Holding class inI
the rain forest'
Students and professors researching J
in the tropical rain forests must race
against time. As large portions of the
world's rain forests disappear, the;
plants that might provide treatments
for such diseases as cancer and AIDS-
go with them.
Under the supervision of ethno- 1
botanist Paul Cox,-Brigham Young U.
students document the plants used by
shamans (local healers) and the
shamans' views of medicine. Then the
students analyze the plants to deter-
mine if they can produce pharmaceuti- T
A plant collected in Samoa, used by
shamans to treat yellow fever, was dis- BYU students research ma
covered to be active against HIV. "We
don't know what the toxicity [of the plant] is yet, so it may
not make it as a medicine, but at least it's an interesting
lead," Cox says.
BYU senior Alexandra Paul receives research credit for
trips which last between two weeks and three months in
Haiti, where she studies how indigenous people use plants
Kinder, gentler student loans
Students from 105 campuses could save billions of dol-
lars and loads of paperwork next fall through the Federal
Direct Student Loan Program. The program was enacted
in July as part of President Clinton's deficit-reduction
Proponents say the new direct-lending program will
eliminate the fees the government pays banks to handle
loans and will lower interest rates. Currently, students pay
as much as 8 percent of their loans in fees; borrowers at
schools testing the program next fall will pay 4 percent.
"This will bring college within the financial reach of more
families," says Sen. Paul Simon, D-Il., chief sponsor and
architect of the program.
When financial aid award letters go out, borrowers in
the program will notice fee savings and simpler paper-
A new route to AIDS education
Ben Kadis says a bike ride changed his life.
For eight weeks last summer, he and 19 fellow riders ped-
aled at least 70 miles a day across the country, raising
money and educating people about AIDS for Bike-Aid - a
student-based organization now in its 10th year.
Along their route from San Francisco to the steps of the
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Kadis' group often
helped out in soup kitchens, AIDS hospices and senior citi-
zens' homes. "It was a bigger shock and educational experi-
ence than my experience in the Peace Corps," says Kadis, a
graduate student at the U. of Oregon.
Bike-Aid isn't the only group to combine cycling with
AIDS education. A group called PEGASUS (Project to End
the Grip of AIDS on Students in the United States) uses a
6,200-mile bicycle journey to fight the spread of AIDS and
other sexually transmitted diseases. PEGASUS members
took off in September, and by the time they complete their
ride in April, they will have sponsored interactive programs
about AIDS and other sexual issues at 45 campuses, reach-
ing about 30,000 students.
"Our biggest asset is that we're young and we're not doc-
tors in white coats," says Charles Bales, a 1989 graduate of
Duke U., who co-founded the group with five recent gradu-
ates. "We're receptive to [students]; they're our peers."
8 " U. Magazine
to make textiles, preserve food an
most importantly, treat diseases
Paul, like the rest of Cox's student
learned her site's native languag
"The rain forest is an incredibl
experience," Paul says. "I come awa
with the feeling that I'm able t
bridge the gap between cultures an
transmit information that otherwis
might be lost."
Graduate student Will Mc
Clatchey, who does his research o
the South Pacific island of Rotumar
is concerned about the knowledg
that will be lost due to heavy loggin
r in areas such as Fiji.
He says the Rotuman healers
many of whom are college-educatec
goare careful about preserving the for
icines around the world. "We're not dealing with a bunchc
dummies," he says. "These guys ar
really smart." Yet he worries about indifference.
"It is important to document how the people are usin
[the plants] simply because the younger generations ther
could care less about using the plants the way adults do," h
says. "It's a knowledge that's rapidly disappearing." Jaso
Rockfeld, The Red & Black, U. of Georgia
work, according to Simon.
Instead of having to deal with middlemen, students will
deal directly with their schools. They will also be able to
repay their loans at a schedule based on their income,
which will give more graduates the freedom to take low-
paying jobs such as teaching or social work, Simon says.
Of course, not everybody is happy with the Clinton
adminstration's new program.
"Their agenda is not to help students go to school but to
increase their control," says Bill Spadea, chairman of the
But proponents say the plan will save about $4.3 billion
of taxpayers' dollars through fiscal 1998. In fiscal year
1993, the federal government issued 6.1 million student
loans for $18 billion, with defaults totaling $2.5 billion.
Simon expects the lowered interest rates to help reduce
the staggering number of defaulters. Michael Dizon,
Daily Iini, U. of Illinois
More Short Takes
TRATS A FNTASTIC OMELET
e AMES,10WA - A student dispute at Iowa
y State U.-got a little out of hand when
o junior Thomas Scannel was charged with
d trying to poison one of his roommates.
e Scannel lived in an apartment with
three other ISU students who became
> suspicious after tasting something odd in
n one of the roommates' salsa and eggs.
n, Police aren't sure, but they think a
e cleaning fluid such as Formula 409 was
g sprayed on the food. Analysis of the food
is pending, and if the concentration of the
S, compounds is found to be enough to
d, cause serious injury or death, further
r- charges may be filed.
of shorter takes and updates:
NEAT-0 TORPEDO: The stockpile of
g weapons U. of Texas freshman David
e Larsen was charged with storing in his
e dorm room: a semiautomatic rifle and
n 240 rounds of ammunition. The
Chronicle of Higher Education reported
Larsen told police he thought the
weapons "were neat."
TASTY: Smoked locusts, chocolate
chirpies and fried tomato worms, which
made up the menu of the First Annual
Wyoming Insect Cook-Off. Sponsored by
U. of Wyoming entomology professor
Jim Wangberg, the shindig was held
along with a lecture on the nutritional
benefits of eating insects.
FIRED: Professor of leisure studies
George R. Harker, from his cushy job at
Western Illinois U. Harker, who taught
"Concepts of Leisure," was fired for
allegedly passing on faculty meetigs and
not giving his students exams.
USED: Schoolgirls' underpants which
police in Chiba, Japan, say three men
were selling through vending machines
for $30. We reported vending machines
which sold art and beer [U. Magazine,
November 1993] and, at the time, those
were the weirdest things available.
FAKE: Nearly $17,000 in airline tickets
50-year-old Owen Weston allegedly sold
international Syracuse U. students. The
students, who planned to travel home to
India for winter break, paid $1,195 for the
tickets, but when they tried to pick them
up, they were told the reservations had
NOMINATED: U. of Houston doctoral stu-
dent Fabian Vaksman, by himself, for the
Pulitzer Prize. Vaksman, a researcher,
e, penned the poem "RRacist," in which a
N student researcher murders state univer-
sity professors [U. Magazine, December
_ 1993]. He hopes to be recognized with a
e Pulitzer for a series of newspaper opinion
ia columns he wrote.
ly Briefs compiled from the U. Network and
The Chronicle of Higher Education.
continued from page 16
cians, nurse practitioners and health edu-
Rutgers' health centers faced annual cuts
from 3 to 14 percent over the last five
years, according to Dr. Robert Bierman,
director of medical centers. To cover these
state cuts, which averaged about $50,000
each year and reached a one-year high of
more than $200,000, Rutgers raised stu-
dent fees, took money from a reserve sav-
ings account and froze hiring on certain
Tight budgets forced the centers to
become more efficient, and Bierman
acknowledges, "We're very close to the
point where something major would have
to be given up."
A PRESCITINFOR BETTER ARE
Without a regulatory system for college
health care, determining the adequacy of
campus clinics often falls on students'
shoulders. Taking a tour of the center,
meeting with physicians and talking to
other students can provide some basic
information. Accreditation is a good sign
that the center will offer care comparable
to what is available in the community. If
the center is licensed, the state requires it
to adhere to certain standards, and every
physician in the country must be licensed
If the center is unresponsive to com-
plaints, students can turn to the universi-
ty's student affairs office or to their stu-
dent health advisory committee.
'Those who are uncomfortable with the
diagnoses or treatment provided at their
center should seek a second opinion at an
Dan Maier, director of news and infor-
mation at the American Medical
Association, recommends finding a prima-
ry care physician before you need one.
"Ask your friends... if there's a good physi-
cian in the area and go into the office and
meet with them," he says.
Every state and county has a medical
society which can offer referrals. The soci-
ety can let students know if a physician is
board-certified, which shows he or she has
proven expertise beyond what is necessary
for state licensing.
Maier also recommends pricing health
insurance, which is provided at lower rates
to students because they are a generally
healthy segment of the population. And
for students on a tight budget, physicians
will often work out a payment plan or even
"Physicians themselves were students for
a great part of their lives," Maier says.
"They understand students' situations -
that budgets are tight. And if they aren't
understanding, you can seek another place.
Eventually you're going to find a physician
who's going to make things work for you."
Until student health centers come com-
pletely under the authority of state regula-
tions, steps such as these are the best -
and sometimes the only - way for stu-
dents to make sure they are receiving qual-
ity health care. Q
For more information on PEGASUS, an independer
project of HEALTH WATCH, write: 40 Edgewood Lan
Bronxville, NY 10708; or call: (800) 759-8255, PIT
Bike-Aid '94 takes off from from five locations this sum
mer. For more information on Bike-Aid, sponsored by th
Overseas Development Network, write: 333 Valenci
Street, Ste. 330, San Francisco, CA 94103; or call: (41.
431-4480; or fax: (415) 431-5953. Anne Bergman, Dail
Trojan, U. of Southern California
MARCH 1994 MARCH 1994
U. Ma gaz e e 21