Oh, hello there. So I’ve been thinking about my column of late, and for the most part I’ve been discussing some issues on campus that deal with student life - a phrase that, really, just refers to “how students at Amherst are living.” I’ve brought up a number of issues with housing and campus life that I feel Amherst should be improving upon. That said, I want to recognize that for us as Amherst students, life is pretty awesome.

When students move out at the end of the year, they leave behind a lot. Years ago, most of the stuff that the students left behind ended up in a landfill. However, thanks to waste reduction and recycling efforts at Amherst College, students are leaving behind less stuff, and more of the items that they do leave behind are diverted back to local communities.

This Friday, the student body will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on a new Constitution for the AAS. Today, the incumbent and incoming Presidents and the author of the new Constitution write to encourage you to vote ‘no’ in the referendum.

The nation watched attentively as our two parties bickered over the budget while holding thousands of federal employees hostage. Congress averted a federal shutdown with less than two hours before the midnight deadline after days and nights of relentless bargaining. That was crisis number one.

As modern American society becomes ever more secular, it seems as though we might need to re-examine what role religion plays, and as more unorthodox groups such as the Unitarian Universalists (Unitarians) and American Jews gain prominence and official recognition, it seems that we need to re-examine even the fundamentals, like the very definition of the word. Merriam-Webster defines religion as “the service and worship of God or the supernatural.” However, neither Unitarian Universalism (UU) nor American Judaism (AJ) quite fit this mold.

Welcome, class of ’15, to Amherst, the best undergraduate institution in America (no matter what U.S. News says). The next four years are going to be full of new, exciting and distinctly Amherst-ian things, such as hanging out with friends in the common room, joining strange clubs and, of course, developing a healthy dislike for purple cows. So, because the food at Val is unlikely to give you the typical freshman 15, we’re happy to fatten you up with 15 tips on how to get the most out of your Amherst experience.

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