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Speech Opinion: School Uniforms

Awkward teenage years were almost inevitable for all of us. I’m fairly certain that no 12-year-old on the planet knows how to properly dress, which is why so many of us go through phases where we try every different hairstyle and outfit combination humanly possible.

Cue ruthless adolescent judgement.

School uniforms might seem like an ancient concept, and let’s face it, the styling could use an update, but what better to even the playing field and eliminate shallow, hurtful remarks from classmates than to require all schools implement uniforms into their dress code?

According to a survey conducted by EMU student Taylor Casche, students are feeling like they’re being judged on appearance, and not only that, but over 50 percent of families are worried about the cost of school supplies. Yet another reason to require school uniforms?

I think so.

The average cost of a school uniform, which includes khaki pants and a polo shirt, is around $26 compared with $70 for an outfit from a popular teen clothing store. Clearly, implementing school uniforms into public school dress codes can not only save the world from so many bruised egos, but save a lot of money, too.

I’m all about individualism and giving young students the opportunity to express themselves, but, sometimes the cost of expressing oneself is just too high. Teenage years are already awkward and distracting enough, what with all the raging hormones and having an earlier curfew than your friends.

Let’s not add to all that stress, rather, give kids the chance to express themselves in other ways. Maybe we can teach them about character along the way. Remember? You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in JRNL 305

 

Restaurant review: The Arena, Ann Arbor

One of my favorite things to do is find a new sports bar where I can hang out and catch a game every now and then. The kind of atmosphere where complete strangers are suddenly high-fiving and sharing a drink or two just puts me in a good mood.

I could tell when I first walked into The Arena that this was that kind of place. Sure, there wasn’t a big game on TV that night so the high-fiving and yelling was in short supply, but any place that calls itself the “Restaurant of Champions” has to be pretty good, right?

Turns out it was.

Right off the bat, the atmosphere was that of a typical sports bar—memorabilia everywhere. What stood out most to me about The Arena were the individual TVs at each booth. I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes to watch multiple games at a time, so what could be better than having your own personal TV for those days when your team might not be projected on their big screen?

Now, I’ll get to what is sure to be on everyone’s mind—the food. It’s safe to say that almost every item on the menu is around $7.99 with a wide variety of appetizers and entrees. As a vegetarian, sometimes it’s hard to find restaurants, especially sports bars, with food that caters to my meat-free lifestyle, but I’m happy to say that The Arena wasn’t one of them. I had at least five meatless entrees I could choose.

I finally decided on the fajita salad, and since it was happy hour, I took advantage of the three dollar draft beers that were on special. Bar food definitely has it’s place, but thankfully The Arena was more than that. Throw in a great happy hour and I’ll definitely be checking this place out again. Maybe next time I’ll get some of those high-fives that I love so much.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in JRNL 305

 

Irony column: TRUEMU

I’ll never understand it—the person who wears the University of Michigan sweatshirt to class, the person who could tell you more facts and statistics about any Big Ten sports team than about their own sports teams, the person who is embarrassed to say they go to Eastern Michigan University.

Then why go to school here?

What is it about EMU that makes its students so quick to show their loyalty to some other university? Sure, we’ve had a football teams with not-so-impressive records, a large portion of commuters in our student body and a community with an infamous reputation, but there are plenty of other colleges and universities with the same problems. Somehow, their students seem to show much more pride than ours.

I could name several instances when I have been in class and a discussion of this sort has come up:

“So, why do you like UM, MSU, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas, etc. so much if you go to Eastern?”

“Because it’s the best school ever.”

“Because their football team is awesome.”

“Because I went to Florida for a vacation once when I was six years old so I feel personally connected to their university.”

The list goes on and on.

It’s more than seeing students as fans of other universities’ sports teams. It’s the irony that tens of thousands of students pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to one university, yet commit all their time and energy to another. It’s about seeing countless students completely disassociating themselves from the school they actually attend for one which they seem to be relentlessly pining.

So, inevitably, somewhere in Ypsilanti is an EMU student with a UM t-shirt on and Alanis Morrisette playing through their headphones.

This is one dynamic I will never quite understand.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in JRNL 305

 

Column: EMU printing situation in Pray-Harrold

We’re in college. We’re forced to turn in research paper upon research paper for four years—or five or six, depending on how eager you are to graduate. Sure, new paperless technology has made it easier and more efficient to turn in assignments online, but there are always going to be those professors who are a little behind the times and want a hard copy of your work—for that, we have printers.

Scratch that, we have one printer.

At Eastern Michigan University, it is widely known that Pray-Harrold, home of the College of Arts and Sciences, has the most student traffic daily. Thousands of students trek in and out of this building every day, and the building has just recently reopened this year after $42 million worth of renovations.

I guess they forgot about printers.

Conveniently located on the second floor of Pray-Harrold is a single printer available for student use. Yes, there a a select few printers scattered throughout the computer labs in the building, but those are restricted to classroom use only. If you’re fortunate enough like me to have a class in a computer lab, you can just use that class time to print off your assignments for the rest of your classes while the professor is lecturing. I’m sure they won’t mind.

For the rest of you lacking a printer at home and taking the majority of your classes in Pray-Harrold, you haven’t fared so well.

There is a “quick print” station near the Eagle Cafe with one printer and two computers so students looking to print something in a hurry can log in, click print, collect their papers and head to class. Sounds easy and convenient enough, right?

Wrong.

Because of not only the two computers at the station, but the many computers from the various labs and students using their personal computers to wirelessly send documents to the printer, the lone printer understandably cannot handle the influx of information, and proceeds to jam with paper or malfunction altogether. Insert incredibly long line of frustrated students who are late to class here.

I get it. Times are tough and even the wealthiest of schools are looking to make budget cuts. But printers? We still need those. At this point, I’d settle for at least one more printer in Pray-Harrold. Maybe instead of 10 minutes late to class we can narrow that down to five.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in JRNL 305

 

Column: Graduation

Graduating college is, quite frankly, the most stressful, anxiety-inducing milestone in a person’s life.

For those of us not pursing any further education, this is it. The age when weekends started on Thursdays and naps could usually be fit in between afternoon classes are long over.

I don’t know about all of you, but the thought of continually putting myself out there until I can finally snag some kind of entry-level job frightens the heck out of me. We spend so much money on these educations that are supposed to make it easier to find employment after graduation, yet, the unemployment rates have been steadily increasing.

Take, for example, journalism—the degree of which I will receive in the coming months. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, journalism jobs will continue to decrease approximately 6-8 percent through the year 2018. So, if I’m doing my math right, that gives me about six years of potential disappointment till the seventh year when, hopefully, we can finally start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And those are just the numbers for journalism…

Let’s face it, once we start sending out those all-important resumes, our every action will be judged and analyzed. Heaven forbid you go out for a couple drinks with some friends and post about it on Facebook, because that future employer has now seen it and proceeded to eliminate you from contention. Let’s just say I’ve promptly monitored my social media image to cater to future employers. My young college student zeal has now turned into quite a different passion—passion for promoting myself and finding a job.

For those of you looking at graduation as a new beginning, as a start to the next chapter of your lives, well, I commend you. For those of you, like me, who see graduation as the end of your youth and the beginning of a long and stressful road of securing a job and starting a career, all I can say is I know how you feel.

Here’s hoping for the success of the class of 2012—we need all the support we can get.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in JRNL 305

 

Editorial: Susan G. Komen, Planned Parenthood controversy

Once a mere shade on the color wheel, pink has become a unifying symbol not only for those affected by breast cancer, but women everywhere searching for a cure. It seems you can’t go anywhere without stumbling upon a pink ribbon, pink t-shirts, pink frying pans, pink cars—you name it. Yet, a color that was once so uniting has, as of late, become the root of one of the most polarizing social controversies—pro-life or pro-choice?

Earlier this week, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity that raises money for breast cancer research and preventative care for women all over the country, announced they would pull their funding from Planned Parenthood. Those rallying around Komen are thrilled the foundation will no longer fund an organization that provides women abortions, however, what they fail to realize is that Planned Parenthood is not simply an abortion clinic.

According to Planned Parenthood, over 4 million breast exams have been given over the past five years, with nearly 170,000 exams being the result of Komen grants. Nevertheless, there are still those who view Planned Parenthood as place to kill unborn babies and refuse to acknowledge their work with not only breast cancer, but screenings for ovarian and cervical cancer, HPV tests, and female infertility.

While many claims have been made by Komen advocates that the decision was made due to changes in criteria for giving grants and not because of political pressure, it seems all too coincidental. It is an election year after all, and when you’re dealing with such strong advocacy, no decision is made completely free of political influence.

Those rallying behind Planned Parenthood have already attempted to compensate for the $700,00 loss. Donors helped Planned Parenthood raise $400,000 in just 24 hours after the decision.

Unfortunately, when we deal with women’s health issues, women very often get the short end of the stick. Let’s hope Planned Parenthood doesn’t suffer too great of a loss and the backlash Komen is facing will be enough to garner at least a reconsideration of the pulled funding.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in JRNL 305

 

Editorial: Bilingual Education

Living in a country founded primarily on the principles of diversity and cultural freedom, it seems odd that the idea of bilingual classrooms in elementary and middle schools is so readily rejected. Yet, in an age where the number of Spanish-speakers in the U.S. continues to increase, many current and future elementary educators haven’t even considered the need for bilingual education.

Vardaman Elementary School, an elementary school in northeast Mississippi, is about to become the state’s first predominantly Latino primary school, and with only one bilingual teacher on staff at Vardaman, Mississippi schools continue to fall further and further behind.

According to education researcher Megan Hopkins, “bilingual instruction isn’t valued, so teachers are not pursuing that credential.”

This “English-only” attitude is not only inconvenient for young students and their hope for a quality education, it’s detrimental. Things like standardized tests that are a requirement in the public school system are so often catered to a specific type of student that minorities are hardly given a fighting chance. Failing test scores not only reflect poorly on the students, but reflect poorly on the teachers and administrators, many times leading to decreased funding.

While bilingual education is decided on a state-by-state basis, only three states, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey, actually employ the practice. The remaining states opt for either the English immersion technique, shoving students into the public schools and forcing them to learn as they go, or leave the decision up to the individual districts. With a lack of funding, it’s no secret which side the districts choose.

With test scores seeing no improvement and schools suffering, it would seem that implementing some form of bilingual education can only help. Primary schools, especially in southern states, are seeing an influx of Spanish-speaking students. No matter your stance on standardized testing, immigration reform or the public school system, it is clear that a change is needed. A country known for welcoming all races and cultures should take the first step and help these students become the American citizens they’ve always wanted to be but never had the chance.

 

Comments are welcome! I’m not an education major by any means, so I appreciate other insight.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in JRNL 305