Tech fans are tired of losi ng. see page six Friday, November 20, 2009
An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
COLLEGIATETIMES 106th year, issue 120
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Features, page 2
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Event aims to rekindle search for Harrington
Blacksburg, university strive for construction certiﬁcations BY LIANA BAYNE | news reporter
D’ ‘LEE the ing Tak
Green buildings are becoming a concrete reality as Virginia Tech and Blacksburg continue to work together in a commitment to sustainability. The newly renovated Blacksburg Motor Company on South Main Street and the new Theatre 101 building on College Avenue will be among the first LEED-certified buildings in the town. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an international system of rating buildings based on their environmental impacts. It takes into account water and energy efficiency as well as the materials used during design and construction. All new construction on campus will be certified on at least the silver level of LEED, according to the Climate Action Commitment Resolution, approved by Tech’s Board of Visitors in June. The resolution is a 14-point plan that outlines Tech’s goals for environmental friendliness. The plan includes a commitment to LEED-certified buildings. Denny Cochrane, manager of the office of sustainability, said that the plan would function as a roadmap for future construction. “Although we tried to design and build to LEED standards in the past,” Cochrane said, “this puts a little more teeth into it.” In order to become fully LEED certified, a building must be registered with the United Sates Green Building Council, the independent nonprofit organization that administers and oversees LEED certifications in the U.S. While neither the Blacksburg Motor Company building nor the Theatre 101 building have received official certifications, both are expected to garner gold certifications. The certification categories are certified, silver, gold and platinum. Buildings are given points for water and energy efficiency, the sustainability of the site and the materials used, the indoor environmental quality and the innovation of the design process.
Classifieds, page 4
MA RK UM AN SK Y/S PP S
PRIYA SAXENA news staff writer Participating communities around the world will light candles in a vigil for missing Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. Kenny Jarels, a member of the electrical and computer engineering technical support staff at Virginia Tech, is teaming up with several others in moderating and spreading awareness about the event. The vigil, called “Light The World For Morgan,” intends for people to come out of their homes and show the Harringtons HARRINGTON that people are out there and still hoping for her safe return home, Jarels said. The vigil will be held around the country until 10 p.m. However, Tech students are not the only people who plan to participate, Jarels said. He said the organizers had received
many responses from the U.K. and registered confirmations from individuals in France, Canada and other states in the U.S. from Hawaii to New York. “All we’re doing is we’re showing that we haven’t given up hope that Morgan can come home safely,” Jarels said. “It’s a support of Daniel and Gil Harrington.” Jarels said he hoped all the neighbors would come out at 9 p.m., along with the Harrington family, to demonstrate their support. The idea for this event originated from many individuals posting their thoughts and ideas on a message board on a Web site dedicated to Harrington’s search, FindMorgan.com. “We feel like at this particular time of Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect time to do it,” Jarels said. “We want to lift up their spirits. We want them to see the support from practically here all the way to California.” Harrington, 20, disappeared on Oct. 17 near a Metallica concert that was held in the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
Dangerous combo Steven Clarke, director of the Virginia Tech Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, said one Joose is equal to two to three cups of coffee and four to five beers.
see LEED / page ﬁve
JOSH SON/COLLEGIATE TIMES
FEDERAL AUTHORITIES CONSIDER BAN ON BEVERAGES POPULAR WITH MANY STUDENTS
The Blacksburg Motor Company’s playfully decorated rainwater collection system helps reduce run-off by using rain for other purposes, such as watering a garden.
Occupants adjusting to a co-ed Pritchard LAURA JENSEN news staff writer The opening of a co-ed Pritchard Hall for the 2009-10 academic season was met with apprehensive students, especially the new inhabitants of the dorm — women — breaking the 43-year male streak. Pritchard, which opened in 1967, previously stood as the largest all-male dorm on the East Coast. The reason behind the change and addition of females is a changing pattern among admitted students. Female enrollment has outpaced male enrollment since 1999. While males made up 60 percent of Virginia Tech’s enrollment in 1999, the gap has closed to 57 percent males and 43 percent females this semester. Many legendary stories and traditions have been passed down through out the approximate half-century of the all-boys
dorm. Some of these traditions still haunt the current female inhabitants. “It smells permanently like pee and popcorn,” said freshman university studies major Allison Holland. She also added that she has seen profane words carved in the elevators, desktops, inside of closets and throughout the stairways. Though some minor concerns are apparent throughout Pritchard, overall there have been positive opinions of its new female inhabitants and the residential life faculty members within the dorm. “When I first found out I was kind of upset that I was going to be living there,” said freshman English major Michelle Spulga. “My sister went here and was completely making fun of me,” said. “But once I moved in they cleaned it up and added all new furniture, it’s just like any other dorm.” Pritchard was renovated prior to the
fall semester to include newly finished bathrooms, more furniture, new doors, new paint jobs and a redecorated game room. The additions added more flair to the seemingly dull windy and twisted hallways of the 201,161-square-foot dorm. The additions “make it seem like you’re not just living in a block,” said Pritchard Complex Director Lis Ellis. “I think (the changes) were more a priority with Pritchard because the new addition of females for the first time ever was such a big change.” Even though Pritchard is no longer a single sex dorm, there are still many others that exist on campus. Currently, there are still three all-female dorms — East Campbell Hall, Main Eggleston Hall and Johnson Hall — while there are also still three other all-male dorms: Miles Hall, Barringer Hall and Vawter Hall. Opinions of single-sex dorms remain mixed among many of the students at
Tech, though the residential staff sees no realistic way of cutting any more of the remaining single-sex dorms. “The students that live in those dorms are proud of where they are,” Ellis said. “I don’t think that’s ever going to change. Recognizing that Virginia as a whole is pretty conservative says a lot; I think to have that as an option will never go away.” Nonetheless, various pro’s and con’s between the single-sex and co-ed dorms exist. “You don’t always have to worry about seeing girls,” said freshman engineering student and Vawter resident Andrew Hathaway. Hathaway also said some inequalities might exist because of single-sex dorms. “Our bathrooms are terrible,” he said. “I think they don’t make them as nice because they know it’s an all-guys dorm and is going to get dirty and stay dirty.”
The Collegiate Times will cease publication over Thanksgiving break until Dec. 1.
A federal inquiry into the safety of caffeinated alcoholic beverages may end sales of the hybrid drinks unless manufacturers demonstrate the safety of their products. In a Nov. 13 press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it had sent a letter to 30 manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages regarding the safety and legality of their products. Among the companies listed were United Brands Company, Inc., producer of Joose, and Phusion Projects LLC, makers of Four Loko. The letter informed the companies that if it is determined that the use of caffeine in alcoholic beverages is not labeled by the FDA as “Generally Recognized As Safe,” the agency could bring sanctions, including the removal of the product from stores. The release adds there are no regulations permitting the addition of caffeine, at any level, into alcoholic beverages. The release noted that the FDA had only given approval for caffeine to be used as an ingredient in soft drinks at approved levels. Large brewers, such as MillerCoors, agreed in December 2008 to remove caffeine from its popular drink Sparks. Anheuser-Busch also agreed to remove caffeine from its beverages Tilt and Bud Extra. Steven Clarke, director of the Virginia Tech Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, said the drinks were particularly popular among college-age drinkers. “I do get a lot of students consuming these beverages,” Clarke said. “You don’t really see anybody else consuming these drinks.” Local managers for 7-Eleven and
Kroger, two chains that sell the beverages locally, were unable to comment about the products’ popularity for this story. Clarke said that the inclusion of caffeine could mask the negative effects of consuming alcohol. “One of the important cues your body gives when you’re drinking is reduced energy,” Clarke said. “Increasing those energy levels masks that effect. It gets rid of that natural gauge.” Philip Bogenberger, a public relations specialist for the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control, said that the drinks create what he called a “wide-awake drunk.” “Because you’re getting the caffeine you may not be realizing the level of alcohol you’re consuming,” Bogenberger said. “You may not show some of the symptoms of someone who consumes a beer or wine.” A study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that students consuming energy drinks with alcohol were more likely to be injured, be involved in nonconsensual sex, or ride with a drunken driver. Clarke noted that one 23.5 ounce can of the beverage Joose could contain as much alcohol as 4.3 standard servings of alcohol along with as much caffeine as two or three cups of coffee. Clarke said he would be in favor of the products being removed from the shelves. “I think they’re dangerous,” Clarke said. “It’s irresponsible of the beverage industry to have these for sale.” by ct news staff
Fraternity to run game ball to UVa for charity The brothers of Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, will be running 157 miles from Blacksburg to Charlottesville in an effort to raise money to support the philanthropic organization, the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. Brothers from both the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech chapters will run for 24 hours carrying the game ball that will be used in the football game between the two colleges on Nov. 28.
The race is set to start Nov. 27 and will commence with the brothers of the UVa FIJI chapter presenting the game ball at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville in time for kickoff. The chapters are hoping to raise $50,000 this year, bringing their total funds raised over the last five years to $205,000. FIJI’s efforts have funded several cancer research grants and continue to spread awareness. by victoria james
editors: topher forhecz, teresa tobat firstname.lastname@example.org/ 540.231.9865
november 20, 2009
She said: Parental relationships can change drastically in college M
JAMIE MARTYN/COLLEGIATE TIMES
He said: Distance makes the heart grow fonder I
’m eager for numerous things over Thanksgiving break. Per a former coach’s request, I’ll attend basketball practices with my high school’s current squad. A new cinema with stadium seating just opened, and I plan to catch up on my movie list. And certainly I’ll cherish the coma that results from turkey’s clever chemical — tryptophan (and its side-dish friends). Yet one event of great anticipation might seem mundane — I can’t wait to ride in my dad’s newly acquired Subaru station wagon. No, driving it I don’t desire; I just want to see Pops grin as he revs his extremely practical ride. He had an Acura Integra for roughly an eon, and the paint eroded so badly that the trees under which he parked must not have dripped sap but corrosive acid. The leather seats were shredded as though every passenger had knives for shoulder blades. Still, I’m bummed the two-door is no more. I came to know that car very well. In fact, I feel it encompassed an evolution: my relationship with my parents. The vehicle as a thing is very telling of family. When we were little tykes, parents often sacrificed loads of time for our extracurricular routines. They toted us in muddy cleats to the ball field, and they stuck around for moral support. Plus, who wants to miss their kid crush a homerun (just beyond the infield)? Or they sped us over to Scouts just in time to watch with considerable boredom the troop
tie sort-of-knots for an hour. Regardless, the vehicle not only made the delivery, but it stayed parked for the duration of family bonding. Then we started wearing JNCO jeans and burning CDs, and the local mall became a misinformed nucleus for teen cool. Parents chauffeured us there at inopportune times, and we shed them and the car like unwelcome parasites, feeding on our tender reputation. I think deep down we appreciated the gesture, but the vehicle’s fleeting nature reflected the freedom we were beginning to explore. Eventually we surpassed (most of) the angst and managed decent relations, but suddenly secondary school had passed. Just several years ago — only this fall for some — our parents brought us to the Tech campus, their vehicle completing its cycle in our lives as a one-way vessel. The Integra exited my every-day existence, and so did my parents. And despite their absence, I’d argue that college manages to bring you closer to the empty-nesters. In one regard, you’re still dependent on them, which becomes strikingly clear. You might not ask for a ride to the skating rink, but you’ll nudge their side for extra cash when your own whip gets towed from a friend’s apartment. Although they no longer pack your Ninja Turtles lunch pale, you’ll still beg for sustenance when your dining plan magically empties with a month left in the semester. Aside from bank accounts, though, you’re maturing into an adult, which yields a parental
connection you didn’t have before. During those catch-up phone chats, discussions can range from the importance of internships to health insurance options. Their crucial knowledge makes the real-world transition tolerable. But the topic isn’t always that heavy. Maybe it’s excitement over their upcoming visit. And it’s always fun when they (try to) weave into university life by pumping a keg at a party. Parent-child beer pong teams are somehow unstoppable, and even with no prior experience, moms throw flawless matches with the most seasoned cornhole players at tailgates. So while they aren’t driving us to Dixie Youth, they do still toss balls by our side. And we’re not sewing Scout patches, but they can certainly guide our beanbag seams. Maybe at the core, not much has actually changed. Except now we’re capable of giving back. I might ask to drive the Subaru next week then, in which case I’ll tell my parents the destination is finally up to them. And if it happens to be the mall, I’ll have to pull my 34-inchpant-leg JNCO Kangaroos from the closet.
RYAN ARNOLD -features reporter -senior -went skydiving in the Rockies
y current friends wouldn’t recognize the person I was in high school. I was a saint: a girl who never broke curfew, avoided classmates’ parties and always went to bed at 11 p.m. I rarely fought with my parents, and if I did, Dad always reduced me to blubbering, shameful tears. But when I started college five hours away from my parents, I went crazy. I cut off all my beautiful hair and started dressing like a British pop-punk groupie, could sniff out a party every night of the weekend and I began to — gasp — stay out late with guys. The freedom was exhilarating. I wasn’t the “good girl” my parents had always known. I didn’t want to disappoint them, so I stopped communicating — and started rebelling. My rocky relationship with my mom changed drastically in one moment. While at home, in the dumps about some dumb boy, Mother took one look at me. “You look depressed,” she said. “Have a cigarette and a beer.” In that instant, the “mom” image that I’d always known had shattered. Don’t get me wrong. Throughout my childhood, Mother was always a great mom to my brother and me. She’d supported even my short-lived cheerleading stint, invented games for us to play on road trips, taught us the magic of The Beatles and made the best Philly cheesesteaks on the planet. But she was always strict, and I was afraid to cross her for fear of my life. With the aforementioned “cigarette and beer” episode, Mother was no longer the stern “parental unit” I’d known. She was still my mom, but she’d transformed into my friend. She’d accepted that I was an adult and made my own decisions, even if I might be tarring up my lungs and decimating my liver. Mother understood me as an adult and no longer a child, and since then we’ve become extremely close. If you want to get “Anne of Green Gables” about it, we’re “kindred spirits.” Now when I visit my parents’ house, it’s not a matter of doing chores, having an early bedtime, or cloistering any bad habits I might have picked up in the last six years. We play Apples to Apples for hours on end, sing karaoke as Dad shreds on his custom Peavey guitar or we have a few beers and share stories
around the fire pit. Now our relationship is very relaxed, unlike the twisted familial drama that played out my freshman year. But for the most part, parents understand the collegiate lifestyle, as they were your age once. When you become an adult, barriers tend to break down. For example, I’ve partied with some of my friends’ parents. When your friend’s dad, whom you still call “Mister,” whoops you on Champs’ air hockey table, or when a feisty mom is the star pong player at the party, you know that the dynamic has changed since high school. Sharing these experiences with parents reaffirms that our folks can understand and treat us as fun-loving adults. But some parents remain the dreaded “parental units.” Once, I had dinner with a roommate’s rigid parents, and it was like going to O’Charley’s with Stalin and Mao. I was absolutely terrified of how I might offend them and the possible repercussions. I couldn’t even joke that my hobbies included “drinking” and “making poor decisions.” I sat still and chewed silently on my steak the entire time. To those with “parental units,” I must congratulate you for being the ultimate hideand-seek champions. Concealment of your collegiate vices from your parents takes a level of restraint that I couldn’t hope to possess. It’s painful enough for me to rein in my potty mouth, let alone keep a better part of my life secret from the people who used to change my diapers. Of course, maybe you don’t have to worry. Maybe you’re like I used to be — a saint. But if your parents just think you’re one, don’t be shy about grabbing your friends’ parents and forming a devastating flip-cup team. Trust me, it’s OK. When we’re our parents’ age, I bet we’ll be doing the exact same thing — for old time’s sake.
LAKEN RENICK -features reporter -English major -high school badminton champion
editor: debra houchins email@example.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
november 20, 2009
The Collegiate Times is an independent student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
Your Views [letters to the editor]
Uggs and frats are not the issue
n response to the accusations made by the column titled “Students shouldn’t feel they need to conform” (CT, Nov. 17), I’d like to throw in my two cents, which rarely buys you anything these days. Perhaps my two cents will get me the satisfaction of putting to rest some of the ridiculous statements made in the column, which ironically were quite conformist to unoriginal thoughts voiced by non-fraternity males who think Uggs are ugly. To clue you in, many girls agree that Uggs are ugly as well, but if you had not noticed, Blacksburg can turn into a frozen tundra that requires warmer footwear. Therefore, when we wear Uggs it is not in fact because we want to look like Eskimos, think guys love it, or are trying to win over a husband — perhaps it is because they are sensible shoes and not necessarily fashionable ones we are interested in. I find it incredibly interesting that the author put down spandex and boots in the vein of it being unoriginal and not impressive to the less fair sex while spouting the ideals of women’s recent climb toward equality in the last 40 years. Interestingly enough, most girls I know came to college to get a B.S. or B.A. degree and not their MRS. The author sadly did not look beyond the appearance of the bright, intelligent collegiate woman at the university, which is sadly a common mistake. Though conformity can be an unfortunate downfall of society, I believe the author did a poor job researching the females at this university. There are an assortment of role models the author might have chosen that are non-conformists who have contributed to society, but as a friend pointed out, “An anarchist, a drug addict, a schizophrenic, and a Hell’s Angel are totally good role models.” She wears Uggs, and if that takes away her credibility, I understand. Among some of the many men that have done great things are Robert Redford (Oscar-winning actor), Michael Eskew (CEO of UPS), Edwin Hubble (Nobel Prize-winning astronomer; namesake of Hubble Telescope), Tim McGraw (award-winning country music artist), John F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt (both former United States of America presidents), and the list continues. Interestingly enough, all the previous men listed were in fraternities in college, so I cannot wait to see what some of the fine men in fraternities from Virginia Tech will do with their futures. Maybe the author of “Students shouldn’t feel they need to conform” watched a little too much Animal House while writing his column. Conformity and non-conformity for the sake of being a non-conformist are negative effects that can occur by attending a place of higher education, or being human. If you can help it, remember what we all learned in second grade about being as different as stars and what a wonderful thing that is. The college-level take on that elementary nugget of wisdom can be expressed through a quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.”
MORGAN TOPPING senior hospitality & tourism management major
Judging is worse than conforming
his is in response to Vincent Guida’s shallow column from Tuesday’s paper, “Students shouldn’t feel they need to conform” (CT, Nov. 17). Not only did he
make multiple assumptions about our fellow classmates — but also he has a sincere lack of logic in his column. The one and only thing that is agreeable from the column is that “Virginia Tech is a great place to go to school,” but beyond that? His column is full of ignorant backwash to supplement his incompetent writing style. Implying that people should spend more time trying to fight social norms is just as bad as those he ridicules for “having an identity that is nearly identical to that of everyone else.” As for the boots, I will personally buy you a pair of “Eskimo boots,” which is not only discriminatory toward Eskimos but also to Uggs, so that you can see that most people do not wear them because they are “in” but because they are known for being outstandingly warm. Here in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains it is necessary to own a pair of sensible, warm and comfortable boots. Nearly every girl who owns a pair of “Eskimo boots” knows that they have been long declared “out of style” by those people who Vincent assumes we try to model ourselves after. And the spandex? Well, when the bottom of Vincent’s jeans are soaked in mud and rainwater from the gloomy Blacksburg weather this time of year, we spandex-lovers laugh at him because, again, not only are we warm, but we’re also dry. And for those of you that agree with Vincent, the amount of time that you spend disliking me and my boots is just as bad as the time you think I am spending attempting to “fit in.” For Vincent to insinuate that because I own a pair of Uggs and leggings I automatically am lacking class is not only wrong but the most pig-like statement I have heard from a male all year. I have plenty of class, as do other girls who wear “Eskimo boots.” If Vincent is shallow enough to think that we are lacking said class, then he’s not a man I’d like to “snare” anyway. And about the “snaring?” Some of us classless, Ugg-and-legging-wearing women are actually here for Tech’s ranked educational programs, not just the pool of males. Now for the guys, since Vincent seems to think that you have to have a phallus to make decisions in this country, why are you such “knuckleheads?” Oh wait, you’re not. Vincent, however, most definitely is. Those “molds of society” that he accuses Tech’s males of pushing themselves into? He sits in the middle of one all throughout his column. For instance, Vincent’s dislike of fraternities. If he, or anyone, honestly thinks that is revolutionary, I invite you all to come out under the rock that you so obviously live under. That doesn’t make anyone stand out. The ignorance and inability to look outside the box to understand something that one isn’t a part of makes them exactly like everyone else. If you want to stand out, just be you. Don’t worry about anyone else. Do what makes you happy, and if that’s wearing Uggs and leggings or Greek letters, or being bitter because you obviously need warmer boots and more friends, then do it. The day we stop criticizing and judging those for “trying to fit in” is the day that “social norms” will fade away and people will respect and appreciate others for who they are.
REBECCA SAMUELSON engineering major
Latin America sends fewer students to US universities W
hile looking at a new report on foreign students at U.S. universities, it’s hard not to conclude that the gap among developing nations is widening: While Asian countries are sending more students to some of the world’s best colleges, Latin American countries are lagging behind. Confirming a trend that could have political and economic repercussions in coming decades, China and India are each sending twice as many students to U.S. universities as all South American countries combined, according to the new report by the New York-based Institute of International Education, a nonprofit group that conducted the study with U.S. State Department support. Even more striking, South Korea, with a population that is less than half that of Mexico, is sending more than five times more students to U.S. colleges than Mexico. And Vietnam, a poor but increasingly globalized communistruled country with a population that is less than half that of Brazil, is sending more than twice more young people to U.S. universities than Brazil. Consider some of the data included in the institute’s newly released 2009 Open Doors Report on International Education: The number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by 8 percent this year to a record 671,616 students. The top three sending countries are India, with 103,000 students (up 9 percent from last year); China, with 98,000 students (up 21 percent), and South Korea, with 75,000 students (up 9 percent).
By comparison, the number of students from Mexico stood flat at 15,000, Brazil sent 8,700 students (up 16 percent from last year), Colombia 7,000 (up 5 percent), Venezuela 4,600 (up 5 percent), Peru 3,600 (a 2 percent decline), Argentina 2,400 (a 6 percent decline) and Chile 2,000 (up 16 percent). The total number of Asian students rose more than 9 percent, while the total number of Latin American students rose by 5 percent. The number of European students rose by 4.5 percent, including a 5 percent increase from Spain. Why do these figures matter? Because whatever you may think of the United States’ future as a superpower, the two leading rankings of the world’s best universities — that of Britain’s Times Higher Education Supplement and that of China’s Shanghai Jiai Tong University — agree that U.S. universities are still way ahead of the rest. The Shanghai university’s 2009 ranking is led by Harvard, and eight out of its first 10 places are held by U.S. institutions. Regardless of how soon the U.S. economy emerges from the recession, experts agree that the United States will be the world’s largest market for many years and that foreign students at U.S. universities will acquire knowledge and contacts that will make it much easier for their countries to do business with U.S. companies. “In China particularly, but also in other parts of Asia, students still see the U.S. higher education as providing the kind of training and credentials that will help them in their future careers,” says Peggy Blumenthal, the institute’s chief operating officer. “For some reason, it doesn’t seem to happen to the same extent in
Latin America.” In addition, most Asian students in the United States pursue graduate studies in science and technology. “We don’t see that many Latin American students at the graduate levels in those fields,” Blumenthal said. My opinion: The latest figures should worry Latin American policy makers. Asian countries are not only sending more students to U.S. universities, but they are also inviting more U.S., European and Australian higher education institutions to set up schools and give out diplomas in their own countries. While Communist-ruled China has more than 170 foreign universities that are legally entitled to award diplomas in its territory and India has 61, many Latin American countries don’t allow foreign educational institutions to give out valid diplomas and limit their contacts with them to short-term student exchanges. All countries should strive for having globalized education systems, including the United States, which would greatly benefit from having more first-rate foreign universities at home to raise Americans’ knowledge of the outside world. If countries don’t send more students to the world’s best foreign universities, they should allow the world’s best foreign universities to come to them.
ANDRES OPPENHEIMER -miami herald
Graduation a time for growth, contemplation of future plans A
s a senior graduating this spring, I’m affronted with the all too familiar question, “So what are you going to do after graduation?” When I hear this seemingly harmless phrase, I usually respond, “Hey, I thought we were friends.” No friend of mine should want to cause me the distress the ‘life after college’ question summons. I have no security about what I’ll be doing next fall. My best friend and I are planning on moving to San Diego this summer, but we still don’t have jobs and have no concrete plans to stay. I would love to tell people about the graduate program I’ve already been accepted to, or the exotic internship I scored through a non-profit, but right now, I’ve got nothing satisfying to tell anyone. A lot of my respected peers have already taken their LSATs and are currently filling out law school applications – If you had asked me last summer what I’d be doing this fall, I’d tell you that was my plan. Sometimes I feel a little crazy among my ambitious friends because I don’t have a plan, but hearing people spit out three well-crafted sentences about the next five years of their life also provides me comfort — being certain about the next five years seems a little crazy. These anxieties are anchored by our worldviews. Is there such a thing as fate? Do I have a purpose to fulfill? I’m sure in a few years (or maybe a
few decades) I’ll look back on this piece and laugh at myself, but these are questions worth considering, and, if not now ... when? Teleology is the study of design or purpose in nature. I’ve been introduced to this concept in a couple of my science and technology classes this semester, in discussions centered around the historical debates on Evolution. But when considering ‘life after college’ teleology has a more personal function. After a bottle of wine and hours of procrastination a few Sundays ago, I rummaged through Facebook albums (always a great idea) and indulged in nostalgia for times when life seemed a lot simpler. I was pretty aware and ashamed of what I was doing and had to come to a new conclusion: What I am experiencing (the life questioning, discomfort in not having a ‘plan’) I am now willing to describe as ‘growing pains’. I decided my new Facebook status would be “Growing, pains” because ‘pains’ seems better suited as a verb in this worn-out cliché. Growing is painful, and it’s what I’m enduring. It’s emo, but so is Facebook. I know I’m growing because at times I’m very uncomfortable. Recently my thought process feels as if it is developing like my height or appetite did in middle school, except this time my mom can’t take me to Old Navy to get new socks. It’s painful because, part of this process can only be done, and per-
haps must be done, alone. If you count on a job or someone else to soothe your discomfort, you’re only postponing the pain of growing. ‘Telos’, the Greek root for the term ‘teleology’, means both ‘end’ and ‘purpose’. Etymologists believe telos to be related to the Greek words tellein (to accomplish) and tlenai (to bear). Telos is an end and a purpose, both a burden and a means to accomplish. If you choose to believe in ‘telos’ you have both a responsibility and a blueprint. Telos suggests simultaneous discomfort and tempered fulfillment. No one can claim to completely know his or her telos, because, you could only accurately articulate your ‘purposeful end’ at your death, when you won’t be able to share it. This makes this endeavor slightly tragic, but the pursuit of telos, the act of aligning your values and behaviors, is worth thinking on. Maybe I’ll have a more socially satisfying answer to the popular lifeafter-college question by next spring, but for now I’ll keep responding, “Hey, I thought we were friends,” after all, my telos is mine to discover.
CHRISTOPHER COX -regular columnist -senior -communication major
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november 20, 2009
‘Sow only seeds of love’ slogan creator hits the road to ’Burg LIZ NORMENT features reporter Fifty-five-year-old Bob Votruba sold all of his belongings in exchange for a bus and planned a 10-year journey across the country with only his dog by his side. Ask him why he did this and he’ll give you one million reasons to justify his actions. Votruba started 12 weeks ago on a decade-long roadtrip to fulfill a mission he’s named One Million Acts of Kindness. Though he started tracking mileage in August, his inspiration for the project began more than seven years ago. Votruba is the man behind the black and white “Sow Only Seeds of Love” stickers. He initially came up with this profound expression in response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “It was such a terrible tragedy,” Votruba said. “I have kids, and I just don’t like the world they’re growing up in.” When he started the effort, he realized that it was mostly kids and young people taking the stickers and catching on to the message. “It had such good reception, but I saw that it was the young people who were really embracing the idea,” he said. His “Sow Only Seeds of Love” campaign stickers are now translated in six different languages and are distributed on every continent but Antarctica. After hearing the news the morning of April 16, 2007, Votruba felt something pulling him to make the drive from his home in Cleveland to Blacksburg. “I don’t know what prompted me
COURTESY OF BOB VOTRUBA
Bob Votruba sold all his possesions in exchange for a bus and travels across the country as part of his “One Million Acts of Kindess” campaign. to go,” he said, “but I came down that Friday and just stood off to the side, observing how everyone was hurting, how the nation was hurting from this.” Votruba estimated that he handed out more than 3,000 of the simple bumper stickers that day. After the response he had from these kind efforts, Votruba began brainstorming. “I thought to myself, ‘I wonder how many acts of kindness I’ve performed in my life? Surely close to a million,’” he said. However, after doing the math to realize that this would require 50 kind acts every day for 55 years, Votruba decided to speed things up, literally. He began planning for his nonprofit cross-country trip. He sold his house, his car, all his belongings and bought
an 84-square-feet bus. Of his voluntary homelessness, Votruba said, “The sacrifice makes the message more powerful. I’m devoting my life to this mission.” With 60 family members, friends and neighbors helping him paint the bus and prepare for his trip, Votruba has set out with only one travel companion: Bogart, a two-year-old Boston Terrier. “I realize that traveling around in a bus with my dog is a little out there,” he said, “but I’ve been talking to more than 4,000 kids a week just visiting college campuses, and the reception has been unreal.” His virtual following on Twitter, Facebook and his blog has been growing ever since he began his journey 12 weeks ago, as well as a huge following
LEED: Local construction projects setting sights on higher environmental standards from page one
The more points a building is awarded, the higher the rating climbs. The Theatre 101 building, along with the renovation of adjacent Henderson Hall, is expected to receive a gold rating. Cochrane explained the breakdown of the scorecard. Some points are preawarded during the design process. During design alone, it won enough points to be certified. Gillian Rizy, sustainability coordinator for Mosely Architects, the architecture firm that worked on the Henderson Hall renovation, predicted that postconstruction, the building would be awarded enough points to hopefully give it a gold certification. The Blacksburg Motor Company building is also expected to receive a gold rating. Lenore Duncan, project manager and main architect for the renovations of the Blacksburg Motor Company building, said she expects the building to receive “a very high gold or hopefully platinum.” Duncan said it is often easier for buildings that have been renovated to receive a higher rating because renovations offer more space for improvement. “It’s easier to build an efficient building than update an existing one, but you get more points for improving an existing building because the new one is already so efficient,” Duncan said. Both the Blacksburg Motor Company building, and the Henderson Hall and Theatre 101 projects incorporated certain sustainable features that are characteristic of LEED-certified buildings. Rizy said that using LEED standardized sustainable features provides a benchmark of progress during the construction process. “If you’re not tracking your progress, it’s hard to tell how green your project really is,” Rizy said. Both projects incorporated certain types of recycled building materials. The Forest Stewardship Council certified the wood used in both projects, which means that there were no chemicals used in the processing of the lumber. Additionally, lights were installed with sensors, so they only turn on when people are in the room. The Blacksburg Motor Company building also faced complications because of the historic nature of the building. The project was required by town regulations to retain 75 percent of the original features. Many components of the building that would not have been up to LEED standards were re-used in other locations. Large, un-insulated windows were removed from their original locations and used as decorative fixtures. Another important component of achieving LEED certification is recycling materials used during construction. “At least 98 percent of things removed (during construction) that weren’t contaminated were recycled,” Duncan said. Rizy said that the Henderson Hall project was “able to recycle about 79 percent of the things we took out.” Cochrane said having more LEEDcertified buildings would help Tech be recognized as a “leader in campus sustainability” according to the first point in the resolution. “Universities are a logical place to model change,” he said. However, having the certified label on a building also gives political and economic benefits. Duncan said “some reasons for having LEED-certified buildings are definitely political.” The first LEED-certified building in Blacksburg now houses the Blacksburg Town Council and other important
The Blacksburg Motor Company, a renovated historical building used for town ofﬁces, is expected to obtain at least a gold LEED rating. town functions, and Cochrane said that Tech chose to write the 14-point Climate Action Commitment Resolution as an alternative to signing President Barack Obama’s climate plan in the spring. “It’s not one size fits all,” Cochrane said. Cochrane also spoke to the importance of including the town in Tech’s sustainability plans. “If we’re going to be successful, if the town’s going to be successful, our plans have to dovetail,” he said. Cochrane also said the Theatre 101 building was “always intended” to be the first LEED-certified building belonging to Tech. The fact that it is located on College Avenue, at the edge of the campus and downtown Blacksburg, “sent a big signal to the town.” Despite the potential for using LEED certification as a measure of political success, an increase in LEED-certified buildings in the area will also be beneficial to the environment and the buildings’ occupants. Many of the construction materials and practices involved in the making of LEED-certified buildings are more environmentally friendly than previously used materials. Also, one component of LEED buildings is the protection of the people who use the building. In the Blacksburg Motor Company building, the chemicals that could be harmful to workers are enclosed in a separate room. There, the copier, printer and other machines cannot leak harmful chemicals into the building’s air. In the Theatre 101 building, an indoor air quality monitor was installed. Along with a carbon monoxide detector, these tools will work together to ensure that the people using the building will not experience adverse effects from chemicals that may be embedded in their surroundings. Cochrane concurred that LEED-certified buildings can bring great benefits to their occupants. “It’s proven that people will do better if they’re in a better building,” he said. It should also be considered inevitable that more and more buildings in Blacksburg, at Tech and elsewhere, will seek LEED certification in the future. Cochrane said that 12 of the 27 new buildings that are currently either in the design or construction stage have already applied for registration with the U.S. Green Building Council. Before ever beginning the construction process, a building’s design must be submitted to the USGBC. If it is not, the building cannot be considered for LEED certification at a later date, unless it is drastically renovated. Renovations involving additions of over 5,000 square feet are considered large enough to apply for certification. This means that some projects currently under construction cannot be considered for LEED certification because they were started before Tech’s June 1, 2009 adoption of the Climate Action Commitment Resolution as
university policy. However, Cochrane said, even though recently-completed buildings such as New Hall West cannot be LEED certified because their design wasn’t submitted to the USGBC at conception, they have incorporated features used in many LEED-certified buildings. Duncan agreed that more LEEDcertified buildings would pop up in the future. “More things will become required versus a good thing to do,” she said. Duncan predicts, “15 years from now, most buildings will be certified in most construction.” Fellow architect Rizy said the LEED requirements should become part of state building codes. “Within the next 10 years, I hope it becomes code,” Rizy said. “Hopefully all new buildings will have to be constructed to LEED standards.” The ease of converting to LEED standards versus older construction practices will come through the cost efficiency. While Duncan said that it could be 5 percent to 10 percent more expensive to build with recycled and environmentally friendly materials like the FSC-certified wood, the long-term benefits of energy and water conservation will actually save money. The geothermal heating system she helped design for the Blacksburg Motor Company building keeps water at a constant temperature of about 50 degrees in wells 300 feet underground. “It flows in and out and it only needs to be heated or cooled about 20 degrees,” Duncan said, which saves on energy consumption for heating water. Additionally, the backyard of the Blacksburg Motor Company building features several rain barrels that harvest rainwater instead of letting it run off as groundwater. These barrels filter into rain gardens that both clean the water and nourish miniature gardens of indigenous plants. Rizy said that even though the Henderson Hall and Theatre 101 building renovations experienced three separate phases of budget cuts, the project was still able to devote about one to two percent of the construction budget for LEED features. “We were on a very tight budget, but were still able to incorporate the LEED features,” Rizy said. Cochrane said that he did not anticipate the costs to be too much more to build LEED-certified buildings and that in the long run, there would be greater benefits. “We used to be concerned about just getting a building up as fast as we could,” he said, “but now we’re talking about lifecycle costs.” He also said that the money saved in the long run through the conservation of energy and water would hopefully help keep other costs, like tuition and student fees, as low as possible. “The sustainability movement is here,” Cochrane said. “It’s time to take a little bit of ownership. It’s a team effort.”
of others he’s touched through personal encounters. “I had a lady change her retirement plans because of my project,” Votruba said. “It’s becoming very powerful.” Votruba’s main focus is a hope that people will aim to do a million acts of kindness in their lifetime, but realizing that such an effort may seem overwhelming, his ultimate goal is to create a mindset. “I’ll tell kids on campus that it almost might be physically impossible to
do the million,” he said, “but even something as small as holding a door creates a different, kinder mindset for people.” His campaign encourages people to pair smaller, everyday acts of kindness with larger involvements with charities or non-profit organizations. “Find your passion, go do something you love, like taking care of seniors, mentoring children, volunteering at an animal shelter,” Votruba said. “You’ll find that helping others fills voids in
your own life.” As a father of three kids who are all currently in college, Votruba started this year because he feels most connected with today’s generation of students. He described seeing the way today’s young people have reacted to multiple tragedies as an inspiration and believes in the strength of today’s college students. “I think you guys will be the strongest, most united generation that ever walked the face of the earth,” Votruba said. He hopes that through these combined efforts, a transition starting with the mindset of college students will inspire a powerful movement of kindness that will become contagious. “We’re so divided as a nation right now, which is so bad in so many ways.” Votruba said. “A kindness movement is something everyone can embrace, regardless of religion, race or political affiliation, and that’s the coolest thing about it.” Through an odd coincidence, Votruba will find himself once again in Blacksburg. “I had to re-route to go back to Ohio and give a speech,” Votruba said. “When I looked back at my map I thought, oh my God, I’ll be at Virginia Tech right at Thanksgiving. It’s just so ironic that, once again, something is pulling me back there.”
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november 20, 2009
Hokies return home, hope to crack the Wolfpack ED LUPIEN
S PP I/S SH IGA .H YT RO
The Virginia Tech football team will take the field at Lane Stadium for the last time this season on Saturday when it hosts North Carolina State at 3:30 p.m. Tech will attempt to solidify its position in the Atlantic Coast Conference against a Wolfpack team that has lost five of its last six games. Nevertheless, head coach Frank Beamer is taking a cautious approach. “This NC State team is very scary,” Beamer said. “They can score points and get the ball down the field in a hurry. The quarterback is excellent. They’ve got good running backs and tall wide receivers.” The Wolfpack come into Saturday’s game boasting a 1-5 in-conference record and a 4-6 overall record. “They have
given up a lot of yards but if you watch the film you can tell that they have a very good defense,” Hokies’ junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “The secondary is a little inexperienced but their front four is one of the best units in the ACC and they have a good linebacker corps too. We’re still going to play our top game and just go out there and execute the plays that are called.” With his performance against Maryland that featured 268 yards passing that resulted in three touchdowns, Taylor is currently the most efficient passer in the ACC. He has thrown just three interceptions and completed 56 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns this season. “Everyone can tell he’s more relaxed in the pocket,” Tech sophomore wide receiver Jarrett Boykin said of his quarterback. “If he scrambles out, he’s still looking downfield for an open receiver. You can tell he’s having fun. That’s something that’s progressed since this
season started.” Boykin has been the receiver to statistically benefit the most from Taylor’s progression over the course of the season, becoming the most targeted receiver on the field while leading the receiving corps in catches, yards and touchdowns. “I feel great about being his go-to guy but like I said everyone on the field is capable of doing what I’m doing,” Boykin said. “For me personally though, I think it’d be great for a receiver around here to have a 1,000 receiving-yard season so that’s a goal that I have.” Although it is extremely unlikely for Boykin to reach his goal this season, the sophomore is anticipating a big game on Saturday as he and the other Tech receivers will be defended by a Wolfpack secondary that will feature three freshmen. “That’s something we’re going to try to take advantage of,” Boykin said of the opposition’s inexperience.
“We wouldn’t mind having another field day.” Offensively, the Wolfpack is led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson who is currently third in the nation with 26 touchdown passes and 24th in the nation in quarterback rating with a 143.9, which is also good for third best in the conference. “He’s quite a player,” Beamer said. “He’s an accurate thrower, keeps a lot of plays alive, very much in control. He’s very impressive.” Saturday’s game will also mark the last time seniors on the Tech team will get the opportunity to play in front of their home crowd. This year’s class includes cornerback Stephan Virgil, offensive tackle Ed Wang, tight end Greg Boone and defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson. “They’ve had a good run here and have helped us win a heck of a lot of ballgames,” Beamer said. “They showed very good leadership this past year,” Taylor said. “Just bring-
ing this team together. This is one of the better teams that I’ve been on in terms of leadership from the seniors.” Taylor also expressed importance of winning Saturday’s game specifically for the departing players. “It’s always good to send your seniors out on a winning note,” Taylor said. “Some guys won’t get the chance to play this game again after they leave here.” The Hokies have also garnered motivation from continuing the streak of 10-win seasons, which is currently on its fifth consecutive season. To accomplish this, Tech must win its two regular season games remaining and its bowl game. The program has reached the 10-win mark seven of nine times during this decade. “It means a lot to us because that’s sort of become a tradition around here,” Boykin said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to try to get another season like that. We want to feel good about ourselves in the end.”
AP Rankings TEAM
Paper planes ﬂy as frustration grows LUKE MASON/SPPS
HOKIE NATION SEEMS TO BE DISSATISFIED WITH THE CURRENT STATE OF VIRGINIA TECH FOOTBALL Is the newest generation of Virginia Tech football fans spoiled? That seems to be the case now that the Hokies have cruised through five straight 10-win seasons, a statistic that head coach Frank Beamer likes to throw around whenever he is faced with criticism. Tech still has a shot at getting another 10-win season if it wins out, but students do not seem to care. Those who are attending Tech now grew up watching Michael Vick break opposing defenders’ ankles with ridiculous juke moves and throw bombs downfield with a flick of the wrist for touchdowns. The Hokies even reached the national championship game in the 1999-2000 season, and had a few plays gone Tech’s way, there might be a crystal football on campus. At the start of this fall, students and media alike had their minds on national championship possibilities again for the Hokies. After a close loss to Alabama, that dream was shattered, but fans did not seem to mind settling
for another Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Now, with losses to a good Georgia Tech team and a mediocre North Carolina squad, disinterest in the Hokies seems to be spreading rapidly among students. Student tickets cannot even be given away, and the apathy within what should be the most fervent supporters of the team is appalling. Yes, Thanksgiving approaches, and after a long semester a break is certainly deserved, but shouldn’t a 3:30 p.m. game against an ACC opponent in Lane Stadium be a bit more thrilling than a day at home with mom and dad watching the game on television? There are only so many times available as a student to tailgate all day, watch the Hokies play in Lane, and then celebrate their victory all night. This newfound student apathy was most apparent during the Thursday night North Carolina game. Sure, that may not have been the most intense game ever played in Lane, but the inter-
est in watching paper airplanes fly onto the field far exceeded interest in the actual game. After the game, Mitch Ingram, a freshman, created a Facebook group called, “Lane Stadium paper airplane throw,” and he says that within 20 minutes, 300 facebook members were a part of the group. Now, a day before the North Carolina State game, more than 3,100 members have joined. During the game Saturday, the group has planned a coordinated paper airplane throw at the end of the third quarter. Students seem to be more hyped up about the paper airplane throw than the game, though. Ingram claims the airplane toss serves as mainly a fun way for students to participate in the game, but he also believes that some are using it as a symbol of frustration with the perceived underperformance of the team based on preseason expectations. Maybe this disinterest in the team now that expectations are lowered is warranted after so many years of preseason hype and midseason letdowns. Students and alumni alike have expressed their desire for a more explo-
sive offense in recent years, yet nothing appears to change, especially within the offensive coaching staff. Tech seems to have put together a better offense this season, but the numbers are aided by statistical anomalies against Marshall, Boston College, Duke and Maryland. Those teams do not exactly represent the cream of the crop for Tech’s schedule. One might argue that throwing out all the good offensive games would obviously make the team look bad, but the offensive performances against legitimate defenses tell the real story. Tech did not score more than 17 points against Nebraska, North Carolina, or East Carolina, and while the Hokies put 24 points up on Alabama, they were aided by a Dyrell Roberts kickoff return for a touchdown and only managed 155 total yards of offense. Against Nebraska, the Hokies needed a miracle to win, and the offense played well against Miami, but one good showing out of five proves exactly why fans are so distraught. In a return trip to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech, the most important game of the season, the Hokies dominated the Yellow Jackets’ offense in the
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first half but only produced three firsthalf points on offense. The only team to defeat the Jackets this season, Miami, scored 17 first half points which made Georgia Tech’s run-oriented offense obsolete. Once the Jackets made some halftime adjustments against the Hokies defense, the game was over despite the Tech offense’s best late game efforts, and the season was then deemed a failure by many. Now, with three total games remaining in the season and a chance at obtaining 10 wins, many Tech fans feel they do not have much left to look forward to except what now seems to be the usual domination of the University of Virginia, but at least they can look forward to what should be an excellent display of paper airplane tossing Saturday.
JOE CRANDLEY -sports editor -senior communication major -political science minor
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FLORIDA (36) ALABAMA (14) TEXAS (10) TCU CINCINNATI BOISE STATE GEORGIA TECH PITTSBURGH OHIO STATE LSU OREGON OKLAHOMA STATE PENN STATE STANFORD IOWA
VIRGINIA TECH WISCONSIN CLEMSON BRIGHAM YOUNG OREGON STATE MIAMI (FL) USC UTAH HOUSTON RUTGERS
10-0 10-0 10-0 10-0 10-0 10-0 10-1 9-1 9-2 8-2 8-2 8-2 9-2 7-3 9-2 7-3 8-2 7-3 8-2 7-3 7-3 7-3 8-2 8-2 7-2
ACC Standings ATLANTIC
1 2 3 4 5 6
CLEMSON BOSTON COLLEGE FLORIDA STATE WAKE FOREST
N.C. STATE MARYLAND
1 GEORGIA TECH 2 VIRGINIA TECH 3 MIAMI (FL) 4 NORTH CAROLINA 5 DUKE 6 VIRGINIA
5-2 4-2 3-4 2-5 1-5 1-5
7-3 7-3 5-5 4-7 4-6 2-8
7-1 10-1 4-2 7-3 4-3 7-3 3-3 7-3 3-3 5-5 2-4 3-7