Category: Around Campus (page 2 of 34)

Honors students in action in and around our campus community

“Side Notes: Spoon Hunt and High Stakes” by Abhigna Rao

A few weeks ago, my entire floor section in Redding got involved in a game called “Spoons” (known in other settings as “Assassins”). The rules of the game were as follows: every player received a target whom they had to get out by tapping them with a spoon and getting video evidence of the act. The only safe zones were bathrooms, classrooms, and in Redding. Every day, an “immunity”— something that you had to do or wear, like wearing socks over shoes or holding a fresh fruit in your hand all day — would be released by the game master, and if you participated, you would be protected from being taken out by whomever was after you. The game would last until there was a winner.  Continue reading

“Sustainability on Campus” by Lorraine Capenos

As an environmental studies major, I think about sustainability a lot. Probably more than most college students, anyway. That being said, I’ve noticed that many of us college students struggle to implement environmentally friendly practices into our busy, hectic lifestyles. Many people don’t know where to begin, and even when students know better, they often find it difficult to choose the most eco-friendly choice because it inconveniences them or just slips their mind. That being said, there are many practices I’ve found to be pretty simple and easy to make a bit of difference and reduce my environmental impact.

First things first: you have to get educated. My first semester here at UD, I didn’t realize plastic bags couldn’t be recycled. Sure, I knew Ziploc bags had to be thrown away, but I didn’t realize that you couldn’t take your recyclables to the dumpster in a trash bag or they would be thrown away instead of recycled. This is because local recycling centers don’t have the machinery to process plastic film, so grocery bags and trash bags can’t be recycled. Other things, like batteries and food waste, can contaminate recycling, causing it to end up in a landfill, so be careful to only throw things out that you are sure can be recycled, and make sure they are clean when you toss them. Michelle Bennett, the UD Sustainability Officer, recently told one of my classes, “It seems counter-intuitive, but if you aren’t sure whether it’s recyclable, please just throw it in the trash,” so as not to contaminate the recycling. 

Reducing the waste we produce is also important, since recycling isn’t an ultimate solution. I take reusable bags with me to the grocery store and try to reuse jars and containers from foods like pasta sauce to store things like pencils and stationery. I have even reused jars as pots for small houseplants like succulents. I try to buy minimally packaged and ethically-sourced food when possible.

Additionally, I am conscious of my carbon and water footprints and try to reduce consumption of both. Part of this comes from eating a plant-based diet, which is less resource-intensive than eating animal products. It also comes from reducing time spent showering and running faucets, using cold water to wash my laundry instead of hot, turning lights off when they are not necessary and using natural light instead, and reducing the amount of air conditioning and heating I use.

The next step is one that is helpful when living on a college budget: reducing the amount I buy. Consumerism runs rampant in our society, but we don’t necessarily have to give into it. Instead of buying a new dress for every upcoming formal event, I ask my friends if I can borrow dresses they have already worn. I don’t buy clothes I don’t need and try to keep a relatively minimal wardrobe. I repurpose everything I can, and if I’m not using something, I take note of it, so I don’t buy a similar item again, and then I give the item away to a friend. I only make purchases that I have thought out for a while and know I will get a lot of use out of. This has not only saved me money, but it has also lessened my environmental impact by conserving resources and reducing my contribution to industrial pollution. 

Finally, transportation is a huge part of carbon footprints. I try to walk to class as much as possible, and if the weather is bad, I’ll take the bus. I carpool to the grocery store with housemates. Otherwise, I try to avoid driving and taking Ubers, since it is not only resource-intensive and polluting, but also expensive.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to sustainability, but I’ve learned that taking it one small step at a time is manageable and can become second nature. The environment benefits, and I save money most of the time. I would urge others to not only implement these steps, among others, but to also get educated and involved with environmental activities and policy in the local area. After all, the Earth is our home, and we only get one.

“New Year, New Campus” by Jenny Gloyd

One of the reasons I chose the University of Delaware was for its campus. It is just the right size and has a cohesive and collegiate feel. The trees that line the long brick walkways and the historic buildings you pass along The Green make my experience here better. I love to show off the school when friends come to visit, and I’ve noticed that it is almost unavoidable to compare our campus to theirs; the restaurants, dorms, and academic buildings are all up for discussion, but what seems to be the most drastic difference is the size of the school and the commute students have to make. To friends from smaller schools, like UMBC, the walk to classes we are used to every day is shocking and tiring. In the same amount of time I can make it to Morris Library they could walk the entire length of their campus!

This year, in moving from Redding Hall to Sharp Hall, I now feel like I can have this conversation with myself. Despite my original expectations, changing where I live has made the University of Delaware feel entirely different. When I moved into Sharp Hall, I figured it would not be too much of a transition, that a dorm was a dorm, that I would never mind walking to Cesar Rodney Dining Hall, and that the slightly shorter walk to classes on The Green would not make much of a difference; I even refused to follow others’ leads when they chose dining plans that offered more points and less swipes in anticipation of purchasing more in Trabant (directly behind our building) than swiping in at CR (about a 10 minute walk.) 

 I quickly realized that not only would I miss newly built Redding Hall along with its integrated central air, large hallways, and considerable amount of study rooms, but I am now farther from the Harrington Pod, the Hen Zone, and CR. I miss being able to take a quick study break to play ping pong at the Hen Zone, and it takes a lot more motivation to grab a quick lunch or dinner at the dining hall. 

This is, however, a tradeoff. I am now closer to Trabant and my classes on The Green. 8am classes are made much more pleasant when there is not a mile-long walk to dread. I also have discovered Trabant as a good place to sit and study, and find myself taking full advantage of the new late-night meal exchanges on campus now that I am 5 minutes from a Chick Fil A. I also cannot tell you how excited I am that my 20 minute walk to choir rehearsal is cut in half!

Changing my home on campus has changed how I live at the University of Delaware, but it will not change my appreciation for a walk along The Green or a journey up to beautiful North Campus. I am happy that a change in location has forced me to have a new perspective, and it makes me look forward to switching up my experience within these 2000 odd acres over the next three years. 

 

“What I Learned Freshman Year” by Brittany Connely

It’s time for midterms yet again. Gone are the long summer days spent relaxing in the sun and hanging with friends. It’s time to go back to the books and back to stressing out over classes. Because I am now a sophomore, I wanted to look back at my previous year, and see how much I have grown since then. I learned many lessons through trials and tribulations. Here are four of the major lessons I learned last year:

  • Go out and do everything you want to do, even if it seems daunting at the time.

As a freshman thousands of miles from home, I knew I needed to create a home away from home. My first semester I was extremely homesick, I had attempted to put myself out there a bit, but I didn’t click with anyone I had met so far. So, when Panhellenic recruitment came around, I almost didn’t join. Why would I want to try something yet again to figure out it wasn’t for me? However, everyone I met had such great experiences being in a sorority, all saying it was one of the best things they did during college. So, I figured I would try again because I could always quit if I didn’t like it. Who would’ve known how big of an impact on my life that would have? I met my best friends during recruitment and after I joined Tri Delta. I found sisters, who are always there to comfort me when I’m feeling down from missing home, and who make me excited to go to UD events like football games and UDance. My sorority truly is my home away from home and makes me want to become the best person I can be. 

  • You can’t always do everything alone.

I learned this lesson the hard way.  For me, Chem103 was an absolute nightmare. I hadn’t ever really struggled with classes as much as I did then. I was used to just putting in the effort and getting good results. However, with chemistry, this wasn’t the case. I didn’t get it, and because of that, I avoided studying. This turned into bad test scores, and instead of going and getting the help I needed, I thought I could solve the issue on my own. While I ended up passing the class, it wasn’t the grade I wanted, and I knew that if I did more I could’ve done better. So, when It came around to take the next chemistry class, I dedicated myself to it. When I had questions, I asked the TA or teacher for help, when I had a test coming up, I prepared ahead of time, not just the night before. When I got back my tests, my results paid off greatly. That lesson continues to be extremely important as I head into harder classes such as organic chemistry and microbiology.

  • Don’t be afraid to use UD’s resources.

This goes along with my second lesson, however this has to do with me personally, rather than my academics. In my second semester of freshman year, I was dealing with depression, due to some events in my life that had affected me. It was more than just not wanting to go to class, I felt like I couldn’t even get out of bed and go. Even though I was getting more involved and therefore should have been happier, I just felt nothing. It got to the point where I knew if nothing was going to change, I was going to have to drop out of UD and go back home, which I knew wasn’t the solution. So, I went to UD’s Center for Counseling and Student Development (CCSD) and scheduled an appointment with a counselor. After meeting with them for the rest of spring semester, I was able to pull my grades up and start going back to class. While I knew there were many different resources to help students here, I didn’t think that anyone used them and that asking for help would be strange and difficult. However, after making that first step to use the services provided, I realized how important they were and how, even though it may seem strange or embarrassing at the time, there are so many other students that may feel the same way. I never would have recovered from the hardest period in my life without the CCSD, and I wouldn’t be where I am today, enjoying what I’m doing and thriving in my classes.

  • Enjoy the process, don’t just focus on the results.

My whole life, I’ve always been planning for the next step. When I was in high school, I was already thinking about where I should go to college and what I would do next. Because of this, I feel like I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I could have. I stressed over things that don’t matter and didn’t branch out and enjoy the process of growing up. Now as a sophomore in college, I realize that while the future is important, so is the present. While I can’t stop myself from thinking about medical school, and what I need to do to achieve my dreams, my whole life is no longer just focused on that. Many people say that college is supposed to be the best years of your life, and while that may not be the case for everyone, and may not feel true to me right now, I want to slow down and do things that I know will make me happy, not just things that I have my whole life to think about.

“Woman at War: A Lesson in Power” by Chris Hope

In today’s world, we are bombarded with the concept of impending doom, though we tend to meet that bombardment with complacency. If the world is falling apart—the planet melting before us—and those in charge do little to nothing to stop this collective drowning, what are we to do as common people? Various methods exist to spur change: voting, peaceful protest, petition — however, there is also direct action.

Admittedly, I originally went to see Woman at War because my First-Year Experience class required me to attend a film hosted by an academic group on campus, but I got something worth more than one class credit from watching Benedikt Erlingsson’s 2018 film. Woman at War tells the story of Halla, an Icelandic woman who works mainly as a choir director. Secretly, however, she sabotages power lines in the Icelandic countryside in an attempt to interrupt the operations of an aluminum plant which plans on taking action to use more and more of the island’s resources. More plot points are eventually brought in: Halla has recently been approved to adopt a Ukrainian girl named Nika, but her sister (originally intended to be a backup guardian) has plans to leave the country under the watch of a guru. These added points of conflict, however, weren’t what fascinated me about the film — it was Halla’s direct action.

Direct action: the idea of creating a crisis so unavoidable that it must be addressed by those who have avoided the issue. Whether this action is violent or not depends on the actor, but Halla takes somewhat of a middle ground. Halla’s, for lack of a better term, eco-terrorism creates such an issue for the nation that officials are forced to address it; she destroys power lines, and she creates a manifesto. She never harms anyone physically, but she hurts the nation’s industry in order to necessitate the discussion of the issue of climate change. Halla is but one woman (with some help from her friend Baldvin, who works in the government), yet she is able to bring an industry to its knees, to force its hand and address the issues she cares about. She does all this without revealing her identity to anyone. Halla is the theoretical David up against the corporate Goliath.

Despite the film’s powerful message and theme of change through direct, trouble-making action, there is one issue. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir (who portrays Halla) points out in an interview with Anne Brodie of WhatSheSaid Talk that, though this message is getting to those who care most about environmentalism and is being praised by activists, those who really need to be changed by this film and who should heed its warnings are not the ones mainly seeing it. This is not the fault of the film, but really a fault in mindset. It’s difficult to get someone to quickly change their views on something as large an issue as this, but by simply talking about the film—even beyond its content of feminism, environmentalism, and revolution—the previously uninterested may gain that curiosity. 

I had no expectations going into this film, but I’m glad that the Trabant Theater International Film Series gave a viewing of it. There were many others, like me, who had simply gone because we needed to go for a class. I could tell that many others in the theater were regulars of the Film Series, held every Sunday at 7:00 p.m. I feel that none of us would have even heard of this film without this on-campus group, but the film’s promotion by the group helps bring change to not just the campus, but the world. I’m sure this film will reach more people, as an English-language remake starring Jodie Foster is set to be released at some point, but who knows how the film’s message and revolutionary methods will change with the progression of time and with American staff.

 

Image obtained from womanatwarfilm.com (https://images.app.goo.gl/rFrUSKp77oHzrWZ89)

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