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October 24, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-24

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com.10

Page 4 - Friday, October 24, 2014

Page 4 - Friday, October 24, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Jbe 1Midtigan &aitl
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 other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Stressing the small stuff
Basic mental health services can help the 'U' prevent future crises
n Oct. 15, University Health Service published the
National Health Assessment Survey, a study that looks
at general health indicators of the student body. The
results of this survey provide a useful tool for identifying positive
and negative health trends of University students. The Michigan
Daily Editorial Board has isolated three main topics for analysis:
Alcohol and drug abuse, mental health, and sexual health and
relationships. This editorial focuses on the mental health of the
student body.

Unified by faith or bound by obligation?

ver the summer, as I attempt-
ed to clean out my room and
sift through the multitude
of half-scribbled-
in journals I've
kept from my early
years, I found one
from the year 2000.
In simple phrasing
and rudimentary
words, my 7-year-
old self detailed the A
trip my family took ABBY
to Israel. "Me and
my sisters got off
the plane and then
we kissed the ground," it reads. "My
dad says it is holy."
What I remember now from that
trip is not that it was holy, but rather
that I enjoyed picking oranges from
trees and eating my distant Aunt
Shoshi's Israeli cheesecake. I haven't
been back since, and frankly, the main
reason I would return is to claim my
free Birthright trip.
I've struggled with my Judaism
for a long time. Growing up, instead
of joining the recreational soccer
team that met on Saturdays, I went
to synagogue. My dad, after many
years of attending the tightly knit
prayer group called Havurah, became
central to the community. Every other
Saturday, my sisters and I joined him
to sing and chant antiquated Hebrew
words. No prayer ever resonated with
me, and during the silent portion of
the service, when Jews individually
spoke to God, I watched the clock tick
and imagined the mounds of bagels
that awaited me at the post-service
reception. During the sermon portion
of the service, where one person led a
discussion about that week's biblical
text, I'd sometimes raise my hand to
ask a question or provide an insight.
by the desire to intellectually impress
my father and his peers, rather than
comment onthetext at large.
Despite my inability to connect
with Judaism spiritually, at the age
of eight I started attending Camp
Ramah, a summer camp with con-
servative Jewish values. While many
of my strongest friendships were
formed during my summers at camp,
I never feltparticularly attached to the
praying, the Jewish learning or the
Jewish-themed activities I was forced
to partake in. A fun free-time activ-
ity like jazzercise turned into Jewish
jazzercise, and games in the lake were
labeled alongthe lines of, take a splash
in Moses'parted sea! It felt almost cult-
ish. Still, I held hands with my friends

on Friday nights, singing songs that
welcomed the Sabbath, and acknowl-
edged the fact that our culture brought
us together in a meaningful way. But,
when campers' eyes welled up with
tears as we sang the solemn Hebrew
melodies, I felt absolutely nothing.
Coming to college, I felt liberated in
that I could beginto formulate my own
Jewish identity without my family's
influence. I remember that att16, one of
my sisters told me she'd be extremely
disappointed in me if I didn't marry
someone Jewish. Recently, when I
posed the question to my dad whether
or not he'd prefer me to marry a,
Jewish woman or a Christian man, he
responded, "Jewish woman. Ha! Look
at how progressive Iam."
As an incomingfreshman, however,
the only people I knew were, unsur-
prisingly, Jewish kids from Camp
Ramah. While I endlessly appreci-
ate the guidance they gave me as a
stumbling, clueless freshman, they
themselves prescribed to the life of the
typical Jewish student. Following in
their footsteps alongside other fresh-
men I knew from the Ramah sphere, I
attended Friday night dinners at Hil-
lel and joined a Jewish sorority. The
only way I justified it was by repeat-
ing to myself and everyone around me
that Friday night dinner at Hillel was
free, and my sorority was made up
of the "chill" Jewish girls. But after a
month's deliberation and a night with
my head buried in the toilet during
a sorority event, I quit and stopped
attending Jewish events entirely.
My rejection of the mainstream
Jewish institutions at the University,
which are by no means the only
Jewish institutions, was perceived as
a rejection of my Judaism altogether.
When I admitted to not having
attended High Holy Day services
at Hillel, my dad replied with a sigh
and said, "I've failed you as a Jewish
educator." Last fall, I ran into a kid
I'd known during my freshman year,
another Camp Ramah alum, and he
asked, "So you're basically not into
being Jewish anymore, right?"
Even more problematic was that as
I drifted away from the social institu-
tions that were so inextricably linked
to Judaism, I began to drift toward
very left-wing thinkers who per-
ceived religious Jews to be Zionists,
and Zionists to be oppressors. Last
December, when the pro-Palestinian
student group, Students Allied for
Freedom and Equality, put mock evic-
tion notices in residence halls in order
to highlight the evictions of Palestin-
ians from their homes, I was outraged

- not because of their radical perfor-
mance of activism, but because of the
attitude members of Hillel took. Jew-
ish students felt personally victim-
ized, which I'm not discrediting, but
suddenly the situation took a complete
180. No longer was the conversation
centered around the Palestinian refu-
gee situation, but on how Jewish kids
attending the University of Michigan
felt uncomfortable. Well, wasn't that
the point? When Jews dip parsley into
salt water during Passover to sym-
bolically taste our enslaved ancestors'
tears, isn't the point to feel sad and
uncomfortable? Or do Jews only sym-
pathize with our own kind?
This summer, during Israel's
ground assault in Gaza following the
discovery of Hamas' tunnels, a Jewish
student at the University published
an article challenging the intentions
of left-leaning Jews, arguing that all
Jews should without questionsupport
Israel in its time of need. But, by
that same logic, Palestinians should
blindly follow Hamas, a definitive
terrorist group, because they are the
authority in power. The pointis not to
not support Israel, because in reality,
in this case I believe the military
action taken by Israel was warranted.
Instead, the point is to think critically
and never blindly follow something
because of your hereditary, religious
or cultural roots. A unifying culture
can't justify perpetuated sameness.
I am Jewish. Although I don't feel
spiritually connected to prayer, have
never spokenwith God other than dur-
ing a shroom trip, and don't feel a deep
bond to Israel, I am Jewish. I am proud
developed, the moral code it promotes,
the level of perseverance amidst
endless persecution that Jews have
endured. But I am both pro-Israel and
pro-Palestine. I am disturbed by the
homogeneity of Jewish institutions,
especially those here on campus, that
subsequently produce homogenous,
uncontested thought. I am unwill-
ing to subscribe to the archaic belief
that marrying within my tribe is the
only way for marital success. But most
importantly, as a Jew, I will never let
my religion identify me too completer
ly, so much so as to isolate me fromthe
amazing souls that don't happen to be
Jewish. And, as I continue forward, I
will tryto stop rejecting aspects of my
Judaism, but rather use them in a way
that religion should be used:as aguide
to becoming a better person.
- Abby Taskier can be reached
at ataskier@umich.edu.

The University used the NCHA guidelines
to survey students covering about 30
different factors affecting academic
performance. Results indicated that stress
and anxiety were the two leading factors that
impeded students' academic performances.
Among undergraduate students, 31 percent
of respondents indicated stress as a factor
affecting their academic performance, and 22
percent reported being affected by anxiety.
These results show a growth from 2010
numbers of 25 and 17 percent, respectively.
Eighteen and 14 percent of graduate student
respondents said stress and anxiety affected
their academic performance.
While these statistics are near the
American College Health Association's
2013 national averages of 27.9 percent and
19.7 percent for stress and anxiety, these
concerning numbers suggest the start of
an upward trend and and should be taken
seriously by University administrators.
The University can begin by further pro-
moting the tuition-funded services offered
through Counseling and Psychological Ser-
vices, located on the third floor of the Michi-
gan Union. Though CAPS has faced criticism
from students in the past, CAPS administra-
tors have revamped its services in order to
better accommodate students. Most com-
mendably, the wait time for an appointment
decreased from a period of one to three weeks
to a period of one to three days.

"What we, as a staff, listened to was this
critique that the wait for CAPS was too long.
We overhauled the old system in response. We
had to completely change our mindset," CAPS
Director Todd Sevig said in an interview
with the Daily. With the consideration
of student input in its expansion and the
implementation of innovative programs,
such as the awareness events at the Michigan
Theater, other University units must actively
help promote CAPS' endeavors and help
students become more aware of its services.
Furthermore, University promotion of
student-led initiatives on campus in support of
mental health will encourage students to take
advantage of available services by spreading
awareness and destigmatizing their use. For
example, the Central Student Government's
Wolverine Support Network is an initiative
in which student mentors, who are trained by
CAPS in a three-day retreat, will meet weekly
to help students work through their issues
beginning in January 2015.
Reports of stress and anxiety may appear
to be common, everyday challenges, and
thus undeserving of such attention. But
willful disregard for basic mental health
will certainly lead to larger and more
serious disorders that can have devastating
effects. By working to lower the stress and
anxiety levels of its students, the University
can prevent future cost and illness while
improving students' daily lives.

Actions not keeping up with awareness

Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan
McDonald, Victoria Noble, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke, Michael 0
Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe

According to findings from a new U-M
Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program
report, most U-M faculty, students, and staff
have boosted their knowledge about how to
be more sustainable, particularly in the areas
of foods and waste prevention. However,
behavior in these areas has remained essen-
tially the same.
SCIP is a collaborative effort between
U-M's Graham Sustainability Institute and
the Institute for Social Research, with support
from the Office of the Provost. Launched in
2012 to track "sustainability culture" on the
Ann Arbor campus, SCIP uses annual surveys
to measure and evaluate changes and progress
over time. The survey data inform a set of
sustainability indicators in four key categories:
climate action, waste prevention, healthy
environments and community awareness
- aligning directly with the University's
campus sustainability goal areas. The second-
year SCIP report reflects responses from
4,700 faculty, students, and staff in 2013,
and compares those results to benchmarks
established in 2012.
"To achieve its ambitious campus goals,
the University prioritized stakeholder
engagement, education, and evaluation
strategies toward a campus-wide ethic of
sustainability", said Professor Don Scavia,
special counsel to the U-M president for
sustainability and director of the Graham
Institute. "SCIP is a critical tool to assess
sustainability behaviors throughout our
campus community, and to inform strategies
for improvingthem over time."
The 105-page SCIP report covers findings
on people's levels of awareness, behaviors, and
commitment to sustainability, and an easy-to-
read "Sustainability Indicators Highlights"
sheet outlines statistically significant increas-
es and decreases between 2012 and 2013.
A promising outcome is that more
indicators went up than down from 2012 to
2013, particularly in the area of community
awareness. However, while most people
on campus said they were committed to
sustainability in both years, key sustainability
behavior indicators for climate action, waste
prevention, and healthy environments all
remained unchanged.
"It's an important stride that people know
more about sustainability, and that shows
success in terms of on-campus education
and outreach programs," said the Graham
Institute's John Callewaert, co-principal

investigator on the initiative with Robert W.
Marans from ISR. "Now, we just need to see
higher levels of awareness translated into
more sustainable behaviors."
To ensure the SCIP findings are put to
good use, the co-Pi's are distributing and
discussing the data and results with multiple
units on campus. For example, they have met
with U-M's Office of Campus Sustainability,
Sustainable Computing, Athletics, the North
Campus Sustainability Initiative, Parking &
Transportation Services, and several others.
They're also collaborating with the Planet
Blue Ambassador Program, which educates
and engages U-M faculty, students, and staff
in sustainability on campus.
"SCIP has brought people together in
ways never seen before," said Kevin Morgan,
regional energy manager for U-M Planet Blue
Operations Team, who is using the SCIP data
to plan energy conservation efforts across
campus. "To meet campus goals, it's important
to have those conversations."
Callewaert elaborates: "The main goal of
SCIP is to inform U-M administrators and
others responsible for day-to-day operations
of the University. So it's wonderful to see so
many decision makers across campus already
starting to put the data to good use."
With an invitation letter from U-M
President Mark Schlissel, ISR will send third-
year surveys to a cross-section of the campus
community in October and November. For the
SCIP effort to be most impactful, data must
be collected over several years to effectively
assess changes and trends over time.
"The web survey takes only about 15
minutes to complete," said Marans. "I urge
everyone who receives it through e-mail to
complete it right away. Sustainability is a top
priority for the University, and the survey
feedback we receive from our students, staff,
and faculty is critical in understanding how
we're doing and where we should be going."
To learn more, and to access
the SCIP reports or highlights, visit
sustainability.umich.edu/about/analysis. If
you want to do more to help the University to
meet its campus sustainability goals, become
a Planet Blue Ambassador. Online training is
available at sustainability.umich.edu/pba.
Lisa Pappas is the Communications Manager
for the Graham Sustainability Institute.
This article was originally published on the
Graham Sustainability Institute's website.

"I got 99 problems and m
gender are among them," sa
of mine to me and anotherf
our sushi date near the e
past summer. We, three yi
women, sat with partially f
painfully uncomfortable ey
curiously atour backs as we:
about what it means to be
what it means to be women
for us, those two identities.
separately, hence their pres
great presence at that - is
99 problems. A familiar p
felt a tinge of guilt about,
quiet declarations that we
encroaching on the comfo
the predominantly White d
was something I had an
intimate relationship with
begun long before I could a
with words. I conquered dis
a very young age - cradled
and nurtured it and na:
complex twists and turns
if for nothing more than fo
And so with this realizatit
that I spoke a little louder
malicious intent, but simp
the little capacity I had left
was rapidly diminishing.
At dinner that night
dormant place inside of me
feeling of not wanting to of
people by talking about bei
had, at one time in my life, f
to be "too Black" in fear of
the group of people I was s
by in academic and socia
I cautioned my Blackness
to elicit any discomfort in
for my own discomfort.
something I had faced as a
as a young teen that I beli
obliterated long ago.
The turning point was t
of my closest middle schc
referred to me as an "OrE

Taking back my black
ay race and whitest Black girl she knew. First of She melted
aid a friend all, I am not a cookie. Please do not and taugh
friend over diminish my identity and experiences fierce - to1
nd of this to your trivial understandings of So that
oung Black them, simply because I do not comply silencingti
fearful and with what you have been taught or I pushed it
es, peering assume to be "Black." I was a token. A this battle
sat, talking spectacle. "You're the prettiest Black have to yel
Black and girl I know" became the anthem of but I will
. And how my adolescence and never ceased to women ha
cannot live sound like a surprise. But I was the identities,
ence - and <em>only</em> Black girl they knew have theirl
among our and their so-called compliment was sant need(
part of me rooted in the racist belief that my are persist
our not so brown was inherently un-beautiful ing and pr:
ere clearly and undesirable and if it happened to aspects of:
rt zone of be, was only rarely so. They carved it's on bodi
iners. for me an identity that I had wrestled trendy, but
discomfort with since elementary school upon can put o
incredibly the realization that my hair wasn't around. Is
and had like theirs. A sense of self that had and Black 1
rticulate it been dictated by the white girls that and frustr
scomfort at told me what colors looked good on can and ex
lit, nursed my skin, what lipstick shades and nail sexualizing
vigated its polish I shouldn't wear and the white still a thin
with ease, boys that "preferred" my hair straight taneously
ir survival. and only liked me when their friends of these t
in, I admit didn't know. I had only been able to Yes, I get t
. Not with see myself through eyes that didn't Because de
ly because look like mine and through opinions not be con
for silence about who I was thatI had never asked ble like the
- for. They chewed me, spit me out and My livingi
, from a molded me in their saliva into what to watch a
arose this they wanted - needed - me to be. But grew up as
fend white I grew up and out of their constraints, identity an
ng Black. I as it became imperativeto me that I for it back - p
been afraid one was the agent and master of my grasped it
f offending own identity. let go. Myl
urrounded Praise be to the good Lord above anhood, t
al settings. for my mother who scolded my milky- mine. It b
so as not fleshed grandmother for calling me in callouse
those that in from under the summer sun. Who stomp. I ru
'esponsible taught me that beauty is colorful and the groun
This was expansive and transformative and is conquervic
child and not fixed to the limitations they gave made ofbl:
eved I had that I could not fit into. Who spelled
beautiful with the letters in my name N
he day one and told me my existence need not 0
ool friends be apologetic. She cradled but never spa
eo," as the coddled and raised me up a warrior.

d hard kisses in my cheeks
t me to shine something
be something fierce.
night at dinner, as that
ried to move itsway back ins
aside because I had fought
once and won. I should not
l for my voice to be heard,
. Because while we Black
ve fought to forge our own
everybody still seems to
hands on us, and the inces-
of ownership over who we
s. I know that appropriat
aising historically criticized
Black female identity, when
ies other than their own, is
tI am not an accessory you
n your keychain and tote
boys who ask if I can twerk
ated when they assume I
pect me to, because hyper-
g Black women's bodies is
g. Every single day I simul-
navigate the complexities
wo identities that I hold.
ired, but I am not defeated.
espite popular belief, I can-
sumed. My skin is not edi-
e deserts you compare it to.
is not performance for you
nd applaud or condemn. I
s a victim of thievery of my
d I have spent years taking
eeling away the fingers that
so tightly. And I refuse to
Blackness, my Black Wom-
he whole of my identity, is
elongs to me and I carry it
d hands. I do not tiptoe, I
umble and shake and move
d like earthquakes. And I
Ack gold.
Michigan in Color is the Daily's
pinion section designated as a
ce for and by students of color
at the University of Michigan.


A t


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