thebattalion ● tuesday,
june 23, 2009
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worldaway Study abroad Gail Hernandez — THE BATTALION
Megan Ryan The Battalion Headlines regarding studying abroad don’t always come bearing good news, and statistics from USAToday don’t bode well either. From 2004-2006, State Department Data reports 2,364 healthy Americans dying while studying abroad. Between 2002 and 2008, a survey of 917 New Mexico State University students revealed 11.1 percent experienced a “serious” safety or health incident while studying abroad. There is also no laws in place that insure travelers’ safety or compensation for losses. However, the Texas A&M Study Abroad Programs Office, SAPO, reports that incidents are rare, considering that the statistics represent a population of almost 250,000 students studying abroad each year, according to data from the 2006-2007 academic year. Also, SAPO offers resources for students in need overseas. SAPO has a team organized to ensure Aggies are pro-
tected from dangers or risks that may jeopardize their educational experience. Each fall and spring, SAPO has an orientation meeting for departing students. These meetings allow for discussion regarding health and safety issues that might arise while students are studying abroad. “All students participating on facultyled and reciprocal exchange programs are provided with more in-depth information regarding the specific location where they will study,” said director of SAPO Jane Flaherty. SAPO organizes briefings for staff members who teach study abroad courses to deal with medical emergencies. The study abroad office has a 24/7 emergency call system. “We would like everyone who travels to be informed,” said Ambassador Eric M. Bost, the vice president of Global Initiatives at Texas A&M. “The inference is that there is a greater likelihood that something is going to happen to you if you leave the
United States, and that’s not the case. Jane and her staff do an outstanding job in terms of having a pre-departure session and orientation for students and faculty, before they go overseas, that is geared to places that they go.” Bost also said that he has not seen a lot of dangerous situations. Even when he served as ambassador in South Africa, he said, he saw only two incidents of danger overseas. “I’ve been to 88 countries in my career, and I’ve only had one unpleasant thing happen to me,” he said. “It was in Paris, which people think is one of the safest places in the world.” Texas A&M and the Division of Student Affairs have developed a Critical Incident Response team (CIRT). This team has been trained as qualified to react to episodes regarding the students. “CIRT offers counseling, guidance and
2,364 healthy Americans died abroad from 2004 to 2006. 31 percent were trafﬁc-related. Michigan State University students reported 89 incidents last summer, including missed ﬂights and lost passports. 11.1 percent of New Mexico State University students reported serious health or safety incidents during study abroad from 2002 to 2008. Find more information about Texas A&M study abroad programs go to http://studyabroad. tamu.edu
See Abroad on page 4
Middle-schoolers go green at Camp Energy Bryan students learn hands-on conservation techniques at weeklong camp Alex Worsham The Battalion A group of Bryan students are learning the essentials of energy efficiency and alternative energy this week in a new program at Davila Middle School. Camp Energy was designed to give sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders hands-on experience with energy conservation techniques, said Don Gilman, creator of the program and Texas A&M assistant research engineer. “We hope we will produce students who are interested in it at a personal level and apply it to their lives, possibly as a career,” said Bryan ISD secondary science coordinator Debbie Richards. It is imperative that youth learn this concept, Gilman said. “If our parents had learned about it at that age, we wouldn’t have the level of problems have now,” Gilman said. The 36 middle-schoolers will explore a different concept each day. Camp Energy teacher Su-
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san Hammond will teach an introduction to the different forms of energy, and energy transformations. “We’re going to do an energy survey to find out how efficient the school is,” Hammond said. “The students will find out different ways that energy conservation can take place in a large building, compared to a small building such as their homes.” The students need to apply this knowledge in the future to make the most of resources, Hammond said. “As our energy resources change, the cost of energy changes over time and energy technology improves, we want the students to find the best uses of our energy resources and conserve energy for future generations,” Hammond said. The students will also learn about heat conservation, alternative fuels, wind energy and nuclear energy. “Friday, the kids will build solar cars and have a solar barSee Energy on page 6
Former students honor Rohan Class of 1975 establishes scholarship for classmate Christen Beck The Battalion Members of the Class of 1975 have established a petroleum engineering undergraduate scholarship in memory of their classmate Charles A. Rohan, retired Chevron engineer. Discussions about establishing a petroleum engineering scholarship started in 2006, said Brady Bullard, petroleum engineering diROHAN rector of development. Soon after discussions began, Rohan died in Richmond,Texas, Bullard said, and the scholarship was then named the Charles A. Rohan Scholarship. Rohan was devoted to Texas A&M, Bullard said. “He was a true, bleed-maroon Aggie. [He] wanted his kids to go to A&M, and loved the school.” After graduation, Rohan interned at Getty Oil in Conroe, Texas. He later became area engineer for Getty Oil Onshore in Lafayette, La. He spent his 29-year career with Getty Oil, through its merger with Texaco and then Texaco’s merger with Chevron, until his retirement in 2002. In addition, Rohan served as a Getty Oil recruiter at Texas A&M job fairs and as a member of Texaco’s first response team for the U.S. Though Rohan began his college career at Mississippi State University, he considered Aggieland his home, said his wife, Toni Rohan. “Charles was an avid Aggie,” she said. Rohan would have been excited and pleased about the honorary scholarship, Toni said. The endowment of $275,000 given to the Texas A&M Foundation and raised by the Class of 1975 former students will be distributed among four students each year, once fully funded. Scholarship applicants must show leadership, good academic standing, a financial need and have a grade point ratio of 3.5 in their department coursework and an overall minimum 3.0 GPR. Class of 1975 members Terry Rathert, Ted Smith and class representative Trent Latshaw were instrumental in collecting the endowment, Bullard said. Latshaw, Rathert, Smith and See Rohan on page 6
Patrick Clayton — THE BATTALION
As a part of Camp Energy, area seventh-graders Marcos Mejia and Ryan Hammons examine building materials designed to conserve energy. Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to design and test green materials.
Once a week during the summer, The Battalion will be proﬁling a student leader to gain insight into their lives and what it takes to do their job. Wednesday’s student leader proﬁle will highlight Laporcha Carter, President of the Black Student Alliance Council.
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Two dead in rail collision WASHINGTON — Two Metro transit trains collided at the height of the Monday evening rush hour, killing at least two people and severely injuring others as cars of one train jackknifed into the air and fell atop the other. District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews were cutting apart the trains to get people out in what he described as a “mass casualty event.” Rescue workers propped steel ladders up to the upper train cars to help survivors escape. Seats from the smashed cars had spilled out onto the track. The crash took place on the system’s red line, Metro’s busiest, which runs below ground for much of its length but is above ground at the site near the Maryland border. Both trains were on the same track, but officials said it was too early to determine the cause. Metro general manager John Catoe said at least 60 people had been taken off the trains. Associated Press
District of Columbia fire and emergency workers at the site of a rush-hour collision between two Metro transit trains in Washington, D.C. Monday. ASSOCIATED PRESS
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THE BATTALION (ISSN #1055-4726) is published daily, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters and Monday through Thursday during the summer session (except University holidays and exam periods) at Texas A&M University. Periodicals Postage Paid at College Station, TX 77840. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Battalion, Texas A&M University, 1111 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-1111. News: The Battalion news department is managed by students at Texas A&M University in Student Media, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs. News ofﬁces are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901. Newsroom phone: 979-845-3313; Fax: 979-845-2647; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.thebatt.com. Advertising: Publication of advertising does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Battalion. For campus, local, and national display advertising, call 979-845-2696. For classiﬁed advertising, call 979-8450569. Advertising ofﬁces are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901, and ofﬁce hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fax: 979-845-2678. Subscriptions: A part of the Student Services Fee entitles each Texas A&M student to pick up a single copy of The Battalion. First copy free, additional copies $1. Mail subscriptions are $125 per school year. To charge by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express, call 979845-2613.
Associated Press WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama cited his own long struggle to quit the cigarettes he got hooked on as a teenager as he signed the nation’s strongest-ever anti-smoking bill Monday and praised it for providing critically needed protections for kids. “The decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious,” Obama said at a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. Obama said almost 90 percent of people who smoke began at age 18 or younger, snared in a dangerous and hard-to-kick habit. “I know — I was one of these teenagers,” Obama said. “So I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it’s been with you for a long time.” Before dozens of invited guests, including children from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the president signed legis-
lation giving the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority to regulate tobacco. Obama accused the tobacco industry of targeting young people, exposing them to a “constant barrage of advertising where they live, where they learn and where they play. Most insidiously, they are offered products with flavorings that mask the taste of tobacco and make it even more tempting.” The new law bans candy and fruit flavors in tobacco products, and it limits advertising that could attract young people. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act also allows the FDA to lower the amount of addiction-causing nicotine in tobacco products and block misleading labels such “low tar” and “light.” Tobacco companies also will be required to cover their cartons with large graphic warnings. “It is a law that will save American lives,” Obama said. Anti-smoking advocates looked forward to the bill after years of attempts to control an
President Barack Obama, joined by members of Congress and others, signs the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Monday, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. industry so fundamental to the U.S. that carved tobacco leaves adorn some parts of the Capitol. Opponents from tobaccogrowing states such as topproducing North Carolina argued that the FDA had proved through a series of food safety failures that it was not up to the job of regulation. They also said that instead of unrealistically trying to get smokers to quit or
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McConaughey expecting second child NEW YORK — Matthew McConaughey and his girlfriend, Camila Alves, are expecting another baby. McConaughey announced the news in a posting on his Web site on Father’s Day. He and Alves have an 11-month-old son, Levi. Writes McConaughey in the posting: “Camila and I are expecting our second child, bringing more life into the world, making more to live for. The future looks bright as the family grows...” Associated Press
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SAN FRANCISCO — He’s the reason adults of a certain age can’t stop themselves from finishing the song line beginning “M-I-C-KE-Y,” the force causing untold legions to see marching mops when they hear the rousing strains of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” But the story of Walt Disney the man sometimes gets forgotten in the telling of his legend. Descendants of the 20th-century innovator hope to fix that disconnect with The Walt Disney Family Museum, opening this fall in San Francisco. “My dad’s story is an inspirational story,” Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, said. “I want people to understand his character and how he pursued his career.”
And have fun. “Our museum will be entertaining,” she said. “That’s what dad was all about.” Still under construction, with an opening date of Oct. 1, the museum will feature 10 galleries, starting with Disney’s beginnings on a Missouri farm. Among the artifacts is the form on which a 16-year-old Disney lied about his age (changing his birth date from 1901 to 1900) to train as a Red Cross ambulance driver in World War I France; he arrived as the war ended. Exhibits include listening stations and more than 200 video monitors as well as interactive displays.
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Pastor: be productive in summer that my highest goal is to live in a way that honors Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This means that every part of my life, private and public, is supposed to be consistent with that priority. Although I am imperfect, remembering my highest priority helps to keep me focused. Do your priorities allow you to make wise choices with your time? Write out your life’s priorities and arrange your time and decisions accordingly.
Matt Morton Grace Bible Church
Making the most of one’s time involves prioritizing and planning
xtra free time. Fewer responsibilities. Greater freedom. When I think of the summer, I think of these benefits and many more. Many of us have the opportunity during college to choose how and where we will spend our summers, a choice that we are seldom given in our adult years. Along with the freedoms of summer, however, there are also risks. We face obvious dangers like car accidents, money problems, and illness. There is another risk, however, that is more subtle but also more dangerous: wasting away our lives. If you were to list your top fears in life, wasting time might not be near the top. Our lives, though, are composed of nothing but time. Benjamin Franklin stated it well: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” How can we make good choices with our time so that we can look back on our summer days with satisfaction and joy rather than regret and shame? A few thoughts: ■ Know your priorities. Your priorities for your life determine how you spend your time. I am a Christian, so the Bible tells me
■ Plan your time intentionally. The writer of Proverbs says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty surely comes to poverty.” Good choices usually do not just “happen.” Our lives require planning so that we make decisions consistent with our values and priorities. Set aside time to read, to help others, to grow spiritually, to prepare for your career, or to invest in good relationships. Planning ahead helps us avoid bad choices, wasted time, and unproductive lives. ■ Listen to good advice. Again we can turn to Proverbs: “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” Seek input from spiritual leaders, wise friends, your parents or other mentors who can help you sort through your decisions. The key is to talk with those who have a proven track record of making good and productive decisions. I hope that the decisions you make about your time this summer lead you to activities of significance and productivity. I pray that your priorities will reflect those of the One who created you. Finally, may your memories of this summer be filled with good things. Matt Morton is College Pastor at Grace Bible Church in College Station.
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puzzle answers can be found online at www.thebatt.com
Abroad Continued from page 1
appropriate support to members of the University community, their families and caregivers,” Flaherty said. “CIRT can be activated through a call to their offices directly, through the University Police department or through a call to the offices of the International Programs for Students.” The study abroad office coordinates the provision of medical insurance with HTH Worldwide, a travel insurance provider. “Every student who goes overseas, if they are on a specific A&M-sponsored program, has international health insurance built into their program,” Flaherty said. Bill Frederick, a nationally recognized expert in risk management, gives seminars to the faculty and staff who accompany students abroad. “I feel very comfortable and confident that if something were to happen to one of our students while they were traveling that we have a system in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in case something happens,” Bost said. “Someone called once because they lost their ticket, and they called at 4 o’clock in the morning, and it was dealt with.” The members of the program said the number of incidents was small. The most serious
incident this year was a student who was bitten by a snake in Brazil. The staff reported that the situation was dealt with and the student recovered. “The vast majority of problems with young people, whether they are here or abroad, are directly related to drinking,” Bost said. “We can’t protect people from themselves.” Robert Rathvon, a former student, studied abroad with an independent program and said he felt safe, despite having heard many unusual stories. “You can definitely get yourself into dangerous situations, but I never felt unsafe with my program,” he said. “People hear crazy stories and get scared, but no one in my experience ever was hurt.” Another student traveling on an independent study abroad program said that her health and safety was a priority even though the program is not affiliated with the University. “Most things we do in groups with our directors, and they definitely take care of us when it comes to classes, our housing situations, food and more,” said Rachel Castleberry, junior Spanish major. “I am having a great time and can go to my directors any time of day if I have a question.” The staff members of SAPO said students are guilty of entering themselves into dangerous situations, especially with alcohol and irresponsibility. “During the orientation sessions for students, study abroad staff members emphasize that the leading cause of injuries, both on-campus and overseas, relates to being under the influence of alcohol or other substances,” Flaherty said. “Staying in control of yourself while you are abroad is the most important element to your personal safety.”
An extreme example A frightening incident overseas occurred two years ago when Amanda Knox, a University of Washington student studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, allegedly murdered her British roommate Meredith Kercher. The Italian trial has become very public, especially because of Knox’s somewhat unusual behavior in the courtroom. For example, on her ﬁrst chance to speak in court, Knox’s ﬁrst topic of choice was her sex toy. “Foxy Knoxy,” as she is being called, claims she was at her boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito’s, house the evening Kercher was killed. Knox and Sollecito are still testifying that they were not involved, though evidence does not support their claims. The murder happened the night of a Halloween party at Knox and Kercher’s ﬂat. After the party, Knox and Sollecito claim they were spending the night at Sollecito’s house. Knox said it was not until the next morning when she returned to her ﬂat to take a shower that she noticed strange things about the place. When the police arrived, they found Kercher’s body. The trials continue and a verdict is not expected until the fall. Whether Knox is found guilty or not, this is a gruesome reminder that there are dangers surrounding students, and traveling allows for many things unexpected. CNN, Newsweek
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MAILCALL From Justice1906
I keep hearing buzzwords like “history,” “legacy” and “tradition” and I think that some Aggies need to bring themselves into the present day. Progress will come, regardless of whether Texas A&M University wants to embrace it or not. Traditionally, A&M was an all-white all-male military school and it has progressed into what I thought was my great alma mater. It’s no wonder t.u. is beating us in every aspect (academically, popularity, physically). We are stuck in the 1800’s and refuse to move forward. I hate to say it, but the bad seeds are ﬁnally bearing fruit, and until we decide to stop living in the past, A&M will never be a top-tier institution. A&M is supposed to be a state university, which means that anyone with the grades should be allowed to attend (merit-based, not “my daddy went here and has a lot of money”-based). If you wanted to attend a school with a legacy program, a private institution is for you, but as long as A&M receives state funds, anyone who meets the qualiﬁcations should be allowed to
I’m tired of people who don’t know Elsa Murano portraying her as a “Janie-come-lately” with no understanding of, history with or buy-in of Aggieland. That’s nonsense. She has been a part of the A&M community since 1995 and is well aware of the Aggie traditions and culture. She left Aggieland in 2001 to serve as undersecretary of food safety for the Bush administration’s Department of Agriculture. She returned to Aggieland at the end of 2004. She’s been part of the Aggie organization for a long time. Those who know her can vouch for her character and qualiﬁcations. I am saddened that the recent turn of events amounts to a missed opportunity for A&M to have reached new heights of academic achievement.
TOSUBMIT Mail call must be fewer than 200 words and include the author’s name, classification, major and phone number. Staff and faculty must include title. Guest columns must be fewer than 700 words. All submissions should focus on issues not personalities, become property of The Battalion and are subject to editing for style, clarity and space concerns. Anonymous letters will be read, but not printed. The Battalion will print only one letter per author per month. No mail call will appear in The Battalion’s print or online editions before it is veriﬁed.
EDITOR’SNOTE The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants in this paper do not necessarily reﬂect those of Texas A&M University, The Battalion or its staff.
From Reid Strange, Class of ‘62 First of all, from what I read, Chancellor McKinney overruled the proposed well-qualiﬁed outside presidential candidates in choosing Murano as the new Texas A&M University president. It sounds more and more like McKinney might have picked someone less independent that he thought he could have control over — sort of a consolidation of chancellor and president, if you will. Secondly, reading McKinney’s recent job performance review of former Texas University president Elsa Murano and then reading Murano’s written response convinces me that McKinney’s job performance review was conspicuously unfair, insulting and politically motivated. The pattern that I see is that Chancellor McKinney either has a hidden agenda and/or is not doing his job well. It is my opinion that A&M’s diminished image and diminished prospects for attracting a worthy new president will only be corrected when McKinney is replaced by someone with dignity and integrity. If McKinney stays and picks the next A&M president, I expect McKinney to select the person he thinks will most likely be controlled as his puppet, rather than picking a strong president of whom we can all be proud.
From Dan Aggie traditions are a tremendous strength for the University. But diversity is a growing tradition at A&M. Diversity is supported at every level of the University and I don’t know of any student or faculty member who does not support and beneﬁt from diversity at Texas A&M. This is a totally false and fabricated assertion for anyone to make. Aggies are in lockstep agreement that diversity is important and meaningful in the educational experience. Some might argue that diversity is just “politically correct” nonsense. But those people miss the point. Without understanding other cultures and value systems, you are ignorant. But I don’t know of anyone who holds such a view. This is creating a straw man. To those who argue that we need some radical liberal philosophy of elevating minorities above others — that is nonsense. But again, I don’t know of a real person who holds such a view. Let’s stop creating arguments out of thin air and concentrate on things that matter.
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Where on campus?
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beque,” Richards said. “It should be a lot of fun.” The students will use a kit to see how different buildings perform in terms of energy consumption. “The kids are going to see how the different building materials perform with a heat lamp on them,” Gilman said. The students will apply their knowledge to their building, walking around and noting what needs to change. The students are expected to follow this procedure in their homes, Gilman said. “[Camp Energy] is taking a different approach to teaching science in middle schools: showing career opportunities in the field trips, the school gets an energy assessment, and the kids will go home to their parents teaching them what they’ve learned,” Gilman said. The students will go on three field trips to five different venues, including Bryan Texas Utilities. “They’re going to the pilot plant [at Texas A&M] that converts chicken poop and waste paper into gasoline components,” Gilman said. “It’s recycling at its utmost.” Camp Energy will hopefully be the start of a larger effort to teach children about energy conservation, Richards said. “Our purpose in the summer camp is a pre-trial to align the activities to the state curriculum,” she said.
Stephen Fogg — THE BATTALION
Think you know every nook and cranny of Texas A&M? Test your campus know-how by e-mailing The Battalion and telling us where you think this photo was taken. The first people to get the answers correct will have their names published in The Battalion. Send your response with your name, class and major to email@example.com.
Monday’s answer: Academic building
Correct responses: Andy Stein, senior chemical engineering major Regan Ray, senior education major
The donors were excited to honor their friend and classmate, said John Gillespie, Class of 1975 and Rohan’s former Getty Oil co-worker. Rohan was a leader, a man dedicated to his family and his work as a petroleum engineer, Gillespie said. “Everyone rallied around the chance to do something for Charlie,” Gillespie said. “All of who came together as part of the schools hoped this will build
Rohan Continued from page 1
other class members traveled to College Station last spring to attend the Dallas Baptist baseball game and celebrate the endowment’s success. “That shows how important A&M is to them and remains in their lives,” Bullard said. “That says a ton about what these guys think of the University.”
a new generation of leaders for petroleum engineering.” A class of former students privately developing a scholarship in petroleum engineering is highly unusual, Rathert said. “[The scholarship] is the first of its kind in that context,” he said. Class members may increase the endowment, making the scholarship a potentially significant fund for future petroleum engineers, Rathert said.
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