A 50-lb, 39x80-inch, navy blue rectangle is currently giving shape to the bulky conversations about rape that have been spreading across college campuses in recent years. It feels too obvious and literal to discuss “Carry that Weight/Mattress Performance” in terms of dimensions, gravity or language associated with bedding. It feels simplistic to simply celebrate the work in an op-ed, but its importance is tangible in the sense that it is actually tangible.

Amherst College is a place of abundance. We have a plethora of intellectual thought, an admirably high degree of social and economic diversity, a formidable endowment and a surprising number of vegan dessert options. The contrarian in me was thus tempted to look for that which we are missing. The thing that struck me was disconcerting and fascinating — we have a dearth of dreams.

For the first time in recent memory, Amherst students have been without the significant representation found in a student body president. Yes, we’ve had upheavals within the AAS before: election scandals, constitutional conventions and even dissolutions of the entire governments. These repeated “scandals” only illustrate how, as students, our faith is visibly shaken in our student-led institution to do anything more substantive for the student body than dole out money to clubs.

We often use this phrase: shadow Amherst. It typically refers to students who are rarely seen, or don’t provide the smiling, socializing ideal we imagine each other to be. But I think the Amherst shadow is much more encompassing than we might like to admit. Indeed, during our four years here, all of us spend time in the Amherst shadow. Sometimes, the stress of class can overwhelm us. Other times, we cannot even manage a smile in Val, or even want to go to Val at all.

I think everyone in the Amherst community would agree that what is worse than having a little-known name is having a bad name. Now, explaining why Amherst is so great is hard, and in the highly competitive college admissions race it seems what we’ve been pitching is “things won’t get worse,” rather than “things are better than ever.” Amherst College is one of the best educational institutions in the world, but who would believe us now? This year we have a chance to act, to take control of this narrative.

Like thousands of other teenagers, Ohio State University student senate president Megan Marzec completed the ALS ice bucket challenge. But Marzec added a twist. There was no ice in her bucket. There was no water in her bucket.  Just “blood.”

The eagerly awaited Powerhouse opened on Friday, Sept. 5, greeting a crowd of students and administrators with steak sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres. Since then, the Powerhouse Committee has demonstrated the versatility of the space, following up their opening event with a feast of wings and pizza for hungry Saturday-night partiers and a screening of the seminal 1980’s classic “Goonies.”

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