I also remember my classmates being very friendly and open and inviting me to their homes over spring recess and other holidays as gestures of American friendship." Years ago, Tufts was virtually split into two campuses, with the men living uphill and the women - who were technically students of Jackson College - living downhill. Save for particularly cold days, when they were permitted to wear pants, women were required to wear skirts when attending class on the Hill.
The Jumbo Janitor Alliance (JJA) presented University President Lawrence Bacow with a petition late last month urging the administration to push for better working conditions for Tufts' custodians, but the student group says it is still waiting to see action from university officials. Over 1,300 people signed the petition, which came as the janitors entered into contract renegotiations with their employer, OneSource/ABM Industries Inc., according to junior and JJA co-chair Kevin Dillon. The JJA is a fledgling organization aimed at supporting Tufts' janitors, and it is looking to this summer's contract negotiations as an opportunity to garner an increase in janitors' wages and an allocation of more than the three sick days per year custodians are currently allowed. While the administration has stated that it supports the janitors, Dillon said that the JJA is looking for more concrete action from Tufts during the contract negotiations. "What the Jumbo Janitor Alliance is advocating is that the administration put leverage on the contractor [OneSource/ABM]," said freshman Will Merrow, a member of the JJA who helped to compile the petition. According to Vice President of Operations John Roberto, however, the administration will stay out of the negotiations. "The university is not directly involved as an active participant in the negotiations ... they are between the union and ABM/OneSource," Roberto said. "All of us need to respect the collective bargaining process." The JJA feels that, as OneSource/ABM's client, the administration could influence how the company treats its workers. "Tufts usually says that they are not responsible for what happens to the janitors because that is ABM's realm, [but] if Tufts was vocal enough, ABM would change conditions for their workers," Dillon said. "It's a 'the customer is always right' mentality." The current contract between the janitors' union and OneSource/ABM is a four-year agreement that ends this summer.
The renaming of the New England Medical Center (NEMC) station on the Orange Line will catch the eye of innumerable T riders, as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) saw a dramatic increase in ridership last year.According to statistics released recently by the MBTA, 353,132,600 passengers ...
At the end of each semester, students associate standard manila envelopes holding blank course evaluations with the opportunity to voice their opinions about teachers and curricula, and as indicators that classes are finally coming to a close. To the faculty, however, course evaluations exist to evaluate their performance throughout the semester and discern the areas in which they can improve, according to Dean of Undergraduate Education James Glaser. The evaluations ask students to rank their professors' clarity, accessibility and helpfulness - quantitatively, using bubble sheets - and allow students space for handwritten comments. The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate examines the comments closely, analyzing the information when looking at the tenure and promotion process. "We physically sit down at the department and look at the course evaluations," said junior Matt Shapanka, the incoming chairman of the TCU's Education Committee. "And from there, we read them and write up a short one-page report of what the students had to say." Associate Professor of English Sonia Hofkosh said that the evaluations are carefully read through and considered by professors. "Students have a lot of power here at Tufts," Hofkosh said. "And most may not think they do, but the evaluations they write become very much a part of the way the professor perceives their teaching." In fact, professors are often known to eagerly await the day that evaluations become available for their perusal. "I can't think of one faculty member who hasn't wanted to see their students' evaluations as soon as they're accessible," said John LiBassi, the interim administrator for the sociology department. Shapanka, who also works in the political science department, commented specifically on the department's eagerness to view course evaluations. "The [political science] professors get very, very excited about seeing the course evaluations," he said. "Professors will submit their grades and literally get up out of their office to look at their students' evaluations." Hofkosh said that while she always reads the course evaluations, the results can sometimes be difficult to discern.
As graduates move away from their collegiate lives, one concern for many may be how to keep in touch with the people they have spent the last four years living with as they wonder whether they will ever see some of their classmates again. With Facebook.com creating new company networks every day to market to college graduates, alumni don't have to think twice about keeping in touch with friends. But such inclusiveness may be more of a burden than a boon for workplaces, and as a result, many are opting to block Facebook and other social networking sites from office computers. According to Tufts grads, keeping in touch and connecting with those around them are primary motivations for continuing to use Facebook after graduation. Christine Gary (LA '07) said that while the site helps to suck time away from work, Facebook also enables her to stay up-to-date with friends back home and from high school. "I'm from Colorado, so with a lot of my high school friends, who I don't get to see in person, I am able to keep in touch via Facebook," she said. According to Facebook statistics, more than half of the site's current users are non-college students, and its fastest-growing demographic is those aged 25 and older. This popularity among the working crowd doesn't necessarily sit well with their employers. Starting soon after the announcement that anyone could join the site, many corporations - particularly financial institutions like J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup - put up firewalls preventing their employees from using the site while at work. While some companies have blocked the site to increase productivity, some are doing it to protect against spyware and viruses. For younger employees, a lack of duty at work can cause frequent visits to social networking sites. Tufts alum Anna Martin (E '07) said that she spends a lot of time on Facebook, but only because she doesn't have a particularly demanding workload. "I mostly use it when I'm bored at work," she said. "I think a lot of entry-level people have a lot of downtime when they're sitting in front of their computer with nothing to do, so Facebook is always there."
At least four female students say they have been the victims of a peculiar form of sexual harassment at Tisch Library since last spring.
After months of buildup, polls and predictions, some of America's voters finally had the opportunity to have their say in the first steps of the 2008 presidential race this month. As both parties' races remain extremely competitive, a sharp increase in youth voter turnout is impacting the shape of the coming election.