Category: Chris Hope

“Popular to Vote” by Chris Hope

Another semester and a new academic year at the UD Honors College! While Fall 2020 means another round of homework, midterms, and finals, it also means one more thing: the general election. Back in spring I was able to watch debates and Super Tuesday results in Redding’s main lounge, and though I’m not able to do that on-campus this semester, there’s still many important things we can do. That spring I wrote an article about absentee voting, which was not-so-conveniently written immediately following COVID-19’s sending us off campus. Now that we’ve gone several months through these restrictions and that a major election is upcoming, more options are available to voters.

In my previous article, I focused heavily on voting by mail and voter registration. For college students, especially those out-of-state and living on or around campus, voting by mail is the likely option for many. Rules involving absentee mail-in ballots vary by state, so websites such as https://www.vote.org/absentee-voting-rules/ can help in pinpointing what is required in your individual state. I took part in Philly’s mayoral and city council elections last November, and I did so by voting by mail on campus! The directions were all laid out in my ballot, including how to seal it properly and how to make sure it gets mailed off. The former is especially important here in Pennsylvania, where rules require you to place your ballot inside of a provided blank envelope and then into a second envelope from there. Many states also allow you to track your mail-in ballot online, so you can make doubly sure that it gets mailed in time. https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/ is a great resource for finding when your ballot is due to be mailed by, and many states even allow you to drop off an absentee ballot at a county election office. Continue reading

“Language Learning from Home” by Chris Hope

Because of quarantine, many of us have more time at home to do things. It’s up to you how you spend your time, and whatever you choose to do should be what you want, whether it be getting ahead in work, picking up a hobby, or just relaxing. Languages are a big interest of mine (my majors are Linguistics and Three Languages, after all), and keeping up with language classes can be difficult when not in a classroom environment. I’m in the Honors section of my Italian class this semester, a class which has a large focus on conversation. Both my Italian and German classes thankfully have weekly Zoom meetings, but not everyone has that guarantee. There are all kinds of resources online for learning a language, and each resource offers its own pros and cons.

Duolingo is one popular app and website for language learning, offering over 35 courses in languages of all different varieties. Every language major under UD’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DLLC) is offered on the site save for Ancient Greek, though one can always branch out if they want to, including with constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon. Duolingo is good for first getting into a language; however, it starts to falter once more complicated grammar concepts get thrown into the mix. Alongside that, the quality of courses differs by language, with some languages being constantly updated and others not being touched for years.

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“Being Electoral in College” by Chris Hope

It’s primary election season, and even in Redding, you could tell. A group of us watched February’s Ninth Democratic Debate in the lounge, and I watched the results of Super Tuesday come in alongside some others in the lounge. All of this election talk had me thinking about the resources available to us as college students when it comes to voting.

I registered to vote during the first month or so of my first semester; my state, Pennsylvania, has an easy way of registering to vote online. While methods of voter registration vary by state, you can find ways to register for a party or to vote in your state specifically on https://vote.gov/. In my case, I received an email a week or two after registering that let me know that it successfully went through.  Continue reading

“Rewards for Participation” by Chris Hope

Tear-off flyers and pamphlets. You see them all the time walking around campus: in Trabant, in the Little Bob, even in some classrooms. Most pass by these sheets of paper without a second glance, or even an initial one. “Take this survey,” they say, or “Come to South Campus and sit around for a bit and answer questions.” They seem to range between extremely minuscule and exceedingly out-of-the-way. One day, however, I decided to actually look into one of these research opportunities. Continue reading

“Woman at War: A Lesson in Power” by Chris Hope

In today’s world, we are bombarded with the concept of impending doom, though we tend to meet that bombardment with complacency. If the world is falling apart—the planet melting before us—and those in charge do little to nothing to stop this collective drowning, what are we to do as common people? Various methods exist to spur change: voting, peaceful protest, petition — however, there is also direct action.

Admittedly, I originally went to see Woman at War because my First-Year Experience class required me to attend a film hosted by an academic group on campus, but I got something worth more than one class credit from watching Benedikt Erlingsson’s 2018 film. Woman at War tells the story of Halla, an Icelandic woman who works mainly as a choir director. Secretly, however, she sabotages power lines in the Icelandic countryside in an attempt to interrupt the operations of an aluminum plant which plans on taking action to use more and more of the island’s resources. More plot points are eventually brought in: Halla has recently been approved to adopt a Ukrainian girl named Nika, but her sister (originally intended to be a backup guardian) has plans to leave the country under the watch of a guru. These added points of conflict, however, weren’t what fascinated me about the film — it was Halla’s direct action.

Direct action: the idea of creating a crisis so unavoidable that it must be addressed by those who have avoided the issue. Whether this action is violent or not depends on the actor, but Halla takes somewhat of a middle ground. Halla’s, for lack of a better term, eco-terrorism creates such an issue for the nation that officials are forced to address it; she destroys power lines, and she creates a manifesto. She never harms anyone physically, but she hurts the nation’s industry in order to necessitate the discussion of the issue of climate change. Halla is but one woman (with some help from her friend Baldvin, who works in the government), yet she is able to bring an industry to its knees, to force its hand and address the issues she cares about. She does all this without revealing her identity to anyone. Halla is the theoretical David up against the corporate Goliath.

Despite the film’s powerful message and theme of change through direct, trouble-making action, there is one issue. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir (who portrays Halla) points out in an interview with Anne Brodie of WhatSheSaid Talk that, though this message is getting to those who care most about environmentalism and is being praised by activists, those who really need to be changed by this film and who should heed its warnings are not the ones mainly seeing it. This is not the fault of the film, but really a fault in mindset. It’s difficult to get someone to quickly change their views on something as large an issue as this, but by simply talking about the film—even beyond its content of feminism, environmentalism, and revolution—the previously uninterested may gain that curiosity. 

I had no expectations going into this film, but I’m glad that the Trabant Theater International Film Series gave a viewing of it. There were many others, like me, who had simply gone because we needed to go for a class. I could tell that many others in the theater were regulars of the Film Series, held every Sunday at 7:00 p.m. I feel that none of us would have even heard of this film without this on-campus group, but the film’s promotion by the group helps bring change to not just the campus, but the world. I’m sure this film will reach more people, as an English-language remake starring Jodie Foster is set to be released at some point, but who knows how the film’s message and revolutionary methods will change with the progression of time and with American staff.

 

Image obtained from womanatwarfilm.com (https://images.app.goo.gl/rFrUSKp77oHzrWZ89)

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