Month: January 2021

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Bodies react to finals with stress, director suggests ways to cope

first_imgThe week of non-stop exams, papers and presentations known as finals is enough to make even the most levelheaded student feel a bit on edge. According to Catherine DeCleene, director of Women’s Health at Saint Mary’s College, stress is the body’s natural response to these psychological demands. “When our bodies and minds deal with stress on a constant basis, it starts taking a toll, both physically and mentally,” she said. DeCleene said stress is a normal part of life that can sometimes have benefits. “At its best, stress provides us with the means to express our talent and energy to pursue those things we want,” she said. “It can compel us to action and focus our intentions.” Although stress can focus a student’s efforts, it can also negatively affect one’s wellbeing, DeCleene said. “The demands of a college student are intense in a number of areas: academic stress, social stress and financial stress,” she said. “For some college students, stress adds up to the point where it starts to negatively affect their physical and emotional health.” DeCleene said unrelated stress-inducing events can compound the effects. “Very often, the physiological and psychological reactions to stress will tend to interact and react with one another to produce additional stress,” she said. Developing coping mechanisms is crucial to avoiding potentially serious complications, she said. “If we don’t begin to implement coping or stress-reduction strategies at this point, the stress can build to the point where more serious physical and emotional problems appear,” she said. While there are similarities to the stress college men and women both deal with, some stress is worse for women. “According to statistics collected from the American College Health Association, 91 percent of female college students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do in the previous 12 months, 14 percentage points higher than college men,” she said. One of the ways women deal with stress differently than men is through seeking supportive relationships. “Findings suggest that while women are more likely to report physical symptoms associated with stress, they are doing a better job connecting with others in their lives and, at times, these connections are important to their stress management strategies,” she said. Both men and women default to some unideal common coping mechanisms, DeCleene said. “In general, though, both men and women tend to choose sedentary activities like reading, listening to music and watching television to manage their stress over healthier behaviors like seeing a mental health professional or exercising,” she said. DeCleene said some easy stress relieving strategies are taking breaks, making a list of goals, asking for help and participating in a fun activity. “Make sure you have some fun to break up the work,” she said. “Maintain a hobby, join a team, [or] spend time with friends.”last_img read more

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It will never be stricken from our minds’

first_imgEleven years ago Tuesday, senior Kerriann Zier’s father pulled her out of her fifth-grade classroom in Franklin Lake, N.J., and told her he was all right. “I just remember being so confused,” Zier said. “I was just like, ‘Okay then, thanks for stopping by.’ I had no idea what he meant.” Zier discovered only later that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, where her father worked. He was packing for a business trip and missed his usual train. If he had made it in time, he would have been on the 78th floor of the South Tower, the beginning of the impact zone. Zier and countless other Notre Dame students were personally impacted by the terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. In Rockville Centre, N.Y., junior Matt Hayes’ elementary school was on lockdown, but none of the students knew why. “It was one of those situations where we were old enough to know something was wrong, but not old enough to comprehend the extent of what may have happened,” he said. Hayes, whose hometown lost 48 residents in the terrorist attack, said he remembers students whose parents worked in New York City being pulled out of class one by one. The following day, his fourth-grade teacher explained the basics of the attacks to the class, but Hayes said he still did not understand the extent of the day’s events. “I didn’t really comprehend it until I found out my cousin’s neighbors lost their dad, who I had known and who was always around,” he said. “It didn’t hit home for me until there was a personal name associated with the towers. He was a firefighter.” Now that he is old enough to grasp the enormity of the tragedy, Hayes said the memory of Sept. 11 and its aftermath will remain with him forever. “It’s such a defining moment as a New Yorker,” he said. “I feel like people not from New York will never fully comprehend what those days after felt like or what it means to us. It will never be stricken from our minds and thoughts and feelings.” Senior Lauren Antonelle, who used to be able to see the Twin Towers at night from her bedroom in White Plains, N.Y., said the events of Sept. 11 hold acute significance for her and other Empire State residents. “Before moving outside New York, you don’t really realize that not everyone understands it the way you do,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how personal it can be. Most people have a detachment to it, but you’ll always be attached to it.” For the 11th anniversary, Antonelle visited the Grotto and reached out to her family, especially her aunt, whose brother perished in the attacks. Back in 2001, Antonelle and her fifth-grade classmates could sense something was wrong on Sept. 11, but only those whose parents worked in the towers were told what had occurred. Her mother broke the news once she returned home, and they watched the news together, Antonelle said. “I didn’t really know what the World Trade Center was, but they just kept showing the planes crashing and towers falling,” she said. “Once you saw the images of it, you kind of understand at least the magnitude, even if you don’t really understand everything.” Antonelle said the aftermath of the tragedy was nearly as difficult for her town as the actual attack. “A lot of it was waiting for people to call, to find out who survived and who didn’t,” she said. “It was just a lot of waiting. My school was religious, so there was a lot of prayer and service while we waited.” Zier was fortunate; she didn’t have to wait. Her father was switching trains in Hoboken, N.J., when he saw the plane hit the building he should have been inside, and his first thought was to drive to his daughters’ elementary school and reassure them he was safe. Other residents on her town were not so lucky, Zier said. “The next day, I got on the bus and everyone was crying,” she said. “Lots of kids in the area had relatives who were missing. A boy in my direct class, his dad never came home. Someone had a connection one way or another in the whole area.” Eleven years later, Zier still has a hard time discussing that day. It’s especially difficult being at Notre Dame on the anniversaries, she said. “At home there’s a sense of community because most people are somehow affected,” she said. “It’s harder being away from that on the anniversary.”last_img read more

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Critical issues debated among candidates

first_imgIn the final debate of the 2012 campaign on Monday, little contrast emerged between the foreign policies of President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, leading to what political science professor Sebastian Rosato called a ” thoroughly boring” debate. Rosato said the debate, moderated by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., was far from contentious.  “In terms of performance, I think Obama by all accounts won the debate – that’s what the polls are showing,” Rosato said. “But I think this was just because he seemed more assured, it certainly wasn’t because he won any particular points.” Political science professor Michael Desch said Romney’s performance paled in comparison because he did not look the part of commander in chief as much as Obama did. “I think Romney faced two problems: One is that the incumbent tends to have decided advantages. The president’s been commander in chief for four years, the president has a [foreign policy] record and experience that he can point to,” Desch said.  “The truth of the matter is that there’s not much a challenger can really do that’s different from an incumbent, a lot of foreign policy is determined by factors that would push presidents from any policy in the same direction. “The one thing Governor Romney needed to do was to look presidential on the foreign policy stage,” Desch said.  “Especially after his missteps on his great European adventure this summer, it was even more imperative for him to establish his bona fides, and I don’t think he achieved that last night.” The discussion of the most recent conflicts in Syria and the tumult in Egyptian government made this awareness of the complex role of the U.S. very clear, Desch said. Desch said Romney’s overall performance did not overcome the strength of Obama’s foreign policy record in the debate.     After examining the statements by each of the candidates, Rosato said he found minor points of difference between the candidates. “I think [voters] are very inattentive to foreign affairs and the debate was reflective of that,” Rosato said.  “I think the debate will have no effect and I think the measure of that is that the candidates kept trying to talk about domestic policies … there was an awareness in the debate that foreign policy was not going to swing American voters.” This lack of fire can be attributed to the recent laser-focus on domestic issues, Rosato said.  Few people are voting based on foreign policy, but if that were to be made the deciding factor the choice would be unclear, Rosato said. “The argument that it is a lack of American leadership that was responsible for the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt or the lack of a resolved civil war in Syria is not one that you’d want to make seriously. They’re much more complicated issues,” Desch said.  “In particular, the issue of what you do about the [former Egyptian president Hosni] Mubarak government highlights the complexity of the issue facing the United States, and it was telling that Romney was not very critical of President Obama [on this issue].” Political science professor Robert Johansen said he believed the most important issue pertaining to U.S. national security is determining how to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Though the motivation for guarding the United States’ position as the world’s economic leader is obvious, the candidates used this reasoning as an excuse to revisit domestic politics, Rosato said. “Because [Barack Obama’s] hawkish, it’s very difficult for Mitt Romney to differentiate himself from Obama – I mean, what’s he going to say: ‘I would have already attacked Iran?’ [or] ‘I would have stayed in Iraq longer?’” Rosato said.  “There’s nothing he could say – you can’t be more hawkish than Obama without sounding as if you want to wander all over the world getting into wars, and no candidate wants to say that.” “This debate was about foreign policy, and about a quarter of the air time was taken up with domestic policies and saying points again like Romney’s $5 million tax cut and Obama’s inability to create jobs,” Rosato said.  “The question is why did this happen?  If you think about it cynically, they didn’t find anything to disagree with on foreign policy, so they started talking about the domestic economy because at least there they can separate themselves.” “The two candidates did not significantly disagree last night on how to proceed, although Romney had previously sounded more belligerent toward Iran and ready to threaten war against Iran,” Johansen said.  “Romney clearly was moderating his stance to appear more peaceful than indicated in previous statements.” “When they were talking about Iran, Obama said that an Iran with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable to the United States, while Romney said Iran with a nuclear capability is unacceptable to the United States,” Rosato sad.  “That is a subtle difference that might have bigger implications.”last_img read more

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CIFs give feedback to faculty

first_imgThe surest sign of the semester’s end comes when the Course Instructor Feedback (CIF) reminder email is sent out to each student’s inbox. For the faculty members under scrutiny at the end of the semester, these evaluations mean more than a simple reminder that summer is near. Political science professor and department chair Ruth Abbey encourages her students to spend time filling out the CIFs and to understand how professors use feedback. “CIFs aim to measure student evaluation of faculty teaching,” Abbey said. “The faculty is very aware of importance of the CIF mechanism, but many students are unaware.” Abbey said faculty members are able to see their CIF scores only after they post final grades, and the feedback results often matter more than just arbitrary suggestions that professors can utilize or ignore.  “CIFs feed into pay increases and tenure decisions,” she said. “They are considered during faculty three-year reviews and when a faculty member is applying for promotion.” Abbey said the University’s commitment to undergraduate teaching is exhibited through the amount of tenure track and tenured faculty members. “Notre Dame takes teaching very seriously and CIFs give student feedback on the quality of teaching,” she said. “It is very reassuring that Notre Dame employs so many tenure track and tenured faculty members to teach undergraduates.” Currently, the primary incentive to complete CIFs is the ability for students to see their final course grades six days earlier than they otherwise could.  General responses to certain questions are shown on the class search function through InsideND, helping students with the course selection process.   Abbey said the feedback system shifted in 2008 from Teacher Course Evaluations (TCEs) completed during class to the current online CIF setup. “The CIFs are very convenient because professors don’t have to allocate class time for them to be completed,” she said. “However, now there is no dedicated time or space to fill them out.” Abbey said the convenience of online feedback may compromise the quality of student response. “Students must know how significant these CIFs are and fill them out in a thoughtful and responsible way,” she said.  “I’m not suggesting that students shouldn’t be critical of faculty, but they should realize CIFs are a major way in which students’ voices are heard. It’s not the only way, for some professors win teaching awards [from student votes], but CIFs are a powerful way, and they are fed through to the highest levels.” Abbey said she believes many students are unaware of the importance of CIFs, and she encourages all the students she teaches to fill out their CIFs thoughtfully. “Students need to know the role their CIFs play, and I would like to see the University inform students better.” Contact Catherine  Owers at [email protected]last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s welcomes Fulbright Teaching Assistants

first_imgAt the beginning of this academic year, Saint Mary’s welcomed two Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants to campus. Alla Abu Elella, a native of Egypt, and Ye Zhenman, a native of China, said they went through a rigorous application process and were eventually selected for the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA).  “What attracted me to the scholarship [was the opportunity for] sharing my own culture, sharing my own experiences, getting to know a different culture and the American people,” Elella said. Ye Zhenman said the application requirements at her university in China are very strict, since the FLTA scholarship has a very competitive applicant pool. Most English professors in China had attended graduate school in the subject before obtaining their positions. “The age limit is 25 to 35,” she said. “[Applicants] must be college English teachers with two years’ working experience.” In order to participate in the program, the women had to accept that they would be spending one academic year apart from their families and friends, according to the FLTA website. The distance and limited communication can make things difficult, especially for Zhenman, a young mother. “It’s very worth it,” Zhenman said. “My whole family is very supportive. I have always wanted to go to the [United States]. Sometimes you have to [have make some] sacrifices in order to get something.” Although she does get homesick, Elella said her experience so far is 100 percent worth it.  “I was a little bit homesick at the beginning, but once you start the courses and once you start teaching, you get [very] busy,” Elella said. “You don’t think about [being] homesick.” In addition to the physical distance, the women also said they have cultural differences to contend with. “[There are] a lot of differences,” Elella said. “You [Americans] are very direct when it comes to communication. If you want something, you just say it directly. In Egypt, for example, if you want to ask somebody for a favor, you kind of have to start a story at the beginning to ask for a favor at the end.” Zhenman said she experienced culture shock last weekend when there was a miscommunication about a gift that was presented to her. “We Chinese people are not ready to take gifts,” she said. “We are sometimes quite indirect and we keep refusing until we have it.” Elella said she often faces curiosity about her clothing. “I am considered to be the only veiled [woman] here on campus, so people here are like, ‘Why are you wearing that?’” she said. “So I have to explain that. This is considered to be the huge cultural difference here for me. This is my major role here: to explain my culture [and] to spread my culture.”  As teaching assistants, the women get the opportunity to teach their home language as well as to take college courses alongside Saint Mary’s students. The women said even the length and routine of classes is different from what they were used to. “I like the American classes here,” Zhenman said. “The students and teachers are quite interactive.” Although they said there is still a slight language barrier that sometimes presents some problems, especially when students and professors speak English quickly, they both enjoy the open exchange.  Both women said they attended Activities Night on Wednesday in an effort to become more involved in the campus community.  “You have a lot of activities,” Zhenman said. “I want to do some volunteer work, something like that.” Elella said she would like to visit different states to get an idea of the diversity of American culture. “I can’t judge American food just because of Saint Mary’s food,” she said. The women said one of their biggest complaints about campus life is the College’s Internet connection.  “This is the only connection we have to our families,” Elella said. “And how can we do that when the Internet is so slow?” Elella said she also found it difficult to adjust to the time schedules of businesses in the South Bend area. “[Everyone] sleeps very early,” she said. “In Egypt, if you want to go out at 12 a.m. to go eat at any restaurant, you would find a lot of restaurants [open].” Of all the advice and training the women received before and after coming to the United States, Zhenman said former FLTA scholars gave the best advice. “They gave us a lot of helpful advice, but the best was ‘How are you?’” she said. Zhenman and Elella said the use of “How are you?” as a greeting and a formality rather then as a true inquisition was one of the hardest things to get used to in their transition. Despite the differences, both women said they are glad for their experience at Saint Mary’s. “We’re willing to learn,” Zhenman said. “This is a golden opportunity for us. Contact Tabitha Ricketts at [email protected]last_img read more

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Assault pledge finds support

first_imgIn an effort to increase awareness of sexual violence and to promote dialogue, representatives of student government’s “One is Too Many” campaign recently went door-to-door in residence halls, asking students to sign a pledge to stand up against sexual violence.“In total, we had 142 people who went around the dorms,” student body president Alex Coccia said. “They collected 2,816 signatures, and then the people who indicated they would want to be involved in a larger way were 1,147,” he said. “Of the on-campus students that we attempted to reach, that’s about 45 percent.”Coccia said this was the first door-to-door student government issue campaign of which he is aware.“Our goal was about 40 percent because this was a one-time, door-to-door, and without really a follow-up immediately, it’s inevitable that you miss people who aren’t in the dorm or aren’t around,” he said. “And this number doesn’t include the number of people who have since signed a pledge to hang outside their door, but whose name we didn’t receive. It’s higher, at this point, in terms of the number of pledges actually signed.”Student body vice president Nancy Joyce said the representatives who led the campaign were encouraged to focus on the pledge itself.“[The pledge] functions as the centerpiece of the campaign and is something that we thought just about everybody on campus can get behind and support. That’s something that we can each individually commit to,” she said. “That was the talking point for all the conversations, the pledge. Then depending on the dorm, depending on the individuals, the conversations were all a little bit different.”Joyce said the students that the campaign reached widely supported the pledge.“Even people who felt they still had some questions, they felt they could sign the pledge because it is something that as an individual you can take ownership of and support,” she said.Coccia and Joyce said both male and female dorms had high levels of participation in the campaign.“I think we got a lot of positive feedback across all the dorms,” Joyce said. “We were very pleased with the kind of feedback we got from men’s halls. It was honest feedback, and I think in situations where people were engaging in conversation there was good conversation to be had. If anything, in all the dorms now where these pledges are hanging up, that’s a very powerful symbol in men’s and women’s dorms that people are supportive on this issue.”Joyce said though students were widely receptive to signing the pledge, many of the students who went door-to-door expressed frustration at not being able to spark deeper conversation.“One common thing they said was that while they were able to present the pledge and get positive support for it, this wasn’t conducive to meaningful conversation,” she said. “And students who were answering their doors often said their biggest complaint was that this wasn’t something that really got to the heart of conversation.“We knew from Day One this wasn’t going to be something where you’re going to sit for an hour and really delve into a discussion. I think that’s probably really how we’re going to tailor the next steps. We’re going to try to create spaces for conversation on a deeper level.”The results of the campaign have provided guidance for student government’s next actions, Coccia said.“Getting feedback from the campaign and looking what threads have emerged and what needs there are that we could really address in these next few months,” he said. “One is working with survivors to tell their story. Again, this is an effort to make it a much more personal issue on campus.”Coccia said this first step will be followed by a second and third. He said the second step will be an effort to get male students to become active rather than passive when in the position of bystanders.“The third is to make sure that the conversations aren’t segregated by dorm, that we’re actually having mixed gender conversations about this issue,” he said.Tags: Alex Coccia, Nancy Joyce, One is too many, Pledge, Student governmentlast_img read more

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Forum discusses impact of oil pipelines

first_imgFilm, Television and Theater professor Gary Sieber moderated the 2014 Reilly Center Forum “Life Amongst the ‘Tar Sands’ Oil Pipelines: Impacts on Rural Communities and the Environment,” which featured four panelists sharing their experiences with tar sands oil Tuesday in the Eck Visitor’s Center.“Few people likely realize that tar sands pipelines run through Michiana,” Sieber said. ”In fact, the largest on-land spill occurred around here just four years ago.“Pipeline 6B, owned by Enbridge Inc., spilled over a million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River.”Michigan State University professor Steve Hamilton worked on the scene when the spill happened, and said cleaning up such spills from tar sands pipelines like Pipeline 6B and the planned Keystone XL Pipeline could bear huge environmental costs. Tags: Community, oil spill JODI LO |The Observer A panelist in Tuesday night’s forum in Eck Visitor’s Center.discusses the impact of oil pipeline spills.“How far do you want to go to try to get [the oil] out, because the act of getting it out is itself environmentally damaging? … It turns out that freshwater oil spills haven’t been very well studied, and this particularly type of oil hasn’t really been studied at all,” Hamilton said.Notre Dame civil engineering professor Patricia Maurice said she has a house along Line 6B and felt that the way she and her neighbors were treated was abhorrent.We have whole towns without water. We’ve had countless court cases between landowners and Enridge,” Maurice said. “This is one of the most profitable companies in all of Canada … and I think they could probably spend a little more money to make sure things are done safely and correctly … but they won’t unless residents raise up and take advantage of the political apparatus.”Beth Wallace, a Michigan native who worked for the National Wildlife Federation, said the numerous defects in pipelines carrying derivatives from tar sands, like Line 6B, pose a clear and present threat to her home’s environment.Oakland University professor Jeffrey Insko also lives near Line 6B. He said increased regulation and more effective leadership will be the first step to solving problems along the pipeline.“First, we need a serious overhaul of federal regulations,” Insko said. “The fact of the matter is that Enbridge and companies like Enbridge are not suddenly going to start living up to the values they profess all the time. Our only hope is a regulatory system with some serious teeth.”last_img read more

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Snite showcases classic cars exhibit

first_imgThe Snite Museum of Art opened a new exhibition Aug. 17 that showcases rare classic cars from the Jack B. Smith Jr. Automobile Collection. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public.The exhibit contains four classic models: a 1923 Studebaker Big Six Speedster, a 1932 Packard Light Eight Roadster, a 1931 Cadillac Series 355A Fleetwood Dual Cowl Phaeton and an award-winning 1932 Auburn 8-100A Speedster.The Auburn Speedster is located in the main lobby while the rest of the exhibit is located toward the back right of the museum. Visitors are allowed to walk around the cars and enjoy a near 360-degree view. Plaques containing pertinent history and information are displayed on nearby walls. Photographs are allowed.Jack B. Smith Jr. is an entrepreneur and president of Gaska Tape, Inc., which is based in Elkhart, Indiana. Smith lent these four pieces of his collection to the museum after Chuck Loving, the director of the Snite Museum, approached him with an idea for the exhibition.“The University of Notre Dame as a whole has always had an interest in automobile design,” Loving said. “This exhibit brings in a different crowd to the museum than we are used to. Many fathers and sons are interested and visit the exhibit. Football weekends bring in many of these types of visitors.”Vivian LaVine, co-owner of LaVine Restorations, Inc., which works on both American and European classic cars, helped maintain Smith’s cars for approximately a year. La Vine’s company was involved in the maintenance and transportation of Smith’s collection. She said Smith’s cars, which were certified as classic by the Classic Car Club of America, were noticeable because of their “ornate” look.“These cars are very distinctive, not like today,” she said. “[When you were driving in that era], you knew very well what [type of] car it was that was coming at you.”Smith said he hopes visitors appreciate the beauty of these “sculptures on wheels.” He said he enjoyed the thought of having his cars on display for others to appreciate.“ND is a great institution,” he said. “I am flattered to have it in the Snite Museum. I’ve always loved cars … I didn’t find these cars, they found me.”According to the Notre Dame press release, Smith is a member of the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts Advisory Council at the University of Notre Dame, where he and his wife Laura D. Arauz Smith fund the Laura and Jack Boyd Smith Jr. Endowment for Excellence in Performing Arts. The couple also supports the Notre Dame summer Shakespeare program and has previously supported a fellowship in the Mendoza School of Business, the Smith Library Collection in Business and teaching labs within the Jordan Hall of Science.The Snite Museum is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. The museum will showcase the classic car exhibit until Nov. 30.Tags: classic cars, Jack B. Smith Jr., LaVine, Snitelast_img read more

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Author duo holds reading

first_imgCaitlyn Jordan Author Alan Guebert and his daughter Mary Grace Foxwell, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2007, spoke in Rice Commons on Monday about their recently released memoir, “The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey.” The book is a collection of memories gathered from Guebert’s stories and reflections written for his weekly “Farm and Food File” column, which has run in the South Bend Tribune and 70 other newspapers for more than 20 years, Foxwell said in an interview with The Observer last week.Of his daughter, who co-wrote the memoir with him, Guebert said, “[The book] wouldn’t have happened without her. … She got the education here [at Saint Mary’s] that I wish I got.”At the event, he recounted stories from his life growing up on his family farm, and also answered questions about farming in the U.S. and the trajectory of agriculture.In his response to a question about the political demographic of the farming community in the United States today, Guebert took the opportunity to share some of his opinions on current policy issues affecting agriculture.“No socioeconomic group is more defined than farmers,” he said. Guebert continued on to say the group overall falls within the policy preferences of the Republican Party.Citing excessive waste, among other issues, Guebert stressed the importance of preserving the environment, in particular farms that produce our food.“This is the stuff we eat, this is the stuff we breathe,” he said of farm produce, continuing on to express concern over the increasing use of pesticides in commercial farming as well as the inclusion of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in American food.Guebert went on to compare European food culture with that of the U.S. In Europe, he said, food and community are closely intertwined, and meals present more of a family event than they do in the United States.“You never hear the word community, you never hear the word family [about food in the U.S.],” he said.In addition to the differing cultures surrounding food, Guebert also said that in the U.S. a disparity exists in the quality of food that members of different socioeconomic classes consume. “The rich eat well, the poor eat poorly,” he said.While those with means can afford to shop for organic, high-quality food at expensive high-end stores such as Whole Foods, the poor are left with options that are highly processed and which possess less nutrients, he said. Guebert argued that this contributes to the problem of health care in the U.S.Guebert stressed the importance of movements to return agriculture to a culture of small-scale, family-owned farms instead farms owned and operated by large corporations to improve the quality of food in the United States.“I remain hopeful. … What works? What we used to do.”Tags: family farming, food, SMClast_img read more

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Students fast for fair food practices

first_imgMichael Yu | The Observer Junior Tommy Clarke leads a prayer service to begin the hunger strike.“They have not signed on to this fair food program that a whole bunch of other incredibly big fast food chains have bought on to … that ensures better wages, human rights, a lot of awesome things,” he said.In response to Wendy’s not signing on to this fair food program, 19 students at Ohio State fasted for seven days to protest their school’s contract with Wendy’s, which has expanded into a “rolling fast” campaign throughout the country, Clarke said.“Since Wendy’s hasn’t signed on, these students got their administration to promise to cut the contract, but just recently they extended their contract with Wendy’s,” he said. “And so they decided that the best way to protest and make their voices heard was to fast. So they fasted for seven days, they went without food somehow — I don’t know how — and then a whole bunch of other college campuses around the country have been taking up [the cause].”Clarke said the movement is drawing attention to poor labor standards for workers who grow and collect this food.“There are still injustices that are happening out in the fields,” he said. “There are abuses, there’s sexual violence, there’s wage theft — there’s still a lot of problems out there, but we have a chance to make our voices heard and to get justice for a lot of these farm workers.”Over spring break, Clarke traveled to Florida with 10 other students as part of a seminar sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, where he had the opportunity to speak with these workers directly.“We actually got to meet a lot of the farm workers that are actually going out,” he said. “ … We talked to these people and heard some of their stories, and just heard how tough this labor is, how tough this work is, but yet how much pride they have about their work as well as joy of life.”The 19 students who fasted at Ohio State have offered advice to participating students from other universities, Clarke said.“I’m trying to cut down on a lot of my food intake,” he said. “My meals are getting smaller so I can try to shrink my stomach a little bit so I won’t be as hungry, as well as, I’m just trying to eat less to kind of get the feeling of hunger, and so I’ll be a little bit more used to it when it comes. … Obviously safety is of the utmost importance to us, so if anybody is in need of food, absolutely we’re going to try to honor that and support those people.”Clarke said the participants are encouraging community members to become involved by attending a documentary screening about fair labor standards in the Andrews Auditorium on Thursday evening, as well as fasting for a meal on Friday.“If you give up your Friday lunch swipe, we encourage you to still use your lunch swipe if you have it, go in to the grab and go, grab some non-perishable items,” he said. “We’re going to try … to have tables outside on Friday for lunch, and we encourage people if they want to still use their Friday lunch swipe to donate some food that we’ll take to the Northern Indiana Food Bank.”The group’s dedication to this cause is an inspiring demonstration of student power, Clarke said.“The people who are actually fasting are just awesome people and willing to sacrifice their bodies for this cause,” he said. “And I think that says something about how much this means to us and how much it should mean to everyone else, because we’re not going to go silently. We are hungry for justice for farm workers and we’re willing to go hungry to make that point clear.”Tags: fair food, fasting, labor conditions, Ohio State, Wendy’s Lent may be over, but a group of five University students are embarking upon another fast, giving up food for one to two days beginning Wednesday afternoon.The students are fasting as part of a movement to put pressure on Wendy’s to sign a fair food program that ensures participating fast food restaurants and grocery stores pay an extra penny per pound of tomatoes to contribute to fairer wages for farm workers, according to junior Tommy Clarke.last_img read more

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