The open corridor between the campus center and the bookstore is always filled with colorful flyers and posters advertising all kinds of exciting goings on, from academic talks to concerts to cultural showcases offering free food. As the semester starts to enter its home stretch, however, the concentration of cool events is rising exponentially. Pretty much every day there’s something worth checking out, and if it weren’t for class/homework I would be at all of them. But the time I’m not in class is enough to catch a fair amount of the funky things that are happening.
I got really lucky this semester and managed to put together a schedule that leaves my Fridays totally open, and I do my best to not totally waste that free time. It certainly didn’t get squandered last week, as I was able to attend three totally different events: one academic, one political and one musical.
Every Friday at noon, the ExCollege gets a Tufts professor to give a short lecture about the kind of research and work they do outside of teaching. I attended my first of these “Taste of Tufts” talks, as they’re called, and I was totally enthralled. The presenter was a philosophy and religion professor named Ken Garden, and he told the small audience about his work with the writings of a medieval-era thinker named Al-Ghazali. Apparently his philosophies have been blamed for halting scientific development in the Muslim world, but Prof. Gardner defended the guy’s rep pretty convincingly. I learned more there than my pre-Tufts self would’ve ever expected to learn in an hour.
Later in the day, some of the Tufts political groups brought in some reputable local lawyers and activists to weigh in on their shared area of expertise, immigration, and the possible reforms being discussed lately. I went in there feeling guilty about knowing so little about the topic, but I felt less guilty – albeit more worried overall – when the panel speakers told us that the politicians discussing the matter don’t really know anything about it either. By the time I left, I felt like I really was beginning to glean a deeper understanding of how the whole process works, and how it affects people both within and outside the country. Another hour well spent.
Earlier in the semester, I wrote about a club that I’m in called Applejam that schedules small concerts on campus. This past Friday, the club held a metal show, which only happens about once a semester. Admittedly, the metalhead I was in like 9th and 10th grade is still a fairly significant part of me, so I had a blast. All the bands were incredibly tight, and it was really cool to see that the club brought in a huge number of out-of-town fans to enjoy a free show together. Very cool end to a very cool day.
And that isn’t even everything I had wanted to do that day. There was a concert performed by music majors at some point in the evening which I’m sure was awesome. There was also an all-day symposium about water usage and efficiency, which may sound a bit bland at first but actually seemed really fascinating for anyone interested in how such an important resource is handled internationally (so those of you interested in International Relations, which is probably quite a few of you, I’m sure you would have dug it).
All of this was just on Friday, and all of this was within the campus boundaries. Events like these are happening in all sorts of places near campus that are easy to get to as well, and every day there’s something unique going on somewhere. When you come to Tufts, even a totally free day can become full of interesting things without having to look very far.