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Why we call this weekend “Fall Weekend”

On April 7, 2009, Brown’s faculty voted to rename the annual holiday on the second Monday in October “Fall Weekend.” The vote was made at one of the faculty’s regular monthly meetings; under the rules of Brown’s governance, all decisions regarding the academic calendar are made by an all-faculty vote. Then-President, Ruth Simmons, and other university administrators were not involved in the decision, while then-chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, James Drier, professor of Philosophy, abstained from the vote.

In their statement released the next day, the Committee noted that, “since fall 2008, faculty, staff and student committees at Brown have discussed proposals to eliminate the formal observance of Columbus Day. Following much discussion, the vote was not unanimous, reflecting the difficulty and complexity of this sensitive and symbolic issue.”

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937 to honor the supposed discoverer of America. His 1492 landing in the Bahamas marked the beginning of European colonization of the Americas, which would result in the death of entire indigenous populations within forty years, due to disease and warfare. Columbus’ history of genocide has in many ways been erased from our societal narrative, marginalizing many communities. Although Brown faced some criticism in the media following the renaming in 2009, many schools and even cities have made similar decisions.

While the faculty ultimately made the decision to rename the holiday, the movement and strong desires that propelled that decision came from within the student body. “A small group of students who wanted the University to stop recognizing Columbus Day” engaged in a project not unlike the sort we see on campus today; recognizing that there was a problem with a celebration named after Columbus, they engaged in months of dialogue with university administrators and faculty.

Although the students initially asked that University instead give off another Monday of the month, it was decided that Fall Weekend would coincide with the national holiday to better accommodate the faculty and staff with children in local schools. The Herald poll from the time indicated that “the majority of Brown students disapproved of continuing to call the holiday Columbus Day.”

This brief history lesson hopes to provide information on how we as a university and community came to refer to next weekend as “Fall Weekend.” For many, it may be a surprise how recent a change that was, or the work that past students and some current faculty put into making it happen. On Monday, there will be a demonstration on the Main Green hosted by the Native Americans at Brown with the goal of having the holiday renamed “Indigenous Peoples Day.” BlogDailyHerald will be providing coverage of the protest next week.

While everyone on campus may not support the desires of some students on campus to rename Fall Weekend, we as publication think the topic deserves due coverage. The BlogDailyHerald of Wesleyan, Wesleying, published a post earlier this year called “Responsibility and Inclusion in the Argus and on Wesleying.” The article, which is definitely worth a read, makes the point that campus publications have a responsibility to the students they attempt to represent and report to. “Publications are not mere platforms for discussion, they are institutions that make choices.”

BlogDailyHerald is, of course, not immune to making mistakes in neglecting topics that are relevant to underrepresented communities on campus, and in publishing content that does not properly represent the entire student body whom we hope to serve. As a campus life publication, we need to work hard to make sure we are providing content that speaks to all areas of campus life. We want to acknowledge our commitment to this responsibility.

Sans Meal Plan: Pumpkin chocolate chip quinoa pancakes

I know what you’re thinking: There is no way on earth that quinoa can make its way into a pancake. When I saw the recipe for quinoa pancakes, I was genuinely confused — don’t get me wrong, I’m always down to try some weird substitute, but this seemed too weird.

After finding a recipe that looked sufficiently easy for quinoa pancakes, courtesy of The Fitnessista (same), I got to work.

Recipe for four quinoa pancakes: 

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt

To make the pancakes pumpkin chocolate chip flavored, add pumpkin pie spice and chocolate chips to the recipe.

First, you’ll have to measure out the 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa. I used a blend of red and white that I had leftover in the fridge, but anything should work.

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Aerial arts for the (very) beginner

On Saturday nights from 7 to 9pm in the Ashamu Dance Studio, the Brown Aerial Arts team opens its doors (and it’s silks) to any students who want to learn how to fly, with a net. I’ve had minimal exposure with aerial arts, but I knew that it’s a special talent of P!nk and the most recent winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so this past Saturday, I decided to attend a beginner practice and proudly walked out with all of my bones and most of my dignity intact.

The first order of business at practice is stretching. We stretched our legs, our arms, our backs, our hips, and muscles I didn’t become aware of until I stretched them. I asked my friend to take a picture of me doing that “weird stretch with the leg” which, as it turns out, is called a lunge.

I still don't know how I bent this way.

I still don’t know how I bent this way.

After stretching, the regular members of the Brown Aerial Arts team split up among the various things hanging from the ceiling, and all the beginners are invited to pick one of the four options to begin with: partner acrobatics, trapeze, lyra, or aerial silks. Continue Reading

BlogDH’s S/NC checklist


Today is the deadline to change the grading methods for your classes. (Get on Banner right now if you’ve been meaning to change but haven’t yet! You have until 5 p.m.) Since it’s the one thing about Brown academics that is apparently written in stone, you should probably carefully consider how intense you want this semester to be when deciding whether or not to take that class S/NC.

Check everything below that applies to you, and our generator will let you know whether taking that fourth class for a grade really is a good idea.

Should you take that fourth class S/NC?

I’m taking two (or more!) classes for my concentration.
I’m taking on leadership positions like it’s junior year of high school.
I just started Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
I spend more time in the SciLi/Rock/BarHo/CIT than not.
I’m off meal-plan …
… and I have no idea what to do with the kholrabi from my Market Share.
I’m also working a job.
I’m starting to realize that I really won’t care enough at the end of the semester to write that final essay about a geobiochemical-linguistic analysis of late-post-structuralist agrarian economies and what Foucault had to say about them.
Sometimes I, you know, like to have fun.
Like … really have fun.
Like the GCB is my idea of a night off.
I’m living off campus.
Living off campus is not as glamorous as people made it out to be.
I’m doing a thesis.
I’ve already had to choose between the schoolwork-friends-health triangle.
I’m taking five classes.
I’m a science concentrator taking that senior seminar in the humanities and oh dear god the reading doesn’t end.
I’m a humanities concentrator taking that one I-shoud-probably-take-a-science-class-’cause-it’s-good-for-me class.
“Do I have mono?” is something you’ve wondered multiple times.
I’ve already pulled an all-nighter.
I’ve already pulled multiple all-nighters.
I’ve napped in a school building that wasn’t a dorm.
I’m currently using this quiz to procrastinate an assignment 

A previous version of this quiz was published in September 2014 by BlogDailyHerald.


A real Martian reviews “The Martian”


Above: not a Martian

I mean, where do I even begin? You all have been pretty nosy this week, what with the finding water last Monday. And NASA releasing all those pictures! I mean some solitude would be nice, really. Just because you all like looking your house up on Google Earth doesn’t mean you get to involve other planets in your sick voyeurism. We didn’t ask to be number one at the box office this weekend. We are a species which values privacy, and if you can’t give us that, at the very least, accuracy please.

First of all, Matt Damon is not a Martian. He just isn’t. Being on Mars does not make you a Martian any more than visiting China makes you Chinese. And if you want to call Mars a, “hostile environment”, maybe stop trying to sell planetary colonization efforts to the public (cough cough NASA/SpaceX/MarsOne). No one is making you come. No one is making you stay.

That said, the performances were pretty good. I would listen to Jessica Chastain tell me to do anything. Donald Glover and Kristen Wiig actually killed the high budget drama. Although, I’m not entirely sure I count this as a drama. Matt Damon did say the words, “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this”, so let’s take the category of drama with a grain of salt. Who wrote this thing? He also talks to his plants a lot.

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Pollerbears: What is the quietest space on campus?

Even the freshmen must have figured this out by now: Brown students create quiet study spaces where there are no laws mandating silence, and talk and chew food where signs tell us to do otherwise. As rule-breakers and trendsetters, we don’t care that the Rock’s “Absolute Quiet Room” has a sign prohibiting laptop use or that the Leung Gallery was actually meant to be an upper Blue Room social space. We talk or don’t talk as we please! We type where we want. Except for the Hay; everyone respects the Hay.

Rules no one ever has followed

A photo posted by BlogDailyHerald (@blogdailyherald) on

Particularly laughable is the SciLi’s attempt to tell us what decibel level to speak at in specific areas. I have no idea how many decibels normal speaking voice or whispering is, but I do know that the 00 decibel space is definitely supposed to be quieter than the 75 decibel space. This never happens.

So, we at BlogDH are here to poll the student body on what actually is the quietest space on campus. Silence etiquette is definitely important — it’s basic manners — albeit hard to figure out.

Happy midterms season!

What's the most quiet of Brown's quiet spaces?

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