Blog Goes Abroad: Oktoberfest

PROST!

You might have noticed some photos like the above clogging your newsfeed this week. For all those juniors on-campus who feel confused (and annoyed) about Oktoberfest, we’re republishing an old post that puts the #abroad drinking fest in Brown terms.  Two blog writers attended the event in Munich, Germany a few years ago, and in a beer-induced nostalgia for Brown, they compared the infamous event to aspects of Brown’s social scene, including the Whiskey Republic, a frat basement party, and Spring Weekend’s Dave Binder concert.  

The differences between Oktoberfest and the three aforementioned Brown social venues are obvious—Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany in tents that hold up to 10,000 people. However, you may be surprised to learn just how many “comforts” of home we found in such a foreign landscape of debauchery.  Among the lederhosen and drindls, we literally stumbled upon the same infamous characters and qualities that are quintessential to the Brown party scene:

1. Oktoberfest vs. Whisko

  • Aggressive bouncers: Count your lucky stars that Whiskey’s bouncers aren’t German-speaking, whistle-wielding body builders from hell. These guys were literally employed by Satan himself. Who thought we’d miss the sassy Whisko guards that we’ve all come to know and hate/love?
  • Bathroom stampede: We all know that the girls’ bathroom at Whiskey is always a shit-show. Well, that has NOTHING on the corralling of females taking place behind the scenes at Oktoberfest. We use the word “corralling” intentionally: the stalls were literally in a barn off the tent and we were but helpless cattle. If you weren’t careful, you could be dragged out of a sneaky back door under the false promise that there were “extra stalls” outside. Once outside, you became crudely aware of the fact that there was no getting back in. Let’s just say that only the most dire bladder pains would tempt us into that bathroom. Oh to be back in the toilet-paper-strewn, overcrowded restroom of the Whiskey Republic.

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Meet your Senior Commencement speakers!

As you may know, Brown University proudly upholds the tradition of electing two members of the graduating class to address the crowd of eager graduates rather than hiring a Commencement speaker from outside of the Brown community.

Many members of the Class of 2015 anonymously sent excerpts and ideas for a commencement speech to a ten-person committee, comprised of Deans McSharry and Rodriguez, four seniors (chosen by those deans), and four faculty members (including Professor Barbara Tannenbaum of the famed Persuasive Communication course). The committee selected about 10 finalist proposals, whose writers were given recommendations and asked to flesh out and perform their entire speech. Based on those performances, the committee selected the two commencement speakers. Introducing…

Michelle Bailhe ’15 and Lucas Johnson ’15

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Michelle Bailhe
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Concentration: Human Biology
Freshman Unit: Morris (Unit 19?) 4th floor
Most Likely to be Found: Morning: Scili basement, Afternoon: Carrels of the Rock, Night: Dance studio

Lucas Johnson
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Concentration: Education
Freshman Unit: Champlin 3rd floor, (s/o to Champlin Cheetahs, Christian Petroske, the 3rd and 4th floors)
Most Likely to be Found: Lurking around the Blue Room attempting to get his friends who are on meal plan to buy him something. At night, in the SciLi basement photoshopping absurd self-referential photos with his friends in order to avoid doing work.

BlogDailyHerald: Did you two know each other before being selected as the commencement speakers?

Michelle: No, but we have a mutual friend. Several actually. My friend who dances with me is living with him next year, but somehow we never met.

Lucas: It’s very strange, the overlap was astounding in retrospect.

BlogDHWhat motivated you to apply to be a speaker? Do either of you have public speaking experience?

Lucas: I didn’t expect to get nominated, I didn’t nominate myself, and I still don’t really know who nominated me. I just thought that it would be a very helpful exercise in reflecting over the past couple of years. And I thought, well, okay, someone felt that I had something important to say. So I took a lot of time processing that, and actually was very close to not submitting anything because trying to sum up four years in a couple of pages is really stressful. But I decided to give it a shot, and now I’m here.

Michelle: I remember the speeches that came out the year that we got into Brown, the 2011 speeches. I was still questioning my decision to come to Brown, and somewhat nervous about it. I remember Vivi Tran’s speech, “An Education in Altruism,” and that was the first time that I felt 100% that I had picked the perfect place and people for me. I wanted to be able to do something similar, and I think the fear of not being able to sum up four years in two pages definitely stopped me at first, but I realized it didn’t have to be that, and it could just be a “slice” of an experience that hopefully resonated with people. That became much easier to write.

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Senior Send-Off: Where you lead

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Then + Now

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead.

Carole King’s song, “Where You Lead,” better known as the theme song for iconic television show Gilmore Girls, has served as the soundtrack of my senior year. Just ask my two roommates – they hear the tune echoing through our apartment much more frequently than they’d like. In fact, after they began to sing along mockingly and enthusiastically to King’s frequent crooning, I began self-consciously muting my computer every time that familiar title sequence comes on.

It does not help that Gilmore Girls spanned seven seasons, with each season consisting of 22 episodes. That means that my roommates have, so far, been subjected to 93 renditions of “Where You Lead,” and for that, I feel that I must apologize.

Following the lives of mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore has served a much greater purpose than simply providing fodder for procrastination. These women accompanied me while I worked on my VISA0100 projects, as I folded my laundry, and when I ate my eggs in the morning. They bantered on while I browsed the Internet for jobs and distracted me when I just couldn’t bare to think about one more bullshit answer to the question: “What are you going to do after graduation?”

But here is the key fact that I realized about these two women: they’re not real. It came as much of a surprise to me as it likely did to you. They are not the people who have collaborated with me on class projects or accompanied me to Jo’s at 2 a.m., though they did remind me of the power and strength of loyalty. (Granted, being loyal to a television show is not much of an admirable feat; in reality, it’s more of an indication of utter laziness.) The connection between Rory and Lorelai is infamously strong; they epitomize good chemistry and unfaltering devotion. It seems serendipitous that I would only discover this enviable bond at the moment in my life when I would be spending the most time reflecting on the lessons I have learned from the myriad “real” relationships I have developed at Brown.

This semester, Gilmore Girls became my one constant, my one quiet respite from it all, upon which I could always rely to quiet down the “who’s” “what’s” and “where’s” that relentlessly accompany the prospect of leaving Brown. However, the dependence I developed on Lorelai and Rory sheds light on what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment at Brown: finding those who I would be with anywhere that they needed me to be.

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Last Call: Nicha Ratana-Apiromyakij

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2015 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here and our RISD “Last Call” chain here.

Then + Now

Then + Now

People might know me as… The woman who insists that every meeting happens at Baja’s, sends late and profusely emotive emails, has great shoes, or checks you out from across the Blue Room — hey.

In my time at Brown, I am most proud of… My amazing friends, who have brought me to their house open mics, to farms, to state parks at night, and taught me how to game pub trivia, how to dance ugly in public, how to be nice.

On a Friday night, you might find yourself… Shame-playing Sean Paul while the lamb is roasting.

The best class/professor at Brown is… The best class is Catherine Imbriglio’s Lyricism and Lucidity, because we had something really magical there. It’s so important for writers to build an intentional community of feedback and support; we helped each other through a lot.
The best professor is Deak Nabers, he has a powerful mind.

Three things you wish you knew freshman year…

  1. Learn how to cook! Every home-cooked meal is a gesture of love.
  2. Stop dating what you want to be, be what you want to be.
  3. Do the reading! Conversely, the ability to talk about a book you haven’t read is the most useful “real life” skill you’ll get from a liberal arts education.

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Last Call: Alexx Temeña

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2015 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here and our RISD “Last Call” chain here
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Then + Now

People might know you as… The hella extra Mandé TA foon* who studies how to live a fulfilled life and asks big questions, often turnt without turnt juice and dansing in public or private, physical or metaphysical or spiritual or digital or liminal spaces with or without music. // Alternatively, the girl with the long hair and impeccable swag
*As defined by the F∞ncabulary – The Essential Guide to Phoonery, foons are obnoxious, overbearing tricksters, but their behavior is always driven by authenticity and love for their friends. Foons are rarely basic, but often mistaken as such. Also see: fooning, foonworks, foonwear.

 

In your time at Brown, you are most proud of… My community of loving, kind, and generous friends and foons who support and validate me every day. All of my friends are beautiful and talented and remind me to self-care, to play, and to do me and not apologize.

 

On a Friday night, you might find yourself… Fall 2011: Devising new movement/contact improv-ing to the Lion King soundtrack in the Cave (Lyman Hall) with my best friends, and then exchanging massages using all-natural vanilla-scented IcyHot. Spring 2015 – Hosting a Filipino Heritage dinner, a cooking class, a potluck, etc. for the squad/birthday circle/faves, and then pillow-talking with housemates.

 

Three things you wish you knew freshman year…
1. Yr brown education is for you.
2. Choose self-care; it is indeed possible to have a regular gym routine and be in bed by 11 p.m.
3. Brace yourself – the snow in Providence is about to get turnt (don’t let it break you).

 

Ratty vs. V-Dub? Nah. My house, my kitchen, my cooking.

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Last Call: Lauren Behgam

Then + Now

Then + Now

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2015 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here and our RISD “Last Call” chain here.

People might know you as… That chick with an undercut, a curly top knot, and a circle scarf tryna do contact improv with people in very public places.

In your time at Brown, you are most proud of… helping a program called Food Recovery Network get up and running at Brown and at other college campuses across the country. Basically, students take excess food from their dining halls to nearby community partners. #nofoodwaste

On a Friday night, you might find yourself… Cooking a muy rico dinner with my roomies at ~SpEcIaL fAnCy HaUs~, chugging wine, and doing tarot card readings. If I’m feeling energetic, Twerk Fridays at Ego.

The best class/professor at Brown is… anything with Ralph Rodriguez. I’ve never had a professor so committed to their students who also busts our brains open (in the best way) on the reg.

Three things you wish you knew freshman year…

  1. Sign up for less stuff. Srsly chill.
  2. Take classes you are truly interested in rather than for skills that you think you need.
  3. Be an Ethnic Studies concentrator.

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