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March 20, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-20

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4 - Friday, March 20, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All othersigned articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Joint innovation
Businesses and students can work together for social benefit
W ith budgets that sometimes barely cover paper
flyers, student groups inevitably face a struggle
to find funding. It's unfortunate that this is the
case since cash is often the only stumbling block between
student groups' ideas and reality. But when graduate stu-
dents from the University's College of Engineering gained
sponsorship from Google, they found a way to beat these
money troubles. The result was a product with benefits
for the Kenyan people the students were helping and for
Google. In a world that begs for new ways of thinking, com-
panies should take the initiative to invest in student proj-
ects, because the results are good for everyone.

. A_.,_ v F, r

The need for non-profits

What began as a class project for 25 Engi-
neering graduate students ended in the
implementation of a system that brought
Internet access to a rural community in
Kenya. The students developed an inex-
pensive and easy-to-use ground system
that connects computers to the Internet
via satellite. The Internet system works in
locations without widespread electricity
by using solar energy and battery power to.
run the system. But without the financial
aid of Google - which opened an office in
Ann Arbor in 2006 and has a partnership
with the University to digitalize its libraries
- the system would have never been more
than a prototype.
This project is just one example of the
kind of innovation that students are capable
of. There is no place more conducive to stu-
dent creativity than communities like the
University. The academic environment the
University provides encourages students to
question the institutions failing in today's
economic and political conditions. As a
result, students gain a fresh commitment to
make a difference, at home and abroad.
But students have more than enthusiasm
- they have the knowledge to make their
ideas reality. When students' activism com-
bines with their gift for innovation, the ben-
efits can be far-reaching and invaluable. In
the case of the graduate engineers, people
in an underprivileged region of a nation
much less wealthy than the United States
now have access to knowledge they other-

wise never would have.
If the most recent presidential election
demonstrated anything, it was that stu-
dents are fired up to change the world. The
only thing stopping them is money - and
that's where business comes in. In the cur-
rent economic climate, many wealthy com-
panies and CEOs are increasingly viewed
as the bad guys. By funding student activ-
ism to make a difference, companies can
improve their image while enhancing inno-
vation. It's a situation from which everyone
can benefit.
And students are aware of the potential
for corporate cooperation. One example is
the MPowered Entrepreneurship program,
which was created in 2007 by two Univer-
sity students. MPowered seeks to connect
students with companies to back projects.
As long as companies are willing, there is
no shortage of student groups looking for
financial backing. Businesses and students
should utilize resources like MPowered to
connect to each other for the end-goal of
financing innovation.
There are plenty of students with good
ideas for improving the world around them.
There are dozens of companies that could
stand to gain from assisting student innova-
tion and activism. And there are millions of
needy people in the world just waiting for
partnerships like this to take off. If other
companies follow Google's lead and finance
similar ventures, student passion can trans-
late into action.

Jn the summer of 2001, my cousin
Nakul was bitten by a mosquito.
Because of that mosquito bite, he
contracted Dengue
fever, a disease that
causes fever, severe
headaches, muscle
and joint pain. He
died within days
after suffering tre-
mendously. In the
end, his body crack-
led like fire. I've
been told by rela- NEIL
tives who were at TAMBE
the hospital in India
during his passing
that while he was
suffering in a state of delirium, all he
could muster up the energy to do was
whimper for an apple. I think about
him almost daily, for many reasons.
I don't bring up the circumstances
surrounding his death as a sob story
meant to inspire some group of people
to rally behind a campaign to prevent
vector-borne diseases. I don't mention
it as a way to honor him - Nakul con-
tracted the first case of Dengue fever
in his area of India, which allowed
medical professionals to act quickly in
subsequent cases and save many lives
-or as a way for me to come to terms
with his death. I bring him up as one
vivid, narrow example of the utterly
terrible things that can happen to a
person. I bring him up to argue one
point: don't stop donating.
Non-profit organizations make a
world of difference in solving social
problems. We need non-profit organi-
zations to serve community needs that
businesses and government cannot (or
will not) address. If there had been bet-

ter medical facilities or public health
initiatives in India, for example, Nakul
might be alive today. There are many
examples of non-profits making a dif-
ference in the communities they serve,
whether it's the work of organizations
that provide after-school programs for
high school students or humanitarian
aid to countries ravaged by war.
If we are at all capable of finan-
cially supporting non-profits, we have
a social responsibility to do so even
during times of economic downturn
because of the impact they have on the
individual communities they serve
and on society as a whole. Most of us
here .are probably financially stable
enough to support non-profits, even if
we have immediate family members
who are unemployed or are burdened
with student loans.
If you have enough money to go out
on a Friday night, order one less beer
and give the money you saved to your
favorite charity via an online donation
or to the kid bucketing outside at 2
a.m. A college student who owns a cell
phone, iPod or working television has
more wealth than much of the world's
population. There are people in the
world who need the $10 bill in our
pockets more than we do. For most,
choosing not to donate money to non-
profit organizations is more often due
to an absence of commitment than an
absence of cash.
If you can make a donation to a
non-profit organization - even a
small one - the organization will
appreciate it. Tough economic times
are when non-profits need the most
support. But if you can't make a sub-
stantial donation, there are many
other ways to support the missions of

non-profits. Consider volunteering on
a committee or board of a non-profit
organization that inspires you.
Students should
give back, even
in hard times.
On, campus, it's even easier to vol-
unteer time and energy. You could
volunteer to be a moraler dancers at
the University of Michigan Dance
Marathon this weekend or attend the
Luminaria ceremony at Relay for Life
in two weeks. If community service is
your thing, participate in the Detroit
Partnership's service day or one of
their many weekly opportunities. Will
Work for Food, a non-profit organiza-
tion started by students at the Univer-
sity that provides an innovative model
for raising funds and serving one's
own community simultaneously, is
another worthy charity.
I'll never know if Nakul's life would
have been saved if there had been
stronger public health non-profits in
India. But it's not about me; there are
better reasons to have a stake in the
success of non-profit organizations.
Non-profits make crucial contribu-
tions to our locale, nation and world.
But they'll never get the chance to
make a difference if we walk away
from funding them.
- Neil Tawbe can be reached
at ntambewumich.edu.


Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Matthew Shutler, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
Using force against GVSU Promoting safe passagefor
student was unwarranted migrating birds at night

As the Michigan Student Assembly examines its future on campus, the Daily would like
students to voice their opinions on what should be a part of its agenda.
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and accu-
racy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.


This past Thursday, Grand Valley State Uni-
versity student Derek Copp was shot in the
upper right chest as police were attempting to
carry out a search warrant for his apartment.
Students around the nation demand to know
why officers decided it was necessary to use
such extreme force with Copp.
Although the police have been limiting their
statements to journalists, it has come to light
that illicit drugs were the target of the raid. I
understand that in rare situations where an
officer or civilian is in immediate danger, the
use of firearms may be necessary. But what
prompted the officer to fire upon a well-liked
film student?
I have a guess.
When serving the warrant, the team of offi-
cers decided that it was necessary to enter the
residence by surprise - through the rear slid-
ing door of Copp's apartment. I can imagine the
surprise and terror that Copp must have felt as
officers burst in with their guns drawn, order-
ing him to the floor. I would not be surprised if
it came to light that Copp tried to run from the
armed men who had burst unannounced into
his home. Fearing that he may be reaching for a
weapon, the officer in question may have fired.
Whatever reason the officer had for firing,
I would like to know why they decided upon a
rear entry to begin with. Why burst in through
the back of someone's residence when the front
door works just fine?
This situation could have been avoided if
the police would have used proper judgment
regarding the gravity of the offense (possible
possession and distribution of illicit substances)
and the suspect himself (a guitar-playing film
student). Knocking on the front door, present-
ing the warrant and then entering to carry out
the search seems like a more appropriate course
of action.
Steven Sabo
LSA senior

Every year, more than 250 species of birds,
including warblers, thrushes, and tanagers, fly
through Michigan during their spring and fall
migrations. These birds rely most heavily on the
stars and moon as a guide in the night. As birds
fly over our well-lit urban areas, the lights -
especially those from buildings over four stories
tall - can disorient them. The birds will circle
the bright buildings until they die from exhaus-
tion or collide with the structure.
Many communities are helping prevent the
frequent deaths of night-migrating birds. By
turning off lights on the fifth floor and above
in urban buildings between the hours of 11 p.m.
and 6 a.m. during peak migration seasons, many
birds can be saved. Some cities, such as Chicago,
New York, Minneapolis and Toronto, already
have these programs in place.
The Michigan Audubon Society is working
with Detroit Audubon Society and other local
Audubon groups to make bird death prevention a
statewide effort. As a part of this effort, the State
of Michigan has proclaimed the periods of Mar.
15 to May 31 and Aug.15 to Oct.31as Safe Passage
Great Lakes Days.
Individuals who live or work at night in
buildings with five or more floors (including
University buildings, such as residence halls)
can help to minimize fatal light problems. Indi-
viduals can help by using blinds and curtains to
conceal lighted areas if working after 11 p.m.,
using desk lamps and task lighting to minimize
perimeter lighting or using interior working
areas for night activities.
Turning lights off from the fifth floor and up
will not only protect the lives of many birds that
fly over our city at night, but will save money,
conserve energy and reduce pollution as well.
For more information, visit Washtenaw Audu-
bon's Safe Passage Program at http://www.
Alex Dopp
LSA senior

Paettake a breather


My parents were and still are the
most important people in my world.
But they did leave my brother and me
alone at home, without a nanny or a
babysitter, while they went dancing
at clubs ten years ago. If something
like that were to happen today, my
parents might be reported to Child
Protective Services and convicted of
negligence. Today, children are con-
sidered fragile, weak things that par-
ents should coddle and smother with
too much attention. Children are not
only spoiled but also suffocated.
In his book, "Paranoid Parenting,"
sociologist Frank Furedi noted that
in 1971, about eight in ten children
were allowed to walk to school alone.
When his book was published in 2002,
the number had dropped to less than
one in ten children. That's probably
due to recent changing in parenting
habits. In recent years, there has been
an upward spike in the cult of para-
noid parenting. Parents are undoubt-
edly feeling the heat - none of them
want to seem incompetent. They
don't want to be at fault if their child
contracts skin cancer from frolicking
in the sun for 20 minutes or falls from
the balcony of another child's house
while at a play date.
Besides the negative effect this
phase has on children, it is taxing

parents financially. Entrepreneurs
have long understood and taken
advantage of parents' trend of fear
and they're bringing in big bucks as a
result. A visit to a bookstore or some
surfing on the Internet provides the
evidence. There are a myriad of par-
enting guidebooks, manuals, kits
and, to my utmost horror, a website
that sells products like child locators,
detoxification products and scout
survival kits. The online store is aptly
called the Paranoid Parent Stop Wor-
rying Shop. And while parents' inten-
tions are good at heart, this kind of
overprotective, overbearing fussing
actually has a negative impact.
All the mollycoddling leads to an
excessively dependent child. Parents
are robbing children out of a crucial
learning period in their lives with
stringent rules, excessive attention
and a rigid lifestyle. These are the kind
of children who spend their lives being
told what to wear, how much sugar to
put in coffee (if they're allowed caf-
feine, that is) and when to study.
When children aren't expected to
learn things for themselves, they lose
valuable skills they will need to sur-
vive once they're on their own. Once
children are away from their parents
- like at college, for example - they
won't have someone sitting with

them while they study or bringing
them cookies and milk as they burn
the midnight oil. If children need to
fail to learn, they should be allowed
to fail.
Admittedly, as a 20 year-old, I am
no expert on how to raise a child. But
I have confidence in the way my par-
ents did it. It did not include guide-
books of any sort. When considering
my upbringing, one word comes to
mind: values. I'm talking about values
like respect, kindness and bravery.
These are, by far, the most valuable
' things a parent can teach a child. It's
not as easy as simply looking some-
thing up in a guidebook, but it's much
more effective. Values keep children
safe and on track and also teach them
to do things independently. When
parents teach values. They don't tell
their children what to think. They
tell them how to think. That makes
all the difference.
My father taught me to ride a bicy-
cle without training wheels when I
was four years old. My brother and
I ate a lot of ice cream. Despite that,
we turned out all right. So, parents:
throw out those guidebooks and chill
a little.
Sutha K Kanagasingam
is an LSA Freshman.


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