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September 07, 2004 - Image 27

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

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COMMENTARY

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004 - 3B

ACHEN
Continued from Page 2B
Within such a system and with the consent of the
survivor, pertinent information about the sur-
vivor's story can be shared in order to minimize
the number of times that a survivor will have to
re-tell his or her story. By encouraging this net-
work of organizations, the new system will ensure
that a survivor is able to receive comprehensive
and quality counseling, advocacy and crisis serv-
ices, regardless of whether his or her first contact
is with CAPS, SAPAC or SAFE House.
In our minds, these changes reflect the commit-
ment of the current administration to provide
WHITE
Continued from Page 2B
should signal the need for an increase in coun-
selors at SAPAC and clearly not a removal of
these services entirely. Todd Sevig, the director of
CAPS, has confirmed that it will never be a long-
term agency.
Less than a year ago there were three crisis
lines within Washtenaw County handling calls
concerning issues of sexual violence. The Sexual
Assault Crisis Center was shut down because of
funding issues. Now, with the proposed plans to
SAPAC, only one will remain. This is a part of the
disturbing trend in decreasing resources for sur-
vivors in Washtenaw County. Services continue to
be severed and disappear, only this time, it's a
matter of bureaucracy and not budget as a source
of the cuts.
What we do know is that people have already
expressed not feeling safe at CAPS. We know for
a fact that many survivors have already been trau-
matized over the loss of a resource that has been a

quality sexual violence services to members of
the University community. We recognize that not
all University students feel the same about these
changes and that not all survivors feel the same
about these changes. Our goal is not to change
anyone's mind, but simply to provide our perspec-
tive so that members of the University communi-
ty may make an informed decision about their
opinion on this issue. Most importantly, please
remember that SAPAC is and always will be here
for survivors.
Achen is an LSA junior; Vitale is an alumna. They
are SAPAC Peer Education Coordinators.
staple of this community. We know that long-term
counseling services will no longer be available
unless exceptions are made. We know that the
counselors currently at SAPAC did not have the
option to stay or participate in the design of such
a "community coordinated response." We know
that Our Voices Count is only one of many organ-
izations outraged by such a blatant disregard for
campus safety. We do know that people will no
longer be able to walk into one safe space with
specialized services and professionals dedicated
solely to the needs of survivors, families and
friends of sexual assault. We know this for a fact.
Achen and Vitale write, "Most importantly,
please remember that SAPAC is and always will
be here for survivors." It is our wish that state-
ment would remain true in fact and not simply in
opinion.
White and urnock, an LSA senior and LSA junior
respectively, are SAPAC volunteers and representa-
tives of Our Voices Count.

Not just any old water bottle

ELLIOTT MALLEN IRRATONAL EXUBERANCE

MAY 24, 2004

rands polarize. We all
know how pervasive
branding has
become, but we also know
that not all brands are created
equal. Different brands iden-
tify with different groups,
especially here on campus.
K-mart and Prada separate
the poor from the rich,
Brooks Brothers and FUBU cut a line through
white and black, Old Spice and Mary Kay draw
a wedge between male and female. However,
there is one branded product that has shattered
barriers, broken down walls and brought the
University together under one corporate logo:
the omnipresent Nalgene bottle.
Given the massively diverse student popula-
tion here at our University, it is impossible to
define something resembling a student uniform.
The Nalgene bottle is the one item that could
truly be a part of a student uniform. The athletes
like them because they can measure their water
intake to the nearest 10 milliliters, the Greeks
like them because it makes them look athletic,
outdoorsy people like them for their durability
and the activists like them because it makes them
look outdoorsy. It's a branding success story.
Nobody refers to one as "my water bottle," it's
always "my Nalgene."
One of the most surprising aspects of the Nal-
gene's success is its penetration into one of the
most impenetrable of markets - the political
activists. These are people who get their clothing

from thrift stores, eat organic food and decry the
labor and environmental practices of just about
every fashionable or popular brand. Surprisingly,
this group seems to be among the most likely to
use Nalgene water bottles. True, they are deco-
rated with stickers proclaiming the virtue of
every leftist cause imaginable, but that doesn't
diminish the glory of the Nalgene name. The tra-
ditional activist tenets of buying generic brands
or secondhand are cast aside for the sake of the
Nalgene.
Nalgene markets itself as socially responsible,
which surely scores it points with this crowd. Its
website speaks volumes about the environmental
friendliness of plastic, claiming it emits few nox-
ious chemicals once it gets to landfills and that
there is currently more paper waste than plastic
waste in landfills. Maybe evening the plastic to
paper ratio in landfills will bring about some
form of environmentally-friendly equilibrium,
but I'm still not so sure using more plastic is the
answer. The website also says that plastic bottles
are better than glass bottles because they're
lighter, saving semi trucks gasoline. Never mind
that plastic is an oil derivative.
This guise of environmental awareness is a
clever technique used by a wide range of brands
to attract those normally averse to conspicuous
consumption. If a company can make it seem as
if buying their product will make the world a
better place, how could anyone dislike it? It's
capitalistic fulfillment: the more you consume,
the more you're improving the world, and thus
the better you are as a person. Grocery chain

Whole Foods is notorious for using this strategy,
making its customers feel environmentally and
socially responsible for buying organic food
while simultaneously paying workers substan-
dard wages, crushing local grocery stores and
inducing sprawl with its expansion strategies.
Nalgene bottles are also portrayed as being
durable containers for the true outdoorsman.
When you're hiking through wastelands of
Mongolia or climbing the staggering Andes,
you know your Nalgene will be there to
replenish your lost fluids. Its thick shell will
prevent it from breaking when you're
wrestling gorillas in Zaire, and its watertight
lid will prevent any contamination when
you're swimming across the Amazon. The
rugged, exotic lifestyle associated with the
bottles is the same adventurous romanticism
used to sell SUVs. It's convincing people to
buy items they don't really need: Just as there
are people using their Navigators to brave the
dangerous, uncivilized passes of I-94, there
are countless students with Nalgenes who
would never even consider climbing into a
canoe or strapping on hiking boots.
The Nalgene bottle is a branding success story
here on campus, appealing to people from all
walks of life by portraying itself as being rugged,
environmentally-friendly and athletic all at once.
Whether it makes anyone rugged, environmen-
tally-friendly or athletic is another story.
Mallen can be reached at emmallen@umich.edu.

We welcome all who wish to be part of a vibrant
Reform congregation. Interested in knowing more?
Call the temple office (734) 665-4744

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