Video: Professor Denis Sweet explains why he sent his students to the trees

On Tuesday morning, Day 2 of Orientation for the Class of 2020, we caught up with Professor Emeritus of German Denis Sweet, back teaching a First Year Seminar this fall.

In the previous 24 hours, Bates’ newest students had already experienced myriad college firsts: Moving in, meeting roommates, eating in Commons, climbing Mount David, and waking up in a new place. But Tuesday morning provided a whopper: Their very first Bates class, a meeting of their First Year Seminar.

When we saw Sweet, he’d just told his students to find a tree and “experience” it blindfolded: “Hug it, hold it, taste it, touch it, listen to it.” Not readily seeing the connection between that exercise and the topic of his course — exploring various cultures’ apocalyptic scenarios — we asked Denis why the trees, and here’s what he said:

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