Winter Break

Hey prospective Brown students,

During winter break, we will be renovating the Minority Recruitment Blog and will posting very infrequently until the end of January, when students return to campus.


Minority Recruitment Interns

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All the places you’ll go

To study, that is.

Here it is– part two of my study space scavenger hunt; an attempt to highlight the many different and wonderful places that Brown students go to do their reading, their problem sets, write their papers. Because, face it, a large portion of college is doing work, and having a study space to fit every mood is a lovely thing. Trust me.

Our third study space (one and two were the dorm and the Sciences Library, see my previous post here) is the John D. Rockefeller Library, affectionately known as the Rock on campus.

The Rock is our largest humanities library on campus, and as a marine biology concentrator I hardly ever find that I need to go to the Rock when I’m doing research for my classes. But, yesterday was the exception. I ordered a bunch of books through our Interlibrary Loan System for my group term paper project in Conservation Biology (BIOL1470), and one of them was microfiche, and the readers are at the Rock. So, off to the Rock I went.

One of the more commonly used discipline-wide spaces at the Rock is the Absolute Quiet Room, or the AQR, and it’s definitely one of my favorite spaces on campus. I enjoy chatting with my friends as I do work as much as anyone else, but sometimes you really just need to buckle-down and get some work done. And it really is quiet in there– your fellow AQRers won’t tolerate any noise. I spent quite a bit of time in there studying for my physics exam a couple weeks ago, and several 8am-5pm days in there last fall studying for my MATH0090 (calculus) final exam.

And, of course, for the humanities and social science concentrators, there are millions (and I really mean millions) of books.

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for some non-library spaces to get your studying on.

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Flames of Hope

Despite the plethora of events held on Brown’s campus each week, it’s always nice to spend an evening enjoying what the city Providence has to offer. On Saturday evening with some of my closest friends, I sat on the edge of the canal sipping hot apple cider, listening to the live music, and seeing people smiling in the smoky breeze.




WaterFire is the free public arts event held several times a month between May and October, drawing 40,000 to 60,000 people each time. It’s a marriage of fire, water, music and performance. The fires are built in braziers, metal pans that hold the burning logs, and set up along three rivers in downtown Providence for two-thirds of a mile. The event starts at sunset with the lighting of the fires and runs until after midnight, giving this New England city a Venice-style feel.

This particular WaterFire was a joint effort with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, which aims to raise awareness and educate people about breast cancer, and generate money for breast-health programs.



The State House.


As the flames dance just above the river’s surface you can’t help but feel that WaterFire is a deeply-moving and magical experience. As Brown student’s, we have the opportunity to take part in this special event.

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Study Space Scavenger Hunt, Part I

Brown is truly a diverse place. As I like to say at the close of my tours, one of the reasons I chose Brown was for it’s diversity. I usually talk about three types of diversity: racial/ethnic diversity, diversity of opinions about political questions that occupy the rest of the country and the world, and a diversity of passions. One thing that I don’t mention is the diversity of places to study!

It might seem a weird thing to talk about, but it’s true and is really one of the things I enjoy most. There’s a study space for any kind of mood and work. For the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some of my favorites.

First Up: Dorm!

It may seem obvious, but many Brown students study in their dorms, myself included. My favorite time to study in my room is early mornings on the weekends. It’s really quiet, and I don’t have to change out of my pjs, which can be a nice slow start to a Saturday or Sunday morning. Also, bad weather often convinces me to stay in my room rather than journeying somewhere else. I have everything I need! My desk is usually a little on the cluttered side (I never can seem to keep it clean), but that means I always have access to pens, my printer, and the always indispensable post-its. Plus, I’ve got my room decorated just the way I like it, so whenever I need a break I can take a look at my extremely colorful walls.

Second: The Frisc, SciLi

The Frisc, an affectionate name for the Friedman Study Center in the SciLi (Brown’s pet name for the Sciences Library) is one of my favorite library spaces to study. It’s full of oddly-colored and shaped furniture, and it’s definitely one of the more social spaces on campus to study. The Frisc is basically open 24-7, and you can eat there, which is a definite plus when you don’t quite have time to sit down at the Ratty and eat a real meal.

My favorite study spot in the Frisc is in one of the back corners. In the four corners, there are these glass atria you can sit in front of. My personal favorite is the bamboo one. It’s such a calming spot to study, especially in the late morning and early afternoon on a clear, sunny day, when the light dapples in and makes beautiful patterns on the floor. Here’s where I was earlier this evening:

So, that’s two study spaces at Brown. Stay tuned for more!

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25 Things I Would Tell My Freshman Self

I am now a sophomore. I can’t believe that one year ago, I was an anxious freshman who always carried a map in my backpack just in case I got lost.

Freshman year was a huge transition from high school, and although I knew college would be a learning experience, I had no idea it would be this fulfilling and enriching. If I could give my freshman self a preview of what the year would bring, this is what I would say:


1. TWTP (Third World Transition Program) will be your first experience of Brown as a freshmen and it will make a lasting impression. You will deeply admire the MPC’s and MPC Friends, and you will want to become an MPC.  You will openly discuss the -isms (racism, heterosexism, sexism, imperialism, etc), be exposed to issues you never knew existed, all while forming close relationships with the people in this community.  You will come out of TWTP wanting to make a difference.

2. You will still be a night owl. You will think you can handle the 9am Chinese class every day of the week, but in fact, everytime your alarm goes off at 8am you will die a little inside.

3. You will love your freshmen dorm, Champlin. You will appreciate how the V-dub is connected to Champlin when it is freezing outside, and you will appreciate how the gym is connected to Champlin when you want to run at odd hours of the day and night.

4. You will realize even more that dance is medicine for your soul. You will join Attitude Dance Company, and you will take dance classes, and you will be a generally happy person because you dance almost every day. However, your hip-hop will still need major help.

5. You will learn to be less afraid. So what if a class is already full? Attend the class anyways, and talk to the professor afterwards. You have every right to be there, people always drop, and situations always change if you are persistent enough.

6. You will see Avatar in 3D!!

7. You will enjoy the convenience of having the Providence Place Mall within walking distance of Brown.

8. You will love the classes you choose in all its diversity and variety– from Mande Dance to Multi-variable Calculus, from The Music of Everyday Objects to Culture and Human Behavior.

9. You will do things you never thought you would, like help a friend dye her hair purple.

10. You will do things you never thought you would, like use a nail-gun and a chop-saw  to build houses in New Orleans with members of the Brown-RISD-Catholic Community.

11.You will discover that when your alarm rings and you turn it off, thinking you can wake yourself up five minutes later without re-setting your alarm, that you are so. very. wrong.

12. You will meet and become very good friends with someone who changes his mind and his concentration like it is his job. He will consider international relations, biochemistry, anthropology, enviromental studies, among other concentrations, which is totally cool, because the open curriculum wants and allows students to explore their interests. BUT you will finally talk sense into him and convince him to concentrate in Applied Math-Biology.

13. You will become addicted to the soft-serve ice cream at the V-dub. You will discover the deliciousness of hot fudge over vanilla ice cream, and you will want it at every meal. (Actually, you still do). This is a BAD habit. STOP.

14. You will pack way too many clothes, and just stuff in general. And then you will learn your lesson and pack half as much next year.

15. You will focus too much on extra-curriculars and not enough on classes your first semester, and then you will pay for it later by realizing that you are in the wrong math class three weeks into the fall semester. And then you will be very stressed figuring out what to do and how to catch up, but then you will have a teacher who will make you love math even more. And then eventually everything will fall into place and you will realize that everything works out in the end.

16. You will learn your way around campus. You will discover shortcuts to classes because you like efficiency, and new studying spaces because you like change.

17. You will find that time flies when you’re doing math.

18. You will discover that your self-discipline is not as great as you thought it was, and that you take study breaks even when you can’t afford to take study breaks because your excuse is: “I need a study break!” But don’t worry, you will acquire more self-discipline after you go to China.

19. You will go to CHINA !!! (Betcha didn’t see that one coming). Eight weeks of your summer will be spent learning Chinese by weekday and exploring China by weekend. You will understand why Chinese is the one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world. You will learn to study efficiently and not waste time, and that “Character is the will to follow through with resolutions long after the spirit in which they were made has passed.” – Napoleon Hill.  Resolutions such as: I will not procrastinate. Or: I will not aimlessly facebook. (Basically the same thing.)

20. You will climb the Great Wall, visit the Garden of Eternal Light, take an 11 hour train ride from Beijing to Xi’an, and visit the Olympic Venues, among other breathtaking places. You will make unforgettable friends, and because of the language pledge you will all adhere to when you will be in China, you will find it weird speaking to each other in English, even after the program is over. So you won’t.

21. As unforgettable as China will be, you will miss Brown every single day. Random things will make you remember Brown: the way sunlight hits a building, the way a teacher talks to her class. Walking to class will remind you of walking down Thayer, and friends in China will remind you of friends at Brown.

22.  You will wish you had a camera to document all the unforgettable events, all the breathtaking places you came across your freshmen year. You will get a camera right before you leave for China, and then you will take too many pictures because you were camera-deprived freshmen year. (Actually, I take that back. No such thing as too many pictures.)

23. You will realize that every obstacle you encountered made you a stronger person.

24. You will be amazed at how fast freshmen year went by, but at the same time, you will be amazed at how much has happened, and how much Brown has come to feel like a second home  (ahh cliché, don’t judge me!)

25.  As a sophomore, you will STILL carry a map in your backpack. Just in case you get lost.

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The Final Stretch

So summer is winding down… Less than three weeks until classes start, on September 1st. At which time, my last year at Brown University will commence.

One year left. That is it, one year. I can’t believe how quickly the past three years have flow by!

When I said the word ‘senior’ out loud, I couldn’t help but chuckle. In one short year, I will no longer be a student. In fact, I’m pretty sure it means I will become a ‘real life’ person. You know, the kind who decides what to make for dinner, watches the news, goes to a job everyday, and pays for their own stuff.

This whole ‘senior’ realization prompted me to reflect on some of the most memorable times I’ve had at Brown. To aid my short-term memory, I decided to click through old photos on my computer.

Human Bridge, Unit 15

UNIT WARS: So Unit Wars was probably the most unforgettable part of Brown’s freshman orientation. All freshman dorms are broken down into smaller groups called “units” and it’s the people in these units that become some of your closest friends. I lived with these people. I ate meals with these people. I studied with these people. Heck, I even procrastinated with these people.

Anyway, Unit Wars is exactly how it sounds. Your unit competes as a team against other units in tasks like the Human Pyramid or the Watermelon Eating Contest. Probably the coolest/cutest/most fun part of unit wars is the fact that during the last week of senior year you get back together with that same freshman unit to compete one last time. This whole full circle business makes everyone a bit nostalgic, but rightfully so.

Another very memorable event my freshman year was MULTIRACIAL IDENTITY WEEK 2007. I helped Kevin O’Brien ’09 and Amy Tan ’09 with small tasks here and there to put together a great set of events. For those of you who haven’t yet read the other posts, I coordinated Multiracial Identity Week 2009, so this was probably one of the first stepping-stones for me with regards to co-coordinating the event myself. The goal of Multiracial Identity week has traditionally been to address issues that foster dialogue on race and identity, to reach Brown’s diverse population, and ultimately to establish bridges across racial differences.

Bed of leaves. Not nearly as comfy as a real bed.

Now for those of you who grew up in places where you have actual seasons, this next memory might not be such a big deal to you… but for a Hawaiian boy, FALL and WINTER were a big deal. Leaves changing color, temperature getting colder, and snow. Yeah. A big deal.

A significant portion of my time is dedicated to my jobs here on campus. I work in the admission office as one of the Minority Recruitment Interns and also serve as the Bruin Club president (The Bruin Club is the student wing of the Brown University Admission Office in charge of running Campus Tours and Admitted Students’ events). These two positions allow me to interact with prospective students and share my experiences at Brown with them.  It’s really hard to articulate how much I enjoy these jobs.  That feeling you get when you know you played a role in prospective student’s decision to apply and matriculate to Brown is unlike any other.

Me and one of my fellow interns

Now I know I can’t possibly write about every single memory at Brown University in a short blog post, but I think by highlighting some of the most memorable aspects of my Brown experience thus far I can give you insight into how much I love being here at Brown.

Anyway that’s all for now. Remember to check back as the school year starts to see all of the great things happening on campus.


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3 Constants

Hey Everyone!

My name is Rosemary Le (‘13). Life at Brown is crazy, but now that the year is almost over, I have found that there are three constants I can expect every day.

Constant #1: I will check Google Calendar– a few times a day, if not every other minute.  It’s a lifesaver, because sometimes I forget I have to shower if I don’t. (kidding. KIDDING!) But in all seriousness, I check it so I can keep track of where I need to be. Brown presents its students with so many opportunities I feel it’s a serious waste of cash if I don’t take advantage of as much as I can. In any given week, there are a plethora of lectures, screenings, performances, and free food.

Here’s a sample week:

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Granted, it was one of my busier weeks, but it was also one of the best weeks of my life.

Notice how some things overlap—for example, The Cook (a really good play about the Cuban Revolution that my friend had a major part in), and the Divine Rhythm Show (a mad cool show in which the performers execute percussive rhythms using their bodies). I was pretty torn about which I should go to, since both were Saturday night from 8-9:30, but in the end I didn’t go to either!! I think I worked on math homework instead. This sounds sad, but it really wasn’t. I love math and plan to concentrate in applied math, which is why I assigned pink (my favorite color) to my math class.

Also notice the big blocks of red. I dance with Attitude Dance Company (a multi-style and entirely self-choreographed dance company, with genres ranging from lyrical to hip-hop, Broadway to Chinese folk-dancing). April is our busiest month because our Annual Spring Show is right around the corner. Speaking of which, here are some pictures from our 6th Annual Show:

If you like what you see, come audition for us! We hold Fall and Spring auditions every year, and no dance experience is necessary! But I digress.

Constant #2: I will wave to people. Not to generalize or anything, but EVERYONE at Brown is friendly. This means people I know wave to me, and sometimes, people I don’t know wave to me. Why do strangers wave to me? Because everyone is friendly! Actually, that’s only part of the reason. It’s also because I am an identical twin, and people sometimes mistaken me for my twin sister, Michelle! How do I feel about my twin sister?

This picture pretty much sums up our relationship:

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She’s a big bully.

Ahahaha! I kid AGAIN! We’re actually biffles (or bffl’s, or best friends for life).

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Constant #3: I will marvel at how lucky I am to be here, at Brown, and wonder if I could have wound up at a school that was a better match for me. (Negative). There have been days when I am so happy, I tell myself that I won’t question for a second if everything I love is taken away from me, just because there has to be some limit to how much happiness a person feels, right? (This is starting to sound a bit dramatic, so I’ll stop). But in all seriousness, there is something about Brown—whether it’s the open curriculum that lets me take any class I want outside of my concentration, or the amazing faculty and students I interact with everyday, or the sense of community and acceptance– that makes me euphorically happy. And it’s not just me—Brown students are rated the nation’s happiest students! It’s true, I read it on Wikipedia. (And just for the record– if it’s not on Wikipedia, it’s not true.) This feeling particularly escalates during the spring, when the cherry blossoms bloom and all is good.

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