International Students share their insider perspectives regarding political, social and cultural issues from their homelands.

The hottest topic and most politically important event in China is the yearly convention of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Chinese often call it lianghui, literally “the two meetings.” The public importance of these two great events comes with a twist of irony; despite great coverage of the meetings, the political process continues completely detached from the Chinese public.

The Arizona Republican debate a few weeks ago illustrated some interesting things. Certainly much of the usual sparring ensued, but there was something Rick Santorum said which could potentially have a massive impact on the GOP and presidential race. Though he may not realize this, he finally got the Conservative message right.

What began as a standard Monday night in the AAS Senate led to an offended senator feeling the need to storm out of the Red Room, slamming the door behind him. Before the incident, senators gave announcements, proposals and committee reports, and Budgetary Committee Recs were approved.

This week saw a lot of tension on campus on the subject of mass emails, sparked by a student voicing a grievance that many shared on campus: that the annoying nature of mass mailings requires students to avoid the temptation to an end to the unofficial use of the campus email addresses. Students responded in various ways to this complaint — some of them reactionary and unpleasant in nature. We would like to explain why we see the event as a clash of student interests, while offering visions for the future of peer outreach at the College.

I would like to discuss the school-wide email chain dilemma. On Saturday two emails were sent to a school-wide chain advertising sporting event. The hockey team was in the semi-finals of the NESCAC championships and the basketball team was in the first round of NCAAs. Matt Fernald ’13 responded in a very provocative manner ultimately stating that this “spamming” was not only an inconvenience for him, but it also caused him to lose respect for those who sent it. In response, several other students sent emails that were extremely negative and even offensive.

Matt Fernald ’13 writes on his personal response about mass mailings on campus.

To the Student Body:

My name is Matt Fernald. A fair number of you know me as a friend, a friend of a friend, a Zumbye or a name that pops up now and then. You may also know me as the guy who spammed the school about not spamming the school. Responses were, shall we say… mixed. It is for this reason that I write.

The year of 2012 has afforded the AAS seven productive meetings so far. Since late January, Val started using a Twitter account. @AmherstDining has kept us up to date on the meal schedule with tweets and pictures since Jan. 22. Twelve lucky students got to eat dinner with President Biddy thanks to a raffle, and Val has hosted six separate World Cuisine events, including an American Tour sampling food from the East Coast, South, Midwest and West Coast, along with a thoroughly Fat Tuesday lunch and dinner menu for Mardi Gras and a delectable Argentine dinner.

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