Sophia: The Best Houseplants for BU Dorms

Unless you’ve got a service animal, BU dorms aren’t particularly pet friendly. While the idea of sneaking your dog to school might seem fun in practice in reality there aren’t a lot of options for the lonely college student. When the animal kingdom is out of reach however, look no further than the world of plants! The right houseplant can freshen the air in your room, give you something to care for, and of course, looks great! Whether you go full Poison Ivy, or are just looking for something small to start your new indoor garden, here are some of the best plants for BU dorms. 

1. Succulents and cacti

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Coming in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, succulents are a great first plant. They’re nearly impossible to kill. Succulents require little water, with most varieties only needing to be lightly watered once a week, and even with low light will be able to hang on through the Boston winter. Since you can find many very small succulents for very cheap it can be fun to get a few to fill a cute pot, or line up along the windowsill. Just beware if you go for one of the spikier varieties of cacti!

2. Pothos Ivy

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If you want more of a classic leafy green, pothos is a great hardy option. Pothos doesn’t require a lot of light, and so can survive in even the dimmest Warren dorm room. As for water, pothos should be watered whenever the soil in it’s pot fully dries out, in my experience every three days or so. As an ivy, pothos plants can have very cool tendrils grow out from them, so place it on a high shelf to really get that jungle vibe!

3. Snake plants

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If you’re going for height in your home garden, look no further than the Snake plant! Snake plants grow up rather than out, with long green leaves. With a reputation for being hardy, Snake plants can survive in low light all throughout the coldest Boston winter. Much like pothos, Snake plants should only be watered after their soil has fully dried out, about every three to four days depending on the size of your plant. While you can get smaller started Snakes, I recommend going with a slightly taller, more mature plant, if you have the room. 

4. Spider plants

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Picture this, you have a plant, wow, amazing! Your plant makes you the coolest on your floor, but wait! Now all your friends want plants too! Enter the Spider plant. Spider plants often start sprouting smaller spider plants you can clip and give to your friends and roommates, meaning you can share the flora love! Spider plants like bright, but indirect light, and need to be watered about every three days.

5. Air plants

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Nobody, and I do mean nobody, can kill an Air plant. These guys don’t need soil, and only need to be misted with water one every week or so. You can put Air plant in, on, or around anything. Geodes, frames, pots, your COM 101 textbook, anything. Much like succulents, if you’re going with an Air plant you might as well go with more than one, because they can be found for very cheap and look great in a group.
While these are just some of the easiest and hardiest houseplants, there’s a whole world of flora out there! Stores like economy hardware in Brookline, and Home Depot if you can go farther out of town, often have a ton of reasonably prices plants in a variety of sizes. If you’re looking for something already in a cute pot and don’t mind having fewer options, try Back Bay Florist on Mass Ave or Central Square Florist in Cambridge. Of course the internet can also be used for goods and services, and Amazon, Etsy, and Bloomscape all have great plants available as well. From my (obsessive amount of) plants to you, happy sprouting!


Sophia: Why We Still need to Talk About Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka

Happy autumn, Terriers! Hope everyone's enjoying the wonderful weather and all the amazingness that is fall baseball (shoutout to my boys the Red Sox for clinching the AL East Division Title #proud). There's been a lot on my mind in the world of sports lately, so enjoy a long-winded rant about the Serena Williams/Naomi Osaka debacle.

While the fairness of the events that transpired between Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos during the Women’s US Open this year is debatable, this simple fact is not: the outcome of high caliber sports matchups should never be the result of questionable officiating.

We’ve seen this happen before, and we’ll see it happen again. One of the most contested sports moments to this day remains the infamous “Fail Mary” call of a Packers-Seahawks game in 2012 (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary that was caught by both a receiver and a defender. One referee called it a touchdown, the other an incomplete pass. Ultimately, it was ruled in Seattle’s favor, and fans are still pulling their hair out over it five years later). So my only question is this: why is the world acting like they’re surprised?

Fail In The Face GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Serena Williams had a rough year. While her fans will will be the first to remind the world of her strength and determination as one of the greatest female athletes ever, they’ll also be quick to point out her troubles this year as a mother. The narrative for this US Open suited her just well. Look at all that Serena can do! She can be both a mother and an athlete; simultaneously tough and feminine; career driven and conventionally fulfilled in her personal life; competitive, even at the highest level, even after enduring years of sexism and criticism, even while pregnant, even while in pain, and even after an emergency c-section threatened the life of both her and her child; and she can win a 24th Grand Slam title, tying the record for most Grand Slam wins ever. Yes, the narrative was on Serena’s side for this match, all right.

But Naomi Osaka had a narrative too, albeit a lesser one. Osaka, the ruthless underdog, was going to beat out Serena Williams and secure her place as the first Japanese tennis player to ever win a Grand Slam. Osaka was vocal about her admiration for Williams and her desires to beat her, to prove to herself and the world that she could. The matchup between the two would be legendary regardless, a fierce competition between two top female athletes looking to make history.

Serena Williams GIF by WTA - Find & Share on GIPHY

That is why the Ramos call will rival the Fail Mary in the Questionable Officiating Hall of Fame. Not because he undisputedly pushed the Grand Slam in Osaka’s favor by docking Williams a whole game, but because he made this match about something it was never intended to be about: him.

While the Ramos call in of itself can be looked at and learned from in the world of tennis, it cannot be separated from the Williams/Osaka narrative that made this Grand Slam the sporting event it was already cracked up to be. If you were to show someone who didn’t know anything about tennis the match itself, most would agree with Ramos. But when you consider all that Williams (and Osaka, too) has fought against in the world of tennis, all the Williams has done despite her personal battles that the very establishment of tennis has thrust her into, there is no room for anything other than disappointment and frustration at the complete disrespect shown to both Williams and Osaka by Carlos Ramos that day.

Honest Serena Williams GIF by Mashable - Find & Share on GIPHY

The negative coverage that Ramos received from mainstream news outlets and tennis junkies alike accurately reflects the true absurdity of the situation itself. You cannot separate the penalties received by Williams from her narrative as an athlete or tennis’s sexist past. A match that was predestined to one of the greatest between two of the world’s best female athletes in is now about a call made by a male referee, a fact that is more than just irritating and disappointing, but completely disrespectful to Williams, Osaka, and the world of sports itself.