When Dvij Bajpai first introduced himself to me, he told me to pronounce his first name like, “Dvij, as in, in-DIVID-ual.” The word could not be more fitting. One would be hard-pressed to find a renaissance scholar as eclectic as Dvij Bajpai. While at Amherst, Bajpai has distinguished himself in fields as diverse as mathematics, physics, music, literature, engineering and art.

Growing Up in Mumbai

For peace to arrive in the Middle East, it must be preceded by humanization. Nobody is doing more on that front than Sayed Kashua.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Kashua speak at Smith College about the creative challenge of writing between worlds. Kashua related his life story to the audience in the context of the political turmoil in the Middle East, injecting bits of humor along the way. The audience — which filled an entire library room and then some — was at times captivated by Kashua’s masterful storytelling and at times in stitches of laughter.

The period following the UN Declaration of partition was indeed a time of great upheaval in the Middle East. The UN declared a Jewish State in one portion of the British Mandate, and an Arab State in the other. The Jews accepted partition, and five armies attacked the nascent Jewish State. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled the Jewish side of partition, but many stayed. Equal numbers of Jews fled Arab lands, crowding into refugee camps in the tiny Jewish state.

Many of you have noticed the framed photos of students working on Book & Plow Farm adorning the walls of Valentine Hall, or maybe you attended last year’s Farm Fest at Book & Plow. Both are examples of recent endeavors aiming to raise the profile of Amherst’s green initiatives.

“It is part of the ethos of the operational department on campus to conserve and to ensure that we are minimizing our environmental footprint,” said Jim Brassord, Chief of Operations at the college. “We’ve had some really good successes, but they’ve been quiet, behind-the-scenes successes.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 24 in an open letter to the Amherst College community, the board of trustees voted to “not endorse divestment of the endowment from fossil fuels,” but stated their intentions to “incorporate environmental considerations into their investment decisions,” with investment managers who “thoughtfully and consistently incorporate environmental considerations into the investment process.” The board has not provided a timeline for its proposed goals.

In 1974, the average age American farmer was 51.7 years old. Today, after a steady increase over the past 30 years, the average farmer is 58.3 years old. Meanwhile, the number of America’s younger farmers — those below 35 years old — has plummeted from 16 percent in 1982 to a mere 5 percent in 2012. The American agricultural sector continues to age; meanwhile, fewer young folks are flocking to the fields. What is the future of America’s small farms? Hoping to answer to this question, I spoke to several farmers from the Pioneer Valley.

Isa Goldberg makes a case for why Amherst students should support the movement for the college to divest from coal. An excerpt of this article appeared in the December 3, 2014 print issue of The Amherst Student.

Is divestment the most appropriate vehicle in the campaign to limit fossil fuels?