Wednesday, September 30, 2009 An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
COLLEGIATETIMES Did you know that they were classmates?
read about their 40th class reunion in tomorrow’s CT
106th year, issue 93
News, page 2
Features, page 5
Opinions, page 3
Sports, page 6
Classifieds, page 4
19 class of 69
Sudoku, page 4
Building a path to healing Local church dedicates space for community LIANA BAYNE news staff writer
ymns and organ music resonated in downtown Blacksburg Sunday evening as one church opened a space designed to foster healing and serenity for the Virginia Tech community more than two years after the April 16, 2007 shootings. Tucked away in downtown Blacksburg, the Christ Episcopal Church appears to be merely a small stone church with a red door — a picture from a textbook on Americana — but connected to the church is a quiet courtyard that now hosts a unique structure: a labyrinth. Rev. Scott Russell, campus minister, said this labyrinth is no traditional outdoor maze with walls made from bushes or corn stalks. Instead, it is a stone path on the ground in the church’s courtyard. The path twists around itself many times, but there is only one way in, and the same conduit takes the walker out. “We are offering this to the community as a response to April 16th,” Russell said. “It can be a space to pray, heal or just have a quiet space off the street to reflect.”
The labyrinth was dreamed up in the fall of 2007. After the tragedy of April 16, 2007, an independent nonprofit religious organization, Episcopal Relief and Development, contacted the church. ERD generally provides aid to Episcopalian communities affected by natural disaster, famine, epidemics and other situations that require outside assistance. “They wanted to help us,” Russell said, “but we didn’t need food or clothing or medicine.” Malaika Kamunanwire, ERD spokesperson, said that the grant came together within the first couple of months after the tragedy. “We wanted to talk about what might be a potential long-term response for the trauma to the students,” Kamunanwire said. “We wanted to establish the basic framework for permanent relief.” Initially, the foundation provided funding for a psychiatrist to come speak with and counsel students. In New York City, gardens of forgiveness were constructed in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That project inspired the labyrinth in Blacksburg. There was not enough space in Blacksburg for a full-scale garden
The labyrinth at Blacksburg’s Christ Episcopal Church is designed for meditation and prayer, with one route to the center and back.
see LABYRINTH / page two GREGORY WILSON/SPPS
Aid requests increase in rough economy SARAH WATSON news staff writer Virginia Tech awards approximately $340 million in total financial aid each year; however, the recession plaguing the United States has caused changes in the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid. “Everybody — students, parents and staff alike are pretty well stressed because of the economy,” said Barry Simmons, director of University Scholarships and Financial Aid. More students are applying for financial aid reconsideration, but the process is not simple, Simmons said. Reconsideration is the process of appealing for more financial aid than the initial award. Reasons for submitting an appeal include loss of an income, large medical expenses, loss because of a natural disaster and more. Appeals can be made through a university’s financial aid department. Simmons explained that reconsideration can take eight to 12 weeks to process. However, he said it is “beneficial” for those in need of additional aid. “We wish we could make it quicker,” Simmons said, “but the staff is pushed to its limits.” For the 2008-2009 academic year, 294 students applied for reconsideration. This year, more than 350 students have applied already. Reconsideration can last an entire school year. Therefore, additional awards are pending. Simmons said that Tech is seeing “different clientele” than in the past. Many families have seen drastic declines in income. They now have significantly less to spend on college and are seeking more financial aid money. Edward Irish, director of financial aid at The College of William & Mary, anticipated an increase in financial aid reconsideration requests. “It played out about the way we expected it to,” Irish said.
Economy affects financial aid Because of the weak economy, more students have filed for financial aid reconsideration
more students taking out federal student loans
increase in Pell Grant usage
colleges seeing a 10 percent increase in financial aid
four-year institutions are offering more financial aid
74% Brad Barnett, senior associate director for the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at James Madison University, has seen more than 530 reconsideration applications this year. Barnett said the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is “running out of grant money faster than before.” This dwindling supply of aid can be attributed to additional appeals. Tech’s Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid depends on the attrition factor. Attrition is awarding more aid than what is in the budget under the assumption that not all students accepted to the university will attend in the fall. “It is always an art, not a science,” Simmons said. While institution and state-based money is running low, federal aid is still an option for many students.
JOSH SON/COLLEGIATE TIMES
Simmons encourages students to submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid form prior to the March 1, 2010 deadline. Students who apply prior to the deadline receive priority consideration in regards to financial aid money. Students can also apply for Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. These programs are not part of a university’s budget, but are allotted by the federal government. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators, 25 percent more students are taking out federal student loans. Pell Grant usage has increased by 63 percent. Based on NAFAA data, 61 percent of colleges are seeing an increase of 10 percent or more in financial aid applications. To accommodate the needs of students, 74 percent of four-year institutions are offering more financial aid.
[news in brief] Trial delayed in Graduate Life Center murder case The trial for a former Virginia Tech doctoral student accused of a January murder in the Graduate Life Center has been postponed until 2010. Defendant Haiyang Zhu is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the beheading of 22-yearold graduate student Xin Yang in the Au Bon Pain Cafe at the GLC on Jan. 21, 2009.
Defense attorney Stephanie Cox asked for a continuance Tuesday to prepare Zhu’s defense, and the trial date was moved to Feb. 1, 2010. Zhu’s trial was originally scheduled for Nov. 16-19, 2009, in Montgomery County Circuit Court. by zach crizer
Virginia Tech student hospitalized with meningitis A 19-year-old Virginia Tech student has been diagnosed with meningitis, the only case in the entire New River Valley district. The student has been hospitalized and is still recovering with a good prognosis, according to Mark Owczarski, director of news and information. Aside from this case, there have been no other students at Tech with symptoms of the disease so far. The New River Health District is working with the Schiffert Health Center to proactively treat with antibiotics a total of 75 students, households and immediate family members who have been in close proximity with the affected Tech student, according to
Owczarski. “What we’ve done is try to be proactive and do the very best to get out and in front of it,” said Owczarski. “We sent an e-mail out to 40,000 students and staff to inform them that they may be at risk.” He is not currently at liberty to say whether the afflicted student lives on or off the Tech campus. The disease can be fatal, but the chances of death are low with early diagnosis and modern therapy. About 90 percent of those infected with the disease survive. “Upon recovery, the student will no longer be a threat to anyone else,” Owczarksi said. by priya saxena
Newman Library purchases Johnny Cash collection Virginia Tech’s Newman Library has acquired a collection of memoirs and memorabilia related to musician Johnny Cash and the Carter family. Currently available for research, the library hopes to put some of the highlights of the collection on display soon. “We have June Carter Cash’s autobiography which is signed by her, as well as Johnny Cash’s autobiography, written in 1980,” said Kira Dietz, Acquisitions and Processing Archivist at Newman Library. “There are also Maybelle Carter’s hunting and fishing licenses from 1975, which just provide an interesting addition to the collection. We even have the programs from Johnny and June Cash’s funerals, probably saved because they were famous.” Though the Special Collections department at Newman Library collects a wide variety of historical documents, it has a special focus on local Appalachian history. “A lot of the Carter family was originally from the Hilton,
Virginia area, so this collection has a local interest,” Dietz said. Newman Library purchased the collection from a single dealer in four separate parts, the first of which was acquired in June. It is unable to share the name of the dealer or the amount paid for the collection. Currently, the origins and past owners of the pieces in the collection are unknown. “We hope that interest and publicity surrounding the collection will prompt people to step forward in the future and share what they know about the history of pieces in the collection,” Dietz said. The Carter Family was a country music group in the early 20th century that originated in Southwest Virginia. Later, two of the Carters, Maybelle and her cousin Sara performed as “The Carter Sisters.” Maybelle’s daughter June married Cash in 1968, continuing the musical tradition. by claire sanderson
University alters smoking policies, follows state’s lead In accordance with the statewide smoking ban that will go into effect Dec. 1, 2009, Virginia Tech recently revised Smoking Policy 1010 to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of university buildings. “Basically, it is very simply in response to the fact that if you are very near a building, it is possible for secondhand smoke to blow back into the building entrances and ventilation systems,” said Mark Owczarski, director of news and information. The policy went into effect at the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year, but it was recently announced in a campus-wide annual notice on community standards. The revision states directly that “those who smoke out-
side of buildings are expected to be considerate and courteous of other individuals in the university community. Smoking locations should not impede traffic flow in or out of buildings and should be in a location where smoke cannot drift into office, class or living space. Additionally, smokers are asked to leave the smoking locations free of cigarette butts and other trash materials.” Smoking has been banned in all university buildings since 2003, except for designated lodging rooms in the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. The revision went through four stages of approvals of university governing boards, including the final Board of Visitors approval in March, Owczarski said. by billy mitchell
new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp kotlaba email@example.com/ 540.231.9865
september 30, 2009
Labyrinth: Project funded by national organization from page one
to be a viable option, but the church’s courtyard used to be a patch of grass between the sanctuary and the library with a large tree in the middle of the grass. “The tree was getting pretty old anyway,” Russell said. So the church decided to convert the space to a labyrinth. “At first we were like, ‘Can we really do it?’” Russell said. ERD stepped in and made the idea a concrete reality. The church received a grant of $25,000, roughly $15,000 of which has gone directly into the construction process, meaning that the church has not had to raise any extra money for the project. “They did a lot,” Russell said. “They worked with us as we went along.” Landscape architecture professor Ben Johnson oversaw the project in an advisory position. “I was basically the contractor and designer,” Johnson said. Johnson helped the church lay out plans for the renovation. He also brought some of his landscape architecture students in to help the congregation with the project. All of the work, from clearing the courtyard to laying stones and planting flowers around the perimeter of the labyrinth, was done by the congregation, made up of students and town residents alike. Senior mechanical engineering major David Bergquist was part of the construction team. “I was there at the start with five or 10 other students ripping up tree roots,” Bergquist said. Construction began in March 2008, and after about a year’s worth of work the labyrinth was nearly completed by last Easter. “We did the whole thing ourselves,” Russell said. “We actually ordered the stones from a kit.” The space does not feature merely the labyrinth but also several benches and plants on the perimeter, as well as a handicap-accessible ramp. Johnson said this was the first time handicap access was available directly into the main sanctuary of the church. Previously, those with mobility issues had to walk a much
Christ Episcopal Church held a special ceremony dedicating the labyrinth to the Virginia Tech community Sunday. longer route through the church’s library. The courtyard also features a peace pole, which is a signpost with prayers for peace written on it in several different languages. The final addition to the courtyard will be lighting, Russell said. After the lights are added later this fall, the church’s gardening committee will take over the care of the courtyard. The final plan is to have a large garden cultivated around the labyrinth. Johnson’s future vision is to have a therapeutic garden. “These trees around the labyrinth need to grow so that while you’re walking you’re only seeing green and Hokie stone,” Johnson said. Various religious groups have used labyrinths since the Middle Ages. The first recorded labyrinth used in a modern religious setting was around 1201 in the stone floor of the Chartes Cathedral in France. This labyrinth is a smaller model of the one in Chartes. “They’re an aid to meditation and prayer,” Russell said. “Many people
find it very peaceful because you know you’ll get to your destination.” Russell said that he hopes students and town residents will use the labyrinth along with church members. “We want it to be open 24 hours a day,” Russell said. “People can come here to walk the labyrinth of course, or just sit and eat lunch on our benches.” The labyrinth was blessed by the regional Episcopalian bishop this past Easter. The dedication ceremony on Sunday officially opened it to the public. “The desire was not to create a memorial,” Johnson said, “but rather to create a place for future generations to find quiet and peace.” Johnson said since the church is the oldest in Blacksburg, they wanted to make sure that they offered something to the community that came from the whole congregation. “Virginia Tech has always been connected to the community,” Bergquist said. “This is a cool way for the church to offer a place for students to reflect.”
nation & world headlines
Obama camp optimistic Chicago will win 2016 Olympics WASHINGTON — Team Obama starts arriving Wednesday in Copenhagen, the vanguard of a high-profile effort to win the 2016 Olympics for Chicago, the president’s adopted hometown. First lady Michelle Obama and top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett are to arrive at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Denmark on Wednesday to start lobbying in competition with three other bidders: Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro; and Tokyo. President Barack Obama will join them Friday in the first personal bid for an Olympics by a U.S. president. He’ll go head to head with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan and King Juan Carlos of Spain. The lobbying is personal, of course: The Obamas and Jarrett are from Chicago, as are many of the top White House staff. Jarrett said she was cautiously optimistic about the U.S. pitch, thanks in part to secret tips from
former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and broad support from most of the country. She said the message in Denmark would be that Chicago was a world-class city, a robust and diverse place that symbolized the American dream and could handle the Olympics easily. A recent poll for WGN and the Chicago Tribune found that 47 percent of respondents supported the bid and 45 percent opposed it. Chicago Olympics organizers say the poll reflected anxiety about whether taxpayers would be liable for unanticipated budget shortfalls. Chicago and Rio are the frontrunners to win the nod, according to one insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment: Chicago because it would be the first U.S.-hosted Summer Olympics in 20 years — the last was in Atlanta in 1996 — and Rio because it would be the first in South America. The IOC vote by secret ballot will take place after the leaders make
their pitches Friday. The vote may go several rounds until one country gets a majority, so the lobbying is intense even for second choice. One possible pivot point: Africa’s votes on the committee. Africans also have never hosted an Olympics and could empathize with Rio. On the other hand, Obama’s father was African and he’s the first AfricanAmerican U.S. president. The president and his wife used their contacts at last week’s G-20 summit to lobby for support. Vice President Joe Biden also has called countries to lobby. Just to be sure, Jarrett sat down with Blair for an hour in New York last week to hear how he successfully lobbied to win the Olympics for London in 2012. She declined to share his tips. “He gave us some tips. But I wouldn’t tell you,” she said. “Our competition is watching everything we do. This race isn’t over until we cross the finish line.” by steven thomma, mcclatchy newspapers
Senate panel rejects government-run insurance plan WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected by 15 to 8 a “public option,” or government-run health insurance plan — the first significant setback for the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Five Democrats joined all 10 Republicans in opposing the plan, suggesting that more trouble lies ahead when the House of Representatives and full Senate consider the legislation in mid-to-late-October. Four committees, three in the House and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, previously had backed the governmentrun option. The Senate Finance Committee, which on Tuesday began its second week on crafting comprehensive health care legislation, is expected instead to
endorse creating health insurance “cooperatives,” or nonprofit, member-run companies that would be organized on a state, local or national basis. The committee’s deliberations Tuesday were dominated by two themes: Should the government be heavily involved in health insurance coverage, and if so, how? Sen. Jay Rockefeller, DW.Va., the public option’s chief committee advocate, argued that the debate on the plan is overblown, that there are a lot of other provisions in the bill that will dramatically affect how people are covered. Lawmakers are fighting over the public option, he said, because “this is a 100 percent debate about the role of government. But we need to remember that the distrust of private insurers
is as big as the distrust of government.” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee’s top Republican, argued that “over time the government plan will be the only viable option for most Americans,” and that will lead to “rationing or delay of care.” Democratic opponents of a public option cited a variety of reasons for their opposition, including concerns about the impact of a public plan on rural areas and its ultimate cost. Democrats opposed to a public option were Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Tom Carper, D-Del.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. by david lightman mcclatchy newspapers
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Your Views [letters to the editor]
Don’t act like we have never won As alums living in Philadelphia, we are forced to watch our beloved Hokies win on TV now. Apparently we are also forced to watch the current students on campus act like a bunch of amateur fans after we win. Rushing the field twice in two weeks, after beating two similarly ranked teams? Rushing is reserved for outmatched teams that pull out the improbable win (see Washington over USC earlier this year). So current students — try to act like you’ve seen a win before. Although, if you plan to embarrass yourselves and rush after every win, you may burn off that freshman 15 after all.
Angela Hines alumna, 2005
Hokie respect off the ﬁeld also I am not sure when it started, but Virginia Tech has implemented Hokies Respect at all of its athletic events. The concept is basically this: be nice to each other, be nice to the opposing team and their fans, don’t cuss, don’t be a sloppy drunk and don’t throw crap on the field. Despite the fact that some Hokies booed both Nebraska and Miami when they entered the stadium, I love this Hokies Respect thing. I found myself caught up in it and have
gone out of my way to assist visiting fans with directions at the stadium and ideas for places to visit in Blacksburg. Here is my problem with Hokies Respect. What happens at the athletic event, stays at the athletic event. Once the game is over and the bars are closed, some fans start to lose their minds — especially after a big win. They drink themselves into a stupor and lose all common sense, causing problems for police, fire and rescue. Here’s something you may not know: The Blacksburg Fire Department and Blacksburg Rescue Squad (as well as Virginia Tech Rescue Squad) are 100 percent volunteer. These people leave their families at home and go out to respond to DUIs, alcohol poisoning calls, pulled fire alarms (false alarms), Dumpster fires (for some reason, this is the happening thing to do in Blacksburg around 3 a.m. after a home game) and mattress and couch fires. Yes, these men and women volunteered to join these organizations, but having to answer to calls caused by asinine, drunken morons takes their time away from other calls that may come in and that may involve more serious consequences. Don’t leave your respect at the game.
Lisa Sedlak class of 1994
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Green policies need to be fiscally responsible as well I
n the 20th century, English economist A.C. Pigou developed a provocative concept that would change economic thinking and the world. This new idea, inspired by his Cambridge colleague and mentor Alfred Marshall, was the theory of externalities. In his book, “Wealth and Welfare,” he advocated considering private and societal costs in economic analysis. These costs, or externalities, are byproducts of production that have no direct cost inherited by either the producer or the consumer, but instead are paid for by society as a whole. Externalities can benefit society, as in the case of positive externalities, or hurt it, as with negative externalities. Education, for example, has positive externalities: All people in society benefit from the increased productivity that comes with better education. Pollution from production, on the other hand, hurts the ecosystem, ruins lakes and rivers, lowers the quality of life (just ask people living in cities where the night sky is concealed by layers of smog) and is a negative externality. Over the course of the century, economists have largely accepted Pigou’s theory. What has not been accepted is the means of correcting these problems. Not surprisingly, Democrats support cap and trade, citing damages to the environment. Republicans fear that taxes on necessary goods, such as gas, pose a greater threat to the middle class, with many everyday Americans spending more and more of their incomes on simply getting to work. Democrats should sympathize with this argument as the party is vehemently against regressive taxes, or taxes that take a higher percentage of poor and middle class workers’ incomes than the wealthy, which the system would produce. As with many controversial issues, both concerns are legitimate problems. Sacrifices must be made, that is always true, but perhaps they needn’t be as excessive as either party’s plan would force. The following is, hope-
fully, a bilateral solution that could save Americans money without compromising environmental responsibility. Assume that people spend based on a short-term, cash-in-hand basis. If this is the case, the continued system of the cap and trade solution to externalities, or taxing the product to reduce frivolous and excessive spending, can be a workable solution. First, include a non-income-based tax credit to be given back to consumers yearly. Given the previous assumption, this will not change the effectiveness of cap and trade on reducing excess consumption. Also, this will allow for working class families to remain unharmed from what is currently a regressive tax system. This tax credit would reimburse consumers for the additional use of energy in proportion to the normal consumption per family size. For instance, a family of five would consume on average $1,000 worth of energy nationally. With a $0.25 tax in place they would receive a $250 reimbursement at the end of the year. This would then counterbalance the financial burden on working families for necessary consumption while still fulfilling the intent of externality regulation — the reduction of frivolous and wasteful consumption through reallocation of resources. Throughout the year, the government would invest the revenue generated by the tax. After the initial year, the earnings from the investment could be put toward researching alternative energy sources or lowering the national debt, which would also stimulate private investment by lowering the interest rate. This facet of the policy would also work to catalyze the entire economy as more efficient technology would increase productivity, ultimately leading to higher output and a higher standard of living — not including the benefits of a healthy environment. Many advocate public transporta-
tion and alternative means for workers’ commutes, but all too often, this is simply impossible. As someone who grew up having to drive 20 minutes to get into town, I can attest to the limitations of public transit. For Crozet, Va., to build a rail system would be economically insane. Driving to work this summer, 17 miles from my house, the gas adds up. I drive a small car and usually follow the speed limit, but the arrow still approaches the “E.” It can be very discouraging to have to use a quarter of your paycheck just to get to work the next week. If the true goal of cap and trade is to secure the blessings of nature for our children, then it needs to be done with purpose and fairness, both of which will allow the policy to work more efficiently. To do so, cap and trade must be carefully constructed to not penalize people trying to get to work every day, but to reward efficiency and deter wasteful self-indulgent consumption by the top 5 percent of income earners. This may not be a perfect model, and there is certainly a ways to go in the engineering of alternative energy systems. However, at schools and research institutions across the world and here at Virginia Tech there are many brilliant people working to fix those problems. If we can operate outside of the mutually exclusive, left-or-right school of thought, there is boundless potential for reducing negative externalities. The important facet of the policy is accomplishing these things without doing irreparable damage to the middle class.
SCOTT MASSELLI -regular columnist -sophomore -economics major
Principles of Community need to be respected The Principles of Community is important for Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, many students don’t know what it is. I have even heard students say it is nothing more than “a paper on the wall.” I wanted to take the opportunity to express my views of why the Principles of Community is important. I do so around some common misunderstandings that I have heard uttered on campus about these principles. The Principles of Community are commonly confused with freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. As U.S. citizens, we have the right to express our opinion in many different forms including speech, writing, movies, etc. This right is recognized under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many countries have similar recognition of this right. If we are guaranteed freedom of expression, why do we need Principles of Community? We need it because the Principles of Community goes beyond the individual right to express an opinion. The values stated in the Principles of Community document clearly recognize that we live and work in communities, not in isolation. In addition,
on the web
others in ways that rob them of their dignity. These acts, while protected by the Constitution, are not promoted by the Principles of Community. Again, our individual rights must be balanced with a deep recognition that we live together in a community. We might “control” our behavior and even curtail our freedom of speech a bit to ensure that we recognize the inherent dignity of all human beings. That is not to say that the Principles of Community is intended to restrict our freedom of expression. As a matter of record, the principles affirm “the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely.” However, the principles set the expectation that we behave in a way that creates a climate welcoming to all. Coincidentally, this idea is clearly expressed in the Hokies Respect campaign. We have all seen the ads, the stickers and Frank Beamer talking on the JumboTron during the games. We respect the opponents. They are welcome to our stadium. In my opinion, the Hokies Respect campaign is the best example of the Principles of Community that I have seen on campus. The sad truth is that we apply this to people from other universities when they visit Lane Stadium more than
[ ] The Principles of Community is available at www.vt.edu/ diversity/principles-ofcommunity.html. Hokie Respect is available at www.hokiesports.com/ respect.
the Principles of Community implicitly recognizes that we (as humans) do not have a good record of living with each other. Racism, genocide and many other forms of discrimination throughout human history have caused tremendous damage to others, in particular to people who live in close proximity to us, people who are all part of the same community. Therefore, the Principles of Community tries to find a balance between the individual right of freedom of expression and the rights we all have when we live in a community. The Principles of Community promotes mutual respect, dignity and understanding. Note that these three ideals might very easily be in conflict with freedom of expression. I can legally express opinions that are offensive to others or that describe
we apply it to other members of our own community. Who enforces the Principles of Community? Students have asked me this several times. If a student cheats on an exam, he violates the Honor Code and will face some very clear consequences (case raised in the Honor Court, for example). Do this several times and you might face even more dire consequences. The question is then, who watches for violations of the Principles of Community? And what happens if someone violates the principles? There is no office on campus in charge of it. Instead, it is the community that is in charge. We should not condone any behavior that is offensive to any member of the community. We all share the collective commitment to uphold these principles. Recently, President Charles Steger issued a statement reiterating that we must uphold the Principles of Community. He indicated that SafeWatch, the Office for Equity and Inclusion or the Dean of Students should be contacted if you experience or witness a bias-related incident. What do we do when someone crosses the line? First of all, we have to understand what line we are talking about. If it is the freedom of expression line, we
simply recognize he has that right and let him be. But if in the process of expressing his opinion, he insults other members of the community, then the Principles of Community gives us all the right to call them out. We all have the right to say, “We don’t want this type of language/ behavior in our community.” Each of us has that right; the Constitution gives it to us. But as a community, we have the right to protect the dignity, integrity and respect of each other that we want in our community. In closing, at the heart of understanding the Principles of Community is understanding the difference between individual rights and community rights. The Constitution gives each of us the right to say many things, including hateful things. However, that doesn’t make it right (i.e., correct) for any of us to abuse those privileges by insulting or attacking others. And if someone does, the community has the right (i.e., moral obligation, collective commitment) to call him out. In my opinion, the Principles of Community at Virginia Tech is important because it clearly and explicitly brings out the distinction between those three rights.
MANUEL PEREZ-QUINONES -guest columnist -associate professor of computer science
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Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative offers bike ﬁxes free of charge RYAN ARNOLD features reporter “How many people does it take to get the chain back on?” Andy Mueller asked sarcastically, shaking his hand in pain. Mueller, a graduate student in forestry and first-time visitor to the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative, had pinched his fingers helping to repair an ailing bicycle named “Free Spirit.” Moments later, Ritchie Vaughan finagled the links into place, her light-pink tank top speckled with grease. Vaughan, a graduate student in forestry, is president of the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative. The cooperative is a donationbased, student-run outfit offering free bicycle construction and maintenance. The group exists to advocate bicycling as central transportation over extraneous vehicle use. And unlike other passive bicycle shop experiences, the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative encourages customers to be hands-on. They can apply their new knowledge on subsequent visits and help other bicycle novices. “I find it very meaningful to teach other people how to work on bikes and to get people on bikes,” Vaughan said. The group formed three years ago, influenced by a student’s senior capstone project. Tom McDaniel, Virginia Tech alumnus, constructed a Web site in the spring of 2006 for tracking bicycle usage. After creating a username and password, the Web site members could post their per-day bicycling mileages by utilizing resources such as Google Maps Pedometer to calculate distances. The data was then displayed for universal viewing. The Web site
Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative
Where: 1101 Glade Road When: Monday and Thursday 6 - 9 p.m.
generated enough word-of-mouth interest to start “Bike Challenge,” a competition among individuals and teams to record the biggest numbers. Tech alumnus Yusef Messallam recognized the enthusiasm for “Bike Challenge” as a catalyst for a bicycle cooperative. “I saw that there was interest in cycling as a lifestyle,” Messallam said, “not just competing or racing and such, but as something that you do as part of your daily routine.” Prior to attending Tech, Messallam was a member of a bicycle cooperative in his hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif. He worked alongside fellow Tech alumnus Aaron Barr to establish a Blacksburg version in the fall of 2006. Barr afforded his house on Turner Street for the first Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative location. The YMCA donated bicycles, community members contributed bicycle components, and Messallam bought the first set of tools. After a stint on Toms Creek Road, the cooperative now operates out of Vaughan’s Glade Road backyard where Messallam’s tools are still in the mix. Alongside Vaughan, Graham Snyder, junior geosciences major, and Jon Wyatt, a graduate student in forestry, comprise the principal cooperative mechanics. Under the brick house’s two-story wooden deck, approximately 30 bicycle frames are haphazardly stacked, and others dot the concrete patio where “Free Spirit” was revived. A sliding screen door at the slab’s edge
Senior industrial and systems engineering major Austin Knies tightens spokes at the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative located on Glade Road. leads into the cooperative “shop,” a basement room littered with bicycle paraphernalia. Covering much of the walls are rows of bicycle wheels varying in diameter, and nearby are countless tires of different treads and thicknesses. Along the baseboards, boxes overflow with parts such as handlebars and brake calipers. Deflated tire tubes reside in a Blue Moon beer case (although the cooperative prefers Pabst
Blue Ribbon). A countertop supports plastic drawers labeled with contents, including handlebar plugs, brake pads and spoke nipples. Despite all the equipment, the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative only manages to use a fraction of the gear, partially because of slim operating hours since the staff makes academics a priority. Messallam, now general manager of Bike Barn in Blacksburg, acknowledged the cooperative’s limitations
but underscored the success of its mission. “It’s a small space,” Messallam said. “It doesn’t handle a lot of volume, but the fact is it gets people talking. It gets people thinking and talking about bikes.” And Vaughan has sensed a shift in Blacksburg bicycle culture. “I think the size of the community is definitely expanding,” Vaughan said, “and I would attribute that both to economic conditions —
gas prices — to awareness of sort of green environmental endeavors.” Cooperative attendee Andy Mueller hopes the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative can help him realize his unique take on alternative transportation. A two-wheeled bicycle is not on his agenda — he could never quite leave the assurance of training wheels. Mueller proclaimed: “I’m interested in building a trike.”
Alternative energy: Visiting instructor’s class utilizes algae as biofuel, building block RYAN ARNOLD features reporter Architecture students often design with concrete, steel and wood in mind. Now they’ve added algae to their materials list. The photosynthetic organisms seem more fitting as congealed-like soup atop static waters than woven into the built environment. Yet Michael Ezban, visiting instructor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has introduced a course called “Algae Armatures,” which invites students to utilize algae as a design element. While algae undoubtedly provide a unique aesthetic, their purpose isn’t strictly visual. Algae are forerunners in the development of biofuels, which is energy retrieved from renewable biological materials. Algae are essentially squeezed for their oils, which are then refined into a usable form to power, among other things, cars. KYLE MOIR/SPPS “The idea with (this class),” Ezban said, “is how do you couple biofuel production with Visiting instructor Michael Ezban speaks with Autumn Visconti and Adam Sexton, existing infrastructure and existing city fabboth ﬁfth-year students in landscape architecture, regarding their class project. rics?” Several disciplines comprise “Algae Ezban’s interest in algae has subtle origins in soil. Ezban sought how the technique behind Armatures.” Students from architecture, such a cultivation practice could then inform landscape architecture and industrial design his own student portfolio. In academia, Ezban said he explored a design. occupy the eight-person class. Mark Kerscher, “Algae is a crop,” Ezban explained, “and to a senior industrial design major, said he signed creative intersection between agriculture and up to diversify his portfolio as much as possible architecture. While a graduate student at the me, it’s just farming in a kind of different University of Michigan, his thesis project form.” with graduation approaching. The algae farmer might have the most lax “I select classes based on what would help focused on “fidal remediation,” which is a me get a job,” Kerscher said, “and right now way to clean a post-industrial site; plants can duties of them all. Unlike other biofuel crops be used to extract toxins from contaminated such as soybeans and corn, algae are hydrosustainability is pretty big.”
Want to Go? Check out the project exhibition Nov. 20 in Cowgill Hall Lobby.
ponic, meaning they don’t require soil. The necessary water for algae need not be potable either because recycled “gray water” from devices like showers and washing machines can support their early growth. Since algae are liberated from the restraints of arable land, they become versatile as architectural components that can be grafted into current contexts. The two design projects in “Algae Armatures” touch on the possibilities. For the first assignment, Ezban placed students into pairs and presented the duos different sites: an urban park, a building facade, a highway and a parking lot. “What they were asked to do,” Ezban said, “was spend time brainstorming about the spatial ramifications of biofuel production in those areas.” The parking lot team, for example, conceptualized an algae canopy that would float above the pavement. As a result, the algae would reduce the heat produced by the blacktop and collect rainwater, preventing excess sewer drainage. Further, algae readily absorb great amounts of carbon dioxide and also devour a portion of vehicle emissions. “By layering the idea of what a parking lot can be,” Ezban said, “we’re turning it from this neutral — or even, I would say, detrimental — urban situation, into an energy-producing zone.”
The other student teams suggested frameworks like scaffolding and screens to infuse algae into their sites. The final, longer project is now underway. The prompt asks students to create an algae armature, or a framework that suspends or supports the algae, that ties into the Virginia Tech Power Plant. They’ll spend time analyzing the facility from its physical energy processes to the surrounding pedestrian traffic. The design product intends to curb the power plant’s carbon dioxide waste stream while shaping the visual experience of passersby. And it’s not implausible that “Algae Armatures” could yield physical tests of its designs. “We have a research facility that can easily demonstrate this,” said Jack Davis, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Davis said the faculty looks forward to observing the course’s output. A positive reception could perhaps attract grant money to help manifest student ideas. Despite the promise of algae, Ezban stressed that there are drawbacks. Notably, the carbon dioxide algae trap still resides in their oil extracts. When it’s burned, the gas will ultimately make its way into the atmosphere. Ezban said the goal of using algae is to make waste productive for as long as possible. “I don’t want to hold algae production up as like this silver bullet to all of our energy problems,” Ezban said. The solution is complex, he said, and will require the consensus of many fields of study. The pond only supplies potential.
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september 30, 2009
Water polo loses stars, changes focus Catching up with Tech great Bryan Randall
MICHAEL BEALEY sports staff writer Virginia Tech’s club water polo team is moving in a new direction. In the past three years, the team has compiled a 34-2 record, including back-to-back undefeated seasons in 2006 and 2007. It also has two Atlantic Division titles and two appearances at the CWPA National Championships. While the team has been successful in those years thanks to the individual talents of players like Rory Brannan and Chris Roil, both 2008 first team All-Conference selections, the team’s focus is different this year. With both Brannan and Roil gone, a more team-oriented philosophy is being implemented. “We just have to transition from one or two people scoring all our goals, to having everyone on the team contribute,” said Joe Dorsch, junior perimeter player and club president. Last season, Brannan played the critical water polo position of hole set. The duties at hole set are comparable to a center’s duties in basketball. The player “posts up” in front of the goal, waits for a pass and can then either work to shoot or pass it back outside. Brannan dominated at the hole set position for Tech. “He was a main guy, and we focused a lot of our offense around him,” said Scott Wilson, sophomore perimeter player. “Now we’ll have more of a circulating hole set.” With less reliance on Brannan and Roil, practices will be more disciplined and focused on improving the collective team play. Last year, focus during practice became an issue. “We lost some seniors who in game time were our bigger scorers but in practice they were the guys who screwed around a lot,” said Braxton Vinson, junior hole set and club vice president. This year, according to Vinson, that problem isn’t present. “We’ve got more focus on conditioning and things like that,” Vinson said of his 2009 team. Dorsch agreed. “Some of the older guys who were producing and grad students — they were sort of getting lazy,” Dorsch said. “The team is a lot younger this year and so everyone is more willing to work hard.”
RYAN TRAPP sports reporter Bryan Randall is one of the most successful quarterbacks in Virginia Tech history. The gridiron warrior holds Tech records for career passing yards (6,508) and career total offensive yards gained (8,034). In 2004, Randall’s senior season, he led Tech to its first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, picking up ACC Offensive Player of the Year and Dudley Award honors along the way. Randall sat down with the Collegiate Times to talk about Hokie football and life since Tech. JOSHUA MILLER/SPPS
Club water polo vice president Braxton Vinson searches for a possible target during a team practice last season. The team must replace two ﬁrst team all-conference selections from last year. Practices are now centered less on just scrimmaging and more on fundamentals. For newer players who may have a swimming background but have not played water polo, this is critical. While water polo is increasing in popularity on the East Coast, it is still primarily a West Coast sport. Many players join the team with little to no experience. Often times, high schools on the East Coast don’t offer water polo as a varsity sport. As a result, those interested don’t have an opportunity to play. “I think in the West it’s just always been a big sport,” Wilson said. “Funding is a big deal with water polo, and some schools just don’t have the money.” “It’s almost like there’s this tight-knit community of water polo players up and down the East Coast,” Vinson said. To help players get used to playing the game, the team tries to spend at least a half an hour of practice working on passing drills, which allow players to improve on ball skills and general awareness. “If you try hard in practice, you get the basics, you’re learning and you’re willing to learn, that’s a big deal,” Wilson said.
Despite the loss of some of the team’s more talented veterans, Tech maintains the same goals as years past. “We want to win,” Vinson said. “We want to go to nationals again. That’s our goal. I think that’s something that needs to be brought in is that focus towards that.” “That includes coming to practices before the tournaments,” Vinson said. “That includes not being lazy at practice. We’ve got a lot of guys who aren’t really self-motivated, which is difficult because we don’t actually have a coach. You’ve got to kind of have your own thing going there to do well. So I want to see that more in more guys, and we’ve got a couple of the freshmen who are new and haven’t been playing, but I can already see it that they really want to be better at this, and they really want to be a part of that.” At the end of last season, the team experienced a particularly difficult time when it lost one of its teammates. On Dec. 20, 2008, freshman Greg Weiner died in a skateboarding accident. Weiner swam and played water polo in high school, which provided valuable experience for the team. Weiner was one of only two freshmen to
travel with the team last year and had a unique advantage because he was left-handed. Left-handed players are important because they allow teams to launch two-sided attacks. “He was really important to us in practice,” Vinson said. “We realized how much he could bring to the team, and he was only a freshman, but we never really got to see it.” Weiner wasn’t just seen as a great player, he was also considered a great friend. “He was an all-around great person,” Wilson said. “He made everyone laugh, he traveled with us my freshman year, and everyone liked him on the team. Being freshmen, we bonded, and we would go through stuff together, like having to carry stuff in for the team.” The team is hoping to honor Weiner through a special tournament. “We are trying to organize a memorial tournament for him in his name and try to get that to be an annual event in the spring,” Dorsch said. The water polo team begins its season at North Carolina State University on Oct. 3, where it will play in the Atlantic Division Southern Regional tournament. It will begin the tournament against the University of Virginia.
Collegiate Times: You’re playing in the Canadian Football League now. How is that experience going for you so far? Bryan Randall: Well, I was actually just released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers two weeks ago, but I’m trying to get on another team. It’s a lot of fun — a little bit different atmosphere, and the business side is different too, but it’s still a chance to play football professionally, and that is a blessing. CT: Obviously, there’s higher talent at the next level of play, but what is the level of competition in the CFL compared to other venues you’ve played on? Randall: The athletes up here are tremendous. A lot of guys would definitely be capable of playing on NFL rosters. The level of play up here is much better than most people would think. CT: What about the workload up there? What’s your practice and game schedule like? Randall: Well, up here they have a four-hour rule, which means you’re limited to a maximum of four hours of practice and meetings a day. It was set up by the CFL Players Association. CT: Do you think that affects the level of play? Randall: I think it helps and hurts. It creates a level playing field that makes the league more competitive, but it also affects how much teams can get done in meetings and mini camps. CT: You played with several NFL teams before winding up in the CFL. What was that experience like for you? Randall: It was great. It’s definitely been a dream of mine to play at that level, and a big thing for me was that on all the teams I was with I never thought I didn’t belong. In every situation I always felt like I was capable of playing at that level. CT: Do you stay in touch with anyone from Tech? Randall: You go through a lot of teammates while playing football. I try to stay in touch with guys here and there through social networks, but it gets hard. But I’ve always had good relationships with the people I played with at Tech. CT: What do you miss most about college ball, if anything? Randall: Just the love for the game at that level — once you get to the professional level, business takes over a little more than the actual playing of the game. I also really missed the people I played with. I loved college football. CT: What about your greatest memory in the maroon and orange? Randall: Winning an ACC Championship my senior year. It was kind of like the icing on the cake for my Virginia Tech career. I had been through a lot of peaks and valleys, a lot of ups and downs, but it was a great way to end it. CT: Do you keep up with the Hokies nowadays? Randall: Oh, absolutely. One of the things you’ll find out at the professional level is everyone still has something to say about their school. I’ll always be a Virginia Tech supporter. CT: They have a pretty deep backfield with Evans, Williams, Wilson, Oglesby — you played
with two of the greatest running backs in Tech history in Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones. Any comparisons? Randall: From what I’ve seen, they definitely have a lot of talent. It’s still too early to put a stamp on them. We’ll have to see how their seasons and careers play out, but I definitely see the potential for them to be really good. CT: What’s it like as a quarterback to have a running game you can rely on week in and week out? Randall: It’s very important. It takes the pressure off the quarterback and off the passing game. When there’s no real threat to run, it’s a lot harder to throw the ball through coverage. When they have to respect the running game, it’s a big, big help. CT: You hold Tech records in passing yards, total yards of offense, passing touchdowns, and were arguably the most proficient passer in Tech history. Since you’ve graduated, there’s been a quarterback carousel almost. There was the Marcus Vick experiment — Glennon and Taylor were sharing snaps for two seasons. What helped you have the success you did at Tech? Randall: Well, it’s mostly hard work and sticking with it. My teammates had a lot of confidence in me, and it was all about attitude. Quarterbacks take a lot more blame than they deserve, but they also get a lot more credit. I felt like I had the right demeanor and attitude to stick through it. CT: At times, back-up quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton has been compared to you as the kind of quarterback he is. Who is Bryan Randall as quarterback? Randall: I haven’t had the opportunity to see Ju-Ju play, but he’ll need to have a confidence in himself. He’ll need to be a guy that can do it with his arms, legs, can be a great leader and can control the game. CT: You were around for the beginning of the Bryan Stinespring era at Tech. He’s come under a lot of fire recently with his ability as offensive coordinator, but how was your relationship with Stinespring? Randall: My relationship with him was good. We always had an open line of communication. He was always very open and trying to do things that would help the quarterback and offense. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. He’s doing the best job he can, and he’s putting the quarterback in a position to win games. CT: What about life after football for you? Randall: Coaching has come across my mind — commentating too. But I’m not really sure yet. CT: All right, final question. How are the Hokies going to do this season? Randall: I think we’ll win an ACC Championship. But championship or not, we’ll play the same kind of Hokie football that’s always been entertaining and fun to watch.
bryan randall’s school records Season Totals second in total offense 2,775 (2002) second in passing touchdowns 21 (2004) fourth in passing yards 2,264 (2003) Game Totals second in total offense 495 vs. Syracuse (2002) second in passing yards 504 vs. Syracuse (2002) Play Totals third longest pass play 87 yards to Ernest Wilford vs. Syracuse (11/9/2002) 15th longest run play 74 yards vs. Syracuse (10/11/2003)
Published on Sep 30, 2009