Explore Stories

Rebecca Louie ’99 on a New York subway car with a 5-gallon bucket of compost

The Conjurer of Compost

Spring 2016

Rebecca Louie ’99 pauses outside the door of a quiet cubicaled room and whispers, sotto voce, “This is where the magic happens.” She’s joking, but there’s something to the notion. Inside the cavernous shared writers’ space, Louie undergoes a magical transformation into the green goddess of blogging, The Compostess, and author of 2015’s Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living. Beyond, there is more wizardry.

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black and white photo of Ethel Rosenberg in her home

Correcting the Record

Winter 2016 / Issue II / CXIII

Last year, new developments roused our country’s crisis of conscience vis-a-vis the trial and execution of Ethel Rosenberg. 

Michael Meeropol ’64 (nee Rosenberg) and brother Robert, orphaned in 1953 by the execution of their parents, Julius and Ethel, served up a New York Times op-ed column in August. “Exonerate our mother, Ethel Rosenberg,” they wrote, addressing President Obama. Their plea was published a month after original grand-jury testimony was unsealed that reaffirmed perjury by the prosecution’s star witness, Ethel’s younger brother, David Greenglass.

Tomoko Sakomura holds up a spray of five fountain pens

The Poetry of Pen and Ink

Winter 2016 / Issue II / CXIII

“You have to learn not to gesticulate when holding a fountain pen,” cautions Tomoko Sakomura, associate professor of art history, who once ruined a colleague’s shirt with splattered ink. 

However, many Swarthmoreans consider the occasional stain a small price to pay for the beauty and power this writing implement bestows.

Flying Blind

Winter 2016 / Issue II / CXIII

On a summer night in 2012, Don Mitchell ’69 leaned forward, scarcely daring to breathe. These were his 150 acres of Vermont farm, fields, and woods—had been since 1972—but tonight, they felt different. 

He felt different. 

Three years earlier, he’d surprised himself by agreeing to work with state fish and wildlife officials to help a rare Vermont population of Indiana bats recover—a species that had been federally declared endangered since 1967. 

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Completing the Narrative

Summer 2015

Few incidents in Swarthmore’s history are more storied than the sit-in by 20 determined black students in Parrish Hall early in 1969. During a tense several days, they occupied the admissions office to stress their demands for more black faculty, greater enrollment and support of black students, and the creation of a Black Cultural Center and black studies program. 

 

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A black and white photo circa 1970s with students in period clothing climbing an enormous tree.

The Then and Now of the Yearbook

Summer 2015

The Halcyon is an imperfect but important field guide to student life at Swarthmore. Just how that time is represented is something that the editors grapple with anew each year in revealing, often soul-searching and entertaining forewords. 

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Steadily Engaged

Summer 2015

Gil Kemp ’72 graduated with honors from Swarthmore with a B.A. in sociology and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Besides serving until this May as chair of the Board of Managers, Kemp, who joined the Board in 2001, has chaired the College’s Annual Fund and Strategic Planning Council, which produced the College’s strategic plan. 

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Multicolored artwork depicting various symbolic representations of happiness.

Happiness is ...

Summer 2015

Ever since July 4, 1776, citizens of the United States have been encouraged to engage in the “pursuit of happiness”—one of the three inalienable rights, along with life and liberty, deemed vital ingredients for the human condition and included in the country’s Declaration of Independence. 

But what does it mean—to pursue happiness?

 

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Cartoon rendering of Wolf and Clark as superheros

Pioneers of the Internet

Fall 2015 / Issue I / CXIII

The Internet is unique among human creations in many ways. There’s only one of it. It had many inventors, rather than just one. We perceive it more as a community than as a thing. But unlike most communities, it charges no admission fee, collects no taxes, imposes no rules, and has no visible authority. You can use it to learn, to laugh, to chat, to buy; or you can use it to spam, to flame, to steal, to spy. 

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