I SSU E
The Independent Student Voice of Boise State Since 1933
F R E E OCTOBER 15, 2009
The Trey McIntyre Project comes to Boise
NEIGHBOR DAY unites campus celebrates community
“It’s those smiles that we helped create we hope to pass onto others.”
Look inside to check The Arbiter’s coverage of the event
GLENN LANDBERG/THE ARBITER
Laurel Traynowicz, Ph.D., accepts a flower in the quad from Melissa Wintrow of university housing during Neighbor Day. TONY RODGERS Journalist
October is breast cancer awareness month
Boise State’s first ever “Neighbor Day” took place Tuesday. The event, which took place on the quad during the late morning and early afternoon hours, was originally conceived by University Housing to raise awareness about neighborly actions. “Neighbor day is a day to just be neighborly and spread kindness throughtout the community,” said Melissa Wintrow, assistant director for university housing. The celebration started a little before 10 a.m. and featured many campus facilities such as the booktore, health and wellness center and the women’s center. There were also activites which took place to get students involved in neighbor day. Arbiter Media had students write down neighborly acts they had witnessed for a chance to win prizes in a raffle, while the bookstore held another raffle for tickets to the BSU v. Idaho game Nov. 14, as well as handing out reusable bags to help the environment. University dining services supplied free hot chocolate during the morning, and the women’s center table featured a “top
ten list of neighborly acts.” “I think its great! I think it’s important in the interest of student affairs to make such a beneficial event available to students,” Jamie Lange, social services coordinator for the womens center said. Many of the passerby were surprised with the energy and the overall positive atmosphere presented on the quad, but everyone could tell the result was beneficial. “A lot of people are surprised, and I can see it making an impact in their day,” Lindsey Matson, volunteer for the women’s center, said. The women’s center handed out buttons and pencils, and came not only to help neighbor day succeed, but also to let others know for what the center stands. “They defiantly work in conjunction- womens center and neighbor day,” Matson said. “We both stand for neighborly actions.” Rachel Orr, from the bookstore, thought it was the perfect occasion for a cold day. “It made everyone smile on this cold morning,” said Orr. “It’s those smiles that we helped create we hope to pass onto others.”
The Women’s Center respondes with the Bra Project
Kustra seeks increased independence from state KIM KING Journalist
Boise State wrestling seeks dominance The Pac-10 power-
President Bob Kustra addressed the issue of funding and possible furloughs at a faculty senate meeting Tuesday in the Student Union Building. “Our funding has changed,” he said. “We need to be managed with increased independence from the state.” Last week Kustra met with other university presidents and Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter. “The governor listened,” Kustra said. “He asked me to bring something back to show how we want the new relationship to look.” Kustra said our relationship with the state remains the same as it was in 1952 when the university relied on it for 50 percent of our funding. “We need to relay the message that we have changed dramatically,” he said. “New calculations have been
made and at this time only 22 percent of our funding comes from the state.” The Idaho Legislative Budget Book for 2010 confirmed the state appropriated amounts to each institution. Other universities in Idaho range between 25 and 40 percent. “Some alumni have given donations elsewhere,” Kustra said. “Community members might be surprised if they knew how much our reliance on the state has changed.” The funding decrease was not the only issue addressed. “There is a possibility of one more holdback. We do not want to be declared financially exigent,” he said. “We don’t want to go to furloughs. We need a new policy.” There is no policy at Boise State to govern or protect faculty and staff in the event of a furlough due to a decrease in budget. The state board’s policy is in effect but does not meet the minimum requirements of AAUP - The American Association of
University Professors. The AAUP’s purpose is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. “What protections do we have to guide, direct, and put borders on latitude in the process?” Kustra said. “Do we want protection now or do we want to wait until the board declares financial exigency? That is the magic question.” The faculty senate will decide later this month whether to submit new legislation or look at other options. The meeting will be Oct. 27 in the Student Union Building. It is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. in the Hatch ballroom and is open to the public. “I am a part-time optimist,” Kustra said. “I believe we are headed out of this financial crisis.”
house has its eyes on another conference title
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October 15, 2009 CULTURE
Boise State faculty, students present at art educators conference TONY ROGERS Journalist
Students and faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences helped educators from around the state Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. The event was held at the annual Idaho Art Educators Association Conference in Hailey. Teachers from across Idaho, at all levels, converged for the conference. The theme for the event was “Art is Essential.” “The IAEA is the state guild for
all the art educators in the state of Idaho. Every year we have a conference somewhere in Idaho, and we go to workshops, and listen to keynote speakers,” adjunct faculty Linda Buczynski said. “Every state has an art educators organization, and all state organizations are tied into the national level.” The conference focused on addressing problems facing art educators. The conference also talked about the advancements made in the teaching field that can help make classes more interactive. The
keynote speaker was former president of the National Art Educators Association, Bonnie Rushlow. “Participating in the IAEA conference is a tremendous learning, teaching and research opportunity for our art education students. Presenting workshops to working art educators is a privilege and a great networking opportunity for these future art teachers,” said Kathleen Keys, associate professor for the College of Arts and Sciences. “As these students enter art education careers they will take innovative,
relevant and meaningful curricula into classrooms and communities across Idaho and beyond.” Linda Buczynski presented a workshop entitled “Ductigami!,” where she talked about using different raw materials as the basis of artwork. “I heard that some people were using duct tape as raw materials or craft supply, and you could make works of art from duct tape.” Buczynski said. “The students made works of art out of duct tape after being inspired by
contemporary pieces.” For Linda, the IAEA conference helped to train the students for the real world. “On the undergrad level, all these students got a taste for the amount of organization it takes to be a teacher. They learned about what the art education situation is in other parts of the state. They also practiced presenting in front of people and public speaking.” Buczynski said. “We reflected on the trip, and unanimously voted that it was well worth the trip.”
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October 15, 2009 CULTURE
Q&A Trey McIntyre Project JENNIFER SPENCER Journalist
Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) is a contemporary ballet company that is revamping ballet and making it more accessible to audiences. The project does this by incorporating music not usually heard with ballets such as The Beatles, polyphonic spree, jazz and indie rock. They try to appeal through organic and soulful quality of the choreography. TMP also occasionally engage in street performance which brings to mind break dancing on the street in the eighties. In preparation for Trey McIntyre Project’s performance Oct. 17. The Arbiter interviewed two dancers from the company. Lauren Edson is a dancer in TMP from Boise. The Arbiter: How did you start dancing?
Edson: “I started when I was 3 years old. My mom put me and my sister in everything. I was shy growing up. I found that dance was the perfect way to express myself and have all eyes on me. I received my initial training at Ballet Idaho then went to a performing arts school in North Carolina for my senior year of high school.” Brett Perry is a dancer for TMP from Greenwood, Indiana. The Arbiter: How did you start dancing? Perry: “I started when I was 3 years old. I went to YMCA pre-school and I met this girl there who brought her tap shoes in for a show and tell. This is what my mom tells me so I believe this story, but she brought her tap shoes in for show and tell and I went home that day and was like I wanna dance so I met the mom of the girl who brought the tap shoes in and she has a dance studio so she invited me to the dance studio and that’s how I got involved
just by meeting someone in pre-school and starting off with tap. I got lucky and met my dance teacher at a young age.” The Arbiter: What are some of the main differences in style and physical movement between ballet and modern dance? Edson: “Trey blends both. For me growing up ballet felt very constrictive there is something so free I was able to push myself to limits I wasn’t able to in ballet.” Brett: “We’re all trained in ballet and other things but we’re not one type of dancer. I have so much respect for classical ballet and we take ballet classes every day. But the dance we do it feels more real it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from an unnatural place.” Brett: “Ballet seems so external what we do is so internal and soulful. There is so much more to dance than how many pirouettes you can do. Trey’s stuff is very relatable. The main thing for me is just being an artist.”
Edson: “One thing that is so unique about this company is that Trey wants us to have personal relationships with the audience members. We want people to see that we have our flaws and we struggle every day.” The Arbiter: You have traveled extensively with TMP what have been some of the most memorable experiences? Edson: “Performing in Sun Valley, coming back to Idaho to perform it felt so good to come home and see that people remembered me and I had been missed.” Perry: “New Orleans performing “Ma Maison” which was made for New Orleans. We wore skeleton masks and danced to the music of New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band one of the most famous jazz bands in the world. We also went to Huntington, PA population 300 and performed for 100 people. It was also very memorable dancing at The Joyce in New York City.”
We’re all trained in ballet and other things but
we’re not one type of dancer. -Brett Perry
Pictured are shots from “The Sun Road,” a ballet filmed in Glacier National Park. Dancers are John Michael Schert, Dylan G-Bowley, Brett Perry, Jason Hartley, and Chanel DaSilva; choreography by Trey McIntyre. PHOTOS COURTESY VINCE GANCI/TREY MCINTYRE PROJECT
to you: Game atmosphere in need of makeover TRENT LOOTENS Producer
Since the first game against Oregon, the pre-game festivities at Boise State have been sub-par, at best. Bronco Stadium’s parking lot – once full of tailgaters and fans – has since been partially abandoned and left for those who paid the price for a parking pass next to the stadium. The last two home games against Miami (Ohio) and UC Davis have been less hyped and have led fans at Boise State to seek different options for tailgating. By looking at the parking lot before the games it’s easy to notice the difference. BSU is disadvantaged in terms of tailgating because it’s a dry campus. No alcohol in the stadium – except for the Stuckle Sky Center – forces fans who want to drink before the games to hide their booze in a cup or go across the street to the End Zone or Suds Tavern.
Making a profit remains first and foremost on everyones mind, but doing it at the expense of the game atmosphere makes no sense. Obviously, the parking passes aren’t being bought or else Bronco Stadium’s parking lot would be packed full for every game. This illustrates the possibility that the passes are over priced and nobody wants to spend the money. Before a college football game, the spaces surrounding the stadium should be full no matter what. This should be a good thing for the university because it keeps spectators close to the stadium buying the team merchandise and apparel. BSU is in the middle of a metropolitan area, making it difficult to find parking. Bronco Stadium should be the solution to the problem. If they can’t sell parking passes for the current price, the price should be lowered. Game atmosphere means a lot to college football. BSU used to have it, but now it seems to
have disappeared. Schools such as the University of Idaho and the University of Oregon have game atmosphere details figured out. It’s nearly impossible to find a parking space at either the Kibbie Dome or Autzen Stadium three hours prior to kickoff. It’s on a first come, first serve basis and the schools are able to thrive before, during and after their home games. Schools like Idaho and Oregon make their parking lots available to fans who care the most and want to be there, not just for the fan who has the extra money to spend. BSU fans are desperate to make a change and get the pre-game party to where it needs to be. Fans are entitled to a good game atmosphere when they pay money for their tickets before the game. BSU needs to find a way to fix the problem before people completely give up tailgating at the games and move strictly over to the End Zone and Suds Tavern.
JOSH RASMUSSEN/THE ARBITER
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October 15, 2009
The breast event in October HALEY ROBINSON Journalist
During October, feminists aren’t encouraging the burning of bras, but the decorating of them. October is breast cancer awareness month and to honor it, Boise State Women’s Center is sponsoring the 6th annual Bra Project. The Bra Project accepts artistic representations of bra’s from both professional and amateur artists and auctions them off to raise money to fight breast cancer. This year’s proceeds will benefit St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute. The proceeds will also support women who can’t afford to get screenings. According to Janet Summers, administrative assistant for the Women’s Center, the event helps encourage women to do self exams and have regular
COURTESY MCT CAMPUS
doctor’s appointments so they can stay healthy. The fundraiser also helps women who have been affected by breast cancer and provides financial aid to those who cannot afford some of the health costs. The bras may be made of any material and can be wearable or not. The event will take place at the Art Source Gallery at 1010 Main St. Boise Friday, Oct. 23. Tickets will be available to students for $5 and $10 for general admission. There will be live music, a buffet and special guest auctioneer Rocci Johnson. For more information, visit the BSU Women’s Center Web site or stop by the Women’s Center on the second floor of the Student Union Building. The Bra Project is a creative way to get people involved in helping others. According to Summers, even if people chose not to bid, it’s still a fun party!
Snow Patrol blankets Boise’s musical landscape JENNIFER SPENCER Journalist
“You complete me,” joked Gary Lightbody, shaggy haired lead singer and guitarist for Scottish and Irish band Snow Patrol, to audience member Alex Bow at the Knitting Factory Sunday night. Lightbody constantly engaged the crowd with interludes of jokes, monologues and even fashion critiques as Snow Patrol ripped through their fifteen song set. Formed in 1994 in Northern Ireland, Snow Patrol have experienced worldwide success with
three albums and numerous singles, including 2006’s smash “Chasing Cars”, made popular by “Grey’s Anatomy.” Supporting newest album, 2008’s “A Hundred Million Suns,” Snow Patrol made Boise the 20th stop on their 25-city North American tour. Opening band Plain White T’s serenaded the 1,000-listener capacity crowd with an acoustic set. Despite singer and guitarist Tom Higgenson’s undisclosed illness, the band, seated on mahogany stools, soldiered on through a three song set. “This one is for you, Boise,” Higgenson smiled before gently
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strumming his acoustic guitar to the opening chords of an ode to a lover, “1,2,3,4.” Next song, “Sunlight”, left the audience breathless. Soothing harmony from Higgenson, bassist Mike Retondo and guitarists Tim G. Lopez and Dave Tirio lifted the song to new heights of sweetness. Buddy Holly spectacled percussionist De’Mar Hamilton’s tambourine added an appropriate lightness to the lyrical landscape of loyalty to a lost love. Hamilton raised a bottle of Heineken to the crowd as they belted out the chorus to final song, 2006’s hit single “Hey Delilah.” “You guys sound beautiful,” Higgenson told the crowd. At 9 p.m., the house lights went down and “Snow Patrol loves Boise” appeared on a white screen behind the drum kit. The band emerged and immediately launched into “If There’s a Rocket, Tie Me to It.” A neon green lightshow punctuated the song’s thundering bridge. Lightbody’s frantic dancing echoed late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. His strong Irish brogue surfaced on the next song, 2004’s “Chocolate.” Bassist Paul Wilson joins Lightbody on vocals on “Hands Open.” Lightbody’s changing of the lyric “Chicago” to “Idaho” caused the crowd to erupt in cheers.
Guest acoustic guitarist Iain Archer joined the band on “Final Straw’s” soother “How to be Dead.” Percussionist Johnny Quinn’s staccato beat, synthesizers by keyboardist Tom Simpson and shimmering spotlights highlighted the haunting “The Golden Floor.” Lightbody’s voice, previously terse and ragged, returned to its usual smoothness. After the song, Lightbody noticed the puffball knitted winter hat of Bow, a high school student from Gooding. After Lightbody teases him for wearing such a warm hat indoors, Bow relented and removed the hat, much to the enjoyment of the laughing audience. As a reward, Lightbody dedicated next song, 2004’s chilling “Run”, to him. Lead guitarist Nathan Connolly’s searing guitar solo emphasized the passion of the song. “Shut Your Eyes” concluded with a 10-minute audience participation section. “Can we sing together?” Lightbody asked. He goaded the crowd into singing the same verse multiple times, each time increasing the volume level to produce a deafening cacophony. During the song, the puffball hat flew onstage near Lightbody’s feet. “I’m keeping this forever,” he
told Bow as he fumbled with the long braids hanging down from the ear flaps. “Eyes Open’s” breakout hit, “Chasing Cars”, produced a massive sing-along. Lightbody noticed an audience member glaring at him during the song. “I thought we were going to have to take this outside,” he joked afterward. A moving black and white cityscape rolled onscreen as the band ended their set with the gentle “Open Your Eyes.” The encore was “The Lighting Strike”, a 16-minute three part epic, soundtracked IMAX style animation of a shuttle’s journey into space, made up of pastel swirling galaxies and stars. The night concluded with the obsessive “You’re All I Have”, combined heavy muffled guitars and sugary background vocals. Snow Patrol’s love for Boise once again emerged onscreen as the band exited the stage, beaming and waving goodbye to the enthralled crowd. When Bow came to the concert, little did he know he would become the star of the show. He said his decision to throw his hat onstage was purely guided by impulse. “I had nothing better to do,” he said.
Lightbody constantly engaged the crowd with interludes of jokes, monologues and
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October 15, 2009 SPORTS
Bronco wrestlers grapple with strong expectations BRENDAN SHERRY Journalist
The Boise State men’s wrestling team entered the 200910 season with its highest preseason ranking to date. Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine has the Broncos ranked No. 9 in its preseason polls after finishing No. 12 at the NCAA tournament last year. In addition to the high team ranking, the magazine has five individuals ranked in the top-11 wrestlers in their weight class. Last year the Broncos broke Cal State Bakersfield’s team point record at the Pac-10 Conference Championship with a team score of 172.5 points. The point total was good enough to earn Boise State its second straight conference title and its fifth since 2000. The Broncos hope to build from the success of years past and show they are one of the nation’s elite teams. The schedule includes what head coach Greg Randall called "three good measurements" for his team. The first test the team will face is in December when they head south for the Las Vegas Invitational; the tournament includes top teams from around the country. After the trip to Las Vegas, the team will head to Reno for another tournament which consists of top teams from the west, before heading to Cedar Falls, Iowa for the National Duals. “We’re going to run up against Iowa, Iowa State, Ohio state, Cornell, Nebraska, all of those good schools,” Randall said. “So if I was going to pick a time that we are going to need to be our best, it would be at the National Duels.” The BSU wrestling team has proved in recent years they can compete with anyone in the country and this year won’t be an exception. The Broncos will have their most talented squad in school history as they return nine wrestlers who have competed at the NCAA Nationals. “This is the most talented team that has ever been here
and one of the hardest working teams too,” Randall said. “and when you combine the two, you’re going to have a good team. I really feel this is the best team that has ever been here.” Randall believes that if his team continues to work hard and improve, they could have 10 wrestlers place at Nationals at the end of the year.
Randall isn’t the only one with high hopes for the Broncos; Junior Kirk Smith believe he and his teammates can match up against anyone they’ll face this season. “Some people might be able to hang with us,” Smith said. “But there is nobody that we can’t beat as a team or that the individuals can’t beat.”
ARBITER FILE PHOTO
BSU heavyweight Sam Zylstra maneuvers around his opponent during the 2008-09 season.
Boise State men’s tennis rises above odds BRITTNEY JOHNSON Community Manager
Boise State has made a name for itself upsetting expectations. Sophomore James Meredith pulled the biggest upset of the season during the D’Novo Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. last weekend. Meredith beat Alex Clayton, the seventh ranked player in the nation out of Stanford, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. “James (Meredith) had a colossus win, he’s had such incredible victories, truthfully and hopefully he’s ranked in the top-10,” BSU head coach Greg Patton said. Meredith’s big win in Tulsa helped to build confidence for a young, rebuilding Bronco team. There is no team-play
during the fall, which gives players the opportunity to hone match skills and tournament play. “I have high expectations when I play them and expect to have good results. I want to get a good record going into the spring,” Meredith said. Boise State has new obstacles going into the spring season after losing four All-American’s from last year's team. The spots were filled with international athletes that bring a whole new life and style of play to the team. Boise State believes the fall gives them the time they need to get ready for the spring season, according to Patton. “The most important thing for us, especially this time of year, is all the preparation, the get better, get better, get better,” Patton said. “We have a really tough schedule during the season and we really want to make sure to keep the level we
LANE GENOVESE/THE ARBITER
James Meredith prepare to hit a ball during a match at Boise State.
read editorial on the Wednesday night college football match-up Boise State vs. Tulsa.
are at and the reputation we have.” Preparation for the upcoming team season has the Broncos traveling across nation. Patton refers to the team as “road warriors,” after consecutive tournaments at BYU, Texas, Fresno and Tulsa. “They are like soldiers, where there are battles we send them," Patton said. "Every weekend we send someone to a different tournament. Even though it’s all individual right now and their not playing team events it all helps with the team events and preseason ranking that comes out in January.” The sky is the limit for the Broncos. They have huge goals for the upcoming season after finishing last spring with a top-20 finish and 2009 NCAA Championships sweet sixteen appearance. “We’ve been a top-20 top-25, team for the last five or six years," Patton said. "I think we really want to make an onslaught into the top 10 and compete for a national championship.” Meredith, along with Patton, seems excited about the upcoming season with new talent and fresh faces. “Definately a new flavor, a new mix of guy,s and a new personality, whole new chemistry,” Meredith said. “At the rate we are going we’ll be pretty good come January season.” Next up for the Broncos is a tournament in Salt Lake, Oct 15-17. At the rate the Broncos are going, BSU could have another underdog headline stealer team on campus.
October 15, 2009 LETTER TO THE EDITOR
We have the right to smoke Dear Editor, I am a smoker. I have been smoking longer than many of the students here have been alive. The majority of smokers on campus are courteous enough to go to the edge of campus to smoke whether it is near the benches along the river behind the education building or to the Friendship Bridge. I am not walking through the main thoroughfares of campus, but definitely going out of my way to go to a place where I will not bother anyone. The only problem I can find with the friendship
bridge is that there are no garbage cans there. I have been a smoker for a long time, but I can honestly say that when I am done with a cigarette I extinguish it and carry it with me till I find a garbage can. If people really want to make an issue with litter; we need to ban people handing out stupid pieces of paper on the quad or putting them on our windshields. What do you think happens to all that paper that people don’t want? They toss it on the ground. Every year there are churches that put fliers on windshields all over campus. Have you ever noticed the amount of litter in the parking garages
after the cars have been hit with “Gods” message? I figure I can either keep being courteous and smoke on the edge of campus, or all of us smokers can organize a sit in and all gather on the quad with our lawn chairs and smoke all day long. You make the choice. The last check I made of the rights of Americans and a Free society, we have a right to smoke if we want. The super ultra right wing conservatives would like to change that fact. Sarah Rhodes is a resident of Kuna and is studying history.
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October 15, 2009 OPINION
Is Boise State a 'green' campus? JOHN ROMLEIN II Columnist
Recently, the nation and the world have seen an overall shift toward environmentally friendly methods – from compact fluorescent light bulbs, LED traffic signals and increased recycling efforts. Boise's recent initiation of curbside no-sort recycling program is another example. Even local businesses and government agencies have taken initiatives for energy efficiency in office buildings and fleet vehicles. With all of this, the question must be asked, "is Boise State University really becoming a “green” campus?" “It’s definitely greener than a lot of other places (in general),” Angeline Adams, a senior studying Health Sciences said. “The paper towels are marked and assignments are online.” Over the past two years, the university has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint. According to a report published by the Arbiter on March 19, Facilities Operations and Maintenance implemented programs which replaced 400 toilets, 52 miles of fluorescent light bulbs and placed new recycling bins throughout campus which, “will result in almost $400K a year in energy savings.” In addition, a campus sustainability team, otherwise known as “The Green Team” was established with the mission of “promoting sustainability on campus and throughout the greater community through stewardship, teaching, and outreach.” Associate Vice President John Gardner has worked tirelessly to promote this program, and devoted a weekly column last semester entitled “Conversations with Gardner” towards spreading the message of sustainability. Yet behind the scenes of sustainability and on-campus efforts, more work lies ahead. There still is a lot of wasted material according to Don Miller, an employee of Landscape Services - an organization that handles disposal for all outdoor trash receptacles on campus with the exception of housing, the SUB and athletic facilities. “Tree trimmings, leaves, wood… they all go in the dumpster,” Miller said. A survey of the campus found that sorted recycling bins are only present inside select buildings - none exist outdoors. As a result, tons of recyclable items such as cans, plastic, paper, glass and more are thrown in the garbage daily – and several trash receptacles have to be changed up to three times in a single day in areas with high volumes of foot traffic such as the Quad. The aforementioned March 19 report stated that students pay about $1 in recycling fees every semester, which supplements a campus-wide recycling program. Tree trimmings and other landscaping scraps, which could be recycled into new mulch using a wood chipper and composting, are instead trucked to the Hidden Hollow Sanitary Landfill in the department’s dumpster. A representative from Landscape Services reportedly said it would be too costly to invest in a wood chipper or composting program. It should be noted the department works diligently to transplant trees and other plant life in demolition areas toward more permanent areas on campus. Landscape Services is a division of Facilities Operations and Maintenance.
Analysis: Columbus was a poser JOSH GAMBLE Columnist
America’s children are being lied to! Not by President Obama or fire-breathing liberal feminists, but by their history books! Every year, on the second Monday in October, school children gather around to hear the story of how the brave Christopher Columbus sailed across the mighty Atlantic to find the “new world.” When his three ships landed, they were 500 years late and in the wrong part of the world. The classic story of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria is essentially a tall tale. Columbus, an Italian, was denied funding on a trip searching for a way to get to the Orient by going west by Italy, Portugal and England before successfully securing money from the king of Spain. The common tale claims that this was because everyone thought that the world was flat and that Columbus was crazy for going west; he’d just fall over the edge. However, the round nature of Earth had been known since the early Greek period and is what most of navigation of the time was based. He was denied funding because most rulers of the time didn’t believe in the Northwest Passage, which was supposedly a sea route from Europe to Asia in the west. Three of his four voyages, starting in 1492 took him no farther than the Bahamas and Cuba, but he thought that he had landed near India, hence why the Native Americans were called Indians. The furthest west he got was Panama, and instead of bringing back the spices he sought, he returned with syphilis. The real first European to settle in North America was the Norseman Leif Erikson. Son of Erik the Red, who had been banished from both Iceland and Norway, he was raised and mentored in Greenland by a man named Thyrker. Later in life he was sent back to Norway to deliver gifts to King Olaf, and the two became good friends. It was there that he converted to Christianity and brought it back with him to Iceland. After his return, he heard the tale of his friend Bjarni Hergelfson, who claimed to have seen a shore of two new lands after getting lost for several days in the mist while sailing to Greenland. Leif later sailed in 1001 C.E. in search of this new land, landing on three shores believed to be Newfoundland, the Baffin Island and the coast of mainland Canada. It was on the grassy shores of Newfoundland that Leif set up the first European settlement in the Americas. It isn’t known why, but regardless of Newfoundland’s favorable climate and fertile land, they didn’t return after that winter. Columbus Day is observed in the US on the second Monday in October, except in Hawaii, California and Nevada, and Leif Erikson day, although proclaimed by the president every October 9, is not publicly observed by any state. Columbus did nothing other than get lost and introduce a killer STD to Europe, yet he gets considerably more recognition that Erikson or even his own contemporary, Amerigo Vespucci, for whom the continent is named. The man thought he was in Asia, for crying out loud. It’s too late this year, but next October, forget the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria and put on a Viking helmet instead in honor of the real discoverer of America.