4A - Monday, November 8, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
E-MAIL SIMONAT SIMKAL JUMICH.EDI
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Turn up the turnout
No matter the election, students should vote
ast Tuesday, when Americans headed to the polls, one
demographic was visibly absent. Only about 20 percent of
people under the age of 30 voted in the Nov. 2 midterm
election, according to a Nov. 4 Daily article. While midterm elec-
tions usually post lower turnout than presidential elections, these
numbers are distressingly low, especially considering the govern-
mental change that resulted from this election and the impact
that change will have on students. With important issues and
positions on the ballot, it's imperative that students show up at
the polls for each and every election.
The upside to distance
In Ann Arbor, only about 21 percent of
voters in areas that house large numbers of
students turned out for Tuesday's election,
according to the Daily article. In 2008, 55
percent of people tinder the age of 30 voted
nationwide. Student-filled districts in Ann
Arbor posted a slightly lower rate of 45
percent. The 2006 midterm election saw
a 23-percent turnout among young people
nationwide - three percent higher than
national turnout this year.
Democracy only works when citizens
voice their opinions and concerns by vot-
ing. votes hold elected officials account-
able for their actions: When they fail to
accurately represent their constituents,
voters can remove them from office. But if
students choose not to cast a ballot, elect-
ed officials have no incentive to represent
their interests. And if only 20 percent of
young people vote in an election, govern-
ment officials remain uninterested in
pushing for causes like increased funding
for higher education.
This election in particular was a big
opportunity for students to make their
voices heard, even though it didn't focus
on an individual quite as charismatic as
President Barack Obama. Michigan elect-
ed a new governor and Republicans took
the U.S. House of Representatives and
both houses of the Michigan legislature.
The two incumbent University regents up
for re-election - both of whom have done
little in their terms to stop tuition increas-
es - remain in office. Without student
votes to hold these officials accountable
for their decisions, they will continue to
ignore what students need and want.
All elections are important. Issues
addressed at all levels of government will
ilways affect students' lives. From the
governor's stance on the Michigan Prom-
ise Scholarship and to Ann Arbor Mayor
John Hieftje's plans for the proposed Full-
er Road Transportation Center, students
feel the impact of governmental decisions
in their everyday lives. And the onus is
on students to make sure their opinion is
There are a lot of excuses for why stu-
dents don't vote - they don't know about
the issues, don't know where to vote or
haven't bothered to register, don't have
the time to vote between classes, etc. But
students have to overcome apathy to affect
change. Regardless of the hassle of going to
the polls or sending in an absentee ballot,
students need to take the time to educate
themselves about candidates and issues
Voting isn't just a right: it's also a respon-
sibility. And until students step up, their
interests won't be adequately represented.
'm in a long-distance relation-
ship - and I'm happy with it.
Now, before the three of you
that read this col-
umn start flood-
ing my inbox with
slurs, allow me to
If there's one
thing those of us
at the University
find more stupid
than midterms MELANIE
State students, it's KRUVELIS
classmen, with their worldly wisdom
and higher alcohol tolerance, scoff at
freshman who are still caught up in
high school relationships. The criti-
cisms are familiar: "You're too afraid
to move on. Train tickets are expen-
sive. Eventually someone's going to
want to get laid."
And I understand the objections.
Maintaining a relationship in a com-
pletely new town is already difficult
enough. Factor in a few extra hun-
dred miles and suddenly things can
Overwhelming, however, doesn't
mean impossible. Once I got used to
the idea of being drooled on by tooth-
less men on my bus rides between
Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, I started
to realize that long-distance relation-
ships may be not be as abhorrent as
those sagely upperclassmen think.
An immediate benefit of being far
away from your significant other is
that you are, in fact, far away from
your significant other. There seems
to be this perception that a long-
distance relationship means hours
huddled up in your dorm room, blab-
bering about the bagel you had for
breakfast and the difficulties in pick-
ing out aschmear.
Truth be told, dear readers, this
constant state of incoherent and
annoying chatter is merely a miscon-
ception. The beauty of long-distance
love is that you really don't need to
spend time with your significant
other. I don't have to spend my time
going on awkward morning-after
dates at Wendy's in the Union, or
devote hours to cuddling and draw-
ing hearts all over my boyfriend's
econ notes. Instead, I get to do what I
cherish most - eat and watch TV.
"But what about those dirty primal
instincts?" the dissenter will argue.
"Eventually those will kick in." Per-
saps it'll be the back issues of Cosmo-
politan msagazine, or maybe the latest
episode of "Degrassi" - whatever it
may be, something will jumpstart the
old sex drive. And unless you're will-
ing to cheat or heed Cosmo's advice
and partake in some bizarre activi-
ties that make me fairly uncomfort-
able, you're screwed (or not so much,
depending on your interpretation of
However, most of us really don't
travel via covered wagon these days.
it's not that hard to get from point A
to point B when those, uh, needs kick
in. You know that old phrase, "dis-
tance makes the heart grow fonder"?
I don't know about all that, but there
is sufficient evidence that distance
does make the nooky better and less
dramatic. Long-distancers never have
those awkward mornings where you
somehow wake up in a floor-mate's
bed. We never have to suffer through
the walk of shame, heading to class in
an oversized t-shirt and a pair of too-
large basketball shorts. Simply put,
you never have to start a story with,
"Last night was such a mistake - he
was an OSU fan!" Your relationship
becomes a routine of sharing only the
most important details of your day,
followed by weekend whoopee. And
'for someone as emotionally calloused
asI am, it really doesn'tget any better.
Furthermore, there's an aspect
even dirtier than sex that makes
long-distance a dream: my hygiene
habits. I've seen girls who not only
leave for their 9 a.m. class on time,
but actually get up early to gussy up
for it. Long-distancers, besides the
few with "self-respect" or whatever,
really don't feel the same need to look
cute for lecture. If you aren't looking
to shack up or, you know, start a rela-
tionship, there really isn't a reason to
get all fussy and gussy.
Instead, I get the extreme pleasure
of rolling out of bed wearing what I
wore the last three days while sport-
ing a hairdo that puts Alfalfa from
"The Little Rascals" to shame. Do I
care that my sweatshirt is covered
in pudding stains? Of course not.
Am I embarrassed when I enter my
philosophy discussion wearing my
headgear? Not at all. I take pride in
my ability to look completely unat-
tractive during the school week. It's
feminism. Well, it's lazy feminism.
Actually, it might not be feminism at
all. Regardless, it makes it a whole lot
easier to feel less guilty when I don't
brush my hair for days on end.
So yes, I am in a long-distance rela-
tionship. And you know what? I do
see it outlasting Thanksgiving break,
thank you very much, for two main
reasons: First, I truly care about my
boyfriend. Second - and perhaps
most importantly - after this column
runs, it's highly unlikely that anyone
will ever ask me out again.
- Melanie Kruvelis can be
reached at email@example.com.
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EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin, Roger Sauerhaft, Asa Smith, Laura Veith
STEPHEN PHILP I
Lend a hand to FIMRC
All in for Michigan
It has been several weeks since the celebra-
tion of University's 50th anniversary of the
founding of the Peace Corps. But with all the
excitement about President John F. Kennedy's
historic visit dying down, it's important not to
lose sight of the essence of his address on the
steps of the Union: service to humanity.
The Foundation for the International Medi-
cal Relief of Children is a national organization
helping to answer that call for global service.
FIMRC was started in 2002 to address the
health disparities found in many countries,
paying particular attention to the plight of
underserved pediatric groups. The foundation
operates through clinic sites to provide high-
quality medical care and preventative educa-
tion to those who don't have access to health
care. At the clinic sites, children often come in
malnourished or with pneumonia. First, the
doctor needs to prescribe medication to imme-
diately treat the problem. But often, the prob-
lem is due to poor hygiene or parasites and the
patient and the family need to be educated on
how to prevent the problem from occurring in
Since its inception, this national organiza-
tion has started self-sustaining clinics around
the world and now has over 3,000 staff and
volunteers who help carry out their dream of
improving the health of children in impover-
ished situations all around the world.
But what makes FIMRC unique is the impor-
tance of its many college chapters. It's primar-
ily through the fundraising efforts, of college
chapters that the clinic sites around the world
stay open all year.
Something service organizations - like ours
- are often asked is, "Why does FIMRC bother
going abroad? Why don't you focus on help-
ing U.S. citizens in need?" Some people may
think that we need to honor our duty to our
own country before helping people overseas.
But I believe if we accept arguments like this,
we will be valuing the lives of Americans over
those around the world - and that is undesir-
able. The value of a person's life is the same, no
matter where they were born.
But we don't believe in neglecting our com-
munity. FIMRC strongly believes in having a
large local impact. As one of the volunteering
chairs, I can certainly say this is true, since
my role in FIMRC is to find opportunities for
FIMRC members to help reach out to the local
Ann Arbor community. We hold a variety of
events from volunteering at elderly homes and
serving at soup kitchens to hosting theme par-
ties for kids at Mott Children's Hospital.
So how can students get involved in service
projects here and abroad? FIMRC gives stu-
dents the ability to help out in several ways.
We'll help find opportunities for students who
join FIMRC to serve in your local community
in a variety of ways.
Another hands-on way to get involved is to
travel to one of the clinic sites and volunteer.
I went for a week to Costa Rica to visit the
clinic site this past summer. When you are at
the clinic, you can see the health problems that
underserved populations experience and some
of the political and socio-economic reasons for
those problems. The impact on your life will
hopefully be profound. Once you come back
from a mission trip, you will be more willing to
educate others about what you have seen and
have a greater passion for fundraising for the
clinics based off your firsthand experiences.
The final way to help out with service proj-
ects is to go to some of the fundraising events
FIMRC holds. We will be holding our largest
fundraiser of the school year, the annual Ben-
efit Dinner, on Nov. 11 in the Psych Atrium in
East Hall. Restaurants from all over Ann Arbor
donate food to the event for students and the
community to enjoy. There will also be items
up for auction at the event. The admission
ticket for the dinner will get you as much food
as you can fit onto one plate and, more impor-
tantly, it will go directly to improving the lives
of children around the world.
As students we need to do everything we can
to help promote a spirit of volunteerism and
service. In the end, it's not a matter of which
organization you choose to work with, but
rather the motivation and passion with which
we work. I hope we don't simply reminisce
about the great service deeds done by Univer-
sity students in the past, but rather use that
legacy to propel us to do greater acts of service
in our community and around the world.
Stephen Philip is the volunteering
co-chair of FIMRC.
've had a Michigan State Spartans
baseball cap forseveral years now.
Past a blur of maize and blue hats
and shirts, it lies
somewhere in the
back of my closet
and rarely do I even
get a glimpse of it,
let alone wear it.
But I bought it, and
I'm proud to own itA
because the Spar-
tans have always
been my second IMRAN
I could try to
explain that odd-
ity - why a kid
who grew up a stone's throw from
Ann Arbor, who first had season tick-
ets for Michigan football in the days
of Tom Brady and Tai Streets, and
who attended this great university
for undergraduate and law degrees
would ever have anything but pure,
irrepressible disdain for the Spartans.
I could try to explain it, but it's some-
thing the average student on this cam-
pus wouldn't understand.
But I think I can explain to those
of you who grew up in Michigan and
stayed here through the apocalypse.
Here in what's left of Michigan, we
love our own. It's hard to explain that
feeling. How exactly do you explain a
It's the feeling I had when I drove
to East Lansing on Friday, Oct. 29.
The date doesn't particularly matter,
except that it was the day before the
Spartan football team lost for the first
time this season, and just four days
before the election. You'll understand
why that mattered in a second.
I hadn't been to the campus of
that other Michigan school in nearly
15 years. Many high school friends
attended MSU, and I've driven by that
exit on the way to Lansing, Grand
Rapids or Lake Michigan countless
times, but never had the need to go
there. A couple of weeks ago, how-
ever, law school business pushed me
finally into East Lansing.
A simple college town, imore rural
and less matured than Ann Arbor,
East Lansing is home to the eighth
largest university campus in the
country - but it's not much to see.
That day, however, the way I spoke of
it, it may as well have been the eighth
wonder of the world.
There was a reason why I madly
sputtered praises in the car that day
for everything having to do with that
university, that city, that region and
its people: I wasn't driving alone. With
me was a fellow law student - an out-
of-stater, a West-Coast-to-East-Coast
transplant - with little knowledge
or interest in what a silly old "fly-
over state" like Michigan has to offer.
Naturally, my instincts as a protective
Michigander were highly activated.
Michigan may have suffered a fright-
eningly unprecedented socio-econom-
ic siege in recent decades, but I'll be
damned if I can't say enough good to
efface that monumental bad.
Suddenly Tom Izzo (head basket-
ball coach of the Spartans) wasn't a
hated rival, but instead, the great-
est basketball mind to ever grace the
Earth. Geoffrey Fieger (infamous
trial lawyer and alumnus of what
later became MSU's law school) was
no longer a self-aggrandizing sleaze,
but instead, the greatest champion
for the poor and oppressed that the
legal world had ever seen. And my
proud account of MSU's reputation
as a top-notch party school cer-
tainly didn't stop that day to mock-
ingly mention the instances of sexual
assault and rioting on campus after
(Hell, I barely stopped short of
bragging that good old Wallace Jeffer-
son himself was once a Spartan. Oh,
yes you have heard of him - the first
ever black chief justice of the Texas
Supreme Court - totally a huge deal.)
My friend in the car couldn't have
cared less, but that doesn't matter. My
experience that day is what Michi-
ganders feel everyday - the immense
urge to fight back against the national
decrial of what this state should be
and isn't with a louder pronouncement
of everything Michigan is and can be
despite the odds. We still believe that
we can rise again, and we take pride in
every little success.
are also part of
That's why the tears welled up
the next day when I watched the
Iowa Hawkeyes obliterate the Spar-
tans' hopes of a prestigious football
national championship. That's also
why, four days later, I cheered when
Michigan voters boldly embraced
Republican governor-elect Rick
Snyder, a maverick who promises to
break the status quo and help Michi-
gan finally get moving again.
It may be optimism, or it may
be blind folly: But we were stand-
ing once, and we are ready to get
up again. We'll have new stories of
greatness soon, but until then, we'll
cherish all the old ones.
- Irran Syed can be reached
Blogging Blue: Following the Republicans' seizure of the U.S. House,
Will Butler notes that though Democrats' pain is brief, their glory is forever.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium.