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AUGUST 29, 2012

A Helping Hand

Texas State researchers are taking an innovative approach to physical therapy using an MIT-developed robotic arm to aid patients. Watch the video at

City Council approves Youth Master Plan


By Karen Zamora News Reporter The San Marcos City Council approved a resolution created to enrich the adolescent community during their Aug. 21 meeting. Several San Marcos High School students attended to push for the approval of the Youth Master Plan, a citywide initiative aimed toward building an educational environment for local adolescents. The plan focuses on strengthening the youth of San Marcos’ education and health, along with family and community relationships. According to an April 17 University Star article, the plan aims to keep adolescents occupied with “out of school time” opportunities and keep them away from potential dangers. High school student Jenny McGinty said students have formed six subcommittees for the plan. She attended the meeting with hopes of persuading the council to approve the resolution. Jim Nuse, city manager, said there is $50,000 set aside from the city’s budget to help develop the plan by funding assessments, surveys and gathering information. When the council visited the agenda item, Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, questioned the wording of the resolution. Thomaides said he did not agree with a section stating the city council recognizes that “the best way” to ensure the city’s youth grow into contributing members of the community is the development of the plan. Thomaides said he could not support the resolution if it stated the plan was the “best way,” because no one would believe it. He said involvement from parents, not the city, is the best way to ensure student success. City involvement is “a good way, but not the best way,” Thomaides said. Councilman Wayne Becak, Place 4, said parent involvement is key to ensuring the success of students. Mayor Daniel Guerrero said the resolution should include a statement about parent and guardian involvement. City council approved the resolution after the wording of the resolution was changed to read “a way” rather than “the best way.” Guerrero said data has been collected through other organizations helping with

Sara Beth Worcester, Staff Photographer

A group of Dallas natives tube the San Marcos River July 21 near Sewell Park. There are concerns that river-based tourism will drop once the new alcohol ban goes into effect.

San Marcos rivers could see decrease in tourism By Adrian Omar Ramirez News Reporter A city ordinance passed last spring could set San Marcos’ tourism adrift, some residents and officials say. The San Marcos City Council passed an ordinance in May banning the public consumption or display of alcohol in city parks. Drinking alcohol on the river is a pastime enjoyed by some Texas State students, residents and tourists year-round. While alcohol consumption is still legal, drinks will have to be brought into the water at designated access points. The ordinance, which passed with a 4-2 vote, brings to mind a similar alcohol ban


passed in New Braunfels. The New Braunfels City Council has approved an ordinance to prohibit consumption from disposable containers. This summer, community members saw a noticeable decline in tourism to the Comal River. Local business owners have speculated they could lose up to $20 million this year, and said the can ban keeps away about five percent of New Braunfels’ tubers. Though San Marcos’ ordinance does not go into effect until Jan. 1, many residents are already worrying about a similar decline in tourism along the San Marcos River, which they predict will worsen. Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, voted against the ordinance, and said he expects

to see a decrease in tourism in San Marcos once the ordinance goes into effect. “It’s going to be an interesting summer,” Prather said. “It’s not going to be as fun as it should be, because there is nothing more fun than enjoying the parks and a cold one on a hot summer day.” His position on the matter is what he calls the “side of personal liberties, instead of government overreach.” Prather denies the existence of a rumored loophole involving pouring alcohol into a cup to skirt the ordinance. “There were talks of a ‘red cup rule,’ but if you read the ordinance it doesn’t men-


Physical therapy department gains innovative machine By Adrian Omar Ramirez News Reporter

Carlos Valdez, Assistant Photo Editor

Dr. Denise Gobert, physical therapy professor, teaches Madison Senne, physical therapy freshman and clinic assistant, how to administer tests on the new InMotion Arm Robot as part of the Balance and Gait Program.

Patients with decreased arm function can now receive treatment at Texas State’s physical therapy department with the help of a new and unusual source. Dr. Denise Gobert, assistant professor in the department of physical therapy, realized there was a need for an arm device in the department’s clinic. She applied for a $100,000 grant to acquire the machine, named the InMotion Arm Robot. The robot was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It takes a patient through a number of repeated motions using exercises and games, and can assist with arm movement if need be. An attachment also allows patients to work on grip as well. For the average game, a patient may have to repeat an exercise 320 times in one sitting. “It’s a very intense thing,” Gobert said. “Because after (a patient) has had a stroke, cerebral

palsy or traumatic brain injury, to just reach out and grab a target is very fatiguing for the brain.” Other patients helped by the device include those with spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis patients. Gobert said all of the patients have the same symptoms of decreased limb function. Gobert said the robot is something new being utilized in rehabilitation and is so new that many clinics are unable to provide the service. The device has already shown success with previous patients, with some surprising results, she said. “One of our graduates of the Balance and Gait Program is cycling,” Gobert said. “Another graduate went back to work. Another guy started to talk. He had aphasia, and that’s the interesting part, because starting to verbalize with the hand takes such a large part of the brain. I’m wondering about that stipulation.”


Texas State receives $150,000 in computer science grants By Megan Carthel News Reporter The National Science Foundation awarded approximately $150,000 in grants to five Texas State professors who proposed a new curriculum of parallel and multicore computer programming concepts. The university was awarded the money April 15. The grant will be given in $50,000 installments for three years. Nearly 157,000 proposals were submitted to the National Science Foundation, and Texas State was one of about 150 institutions that received a grant. The professors who will be working on the project will split the grant. Martin Burtscher, co-principle investigator, said the five professors will each receive about $7,000 per year. The remainder of the mon-

ey will be spent on travel and conventions where the team will present their work. “We have very, very few resources about this topic they proposed,” said Victor Piotrowski, lead program director of education and human resources for the National Science Foundation. “In that sense, it made (Texas State’s proposal) very attractive.” In the past, programs were made for computers and devices with one processor, Piotrowski said. In today’s world, multicore and parallel computing concepts are becoming more common, but the curriculum has not conformed to these advances. “There’s a big shift in computing right now,” Burtscher said. “Everybody has a parallel processor in their laptops and soon in their cell phones.” Apan Qasem, lead principle investigator, estimates in a few years there will not be a

single sequential processor on the market. Because of these developments, the new curriculum will better prepare students for real world programming within their jobs. “There is a big demand for programmers who know how to program this multicore objective,” said Wuxu Peng, co-principle investigator. “Employers are looking for those people.” Burtscher said most programs do not use parallel processors because they were written to use one processor. “In order to take advantage of these multiple processors, you really need to fundamentally change how you program the code,” Burtscher said. “That’s not really in the curriculum yet.” The team will form a module including slides, notes, lectures and homework for the proposed curriculum, which takes two

to three years of research to write. Once the curriculum is written, the professors will implement it into their classes at Texas State. The current curriculum teaches sequential programming throughout introductory courses, and parallel programming and multicore concepts are taught in the senior year of school. Qasem said this curriculum method is a flaw in need of improvement. The proposal will be an extension of the Association for Computing Machinery’s model for undergraduate computer science curriculum. Qasem hopes universities across the country will be able to use this curriculum, and plans to host seminars on how to teach it. The professors have their first meeting to discuss the construction of the new curriculum Aug. 31.

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wild art


DAY IN HISTORY 1533 ­— The last Incan king, Atahualpa, was murdered on orders from Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. 1632 — English philosopher John Locke was born in Somerset. 1877 — Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church, died in Salt Lake City at age 76. 1944 — American troops marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris as the French capital continued to celebrate its liberation from the Nazis. 1957 — Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-S.C., ended the longest filibuster in Senate history after talking for 24 hours, 18 minutes against a civil rights bill. 1958 — Pop singer Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Ind. 1965 — Gemini 5, carrying astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles “Pete” Conrad, splashed down in the Atlantic after eight days in space. 1966 — The Beatles performed their last concert, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. 1996 — President Bill Clinton’s chief political strategist, Dick Morris, resigned amid a scandal over his relationship with a prostitute. 2000 — Pope John Paul II endorsed organ donation and adult stem cell study but condemned human cloning and embryo experiments. 2008 — Republican John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential running mate. 2009 — Funeral services were held in Boston for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was eulogized by President Barack Obama; hours later, Kennedy’s remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

Katrina Barber, Staff Photographer

-- Courtesy of The New York Times

Garrett McSpadden, physics senior, catches the ball in a Unicycle Football League game against the Unicychos Aug. 26 at the San Marcos Activity Center.

SIGMA NU Aug. 23, 6:45 p.m. Bobcat Village Apartments Criminal Trespass Warning A non-student was issued a criminal trespass warning for engaging in suspicious activity. Aug. 22, 6:30 p.m. Texas River Center Criminal Mischief - Substantial Inconvenience University property had been intentionally damaged. This case is under investigation. Aug. 21, 9:58 p.m. Arnold Hall A MIP-Alcohol Three students were cited for minor in possession of alcohol and are awaiting a court date.

Aug. 21, 4:51 a.m. San Jacinto Hall Parking Lot Possession of Marijuana Five students were cited for minor in possession of alcohol and one student was arrested for possession of marijuana. The student arrested was transported to HCLEC awaiting a court date. Aug. 14, 1:00 p.m. Texas Rivers Center Graffiti - School/Higher Education University property had been vandalized with graffiti. This case is under investigation.

— Courtesy of the University Police Department

library Common Experience theme beat reflected in new Wittliff exhibitions Marking the start of the fall semester, the Wittliff Collections have opened the doors to three new exhibitions on the library’s seventh floor. “Global Odyssey: From Texas to the World and Back” draws from the Wittliff’s store of literary materials. It examines how generations of Texas writers have journeyed across the world, encountering a variety of experiences that have inspired creativity while at the same time underscoring their distinctive heritage as Texans. This show supports Texas State’s 2012–2013 Common Experience theme, Global Odyssey: Exploring Our Connections to the Changing World. “Las Sombras / The Shadows: Photograms by Kate Breakey” celebrates the next publication in the Wittliff Collections’ photography book series. Presented in this new show are over 200 life-size works created by Australian-born photographer Kate Breakey using the 19th-century contact-print technique of the photogram. Luminous silhouettes of coyotes and whipsnakes, mice, rabbits, quail, cactus, moths and scorpions inspire the viewer to share in Breakey’s affection for the flora and fauna that inhabit the Southwest, which is now her home. Fifteen large-scale pieces from her Creatures of Light and Darkness series are also on view for the first time. Meet the artist at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 10. Breakey will be appearing at the

Wittliff to talk about her photographic processes and to sign books. “Face to Face: Portraits from the Photography Collection” brings viewers face-to-face with a study in humanity—from the famous to the homeless—in portraiture from the Wittliff’s permanent holdings. Traditional portraits, candid images and a variety of environmental and creative approaches can be seen in conventional darkroom printing, tintype and other processes. This exhibition of more than 50 photographs, held over with new additions, showcases images by 33 photographers, including Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Richard Avedon, Graciela Iturbide, Lee Marmon and Laura Wilson. This semester the Wittliff Collections are once again featuring a line-up of literary masters reading from their work and signing books. Together with Texas State’s creative writing program, the Wittliff Collections welcome Kevin Brockmeier, Olga Broumas, Cristina García, S.C. Gwynne, and Justin Torres to the podium, and once a month the MFA students will present their personal poetry and fiction. Admission is free. For all the details, visit the Wittliff Collections online at www., or call 512245-2313. —Courtesy of Michele Miller

Fraternity Legion of Honor 1869 - 2012 ETA TAU Chapter ETA TAU Chapter honors one of our alumni

Mr. John B. Roberts Pin #12, 1966

Chairman/CEO of Anheuser-Busch Entertainment (Retired)

Board of Directors, Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio,TX

Past Chairman, IAAPA

Serving 70 countries around the world

Past Board Member,Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation Board

Distinguished Alumni, San Marcos High School Distinguished Alumni,Texas State University Served on two White House task forces for tourism under presidents Clinton and Bush

Past President Sigma Nu Fraternity, ETA TAU Chapter

Sigma Nu - ETA TAU Chapter thanks you for your service to our university, our fraternity, and the community

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tion a damn thing about a red cup,” Prather said. Some San Marcos residents say they can already see the effects of the ordinance in places that are not owned by the city, such as Texas State’s Sewell Park. Lance Tschirhart, philosophy senior, has visited Sewell Park regularly since moving to San Marcos in 2009, and said there was a noticeable difference in attendance this summer. “The hill here in Sewell is usually packed

in some points, and I haven’t seen that,” Tschirhart said, referring to the hill between Strahan Coliseum and the San Marcos River. Tschirhart also visits Rio Vista Park often and says the ban takes away from its appeal. “I think being able to go to Rio Vista and drink beer is one of the most awesome things I’ve been able to do,” Tschirhart said. “It’s beautiful, and the beer makes it so nice, too. I think it’s a real shame.”

PHYSICAL THERAPY Dr. Shannon Williams, clinic director, said Texas State has one of the only physical therapy programs with a clinic. For it to have a unique piece of equipment like the robot is a draw for students. Williams said the robot also supports continuing education for physical therapists. “We’re going to hold classes here to teach them about the robot, and they

Laura Medina, San Marcos resident, occasionally visits Rio Vista with her family, and says there have been fewer people in the park than usual. Medina disagrees with the ordinance, believing it unnecessary. She said she sees families enjoying San Marcos parks on a regular basis. “I don’t ever see anything bad happen here,” Medina said. “There are enough park rangers out here, and they’re pretty good at monitoring everything.”


can make decisions on if they want to bring that piece of equipment into their own clinics,” Williams said. Austin Brown, a recent exercise and sports science graduate with a pre-physical therapy emphasis, had the opportunity to see first-hand what the device could do while interning at the clinic. Brown said the clinic would see two patients every morning who suffered strokes that left them with deficits.

Because it was so new, Brown would find himself with the robot even when he wasn’t assisting patients. “They were new to it, and I was new to it as well,” Brown said. “Sometimes I’d play with it on my own to see what it was like and to feel what they were feeling.” Brown said he hopes the device will eventually be produced more easily for other clinics as well.


the plan, including United Way. The city wants to create a concise information tool with all of the data available. Nuse and Stephanie Reyes, assistant to the city manager, have been working with Ready By 21, an organization helping states improve city youth services, to decrease the funding amount. Councilwoman Kim Porterfield, Place 1, said this is the first official action taken toward the plan. She said this is a necessary step to ensure the high school students know the city is supporting this issue.

Stage III mandatory pumping reductions issued By Nicole Barrios News Reporter

Amy Searle, Staff Photographer

Campus water usage is required to decrease by 35 percent due to Stage III pumping reductions set by the Edwards Aquifer Authority. Water used for campus fountians and landscaping will be rationed.

The university is now under Stage III mandatory pumping reductions for some Edwards Aquifer users, and Texas State will be cutting back on its usage. The Edwards Aquifer Authority issued the pumping reductions Aug. 15 for the San Antonio Pool of aquifer users. The San Antonio Pool consists of Bexar and Medina, and parts of Atascosa, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties. According to the Edwards Aquifer Authority, Stage III mandatory pumping reductions require Edwards Aquifer groundwater permit holders to reduce water consumption by 35 percent of their annual authorized amount. This reduction will help stabilize aquifer levels and spring discharge rates until rain returns to the area, replenishing the aquifer. Juan Guerra, associate vice president for facilities, said the pumping reductions will have no negative effect on campus. “I don’t think any of our students, faculty or staff will notice our energy conservation measures on campus,” Guerra said. Brad Smith, director of grounds operations, said the Edwards Aquifer Authority grants the university a certain amount of water, reducing the amount when a drought occurs. However, Texas State’s usage is already

below its quota, so the restriction does not have as direct an impact on its consumption. “When we get down to these drought stages, we do reduce our water consumption,” Smith said. We try to tweak it down. We manage water all year long regardless.” Guerra said the utilities department began to introduce “smart meters” and technology that automatically sends signals back to a central point, rather than having gauges record locally and requiring staff to go out and read them. Those meters are now tied into the network so consumption data can be electronically sent to the central point in order to remotely track operating parameters. The university began installing the “smart meters” last year. “We manage water from a number of perspectives,” Smith said. “The plants that we use also require less water.” Smith said the university has two certified arborists on staff to make sure the trees stay healthy, especially during drought. He said the bald cypress trees that surround JCK and its ponds have been there for many years and have always had a constant source of water, so they continue to remain healthy. Texas State was named an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA last November due to its work involving students in the planting of and caring for trees throughout campus. Smith said the campus utilizes three sourc-

es of water—city water, San Marcos River water and Edwards Aquifer water. He said the water used in the ponds surrounding JCK is from a state permit that allows the university to take it from the San Marcos River. Dianne Wassenich, program director of the San Marcos River Foundation, said she hopes to see an end to the drought soon and rain in the forecast. “Nobody knows what is going to happen with rainfall,” Wassenich said. “Rainfall is highly variable in our area.” Wassenich said climate change models are showing the current extremes in the San Marcos area’s weather will become greater. She said it does not necessarily mean the area will be in a continuous drought, and there may be more floods as well. Guerra said the population on campus plays a huge role in the effort to conserve water because one of the biggest uses on campus is cooling and heating the buildings. He said people need to be conscientious of how they manage their comfort levels in the buildings. He reminds students to not leave windows or doors open. Guerra said the way students use water in their day-to-day activities on campus plays a huge role in the conservation of it during the drought. “We’re going to cut back on the water as much as we can and try to keep everything going,” Smith said.

4 | Wednesday August 29, 2012 | The University Star


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Students can boycott campus Chick-fil-A, should not demand its removal

Kara Ramer, Star Illustrator

Texas State’s Chick-fil-A has not been immune to the national controversy surrounding CEO Dan Cathy’s comments about gay marriage. Last month, Cathy said he believes in the “biblical definition of marriage” while condemning this generation’s “prideful, arrogant attitude.” These statements prompted a firestorm of criticism across the nation. The boycott sentiments reached the university in the form of a petition calling for the removal of the restaurant from campus. The petition, which has gained more than 500 signatures, mainly takes issue with money from the on-campus Chick-fil-A potentially going toward Cathy’s funding for hateful organizations.

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Texas State students absolutely have the right to boycott Chick-fil-A if this is an issue they feel strongly about. However, the thought of completely removing the restaurant from campus due to Cathy’s views is ridiculous. Cathy’s thoughts on gay marriage are nothing new. The restaurant is closed on Sundays for traditional religious reasons and it has long been reported that Cathy donates to groups like Focus on the Family. Was it really reasonable to act shocked and outraged when he voiced his views on gay rights? Cathy has the right to freedom of speech, just like Texas State students have the right to voice their opposition to him. That doesn’t mean students should prevent their peers from eating at Chick-fil-A by forcing the restaurant off campus. There is a diversity of vendors on campus, and students should be able to spend their money at businesses they

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want to support. Even if enough students did band together to put pressure on the administration, getting rid of Chick-fil-A would be a tricky process. Texas State has a contract with Chartwells, which in turn coordinates with Chick-fil-A. Amending that contract would be a long, complicated endeavor. Beside that, administrators would be hesitant to get rid of the top-grossing restaurant at the university. Like many universities right now, Texas State is strapped for cash. It is vital that the university is able to get a percentage of the revenue from each meal trade processed at Chick-fil-A. The fact that students are uniting together for a cause such as LGBTQ rights is encouraging. Students should voice their concerns to the administration and come together to reach common goals. However, the Chick-fil-A controversy is relatively small when compared to other

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more pressing university matters. Parking, student housing, crowded classrooms, rising tuition costs — these are the issues that desperately need creative solutions for the ultimate benefit of the campus as a whole. If students really want to make a true difference at the university, those issues deserve the most attention.

The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State UniversitySan Marcos Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University-San Marcos.

The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University-San Marcos and is published every other Wednesday in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright Wednesday, August 29, 2012. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor in chief. The first five issues of each edition of the paper are free. Additional copies of the paper can be purchased at 50¢ per copy. Contact The University Star office at (512) 245-3487 to purchase additional copies.

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Chick-fil-A boycott can be more effective than petition for removal

By Savannah Wingo Opinions Columnist Students who support same-sex marriage should find ways to boycott the on-campus Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy became infamous this summer for his disparaging remarks regarding the right to marry. According to an Aug. 22 University Star article, some students have protested by signing a petition on to remove the Chick-fil-A from the LBJ Student Center. While this petition means well, it is not the university’s responsibility to manage campus vendors based on a particular CEO’s remarks

or beliefs. According to John Root, director of auxiliary services, Texas State tends to value profitability from their vendors over any ideologies they may hold. It is the responsibility of students to buy products they like and to boycott those they do not. Students who disagree with Cathy’s backward ideology should avoid eating at Chick-fil-A as a form of protest. Accordingly, if the Chick-fil-A at the student center ceases to be profitable, it will also cease to exist on this campus. The ideology of the university is formed by the demands of the students. Every time you spend a dollar at a campus vendor, you are casting a vote for the type of products you want the university to offer. At Texas State, we devote an entire section of PAWS Preview to diversity and pride ourselves on our large, varied student body. On campus, we have several organizations dedicated to LGBTQ issues such as Lambda and the Gay-Straight Alliance. If we, as a student body, are really as diverse and accepting as we boast to be, we should not support businesses that donate to hateful organizations. According to July 2 records from Equality Matters, an LGBTQ rights organiza-

tion, Chick-fil-A gave more than $1.9 million to anti-gay groups such as the Marriage and Family Foundation in 2010. Potentially, a fraction of that revenue could have come from the profits earned at the Texas State Chick-fil-A. Whether you support gay rights or not, the money you spend at Chick-fil-A could potentially be used to fund hateful organizations. Furthermore, consumers need to make it obvious to corporations that bigotry is not a good business model. Personal opinions should be kept personal, instead of being aired out in the public to alienate an entire demographic. Businesses should be accommodating and keep their donations limited to positive organizations rather than hateful ones. Perhaps if the profitability of Chick-fil-A is reduced, CEOs will opt to keep their negative opinions private. Texas State prides itself on diversity and acceptance. Although the university itself is not responsible for the ideologies of businesses it employs, students should make their opinions heard and boycott what they do not support. In this vein, students who advocate for LGBTQ rights should boycott Chick-fil-A by choosing to eat elsewhere.

Science curriculum in U.S. schools falls short

By Alex Pernice Opinions Columnist In today’s ever-changing and developing world, it is becoming increasingly important for schools to embrace new teaching practices in science classes across the nation. The importance of well-rounded, quality education seems to be lost in a melting pot of bickering politicians and religious promoters. The lack of a sufficient science curriculum in schools will continue to take a severe toll on the country’s academic performance as a whole. While certain states have taken the initiative to begin fighting this slip, Texas could possibly fall farther behind if action is not taken.

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According to a 2009 study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, U.S. teenagers ranked midway in science among participants from a total of 34 countries. Additional math and reading test scores from the same study show that the United States continues to trail behind other world powers. China is among one of the top-ranking nations in the study. The country has a large economy based on international trade and produces high levels of innovation and technology from its students. The study data raise questions as to why some people consider the United States to be an equal competitor in today’s science, math and reading-centered fields. It is apparent our academic standards have fallen well behind other areas of the world. Our public schools are severely hindered in the areas that matter most. Science tends to be a popular subject that is picked apart to fit moral and ethical standards set by certain influential figures. In some states, political and religious ideals tend to be freely mixed in lessons, and topics such as Darwin’s theory of evolution fail to be mentioned. Due to the sensitive nature of the evolu-

tion theory, schools have begun to practically dance around the subject. Sometimes the word “evolution” is hardly even mentioned at all. Because of the historically conservative nature of Texas politics, implementing the theory of evolution into science education could take years. I am not saying I believe we should all be taught evolution solely or that every other creationist idea should be ignored. But the way I see it, schools should aim to teach as many theories and concepts as possible so students can develop a more well-rounded outlook on the world. Not only would it benefit students in higher education, but it could also tremendously improve our nation by creating more productive and innovative pioneers. It can be difficult to break old teaching habits. However, when it comes to an issue like this, it is imperative to embrace alterations to science curriculum in schools. If we continue to let our standards slip, the consequences could be dire. It is important that we improve our science, math and reading test scores for the country’s economy, the greater good of future students and the workforce as a whole.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR I cannot be the president, vice president or treasurer of the student organization I am seeking to start because my Texas State GPA is too low. The Student Organizations Council mandates that every student organization adopts at least 16 of the council articles. Article eight requires that “all officers must be current, regularly enrolled students in good standing at Texas State” and that a “president, vice president and treasurer must have at least a 2.25 Texas State GPA.” I have a 1.0 Texas State GPA, and I am on academic probation. My overall GPA is a 2.53. I moved to Austin from West Lafayette, Ind., where I was studying political science at Purdue University. When I applied to the University of Texas last fall, I had a 3.0. I took pre-calculus and management courses at Austin Community College that semester. The University of Texas denied me admission. I failed pre-calculus and got a B in small business management. I was encouraged to apply to Texas State by a co-worker at College Houses, a non-profit that owns seven student housing co-operatives in the West Campus neighborhood of Austin. I enrolled in introduction to fine arts, business calculus, introduction to marketing and pre-1600s world literature. Commuting between Austin and San Marcos was not too bad because I only had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition to my involvement with committees and volunteer efforts, I was still working 10 hours per week as the advertising and marketing coordinator at College Houses. I tried to pass all of

my classes except introduction to fine arts, which I completely gave up on. I ended up failing both business calculus and introduction to fine arts. And now, I have a GPA too low to lead. Had I started at Texas State, instead of Purdue, my GPA would still be well above the minimum set forth by the Student Organizations Council. I would like to be the first president of Students for Co-operation. So far, we have 14 members in our Facebook group, and our first goal is to build a student housing co-operative in San Marcos. A few of us know what it is like to live in the student co-ops in Austin, and we want the same community atmosphere closer to campus. Transfer students looking to participate in student organizations should not be treated differently than students who have gone to Texas State since freshman year. By using overall GPA instead of just Texas State grades, the Student Organizations Council would evaluate Bobcats in accomplishments throughout their collegiate careers and not simply on how they have fared here. I have seen that active participation in student groups provides strong support and a sense of belonging, which are keys to success. I would like to call on the Student Organizations Council to amend article eight of their model constution to require a 2.25 overall GPA, instead of a 2.25 Texas State GPA. —Joshua Sabik is an exploratory professional junior

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Local garden plots provide food, fellowship for locals

Sonja Burton, Staff Photographer

Top: The Dunbar neighborhood gardens opened last May to provide residents with an opportunity to grow their own organic produce in its 15 garden beds. Right: Organic produce such as tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables are grown in the Dunbar neighborhood gardens. By Jordan Gass-Poore’ Features Reporter The San Marcos Neighborhood Gardens project works to cultivate community bonds by providing training, resources and space to grow organic food, flowers and herbs. The project opened the Dunbar Neighborhood Garden last May in conjunction with the City of San Marcos and the non-profit organization Sustainable and Edible San Marcos. Their collective effort seeks to enhance the health and food security of city residents. Austin Van Zant, neighborhood garden project manager, said he and his wife Mary, along with Dunbar neighborhood representative Amy Kirwin and local architect Betsy Robertson, drafted plans for the garden about two years ago. Van Zant said the project leases the community garden space from the city and is funded in large part from anonymous private donors. “The city’s been very helpful. They’ve helped us coordinate a few things: grants, helped line people up to get the fence done, irrigation done,” he said. The Dunbar neighborhood garden, located at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Mitchell Street, has fifteen, 10 feet by 20 feet garden beds and two double-sized plots for the Hays County Food Bank that house a variety of seasonal plants and flowers. Van Zant, owner of Redbud Roasters and a community garden plot holder, said the project is working to create a city-wide network of gardens that will have at least one

plot dedicated to the food bank. “This is something I feel really passionate about,” he said. “(It is) really important to increase food security in this town. There was only one community garden before this and there was a waiting list. If we can help meet some of that demand by building more community gardens I think it helps people grow their own food.” Van Zant said four constructed garden beds are available to the public. However, he said there is space for more than 32 more. The Alamo neighborhood garden, located at the corner of Alamo and Harvard streets, recently received approval for funding and is in the planning stages. Van Zant said about 40 people have shown interest in being a plot holder in the 21 expected spots. He said the difference between the Alamo and Dunbar gardens is that the grants received require at least 51 percent of the plot holders to be considered low-to-moderate income. Requirements for owning a plot will be the same for both gardens. Those interested must be at least 16 years old and volunteer at least two hours per month to maintain the space. First-year fees include a $30 refundable bed deposit and a $20 non-refundable tool deposit. Bed rentals are $40 per year. “I know not everyone is able to swing that on a whim,” Van Zant said. “We just keep trying to tell people how much you’re able to grow here, how much you’re able to do with such a huge plot. You definitely get more than $90 worth of veggies out of the plot by the time the end of the year comes around.”

San Marcos resident Lisa Arceneaux said she heard about the garden located about four blocks away from her house from a friend. Arceneaux, who used to garden as a child and has recently rediscovered the interest, said she thought it would be a good opportunity to get to know other community members who enjoy gardening. “To see something growing is really nurturing,” she said. Arceneaux she usually spends about an hour per week watering her garden beds that are filled with sweet potatoes and sunflowers, among others, in the mornings before work. However, she has included her husband and teenaged son in her community garden volunteer hours. “It’s her interest mostly, but I’ll provide labor if she needs it. I’m the job foreman, she’s the boss,” Denny Arceneaux said.

8 | Wednesday August 29, 2012 | The University Star | Advertisement

08 29 2012 Section A  
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