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November 17, 2011 - Image 4

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S

4A - Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C 1
4.c Michioan l wily

podium

Upgrade/Downgrade: Laura Argintar takes a look at the
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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY NICK SPAR
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR

The college life report

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

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.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
A motivational speaker
Karman brought important message to campus
The University hosted a talk by Tawakkul Karman, one of the
three 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners, on Monday. Her mes-
sage of peace and equality was powerfully communicated to
the students, faculty and Ann Arbor residents who attended and it
was an honor to have her as a campus speaker. Karman - the first
Yemeni to win a Nobel Prize - is an inspiration to minority com-
munities and women, and she proves that diplomatic measures can
produce results. The University made a strong statement by inviting
Karman to speak to the community, and should strive to continue
bringing powerful speakers to campus.

f you are a college senior, pro-
fessor or an alum, I'd like to
ask you for a gift.
I'd like you
to write a brief
essay about your
college experi-
ence - an evalu-
ation of what
went well, what
didn't and what
you learned
along the way. ERIK
Feel free to TORENBERG
write this as a
short paper or
divide your experience into cat-
egories - intellectual exploration,
relationships, self-knowledge and
life preparation - and grade your-
self in each area.
In exchange for sending these
to erik.torenberg@gmail.com, I'll
send you a personal thank-you note
and write a column synthesizing
the results next semester.
This gift request is inspired by
David Brooks' column, The Life
Report, which made the same
request of people over age 70 for
two main reasons.
First, our culture does not pro-
vide enough opportunities for self-
appraisal. Sometimes we stumble
across a moment to contemplate
how we got here, how we're doing
and how we can do better, but there
is no specific tradition prompting
us to do so.
Second, a collection of personal
essays would benefit young adults.
"Young people are educated in
many ways" Brooks writes, "but
they are given relatively little help
in understanding how a life devel-
ops, how careers and families
evolve, what are the common mis-
takes and the common blessings
of modern adulthood." Additional
perspectives would inform young
adults as they begin to make impor-
tant life decisions.
I ask for this gift - specified to
your college experience - for the
same two reasons.

College students, too, can learn
from people who've navigated the
University terrain before, whether
by learning from their example or
merely using their story as a means
to reflect upon their own.
College students also have few
opportunities for self-evaluation.
Our grades tell us how well we
understand cert iipaits of a sub-
ject, but they don't tell us if we are
developing lasting relationships,
challenging our beliefs or becom-
ing the person we want to become.
These essays will encourage us to
address our personal goals and eval-
uate our progress in achieving them.
Such introspection is fundamen-
tal: How can we evaluate how we're
doing if we don't know what we're
trying to accomplish? Rarely do we
think about what it means for us
to make the most out of our educa-
tion. The thoughtful ones who do
ask the tough questions, receive, at
best, insufficient answers - "Get
involved! Get connections! Get
laid!" - and, at worst, potentially
contradictory ones - "Do what you
love, but be practical!"
What does it mean to make the
most out of an education? There are
a myriad of answers, of course, and
these essays will illuminate many
of them. While an answer to such
a question can neither be complete
nor universal - there are always
unexpected opportunities that we
can't foresee and no one account
can work for everyone - such intro-
spection is still valuable, even if all
it does is personalize the rubric to
which you evaluate yourself and
your projects.
So no, these essays won't pro-
vide the exact blueprints to making
the most out of an education, but
they may indicate that most people
believe in striving for some com-
bination of A, B and C things, and
they went about achieving them in
D,E and F ways. There might not,
though, be such an overlapping
consensus.
At the very least, your essays will

provide valuable source material to
help us think about what we'reaim-
ing to accomplish and how we're
doing.
Write an essay
about your 'U'
experience.
If you're an alum, I'm curious to
read about how what you learned in
college applies to what you're doing
now and perhaps how you feel you
could have better prepared your-
self. Briefly note to college seniors
how you thought about post-grad-
uation plans and how you might
think about them differently today.
If you're a professor, I'm curious
to read how you think you could
have gotten more inside of - and
outside of- the classroom and how
professors could have played more
of a role in your undergraduate
experience.
If you're a college senior, we'll
be curious to hear what you think
you did well and what you think
you could have done better. It will
be interesting to compare these
answers with those by people who
graduated many years ago. I'd also
like to hear what your plans are for
the remainder of college in light of
what you've learned.
These essays could change our
perceptions of college success. In
addition to providing valuable per-
spective to the incoming freshmen,
the departing senior and everyone
in between, these essays will also
benefit those curious about living
well and life-long learning.
Those who will receive the most
benefits from these essays, how-
ever, will be the people who write
them.
- Erik Torenberg can be
reached at erikto@umich.edu.

Karman was invited to speak as part of the
University's Arabic Language Flagship Pro-
gram. Her speech discussed the changes in the
Arab Spring, which is a series of recent demo-
cratic uprisings against governments across
the Middle East. As ajournalist and a member
of the Al-Islah political party, the opposition
party in Yemen, she believes in the importance
of women's involvement in politics and peace-
ful protests.
The University should be commended for
bringingKarman to Ann Arbor and promoting
the event. Rackham Auditorium was packed
with an attentive audience. The speech cre-
ated a forum for students to think about race,
religion and gender in different ways, and fos-
tered more open and receptive thoughts. After
her speech, there was an intelligent dialogue
between Karman and students who asked
questions.
Karman suggested that people are citizens
of theword and stressed a general loyalty to
humanity. She discussed her belief in peaceful
protests, which is a message that should reso-
nate with students. In the wake of the protests
of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
who spoke on campus last month and the riots
at Pennsylvania State University, students
should take notice that the most powerful way
to get their message across is through non-
violent protests.
Karman stressed that the power of women

is growing. In Yemen, women are taking con-
trol of protests and becomingmore involved in
revolutions. Karman is an example to the rest
of the world that women can have consider-
able influence. When women across the world
develop similar goals to Karman's, gender
equality will have made significant progress.
The other 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners
were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
and peace activist Leymah Gbowee. Each of
the three female Nobel Prize winners exem-
plifies an overall trend toward gender equal-
ity in developing worlds. These women play an
important role in pushing social change for-
ward in developing countries and serve as an
example of the role all women should strive to
take in working for social progress.
In an interview after the event, Karman told
The Michigan Daily that students also have a
positive impact on the world. "Student-led
movements have always been a part in chang-
ing history and fulfilling people's dreams of
achieving freedom and dignity," she said.
Students have the opportunity to rally for
what they believe in, and following the wise
words of Karman, they can make their goals
a reality. Speakers like Karman demonstrate
to the student body that constructive change
is possible for anyone willing to dedicate
themselves to a cause they believe in, and the
University should work to bring more motiva-
tional individuals to speak to students.

FOLLOW DAILY OPINION ON TWITTER
Keep up with columnists, read Daily editorials, view cartoons and join in the debate.
Check out @michdailyoped to get updates on Daily opinion content throughout the day.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Caroline Syms, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
ALLISON SHERMAN I
Put the Arts in LSA

Study abroad struggles

A liberal arts education gives students
the opportunity to achieve personal growth
and to expand their intellectual capabili-
ties. The College of Literature, Science and
the Arts offers courses in the humanities,
social sciences and natural sciences with the
aim of providing the liberal arts experience.
Though the distribution requirements gener-
ally encompass classes relevant to the liberal
arts experience, focus has consistently been
on the "Literature" and "Science." Quite
often, the "Arts" have been neglected.
This week, students in LSA have the
opportunity to change this. In addition to the
10 elected representative seats on the ballot
for LSA Student Government's Fall 2011 elec-
tion cycle, there will be three ballot ques-
tions that students will be asked to answer.
These questions help LSA-SG prioritize our
various initiatives, poll student opinions and
provide us with data that we use when lob-
bying the college administration for change.
This semester, there are three ballot ques-
tions: one regarding the installation of new
water bottle filling stations across campus,
another asking students if they would like to
receive automatic grade notifications from
Wolverine Access when professors post final
course grades at the end of the semester and
a question regarding the creation of a minor
in the School of Art & Design that would be
available to LSA students.
I will be the first to say that my stick fig-
ures will not live up to the legacy of Monet or

Picasso. But I am also certain that students in
LSA will benefit from the opportunity to pur-
sue a creative minor in the fine arts. Many
students have a passion for the arts, and
while the bulk of their academic interests lie
in their LSA concentration, they should also
have the opportunity to receive a minor in
the School of Art & Design. As an executive
board member of LSA-SG, I strongly support
the creation of a minor in the School of Art &
Design available for LSA students. Whether
students pursue the minor asa supplement to
their LSA concentration because they need
a creative outlet, or simply because they are
passionate about the arts, a minor in the fine
arts will benefit the lives of LSA students.
In the past, various minors and majors
were developed, presented and implemented
as a result of LSA-SG's campaigns. These
include the international studies major and
minor, the peace and social justice minor
and others. With the support of students,
the same can happen for an LSA minor in the
School of Art & Design.
As a student in LSA, if you vote inthis elec-
tion, not only do you fulfill your civic duty,
but you also voice your opinion on an impor-
tant college matter. By voting in this election,
LSA-SG can make student interests become
a reality. Simply go to www.vote.umich.edu
and cast your vote right now. Today is the last
day to vote. Make your voice heard!
Allison Sherman is an LSA junior.

Within the last month,
I've gone from being
excited about study-
ing abroad next
year to feeling
like the experi-
ence has become
quite a chore. In
my search for
programs, I've
become disap-
pointed in the EAGHAN
University's DAVIS
resources for
students poten-
tially studying abroad. Sure, the
University boasts that it has sent
thousands of students abroad on
University-sponsored programs, but
how do Michigan's programs com-
pare to those of other universities?
In my experience, the University's
outreach and willingness to accom-
modate arange ofstudy abroad inter-
ests is less than satisfactory. Though
this topic is far less controversial
thanothers I've covered, I'm sure I'll
receive a few scathing e-mails from
former study abroad students, ask-
ing me how I could possibly speak
against a program that I have yet to
participate in. It's a valid concern,
but while the University's programs
may be numerous, they're too nar-
row. Do you have plans to studying
abroad in Dublin next semester? I
hope you're an engineer, or else your
dreams of the Celtic Isle aren'tgoing
to be fulfilled by the University..
I know you may think it's a bit
ridiculous to hold a grudge against
the University for not allowing me
to study in Ireland, but the prob-
lems don't end there. When scroll-
ing through University-sponsored
programs, you may be confused as
to why the range of places and pro-

grams are so fragmented. There are
many programs that are only.avail-
able one semester, and many only
occur during spring and summer
terms. Aside from fragmentation,
the way for selecting study abroad
programs appears to have been
designed and implemented in 1995.
The interface is hardlyuser-friendly,
and you may spend a few hours try-
ing to calculate the cost of your trip.
Perhaps I'm analyzing this a bit too
much - Michigan does offer more
programs than many other state uni-
versities, but then again, we aren't
just another state university.
A majority of the University's
programs are offered through the
Center for Global and Intercul-
tural Study, and I attended one of
the mandatory introductory ses-
sions last month for students plan-
ning on studying abroad through
CGIS. Aside from beingterribly bor-
ing and hardly relevant, it is clear
the University has capitalized on
its large number of students who
wish to study abroad. When I asked
about a program that wasn't offered,
the speaker promptly told me that
though they did not have program,
many regions of the world are simi-
lar, and I may be able to experience
the same way of life despite the dis-
tance of nearly 500 miles between
the two cities. Perhaps I shall stand
corrected, but I think the aforemen-
tioned statement was fairly ignorant
for a person employed by the Center
for Global and Intercultural studies.
After becoming disillusioned
with the University's programs,
I researched other programs not
sponsored by the University. There
is an abundance of additional pro-
grams, some less than impressive
and some that mimic the Univer-

sity's format. Programs vary in their
structure - some are sponsored
by American institutions and are
open to all eligible undergraduates.
Clearly, there are many programs
that may look less than impressive,
but are heavily advertised. Look past
these flashy programs and instead
search for programs that are estab-
lished and allow direct enrollment
into a foreign university (which
includes transcripts not from the
program, but from the university.)
The CGIS office
isn't as helpful
as it should be.
After many hours of research
and consulting former participants
of the program, I've found a study
abroad solution. My chosen pro-
gram is comparable to CGIS - but
includes airfare - and will enroll
me in the same university in Spain
that the University program would.
The difference between the two
programs is the thousands of dol-
lars that will remain in my pockets.
If you attend a CGIS workshop, the
speaker will most likely discour-
age non-University sponsored pro-
grams because "they don't offer the
support of the University." But from
what I've experienced, the Univer-
sity's study abroad support is worth
much less than the aforementioned
dollar amount.
- Eaghan Davis can be reached
at daviseas@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be fewer than
300 words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. We do
not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@michigandaily.com

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