On campus screening: Miss Sarajevo, a documentary

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BY PAOLO SIERRA

Miss Sarajevo is a short 30 minute film by Bill Carter that I was more or less forced to watch for the sake of a class. After its thirty minute screening, I was left upset that it was only a half-hour with its jaw-dropping scenes and in its illustrated beauty of humanity throughout the work. Rather than focusing on the statistics and news that resulted from the Siege of Sarajevo in the 1990’s, Carter refocused the premise of the film on the artists of the town—the poets, filmmakers, actors and musicians.

Carter was very clever in his directing, in that he strategically moved away from the usual reports the media gives on war. It is almost expected to see politicians supporting, religious leaders opposing, endless statistics and the occasional activist that unknowingly shifts our bias to form an opinion just before we flip the channel. However, Bill Carter noted at the finale of the film, during a Q/A session, that he wanted to capture the voice of the people. To do this, he told the story of the everyday lives of the people who lived in Sarajevo at the time of the war. For the purpose of this piece, the names of the speakers or interviewees were anonymous.

A teenage girl with a thin and precise posture surprised me with her strong and stern voice when she stated that she once went to school downtown, but had to relocate because it was too dangerous. According to the girl, “we can only go to school one day per week instead of six, because of the snipers and grenades.” According to another local, “[the city is] like one body with cancer, dying slowly,” she said, poetically. The civilians were constantly forced to sprint from one side of the road to another as a displaced citizen said, “if we in a city and grenade fall, we must run to house (sic.). It’s very dangerous.” As Mr. Carter explained later in the Q/A session, citizens of Sarajevo lived like turtles with their necks, almost, hidden in the midst of their shoulders as people maintained a shrugged posture to “avoid getting their heads blown off.” As a creative alternative to continue to travel from point A to point B, people made tunnels that would easily transport them to and from different places of the towns. These tunnels were easily disguised for bomb holes and could run for great stretches beneath the city. The tunnels were in the heart of rubble—dark, dusty, narrow and would promise any claustrophobic have a panic attack. Others recognized that it was worth the risk to retrieve elemental things like water, “we must go get water if sniper come (sic.), we die but we need water.” Complimentary to this statement, a local man said, “I am not living to live, I am living to survive.” Many of the people are living day by day, moment by moment, to see how far their lives can take them to fulfill their daily responsibilities, making an effort to fight—to try.

Still, in every school, community and society there are always the optimistic and curiously humorous bunch that seems to be untouched by their surroundings. They seem immune to the darkness and negativity that encircles them. They bring a bubble of positivity to their lives that exercises the phrase, “carpe diem.” There is an entire population of underground artists that reside in Sarajevo. Carter does a phenomenal job at focusing on one man who is making a film about a vampires, human victims and cheese (which was creatively incorporated in his work), much of which revolves around dark humor, as many civilians distinguish. However, many say dark humor is acceptable because it still stands as humor—something that will cause people to laugh and at least experience a moment’s happiness. For example, Carter shoots one of the actors nonchalantly informing the viewer, “In half an hour, I have to go to front line (sic.) Because I’m a soldier, too. I have two days as a soldier and two days off.” He then explains that even though he shares his happy moments in the arts, the toughest times were when he had to face the death of his best friend. He emphasized that he had previously lived with his friend for ten months and he was the person who he shared everything with, from cigarettes to food. He then profoundly expresses his hope that nobody goes through this experience because it can make you “insane.”

In this not-so-liberal society, the role of the women was perhaps not expected to be influential. However, women took advantage of the little power they had—their beauty. The film explains that women actively participated in beauty pageants and elaborated on the idea that women fought by showing the enemies that they are killing the beauty contestants as well—a sassy threat, I think.

Sarajevo was an incredibly dangerous place, given the fact that 10,000 civilians died, 2,000 of which were children. However, Bill Carter notes after the film, that Sarajevo is his favorite place to be—a second home. He emphasizes that although it is a place holding dark memories, but it is also where cherished memories are made. The lack of electricity forced him to communicate with people in an old-fashioned way, without internet or phones. This, essentially, allowed him to create bonds with the people.

Many think nothing of simple conversations, yet he states that even the most unassuming conversations were of the best moments he has had his entire life. Mind you, this is coming from a man who has traveled to almost every county in the U.S. and 75 countries worldwide.

In all, this movie was a great, informing watch, and I certainly recommend it to the Bentley population.

APO presents Harvey

Written by gavanguard on . Posted in Campus Life

By Jess hughes & Greeshma Rajeev

Alpha Psi Omega, Bentley’s chapter of a national theater organization, recently just put on another great show for the campus to enjoy. Harvey was performed on Wednesday, April 16 through Friday, April 18 and captured the attention of many of our students, whether they were involved in the production, or just enjoying the show from the audience. Harvey is a 1944 play by Mary Chase, a playwright who received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her work the year after it was released. The plotline has been used in various works for film and television and was displayed beautifully by Bentley’s cast. Dominic Richards, a member of APO and part of the stage crew, commented, “After seeing the show being performed, you could tell everyone was having fun, the parts were perfect and the chemistry made it seem like everyone had been practicing for ages.”

It is a tale about a man named Elwood P. Dowd who has a best friend that also happens to be a giant rabbit, though is only visible to Elwood. Harvey, the rabbit, is mischievous and causes Elwood’s family members to think that he is crazy, to the point where he is placed into a sanatorium. Comedy ensues when the doctor at the sanitarium suspects that the person who brought Elwood out there to be committed was the one that needed medical attention. Then, Elwood and Harvey go missing. Need we say more? Elwood is eventually freed and when his family tracks him down, they are faced with the choice to give him medicine that would prevent him from seeing Harvey. Elwood’s sister realizes that she would rather have the brother that she had always had, regardless of his embarrassing acts.

Senior Sean Harrington was a member of the cast for this production and has been involved in other shows throughout his time here at Bentley. “Bringing a play to the Bentley campus is sometimes a challenge, but there is really a great core of people [in Alpha Psi Omega] who make it happen. It’s been a big part of my experience here and I will remember all of my shows forever. This one especially, it was really cool to see how much growth the cast made. You could really feel the hard work and determination pay off. There’s nothing more rewarding than that to me.”

The show was put together by a variety of students representing all grades. Many of them were members of Alpha Psi Omega and the cast. Students took on responsibilities such as set-building, tech, stage management, costuming and putting together hair and make-up styles. Real doors and chaises livened up the entire Koumantzelis Auditorium as people rolled with laughter.

Additionally, here are some closing words from Benjamin Jon Gutwetter, the President of Alpha Psi Omega National Theater Honors Society on Bentley’s campus regarding the show: “The show ran three very successful nights, the cast and crew worked incredibly hard for several months and our events were definitely worth it. While I would have preferred a larger audience, I am definitely happy with how the show went. The audience enjoyed it every night and that was our top priority.”

Good job, APO! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year!

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Sweatshop Awareness Week at Bentley University

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By Nicholas Tosseli

We learn all about it in GB courses: the Triple Bottom Line. It is an ideal circumstance where a business achieves the combination of corporate profits, as well as social and environmental responsibility for an extended period of time.

Believe it or not, universities are not unlike a billion-dollar corporation for which satisfying the triple bottom line (TBL) is of the upmost importance.

A group of students in Professor Shawn Hauserman’s “Human Trafficking and Global Slavery” class have looked into some ways Bentley can improve its own social responsibility. Learning from the example of a few successful TBL companies like Patagonia and Whole Foods, the students involved have organized Awareness Week to ensure Bentley is making socially responsible and well-informed choices.

The group tackles the issue of modern day sweatshops both domestically and internationally. This Tuesday kicks off awareness week where the concerned students hope to “Break the Chain” of sweatshop produced clothing at Bentley and other campuses worldwide. The “Chain” refers to the university’s supply chain of t-shirts and other apparel handed out at events or sold in the university bookstore.

Large corporations often undercut wages and sacrifice suitable working conditions for the maximization of corporate profit. In developing countries, an estimated 250 million children ages 5-14 are forced to work in unsuitable conditions. Our Bentley students hope to rally some support this week to combat the prominent situation of sweatshop employment.

The students will stress the relativity of the problem to the Bentley community, that this is domestic problem with American corporations, future employers even. The United States Department of Labor estimates that 50% of the 22,000 sewing shops in America are in violation of at least two federal or state laws regarding working conditions. This means that technically the United States plays host to sweat shops. These laws are commonly overtime compensation and minimum wage statutes and regulations. Additionally, 16,000 sewing shops have violated health and safety conditions by not meeting domestic or international standards.

As part of the awareness campaign, the class will be posting flyers throughout campus containing the “Break the Chain” logo, along with some shocking facts in hopes to shed light of the perspective. In addition, members of the class will be available regularly to provide information and answer questions at a table located outside of Seasons.

Thomas Hart, a student in Professor Hauserman’s class, believes that Bentley has a lot of opportunities to become more socially responsible. He comments on the issue saying, “I was pretty shocked to learn about some of the corners companies like Hanes cut for lower costs. After sharing this information with Bentley students, as well as CAB, there will definitely be a lot of potential for change in the future, [potentially] as soon as next year.”

The goal is for the Bentley campus to contract with a company that manufactures garments with absolutely no sweat shop labor in the supply chain, and not a goal that is difficult to achieve by any means. If you would like to get involved, here is how you can help:

A petition will be available to sign Tuesday through Thursday. This is a great opportunity to voice your position regarding college campuses exploiting cheaper costs at the expense of social and environmental responsibility. Bentley remains a leader in business curriculum and environmentally efficient campuses nationwide, so why not help to promote some positive social change with just your signature?

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Annual HOLI

Written by gavanguard on . Posted in Campus Life

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SASA hosts festival of colors on Greenspace

By Greeshma Rajeev

If you looked out a window in Collins on the afternoon of Saturday, April 19, you couldn’t have missed the rainbow of colors that the Green Space had been transformed into. Students from all over campus and across all year groups congregated on the grass area between Falcone and Collins in their old clothes, eager to start the color fight. As the South Asian Student Association’s final event of the semester, Holi was a great wrap up to the chain of successful events that they have had this spring. Executive board members are extremely pleased with the way the semester has turned out for their organization. SASA Treasurer, Darshan Patel, had a few words to share, “Holi was my favorite event this year by far. It was great to see that everyone who came really enjoyed the sunny day and had a lot of fun with the colors.”

Two tables were set up on either sides of the Green Space with boxes full of colored powder. Additional boxes were also placed on the ground throughout the grass. The benches near the barbeque grills were set up with the organization’s signature food giveaway: Samosas. These served as light refreshments while students waited for the Green Space to be set up.

One of the main concerns that the board members had with the event, was the uncertainty of how the weather would turn out. SASA’s Public Relations Chair, Aakash Vedi, summed up these concerns, stating, “Holi is a major event for SASA and the idea of having to cancel due to the weather was scary, especially since it had snowed earlier in the week. However on the morning of the event, the weather cleared and there was a perfect breeze. All in all, it was a great day to play Holi!”

South Asian Student Association’s webmaster, Tejas Shroff, was excited to have attended Holi for the first time as an executive board member, “As a new e-board member with only a semester’s worth of experience, it is different to see Holi from an executive perspective. When taking part in Holi as a freshman, I never even thought of how much planning and preparation goes into a simple event, including food, drinks, the logistics of how people are going to get the colored powder, as well as the intense marketing that goes into pushing for a great turnout. However, after experiencing firsthand the work involved, I felt really great about how all the e-board members worked together and made a big impact out of this small event.”

Everyone on the Green Space may not have planned on it, but they did all become friends as they attacked each other with colored powder and later on, with water. Participant Shiza Ahmed was ecstatic to share her experience attending the event. “I’ve never played Holi before, but after last weekend, any opportunity I have to play with colored powder, I will take it. It reminded me of my childhood, where the Greenspace was the playground and everyone was just running around everywhere and at times, even into each other. You don’t even need to know the person you are playing with, which [makes] it so much more fun. Everyone had a smile on their faces.”

Another first-time participant, Shrishti Dhamani, said, “Holi was a great event and I had a lot of fun. It was my first Holi away from home and I did not even feel like it was any different. Everyone was cheerful and everywhere I looked, people were having fun with colors. No one felt strange [throwing] colors on people they did not even know; all in all, it was an amazing experience.”

Although the South Asian Student Association’s events are known to be cultural, Holi is one of such events that manages to reach out to everyone. Irrespective of race, culture and age, everyone loves to run around under the sun and watch as their friends’ faces get painted with bright shades of red and yellow. Sophomore, Kristina Schneider, attended Holi and wouldn’t change a thing about her experience with it. “This was the first time I had ever been to Holi, it was a beautiful day and everyone was so excited. I may be a strawberry blonde now, but I had an amazing time playing Holi!”

The South Asian Student Association’s goal to bring people together through their events was a huge success through Holi. Congratulations on yet another successful event SASA and keep up the good work!

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