The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

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Mason Baggette

Mason Baggette has 3 articles published.

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Mason Baggette is a senior Communications major and writes for the Q because, well, he just loves writing. His interests include any fried food, Rick and Morty, and the outdoors.

So About Taylor Swift’s Reputation…

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Contrary to what she wants you to think, the “old Taylor” definitely isn’t dead. After Swift’s year long media hiatus she dropped a string of disappointing singles. “Look What You Made Me Do”, “…Ready For It?” and “Gorgeous” left a lot to be desired. Despite this, Swift manages to deliver the high-gloss pop we’ve come to expect while being refreshingly introspective and showing growth as an artist. The old Taylor isn’t dead; she just drinks, has sex, takes an arguably more adult view on relationships, and doesn’t care that you think she’s hyper curated or calculating.

Taylor Swift has a reputation. Photo Credit: Google Images

Reputation continues the synth-pop we received with 1989, working with hit producers Max Martin and Jack Antonoff. Beginning with the bombastic, speaker shattering “…Ready For It?” to the more quiet but still booming (for Swift) “New Years Day,” Swift has adapted to the sonic trajectory that pop has been on recently.

The absence of her signature love ballads is glaringly apparent and may be a turnoff for some fans, but Swift is all “grown up” and wants you to know it. The relationships and love Swift is now concerned with are noticeably more age appropriate and long term. The adolescent, idealized versions of love have been replaced by a more realistic twenty-seven year old who’s well versed in failed relationships and just how disappointing they can be.  Her new remorselessness is admittedly hard not to enjoy, especially on “I Did Something Bad.” This isn’t Swift’s best, but the spite and apathy is new for her and it just feels so, well…good. This is also the first time Swift sings about sex, mentioning it frequently throughout.

Drinking is referenced heavily as well, another first. “Delicate,” which feels oddly comforting in its description of a fragile, budding fling, is one of the album’s strongest songs both lyrically and sonically. It finds Swift meeting her lover at a dive bar in the East Side: “We can’t make any promises can we babe, but you can make me a drink,” probably to cope with the stress of an undefined relationship, and while she knew “from the first old fashioned” that they were cursed, her doomed lover isn’t thinking and Swift is “just drinking” in “Getaway Car.”

Ever the image-conscious capitalist, Swift manages to make references that straddle the different lifestyles of her fan base, subtle cultural cues that attempt to appeal to both Middle America and the wealthy living on the coasts. “…Ready For It?” was teased on a  Instagram pre-football game hype montage and booms with aggression.  “End Game,” arguably Reputation’s weakest song, features her and Ed Sheeran attempting to rap alongside Future, has a football game warm-up feel, “I wanna be your first string, I wanna be your first string,” and stays clear of any explicit sexual- or alcohol-related lyrics. Meanwhile, “Getaway Car,” “New Year’s Day,” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” find Swift reveling in her uber-wealthy bi-coastal lifestyle.  While the shameless mentions of wealth aren’t great— “Jump into the pool from the balcony, everyone swimming in a champagne sea…feeling so Gatsby for that whole year” she sings, before lamenting her fight with another celebrity (Kanye?) on “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”— it is the world she knows, and Swift traditionally has written from a very personal place.

If you can stomach the unapologetic privilege and some bad rapping, Reputation is definitely worth a listen. Swift might not be currently popular as a human after her series of self-pitying public relations gaffes this past year, not to mention some of the well-deserved criticism for her lack of political action during the 2016 election, among other problematic aspects of her too extensive to include in this article. However, there’s no denying that Reputation is an incredibly strong piece of work, and most importantly, enjoyable to listen to. Just skip past the self-pity and “End Game”.

 

Smoke-Free Campus Committee Student Member Gives Insight into Process

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Map of Designated Smoking Areas Photo Credit: Goucher College

Last year, Goucher’s administration announced that smoking on campus would be banned entirely by the Fall 2018 semester. Now designated smoking areas have been set up to phase in the Smoke-Free Campus Initiative.

The decision to  become a smoke-free campus was made  last November as a reaction to three students with severe asthma being sent to the hospital, as well as complaints from parents of prospective students.

The initiative’s rollout was confusing to some students, who were unsure of the new rules or how the ban was initiated, due to the survey released last semester that gave students the impression that the initiative was simply a possibility, and that they would have a say in this decision.

Below is the transcript of an interview with a student member of the Smoke-Free Initiative Committee, who requested anonymity. This interview will hopefully give Goucher students a window into the decision process and what is to come. The transcript is lightly edited for clarity.

Q: Let’s start with some background on how you got involved with the Smoking Initiative Committee or Group.

Anonymous Student (A): “I was taken to the hospital for a severe asthma attack from secondhand smoke freshman year. Then I was told by Brian Coker that Andrew Wu had put together an initiative to go 100% tobacco free, but he needed student input to do it. So Andrew Wu put together this group. It was already decided by Jose Bowen that ‘yes this is going to happen’.

Q: So Andrew Wu is the one that spearheaded it?

A: Yes. I definitely give him the credit. He put together a group and it was very clear that this was happening.

Q:  So there wasn’t a lot of debate involving students, professors, or staff about whether the initiative was going to happen or not?

A: No. There was no debate about it happening. But the debate is the most humane way to have it happen, and the best way to make it so no student feels left behind.

Q: And what was the concern with the “most humane” way to do it?

AS: The concern is that if we take away all tobacco automatically people are addicted to it. If you’re addicted to something like that you’re going to have severe withdrawal symptoms. So we came up with the idea of what if we limit it to certain spaces on campus. But since the 25 ft rule is very unenforceable, we figured out 7 different spots on campus that are accessible, but not in the way of students who don’t want to be around it. So we sat down with a map of campus and those spots were not only decided based on lower traffic, but to also deter people. Because one of the things we noticed in the group, which I think is a pretty big deal, is that according to the survey, a lot of students start when they come here. And if we want to have a healthy campus we shouldn’t have our socializing focus around sitting in a circle smoking cigarettes.

Q: So the goal was to decrease visibility of smokers?

A: Yes. And to help people figure out a different way to become friends. Sitting in a circle smoking is not the best way to build a friend group. And we want to make it less appealing socially.

Q: I’m aware of the health center’s offering of free smoking cessation materials; are you guys expanding on this at all?

A: Yes, we are compiling a list of free, immediate treatment websites to help professors and students quit.

Q:  One of the issues around this is the issue of banning smoking on a campus where professors and staff smoke; can you elaborate on this?

A: From what I’ve heard a lot of professors have wanted this for a long time.

Q: Ok, were there any roadblocks you guys experienced?

A: One of the hardest things was figuring out where to put  [the smoking areas], and Goucher knows there will be pushback from students. We aren’t trying to get rid of smokers; we’re trying to get rid of the habit. We just want to make sure the students with this addiction are helped.

Q: In your opinion, has this been successful in not making smokers feel excluded or unwanted on campus?

A: I don’t think we received any direct pushback, although it’s pretty clear that students were against it. They aren’t thinking about the health side of it, only the social side, which is hard. Because when you think about the health side of it, yes this is the obvious answer. So yes, there was pushback, but it didn’t stop us from continuing. We tried to make it very clear that this was predetermined. And that’s what students had a hard time understanding. They thought this was up for debate. It wasn’t. It was predetermined, not a choice.

Q: Do you think that the survey distributed last year contributed to students thinking that this was debateable?

A: I do think the survey was a little confusing and made students think “oh this matters,” when the decision was already made. So yes, I do think the survey was not very well-worded. It should have included more “what can we do for you, how can we get you to quit,” however I was not part of making the survey. I think it was an attempt to work with students and get input. But I think the way it was done was counterproductive.

Q: Would students having a firm idea that this was predetermined without their input make them more receptive or accepting of it?

A: I can’t speak for them, but I think my hypothesis would be that they would still be just as upset because they feel like their voice isn’t heard. Our argument is that their voice is being heard, but at the end of the day the administration has to do what is right for the campus. It’s safety first, fun second.

Q: Going back to your point about students who pushback or disagree with it, what do you think the Smoking Initiative Group and Goucher can do to improve the initiative’s appeal to students?

A: I think everyone knows it’s a health issue, but when you’re addicted to something, and you’ve made a social life out of it, you won’t think about how it hurts people. So I think it’s an addiction and they can’t fathom the idea of quitting. But I also think that when you come to Goucher, if you see a group of people sitting smoking and laughing you’re going to want to join in and the way to do that is to start smoking. It’s just a really unhealthy path.

Q: Do you feel that the initiative has been successful so far and having the effect that you wanted?

A: I think for the most part it’s doing well. To me it seems like it works better during the day, but at night it seems that students start to ignore it and I think that they try to be sneakier about it, but we’re working on resolving that with more patrolling public safety officers.

Q: How do you catch smokers?

A: So now we have more officers patrolling, and if you’re a student and see someone smoking, call public safety.

Q: Ok, so next year this will extend to campus becoming fully tobacco free…

A: Yes, tobacco, vaping, e-cigarettes, everything.

Q: Why vaping and e-cigarettes?

A: Well it’s a health hazard, and we can’t give them a loophole. If you give students a loophole they’ll take it. These also have second hand effects.

Q: What do you think will happen once it’s banned? Because obviously you personally want a 100% smoke free campus, but realistically there will always be those who just choose to leave to smoke, or violate the rule. So do you feel that it’ll just become a bigger pain for smokers instead of actually getting them to quit?

A: That was our goal with smoking destinations, as you see they’re not meant to be comfortable, they’re meant to be a hassle. We purposefully made them uncomfortable to make it clear that this was not permanent. These are a way to help you realize that you have to start leaving campus, or you can take the other option and quit.

Q: Do you think that in effect you’re just forcing adults to quit smoking?

A: If it’s an addiction I would argue someone would go to those lengths to do it. I don’t think that people would be logical; if you’re addicted and it feels good in the moment you’ll do it anyways. We aren’t forcing them, but we’re highly encouraging them to quit.

Q: How is this not strong arming students into quitting, if only because of how isolated Goucher’s campus is?

A: That’s fair, but the other colleges that have done this have been successful.

Q: What would your counter be to the argument that this is a further attempt by Goucher to insulate students? Smokers exist in the outside world after all and you can’t isolate yourself entirely from smokers.

A: I think that when it comes to health of the general campus, Goucher needs to take health into account very seriously. Now in the real world I can choose to avoid that. Here it’s really hard, there’s no roundabout I can take. In my neighborhood it’s looked down upon. So I know that when I go home I don’t have to worry about it. I can walk a few blocks and not worry about it.

Q: I’m assuming you’re from a city?

A: I’m from Washington D.C. and a better well off area, so it is looked down upon because everyone there is very well educated.

Q: Do you feel that you achieved your goal?

A: I feel like my goal hasn’t fully be achieved. Because while I would like people to understand the other side of it, like I understand if you’re addicted to it, I think my goal would be to work with the students who feel left behind, because I want them to have a more positive outlook on this. We want to help make you a healthier you, one that can focus on academics and get further in life than having to worry about your health.

Q: Is the amount of criticism stemming from students feeling their freedoms are being taken away?

A: Honestly I don’t understand why people start [smoking] here. I understand if you come here from a place that has put you into that but I don’t understand if you’re here and you’re highly educated why you would do it.

Q: What was the smoking initiative group comprised of in terms of demographics?

A: There were four or five students (all of whom were quitting or had quit) and four smokers who don’t want to quit, but I don’t like using that phrase because I don’t think they necessarily don’t want to quit, they just aren’t ready yet. They’re future non-smokers.

Chick-fil-A Delivers Curbside

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As a fast food chain it’s not surprising that Chick-fil-A is constantly looking for ways to reach new customers by improving speed and convenience. Unfortunately, in Maryland, Chick-fil-A is not on every other block as they are in other regions. The nearest drive-thru locations are in Hunt Valley and Parkville, making getting to Chick-fil-A time consuming or impossible without a car. Luckily for Goucher students who love Chick-fil-A, there is a location in Towson Town Center’s food court that has just announced it is offering curbside delivery and shortening the wait time for your chicken nuggets.

Curbside delivery offers the convenience of a drive-thru a minute’s drive from Goucher’s campus. This means no more fighting for parking at the mall or driving fifteen to twenty minutes for a chicken sandwich.  The delivery system works a bit differently than a drive-thru. Customers are able to place their orders by downloading the Chick-fil-A One app, selecting what they want from the menu, and selecting the curbside delivery option.
“We have always wanted to find a way to reach out to more guests and meet the demand for a drive thru service in Towson. Many times, we hear people choose to not dine with us because of the wait or the hassle of parking at the mall. This new service offers a way to skip the line and wait comfortably in your car while we prepare and deliver your food,” says owner and Maryland native Natalie Martz of the new delivery service.

Luckily for Goucher students who love Chick-fil-A, there is a location in Towson Town Center’s food court that has just announced it is offering curbside delivery and shortening the wait time for your chicken nuggets.

Need catering for a club or other Goucher event? The delivery parking spots can also be used to pick up catering orders if they are placed ahead of time, making last minute event planning a bit easier.
After ordering via the app, just park in one of the two designated parking spots for Chick-fil-A curbside delivery. The curbside delivery includes Chick-fil-A’s full menu, including new features such as mac-and-cheese and brownies.

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