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Students in action: UH volunteers impact campus, world /FEATURES Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Issue 95, Volume 74

®

3-dayy forecast, Page 2

Hi 79 Lo 49 www.thedailycougar.com

Stimulus plan passed Bill heavily supported by Democrats, won majority vote in Congress by Heather Duran THE DAILY COUGAR

DAVID SHIH THE DAILY COUGAR

Students browse different volunteer opportunities at the Bauer College of Business’s first annual volunteer expo on Tuesday.

Non-profits seek Bauer volunteers By Sean Balay THE DAILY COUGAR Recruiters at the Bauer College of Business searched for students to work for them for free as the college hosted its first volunteer expo on Tuesday at Melcher Hall. “Part of our efforts today was to raise awareness and for us to get to know the organizations,” Frank Kelley, assistant dean of undergraduate business programs, said. Business student activities advisor Stephanie Krauss said the organizations represented at the expo either have a business focus or have worked with Bauer before. “This is mainly for recruiting,” Krauss said. “We don’t want to get in the habit of this being another career fair. We want to keep this volunteer-based.” Krauss used the Web site www. volunteermatch.org to enlist the non-profit organizations. She said when business students write personal mission statements, they identify areas of interests, which will be considered in expanding the expo in the future. “We’re looking for organizations with a proven track record, especially if they’re out of the Houston area,” Kelley said. Krauss said about 150 students

attended the expo, which serves as an opportunity for them to venture outside of their comfort zones. Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that trains college volunteers to be mentors and tutors to children from kindergarten to 12th grade, gives business students a chance to use the objectives they learn in the classroom. Junior Achievement operations manager Saprina Richards said volunteers receive training to give classroom instruction on financial skills. “We teach kids about things we didn’t learn in school. We’re taught to go to school, graduate and get a job. We’re not taught how to save and spend our money, so we’re teaching kids about financial principles,” she said. Richards said potential volunteers are thoroughly prepared to instruct the children. “We train them and give them all the materials,” Richards said. “We make sure they’re comfortable to teach the kids.” Richards said volunteers are never alone in the classroom without the children’s teacher and visit each class five times. She said UH has several professors see VOLUNTEER, page 3

As President Obama prepared to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill Tuesday debates still raged over the allocation of the funds. The bill received votes from three Republican Senators and no support from House Republicans, but still passed through the Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress. According to the BBC, the stimulus package is roughly 36 percent tax cuts and 64 percent spending on federal programs, aiming to please both fiscal conservatives and liberals. Some of these tax cuts affect students and their parents, such as a rebate for up to $2,500 for full time students. Still, the bill has encountered opposition from Republicans in both the House and the Senate. UH Department of Economics chair David Papell explained why conservatives opposed the measure. “Republicans were opposed to the overall stimulus package because it contains spending,” Papell said. “They’re convinced that spending, particularly on some of these programs, may take years to put the money into the economy and will not have the stimulus impact today of creating jobs. “Their philosophy has always been that the tax cuts, giving

people immediate tax rebates, that’s money in their pocket they can go out and spend. So the McCain version of the bill was all tax cuts.” Despite this, Papell said he thinks governmental spending is the most effective method for jolting the economy. “The best thing about the stimulus bill is that it’s tilted much more toward spending than tax cuts. We know there will be a fairly quick effect on the economy,” Papell said. “The tax cuts are much more uncertain. If people think these tax cuts are permanent then they will have a big effect on spending. If people think these tax cuts are short term then that will have very little effect on spending. Last year we cut taxes, but only for one year, and it had no discernible effect on spending.” Political science lecturer Van Wigginton said the reason Republicans refused to sign the bill was not only ideological but was also a measure to secure re-election. This always occurs no matter which party is in the minority, he said. “Politically (Republicans) all want to see the stimulus package fail because in two years when they’re up for re-election, or four years in the presidential election, they can say, ‘Look at the failed policies,’” Wigginton said. “We don’t look at what the other party did to stop the plan when we evaluate the president four years

By the numbers

787 Billion dollar stimulus bill Obama signed Tuesday

64 Percent of the bill that will be spent on federal programs

36 Percent of the bill that will be tax cuts

2,500 Dollars full-time students may receive as a rebate

later. We just say, ‘Oh, it didn’t work.’” Still, when faced with lessons learned from other countries that have found themselves in similar situations, Papell said the U.S. has done a good job by acting quickly. “I’m pretty optimistic in the sense that we don’t seem to be making the same mistakes that Japan did,” Papell said. “We learned that if you have a recession and low inflation you need to do something to stimulate the economy quickly to avoid the possibility of deflation,” Papell said. “Japan did not do that. When Japan’s bubble burst they did not run stimulative fiscal policy. They waited too long.” news@thedailycougar.com

Admin answers at Town Hall By James Rincon THE DAILY COUGAR Students pressed administrators with questions concerning the campus community at a Town Hall meeting Tuesday in Melcher Hall. Students came with questions about parking and transportation, on-campus housing, transfer credits, student organizations and the endwment. Director of Parking and Transportation Bob Browand fielded questions regarding campus shuttles, parking problems and construction. Browdand said the new East Garage, which is under construction will add 1,500 parking spaces with 1,300 set aside for student use and the rest for faculty staff and visitors. Browand said the East Garage should open in the Fall 2009 semester. He also gave insight into the University’s big picture for parking. “TPAC, which is the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, has been working really hard this semester on a parking plan. What was a 3-year plan is now a 6-year plan,” Browand

TONY NGUYEN THE DAILY COUGAR

Executive Vice President of Finance Carl Carlucci fields students’ questions at the Town Hall meeting Tuesday in Melcher Hall. said. “Our goal is to try to plan ahead and get this parking in place before the actual construction of other projects starts, so we’re not in the same position we’re in now with the Calhoun Lofts and East Garage going up at the same time.” In addition to the East Garage, TPAC has plans to build two other garages. The location of those garages is a topic of debate.

“The plan right now calls for the 2011–13 time frame for those two projects. As Dr. Carlucci mentioned, though, it’s not going to be cheap,” Browand said. “Parking structures generally cost about five times more than what a surface parking lot costs, and since parking is an auxiliary service, we have to raise our own capital for these projects through fees see HALL, page 3


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Daily Cougar

CAMPUS BEAT FORECAST Thursday

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TODAY Tape Ball Cricket Tournament registration: Last day to register for the annual Tape Ball Cricket Tournament organized by the Graduate Indian Student Organization (GISO). Event begins Feb. 21. Contact uh_giso@yahoo. com or call Karthik Yetukuri at (713) 553-8504. Visit www. uh.edu/giso. Straight Jobs, Gay Lives: 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Student Service Center 1, first floor. The goal of this workshop is to understand issues faced by GLBT people in the workplace. Receive resources that will help you make informed decisions about career planning and job acceptance. Learn about alternate methods for GLBT students to find jobs. Call (713) 743-5100 or visit www.career.uh.edu. Wii Wednesdays: 6 to 8 p.m. at UC Chili’s Too. Come play Wii Sports and Mario Kart. Student Program Board offers four controllers, so bring friends and grab a bite to eat. Visit www.uh.edu/spb. Film Screening: 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Cullen Performance Hall. Learn about challenges facing Mexican laborers in Maquilapolis: City of Factories. Followed by a question and answer session by cast member Carmen Duran of Tijuana, Mexico. Contact uofh.sas@gmail.com or visit http://uhstudentsagainstsweatshops.wordpress.com/.

C LU B 101

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Group fights for laborers’ rights

Mission: The purpose of Students Against Sweatshops is to lobby for workers’ rights, to stop the university from sourcing University logo clothes from non-sweat free manufacturers, to cut the contract with the Coca-Cola Company and to raise awareness of social justice issues. Who’s in charge: Students Against Sweatshops is a horizontal group, therefore no member is above another. Founded: June 2007 COURTESY OF STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS Save the date: At 7 p.m. in the Cullen Students Against Sweatshops campaigns for worker’s Performance Hall, Students Against rights and campus awareness of labor issues. Sweatshops will host a screening of Maquilapolis, an hour-long documentary “This group has provided me with a about sweatshops located south of the way to make a significant change to Mexican border. Afterwards, cast member Carmen Duran our campus that helps the world.” will address the audience in a question-Brendan Laws, sociology sophomore. and-answer panel. Website: Check out the Students “I’ve learned a lot since founding Against Sweatshops blog (http:// uhstudentsagainstsweatshops.wordpress. the UH chapter of United Students com) for the organization’s latest events, Against Sweatshops: anticommentary on labor-related issues around campus and links to workers’ rights oppression skills, grant writing, organizations around the country. community organizing, marketing, Meeting times: Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at Salt Grass room, University Center. mentoring, media skills and much Sign me up!: Show up to a meeting and get more.” involved. E-mail questions to uofh.sas@ - Timothy J. O’Brien, history Ph.D. candidate gmail.com.

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Celebrate Black History Month with $1 Cones WEDNESDAY February 18, 2009

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Even with hundreds of millions tied up in construction and plans to spend hundreds of millions more, Associate Vice President for Plant Operations David Irvin said the University’s priority is still education. “With the endowment having less money, as you’ve read, the board has decided that everyone in the administration is committed to making sure those cut and reductions don’t come from student scholarships. But it may mean in other programs we may have to cut back a bit,” Irvin said. “It may mean that we don’t fill vacant positions, and some of that is in administration. In all the potential resource reallocation that we’re looking at, the number one priority is to try to not touch students and not touch the classroom.” The administrators at the meeting answered all students’ questions and explained their roles in resolving issues that concern the UH community. Interim Dean of C.L.A.S.S. Joseph Pratt made a call to students to play an active role in the changes they want. “That’s the useful message of the whole night: don’t be so timid. It’s your university — make it work for you. Don’t sit and wait for somebody to do these things for you,” Pratt said. “I know you want to have a 4.0 and all that, but there’s a bigger world out there and you can make the institution responsive to you. But you don’t do that by not poking every once and a while.”

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that we charge.” For students this cost will translate to a substantial increase in the cost of parking citations, parking permits, or an increase in both, Browand said. Carl Carlucci, executive vice president of Finance, said students should not assume that building more parking is the solution to the problem. He reiderated the University’s push to increase use of Metro. An alternative step toward decreasing the number of students commuting to campus is to move more of them in. “The University has a goal of becoming a Carnegie Residential Campus which sets a goal of 25 percent on-campus residence,” Carlucci said. “We currently have about 4,600 beds, so we have 36,000 students, so we need about 9,000 beds, so we’re going to need to add 4,000 beds at least.” UH reached a milestone in this campaign Tuesday afternoon when the Board of Regents approved the addition of 1,000 beds to the campus. “That will be the first project. Then we plan another 1000 beds after that. Then we’ll probably take some older units offline and rehab and replace them, but again, we have to raise the money, “ Carlucci said. “We do a bond issue, so any finance majors, if you want to come help us issue our bonds, our last bond issue was $110 million to build housing. To satisfy the plans of the dean, we’ll have to issue another $100 million.”

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who volunteered with Junior Achievement as students. Other organizations represented at the expo were entirely new to the University. Garden Play Project is a nonprofit group based in Kemah, which builds playgrounds for special needs children. Project leader Sheila Thorne said Kemah is still recovering from Hurricane Ike damage. “There’s still a lot of cleanup,” Thorne said. Some of the damaged areas include playgrounds, which Thorne wants to adapt into areas accessible to special needs children. “The playgrounds and the

We ♥

UC

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garden beds are going to be raised so an elderly person or a child in a wheelchair can still reach in and play with the dirt,” Thorne said. Thorne also stated volunteering with Garden Play Project could function as a business venture model for students. “The students can learn economics of the business,” Throne said. “What’s your labor? Did you really make a profit selling the product?” Thorne said she is encouraged by the response she received from students at the expo. She said several students wanted to propose volunteering with the group to their student organizations. “We couldn’t be happier,” she said.

RED

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UH

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How do I enter? Name your team and register by completing the entry form available at www.uh.edu/recyclemania. Entries will be accepted through March 2.

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What do I do? After registering, stop by room 226 E. Cullen and pick up bags to collect recyclables.

The SPC will hold its February meeting at

4 p.m. TODAY February 18, 2009 in the Allison Room (Room 13), University Center Satellite The meeting is open to the public.

Fill your bags with recyclables all week (plastic bottles/aluminum cans/mixed paper). Drop off bags of recyclables at the bay in the General Services Building (bldg. #585) each Friday between 1-2pm. Continue collecting recyclables until Friday, March 27.

Awards The winners will receive their awards at the RecycleMania closing ceremonies on March 31. 1st place - $150 gift card or office luncheon 2nd place - $100 gift card or office luncheon 3rd place - $50 gift card or office coffee

If you require disability accommodations, please call (713) 743-5353 to make arrangements.

For a complete list of contest rules, visit www.uh.edu/recyclemania.

a Sod

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Daily Cougar

OPINION EDITOR Shaista Mohammed

E-MAIL opinion@thedailycougar.com

COMING THURSDAY: Remembering Joe Tall. ONLINE POLL: Should UH postpone the UC Renovations? ONLINE www.thedailycougar.com/opinion

THE DAILY COUGAR

EDITORIAL CARTOON

EDITORIAL BOARD Zaneta Loh, editor in chief Signe Cluiss, managing editor James Rincon, News editor Matt Miller, Sports editor Sarah Tucker, Life & Arts editor Shaista Mohammed, Opinion editor Sarah Krusleski, Features editor

STAFF EDITORIAL

Athletes plagued by fans’ expectations

Y SOANDSO LASTNAME THE DAILY COUGAR

Homeless vets face social biases Veterans of the armed services make up about one-third of the adult homeless population. As statistically significant as the numbers are, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not acknowledge a link between homelessness and Abdull Abd armed services. Khan The VA estimates, “… about 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year.” The department suggests there is no “casual connection” between being a veteran and homelessness. Instead they say lack of family support and personal characteristics are the real cause. The fact the homeless tend to be drunks, drug abusers or mentally damaged are the reasons leading to their social status, the department says. Well, that is a relief.

As long as they were drunks, drug users and crazy before they joined the military, the military has lived up to its obligations to its vets. So, how many drunks, drug abusers and crazies make it through the scrupulous military screening processes? Yes, their addictions and mental disorders are real, but to deny combat could cause or worsen those problems is a massive disservice to our servicemen and women. Not to say the military life isn’t fun and exciting, it is, but combat is something many people are ill equipped for. Some of the scenes they witness are beyond the comprehension of those of us who were never there. The only way to make it through sometimes is training. Rote maneuvers. No emotion, just reaction. They know the moves like a musician knows his notes. It is needed to do their job. The transition back to society can be a shock. Reactions in war zones and stateside need to be different. In enemy territory there is always a threat. Stateside is not a threat. It can be hard

to revert back to an acceptable standard after combat. The range of issues these vets could be dealing with is staggering, and it seems too massive an undertaking for even the U.S. government. They can dig canals through continents, bring down dictatorial regimes and send a man to the moon, but they can’t see a link between combat and homelessness? It seems criminals have a better time getting court ordered psychological and psychiatric treatment or rehabilitation access than those who did something honorable for this nation. It is a perversion of American sentiment for our government to appeal to the duty to country of its citizens, while simultaneously failing their responsibilities to those who have already served. The VA is in the same business as Star of Hope, The Salvation Army, and others. Private organizations work at the grassroots level face to face with the see KHAN, page 5

Shaky economy hits Texas universities Texas schools might be the next victims of the bad economy. Since last year, UH’s endowment has fallen 31 percent and the University of Texas’ was decreased by 27 percent. UH has not cut scholarship funding, however, which is a good sign. Unlike private universities, which Matthew receive large sums of Keever money from alumni, public universities such as UH rely mostly on funds from the state. According to the Texas Budget Source, the 2009 state budget has decreased more than $3 billion — the first decrease since before 1990. Although Gov. Rick Perry awarded a generous $5.5 million grant to UH through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, money is still tight.

Perry suggested public colleges freeze tuition costs for incoming freshman — a motion that received mixed responses from students. Some feel the freeze would secure higher education while other current students don’t want to foot the bill. Endowments, tuition and salary are all volatile. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is on the rise, at 7.2 percent. Fortunately, compared to many other cities, Houston is holding steady at 5.5 percent unemployment. Last year, the average cost of tuition at four-year public universities rose 6.3 percent according to The College Board. Also, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas’ unemployment rate rose 1.8 percent. Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance is opposed to the proposal of freezing tuition. Although he supports efforts to keep tuition rates within the reach of all

Texas families, he has had experience with tuition freezes at a growing university and was disappointed with the results. “We know (it would be difficult) because we did it last year and had to cut costs, eliminate some faculty and staff positions and spend some of our reserves to produce a balanced budget,” Hance said. UH has adopted the equivalent of a “wait and see” attitude as tendered by UH Assistant Director of Communications Richard Bonnin in an e-mail response to Perry’s mandate. UH is trying to stay afloat but is also managing growth. With the state of the economy the way it is, renovating the University Center is still a source of Cougar pride. “If the increase in tuition is going to be used for improvements supported by the student body, I think a raise in

ankees first baseman Alex Rodriguez held his first press conference on Tuesday since admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs last week. During the press conference, Rodriguez said his cousin injected him with over-the-counter drugs to provide him with extra energy from 2001-03. Rodriguez apologized to his teammates and “fans of baseball” and said he is dedicated to earning their trust back. “It isn’t lost on me the good fortune I have received from playing baseball. When I entered the pros, I was a young kid in the major leagues. I was 18 years old, right out of high school. I thought I knew everything, and I clearly didn’t,” he said in the press conference. Rodriguez is responsible for his actions and will face the consequences derision from fans and possibly exclusion from baseball’s hall of fame. However, Rodriguez’s actions also reflect a flaw in society. Athletes who achieve success are hailed as heroes, but those who do not live up to expectations face contempt from fans and the threat of being fired. Such harsh attitudes are trickling from adults into children. Children are no longer simply playing sports for fun but they are looking at little league, and see sports as a possible career path. They push themselves to their physical limits while their bodies are still developing. According to www. firstaidtopics.com, 3.5 million children younger than 14 are treated in emergency rooms each year for sports-related injuries. Children also face tremendous pressure to be the best. Web sites such as www.hoopschooponline.com develop player rankings for coaches to use a recruiting tool, boasting that ranking players from as young as fifth grade shows “how far ahead we are of the competition.” Such pressure is impossible for children to thrive under, and using performance-enhancing drugs will only become more tempting as pressure increases. Children should not play sports solely to win, but because they enjoy it. Parents need to relay this attitude to their children before they are tempted to employ drugs or other forms of cheating to win.

E D I TO R I A L P O L I C Y STAFF EDITORIAL The Staff Editorial reflects the opinions of The Daily Cougar Editorial Board (the members of which are listed above the editorial). All other opinions, commentaries and cartoons reflect only the opinion of the author. Opinions expressed in The Daily Cougar do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Houston or the students as a whole. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Daily Cougar welcomes letters to the editor from any member of the UH community. Letters should be no more than 250 words and signed, including the author’s full name, phone number or e-mail address and affiliation with the University, including classification and major. Anonymous letters will not be published. Deliver letters to Room 151, Communication Building; e-mail them to letters@thedailycougar.com; send them via campus mail to STP 4015; or fax them to (713) 743-5384. Letters are subject to editing. ADVERTISEMENTS Advertisements published in The Daily Cougar do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the University or the students as a whole. GUEST COMMENTARY Submissions are accepted from any member of the UH community and must be signed with the author’s name, phone number or e-mail address and affiliation with the University, including classification and major. Commentary should be kept to less than 500 words. Guest commentaries should not be written as replies to material already printed in the Cougar, but rather should present independent points of view. Rebuttals should be sent as letters. Deliver submissions to Room 151, Communication Building; e-mail them to letters@thedailycougar.com; or fax them to (713) 743-5384. All submissions are subject to editing.

Issue credits ■ ■

see KEEVER, page 5

Copy editing Shayla LaMotte, Ruth Rodriguez, Production Mario Trinidad, Halima Salami


The Daily Cougar

OPINION

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

GUEST COMMENTARY

Factory workers need University support Speak up In October of 2008, UH officially affiliated with the Workers Rights Consortium. They adopted a code of conduct, which, in part, protects the associational rights of workers who produce UH logo apparel. The WRC’s Model Code of Conduct at www.workersrights. org clarifies these terms. A test case for how seriously the university would take its new commitment occurred in October when Russell Corporation, a supplier of UH logo apparel, announced it would be closing its Jerzees de Honduras plant in Choloma, Honduras, leaving 1,800 workers without a job. To quote a plant supervisor at Jerzees de Honduras, this is because “the company is not going to work with a union.” According to the Workers Rights Consortium, around March 2008, a supervisor stated during a lunch period in the factory cafeteria in the presence of many workers the “factory is going to close because of the union. … The workers will starve

because they got involved with a important UH uses its leverage union.” to support these Honduran Russell is claiming the workers and also highlights decision to close the factory why it is absolutely crucial UH is unrelated to the workers President Renu Khator adopt the successfully organizing an Designated Supplier Program. independent Whenever union. Honduran workers Whenever Honduran However, make progress in workers make progress attaining their rights, Russell does have in attaining their rights, factories are shut a history of and moved to a factories are shut down down undermining location where goods and moved to a location can be produced associational rights, using cheaper labor. where goods can be such as the The DSP rewards produced using cheaper factories that have unlawful termination a track record of labor. of 145 respecting worker’s Honduran rights “including the workers in right to organize and 2007. bargain collectively, and the right to The decision to close the be paid a living wage,” according to Jerzees factory came, according www.workersrights.org. to the WRC, “only days after the In December, UH Students company reached an impasse Against Sweatshops gave a with its workers’ union in letter to Khator urging her to bargaining for a first evertake action on the Jerzees de collective agreement at the Honduras case. plant.” In response, the student group This is where it becomes received a letter from Dona

Cornell, vice president for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, thanking the group for its letter and previous correspondence, and hoping association with the WRC would be productive. Khator has stated “It will take this entire community to build a great university,” and she’s right. But that includes her and our entire administration. By the time this article goes to print, the workers of Jerzees de Honduras will be without jobs. More initiative is expected from a university striving to become a premier international research institution. Students wanting to explore these issues further may be interested in the screening of the documentary Maquilapolis at 7 p.m. tonight in Cullen Performance Hall. The screening will be followed by a talk from Carmen Duran, a worker featured in the film.

whenever you want. Register with the Web site and comment on any article at thedailycougar.com

Frankie Perez is an English sophomore. and may be reached at opinion@ thedailycougar.com

KHAN continued from page 5

“problem”. These non-profit organizations and social workers try to undo some of the damage done by sometimes-useless wars. These volunteers often sacrifice their own financial well being and hope for advancement to these causes. The sickest irony is the difficulty even those who labor in love face in getting even the smallest state and federal grants. Abdul Khan is a political science senior and may be reached at opinion@ thedailycougar.com.

KEEVER continued from page 4

tuition is a reasonable thing,” biochemistry sophomore Thomas Higgins said. The proposed renovation plan would increase the UC student fee to $60 from $35 per semester by fall 2010 and, although a relatively small amount of money per student, any unnecessary increases seem uncalled for right now. Some Cougars have voiced concern about UH President Renu Khator’s large paycheck and fringe benefits. In fact, Khator can’t take a salary cut unless the Board of Trustees agrees she should. A voluntary pay cut is a political move and does not add much to the bottom line of the University. Many public officials would ask for pay cuts in a heartbeat, but since this is Houston, I doubt the members of the Board of Trustees would want that notice in The Houston Chronicle. Many in town, my parents included, would be asking if they, too, are taking a pay cut. How then would they pay for my college education? No need to scare citizens any more than they already are. Matthew Keever is a communication junior and may be reached at opinion@ thedailycougar.com

Let our nationally renowned vision experts provide comprehensive eye care for you and your family.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Daily Cougar

FEATURES EDITOR Sarah Krusleski

E-MAIL features@thedailycougar.com

COUGAR OUTREACH: Student volunteers make a difference.

ONLINE www.thedailycougar.com/features

UH resurrects inner-city debate team By Sean Balay THE DAILY COUGAR Some members of the University Forensics Society’s policy debate team are going back to high school. Organization members mentor metropolitan high school students to help them develop their skills in d de deliberation. liberation.

“These kids come from very bad academic schools, but their minds are just as fast as everyone else’s,” political science junior Steven Messer said. The partnership between the UH Forensics Society and Yates High School’s policy debate team began when alumni revived the defunct policy debate team at the University. “Our alumni said, ‘Let’s bring back policy debate,’” business senior Blake Gilson said. “They ended up creating a support for (it) to all of Houston.”

Several Houston high schools established teams of their own under the umbrella of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. The NAUDL, formed in 1997, currently recognizes 311 high schools and 51 middle schools in their league network and exist in 18 of the nations nation’s largest cities. In March 2008, the NAUDL authorized Houston to set up a league consisting of 15 schools around the area. UH has worked closely with Yates during the schools’ first year competing in forensics tournaments. “They’re in their first year, and we’re in our first year,”

Messer said. “We’re sort of like a the preparation process. brotherhood.” “We go to the tournaments and sit Gilson and in on the rounds. junior finance It gives them “ It’s amazing how little of major Travis Ellis confidence just a push it takes. They see were the first to have someone to reach out to the room who someone who is excited and in Yates high school has been teaching they get even more excited them,” Messer when they began meeting with said. about it. ” students this Gilson said he — Steven Messer, political science junior is just as nervous summer. “We came at the high school across some of tournaments as the most bril brilliant students,” Gilson he is at his own. said. “Some of the debaters we “I walk around, pull my own help have the sharpness and the hair out like I’m at my own quickness of everyone else.” tournament,” Gilson said. “I’ve Since esta establishing a relationship, never had the experience before more UH team tea members have where I start to live through my helped teach and begin the kids.” research pro process for the Yates team, Messer said he didn’t realize how Messer said. much of an impact he would have Policy deb debate differs from on the high school students. parliamentar parliamentary debate because of the “It’s amazing how little of a push amount of tim time put into the topic, it takes. They see someone who Gilson said. is excited and they get even more One top topic is researched and excited about it,” Messer said. debated aall year, with about 20 Messer said he felt honored hours a w week spent researching when one student asked him to various aspects of the topic. write a letter of recommendation “Po “Policy debaters do as for the National Honor Society. much research in a year as it “He’s going to make it,” Messer takes to do a master’s thesis,” said. “He’s going to surpass where I psyc psychology freshman Vijay am. He has a shot now that he may Ka Kasschav said. not previously have had.” Their involvement, h however, extend beyond features@thedailycougar.com PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN MESSER

Political science junior Steven Messer, high school sophomore Matthew Ealy and business senior Blake Gilson get in a last-minute practice before a high school debate tournament.

Group lends aid to Peruvian orphans By Sara Ali THE DAILY COUGAR After just her first semester in college, Erica Fletcher spurred the creation of a volunteer student organization that now aids less fortunate communities in Houston, Peru and the Philippines. “I started it my second semester of freshmen year so I had a little time to see what college was like first of all and get my feet in the door,” said Fletcher, a psychology and

anthropology sophomore. a Being able to handle college was w a high priority for Fletcher. After A getting her feet wet on campus, c founding president of the th World Aid Organization Asad Moten M gave Fletcher the idea to start s a UH chapter. “At first it seemed like a lot of work w and he had all these great crazy c ideas about how to help the th world, but I wanted to be a bit b practical,” Fletcher said. “I got g my friends together and we decided d to do local projects and fundraise fu for one international project p each semester.” Finding help was no arduous

PHOTOS BY DAVID TRAN

(Top) A Peruvian orphanage receives new clothes bought with UH World Aid Organization funds, and passed out by chemistry sophomore sophomo Stephanie Fuentes. (Left) Mechanical engineering technology senior Luke Herranen got splattered while painting in a World Aid Organization volunteer projec project.

task, Fletcher said. After getting her friends involved word spread and now WAO has more than 100 Facebook members and more than 20 active members. “We started fairly small with 10 active members,” Fletcher said, “but being in The Honors College really helped because we had a set group of friends and we all networked with other people and let them know.” During the group’s first active semester in Spring 2008, students worked with Generation One, a non-denominational ministry dedicated to providing service in Third Ward, and successfully completed a few projects in the area. “We did a couple of painting projects for the MLK community center and did a lot of repairs on houses in the Third Ward,” Fletcher said. Toward the end of WAO’s first semester, members raised $500 through campus bake sales for children in the Philippines. “We gave one of our members, who was going to visit his family in the Philippines, money to buy school supplies there where it is cheaper,” Fletcher said, “and he bought supplies and backpacks and gave it to a rural school

there. In addition to providing aid in the Philippines, this fall WAO members raised $500 for Peru and sent the money with a member, who was also visiting her family, to buy school supplies and clothes for children in a hospital and an abused shelter. This semester, members will raise more money through bake sales and possibly a letter writing campaign for children in Brazil. “We’re going to buy toothbrushes, school supplies and clothes, and (take) it all to children at an orphanage,” Fletcher said. Like any UH student, Fletcher spends her time hanging out with friends, family and exploring Houston, but for this doublemajor sophomore, helping other people is one of the most important actions any person can take in his or her life. “We’re all very connected in this world,” Fletcher said. “If we can learn to love and help people as best we can, it really will make you feel better as to who you are as a part of this society and as a part of the global community.” features@thedailycougar.com


FEATURES

The Daily Cougar

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Junior bids to fortify women’s rights Student activists learn to implement change through conference By James Hale THE DAILY COUGAR University students secured commitments for campus change at the second-annual Clinton Global Initiative University conference from Friday to Saturday. CGIU is a three-day event for applicants who are chosen based on group or individual proposals. The experience is aimed at providing attendees with the skills and knowledge to successfully implement their ideas. Conferences also feature panel discussions between activists around the world, including actress Natalie Portman. Victoria Arzu, a political science and philosophy junior, was one of 3,500 students invited to attend the meeting this weekend at the University of Texas. Her application included a plan for a campus women’s rights organization. “You make a proposal of a

commitment to better the world, and if your commitment is good enough you get selected,” Arzu said. To be able to affect change locally and globally is one goal Arzu said she hopes her group can obtain by using the tools she learned at CGIU. Arzu plans to raise awareness of women’s rights issues by screening documentaries such as America the Beautiful and holding open forums on the rise of violent crimes in the U.S. and global woman’s right violations. “I definitely got a lot of contacts and advice on how to get money and fundraising,” Arzu said. “It’s an opportunity to put yourself out there. I’m really glad I went.” At the conference students attended plenary and skill sessions based on the CGIU’s focus areas: education, energy and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and global health. Arzu is prepared to submit her student group to the Campus Activities Board so she can begin the many projects she has planned.

“It was networking, feeding back on ideas. Most of all I got encouragement,” Arzu Members of the Environmental Club at UH represented the University during the conference last year in New Orleans by helping break ground on recovery efforts in the 11th ward. Environmental Club president Paulina Guerrero attended CGIU last year to get ideas to improve recycling efforts on campus. Guerrero, an environmental science senior, said the black recycling bins that have become ubiquitous on campus are the result of the University’s support of the environmental club’s ideas. “We wanted our school to change its green outlook and the Clinton Global Initiative University inspired us,” Guerrero said. “It helped us focus our goals in the direction of how to approach something you’re passionate about.” features@thedailycougar.com

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SPORTS

SPORTS EDITOR Matt Miller

E-MAIL sports@thedailycougar.com

The Daily Cougar

COMING THURSDAY: Will the men’s basketball team extend its winning streak? ONLINE: Zaneta Loh shares her thoughts on the UH softball squad. ONLINE www.thedailycougar.com/sports

SEASON PREVIEW

Houston reloads pitching staff By Ronnie Turner THE DAILY COUGAR Somewhere near the end of the 2008 regular season, the Cougars experienced a growth spurt that transcended any previous progressions. From there, things only got better for a once-inconsistent ballclub that many probably figured was headed nowhere. The Cougars made a miraculous run in the Conference USA Tournament, where they won five of six games to claim their first conference tournament title since 2000. This momentum carried over to the College Station Regional, where they fell one win short of advancing to a NCAA super regional. Flash forward to 2009, and the Cougars are without four key players who carried the offense last season. They have to break in three new starting infielders, including two freshmen, and two new starting outfielders. The Cougars, however, are intent on not letting a few adjustments stunt their growth. Coming off a 42-24 record and the program’s second postseason appearance in the last three seasons, UH enters the preseason with 16

returning lettermen, including three position starters. The Cougars, who open their season against Kansas State at 6:30 p.m. Friday t Cougar Field, are confident that a much more experienced pitching staff, plus an infusion of talented recruits, will allow them to pick up where they left off last season. “We came together as a team at the end of the year and got on a hot streak, and we now know what it takes to win,” shortstop Blake Kelso said. “We’ve got all of our pitchers back, and that’s a big part of making it deep into the regionals and super regionals and going to (the College World Series in) Omaha, (Neb.) I think we’re as ready as ever to make it back.” Early indications are that pitching will be the team’s strong point this season. Southpaw Wes Musick and right-hander Chase Dempsay are expected to again lead the way. Musick was the ace of the 2008 starting rotation, going 8-4 with a 4.35 ERA and a team-high 87 strikeouts, and will be the Friday starter this season. Dempsay, who began last season as a starter before being moved to the bullpen, returns as closer after going 8-3 with a team-leading 2.53

ERA and 11 saves in 33 appearances (one start). Right-handers Jared Ray and John Touchton and left-handers Ty Stuckey and Donnie Joseph will be in the mix to compete for spots in the rotation with newcomers such as talented freshman Michael Goodnight. Right-hander Chris Wright and left-handers Jimmy Raviele Matt Taylor will be used out of the bullpen. “On paper, we have a pretty good slew of pitching,” head coach Rayner Noble said. “I think what we’ve got to do is just get out there, start competing and see who’s going to be consistent.” Kelso, catcher Chris Wallace and center fielder Zak Presley are the three returning position starters. Freshmen Taylor White and Codey Morehouse will start the season at second and third base, respectively, with Dempsay and Stuckey expected to rotate at first base. Caleb Ramsey and junior transfer William Kankel will start in left field and right field, respectively. The Cougars’ offense took a major hit with the departure of infielders Jimmy Cesario, Ryan Lormand and Bryan Pounds and outfielder Jake see BASEBALL, page 9

DAILY COUGAR FILE PHOTO

Sophomore closer Chase Dempsay, pictured above against Texas in 2008, set a school record for freshmen with 11 saves and eight wins last season.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

BASEBALL PREVIEW

Coogs look to hurdle Herd

UH adjusts to schedule switch

Henderson Center in Huntington, W. Va. with that in mind. Especially point guards Zamal Nixon and This winning streak has been a Desmond Wade, who switched little different. The Cougars have starting roles five games ago in not exactly followed the protocol Memphis. that led them to seven consecutive The two saw plenty of playing victories at the beginning this time together in Saturday’s win season. over Tulane because a foul-plagued Houston has won each of its Coleman spent most of the game contests in the month of February on the bench. by playing a balanced, quickNixon knows he can’t expect to striking style of offense and see Coleman sitting on the bench surrendering totally to too often, but associate head coach he and “There are guys on this since Melvin Haralson’s Wade proved to team that do not even be viable options defensive philosophies. It’s a different style the team’s play, but...on antoher with of winning in which most dynamic team...they would be player on the defense is the focal point and everybody bench, they starting.” touches the ball on can expect to -Zamal Nixon, guard see more time offense in the half court. It’s also a style that on the court allows the Cougars to together. Wade get more points in transition. has been coming off of the bench This style of winning may still for Houston since its Jan. 31 loss to require consistent scoring nights Memphis. from leading scorers, guards “It works out well all the Aubrey Coleman and Kelvin Lewis, time,” Nixon said. “With Aubrey but contributions from the other (Coleman) playing so good this three starters, each with his own year, there hasn’t been much time forte, have given the Cougars the for anyone to get at that two-ball edge in their recent four-game position. That is why you have seen winning streak. me and Desmond (Wade) splitting Houston will take on Marshall point-guard minutes. With he and I, in a 6 p.m. matchup at the Cam it always goes well.”

By Ronnie Turner THE DAILY COUGAR

By Chris Elliott THE DAILY COUGAR

DAVID SHIH THE DAILY COUGAR

Point guard Zamal Nixon, seen here against Tulane, has led UH to a 4-1 record since he was inserted into the starting lineup. With a 16-7 record and a 7-3 showing in Conference USA, the Cougars hold their position at second place in league play going into tonight’s game. As he did against Tulane, Central Florida and Southern Methodist, Houston head coach Tom Penders could have the chance to extend his rotation against the Thundering Herd (11-14, 3-7 C-USA), giving players valuable experience heading into March and the postseason tournaments. “This shows everybody that we can go really deep,” Nixon said. “There are guys on this team that do not even play, but if they got put on another team in the country they would be starting.” sports@thedailycougar.com

The NCAA’s decision to push the start of the 2008 baseball season back two weeks probably remains widely unpopular with teams across the nation, but UH players and coaches have somewhat adapted as they start their second year under this schedule. Under the change, Division I teams were not allowed to begin preseason practice until Feb. 1 and cannot start playing until Feb. 20. The change in dates was designed to help teams from cold-weather climates, but it meant teams had to squeeze up to 56 regular-season games into 12 weeks instead of the customary 14. Teams had to adjust by playing as many as two midweek games in addition to three-game series on the weekends. This put even more stress on pitching staffs, not to mention the potentially damaging effects such a schedule could have on players’ academic careers. UH eliminated two midweek games from this season’s schedule by playing two scrimmages in the fall, leaving it with 54 regular-season games. Head coach Rayner Noble still doesn’t like the NCAA’s decision, but he and his staff have a better idea on

how to adjust to the change. “Having been through it one time, you can plan a lot better, understand the mechanics of it and (figure out) how much pitching you really need,” Noble said. “We eliminated two of those games in the fall, and that’ll help us out during the midweek stuff.” Noble said there has been some talk of the NCAA moving the start of the College World Series back a week to provide teams with more breathing room, but “so far, nothing’s really come about it.” The players themselves were a little caught off guard by last season’s rigorous schedule. “I didn’t know what I was in for,” sophomore shortstop Blake Kelso said. “I had played two games a week in high school, which is nothing, especially when you’re playing only seven innings whereas you’re playing nine in college, and the speed of the game is a lot faster. “But at the same time, it’s really fun playing five games a week because I love playing baseball. It’s tough, but you just have to keep up with your workouts and eat right, and you’ll make it through.” Junior left-hander Wes Musick said most of the players, with the possible exception of a few seniors, see SCHEDULE, page 9


SPORTS

The Daily Cougar

TENNIS

BASEBALL

Tennis pushes win streak to eight

continued from page 8

By Mario Trinidad THE DAILY COUGAR The UH tennis squad is red hot. The Cougars opened Conference USA play with their eighth consecutive win, beating Southern Miss 6-1 on Sunday after topping non-conference foe Northwestern State 6-1 Saturday in Natchitoches, La. The Cougars started their match against Southern Miss with a win in the No. 1 slot of the doubles competition, where sophomore Joanna Kacprzyk and senior Lynley Wasson defeated Freshman Elja van Berlo and Junior Lauren Gutterman 9-8. Sophomore Laura Ring dropped the Cougars’ only match of the day to van Berlo (6-2, 4-6, 6-10). Sophomore Lucy Forward got UH back on track, defeating Gutterman 6-2, 6-4. Wasson topped sophomore Zoe Lee 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 4 match In the No. 5 singles spot, freshman Alix Young bounced back from her first loss of the season on Saturday with a 7-5, 6-4 win over sophomore Shannon Rogers. Young was pleased with her improved performance. “I felt better and played more stable,” Young said. The Cougars added to their wins when Kacprzyk beat Junior Stephanie Dellocono 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles slot. Senior Vicky Simpson did not lose a game in the No. 6 singles match against freshman Sarah-Louise Ellis. The Cougars were just as impressive against Northwestern State, taking two of three matches in the doubles competition and dropping only one set in the singles competition. The pairs of Forward and Simpson and Wasson and Kacprzyk helped the Cougars win the competition’s doubles point. Ring and senior Jordan McCombs lost the

SCHEDULE continued from page 8

had their class loads reduced to 12 hours in an effort to keep them on track academically. “With practice, games and everything else, I think 12 hours is plenty,” Musick said. “It’s really tough. You just have to make a schedule, stick to your plan and just really be on top of things.” Fortunately for the Cougars, eight of their 15 midweek games will be played in Houston, including two Wednesday meetings with crosstown rival Rice (one home, one away). The farthest they’ll have to travel for a midweek game is to Lafayette, La. (approximately 222 miles east of Houston) for a contest with Louisiana-Lafayette on March 3. Still, this doesn’t make handling the compressed schedule too much easier. “Fifty-six games is just a tough deal with a condensed season like that,” Noble said. “You’ve got to stay healthy on the mound in order to win games, and the bottom line is beating the quality opponents you play on Tuesday and Wednesday.” sports@thedailycougar.com

GREGORY BOHUSLAV THE DAILY COUGAR

Sophomore Joanna Kacprzyk went 2-0 in doubles and 2-0 in singles matches during the Cougars’ wins over Northwestern State and Southern Miss. No. 2 doubles match. In the No. 4 singles match, Young lost her first match as a Cougar, dropping a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision to sophomore Bianca Schulz. “I made a couple of mistakes, and she profited from it,” Young said. “She outplayed me and played better. (Coaches) John (Severance) and Jo (Keene) talked me through my loss and helped me through it mentally.” The Cougars swept the No. 1-3 singles slots, as Kacprzyk, Forward and Wasson all picked up straight set victories. Junior Neila Starratt battled through a 6-3, 3-6, 10-5 win against sophomore Dragana Colic. Simpson finished a successful Saturday for UH by defeating senior Daniela Posada 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Houston holds a 10-1 record this spring and will be back in action against Sam Houston State today at 2 p.m. at the John E. Hoff Courts. Young said she will prepare for her match against the Bearkats by practicing making cleaner strokes and placing a greater importance on eating and sleeping. sports@thedailycougar.com

Stewart, who each hit .326 or higher and drove in at least 41 RBIs last season. Noble, however, expects the returning players and newcomers to fill the void. Musick hopes this year’s team can somehow put it all together and

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 make another postseason run. “Having gone to regional play and making it to the championship game, we know what kind of team chemistry it takes to get there,” he said. “We’re just going to build upon that and, hopefully, make it to a super regional and advance to Omaha this year. sports@thedailycougar.com

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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COUGAR COMICS The Waves by Bissan Rafe

Dim Sum by Ho Yi Lau

Man Law by Chris Jacobs

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TODAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CROSSWORD ACROSS

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At the Hot Dog Stand by Mishele Lamshing

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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67

68

69

70

63

64

Š

TODAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SUDOKU (Difficulty: 2/5)

33

49

51

55

9 Sponger 10 Ignited 11 Formulate a scheme 12 Wine served warm 13 Stenoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boss 21 Plop down 23 Television awards 26 Pallid 27 Overcharge 28 Funny bone 29 Deed 30 Dirty look 31 Hides 33 Undivided 34 Strides along 35 Hurls forth 37 Boggy ground 38 Second notes 41 Happy tunes 42 Truckersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; need

13

39

40

50

12

25

28

46

11

23

24 27

11

Answers online at thedailycougar.com/puzzles

14

26

â&#x2013; 

(2 wds.) 47 Call the same 49 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theâ&#x20AC;?, to Wolfgang 51 Astronomer Carl â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 52 Bond return 53 Country addrs. 54 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fathaâ&#x20AC;? Hines 55 Herrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spouse 56 Moon goddess 57 Envelope sealer 58 Have intense affection for 59 Water pitcher 60 Hamlet, e.g. 63 Writing fluid

2009 UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE INC.

Previous puzzle solved B A H S

U T A H

S T I R

P O A V WA L

L A R A

I M A G E

K N E A D

C O R E D

H I C K U E D D G A L E D I L M C B CO OU N J F GO L A I R C Y T

L A S D A L E R U S E E D D U G Q B S S T E E S K I D D H A P S A T S B C E L I K M I L S U B L V E S E O P E D N T

F E R N

E L U D E

N I N E S

D A T E S

D I J O N

N O N E

G I N GO A R

E X A M

A C R E

S E T S

E L S A

Answers online at thedailycougar.com/puzzles

How to play Each row must contain the numbers 1 to 9; each column must contain the numbers 1 to 9; and each set of 3-by-3 boxes must also contain the numbers 1 to 9.

Limbo by Paulo Aninag

Previous puzzle solved

Seniors:

Last chance! Get in the yearbook during Houstonian photo week! sAMnPM&EBRUARYn sAMnPM&EBRUARY Claudette Room, UC Satellite Shoots available by appointment. Walk-ins welcome. No sitting fees!

Visit UHEDUSPHOUSTONIAN or call (713) 743-5350 for registration info.


12

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FEATURES

The Daily Cougar

College gives students tools for social work By Melanie Pang THE DAILY COUGAR Students in UH Graduate College of Social Work turn service into a career that strives to benefit everyone involved. The school, tied with four other universities including Portland State University, Simmons College and University of Buffalo, ranked 36th for best graduate school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2008. Amber McCarthy, a first-year graduate student, became familiar with the social work world by taking part in the American Humanics program, a nationally-recognized certificate program preparing students for careers in non-profit organizations. Though there are two tracks for graduate students, the clinical practice and the administrative practice, McCarthy is a law social worker at heart. “I’d like to do private practice, but I see myself later in my career working in policy or making changes legislatively,” McCarthy said. McCarthy said she always knew

she wanted to make an impact and not just philosophize about her social work career.She said this field and internship component allows students to practice and learn from their experiences immediately. “We’re actually making a difference in our clients’ lives,” she said. Within the school, many students struggle with having a job, working an internship, and being enrolled in a full load of classes. “How about somewhat of a personal life or social life?” said social work graduate candidate Stacey Brittain. Despite the hard work and countless hours, however, the students said the rewards heavily outweigh the negative aspects. “My favorite part is literally being in the trenches, being face-to-face with a client,” Brittain said. “That makes me remember why I got into this profession and why I’ve gone through the past three years of just heck of my life … it makes it all worthwhile.” features@thedailycougar.com

Covering UH’s quest for greatness since 1934. Watch UH’s story unfold at thedailycougar.com


The Daily Cougar