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Frontiers 2005 • 3


2 • Frontiers 2005


Contents...

December, 2005 Volume XVIII, Issue 1

Laramie a fit for

Buchanan

by Carrie May

6

Winter Gear Guide by Karissa la Cour 13

USDA Reinventing the Food Pyramid by Malerie K. Stroppel 16

SUSTAINING WATERSHED by Amitava Chatterjee 20

The Groove Cartel by Jason Nelson 26

Wyoming’s

come-back kid

b y Victoria Sæland

9

Awaiting Winter by Karissa la Cour 14

WALKing for Wyoming

by Deb Bass

18

Xbox360:

Not your uncle’s NES

by Christopher Dresang 24

Freshman

Metamomrphosis by Luke Stricker 27

Cover photo

by Christopher Buehler Frontiers 2005 • 3


Editor

Malerie K. Stroppel

Assitant Editor Carrie May

Writers

Carrie May Victoria Sæland Karissa la Cour Deborah Bass Amitava Chatterjee Christopher Dresang Jason Nelson Luke Stricker

Photographers Max Miller - editor Christopher Buehler Jezzri Strahan

Graphic Design Garrett Dodson Frontiers magazine University of Wyoming Student Publications Dept. 3625 1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071

Frontiers is produced three times a year by students of the University of Wyoming through student publications. I would like to send a big thank you out to the staff of Frontiers. Things weren’t all that organized and your patience and hard work is I would also like to thank my parents and my lifetime partner in crime, Thomas, for being so supportive. Frontiers would not be possible without your help. 4 • Frontiers 2005

Surviving

Stress It always frustrates me when someone tells me that college isn’t the “real world.” It makes me wonder what isn’t “real” about college. And one thing’s for sure. If this isn’t the real world, I’m afraid to see what is. This has been my most trying semester. I took on too many credits, too many jobs to pay for the credits and then I piled Frontiers on top of it all. There were times I knew I wasn’t going to make it. But then I stepped back and looked around. I realized everyone around me was in the same boat. Everyone in college piles too much on their plate at one time or another. This made me realize something even more important: I wasn’t alone. I had the support of friends and family. And I can tell you one thing. Without my friends at student publications, where I spent a large chunk of my time this semester, I really would have gone crazy. I put my heart and soul into this magazine for one reason: the students. I know how crazy college life can be. This magazine is just for you. It’s here to be fun and relaxing. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy. There won’t be a quiz. There won’t be essay questions to answer. No tests. Nothing. So, my friends, read on and enjoy.

Malerie K. Stroppel Editor malerie@uwyo.edu


Contributors Carrie is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in creative writing and will graduate in the spring of 2006. She enjoys writing and reading, spending time with her family and friends and hopes to become a journalist after graduation.

Amitava is working on his Ph.D. in the field of soil science. It is his second year at the University of Wyoming. Besides doing research work, he is interested in reading about different topics in the fields of science and literature. He has been working for student publications since last February. He thinks it is really a good opportunity to meet lots of people on campus, express his views on different issues and improve his writing skills.

Garrett is a senior in graphic design/art with a minor in marketing. He has been working for student publications for over a year now as the only student graphic designer. When he is able to get away from the gridiron he enjoys fly fishing, playing poker and spending time with his new fiancee, Heather.

Max is a senior majoring in geography. He grew up in Rawlins and has lived in Laramie since 2001. He enjoys photography and has been shooting for student publications since 2003.

Frontiers 2005 • 5


Laramie C

by Carrie May

hange, new ideas and skilled leadership arrived in the University of Wyoming office of the President this summer. In the summer of 2005 the university’s president of seven years left for North Carolina, leaving the Board of Trustees the task of appointing an interim president. On July 1, 2005, Tom Buchanan, UW’s vice president of academic affairs, was sworn in as the 23rd president of UW at the recommendation of the Board of Trustees. Tom Buchanan recalled with a smile that he had worked at UW for 15 years before he set foot in the president’s office. “And even then I wasn’t sure it was good to be in here in the president’s office,” Buchanan added, chuckling. All eyes had turned from former President Phil Dubois to Interim President Tom Buchanan, who planned to be interim president of the university for at least a year. Buchanan recently announced his candidacy for the next permanent president of the university. The search for the next president may take upwards of a year beginning on Dec. 15. Buchanan earned a bachelor of science degree from the State University of New York, a master’s of science from UW, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. Buchanan taught at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of Illinois before joining the UW faculty as an assistant professor in the department of geography in 1979. Buchanan served as assistant professor at UW from 1979-1985; associate professor from 1986-1991; department head from 1988-1991, and was promoted to professor in 1991. He served as associate dean of the UW College of Arts and Sciences from 1991-1997, and was named UW’s associate provost in 1997. He was chosen as vice president

6 • Frontiers 2005 Max Miller


e a fit for Buchanan for academic affairs in Oct. 1998, where he stayed until last July. “I still pinch myself when I wake up in the morning,” Buchanan said. “I say ‘wait a minute, who is the president?’” But for the university, the transition from Dubois to Buchanan went smoothly. As Vice President for Academic Affairs Provost, Buchanan was second in command for seven years. He often filled in for Dubois when he was away, so the day-to-day stuff of being president was not new to him. Yet Buchanan maintains that he never planned on becoming president. “For me, it wasn’t a planned career trajectory,” Buchanan said. “It is not something that I actively sought out, but it was a logical interim move for the trustees and the University.” He is aware of the responsibilities of being president and seems to have a clear vision for the university: strong academics. Buchanan has been a member of the university staff for years and is familiar with situations unique to Wyoming, positive or negative. “There weren’t new faces, there weren’t new issues. There was new attention paid to what I had to say about those issues, but there wasn’t any sort of getting up to speed,” Buchanan said. Buchanan grew up in New York state in a family of four kids. He had never been farther west than Pennsylvania 32 years ago when he came to Laramie to earn his master’s degree.

“I think it took me the better part of a year to just get used to the different environment, but I fell in love with it,” Buchanan said. “I didn’t like living on the East Coast. I’d say I was not a good fit for that lifestyle.” Buchanan has enjoyed all aspects of his career, from teaching in the classroom to being associate provost. Each position he has held at the university, he said, has given him a unique opportunity to broaden his views of the university. “I am a pretty lucky guy,” Buchanan said. “There are a lot of people in higher education who have had the sort of career path I’ve had. It is not atypical. But it is uncommon to have the opportunity to do it all in the same place.” Buchanan is an advocate of strong academics. As president, he is mainly concerned with what goes on in the classrooms at UW. In Buchanan’s mind, a quality faculty leads to a quality education. If everything but the core of the university is stripped away, what should be left is a good faculty and good students. The university can be great in a less than great building, without great support services, he said, but at the core academics should be great. UW spends 75-80 percent of all funding on personnel each year, Buchanan said. And to him, that says something. “That’s the business we’re in. Three quarters of our investments are in human resources, because that is what we do,” he said. It is important to remember why the university is here and to stay focused, he said. While the university has had

It is a great school and it is a great place to live. It fits me well. I like the lifestyle. I like the small town, the community … And I’ve been lucky enough to stay.

Frontiers 2005 • 7


great successes with new buildings, great facilities and funding in recent years, Buchanan’s message is that it is the quality of instruction within those buildings is what makes UW strong. Buchanan plans to maintain a strong faculty by bringing tenure-track faculty numbers back up to an appropriate level, he said in his 2005 Fall Convocation address to the university. He has asked the Wyoming Legislature for continued funding for bringing in strong faculty. “We will be an attractive, hollow shell if we stop now and accept our wonderful facilities as sufficient to meet Wyoming’s needs,” he said in his address. Bringing more Wyoming students to the university is also important to Buchanan. Wyoming’s elementary, junior high and high schools need to instill the values of education in students, preparing them for continued education. Working with those schools, Buchanan said, will drive up the number of high school graduates attending Wyoming’s community colleges and the university. “It isn’t cliché to say that education is key. It is the key to a successful future,” Buchanan said. Buchanan is also focusing on driving up student retention rates, he said. One out of five UW students drops out of school between their freshman and sophomore years, he said. While that number is not

8 • Frontiers 2005

high comparatively around the country, Buchanan feels it is too high for Wyoming. When he became president, Buchanan said he was least familiar with the athletics department. But he maintains that he is dedicated to continued learning and support of that department. “The more I learn about them, the more impressed I am with the leadership we have over there,” Buchanan said. “My goal is to keep learning, to support them, and to encourage them to keep doing the stuff that they are doing. UW is doing it right. (Athletics) is an impressive group of folks, just like the faculty.” Coupling his knowledge with his openness to new ideas and experiences, Laramie is a great place to live and work for Buchanan. “It is a great school and it is a great place to live. It fits me well,” he said. “I like the lifestyle. I like the small town, the community. UW is a big time university, but it is not so large that you get lost.” Buchanan said he finds the same things attractive about the university that it advertises to its students. From the day he arrived in Laramie, it felt right. “It felt different for awhile,” he remembered with a laugh, “but it just felt good. And I’ve been lucky enough to stay.” f


Wyoming’s come-back kid

Photos courtesy of whitehouse.gov

by Victoria Sæland

I

n 1963, a 22-year-old man walked across campus at the University of Wyoming, heading for the cashier’s office to pay his tuition. It was not his first time in college. Some might have scoffed at his first, unsuccessful attempt of higher education at Yale University. He left the venerated institution without a degree and subsequently went to work on power lines in the West. As a high school student, everything seemed so easy. Class president in high school, top student, co-captain of the football team, a full ride to Yale — Richard Bruce Cheney’s future had been groomed for success. But now, entering UW as a non-traditional freshman, his future no longer seemed so clear, so guaranteed of success. His wife-to-be, Lynne Vincent, had already finished her master’s degree and was lecturing in English at UW. This was Dick Cheney’s second chance, and he had some catching up to do. “By the time I got to Laramie, I decided I needed to buckle down and get serious if I was going to accomplish anything,” he said, in an interview with Frontiers. Today, almost 40 years after he left UW with a bachelor

and master’s degrees in political science, the United States’ 46th vice president speaks with an innate sense of loyalty about the institution he says gave him another opportunity to succeed. Judging from history, that was just what he needed. “And the University made all that possible — it gave me a second chance, if you will. And lots of times, people need second chances. I certainly did.” Cheney was 13 years old when his family moved to a neighborhood in Casper in 1954. As a child, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, playing baseball and football. He was also fond of reading. One of the stories from Cheney’s childhood describes how being the “new kid” in Casper without many friends made him embrace this pastime. Cheney purportedly spent most of his summer in the library plowing through history books, particularly military history. “I spent a lot of time in the library working my way through a lot of military history,” Cheney said about that summer. And the topic remained on his list of literature. One of his

By the time I got to Laramie, I decided I needed to buckle down and get serious if I was going to accomplish anything.

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most recent readings is “Armageddon,” a book about the last days of World War II in Europe. Reading was likely part of what spurred Cheney’s first career ambition. “I actually thought I’d be an academic,” he said. “I stayed on after I finished my (bachelor’s) there in Laramie. I stayed on and completed a master’s and went on to graduate school and worked for a doctorate (in Wisconsin) for several years there and fully intended to get my Ph. D. and become a professor.” As time would tell, that never happened. But Cheney’s success wasn’t served on a plate of gold. From promising high school student on a trajectory to become an ivy-league graduate, to Cowboy alumni, Cheney’s career path didn’t stereotype him as an aspirer to the vaunted halls of the White House. And if anyone did foresee his political ambitions, it wasn’t Cheney himself. “Well, if truth be known, I didn’t think about (my future) very much,” he says. “No, I was not somebody who was politically ambitious in high school. I was having too good of a time, I think.” He chose his major, political science, based on a course about the cold war he found interesting. “When I got to Wyoming, political science seemed like a good major, but it was because I’d taken some courses in it that I enjoyed rather than any sort of expectation that I was going to spend a career in politics,” Cheney said. While his decision to attend UW turned out to be advantageous, his second choice of college was not based solely on a yearning home from the east. “They had to take me, even though I had not distinguished myself back east. They had to take me because I was a graduate of a Wyoming high school,” he said. “Secondly, I could afford it, because with what I could make of the 10 • Frontiers 2005

summers and working part time during the school year, I could come up with enough money to pay for my education.” To finance the tuition, which according to the UW Office of Institutional Analysis was $145 a semester during the 1963 to 1964 school year when he first arrived, Cheney held various jobs. One year, he was employed in a warehouse on campus. Then, he read for a blind man who had been in the Air Force but was discharged because of loss of vision. The man was being certified as an instructor for the blind, and Cheney’s job was to read all of the textbooks for him. “So that kind of thing,” Cheney said. “Whatever you could do to make enough money to be able to buy groceries and pay the rent and pay the tuition. But it was a great opportunity because it was available. It was a good education. It was affordable — thanks to the taxpayers of Wyoming,” Cheney said. As he delved into a career of public service, Cheney would find more occasions to thank the people of his state, as they loyally supported him, time after time. But even though Cheney may have had his first taste of politics as an intern in the Wyoming Legislature, his political career didn’t begin to take off until sometime after the Cheneys departed UW. In 1965 while interning for the Wyoming Legislature, he wrote a paper that won him a fellowship in Wisconsin. There, he worked for the governor of the state, Warren Knowles, while pursuing his Ph.D. in political science. In 1968, however, just short of finishing his dissertation, he accepted another fellowship that brought him to Washington and made him abandon his quest for academia to pursue what would become a long career in public service. By the time Gerald Ford lost the 1976 election to Jimmy Carter, Cheney already had served in various White House positions under both the Richard Nixon and the Ford administrations, including chief of staff for Ford. But when the doors to the White House temporarily closed for Cheney as the southern democrat Carter assumed office, he turned to the people of Wyoming to ask for employment at Capitol Hill. They gave him 10 years as a Wyoming representative. Despite having a heart attack during his first congressional election campaign, he was determined to complete the race, and he describes the victory as an “emotional high.” He also lauds the people he met while at UW for contributing to his victory. “When I got ready to run for congress … The network of people I relied on when I first started to get organized were people I had gone to school with at the university,” he said. Another person he says made a great impact on his life is former Wyoming Gov. Stan Hathaway. “He gave me my first political job,” he said, “made it possible for me to go and work in the Wyoming State Legislature for the 40-day session. He paid me about $300 for 40 days work — less than $10 a day. It was probably all I was worth,” he said in jest.


But regardless of what the governor thought of Cheney at the time, Cheney never forgot. “I think all of us, if we look back on our careers, need to recognize that we got where we are because a lot of people helped along the way — gave you opportunities, or gave you a hand when you needed it,” he said. And this trait, said Alan Simpson, a former Wyoming Congressional Senator, is part of what is the essence of Dick Cheney. “When they throw him in the hole — I hope that’s a long way away — they’ll put the single letter “L” on his tomb stone, for loyalty,” Simpson said. “He observes and practices and lives the word loyalty. Loyalty to whoever is his superior. Loyalty to his professors when he was in school, loyalty to the university of Wyoming, his Alma Mater, loyalty to me when I was campaigning.” Cheney and Simpson first met in the Wyoming Legislature while Simpson was a house representative and Cheney a Senate Intern. They would later serve together for 10 years in Congress. Referring to Cheney’s respect for Hathaway, Simpson gave an example of what he said demonstrates Cheney’s loyalty. “They had a birthday party or something for Stan several months ago,” Simpson said. “And guess what, there was Dick Cheney. He flew right into Cheyenne, didn’t even tell anybody. And he came to pay tribute to his friend.” Cheney spoke with great respect and appreciation of his fellow lawmaker. “I thought Al epitomized a public servant,” he said. “(Simpson’s) qualities I always admired. Didn’t take himself too seriously, had a great sense of humor. He had a deep and abiding affection for the state and the people of Wyoming.” Simpson, who has retired from politics, called his friendship with Cheney one of his “cherished things in life.” The two spent much time together campaigning, and Simpson pointed out that neither of them ever lost an election when they campaigned for each other. “George W. Bush has to and knows deeply that he has one of the most amazing men at his side that he could ever have,” Simpson says. “A man that doesn’t want his job, a man that’s totally honest … loyalty is the essence of Dick Cheney.” Another characteristic of Cheney that Simpson pointed to is his patience and ability to listen. Cheney is often characterized as someone of quiet nature. He prefers to listen, observe and ask questions, and has earned a reputation of being one of the silent driving forces of the White House. “He listens, he’s a great listener,” Simpson said. “I can listen a long time, but he can listen a lot longer. And when he is finished listening and everybody is looking over to see what he might add, you want to pay really close attention because what he’s saying is going to be very, very pungent and very meaningful and very understandable.” Cheney said his calm disposition

derives from two things: His Western birthright and his father, who was supposedly even quieter than the vice president. “Yeah, dad wasn’t exactly talkative,” Cheney said. “He spoke when he had something to say, but there’d be long moments of silence.” He continued, “Part of it is just your Western heritage, I think. You don’t waste words. Don’t spend a lot of time on small talking.” And his Western heritage is something he won’t lay aside. Though his government posts often required living away from the West, the Cheneys maintain a home in Jackson Hole, which they return to frequently. For Cheney, that often means an opportunity to exercise his favorite hobby, fly fishing. And like many other Wyomingites, Cheney too has that unique sense of belonging to the open areas that occupy the West, which may not be understood by others than Westerners themselves. “The people ... are I think, some of the finest folks around,” he said and added cheerfully, “Of course, they voted for me six times, so I’m a little biased.” He continued, “The physical setting of the state is tremendous. I love the wide open spaces, and it is … sort of the spirit, if you will, of Wyoming. While it’s a huge state geographically, it’s small in terms of population, and you get to the point where everybody knows everybody else, or knows somebody who knows everybody else. It’s much more of a community, and (UW) was an important part of that, because it was the only four-year university in the state.” As perhaps the most well-known UW alumni in the university’s history, Cheney firmly believes students should not be restrained by which institution they attend, insisting that students from UW are just as competitive as any other graduates. Wyomingites should treat their geographical inheritance as a credential — not as a handicap, he said. “You can do anything you put your mind to if you’re from Wyoming — just as you can anyplace else in the country.”

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Asked to give UW students a piece of advice for what lies ahead of them, Cheney said, “don’t feel like there are any restraints at all. There shouldn’t be. I was enormously fortunate to be able to go to Wyoming and get a good education there, and it gave me a good start in life. And I think it will for anybody else.” Looking back at his years of public service, including serving as Secretary of Defense under George Bush senior and some years in private business as chief executive for Halliburton, he said it has been a “rewarding career” with the highlight being elected vice president. “It’s a tremendous job ... I thought I had completed my political career when I left the defense department in 1993,” he said. “I’d been at it then for (25 years) and went off to enjoy private life. And then the president recruited me to be his running mate, in 2000 of course — that was a remarkable experience.” Cheney was first recruited to lead a committee charged with selecting a running mate for George W. Bush, who at the time served as governor of Texas. As it turned out, Cheney was the man Bush wanted on the ticket. A second peak, as for any politician reelected, came Nov. 2, 2004. Yet again, the people of the United States had entrusted him the responsibility to serve as their vice president. Forty-some years before that moment, the young man who handed his hard-earned money to the UW cashiers could not have foreseen how far those couple hundred dollars would take him. What he did know was not to spoil his second chance. Not bad for the kid who found working on power lines just wasn’t his forte, some may say. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” f

Lynne Cheney Lynne, who married her high school sweetheart Cheney in 1964, received a bachelor’s degree with highest honors at Colorado College, a master of arts from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in 19th-Century British literature from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. She has written several books, one of which, “King of the Hill”, she authored with her husband in 1983. More recently, Cheney has written three children’s books about American history: “A Patriotic Primer “ (2002), “A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women” (2003) and “When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots” (2004). Cheney’s proceeds from her three best-selling books are donated to charity.

12 • Frontiers 2005


WINTER GEAR GUIDE MSR Superlight Women’s Ascent $249.95 (Cross Country Connection) For ladies more experienced with snowshoeing, the MSR Women’s Ascent features unmatched traction, performance and usability. It is extremely light and has a narrow frame that is specially designed for a woman’s stride. The snowshoes are the lightest snowshoe in their class with a weight of 3 pounds, 2 ounces. The shoe has a Steep Terrain Televator which reduces calf fatigue.

Some of the programs being offered this semester through OAP: Introductory Snow Shoe Trip: Focuses on basic techniques for about $9.

Atomic Triplets HP and Urban $599.00 (Big Hoss) Three skis, right? The Atomic Triplets don’t handle like a noodle or disintegrate in the first few seasons of skiing. A pair of triplets is actually three skis with awesome design for the price of two skis. They are durable, stylish, and perform on the slopes. The HP version is for people who like to hit the pipes or the park while the Urban is set up for the rails. According to Atomic, they give a smooth, nohook grind and a ski that lasts longer under the harshest abuse. The skis have a rail slide enforcement, an inner edge that protects outer edge and base material and a ceramic base of the hardest P-Tex available to withstand the sharpest rails.

Never Summer Snowboard, Legacy $459.00 (Fine Edge) A good board for the beginner and for bigger males, the board has made its mark with a popular wood core that provides a solid platform for the best control. Though the board is big, it doesn’t sacrifice speed or a smooth ride. Made very sturdy to take the abuse of jumps and grinding, people who have tried this board are enthusiastic about its performance and endurance.

Introductory Camping Trip: At the beautiful Brooklyn Lake. You get to build a huge snow cave or for those prone to cold you can stay in a cabin. Winter ecology schooling is included all for about $20.

Introductory to XC Skiing:

Arranged by the university’s cross country ski team. Learn how to cross country ski for about $12.

Advanced classes are also offered: Level 1 Avalanche Class:

Includes textbook and two very extensive field sessions for about $25.

Back Country Ski Hut Trip:

Women’s Burton Feather Snowboard $349.95 (All Terrain Sports) This board is for ladies fresh to snowboarding. The Feather will leaves the rider feeling like a pro on the slopes and in the park. This board is usually only good for beginners, since the board does best on groomed slopes but skims the pipes and dominates the parks. The board possesses extreme durability and is made with quality materials. This chick’s board comes cheap for the ride that it gives.

For experts only. Back country ski through the Colo. forest with meals, hut, equipment and transportation includedfor about $40.

Ice Climbing Trips:

At Rocky Mountain National Park. Students who know how to rock climb get to put their climbing skills to the test as the try to defeat the icy slopes for about $12-19. Frontiers 2005 • 13


Awaiting Winter by Karissa la Cour

F

all colors are starting to fade and the bikes, kayaks and mountain shoes are drudgingly being thrown into boxes marked “summer.” But why wait for Wyoming’s short summer to enjoy the great outdoors? Winter in Wyoming can also be a world of fun for the adventurous at heart.

specific needs,” said Dan McCoy, coordinator of student activities. The Outdoor Adventure Programs offer awesome ways of embarking on new activities and students benefit from their affordable prices, usually with transportation and food included.

“I personally prefer windsurfing on ice or sailing on my Snowfer. It’s pretty tricky but there’s enough wind in Wyoming to push you anywhere.” Laramie offers many winter sports for students that won’t leave them feeling broke. From redneck sledding to avalanche classes, Wyoming’s winter sports befriend the beginner and assess the advanced. But where does one start? “For beginners, try one of the university trips that the Outdoor Adventure Program offers. Don’t make an investment in gear, but rent the equipment. Try the activity with someone who is knowledgeable and won’t push you too hard. If you enjoy yourself, then you can start spending money. However, make sure you get gear that will last and that will meet your

14 • Frontiers 2005

For good places to snowshoe, cross country ski, and perhaps redneck sledding, Happy Jack ski area in Medicine Bow offers a wide range for beginners and as well as the advanced with a convenient location of about fifteen miles outside of Laramie on I-80 east. For the advanced and those willing to travel about an hour or more, the Snowy Range mountains offers Libby Creek Trail or Green Rock. Chimney Park and Corner Mountain are also great spots for outdoor activities but may cause some altitude sickness, which takes a little experience and commitment to defeat.


Student Publications

Steamboat, Colo. and the Snowy Range mountans offer some favorite skiing and snowboarding areas. A day pass at the Snowy Range is about $35. At Steamboat, a day pass can be $60 or more. There is also a wide variety of unofficial sports that may appeal to the adventurer’s taste. “Well, I would have to say my favorite winter sports are curling and bear wrestling,” said Regan Harp, senior in zoology. Maybe the bear wrestling is for just a few, but curling holds some possibility. The object of curling is to slide a 42 pound stone down a sheet of ice towards a circular target. The game is played on a level sheet of ice with two teams of four people each. The equipment is pretty cheap because all you need is a broom and a slider. Sounds like cheap fun, but for people who like to speed things up a bit, windsurfing on ice might be more exciting. “I personally prefer windsurfing on ice or sailing on my Snowfer. It’s pretty tricky but there’s enough wind in Wyoming to push you anywhere,” said Scott Kelley, senior in geography. Windsurfing on ice uses a free skate somewhat like a skateboard with ice blades instead of wheels. The board is propelled with a windsurfing sail and steered by feet. A Snowfer is very similar, with a small sail and a short board that’s a little longer and used in the snow. Purchasing all the items needed for the sport can get a little pricey. Equipment can be found on eBay or by surfing Web sites.

Places to windsurf on ice would be any little ponds or lakes around Wyoming and of course one can Snowfer pretty much anywhere there is deep snow and wide empty spaces. With such a wide variety of winter sports, there should be fun in the snow for everyone. Friendly local outdoor shops and the OAP employees are ready to assist you. Get outdoors and enjoy the six or more months of Wyoming’s snowy winter. f

Courtesy of OAP

Frontiers 2005 • 15


USDA by Malerie K. Stroppel

C

ollege life is overwhelming enough: piles of homework, tackling tests, lecture class after lecture class, part-time jobs and trying to squeeze in what little bit of social life that’s left can be tiring enough. And on top of all that, students are supposed to stay healthy? Yea right. A busy college life has little room for physical activity and healthy food. Or does it? The United States Department of Agriculture has given its 13-year-old Food Pyramid a makeover. The rules have changed, there’s a new set of dietary guidelines and about 28 new key recommendations, according to John Webster, the director of public information and government affairs in the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. It sounds like a lot, but don’t worry. Frontiers has taken the rules and facts and condensed them into an easier-to-digest version that gives even a super-busy student a chance to stay healthy and sane. Webster claims that the new food pyramid was necessary because the USDA “knew (the old pyramid) had recognition.

Frontiers 2005 • 16

Reinventin Eighty percent of the public recognized it. But only a very small part of the public was following it. (They weren’t) coordinating the old pyramid with their lifestyles.” The old pyramid as well as the new one was never meant to be a stand-alone tool. However, the old pyramid was made out to be one. “People were used to seeing the pyramid, but they couldn’t look at the whole message; they couldn’t get all assumptions (of the pyramid) by just looking at it on food boxes,” Webster said. So the USDA decided to take a new route, using the internet as a helpful tool. They developed the Web site MyPyramid.gov, which Webster said will give “a quick lesson” of what a healthful life is. Suzanne Pelican, food and nutrition specialist with the cooperative extension service in the College of Agriculture’s family and consumer sciences department, called the new food pyramid an “exciting new tool.” “Things always need to be updated. Nutrition is always changing,” she said. Webster said one of the most important changes in the pyramid is the new emphasis on physical exercise, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Another important change to the food pyramid focused more on personalization. The USDA needed to “move towards


ng the Food Pyramid an individual, personalized” pyramid, Webster said. In fact, the motto of MyPyramid.gov is “one size doesn’t fit all.” The Web site offers the “food tracker,” a device that can keep track of eating habits for as long as a year, according to Webster. Pelican says the Food Pyramid is “personalized for a person of your age, gender and activity level” but not for each person specifically. “With three million people, that would be impossible,” she said. “It’s a lot of work,” Pelican said about leading a healthful life. “But it’s fun and rewarding.” Pelican suggested making changes slowly. Analyze what you eat and “then say to yourself, ‘am I getting anywhere near (the recommended) two cups of fruit or two and a half cups of vegetables?’” Then focus on changing one thing at a time “because it’s too hard to focus on everything at once,” she said. “If you notice you aren’t getting enough vegetables, focus on that,” Pelican suggested. “Physical activity is (also) important. Focus on what you’re doing and what you can add. Enjoy physically active living.” Pelican also recommended focusing on portion size. She brought out a Tupperware container filled with examples she uses in her classes. She pulled out one giant cookie she got at Ross Hall and asked how many regular sized cookies it represented. It may have appeared to be one cookie, she said,

but the cookie actually equaled about six and a half regular sized cookies and contained over 660 calories. Next she pulled out a giant 64-ounce cup with Mountain Dew plastered on the side. “How many cans of soda do you think fit in here?” she asked. “Five and one-thirds,” she answered herself. She pulled a small, Ziploc bag containing one and one-thirds cups sugar out of the cup. “This is how much sugar is in this much soda,” she said. “It’s all about overeating on (sugary) stuff and under eating on healthy stuff.” Pelican continued by saying that “our environment and what’s around us influences the choices around us.” If the environment offers more healthful options “it’s easier to make good choices. The (options) given are really important.” Making wholesome choices and leading a healthy lifestyle is difficult, but it really does matter in the long run. “How you feel about your body is important,” Pelican said. Being healthy really doesn’t take too much extra time out of an already busy schedule. A few trips to Half Acre each week with a buddy and adding a healthy salad to a meal can be a major step towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s even shown that healthier habits lead to better performance in school. It could be possible that exercise, which can seem to add extra stress, may actually remove stress from finals week and life overall. f

CALORIE LEVELS:

Grains: Vegetables: Fruits: Milk: Meat and Beans:

1600

2000

2400

2800

5 ounces

6 ounces

8 ounces

10 ounces

2 cups

2 ½ cups

3 cups

3 ½ cups

1 ½ cups

2 cups

2 cups

3 cups

3 cups

3 cups

3 cups

3 cups

5 ½ ounces

6 ½ ounces 7 ounces

5 ounces

Frontiers 2005 • 17


WALKing for Wyoming by Deborah Bass

D

rs. Derek Smith and Todd Bartee at the University of Wyoming want to help put an end to lethargy in Wyoming. They hope to elevate awareness of the pressing need to begin a statewide initiative for better physical health in Wyoming residents. They want to show state officials there is a need to move toward providing a healthier state. The Wyoming Active Living Kick, WALK, pilot project at UW is a program designed to incorporate physical activity into people’s lifestyles. Co-directors and principle investigators of the WALK project Smith and Bartee are conducting a study to collect data, which they will use to seek funding from organizations such as the National Institute of Health and American Heart Association to help begin this statewide initiative. Presently WALK has 40 participants ranging from 21 to 55 years old. According to Smith, the program focuses on a middle-aged group because it aims to teach participants to have an influence on their children. When a child sees an active parent the hope is that the child will be more inclined to be physically active. Prior to the study all participants visited the UW campus for a pre-assessment physical. Smith and Bartee gathered information to be measured throughout the study by the participants. This is done on their own time or by a local physician. Measurements on height, weight, body composition and body fat were taken. Cholesterol and insulin levels were also measured. A social survey was given, including questions about preparing for physical activity and activities the participant already does. With this information, the team can see any changes in behavior throughout the program. At the end of the study, the same information will be collected to accumulate results on how the program has affected the participant’s health and habits. The study groups can be measured on daily physical activity blood biomarkers that are being found to curb heart diseases and diabetes, visible changes in body composition, reaching levels of an appropriate body weight; and mental preparation the to stay active. The participants are divided into four groups of 10. Some are based on a program called Active Living Every Day, or ALED. ALED is a program adopted by UW and developed by Human Kinetics and The Cooper Institute. Human Kinetic dedicates itself to spreading knowledge of the importance

18 • Frontiers 2005


of both living habits and health. It also gives guidance on carrying out the idea of the correlation between physical and emotional health. The Cooper Institute, a publisher of books and journals, also encourages physical activity. Through the implementation of ALED, Human Kinetics and the Cooper Institute are able to fulfill their mission to “help sedentary adults adopt and maintain physically active lifestyles.” The participants are divided into groups based on ALED classroom instruction in Laramie, Wyo., ALED web-based instruction spread throughout the state, traditional homebased exercise prescription and control. The ALED groups each use a 20 lesson course to learn the skills necessary to develop and stick with an active lifestyle. The web-based outreach course is a vital and novel component of the study since it has the potential to reach out across the state to areas where people could otherwise not benefit from such a program. The web-based program allows the study to reach its full potential to test systems that could then be implemented throughout the state. If the study is successful, the web-based portion of the program will help Smith and Bartee push the statewide initiative that will begin making Wyoming a healthier state. The classroom ALED group meets each week for lecture and participation-based instruction. Both groups have weekly check-ins that help facilitators guide ALED students by teaching them how to goal set, to notice and to break through problems that arise during their activity routines and to develop support to help people begin and maintain physical activity. ALED classroom participant and non-traditional UW geography student Jill Walker said the program encourages “building walking into the day and just getting out of your chair.”

The average American only walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which is about one and a half to two miles. They should be walking closer to 10,000 steps a day, which is equivalent to about five miles. Each week participants are encouraged to burn 1,000 extra calories. This can be done many ways including vacuuming and shoveling snow. Walker also said that the program is good for people who do not have much time and that the facilitators do not make participants feel guilty. Two kinesiology faculty, Marci Smith, Master of Science, exercise science, and Erin Nitschke, Master of Science, National Strength and Conditioning Association – Certified Personal Trainer, received training in Boston to become licensed facilitators of ALED. Without licensed facilitators the program cannot be implemented. According to WALK Program Director Marci Smith, “The Active Living Every Day program is well packaged.” She says the team “believes and anticipates that the program will help people develop and sustain long-term health lifestyles by making small changes on a daily basis.” Walker has observed in her classroom sessions that “to be active, you do not need to be a jock.” The main tool she has collected, thus far, is to schedule walking into her calendar, even if she does not do it. At least she is reminded to get up and move. Through adding daily activity, the paybacks are immense. People sleep better and are more productive at work. Once these benefits are realized and the state acts upon the findings of Smith and Bartee’s research data, Wyoming will be a healthier and more active state. f

The average American only walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which is about one and a half to two miles.

Frontiers 2005 • 19


by Amitava Chatterjee

SUSTAINING WATERSHED

20 • Frontiers 2005


Photos courtesy of Dr. Scott Miller

Miller with a group of research collaborators and local stakeholders at salty springs in Africa.

A

s the global population continues to grow, scientists are attempting to find strategies to balance consumption and conservation of the Earth’s natural resources. Geographical Information Systems are used to model watershed and landscaping, and are an evolving tool for addressing the management and future of natural resources in order to sustain development. A major environmental research objective of this century has been to achieve successful economic development without undue negative consequences to environmental health. Dr. Scott N. Miller, director of spatial analysis of watershed and landscape systems, or SAWLS, and an assistant professor of department of renewable resources at the University of Wyoming, and his research team are actively engaged in applying GIS in solving a variety of inter-disciplinary research problems including watershed management, assessment of invasive weed species, risk analysis of West Nile Virus related to changes in surface water and high resolution terrain mapping. GIS uses computers to represent spatial and temporal variable data, both of which are of primary concern for analysis of and management for sustainability. In a GIS, spatial data is digitally transformed for use in cartography, modeling and spatio-temporal analysis. This approach allows users to view, understand, question, interpret and visualize data

in ways that weren’t possible in the past. With GIS and modeling, a decision manager can make better choices in regards to a changing ecological system. Watershed hydrology is a primary concern for scientists who wish to conserve the quality of water resources on earth to satisfy human needs. Miller and his graduate students are working on different multidisciplinary projects related to hydrological modeling, digital soil mapping using remote sensing and GIS. “We are looking at how human and natural systems interact. We work on hydrological modeling at the landscape scale with land cover data using remote sensing and mapping. Doing that repeatedly over time reveals how the ecosystem is changing,” Miller said. “We are using GIS and remote sensing to collect and maintain our data and to develop our conceptual and mathematical models.” GIS for watershed management: Miller’s interests stemmed at a young age from observing the relationship of humans and the environment in developing countries. “I have always been interested in watershed issues in developing (countries) where the land surface is changing rapidly and where effects on both the environment and people are more immediate and direct,” Miller said. In developing nations, people tend to be more intimately related to the environment for Frontiers 2005 • 21


Muriuki Jenkins and Baldyga working on a rainfall simulator.

their livelihood so causal changes in nature have a direct impact on those people. Researchers in the SAWLS group are working on areas in Kenya and South Africa where humans are directly affected by the environment and are in turn being impacted by negative trends in the watershed systems. Miller’s group is also working on research projects in the U.S. Miller is part of a team investigating coal bed methane discharge water in Wyoming. “We have relatively diverse objectives covering our research sites in five states and two countries. In most cases, we are focused on how human dynamics are interacting with watershed systems and how true sustainability can be achieved in terms of economic development and healthy watershed processes specifically,” Miller said. They are collecting temporal and spatial data covering the research areas. These GIS and tabular databases are converted into knowledge either by conceptual or mathematical modeling. From these foundational models a full watershed simulation model, which can help achieve management objectives allowing for the prediction of different outcomes based on management scenarios, can be generated. “With the help of GIS and modeling approach, we try to provide a framework to show the consequences of changing landscape patterns. The consequences are displayed or represented in a manner so that managers can interpret those outcomes and they can make decisions that reflect both the needs of people and the environment,” Miller said. For the last decade the social, political and economical conditions in South Africa have been rapidly evolving. Kruger Park is facing challenging changes in land management relating to populations and settlements on the West side of the park boundary. The Luvuvhu and Shingwedzi rivers flow from their sources in mountainous areas outside of the park through growing communities before passing through the park and into Mozambique. New forest plantations, dams on tributaries and main river reaches that supply water in water-scarce areas threaten to impair the ecological and hydrological services that the park depends upon. “We are seeing that outside and inside the fence, ecological systems are heavily disrupted. Mozambique is currently establishing an international park on the Eastern side of Kruger,” Miller said. Hannah Griscom is graduate student under Miller looking at how land cover and direct extraction of water affect 22 • Frontiers 2005

Miller & Muchiri in Kericho Valley.

riverine systems in Kruger National Park. “I am using hydrological modeling to find out the exact reasons for changes of (river) flow, whether it is due to land cover change or direct extraction from rivers,” Griscom said. Griscom is using a model called SWAT, or Soil and Water Assessment Tool, to simulate water discharge and sedimentation. In 1998, the government of South Africa passed a progressive water law which has facilitated people and agencies to think about and proactively manage water resources. Particularly, the law is aimed toward establishing a minimum flow required to maintain hydrologic and ecological systems. Local governing bodies determine how much water should stay in the river after agricultural and other abstractions occur. Griscom also looks at the effects of establishing dams for irrigated agriculture on water flow rates of the rivers. “My research outcomes will suggest strategies for the judicious use of water and the concepts can be applicable to other watershed areas,” Griscom said. Hydrological modeling alone is not sufficient for addressing watershed sustainability. Multidimensional approaches such as the assessments of water quality and quantity, water balance, ecology, economics and social structure are required. Decision support helps stakeholders make informed decisions regarding a range of possible land management scenarios based on their needs and goals. Tracy Baldyga, a Ph.D. graduate student under Miller has recently completed her research work in hydrological modeling of the Njoro River watershed in Kenya and is now continuing her doctoral research work on decision support systems. “Hydrological modeling is not enough for decision making in watershed restoration. Incorporation of other models with hydrological modeling can be effective in the prediction of sustainability in a watershed,” Baldyga said. Digital soil mapping: Miller is working with the University of Arizona and three Federal agencies to develop an integrated soil moisture modeling system in a GIS. Sudhir Raj Shreshta, a Ph.D. candidate under Miller, is working on predicting soil properties using high resolution remote sensing and heuristic modeling. “Defining soil properties of vast landscapes is time consuming and expensive. To predict the soil properties of a large area, I am working on digital soil mapping using


Bob Lange and Ginger Paige using LIDAR technology.

geomorphic and hydrological parameters, optical remotely sensed data and LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging,” Shreshta said. Soil development functions from multiple factors including parent rock, climate, topography, vegetation and time. “I have developed a knowledge-based model to predict basic soil properties from an understanding of those soil formation factors. I used this model in Walnut Gulch in Arizona with approximately a 70 percent accuracy of predictive map data with a ground based map. I am ready to apply my model in Walden, Colo., to validate my model,” Shreshta said. Mapping invasive weed species habitat: Invasive weed species are a substantial problem in Wyoming. Miller is working with Margaret Rayda of WY-CAPS to develop GIS visualization tools to help agencies combat noxious weeds. Past mapping techniques of invasive weed species was cumbersome and time consuming with a delay in information dispersal. “We are using an internet map server to display the hot spots and spatially distributed intensities of different weed species,” Miller said. “We are creating an interface where people out in the field log their data via an internet portal and the mapping information is updated automatically. At the same time their position on the ground is monitored using air photos and other mapping tools.” Wyoming’s patchwork of land ownership has lead to difficulties in coordination among data collection agencies. With the help of GIS mapping technologies, they can immediately observe the distribution of weed species of land area owned by different agencies and alter or update their control strategies. Controlling West Nile Virus: West Nile Virus is a significant health risk for humans and livestock as well as for resident birds. Miller is collaborating with Dr. Ed Schmidtmann of the USDAABADRL facility at the university to build GIS models that identify larval habitat of the Culex tarsalis mosquito, which is the primary vector of West Nile in Wyoming. “We are trying to get a better understanding through field work to determine the range of characteristics of their larval habitat and environmental factors that accelerate their proliferation,” Miller said. Remote sensing and GIS can be used to identify bodies of water that could be habitats for West Nile Virus such as shallow water reservoirs, profuse growth of vegetation that provide

Muriuki and Malchi working on a simulator.

sufficient nutrition for the virus and shallow land slopes that ensure low flows. The environmental adequacy is then computed to identify any Culex larval and quantify the risk of West Nile virus. “We are really interested in watershed processes in Wyoming elsewhere in the field that require an interdisciplinary approach and are complex in nature,” Miller said. “I am looking forward to research opportunities relating to changing landscape patterns and how those patterns affect watershed hydrological response, stream channel function and potential consequences to downstream communities and habitats.” f

With a degree in…

Careers await in…

Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management �

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Agroecology

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Agricultural Communications

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Agricultural Business

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For more information about these exciting career opportunities contact the College of Agriculture 766-4135 • www.uwyo.edu/agcollege

Frontiers 2005 • 23


“the next evolution in gaming”

Xbox360:

Not your uncle’s NES by Christopher Dresang After four years of undergraduate work, Microsoft’s Xbox is poised to walk across the stage and receive its diploma. On Nov. 22, the Xbox graduated into the next world of gaming technology by becoming the Xbox 360. “Xbox 360 is the most powerful next generation gaming system. We are on the eve of a new era of gaming,” said Agnes

Courtesy of Microsoft

24 • Frontiers 2005

Hangdorfer, edelman for Microsoft Xbox. This “new era of gaming” will be introduced by some of the latest technology incorporated into the Xbox 360. “It is the next evolution in gaming,” says Eric Berg, a computer science major at the University of Wyoming. “Right now, Xboxes run on Pentium IIIs. There are smarter processors out there.” The Xbox 360 utilizes some of the newest processors such as the 3.2 GHz tri-core Power PC derivative with Surface Mount Technology, allowing the performance level of the Xbox to go from 1GB of data a second to 21.6 GB a second. This means that the brain of the Xbox 360 is off the hook.” And the upgrades don’t stop with the processor. The Xbox 360 also improves

“For the first time ever, you’ll get to decide what your favorite game console looks like.”


graphics by making all Xbox 360 games playable in high definition. While students can still play the Xbox 360 games on their 10 x 6, black and white television from the 80s, most students should think about spending the extra cash from their loans on a nice plasma or CRT television. The plasma will definitely be a good investment, but so will the CRT, which is a basic, huge and heavy television, but with HD. The CRT is going to be the less expensive of the two and still provide amazing graphics, while not having to sacrifice thousands of dollars. It’s also a good idea for students to start setting aside some cash for the actual system. The “core” Xbox 360 is going to be $299. The “standard” version of the Xbox 360 will be $399. While a $399 investment is kind of steep, it comes with a detachable 20 GB hard drive, backwards compatibility with other Xbox games, a wireless controller, an Xbox Live Headset, a video cable for HD and standard televisions, a limited remote control and that all important power cable. The difference between the two versions is pretty simple. The core version has a power cable and controller and the standard version has “everything but the kitchen sink.” Microsoft is helping the poor student by putting the release date close to the holidays. This allows students to prepare the inevitable “look at how well I did in school, buy me an Xbox 360 to show how you appreciate my hard work” speech. The Xbox 360 will be customizable in many different ways. The first is the feature is a detachable faceplate. “For the first time ever, you’ll get to decide what your favorite game console looks like,” writes Ryan McCaffrey, editor of “Xbox 360: The Complete Launch Guide.” Faceplates will be available in multitudes of colors and themes, allowing students to decorate

their rooms or have something interesting to look at while their game loads on the screen. People will also be able to post pictures, send messages and download themes for their Xbox 360 with the online portion, Xbox Live. This will be over a secure connection directly to Microsoft, available with a subscription of $50 a year. A gamer guide will allow users to see friends online, check the ratings of other gamers and play customized soundtracks downloaded onto the hard drive. The hard drive is another big thing for the gamer guide, as it allows students to play downloaded music content and purchased games without having to turn away from the actual screen. This feature is even compatible with iPods. With finals only three weeks past the release date, students can find plenty of time to hone their skills playing some video games between studying for Biology 1010 and finishing that 25-page paper for their writing course. The Xbox 360 is a great medium to let go of stress and prevent the brain from a complete meltdown. f

Frontiers 2005 • 25


THE

L E T R A C GROOVE son Nelson

y Ja Interview b

Nothing says Wyoming like “smooth hip-hop” music; right? Cowboys may not prefer the bump and grind to a nice square dance, but Wyoming is home to more than Max

The Groove Cartel Kyle Chitty — Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar

Matt Mannotta — Drums / Rap Vocals

Faithe Andrews — Lead Guitar

Niles Mischke — Bass

Jed Jensen — Keyboards

DJ Anonymous — Turntables

F

rontiers: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you? Is the band still experimental or have you established a form of music that you are sticking with and striving to perfect? Faithe Andrews: I think, especially lately, (we’ve) kind of been developing our own sound. Traditionally, we play all types of music — anything from salsa to bluegrass to hip-hop, rock, jazz. Stuff like that. I guess now it’s kind of like smooth hip-hop, real highenergy music. We are really starting to come into our own and really be comfortable with our sound. Niles Mischke: If you can dance to it, we’ll play it.

26 • Frontiers 2005

just country music and classic rock.

F: Do you feel like your music appeals to a general audience? Matt Mannotta: It helps to be young. Kyle Chitty: Over 30 we have a hard time appealing to the crowd. F: The name “Groove Cartel” has become known around Laramie. Why? The music scene in Laramie is small. Is it just because you play a lot more gigs in town than other bands or do you think your music has made an impact? MM: Word of mouth has helped us to get bigger gigs that get us more exposure. (Opening for Tim) Reynolds was a good example of that, and opening for Colecannon. That was high exposure to people that maybe can’t get into bars or aren’t necessarily in the scene we are playing. KC: Keeping at it and playing our asses off. F: Bands often write music that reflects their lives or things they believe in. What do your songs say? Are your lyrics full of substance or are they what Billy Corgan likes to call “bullshit” lyrics? MM: My raps are mostly about partying and about how our band is successful. It’s almost bragging. Kyle’s (lyrics) are a little deeper. NM: He’s the truth (pointing to Kyle) and he’s full of shit (pointing to Matt).

F: A lot of UW students have heard you play. One student I asked said you aren’t that great and another student I asked said he didn’t like your music. How do you respond to that? MM: Well, not everyone is going to like it. DJ Anonymous: We are from a western state. People come here expecting a certain type of image and a certain type of music, and we are not exactly what people are expecting. FA: And if someone is out there saying, “well I don’t like them because they said “bitches” in a song,” to me that’s great. You’re out there talking about us, and that is fine. F: Do you think you have a disadvantage coming from Laramie? MM: I would say yeah, but it is minimal. KC: It’s hard to get big shows anywhere. You have to know people. NM: I think it makes us better going out of town though. OK, here are some white kids from Wyoming. It makes us feel like we have to go out there and prove ourselves, because we are from Wyoming. F: What can students expect from the Groove Cartel in the future? MM: Always something new, innovative and creative coming at them.

f


Freshman Metamorphosis By Luke Stricker

C

asually strolling through the University of Wyoming campus on a bright September morning, I realized how much change the scenery will undergo. Grass cannot stay this green, I thought, and skies certainly will not remain as startlingly blue. Slow, cool breezes will be replaced by the vicious gusts of Wyoming wind that rip through any layer of protection I hopelessly don. The sun gradually warming my cheeks will be nothing more than a distant memory when icicles are frozen to my beard after walking only half a block. I shuddered as I considered the impending winter conditions, until I remembered another change I would soon be witnessing. The weather, the scenery and the vegetation go through their regular annual changes in step with another predictable alteration at UW: the metamorphosis of the new members of the student body. There’s nothing quite like seeing the crowds of freshly scrubbed, eager freshmen marching towards the first college class of their academic career. Clothes are matching, hair is carefully styled, perfume and cologne leave persistent scent trails and makeup is painstakingly applied. Fashions are adhered to strictly and each day is a new chance to display the outfit that was picked out just for college. My clothes haven’t intentionally matched in quite a while. And the last time I wore cologne it was accidentally spilled on me. But I still enjoy this time of the year. Freshmen also bring such a sense of eagerness and energy that I cannot help but be a little swept up in it. Unfortunately, I also enjoy this time of year because, well, I may have a bit of a

Illustration by Garrett Dodson mean streak. Part of me enjoys seeing the multitudes of clean, new freshmen because I know what is coming. The term “metamorphosis” refers to a transformation or a marked change in character and condition. As midterms come and go and the end of the semester approaches, it seems that most freshman awaken to find their formerly carefree identities changed into that of a stressed out, panicky college student. Outfits suddenly lose their color harmony and a little searching becomes

necessary to find a matching pair of socks in the sea of freshman feet. Hair is dragged back, tied hastily with whatever piece of string was immediately available. Makeup becomes a distant memory and the smell of perfume is replaced by the scent of printer ink, old books and academic desperation. Eager expressions are replaced by lost looks of anxiety and faces set in hard determination to get through the semester. The change sweeping over the freshmen leaves them somewhat disoriented and caught in the flux of shifting identities.

By the time snowfall becomes the predictable constant and we lose all hope of a peek at the green grass, new students have altered in a parallel fashion. The persistently optimistic air of eagerness is replaced by an atmosphere of academic labor and freshman naiveté is replaced by academic experience. “Welcome to Wyoming!” is the unavoidable exclamation of the brutally cold weather, while the academic reality of higher education simultaneously cries out, “welcome to college!” The gifts of high winds, heavy snowfall and treacherous patches of ice accompany winter’s greeting. The reality of college is accompanied by similar offerings – term papers, hundred question exams and countless pages of textbooks that require reading. None of us are impervious to the winter climate or to the metamorphosis of the college freshman. As winter eventually dies out, I am always pleased to welcome the spring and warm sun back into my life. In many ways, I want to congratulate the nice weather for finding its way back to Laramie and shake the hand of the pleasantly shifting climate. Of course, in Laramie it may take until mid-July for the winter to really leave town. In an effort to reform the meaner parts of myself, maybe this spring I won’t wait to applaud the weather for making it back. Rather, I may just congratulate a few random freshmen on completing part of their journey. Of course, they can always look forward to not only watching the leaves change next year but also personally witnessing the metamorphosis of a whole new class at UW. I’m sure at least a few of them will have enough of a mean streak to enjoy it just a little. f Frontiers 2005 • 27


2 • Frontiers 2005


Fall 2005