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September 28, 1995 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-28

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The Michigan Daily - W4" a e. - Thursday, September 28, 1995 - 38

Sound and Fury
U c/e Sam)
The American college student is in
grave danger. Prepare yourself: invest
in a mutual fund, secure as many
mediocre minimum-wage jobs as
possible, or try to get one of the high-
paying, low-maintenance jobs in
University administration. It may be the
only way you'll return to U-M next
The galloping elephants of the
Republican Congress are wielding their
unrestrained budget-cutting axes again,
and their latest victim is another
parasitic, money-sucking entity: you.
That's right, you. The one trying to get
an education, better yourself and
become a better human being while
amassing a trail of promissory notes
and interest payments that could fund
several undeveloped nations for a
decade. You're in trouble.
Maybe Pat Buchanan and his
colleagues are bitter over the gradual
acceptance of "non-Western" morality
and thought in the university environ-
ment. Maybe Bob Dole is bitter over
those "young, rascally college students"
who spend their weekends doing
"swell" things like "shaking their
booties," things the elder statesman can
no longer do for fear of offending the
Religious Right. Maylie Newt Gingrich
is pissed off because niost college
students weren't cursed with the name
of an amphibian. Who knows why, but
the fact is Republicans are sure coming
after us this time, kiddies.
Congress has already cut $10 billion
from Stafford Loans, a move that will
affect five million students a year. That
means undergrads will need to find an
extra $3,100 next year, while the
average grad student will need to dig up
a cool $9,400. Pell Grants, Perkins
Loans and State Student Incentive
Grants face cuts that will affect close to
one million additional students in the
upcoming year. Better line up plenty of
lawns to cut this summer.
It's interesting that a political party
bemoaning drops in American morals
and values, the growth of the welfare
state, and the rise in social turmoil
wants to decimate the one social
program that could actually combat
these problems. Not only is the Stafford
loan program the only federal aid
program that actually expects the
recipients to repay their benefits (with
interest), but it's also one of the few
programs with tangible benefits. By
allowing young people to get an
education, we also open the door for
them to secure good-paying jobs and
become productive citizens.
It's not just the poorest inner-city
youth who rely on federal loans to help
them earn a degree; it's kids from all
walks of life. From farms, suburbs and
slums, young people across the country
need financial aid to make it through
college. It's not as simple as telling
students to go out and get a job.
Statistics show that the average college
student is already working 25 hours a
It's no easy task to balance a budget
that's severely in the red, but it's
sickening that the Republican Congress
increased defense spending this
summer, against even the Pentagon's
recommendation, while they took
education to the slaughterhouse.

By cutting the government's aid to
college students, we only increase our
nation's social problems. A lack of
education fosters an ideal environment
for poverty, intolerance, crime, and
violence. The Republicans' obstinate
opposition to federal financial aid
illustrates the GOP's growing inability
to think beyond terms of dollars and
But take heart, fellow students. All is
not lost. U-M President James J.
Duderstadt has been an outspoken critic
of the Republicans assault on federal
financial aid programs. Of course,
Duderstadt has a right to be concerned.
If the government cuts federal aid
programs, the University may have to
start providing more financial aid to
deserving students. And where would
that leave President Duderstadt?
You see, Duderstadt has raked in
close to $80,000 in salary raises over
the last three years. The latest came
nuietiv at last week's Board of 1Reoent's

Continued from page 1
written questionnaire which is mailed
out to callers, White said. Although
the center does not keep an exact tally
of University students involved
through the center, White said it is a
sizeable number.
Another group that draws many stu-
dents to participate in its area activi-
ties is the Huron Valley chapter of
Habitat for Humanity. The Christian
non-profit group helps build homes
for low-income families.
Using materials donated by local
businesses or bought by Habitat it-
self, the group designs houses to fit
the needs of the chosen families, then
uses volunteer help - along with
hundreds of hours of what office vol-
unteer Linda Atkins termed "sweat
equity" from the families themselves

- to make the dream of affordable
housing a reality.
The families do take out a 20-
year mortgage on their respective
houses, but at no interest, and on a
no-profit basis for Habitat, which
in turn uses the money to fund other
projects. Currently, Habitat is build-
ing houses at two local sites, one at
2255 Russell Street in Ann Arbor
and one at Frederick Street in
According to Atkins, no construc-
tion skills are necessary in order to
make oneself useful at the building
sites. There are construction manag-
ers there to supervise the efforts and
instruct volunteers, she said.
"If nothing else," Atkins added,
"there's always plenty of cleanup to
be done at a construction site."
Work is conducted at the Russell
Street site on Wednesday and Thurs-

day evenings, and all day Fridays and
Saturdays. Those not inclined towards
construction can also volunteer for
Habitat in its Ann Arbor office in
multiple capacities, including com-
puter support and staffing various
Some University volunteer orga-
nizations even have scopes that
reach beyond Ann Arbor and the
U.S. One such group, Circle K In-
ternational, concerns itself prima-
rily with children's service projects.
LSA junior Aparna Padyar, Presi-
dent of U-M Circle K International,
elaborated, "We are an international
organization, so we have members
in twelve different countries, and
about 12,000 members. But we have
a district level, and we have our
own local club here at U-M. Some
types of projects that we do include
Habitat for Humanity, Hands on

Museum, Mott's Children's Hospi-
tal, Arbor Heights, Lesley Science
Center, Jack and Jill Learning Cen-
Best Buddies, a group that
matches college students with men-
tally impaired adults in the Ann
Arbor-Ypsilanti area, also has chap-
ters elsewhere. Best Buddies Col-
lege Director and School of Natural
Resources and Environment sopho-
more Jessica Light clarified, "The
organization is nationwide, there's
180 chapters throughout the world.
Most of them are in the United
States, but there's also some in
Canada and Greece."
Obviously, plenty of opportuni-
ties exist for volunteering on- and
off-campus. But organizers stress
that it is up to the participants to
seek out groups that jibe with their
own interests. Knapp philosophized,

"It's the motivation question. Com-
munity service is something that's
internal. You can hear motivational
speakers, you can see the stats and get
motivated by those ... but the reason
that you're going to go on and serve is
that you have an internal drive to
change society."
Bohn observed, "As you begin to
connect more and more, you see what
kind of impact people - especially
young people - are making, and
that's the power of it."
"I know we're making a difference
in a lot of ways. I know that we're
making a difference in the commu-
nity ... but way more importantly, in
my opinion, we're making a differ-
ence in the way that students learn
here ... We have that effect in some
"And that's what makes it worth

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