- Connor Fitzpatrick ’21
There have been a lot of changes on campus since we were last together. We have a new mall that could pass for the Champs-Elysées, and an amazing new building—Campbell. Campbell has enormous new rooms for everything from ceramics to dance and band to Creative Inquiry, where you can make a chiminea, construct a pizza oven, or a video, or just make new friends.
It even has an empty space big enough for an Australian rules rugby match, that can be used for anything in our wild and unpredictable future. If these fabulous additions don’t inspire you, Menlo is a block down on the left. But we also have another amazing addition to the campus. The bees are back! Of course there were always a few flying around, but now there is a group of us committed to keeping and sustaining multiple hives on campus. So if you see your classmates walking around in big white beekeeping suits with Dr. Slafter, do not be alarmed. They are taking care of the bees—insects which we have learned a lot about, and can take even more inspiration from.
When you think of bees, you think of honey, or stings, or “ya like jazz.” But did you know that honey produced by bees has natural preservatives that curb bacteria growth? Because bacteria cannot grow inside the honey, the honey has no expiration date, and can be preserved for thousands of years—edible honey was even found in the tombs of Ancient Egypt. Also, about every three bites of food that you eat is produced by bees and pollinators. Sorry vegans. But there is another fascinating aspect about bees that we all should know.
Bees dance. Actually, they “waggle dance.” They don’t do this out of joy or because they hear “Yeah!,”but they do it to communicate with the other bees about where to go to get pollen. The bees go off, learn where the pollen is, go back to the hive, do the waggle dance, and then all the smart bees go off and follow the directions to where the pollen is, guaranteeing a safe and secure gathering. But there is a small percentage of bees who watch the waggle dance, understand where to go, and give the waggle dancing bee the bird. Obviously bees don’t have middle fingers, but they ignore the waggle dance. Instead of following the rest of the bees, they go rogue. They avoid the road most traveled and go virtually anywhere else.
For years, scientists had no idea why. Why would a bee not go the safe route, to secure a hive of full stomachs and happy bees? But they now know that without these rogue bees, there would not be any bees. Because of the rogue bees, when conditions change, a field gets sprayed with a new insecticide, or all the flowers die from drought or any disease, the rogue bees allow the hive to continue by (kudos to Ms. Beltramo) taking the road less traveled.
Sometimes they are unsuccessful, but they often find the most fruitful and rich fields for the hive to then go to. But what does this have to do with us? We are all told to fill our stomachs like the majority of the hive to get fat and happy. We are told to take Mandarin, build houses in Chile, take practice tests for practice tests, to go to pollen rich schools, to get a job in a pollen rich field, that will supposedly guarantee our future. But circumstances change. In order to be leaders in the future, more of us, now more than ever, need to ignore the waggle dance and go rogue.