Daily Archives: May 22, 2010

Diversify and broaden your horizons, don’t limit yourself

Ah, the joys of spring! The bees come out, the sun peeks in, and everyone spends time wondering why they chose an Oregon college instead of that school in LA. Our free time lets us go and work on those projects we’ve all been putting off, like that study of plant life or the significance of the Willamette valley historically. And we get a chance to converse with others who share our interests and similar projects.

In the process, we have continually shut out others of different fields and disciplines, believing our own way of thinking is the correct one. The result is a nasty bit of rivalry involving every field of study blocking others out.

I think we’ve all witnessed this at Linfield at one point or another. Sciences and humanities are especially prone to this: ignoring how often their thoughts and ideas cross over. People keep trying their hardest to shove every major into its own little box. Do we really think the world is that simple?

The point is that here at Linfield we are getting stuck in our educational areas. This is a liberal arts college where many different fields and philosophies are emphasized. Here, critical thinking should be our strongest ally, not our own major or minor.

The root of the problem is our unwillingness to accept that this thinking is more important than your discipline. The criticisms your classmates and professors make of other disciplines only show how little they’ve actually endeavored into those fields. It’s short-sighted and uninformed to ignore ideas that don’t fit directly into your personal line of thinking.

There is progress to be made here in the form of unity. It begins with ourselves and an acceptance and readiness to learn as a community, not as individual groups.

People need to think outside of the box more and begin searching for those connections that drive many of us to succeed. I’m not talking about tying ourselves to the world; rather, I’m talking about tying ourselves to each other. We get so caught up in school work and our own studies that we forget how insignificant each individual part is. Like the body, the college only functions when its parts work together.

Focusing more on the big picture reveals that you and that loud girl on the floor below you are both working on identical projects through different lenses. Working together could alter your views on a subject and build a bridge to a new perspective. Let’s not act like we’re all independent from one another; we probably each have more similarities than differences.

If I can be so bold, I’d like to give out a piece of homework to everyone reading this: Try to think about how your major is applicable to real life and try to think about it as it applies to other majors. Take it a step further: brainstorm ideas with someone in a completely different discipline and talk about how your learning experiences have related. You will find commonalities and you will be surprised how much your counterpart has to offer.

It turns out that everything you learned and everything they learned actually intersects and meshes.

So go out into the sun; talk about how you see the world. Brag about your major a bit, and listen to others do the same. Know that all of you are working together to create this learning environment and all of you are a little right and a little wrong when you say your major is the most useful.

Our world relies on these majors and disciplines in different ways, right? Let’s take advantage of it. Go out and invite your anthropology friend to your biology club or make your math buddy come to “Pizza and Politics.” Let’s lie on the warm grass feeling just a little bit more open to the world.

Matt Olson can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com

Matt Olson, columnist

linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com

Immunizations are key; check the facts before you snub them

A relatively recent public health issue has quickly sparked panic in our society and worry among healthcare professionals. The issue I speak of is the refusal by parents to get their infants and young children immunized from dangerous and once suppressed diseases.

A parent’s right to decide what is best for his or her child is one that I would never wish to be taken away, but at the same time, the increase in parents not allowing their children to be immunized is a terrifying reality that may mean the reintroduction of certain debilitating, and often fatal, diseases.

The introduction of vaccines by Edward Jenner in 1796, sparked hope in a world devastated by innumerable diseases, which, at times, claimed the lives of families and whole communities. If it wasn’t polio or rubella, then it was influenza; either way, before the introduction of vaccines, diseases that we now only discuss in science courses
tremendously affected communities and societies around the world.

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention, published “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” in a 1999 article that highlighted “Ten great public health achievements,” which stated that, “Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health.” A recent disagreement regarding this claim came to light when a British medical journal, “The Lancet,” claimed that its 1998 study found a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. It took until this year for the journal to retract that story and the research it found. The journal noted that the research was conducted with biased and unethical procedures.

Although the journal did retract its study, the damage was already done; the mistake had given parents 12 years to make decisions regarding immunizations that could have ultimately affected the health and
safety of their children.

The problem with this continued doubt about immunizations has only remained strong because of celebrities, such as Jenny McCarthy, who have children with autism and who continuously vocalize the “facts” about immunizations to the general public through the TV and the Internet, which sadly seems to be the only research these parents have done on the subject. McCarthy was an adult film
actress — not a doctor or a medical researcher — before the birth of her child.

Parents, and society as a whole, have a hard time understanding autism as a developmental disorder because of the lack of consistent research and the lack of a cure or prevention plan. Immunizations seemed to be the perfect scapegoat for nervous parents to blame for their children’s condition on.

Various explanations regarding the confusion about immunizations and autism can quite easily be explained by coincidence. Autism develops before the age of 3; meanwhile, most of the 14 vaccines now recommended for children are administered at an early age. Another coincidence aiding in this explanation is that before this 1998 British study, autism was a condition most individuals were not aware of, and children displaying autistic symptoms were largely ignored.

With this said, just the pure media attention autism has recently received is enough for concerned parents to quickly draw inaccurate conclusions.

My goal is not to demean autism, as I understand that the condition is a stressful and painful one that affects entire families, but at the same time, the pure necessity of vaccines should not be ignored because of a single scare. If the majority of children do not get immunized in years to come, I hypothesize that the majority of diseases once controlled by vaccines will come back with a vengeance.

The introduction of vaccines has made the diseases they protect us from seem like something out of a movie because we have never experienced such illnesses. But ask your grandparents or maybe even your parents about the flu and polio epidemics they had to endure and the devastation such diseases caused. Read the history about the most common viral diseases that had tremendous effects on various populations around the world, and you will begin to understand the necessity for vaccines.

I advise everyone to do his or her research. No matter what it is about, health related or not, if you are passionate or worried about something, find legitimate research on the subject and get the facts; if you do so, confusion and possibly burdensome experiences can be avoided.

Hannah McCluskey can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com

Hannah McCluskey, columnist

linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com

ASLC Senate stands up for students and a future beyond coal

The Associated Students of Linfield College stood up for students and built on the foundation of sustainability that has given Linfield its green reputation May 17. ASLC overwhelmingly
voted to endorse the Beyond Coal resolution and support a transition away from Oregon’s largest source of pollution by the year 2014.

The Beyond Coal resolution, versions of which have been endorsed by student governments at seven Oregon campuses in addition to Linfield, calls for decision-makers to replace the state’s Boardman Coal Plant with cleaner energy sources by 2014. Each year, this one plant emits 5 million tons of carbon dioxide, 15,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides and 200 pounds of mercury.

Boardman, operated and partly owned by Portland General Electric, mainly serves utility customers in the Portland area; yet all Oregon residents suffer from the effects of its pollution. The Beyond Coal resolution calls for a transition away from burning coal at Boardman within a time frame shown by respected energy consultants to be economically responsible and environmentally necessary.

Passing the Beyond Coal resolution wasn’t just the right thing to do: It was a chance for ASLC to stand up for the voices of Linfield students. The Senate’s first opportunity to pass this resolution came on April 19, when it was presented to ASLC by Greenfield. At that Senate meeting, the resolution failed to pass, stimulating a grassroots campus campaign to show that Linfield students are ready to move beyond coal — fuel.

By reconsidering the resolution and passing it by a hefty margin May 17, ASLC senators showed they are serious about taking input directly from students.

After the resolution failed to pass the first time, the initial step for Linfield’s Beyond Coal campaign was to get Senate to reconsider its move. We argued that new information had emerged to support our position on Boardman, and that the Senate’s first vote was influenced by the personal ties of one senator to the coal plant’s utility owner, Portland General Electric.

Meanwhile, a grassroots movement to pass the resolution took shape.

During the busiest time of the year, Greenfield members gathered more than 150 signatures from students who had learned enough to ask ASLC to pass the Beyond Coal resolution. As word spread, it soon became apparent this wasn’t just an issue for tree-hugging environmentalists. Students from a wide spectrum of backgrounds spoke up by signing the petition and contacting their senators.

One student who is studying abroad took time to e-mail Senate from an Internet café in Mexico City. The message was loud and clear: Students support the transition to clean energy.

By the May 17 Senate meeting, the Senate again took up the Beyond Coal resolution. Several senators spoke up to say why this resolution was important enough to merit a second hearing. Sophomore Elections Committee Chair Bradley Keli’inoi pointed out the Senate’s responsibility to take the voice of the student body on this issue that so many feel strongly about. In a final vote, the resolution passed by an overwhelming margin.

We think passage of the Beyond Coal resolution is not just a victory for environmental responsibility but a demonstration of ASLC’s willingness to listen carefully to student voices. This resolution passed because the Senate took time to consider what Linfield students really want and acted accordingly.

We congratulate the Senate on sticking up for student voices and everyone who participated in this important campaign for a job well done.

Tyler Gerlach, Guest Columnist

Guest column

Semesters foster procrastination and burn-outs

With the last semester of the year coming to a close, I can’t help but feel a little burnt out with my classes. It’s not that the courses I’m taking aren’t interesting and engaging but rather that I have spent too much time focusing on the same courses and the same material.

At my former college, the school year was divided up in terms, with three terms in one school year. I think that, with this system, I was in a course long enough to learn the subject matter without it becoming tiring or overbearing. When a term was over, it was just the right time for me to be ready to begin a new class and to be exposed to new material, projects, and assignments.

Now that I have come to Linfield, I feel like I’m going to die from information overload after a semester finally comes to a close.

I can’t help but wish Linfield would adopt the ever so popular term system that numerous community colleges and state universities follow school year after school year.

I think that if Linfield adopted the term system, many students wouldn’t become discouraged by feeling like their classes are never ending. This is especially true if students are taking a full schedule of challenging courses that are needed to fulfill requirements for their major or minor.

Also, I feel that adopting the term system would cause fewer students to fall prey to the horror of procrastinations. I know when I feel that I have a lengthy amount of time to improve a grade or turn in projects, then it is easier for me to put off work until a later date. If students know they have a short amount of time to complete assignments and to earn the grade they are after, they are more apt to stay on the ball from the get go and not procrastinate, which definitely comes back to haunt college students, as I’m sure we all been exposed to at one time or another.

I don’t know if Linfield will ever change its policy and upgrade from the semester system to the term system, but it is definitely an interesting idea to consider.

Chelsea Bowen can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com

Chelsea Bowen, opinion editor

linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com

Unpaid internships can have high costs

One of the main agendas of college students is to obtain an
internship relating to their major sometime during their college career. It is usually fact that the more experience a college student has in the working world, the more likely he or she is to be hired for a job after earning a diploma. An internship is one of the best ways for college students to gain
experience.

However, many companies do not pay student interns. A recent story in the New York Times by Steven Greenhouse brought up the issue of unpaid internships and discussed whether it is legal to not pay students for overworking them.

We at The Linfield Review think that if a student has an internship that is more than 25 hours a week, then the student should be paid for their work. When a student is working more than 25 hours a week, it becomes difficult for him or her to obtain a paying job to compensate for living expenses that internships can’t cover.

One of the key points in the NYT story was that if students are completing work that paid employees typically do, then the students should be paid for completing this work. The story said that state and federal regulators are concerned that companies are illegally using interns to perform free labor and therefore bypassing minimum wage laws.

It also mentioned that the number of unpaid internships have increased in recent years because it is currently difficult for students to find jobs.

We feel that college students are already bombarded with a number of bills that naturally come with college life. For example, tuition, rent, food and gas bills add up quickly. It would be helpful if students with internships were at least paid minimum wage to cover living expenses.

Kristi Mackay, career services program coordinator, said that she often doesn’t think it’s fair that students aren’t paid for internship work but that it’s important for students to get the experiences internships offer.

Mackay also mentioned that there are different standards among various careers when it comes to paid and unpaid internships. For example, television stations are notorious for unpaid internships, whereas Fred Meyer offers paid internships.

Mackay said that if students are doing the same work as an employee then they should be paid.

We agree that if a student is performing tasks that an employee, of the company should perform, they should be paid for such work. Otherwise, students are in danger of being exploited by companies.

All in all, unpaid internships can be beneficial to students, but students should be sure to ask about hours, duties and compensation.

-The Review Editorial Board