Love, actually

Samantha Malley – Art Director

Ever find yourself snuggled up with your favorite fuzzy blanket, scooping Ben & Jerry’s ice cream straight out of the carton and thinking to yourself, “what is love?”

Scientists ranging from anthropology to neuroscience fields study this thing called love, finding that it can be equally simple and complex. But I’m sure most of us already know that. So here, I’d like to further explain what really happens.

According to Helen Fisher, an American biological anthropologist, love is broken down into three categories: lust, attraction and attachment. Each category has its own set of hormones stemming from the brain.

Lust is the desire for sexual gratification run by the testosterone and estrogen hormones; it has always been a big part of our lives due to the human need to reproduce. Passing on our genes and contributing to the perpetuation of our species has been an evolutionary basis since the dawn of time. When you see somebody that makes your palms sweaty and your speech jumbled, you can thank the hypothalamus in your brain. The hypothalamus stimulates both these hormones, playing a big role in this category. And, putting all stereotypes aside, testosterone and estrogen increase sexual desire in both the male and female body.

The second category, attraction, is quite similar to lust, but one can happen without the other. Attraction involves the brain pathways designated for reward behavior which can help to explain why relationships can deviate between being exhilarating and consuming. Dopamine and norepinephrine, commonly known as the ‘feel good’ chemicals are released. However, you have to be careful here, because although these chemicals have you feeling giddy and elevated, they can lead to decreased levels in appetite and insomnia. In fact, the regions of your brain that light up when you’re feeling attraction also light up when a drug addict takes cocaine. So in a way, attraction can sometimes lead to being literally addicted to another human being.

Lastly, attachment is the category relating mostly to long-term, intimate relationships. The primary hormone that appears during this stage is called oxytocin. Oxytocin is often nicknamed the ‘cuddle hormone’ due to the fact it’s released during times of bonding. All in all, it’s simply a hormone reinforcing the positive feelings we already have towards people we love.

Though in “simple” terms it’s all up to hormones and chemicals, there isn’t a right or wrong formula for love. In fact, there are still many questions that scientists and everyday people have yet to answer.

Instead of asking all the questions, maybe it’s better to snuggle that fuzzy blanket and enjoy that Ben & Jerry’s — we get plenty of oxytocin and dopamine from these, anyway.

An interview with local singer Brenda Bennett, former member of Prince’s girl group

Esther Watrous – Anchor Contributor

Rhode Island artist, Brenda Bennett, was a member of the girl trio, Vanity 6. The group was formed by the artist, Prince, in 1982. Earlier in her career, Bennett toured with the British band, Queen, as a member of the group, Ken Lyon and Tombstone. She now resides in Jamestown, RI.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Pickering

The Anchor: What was it like being Prince’s Wardrobe Mistress for his “Controversy” tour in 1981?

Brenda Bennett: For me, it was a job. At the time he was not as big and popular as he became. He was working his way up to it, and it was fun being out on the road, but, you know, I treated it like a job. It was difficult because I  had to find a place in that town every single morning where I was going to be able to get everything cleaned because [the costumes] had to be cleaned every day. So it was a challenge, but I was up for the challenge.

The Anchor: Did you ever think you’d be opening for Prince in his “1999” tour?

Brenda Bennett:  No, not at all. I had no idea that that was going to happen.

The Anchor: So what was your reaction when he asked you to join the Vanity 6 project?

Brenda Bennett: I was very pleased that he asked because I wanted to get back to an original situation. What I mean by that, is being in a group that wrote their own music. When Prince offered for me to become a part of Vanity 6 it was just what I was looking for.   

The Anchor: What was it like touring with your group? Did you all get along?

Brenda Bennett: It was a lot of fun. It was very unusual because at the time we were fighting against the establishment. We were very innovative with the type of music that we were doing, and wearing lingerie to perform in on stage. Nobody did that. It was difficult to try to break those barriers down and we managed to do that. There were a lot of girl groups that came after us, and we kind of paved the way for them to be able to be more free in their opinions and their dress and stuff.

The Anchor: I read from you bio that the song “Bite The Beat” was your first time as the lead vocalist on an international released single. What was it like having your voice showcased internationally?

Brenda Bennett: It was almost like a vindication that what we were doing and what were were oftering was being accepted. To hear myself on a single that was released worldwide, when I look back on it, I still find it hard to believe.

The Anchor: How did you feel when Vanity decided to leave the group?

Brenda Bennett: It happened so quickly and it seemed to come out of the blue from nowhere. In a way, we weren’t surprised because she kinda always held herself separate from the group. I have to say it was a little devastating because we had gotten to a point where we had worked so hard at being accepted for who we were and what we were all about. Nobody else had done what we did and had the effect that we had.  

The Anchor: After you took a break from music to raise your son, you represented Tombstone for Paul Dichiara’s memorial concert. What was it like finally performing on stage and singing folk and blues music again?

Brenda Bennett: Well most of it was like getting on a bicycle again and riding it after not riding a bicycle for such a long time. There was a difference. When I gave up, I really gave up. I didn’t even listen to music, but coming out and doing that show, it felt good to be singing.

The Anchor: Your second solo album, “Once Again” seems reminiscent of your Vanity 6 era of songwriting. Did your memories of Prince and his passing inspire you during the writing and recording process of the album?

Brenda Bennett: Some of it did. Prince was going to produce a solo album of just me. My project kept getting put behind. Down through the years, ever so often when we would talk, he would always bring it up saying, “do you still wanna do this?” And I would always say, “yes, I’m ready any time you want.” The last time that happened was in February of 2016 when I had seen him at Vanity’s funeral. The last time we talked about it, he pretty much said, I’ll be in touch. And then three days later, he died. So the album is dedicated to him.

The Anchor: You’ve sung in  multiple styles of music. What’s the genre that you gravitate to the most?

Brenda Bennett: It’s kinda a cross between folk, country, and Americana. It’s hard to say because I write what comes from my heart. I write what catches my ear and whatever comes out, comes out. I like a good song.

The Anchor: What was it like seeing your name on the 61st Annual Grammy Awards ballot?

Brenda Bennett: Unbelievable. It was an accomplishment. You’re up against a lot of competition. I did not get [a nomination] this time around, so whether it will happen to me or not in the future remains to be seen.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Todd Borgerding

Thomas Yakey Jr -. Anchor Staff

Born and raised in Minnesota, Assistant Professor Todd Borgerding is a second year Assistant Professor of Music, concentrating his teaching in theory and musicology.  He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Minnesota State University when it was called Mankato State University, with trombone as his primary instrument.  Then, he attended University of Minnesota for his Master’s degree in Musicology. Lastly, he went to University of Michigan for his Doctoral degree in musicology. Borgerding demonstrates his humbleness as he does not think it is necessary to go by Doctor because he considers Medical Doctors to  have the rights to that title, despite all of his hard work in studying Musicology. In addition, his main wish for the RIC music department is more full-time instructors, specifically private instructors, to allow more time and one on one interactions with students particularly for their main instrument.

His music career flourished in fourth grade when he wanted to play flute, but his mom encouraged him to play trombone instead.  Despite practicing trombone nearly daily, he still had time to practice piano first before moving onto organ. On a train going to Vienna talking to a musical conductor, he realized trombone playing was not going to be fulfilling in his life.

Dr. Borgerding has had a long career before Rhode Island College; he has taught in many different schools like SUNY Stony Brook which is a massive school. He also taught at a public institution in Wisconsin similar to RIC. Dr. Borgerding has even taught in Maine at Colby College, an exclusive private liberal-arts school, but “The whole time [he] was there, [he] thought [he] was getting paid a lot more, but [he] does not feel like this is very meaningful work for [him].”  In Wisconsin, and now at RIC, he feels he is doing something more meaningful and making more of a difference in the lives of his students. Being closer to his husband was a major added benefit. His first professional experience at RIC was playing Viola de Gamba with the concert choir under Dr. Teresa Coffman’s direction. After that, he started teaching a music history class and then was hired part time last year.

Professionally, he has played trombone in symphony orchestras like the Mankato Symphony, and been an organist in a few churches.  Despite this, his favorite instrument is the Viola De Gamba but dislikes the Saxophone despite their similar sounds.

He claims to teach humorously because “If you don’t laugh you’re going to cry” especially when dealing with music theory.  He finds that with each new class, and individual student, there are many different personalities which make teaching difficult. This is because everyone needs different attention and have different things to get them excited for music theory.  Despite this difficulty, when he last taught a class he was “happy.” In particular, he thinks music “is really powerful stuff and because it’s so powerful, we need to figure out how it works. Anything that powerful, we should know as much as we can about it.”  This explains why he enjoyed music theory and history as well as just studying music in general since it has changed to much overtime and means something different in each foreign place.

When he is not teaching he “sleeps,” and enjoys sailing.  He also loves to garden and has flowers all around his house, and asserts that his husband is better than him.  Borgerding’s favorite piece to listen to varies from time to time, but he says Opera Medea by Charpentier and any version of MacArthur Park are typically the favorites.

He says his biggest influencer in his life was his mother, who gave him his first piano lessons, and music is still one of his biggest motivators in his motivators in life only falling short to his family.  His first memory of music was turning off all the organ stops for his mother who was the organist for their church. This really shows how family is a major part of his life.

He wishes everyone attending RIC knew that the music department has many fantastic students and how great the faculty is.

When asked in three words, he says he would describe himself as tall, interested, and open-minded, but when his coworkers and students were interviewed they had responses ranging from good-natured, to highly intelligent and wise.

Student Parliament discusses issues pertinent to the student body

Erica Clark – Assistant News Editor

A series of topics were discussed at the Student Community Government (SCG) on Wednesday, Feb. 13, during the second meeting for the spring semester.  

CoEXIST, who partners with other community organizations to bring awareness to students at RIC about the topic of HIV requested a grant to be terminated and to continue education as a student organization and funding learning. CoEXIST has worked on public events throughout the campus in the past.

The organization was looking to get funding from SCG, and they were granted permission on Wednesday night by SCG treasurer Janelle Gomez.

SCG also recognized the Active Minds club, which is a student-run mental health awareness, education and advocacy group that sponsors a number of programming efforts throughout the academic year.  

RIC faculty are now in the starting stages of an effort to create multiple committees to enhance ideas to better understand how to improve the study habits of students.

One of the three committees will assist professors to see if the effects of more classes with fewer students or more students and fewer classes will elevate academic success.

An additional committee for a faculty handbook will also be in the works as there is no “official” handbook for faculty at RIC, the closest thing to one as of present time is their contract.

President Sanchez, who sent out an email on Feb. 8th regarding safety around campus, has decided security and surveillance on campus needs to increase. On behalf of finance and Student Union, this would assist with after hours and securing the bookstore to avoid stolen merchandise.

“People have admitted the cameras are not the best quality,” said SCG President Josh Percy.  

As the legislation is still in the process of` creating qualifications for the RIC RI Promise, the limitation to receive it would be 60 credits, and a GPA of 2.5 or higher.  RIC students would also have to be on track to graduate within four years for the legislation to apply.

There is also a possible Spring concert in the works. There is a budget of $70,000 to adhere to, but SCG held reservations over hosting an act after the struggle to sell tickets at the Ty Dolla $ign concert last fall.

Food 4 Thought: L4L opens food pantry

Jessica Gauthier – Managing Editor

A study done by Wisconsin Hope Lab (2018) says that 36 percent of college students are food insecure, meaning that they have an uncertain or limited availability to nutritious food.

In 2016, Learning 4 Life founded Food 4 Thought at Rhode Island College, a pantry which helps students to combat food insecurity.

Food pantry contents; Photos courtesy of Thomas Crudale

Food 4 Thought began as a grant, with local restaurants such as Panera Bread and Blue State Coffee donating food that would normally be thrown out at the end of the night. When Educational Support Facilitator, Tina Leavitt, noticed that food was quickly disappearing, she started working with non-profit organization We Share Hope. With the help of local restaurants and We Share Hope, Food 4 Thought now receives 3,000 pounds of donated food each month.

“When students are hungry or they’re wondering where their next meal is coming from, it’s difficult to focus in class,” says Leavitt, “Food 4 Thought is not an answer to food insecurity, but more of a bandaid and a way to support students.” By allowing students facing food insecurity a place to easily access food on campus, Food 4 Thought believes it will help them concentrate on classes without the worry. “It can be hard to access food when you don’t have the money. Food 4 Thought is helpful with making sure I can eat and helps a lot of other students, too,” one RIC freshman who wished to stay anonymous says.

Leavitt says she wants to end the stigma against receiving aid for a sustainable food source. Since August, over 500 students have utilized the Food 4 Thought pantry and the pantry itself been utilized 780 times, not including students who do not leave their information (which is for data purposes only). In the pantry, there is everything from boxes of cereal, to snacks, to meal kits. In addition to free access to the pantry, students who struggle daily with food insecurity can be connected to a more sustainable food source, such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (Women, Infants, and Children).

The Food 4 Thought pantry is located in Learning 4 Life, on the first floor of Adams Library.

A green deal at Rhode Island College

Aaron Isaac – Anchor Staff

Many Rhode Island College students have been wondering what the school is doing to invest in renewable energy. Right now, RIC is finishing the installation of photovoltaic solar panels on the rooftops of Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union.

Solar Panels captured by drone

RIC is partnering with Ameresco, a company which focuses on small-scale renewable energy projects, to install the solar panels in hope of becoming more energy efficient. The partnership started in 2014 when Ameresco did an audit of RIC to find what energy saving opportunities were available and was finished in 2015.

RIC’s Sustainability Coordinator James C. Murphy spoke to the Anchor about the numerous energy projects which were worked on, for instance, “switching over to LED lighting, implementing variable frequency drives [which are made to save energy costs] and replacing aging steam lines.”

The latest project to put up solar panels on Donovan and the Student Center was started in the summer of 2018. As of now, Murphy says the electrical work and inspections are finished. The last step is to get approval from National Grid.

But where did the money come from for this project? RIC received two grants, one from the RI Office of Energy Resources for $96,528 and the other from RI Renewable Energy fund for $65,528. However, RIC had to put up the remaining $128,472. Murphy says the money RIC put into the project will be recovered in five years from the gains in electricity which the solar panels are estimated to provide.

The project is estimated to save 1358 metric tons of CO2 annually. To conceptualize that, it would take the annual energy use of 163 homes to match that amount of CO2 emissions. RIC students can check how much energy is saved after the panels are turned on at https://dashboard-portal.solar-online.com//index.php?uid=UuNUfpB9.

Murphy says this will be a good thing for RIC, besides the savings and clean energy, “the project can be used as an example to be replicated elsewhere on campus thereby continuing Rhode Island College’s commitment to clean energy and efficiency.” He expects there is more to come for the United States when it comes to renewable energy saying “we are just scratching the surface of this industry.”

Major cuts to be made from student organizations’ budgets

Samantha Scetta – Editor-in-Chief

Every tuition-paying individual that attends Rhode Island College is required to pay $60 as part of their tuition payment, allocated specifically towards student activities. This money supports the many student organizations that exist on campus, funding events that organizations wish to hold, conference trips taken by the clubs, as well as funding the Student Community Government.

The student activity fee money pool is allocated by members of the Finance Commission, currently consisting of seven voting student members. The sums were divvied up amongst the various campus organizations this past weekend during annual budget hearings.

Recently, the student body was made aware that the Finance Commission is required make cuts to every single organization’s budget for 2019-2020. The total amount of money that needs to be cut from budgets is $71,802.07, or 21% from all budgets. The total amount requested by organizations is  $722,950.27, and the Finance Commission has just $651,148.20 to allocate amongst the organizations. All student organizations will be affected by this shortage of funds.

The lack of money available to students is a consequence of dwindling enrollment at RIC. With less students enrolled, there isn’t as much money being paid to the student activities fee. Enrollment is prospected to increase in the next few years with programs to boost enrollment such as Northeast Neighbors, a new program that offers a decreased tuition rate to students that are residents of certain areas in New England.

According to an email sent last Thursday from SCG Treasurer Janelle Gomez, this situation is a “critical financial circumstance that we have not encountered in a very long time.”

When asked what her thoughts were on the the budget cuts, Treasurer Gomez had a positive outlook on something that some might see as a setback. “It’s sad to say that we have to do so many cuts this year, but it’s beautiful to see the sense of community here at RIC when all club and organization leaders are willing to cut some of their own budgets to let smaller clubs and orgs grow, which is heartwarming to witness. This situation also proves that the more information you give people, the more they’re inclined to compromise.”

The second round of budget hearings will proceed in the upcoming few weeks after clubs receive the finance commission’s budget recommendations regarding which line items to cut funding from.

New Unity Center Director lays out goals at first Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion meeting of the semester

Tim Caplan – News Editor

The Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) welcomed a new member last Friday to replace the recently retired former Unity Center Director Antoinette Gomes.

The semester’s first meeting of the DDI occured on Feb. 15 in the Faculty Center South Dining Room. The DDI is a committee made up of RIC faculty, staff and graduate students, co-chaired by Disability Services Center Director Keri Rossi-D’entremont and Associate Professor of Social Work Stefan Battle.

The Unity Center Director has historically held a standing executive board position, which was taken up by new Unity Center Director Pegah Rahmanian.

The meeting started with an introduction of Rahmanian, who hails from Oakland, CA, and whose most recent job was at a non-profit youth action group in Providence. “I feel fortunate to build off what Antoinette Gomes created” Rahmanian claimed “I’m looking forward to being a part of DDI, and having a seat at the table with such incredible minds.”

Rahmanian followed with a layout of some of her goals for the next eight to twelve months concerning the Unity Center after her first three weeks of observation. The first was to define the purpose and direction of the Unity Center as a whole. The second goal is to diversify the stories of the different communities at RIC, not just trauma and suffering, she followed up by saying she is a proud advocate of the “Yes, and” movement which acknowledges the pain of individuals in marginalized communities while also maintaining an effort to highlight the good experiences. The third goal is to “Take the ceiling away” from the Unity Center and integrate across campus.     

Professor Battle, who is on the subcommittee for tenure also spoke about creating a peer review group which would offer its services to faculty for research and submissions to academic publications.

Director Keri Rossi-D’entremont provided an update on the DDI’s spring lecture as well, which will feature speakers from “Project Implicit,” a non-profit which studies implicit social cognition, which the group describes on its website as “thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control.” The lecture will be centered around Microaggressions. While the DDI is still in contract negotiations with the group, the event is currently scheduled for March 20 in Gaige Hall room 100 at 12:30pm.

Another major topic was the upcoming RIC Campus Climate Survey. The Campus Climate Survey is a web-based 60 question survey which will ask all students, faculty, and staff about their experiences at RIC. The questionnaire will be available starting March 19 and is contracted by Susan Rankin with Rankin and Associates Consulting.  

The meeting ended with the announcement of a new group on campus, the Queer Peer Support Group, which will hold meetings throughout the semester Thursday nights at 5:30 in the Unity Center.

Unchallenged oppressive behavior: Not at RIC?

Derek Sherlock – Anchor staff

Recently, there were incidents that took place on campus which caused a responsive email to be sent out by the president of the college. I must applaud that such an email was even sent out to address racism and oppressive behavior. However, the use of “Not at RIC” is perhaps not appropriate, since this behavior takes place on nearly a daily basis. Whether it is directed towards students of color or queer students, it happens here.

I personally have seen many acts of oppressive behavior going unchallenged, and have heard from students who have been victims here at RIC. While some changes are taking place, like the president’s letter condemning the behavior, the college should not say that it does not happen here when it does.

Since last spring semester, I have seen an uprise in the acts of oppressive behavior directed towards immigrants and the queer community with flyers being posted around campus calling for people to be deported or to be converted. Classrooms are a battleground in which some professors see nothing wrong with calling trans students by their dead name and misgendering them or allowing white students to display levels of microaggression towards Black and Latinx students here on campus.

Something that not many would know is that several students last semester sought to create a chapter of the right-wing organization known as Turning Point USA. It should be noted for those who are unaware of them, the organization in other locations have ties with alt-right/white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys and known neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Worker Party to name a few. Such a presence on campus will cause more marginalized students to feel even more uncomfortable and unwelcomed than they do already.

I am glad that RIC is finally talking openly about oppressive behavior that is taking place on campus, but I feel that we as a college community should not dismiss it by saying that it is not RIC or that it does not happen here daily. We can truly counteract the oppressive behavior that takes place on campus by taking action against faculty or staff who do not respect any member of the RIC community, or the dismissal of a student who displays oppressive behavior. We need to take a hard stance on such behavior and cut it out of our community before it has time to grow into a bigger problem that could potentially lead to violence.

Once you make it clear that there are strict consequences to oppressive behavior, you can say “Not at RIC.”

Owls make mincemeat of men’s basketball

Jake Elmslie  -Sports Editor

Rhode Island College’s Men’s Basketball entered the Murray Center Saturday afternoon with the chance to put themselves within striking distance of claiming the fourth seed in the Little East conference and with it, a home playoff game. For the first three quarters of Saturday’s contest, it seemed like the Anchormen might just take the first step towards their goal, but the team fell prey to a late surge from their competition and were unable to pull off the upset in an 87-68 loss against the Keene State College Owls.

Facing off against the Little East’s second ranked team, the Anchormen held tough for the entirety of the first half in what was a true back and forth affair, with neither team ever holding more than a two possession lead. At the conclusion of the first half, RIC trailed 42-38, but they had accumulated more assists and less turnovers than the opposition in what was a clean half of basketball. The Anchormen were paced through the stanza by senior captain Justin Campbell’s 11 points. In this game, Campbell was coming fresh off of a Wednesday night performance where he recorded his 1000th career point, etching his mark in RIC basketball history.

#23 – Justin Campbell

The first 12 minutes of the second half very much resembled the entirety of the first with RIC and Keene State continuously overtaking one another in a game that seemed destined for a dramatic finish. This would not turn out to be the case though with the game taking a dire turn for the RIC team in the game’s final quarter. “We just ran out of gas” explained Anchormen forward Adham Floyd post game. Coach Glynn had opted to only play six players for a majority of the game, and by the game’s final minutes it became apparent that his team simply could no longer keep up with the fast paced Owls’ offense, surrendering 25 points in the final eight minutes of play.

With this loss, the Anchormen fall to 13-10 on the season and 6-8 in the conference. While a home playoff game is likely off the table for RIC, the team still controls its own destiny in regards to claiming one of the final two playoff berths in the conference. The team has two games remaining in the regular season, both inter-conference matchups, and will be on the road Wednesday for a battle with fourth seed Western Connecticut State University. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.