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COLLEGIATETIMES

thursday october 2, 2008 blacksburg, va.

www.collegiatetimes.com

On voter registration, an uneasy consensus QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER STUDENTS CAN REGISTER ON CAMPUS HAVE LARGELY BEEN PUT TO REST. BUT FOR HOW LONG?

—BY DAVID GRANT & RAPH PANLILIO

news VOTER REGISTRATION ENDING SOON Voter registration for the upcoming presidential election ends Oct. 6 in Virginia. Virginia voters can review election information and check their registration status, including their currently registered location, by selecting ‘voter information’ then ‘voter registration status’ online at voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/

HOMECOMING VOTING OPEN Students can visit vthomecoming.org to vote for the 2008 homecoming king and queen. Voting will be open until 7 p.m. on Oct. 2. Results will be disclosed on Saturday during the homecoming football game against Western Kentucky .

weather SUNSHINE high 63, low 40

corrections If you see something in today’s paper that needs to be corrected, please e-mail our public editor at publiceditor@collegiatetimes.com, or call 540.231.9865.

coming up TOMORROW’S CT Catch up with former Tech basketball player Coleman Collins, the newest Phoenix Sun.

index News.....................2 Features................4 0pinions................5

Classifieds..............8 Sports....................7 Sudoku..................8

An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903 105th year issue 89

PAUL PLATZ/SPPS

With Virginia in play on a national political level for the first time in recent memory, voter registration drives have swept college campuses across the commonwealth. But the combination of students, uneasy registrars and eager registrants led to registration controversies frrom Blacksburg to Norfolk. Now, state officials say, a consen-

College of Business reaps $60K gift LAURA DUKE

ct news staff writer The Pamplin College of Business is reaping the benefits of a successful alum with a $60,000 donation made to the school by ChoicePoint Inc., a commercial data brokerage firm based in Alpharetta, Ga., that Virginia Tech has worked with regularly for many years. Doug Curling, former president and chief operating officer of ChoicePoint, graduated from Tech in 1977 and has worked for ChoicePoint since it’s founding in 1997. He is also a member of the Pamplin Advisory Council’s fundraising committee. Curling suggested that the College of Business apply for the grant through the ChoicePoint Cares program, a branch of the company that supports students doing information technology work with non-profit organizations. The college was granted the initial $50,000 donation in early September after proposing to finance a Business Information Technology internship program for Pamplin students with money from the endowment. “ChoicePoint funds a similar program at Georgia Tech that has been very successful and they thought a similar program at Virginia Tech would also be beneficial, especially since ChoicePoint recruits many Pamplin students,” said Richard Sorenson, dean of the Pamplin College of Business. An extra $10,000 was just added to the program contribution last week. “We think it’s a wonderful opportunity for Pamplin College students to be involved in supporting organizations in the community. The goal is to assist in using technology to support social entrepreneurship,” Sorenson said. The internship program will “involve students working with non-profit organizations in Montgomery County to provide technology solu-

tions,” said Pat McCarthy, Pamplin’s associate director of corporate and foundation relations. Student interns will work to help these companies develop effective Web sites, organized databases, and technology implementation plans. Projects will be established through the VTENGAGE program, as well as the YMCA at Virginia Tech. “Assignments will be selected for their information technology content and students will be selected for their skills matched to the project,” McCarthy said. Business Information Technology department faculty member Chris Zobel will work with the organizations and clients to coordinate projects and student assignments. Zobel said the internships will be unlike traditional positions and especially rewarding for Pamplin students. “Students will develop experience working with clients,” Zobel said. “But even more than that, students will be working for a company that is doing good for the community.” Funds from the donation will finance two parttime interns each semester for two years, as well as two full-time interns and a faculty supervisor during the summer semesters. The positions will be given to Pamplin students based on an application process and are slated to begin no later than September 2009. “We’re delighted to have ChoicePoint invest in Virginia Tech and happy to be of service to the community,” McCarthy said. Last week, ChoicePoint was officially acquired by London-based publishing company Reed Elsevier, owner of the LexisNexis Corporation, for $4.1 billion, creating what some consider a global information-gathering powerhouse. Though Curling is no longer with the corporation, he will remain active with the Pamplin Advisory Council, Sorenson said.

sus has emerged: Virginia college students both from in and out of state can register freely at their college addresses. While saying that state statutes pertaining to voter registration for all Virginians remain unclear, Gov. Tim Kaine said that students will be assumed to establish their domicile, the key

see REGISTRATION, page three

news in brief CRASH ON US 460 A single vehicle-accident that occurred yesterdayat about 1 p.m. left a Radford man in the hospital after his car ran off the side of the road and up an embankment, said Sgt. Nathan O’Dell of the Blacksburg Police Department in a press release. The driver, operating a 2005 Nissan Altima, was traveling west on the U.S. 460 Bypass when his car began moving in “an erratic manner” before hitting a tree and

turning over a number of times, witnesses told police. Joseph William Argabrite, 60, was sent to Montgomery Regional Hospital for treatment of a head laceration and a potentially broken arm and wrist. According to O’Dell, the accident may have been caused by a diabetic medical emergency; however, the incident remains under investigation. Argabrite was wearing his seatbelt and the driver’s side air bag was activated. —by Ashley Oliver

COURTESY OF BLACKSBURG POLICE

Blacksburg real estate weathers financial storm ZACH CRIZER

ct news reporter Hard times may have hit the American housing market, but Blacksburg seems to be bucking the trend. Jeremy Hart, a realtor for NRVLiving Real Estate Group at Coldwell Banker Townside, said Blacksburg and similar college communities display safe real estate markets for investors and renters. “It has been proven to be very strong, with very little dips and very few spikes. It’s been a pretty steady increase,” in price, Hart said. Hart said the market is not “recession-proof,” but derives strength from the stability of the education market. “Other towns rely on a variety of industries that ebb and flow,” Hart said. “They change on the strength of the industry provided for. Projection numbers for the college community rise all the time. The ability of the education market is that it doesn’t ebb and flow, like say, the auto industry.” Ted Koebel, of the Virginia Center for Housing Research, said Blacksburg is not necessarily a rising market, but it

offers stability. “You’re protected in that you’re not going to have the kind of losses as you would in other markets,” Koebel said. “The market is dependant on demand that is not as influenced by shifts in the private market. It is less volatile. This is a very specialized market.” For students, however, it means no relief on rent prices. “I would be surprised by a drastic or noticeable reduction in rent because of the strength in the university market,” Hart said. Koebel said the economy would indicate a rise in rent prices in many cases, but not in Blacksburg. “Oddly, with the downturn in the single-family home ownership market, the expectation would be for families to go to the rental market, and that would start pushing rents up, but I’m not sure how likely that is to happen,” Koebel said. Dara Shen, manager of the Off Campus Housing office, agreed that rent prices would not be decreasing in the foreseeable future. “Right now, it’s either going to stay the same or go up, just because the demand

is not the same, it’s higher,” Shen said. This is largely due to the rising enrollment of Virginia Tech. Blacksburg is the only locality in the New River Valley that saw the 2008 average sales price of housing increase from 2007. Demand for off campus housing, according to Shen, is being driven up by several factors. “The freshman class is a lot bigger this year so with the growing demand and the economy being bad, the rental rates are going up,” Shen said. “There has also been a trend, because the economy is bad, of people graduating and not leaving town, and that’s created less vacancies.” Shen said another effect of rising demand is pressure from landlords to decide on future residence. “Students are being pressured to sign leases earlier on,” Shen said. “If their leases start in August then they are being asked to renew in November. You’ve only been living there two or three months, and they want to know if you’re going to live there in 2009.” However, Shen said this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “A lot of times when you renew, they’ll

Area

2007 DOM* 2008 DOM 2007 Avg. Sales Price 2008 Avg. Sales Price

Blacksburg

111

94

$227,768

$240,515

Christiansburg

129

110

$187,649

$184,151

Montgomery

144

118

$284,350

$254,777

Floyd County

178

129

$185,152

$181,515

Giles County

161

138

$131,986

$114,707

Pulaski

146

119

$154,155

$153,139

Radford

140

120

$155,024

$154,932 * Days on Market SARA SPANGLER/COLLEGIATE TIMES

offer you a discounted rate, as opposed to what they would have given you,” Shen said. “If you renew, your rent might go up $20, but for someone else renting the place when you left, it might go up $30 or $40. You could save money that way.” Koebel said the upcoming student

housing search would be relatively similar to those of the past. “I don’t think there is any indication that there is a shortage of apartment units in the area,” Koebel said. “I don’t think students will have trouble finding units. I would expect rents to stay generally the same as they have been.”

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Thursday, October 2, 2008 Print Edition