Archive for August, 2006

WU Bears don’t hibernate in the off-season

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | David Kramer

Year after year, college sports go in three basic cycles: pre-season, in-season and off-season. At Washington University, each varsity sport goes through a roughly one-month intensive pre-season before they play other collegiate teams in their respective sports.

According to a study done by Paul Murray of EMB Consultancy LLP, “Pre-season training is probably the most dangerous time of the year for injuries and the number of players suffering from serious injury rises significantly during this time.” In order to avoid season ending injuries during the pre-season, each varsity sport has sport-specific fitness programs in the off-season.

Each fall varsity athlete at the University had their own off-season conditioning program. Junior Scott Guthrie, a halfback on the football team, said that he followed a fairly intense lifting and running program that included agility work and occasional long sprints. Senior and captain of the women’s soccer team Meghan Marie Fowler-Finn played on a summer team in the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPSL) that practiced every night and had games almost every weekend.

“In the morning I would follow the summer workout packet that our coach gave us and all my teammates did,” said Fowler-Flinn. “Three days of the week were lifting weights with a cardio workout such as biking, long distance running or elliptical. Three more days of the week were sprint workouts and one day was rest. Finally a couple days a week I practiced with a ball on my own on ball skills or shooting,” she added.

Senior Whitney Smith, a middle hitter on the volleyball team, took a less aggressive approach to conditioning, “I lifted and ran three times a week, and played volleyball a couple of times with some ex-Division I girls. Then we went out and ate nachos!”

Born to run: Men’s and women’s cross country teams look to win conference championships

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | Steven Hollander

When success comes so often, it is hard to appreciate it for what it is. This is the case for the men’s and women’s cross country teams of Washington University.

Nationally ranked and part of the prestigious University Athletics Association (UAA), both the men’s and women’s teams are prepared for NCAA dominance. This Saturday, Sept. 2, another year of Varsity Cross Country will kick off with the WU Early Bird Meet. The University’s athletic department is also excited to host this year’s UAA Championships, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Forest Park.

Under fifth-year coach Jeff Stiles, both teams look to recapture the success of the past season. Last year, the women’s team not only won UAA and Mid-Western Region titles but also achieved a ranking of third overall at the NCAA championships. The men’s team finished second at the conference meet and sent two participants to the NCAA individual championships.

With talented runners coming back and gifted harriers coming in, Stiles is looking forward to an exciting season.

“We have the potential to have the best teams we have ever had. The women’s team has the potential to be better than last year’s and the men can be a top ten team,” said Stiles.

Sophomore Zach Kimberling is also looking forward to the season.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for this upcoming season because we are returning five of our top seven [runners] and a host of other guys ready to make the conference and regional teams. In addition, the freshmen class is very good and several have a shot at being top seven.”

Kimberling also noted the success of last season, especially considering that the squad’s top runner, Greg Reindl, was out with a stress fracture.

The optimism is quite high on the women’s side as well.

“I have to say that this is the most excited I have ever been about an upcoming season. Our summer training was the best it has ever been as a team, and that makes everyone even more motivated for this cross country season,” said junior Tyler Mulkin.

As for how this year’s team compares to last year’s squad, Mulkin noted that the team “lost a lot of talented runners due to graduation and other factors,” but believes that the team has the pieces in place to make up the difference. “We have a big freshmen class this season with a lot of potential and we also didn’t have Tricia Frisella last year, who had an awesome track season last semester [before transfering to Wash. U.]. I think we are just as good, if not better than last year, but it’s hard to say this early in the season.”

Mulkin was one of the top performers of last year’s cross country season and was awarded the All-American honors in women’s cross country for her standout sophomore campaign. Mulkin attributes most of her success to her team and its support.

“Probably the biggest contribution to my success at Nationals was the team. When we raced in Ohio, our whole team was there, and that means a lot to have 50 plus athletes that you practiced with all season there to cheer you on the whole way,” said Mulkin.

Senior Beth Herndon also shares Mulkin’s enthusiasm and believes that both upperclassmen and freshmen will make this a successful season.

“We know we have a very strong team, and after two years of placing third at nationals, we’re ready to do better,” said Herndon.

While excited for the upcoming season, Herndon is cautious to declare that her team will take the UAA crown just yet.

“Four of our top five runners from the national meet return, plus we’ve gained Tricia Frisella, who transferred last spring and was a national qualifier in the 5k in track,” said Herndon. “The key to our success is going to be supporting our strength up front with depth.”

Women offering students rides to Kmart arrested on outstanding warrant

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | Brad Nelson

A Maplewood woman was arrested on an outstanding warrant Monday afternoon after she was spotted on campus offering students rides to Kmart, Washington University police said.

Rachael David, 22, of the 2000 block of Roseland Terrace, was driving a white limousine bus around the South 40 and Forsyth when police, responding to a complaint, pulled her over.

Witnesses said David was shouting into a bullhorn, offering students trips to Kayak’s Coffee and then a local Kmart. She said the bus would leave from Kayak’s Coffee every 45 minutes.

WUPD ran a background check on David and found she had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court.

According to St. Peters, Missouri police, David never answered the charges that she was driving without a seatbelt or auto insurance when she was pulled over by police on January 29, 2005.

She was held at the St. Louis County Jail before being released Monday night on a $120,000 bond.

David claimed she was driving the bus on behalf of Alloy Media & Marketing, a national public relations firm that specializes in targeting teenagers and college students, police said.

A woman who answered the phone at Alloy’s Chicago office late Tuesday said the company had recently partnered with national retailers to begin offering students at several college campuses rides to their stores.

A look at Engineering Initiation

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | David Brody
Matt Rubin

On the night of Saturday, Aug. 26, upperclassmen engineering students tested the school’s incoming freshmen engineering students for the various traits valued by the Washington University School of Engineering. The upperclassmen judged the freshmen’s abilities in a variety of fields, ranging from Morality and Teamwork to Computer Smashing and Ninja Skills. After a few grueling hours of logic puzzles and oddball games the freshmen were blindfolded and led into an auditorium in Louderman Hall. After reciting the Engineer’s Creed they were given their hard hats and welcomed to the Engineering School in a solemn candle-lit ceremony.

Sophomore entrepreneurs create student discounts

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | David Tabor
Matt Rubin

Washington University students are no strangers to local mainstays such as Mike Duffy’s Pub and Grill, Blueberry Hill and Pointer’s Pizza. Now they can save money as they go.

Bear Discounts, a new student-run business, distributes a discount card good for 10 percent off at local restaurants and stores. With more than thirty businesses already accepting the card and plans to add more in the works, the business hopes to continue to expand.

The brainchild of sophomores Dan Horan and Phil Barkhorn, Bear Discounts takes the familiar idea of a discount card and makes it a part of the University community.

The cards cost $20 and can be purchased from Specific discount offers vary from business to business, though a typical offer is 10 percent off. The card is good for a 20 percent discount from Domino’s Pizza and 15 percent off of smoothies at Smoothie King. Pointer’s Pizza offers two free sodas with any order.

Whereas a number of national businesses provide similar cards, their discounts are only good at large chain stores. Horan and Barkhorn wanted to adapt that service to the local St. Louis community.

“We’re trying to make it easier and more affordable for Wash. U. students to venture out into the community,” said Horan. “College is expensive. It all adds up.”

Horan and Barkhorn hope to incorporate the best elements of similar programs elsewhere. They plan to market the card to campus student groups to resell as a fundraiser, for instance.

Horan explained that discount programs at other universities, often set up by the school, inspired him and his partner.

“We saw a need for it here because at others schools there were programs supported by the school designed to help students save money,” said Horan. “And we thought, why don’t we have this at Wash. U.?”

The pair said that prospects for the future are bright. Having already sold more than 300 cards, they expect to have an easier time convincing more local businesses to sign on. That, in turn, should make the cards more attractive to students.

“The more students buy it, the better,” said Barkhorn. The more success we have in the fall, the better it will be for next year.”

Students currently using the card have responded enthusiastically.

Junior David Zeman has already purchased a card and made use of it several times. He said that he is confident that his purchase will prove financially-wise.

“I think it’s an awesome idea and business-wise it makes a lot of sense,” said Zeman. “Basically, they’re offering a great product.”

Sophomore Emily Feuerman expects the discount card to help integrate University students into the local economy.

“It will connect students to stores and businesses and will promote those stores and businesses that are connected to the program,” said Feuerman.

Sophomore Jesse Meyer explained that Horan and Barkhorn had asked her and other students which local businesses they should contact. The result was a product tailored to students’ interests.

“It’s really useful for students at the University, especially for students on a budget,” said Meyer.

Social Thought major merges with American Culture Studies

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | Ben Sales

The Social Thought and Analysis degree program has a new home in American Culture Studies beginning this semester.

“We wanted to raise the profile of interdisciplinary teaching in the social sciences at Washington University,” said John Bowen, director of the Social Thought and Analysis (STA) program. “One initial step to this is to gather several tracks under one roof: American Culture Studies.”

The role of the Social Thought and Analysis (STA) major is now similar to American Culture Studies (AMCS) track programs, such as an immigration and ethnic studies track.

Bowen hopes that the larger program will allow its administrators to hire a more diverse faculty, thereby giving the students more academic options.

“It will allow better coordination and collaboration in the teaching of social sciences,” he said. “[We are] getting more people involved here and bringing in more people from the outside.”

Sophomore Michael Martinich-Sauter, a potential STA major, is looking forward to expanded options in the program.

“A greater selection of classes is definitely a plus,” said Martinich-Sauter. “There is more opportunity for breadth, more opportunity to pursue your interests and more flexibility.”

Wayne Fields, director of AMCS, sees this merger as a natural move that benefits both programs.

“We have had a very heavy overlapping interest for a long time,” said Fields. “We have always had a close relationship in terms of our commitments. Many of the Social Thought and Analysis courses are cross-listed with American Culture Studies. We have been looking to do this for quite a while.”

According to Fields, the move is an attempt to create a better-rounded academic environment.

“We try to combine these interests to expand the opportunities in terms of course offerings and the connections between courses,” Fields said. “The [merge] reaffirms a shared commitment to those aspects of culture studies and recognizes the opportunity to build further on that foundation.”

Fields added that the new arrangement will improve the AMCS curriculum, enabling the program to better confront current issues in American society.

“This bringing together of disciplines is to take on important issues like those facing American cities,” said Fields. “We learned how pertinent it is to be offering a range of courses that we can draw on when we are trying to understand what holds us together and threatens to break us apart.”

Senior Jonathan Lane, an STA major, echoed Bowen and Field’s comments, as he saw the merger as another stage in the development of the University’s social sciences program.

“It is important for people to recognize that this is another step in a long evolution,” said Lane. “STA’s focus on researching skills is something that is really important and [that is] often overlooked in the social sciences. It is a good thing for more students to be exposed to that.”

WU switches health provider, keeps mandatory insurance

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | David Tabor

Washington University remained one of three universities in the nation to require its students to purchase health insurance this year, despite a change in provider for the 2006-2007 school year. Nearly all other schools allow students with other coverage, often through parents, to opt out of their university’s plan.

This year, the University will use the Lewer Agency, an insurance firm based in Kansas City, to provide coverage rather than the Chickering Group, the school’s provider since spring 2001.

Most services will remain the same, though students may now purchase optional prescription drug coverage. For an optional fee of $94.28, the plan will provide students prescriptions at a discounted price.

Only Howard University, California Institute of Technology and Washington University use a mandatory fee to ensure all students have coverage.

That policy has irked some parents, who would rather rely on their own insurance policies to cover their students. Because the University includes insurance in its health fee, parents often pay for redundant health insurance policies.

Rick Friedman, a parent who opposes the mandatory insurance policy, has been particularly vocal in his complaints to the University. When filing an insurance claim for his son, he found the University-provided plan and his own health insurance plan overlapped and could not be used together.

Health insurance constitutes the major component of the Student Health fee, a bill that will total $660 for this year. At schools that do not provide insurance, comparable fees usually total between $100 and $200.

“There is no reason that I or any other parent should have to pay $660 for health coverage that is inferior to our own,” said Friedman.

According to the University’s Web site, the undergraduate population comprises between 5,200 and 6,000 students. By Friedman’s estimation, the excess cost of insurance across this number of students totals millions of dollars.

According to Dr. Alan Glass, director of Student Health Services, the decision to provide health insurance for all students resulted from an intensive study of students’ medical access conducted in 2000 and 2001. Before the University began to provide insurance, he explained, 10 percent of the student body was totally uninsured and 65 percent were underinsured.

Prompted by these findings, the University adopted its current insurance policy in 2001.

Glass explained that under a policy including the ability to opt out, some students would be left underinsured.

“For example, a lot of people may be able to produce an insurance card,” said Glass. “But if the policy limit on that is $10,000 or $12,000, that doesn’t even cover a complicated appendectomy in this day and age.”

The insurance policy provided by the University provides $500,000 in annual coverage.

He explained that the opt-out policy was examined as part of the study but ultimately deemed lacking.

“A person might produce an insurance card today,” said Glass. “[If] their job situation changes. two months down the way, and all of a sudden they don’t have adequate insurance.”

According to the results of the 2001 study, opt-out policies at other schools often leave a significant part of the student population uninsured or underinsured.

Glass also explained that the cost of an insurance policy is significantly diminished when all students are covered under one plan. If the school were to institute an opt-out policy, the same plan that is currently offered would cost between two and three times as much as the current fee.

A mandatory insurance policy, Glass said, makes medical access affordable for those who need it.

Libraries institute new printing fee

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | Mandy Silver
Matt Rubin

Washington University Libraries will institute printing fees beginning Oct. 20, 2006. The Libraries expect the new pay-per-page policy to reduce the volume of printing in the Libraries by 50 percent and defray related expenditures on printer paper and toner, estimated to cost over $130,000 during the 2005-2006 academic year alone.

University officials initially met in the fall of 2005 to investigate the current printing problem and propose a viable solution. As an alternative to charging, the committee recommended posting signs encouraging conservation and duplex printing. Judy Fox, associate dean of libraries, said that the displays unfortunately “had little effect.”

“To continue to support free printing, we would have to significantly reduce our spending on library collections,” said Fox. “The library budget is not inexhaustible; we simply could not handle the volume of printing.”

Shirley Baker, dean of University libraries, said that the Libraries had intended to provide a quota of free printing for each student, but found it could not afford to do so. The library will charge patrons 8 cents per single page, 12 cents per double-sided black-and-white print jobs and a 50 cent fee per color page.

“Even at 8 cents per page, we will not be making a profit. We reluctantly abandoned the idea of a quota,” said Baker. “At best, we will break even on the cost of printing; we will certainly reduce the magnitude of the losses to the Libraries.”

Between 2001 and 2005, library administrators have seen the printing volume quadruple. Fox attributes the surge in printing to University members’ abuse of E-Res and online journals.

“As more and more resources have become electronically available, students have started to indiscriminately print research material from online references, rather than photocopy selected material.”

Washington University is not alone in instituting fees to deal with exorbitant printing. The University’s peer institutions, on average, already charge 5 to 10 cents for black-and-white print jobs, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Emory, Duke and Vanderbilt.

“Before last spring, when we started charging our students for printing, we would go through so many reams of paper,” said Larentina Gray, supervisor at Vanderbilt’s circulation desk. “Now that everyone is forced to be conscientious, paper usage has declined dramatically.”

Although library officials met with Student Union leaders last spring to discuss the new printing policy, the first mass communication to students was received via email in early august. Fox and Baker both noted that “students have been unhappy about the planned charges.”

“I think the new printing fee is egregious and over the top – it’s too expensive,” said junior Zack Steinert-Threlkeld, creator of the Facebook group “I wish I could still print for free,” which boasts 246 members as of yesterday, Aug. 29. “I feel that the decision should have been made through a more democratic process. We want to show our dissatisfaction in hopes of reverting back to the status quo, although that seems unlikely.”

Aside from assuaging students, library officials are concerned that printing traffic may be diverted to dorm and department labs still supporting free printing. Marcia Mannen, associate director and client support for Arts & Sciences Computing Lab, said she anticipates a spike in users, including students outside of Arts & Sciences, who are technically without printing privileges to the lab. Up until 2004, printing at the lab was increasing by 20 to 25 percent per year.

“We have had crowds and been able to accommodate them before,” said Mannen. “It has been our policy that we want printing to be easy and open for students. However, we are going to keep a very close eye on the numbers.”

The software the library is using to implement the printing fee, Pharos, has been up and running since summer. “We realize that the print may take less time than the logon process,” said Scott Britton, head of access. To avoid long lines, students may choose to send their request to print stations, and print up to four hours later at any one of the Libraries’ printing stations.

To pay for printing, users can purchase a copy card from a vending machine in Olin Library’s photocopy room on Level 1 or at one of the University’s six other libraries. For more information about the changes in Library printing policy visit

Ditch the advice, go after the girl

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | Danny Bravman

This was supposed to be an article giving advice to incoming freshmen on their first day of class. But then I thought that freshmen have been getting advice from everyone. They’ve received mailings for months. There have been orientations and pre-orientations.

There are numerous books and online resources from and for the millions of incoming college students. There are residential advisors, residential college directors, residential computer consultants, peer advisors, four-year advisors, deans, upperclassmen, roommates, suitemates, dormmates, classmates, professors, teaching assistants, family, and old and new friends all offering advice. And if, after all that, they still have the slightest doubt about something, they can ask someone. Anyone. Washington University Police officers, Bon App‚tit workers, campus bookstore employees. There’s that Uncle Joe’s thing I always walk by. Cornerstone, too. If none of those work, they can ask random people; I’ve been here two years, and I am still constantly surprised by how nice the people are here, and how eager they are to help.

So instead of offering advice to freshmen, I will give my advice to a tragically under-advised set of people: incoming students with a silly teenage crush on the Orbit Gum girl.

One late night in December of 2003, while procrastinating finishing my college application by browsing through The Internet Movie Database’s forums, I came across a (since purged) thread about the movie “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” A question on the origins of baseball as pertaining to a brief scene in this movie had degenerated into a spam-filled flame war on topics including sports, cinema, Hollywood, etiquette, war, terrorism, politics, and cultural egocentrism. Out of all this, a point of consensus somehow emerged: “Full points to the forebears of the people of the British Isles for producing the language that gave us the words of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Shelley, Dickens, Austen, Wilde, Churchill, Bowie, French & Saunders, and that unbelievably perky blonde in the Orbit Gum commercials.” No matter what the opinion of any other, none could dispute the transcendence of the Orbit Gum girl.

College dorms are saturated with posters and obsessive thoughts of Angelina Jolies and Jessica Albas. How to be a fan of such well-established celebrities is common knowledge. But you are different. You’ve heard your calling, and it is sweet; it is a most enchantingly captivating lilt, with British intonation tingeing a most heavenly aural sensation, in a body and mind no less deserving of superlatives. A merging of the aesthetically pleasing actress/spokesmodel and the intelligent double-majored college graduate. It is a voice resonating like a natural force, in commercials as difficult to capture as lightning: brief, unpredictable and memorable.

And there is a spectrum of wonder to discover beyond her namesake commercials. A recurring cameo in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. A speaking extra in “John Q.” A flashback role on “Lost.” A dual role on a cancelled soap opera. The first to depart a failed reality show pilot. A guest star on a UPN comedy. Not to mention the literature of interviews which the patient fan can assemble through meticulous research requiring the most capable library.

No matter how many times you insist to yourself and others that you are perfectly entitled to a silly teenage crush, you will question it, especially as the day approaches when the teenage crush would no longer be perfectly entitled. Until then, it will take time to realize that there really is no shame in admitting it. For you’ve already done the hardest part: you’ve figured out what you like, you’ve figured out what you want, you’ve figured out what pleases you. You’ve identified your passion.

But how does one dare approach such a figure? Simple. The same factor that makes her so intimidating also ipso facto makes her approachable – she is a celebrity. Fan letters are written all the time by the millions of Americans who adulate such figures much more notable than the Orbit Gum girl. So for someone like her, who admittedly lacks the same degree of fame as the typical fan letter recipient, the value would be all the more. She wants the praise you wish to praise her with. She wants the recognition you wish to recognize her with.

You need not know exactly what you are asking for in your fan letter. It may simply be the typical sign of the fan: an autographed piece of paper, which, albeit ordinary, holds meaning. Perhaps an autographed gumwrapper, or something more visual, like posters or calendars. Or maybe, somehow, some of the media featuring her. Best would be a personalized response, especially something aural. One word worth a thousand pictures. The harm is not in asking the wrong thing; the harm is not asking. Personalize your appeal. You are unique. She is unique. Meld your experiences with her canon, and express the result.

A voice that radiant will be heard. It must be heard. Discover it. Listen to it. Reply to it. And no matter what you may think, you’re not alone.

Danny is a junior in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via email at [email protected].

Why I don’t care about college rankings

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 | Jill Strominger
Matt Rubin

We all saw the latest U.S. News & World Report college rankings. And whether we were hoping Washington University would magically rise to the top American school to make up for that less-than-perfect GPA or just have a personal vendetta against the University of Chicago, we all seem to have our own individual complaints and frustrations with Wash. U.’s decline from the 11th-ranked college to the 12th-ranked college. Personally, I’m disappointed that we weren’t ranked lower. Yeah, go ahead and read that again. I did just say the impossible: I wish Wash. U.’s ranking would fall. And by fall, I mean I wish the ranking would plummet, like to 20, or even to an unthinkable 30.

No, it’s not that I hate Wash. U. or that Cornell is secretly paying me to analyze Wash. U. and figure out how they can move ahead of us. I’m not trying to bring the school down from the inside (although I do occasionally “borrow” extra spoons from Bear’s Den). I’m not even one of those people who wishes for a low ranking to make obvious the flaws of the system because I oppose the rankings on the principle that they factor in things like the percentage of classes with 20 or fewer students and alumni giving. We’re just too focused on the rankings, and that focus brings the danger of lulling us into a false sense of security about our futures.

When I first heard Wash. U. students talk about the college rankings, I had a scary image of students camping outside Barnes & Noble or Target waiting for the college edition of U.S. News & World Report the way students at other schools would go tenting before the big basketball game. I’m relieved to report that I have not yet heard actual stories of students sleeping outside in pursuit of the first magazine. Unfortunately, the rankings do seem to be the center of a lot of our school pride and academic security for the future.

I understand that a higher ranking does offer a little extra help with our graduate school, medical school, or law school applications. Trust me, I’m thankful for that advantage. I realize that a higher ranking might contribute to better name recognition for the school. And yes, I too get tired of telling people “I go to Wash. U. Yeah. It’s this school in St. Louis.” The effect of the school’s high ranking that I see most often, though, is the belief that the high school work that got us into Wash. U. is going to carry us through all the way to medical school – that since we were accepted to Wash. U., we no longer have to be concerned about the future as long as we graduate.

This simply isn’t the case. Average grades and test scores from the 12th ranked undergraduate school would not, for example, gain one admission into the 12th ranked law school. The average undergraduate GPA of a student admitted into the 20th ranked Wash. U. law school is a 3.6 (a GPA that makes one eligible for honors at Wash. U.) and an LSAT score of 166. Hailing from a competitive undergraduate institution has been described as an application “plus,” but it’s not an application life raft. Essentially, the fact that our beloved institution has been ranked a better college than schools like Northwestern or Emory doesn’t mean that we don’t still have to have better grades and essays to compete with people from these schools for graduate school admissions.

What students from strong but lesser-known schools have that we don’t is the awareness that they still need to prove themselves to do well in the future. We may have gotten into a great school and the school may give us a good education, but the U.S. News evaluation of Wash. U. is nothing more than a pre-season football ranking. It’s essentially meaningless if we, the student body, don’t continue to earn it. Let’s focus on our own educations and contributions to society and, like our futures, the rankings will fall into place.

Jill is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences and a Forum Editor. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].