It’s late, but I’m still pretty hyped up from the awesome night that I just had! Tonight, Amherst Christian Fellowship (ACF) just had its second “Text-a-Toastie” event of the year. The idea, I believe, first came up at university fellowships in the UK (hence the use of the word “toastie” for toasted or grilled sandwich) and has since been brought to different schools at the U.S. — for us, it was a recent alumnus who had studied abroad in the UK.

The idea is that a bunch of us come and more or less take over the fancy kitchen in the Greenway C dorm and make warm, buttery toasted cheese or Nutella sandwiches. For a certain time, students anywhere on campus can text us with the kind of sandwich they want and a question about “life, God, Christianity, ACF, etc.,” and we’ll deliver it to them and answer their questions. Our college that isn’t exactly known to be the most religious (despite being founded as a school to train up Christian ministers), but we’ve still found that our friends are generally interested in learning more about our beliefs and fellowship, even if just over a sandwich. It’s a great conversation starter either among friends or between strangers (or, given the size of Amherst College, likely distant acquaintances). This exposes all of us to viewpoints different than our own and fosters more mutual understanding and learning.

text a toastie
(Those of us who were in the kitchen during "Text-a-Toastie," buttering bread, spreading Nutella, and toasting sandwiches.)
text a toastie
(Close-up of Faith getting these bread slices to a perfect golden brown)

After we finished and cleaned up, some of us stayed around a lot longer to play a board game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Funny thing — a few days ago, I was just reflecting upon my life and the way in which I spend the little free time I have, and concluded that an inordinate amount of it is spent on playing this one game with my friends. For the uninitiated, it’s basically like Mafia with a time limit and character roles. (For the even more uninitiated, it’s basically a game where, if you’re “bad,” you’ll get really good at lying, and if you’re “good,” really good at making accusations. It’s great for cementing friendships….)

Anyway, playing this game is great because it’s inclusive, verbal, and mentally challenging. So we basically do this all the time.

one night
(When I tell them to act normal for a shot while playing this game....)

Beside that, my week has been all right. I took an econ midterm Thursday. The day before, for our inside-out class, we talked about drug laws and misdemeanor offenses and punishment, about which the “inside” students definitely had a lot to say! We then went to debrief over ice cream afterward at Flayvors, one of the local ice cream shops in the area (thanks, polisci department, for the treat).

flayvors
(Flayvors is a local ice cream place, and they actually have their cows and chickens all right here. A little disconcerting but also pretty cool! I'm not from rural Ohio, so this is all new to me, too.)
flayvors
(Too good.)
 
Also exciting is that I voted for the very first time! Turned in my ballot to the town post office this morning. I voted on an Ohio absentee ballot (gotta milk that swing state status for all it's worth), but it took a lot to get it to me. Long story short, after getting my first ballot lost in the mail, I called my local board of elections, who told me to call back on a certain date if I didn't receive it. On that day, I called, only to be told it was too late for me to receive a ballot unless a family member bought an overnight USPS envelope ($23!) and gave it to my board of elections. So my parents, being the real MVPs that they are, did just that. Yes, believe it or not, this is still a long story short.
 
I think my political science class is making me much more aware of the issues that face a lot of voters and disincentivize them from voting — besides the system of voting that makes it such that my vote technically matters more, in relative weight, than that of a Californian or Massachusetts friend, the system also favors those who have time and resources to spare. Had my parents not had $23, I wouldn't have been able to vote due to the failings of the postal system and misinformation from my Board of Elections. Had I not had time, I wouldn't have been able to research some of my local candidates' positions and qualifications in as much detail as I did. Just something to think about as Nov. 7 looms.
ballot
(My Ohio absentee ballot. I'm one of the luckier ones to be able to overcome a challenge to voting that may have just occured accidentally, but there are still too many in this country that would easily be politically silenced by one of the voting regulations or misinformation and lack of accountability regarding elections on the local level.)

Early Wednesday, we published a few solid articles for The Amherst Student, our school’s newspaper for which I manage a section. I wrote one about the potential plans for our old science building going forward, but an even more interesting one was about the new tenure-track lines that the college is adding, specifically targeting potential senior Black and Latinx faculty. If you haven’t already, I’d really recommend checking out the Student for a sense of the news and opinions floating around campus!

(Not to be self-promotional, though.)

(Okay, maybe a little.)