4A - Friday, December 10, 2010
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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.
Let them eat veggies
Schools must implement healthy eating plans
Efforts toward addressing the simultaneous problems of
child obesity rates and child hunger in the United States
recently made landmark progress. Last week, the U.S.
House of Representatives passed a child nutrition bill that will
overhaul school lunch programs. The bill, which was lobbied
for by First Lady Michelle Obama, will help schools expand free
lunch programs and impose stricter regulations on nutritional
standards. The bill will now go to President Barack Obama, who
is expected to sign it into law. This bill should be the beginning of
an increased effort to teach children healthy eating habits. Most
importantly, it should ensure that all children have a lunch.
After passing unanimously in the U.S.
Senate in August, the House of Representa-
tives gave approval on Dec. 2 to a $4.5-bil-
lion child nutrition bill to subsidize healthier
school lunches. Half of the bill will be funded
through significant cuts to the current food
stamp program that will take effect in a few
years. The bill aims to feed more children
and put healthier foods in schools. Schools
will receive greater subsidies for free lunch-
es for children from low-income households.
The bill will also increase fruits and vegeta-
bles in schools and includes regulations on
what can be served in vending machines.
The emphasis on healthy eating is a cru-
cial aspect of this program. Having more
fruits and vegetables in meals and fewer
empty-calorie, processed foods available
will hopefully put a dent in child obesity
rates. About 17 percent of children are
obese, according to a 2007-2008 study from
the Centers for Disease Control. And hope-
fully, introducing students to healthy choic-
es will encourage them to continue healthy
eating habits when they are adults, helping
to decrease the number of obese Americans
-which currently sits at about 34 percent,
accordingto the CDC report.
Not only does the bill make school lunches
healthier, it also makes them more widely
T here's a campaignbeingmount-
ed in South Quad. From the
community center to the eleva-
tor lobby, a move-
ment is growing.
You may not
have known, but
the fight against
being waged on
From the moment -
you enter South TYLER
Quad, you are JONES
a barrage of some
of the best tactics
this anti-prejudice caapaig nhasito
offer: posters. Some are small with
subtle messages like "Spread Love."
Other, significantly larger ban-
ners are less discrete. And then, of
course, there was (until recently) the
infamous banner located in the east
lobby of South Quad. This billboard
of bias broadcasted to the world just
how many days it had been since the
last bias incident occurred in South
Quad - that way, students and cam-
pus tours alike could be constantly
informed of just how vigorously the
Residence Hall Council was combat-
So imagine my surprise last month
when my resident advisor sent a mass
e-mail to my hall informing us of the
recent string of bias incidents. How
could this be? How did this no-holds-
barred campaign to root out intoler-
ance allow for not just onebias incident,
but a whole slew? Perhaps it's because
prejudice and deep-seated intolerance
can't be combated with peace signs on
flyers or rainbows on banners.
The Bias Incident Hotline defines
a bias incident as a targeted affront
against a particular group with the
intent to cause mental, emotional,
physical or spiritual harm. Put sim-
ply, we're talking about prejudice.
Providing a safe environment for all
students must be the first priority of
the University. I commend the ongo-
ing awareness campaign that seeks
to shed light on prejudice. But in the
effort to create a safe environment for
students, it's important thatweunder-
stand the enemy we're fighting.
Prejudice isn't just a swastika on a
whiteboard or a friend dropping the
word "gay" in conversation. Rather,
this is the product of years of igno-
rance with no desire to understand
those who are different and a lack of
respect for those who lead an alterna-
Activists devote their careers to
understanding prejudice and search-
ing for methods to combat it. But the
tactics employed by the Anti-Bias
Committeepseem unusual. Accord-
ing to South Quad Hall Council
President Valerie Juan's blog, the
campaign developers hoped "that a
change in the attitudes of South Quad
residents could eventually lead to an
even greater impact." This is truly an
admirable goal, but let's takea look at
just how it is being implemented.
Juan goes on to explain, "Using
motivational posters, flyers, t-shirts,
and buttons, the committee encour-
ages South Quad residents to stand
up and speak out against bias inci-
dents." Slogans like "WTF: Why the
Frase?" and "Words have impact:
make yours positive" are also at the
front lines. I can't help but think that
if stopping prejudice and intoler-
ance were as easy as a one-liner on
a t-shirt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
would've had a much easier march on
Then there was the banner count-
ing how many days it had been since
the last bias incident. Like a welcome
mat, this banner was the first thing
most people saw when they entered
South Quad. I never saw the count on
that poster go more than seven days.
All the banner accomplished was act
as a constant reminder of how inef-
fective this campaign is. The cam-
paign developers should take a hard
look at their strategy if South Quad
can't go more than a week without
some inappropriate whiteboard art.
I commend the Hall Council and
"Anti-Bias Committee" for taking on
this problem. But in this case, it's not
too difficult to discern real substan-
tive action from painted rust. Ulti-
mately, no clever banner will erase
the prejudices of a bigot, nor will my
t-shirt push a silly teenager to con-
sider his or her words more carefully.
No clever slogan
will erase the
prejudice of a bigot.
I don't know how to stop prejudice
- and I think acknowledging that is
a necessary first step. Until we stop 4
pretending to know which direction
is correct, we will continue to wan-
der aimlessly. It seems the founders
of this campaign operated under the
assumption that it's better to do any-
thing than nothing at all. This mind-
set is dangerous because it creates
the illusion that real progress is being
made. Until we can acknowledge that
we simply don't know what to do, no
real solutions can be developed.
Instead, I say let's acknowledge
that we don't know how to stop preju-
dice. Let's take a look at our society as
a whole - not just South Quad resi-
dents - and try to understand why
we continue to produce prejudice and
intolerance. Until we can acknowl-
edge that we don't know how to solve
this problem, I fear the best we will
have to offer society is clever t-shirts
and good intentions.
- Tyler Jones can be reached
available. The program also automatically
qualifies children on Medicaid for the pro-
gram, increasing the number of children
who receive free lunch. By offering schools
greater subsidies for free lunches, more stu-
dents who may have previously gone without
will have lunch.
But this program shouldn't come at the
expense of other people who receive gov-
ernment aid for food: the cuts to funding
for food stamps were a serious concern
to House Democrats who ultimately sup-
ported the bill. But since there's still time
to alter the bill before cuts take effect and
the approaching Republican takeover of
the House, it was a sacrifice they had to
make. But it shouldn't become permanent.
Congressional Democrats should work
with the Obama administration to protect
funding for food stamps and also provide
students with healthy lunches.
Curbing childhood obesity and malnutri-
tion rates has the potential to dramatically
change the lives of a generation of young
Americans. Obama needs to sign the child
nutrition bill to begin establishing a healthy
lifestyle for children in public schools - but
he and Congressional Democrats shouldn't
let other struggling families down to fund
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed, passionate
writers to be columnists for the winter semester. Columnists write a
700-800 word column every other week on a topic of their choosing.
If you are an opinionated and talented writer, consider applying.
E-MAIL MICHELLE DEWITT AT DEWITTM@UMICH.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION.
GREG FILIP, DOUG GRAUL AND NICK STOWE
Engineer a sustainable daV
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Fridge magnet philosophy
We've all heard about carbon footprints, glob-
al climate change and the environmental evils
of gas-guzzling SUVs. Odds are, however, that
what we've heard has gained little traction in our
lives. Perhaps we recycle more than we used to
or skimp a bit more on heating than before. But
in the end, we just haven't seen enough tangible
information to motivate change.
What if it was possible to calculate the envi-
ronmental impact of the average University stu-
dent in a line item-by-line item analysis of his or
her day? While determination of the "average"
may be subject to conjecture, the quantitative
impacts of specific activities are actually quite
simple to calculate. After being empowered with
theinformation presented inthefollowinganaly-
sis, what willyou do to reduce your daily environ-
Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assess-
ment (which we refer to as EIO-LCA) is a meth-
od that can be used to relate economic data and
environmental outputs. As we calculated a stu-
dent's average day, we focused on the emissions
produced during the use of products rather
than considering the complete impact, which
also includes manufacturing and disposal. We
only counted activities that a student could
For instance, lighting in a shared computer lab
wasn't counted but lighting in a house was. Using
Carnegie Mellon University's EIO-LCA web tool,
we calculated the tons of Carbon Dioxide Equiv-
alent Emissions - or CDEE - emitted per unit
electrical consumption and distribution. Michi-
gan's electricity is generated by both nuclear- and
carbon-based fuel sources, significantly impact-
ing CDEE per kilowatt-hour. The ratios of these
sources were considered and the cost of electric-
ity and natural gas was calculated using a com-
posite of averaged values from typical Detroit
Edison Energy utility bills. Seasonal variations in
usage were also accounted for.
What does an average day look like? Wake up
in the morning, unplug the cell phone from the
charger, turn on the coffee pot and make toast
and eggs. Use the toilet, take a 10-minute shower
and brushyour teeth (turningthefaucetoffwhile
brushing). Power a desktop computer at school,
microwave lunch, print a few pages and turn on
a desk lamp and an office light. We assumed the
average student also plays video games, watches
TV, cooks dinner and once each week does laun-
dry. Throughout the day, the student indirectly
uses hot water heaters, refrigerators and elec-
tronic devices that remain plugged in while not
in use. In addition, students use air conditioning
in the summer and gas heating in the winter.
What does this average day mean environmen-
tally? The electrical usage of the average student
results in almost 7 tons of CDEE emitted over one
year while the water usage produces a scant.OS of
a ton of CDEE per year. If students drive the typi-
cal 15,000 miles a year in a car that gets 24 miles
per gallon, they also produce 5.6 tons of CDEE for
a conservative composite annual total of 12.6 tons
Let's define a more sustainable student. Sus-
tainability Sally takes the bus and rides her bike.
She uses 15-watt light bulbs, turns off her com-
puter when she's not usingitand opens a window
instead of using air conditioning. Lastly, she uses
a programmable thermostat in order to minimize
the time her furnace is running. By altering her
lifestyle, Sally saves enough electricity to power
the average American home for four months. The
emissions she doesn't produce allow her to drive
a Toyota Prius around the world twice before
matching the average student's CDEE.
If everyone in the world lived like the "aver-
age" student, the earth's temperature would rise
by 0.1 degrees Celsius each year. A mere four-
degree Celsius global temperature increase is
expected to have catastrophic effects, accord-
ing to a 2006 Stern Review on the Economics
of Climate Change. If everyone lived like Sally,
the temperature increase would be reduced by
almost 74 percent.
Let's be honest. A single student's projected
temperature change impact is 0.00000000001
degrees Celsius per year. That's not much on any
scale. But we have seen the impact of collective
behavior and it is nontrivial. You have the data.
You know what simple changes you can make to
your lifestyle. The question remains, what will
Greg Filip is a Naval Architecture and
Marine Engineering Ph.D. student. Doug
Graulmisa Mechanical Engineering and
Industrial and Operations Engineering masters
student. Nick Stowe is a Naval Architecture
and Marine Engineering Ph.D. student.
t seems like it's been constant
crunch time since a week or two
before Thanksgivingbreak. There
have been papers to
to update, projects
to complete and
ments and office
hours to attend.
viruses, the real '
viruses, the dishes
and dirty clothes VANESSA
and of course the
inability to take RYCHLINSKI
proper care of
myself - every-.
thing has been slowly increasing in
pressure like a bad head cold.
A night not too long ago, I was
banging around in my kitchen in a
state of annoyance, trying to be an
adult about things and pull together
a meal. "Dinner" ended up being a
plate of half-cooked hash browns.
As I shoved the ice-covered rock
of shredded potatoes back into my
freezer, I almost missed the new
magnet sentences. Visitors usually
like to arrange our word magnets
either in cutesy or imaginatively sug-
gestive ways, since we only have pro-
nouns, basic verbs and boring words
like "friend" or "star." But anyway, as
I said, these new sentences I hadn't
seen yet, and there was a short one
right by the freezer handle that said:
"You have time."
"Yeah, okay," I said as sarcastically
as I could to my stupid fridge and the
stupid word magnets. I stalked away to
eat my semi-rawpotatoeswith a liberal
amount of ketchup and I didn't think
about the sentence again until later.
A year ago, as a first-semester
freshman, I had so much time. I look
back on those happy days with fond
remembrance. I also wasn't excited
in the least about returning home
for Thanksgiving break. This year, I
couldn't wait. My last class ended and
I ran to my car before happily driv-
ing off to my parents' house where I
wouldn't have to do any homework or
try to cook for myself.
The day after Thanksgiving, my
mom, aunt, two cousins and I headed
over to my grandparents' house to
spend the day learning to make chr-
usciki, or angel wings, which are a
traditional pastry made out of dough
that's been twisted into ribbons, deep-
fried and covered in powdered sugar.
My grandma has perfected the recipe
over SO years or so and decided it was
time that more people in the family
learned how to make them. Chrus-
ciki are usually made for holidays or
special events because the process is
time-consuming and has some deli-
cate steps. Last year, unenthusiastic
as I was to be back, I probably would
have been annoyed at spending any
time with any family whatsoever.
But this year was different. Spend-
ing the day watching my youngest
cousin make a mess with the pow-
dered sugar, my aunt worrying about
the dough burning, my grandma
patiently supervising and my mom
just being my mom was priceless.
Even though I probably should have
been working on a project that day, I'm
glad I didn't. Instead, I got to banter
with my 14-year-old cousin, who's just
so smart now because she's in high
school (as soon as I said that, she shot
back with "You think you're so smart
just because you're in college!"). I got
to gossip with my aunt and my mom
and talk about - what else - my aca-
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
demic future. I got to see my grandpar-
ents without the pretense of a holiday
or someone's birthday. I learned how
to make chrusciki the Rychlinski way,
which makes a the final product unlike
anything from any store.
It's especially easy to get tied up
right now as the semester comes to a
close and there seems to be no time
for anything. Deadlines creep up on
us like the sunsets at five o'clock while
family and friends are set to the side
as a result. The University's last day
of finals is Dec. 23 - later than almost E
every other college in the state.
One by the
"You have time:'
But I think back to my magnets
that some random person arranged
into the sentence - "You have time"
- and I think that even though I feel
like I barely have time to do my home-
work, sleep, or thaw out some pota-
toes, I can fit in the important stuff.
So I guess it's up to you to figure out
what that stuff is. So whether you're
done on Dec. 13 or Dec. 23, hang in
there for a little while longer. Warm
up, chill out, but most of all just take
But then again, maybe someone
should buy me a dirty magnet set for
Christmas so I'll stop getting philo-
sophical at the fridge.
- Vanessa Rychlinski can be
reached at email@example.com.
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