Enterprise – Published

May 3, 2010

After struggling with finances and readership in the past, the University’s alternative student paper, The Water Tower, is coming out ahead. 

“The future has always been questionable until now,” senior Max Bookman, editor-in-chief of The Water Tower, said. 

This is the first year The Water Tower has come out with a profit, which will translate into increased circulation, Bookman said. 

“The exciting thing about this is that The Water Tower started the year with negative $213.67,” SGA treasurer Hannah LeMieux said. 

The club’s total recognized revenue for the year is around $2,500, which LeMieux said was raised on their own and generated mostly from advertising

The club has been given almost $3,000 more than last year, she said.

The Water Tower was given about $8,000 in the beginning of fall 2009. As of March 19 the club still has slightly over $500, LeMieux said.

 “What they’ve spent is just what they need to survive,” she said.

The SGA does a good job of growing with clubs who are growing in a positive way, especially when clubs pull themselves out of a rough financial situation, LeMieux said.

 “It’s important that we trust their leadership and feel like they have a good head on their shoulders,” she said. “The Water Tower really makes the effort to get what they need.”

The debt started from poor handling of the paper from the beginning and the lack of the founders’ focus was the main issue, Bookman said.

“They really had no extensive vision,” he said. “They just spent the money.”

 When he inherited the paper along with three other people as a sophomore, Bookman said all they had was the original concept and a basic structure.

“It was like starting from scratch,” he said. “We had no writers.”

Like the finances, student involvement with The Water Tower is stronger than ever because of talented writers and leaders, Bookman said.

“We pride ourselves in being completely student-run,” he said.

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Cynic 3 – Revised

May 2, 2010

Just how important is the application process when applying for Living and Learning Programs?

This is the question many University students asked themselves before, during, and after this spring’s housing selection process. The answer is very important, according to various program and assistant directors in Living and Learning.

“The application is a little bit challenging, and that’s really good cause it pushes students to be really creative,” said L/L Assistant Resident Director Adam Ortiz.

The difficulty of the application is the most beneficial aspect, he said. 

“Students will only apply if they’re dedicated to suite living,” Ortiz said. 

The applications are a great way to see if applicants have a genuine interest in the program, said the Casa Italiana Program Director Katelyn Little.

“It’s easy to tell when people write the same application for three or four language houses,” she said, “so we look for specific things.”

Little only read applications and did not conduct any interviews with applicants, she said. One main reason for this is because she looked at what number the applicant ranked the program, Little said. 

“Ultimately we just choose based on interest,” she said. “We try to have a diverse group of people.”

Even when other sources, like Facebook, are used to make decisions, Emergency Services Program Director Riley Hoke said the applications are still heavily weighed.

“I just use Facebook as a judge of personality and character,” he said.

He tries to keep an open mind with the information he finds on applicants facebook profiles, Hoke said. 

“The final decision of who to accept into the program is ultimately dictated by someone who is going to be more socially outgoing, laid back, and easy to live with,” he said.


Cynic 2 – Revised

May 2, 2010

The University of Vermont is now in charge of everything maple. 

The launch of a maple syrup research website, in partnership with the National Agricultural Library, makes the University the only place in the country that has created a source strictly for maple, said University librarian Elizabeth Berman. 

Maple syrup is Vermont’s most perfect crop, said David Brynn, a professor and lecturer in the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources.

“Healthy, well-managed sugar bushes produce clear and clean water, do an excellent job of sequestering carbon, provide diverse habitats, and have very stable soils,” he said.

The scientific name for humans is “homo sapiens,” Brynn said. “Sapiens,” he said, is derived from the French “sapere,” meaning, “to taste.”

“Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch, but I think that really appreciating maple is one of the great benefits of being human,” Brynn said.

The new website, headed mainly by Berman, allows the opportunity for anyone to reap these benefits. Among other categories, she said one can find digitized historical records and photographs, as well as a virtual maple cookbook on the website.

“There is something on the website for everyone, depending on their interests,” Berman said.

The website, which took about two years to complete, was made possible with the support for the Center for Digital Initiatives and many other supporting players, she said.

In addition to the website launch, Maple Week 2010 included events like a Maple Madness Cook-off and special collections exhibits. The three exhibits will be on display in the Bailey/Howe Library until June, according to a library postcard advertising the event. 

“Party in the Woods: Sugaring, Community, and Celebration under a Changing Sky” was one of many events during Maple Week, hosted by the University Libraries, Special Collections, and the Center for Digital Initiatives.

John Elder, Middlebury College professor of English and Environmental Studies, spoke at UVM on March 31 about his experiences with both maple sugaring and environmental activism.

Through reading excerpts from his soon-to-be newest book, Elder said everyone, especially students, should get involved.

Sugaring especially is a great portal for students to learn about environmental issues, he said. One important question to ask is how life on campus is related to life in the town.

“The food is related to prosperity of local farmers,” Elder said. “Sugaring is related to community sustainability and ecological balance.”

While he recognizes the difficulties like the price of wood, Elder said it is possible to transfer the tradition of sugaring to young people. He said he would like to see community sugaring return.

“We should return to school sugaring so every student can experience it,” Elder said. 

When he was a UVM student back in the early 1970s, professor Brynn said that he had to opportunity to work at the Proctor Maple Research Center. He worked hard and learned a lot along side three professors conducting research, he said.

“It was an experience that I will never forget,” he said. “One that is still available to students to this day.”

He has confidence in today’s generation to carry on environmental activism, Elder said. 

“The college generation today is so far beyond my generation for it’s hunger for diversity,” he said. “Today’s generation of students have a desire for savvy activism.”

Conservation does not just have to be “take your hands off the hummer and put them where I can see them,” Elder said. 

“A sense of encouragement and inspiration is a vital resource for all activists, not just conservationalists,” he said.

University librarian Jeffery Marshall said he was pleased to welcome professor Elder to UVM, and excited about Maple Week in general.

“I think we really tapped into something,” he said.


Cynic 1 – Published

May 2, 2010

Unassigned damage costs in Harris Millis are in the thousands this year, according to reports posted in the lobby of the residence hall, and no one is happy about it.

Harris Millis reported the highest total of unassigned damages with nearly $14,000 last fall and $13,000 as of April 14, according to the UVM ResLife website, and some students say the system is unfair.

“I just feel like I’m getting ripped off here,” fourth floor Millis resident Sara Stewart said. “I don’t even know what half the damages are, and I’m still giving my money to fix them.”

Freshman Kathryn Esposito, a Millis resident, said she doesn’t even see most of the damage — she just sees the costs going up.

“Every time I look at the chart in the lobby something as been added,” she said.

Sophomore Tupper resident Gregory Francese said he has a hunch as to what is causing the difference in totals.

“There are probably more freshman in Harris Millis,” he said. “That’s not to say all freshman cause damages, but most damages are caused by freshman.”

Although the total costs in his dorm may be relatively low, Francese said he has still has some trouble understanding how ResLife comes up with the cost.  

“The damages are completely arbitrary in terms of the costs because they never tell us how they come up with the cost,” he said.

They try to make the unassigned damages system as fair as possible, Harris Resident Advisor Kofi Mensah said. 

“We do the best to investigate, ask around, and if that doesn’t go anywhere then the cost is going to be covered,” Mensah said. “Everyone is sheltering the blame.”

Nevertheless, most residence halls had less than half as much as Harris Millis, according to 2009 ResLife reports.

Last fall’s total for both University Heights North and South complexes, which house around the same number of students as Harris Millis, is just under $1,000.

Marsh Austin Tupper, also on Athletic campus, had a total of about $300 last fall.

 While the costs are higher than last year, the building with the highest unassigned damage cost fluxuates, Harris Millis Residence Director Antonique Flood said. 

“It depends on the student culture year to year,” she said.

This year the costs in Harris Millis are coming mainly from propped doors and stolen posters.

Propping a back door of Harris costs $500 each time. The door was propped 10 times between Jan. 22 and March 23, according to Harris Millis records.

The most expensive items posted on the list were a series of posters entitled “The Americans Who Tell the Truth.” They were stolen from behind glass cases, according to an e-mail from Flood.

“More than anything we would just like to get them back,” she said. “I think they were an important part of the complex.”

The posters, which have been in the building for three years, were part of a committee initiative to bring diversity into the residence halls, Flood said. 

The five posters, stolen the last weekend of February, are valued at a total cost of around $1,000, according to the e-mail from Flood. While the posters have not been returned, Flood said students are encouraged to submit tips or return the posters anonymously.

Mensah said he feels sorry for students who do the right things but are charged fees because of the few “knuckleheads” running around the complex.

As recent SGA President-elect, Mensah said he plans to try and stop the high occurences of vandalism within residential halls.

“We need students to realize that their actions will have consequences,” Mensah said.

Things could definitely be looked into in order to get through to students, such as stressing the importance of one’s actions during initial floor meetings in the beginning of the year, Mensah said.

Students should value their residence halls and take pride in what is essentially their home for a majority of the year, Flood said. 

“We can tell students to be responsible but nothing will change until the students change and decide they care enough to not treat their residence halls this way,” she said.

http://www.vermontcynic.com/news/unassigned-damage-costs-pile-up-1.2211765


Weighing In on L/L Applications

April 27, 2010

Just how important is the application process when applying for Living and Learning Programs?

This is the question many UVM students asked themselves before, during, and after this spring’s housing selection process. The answer is very important, according to various program and assistant directors in Living and Learning.

“The application is a little bit challenging, and that’s really good cause it pushes student be really creative,” said L/L Assistant Resident Director Adam Ortiz.

He said the difficulty of the application is the most beneficial aspect.

“Students will only apply if they’re dedicated to suite living.”

The applications are a great way to see if applicants have a genuine interest in the program, according to the Casa Italiana Program Director Katelyn Little.

“It’s easy to tell when people write the same application for three of four language houses,” she said, “so we look for specific things.”

Little said that she only read applications and did not conduct any interviews with applicants. She said one main reason for this is because she looked at what number the applicant ranked the program.

“Ultimately we just choose based on interest,” she said. “We try to have a diverse group of people.”

Even when other sources, like Facebook, are used to make decisions, Emergency Services Program Director Riley Hoke said the applications are still heavily weighed.

“I just use Facebook as a judge of personality and character,” he said.

Hoke said he tries to keep an open mind with the information he finds on applicants facebook profiles.

“The final decision of who to accept into the program is ultimately dictated by someone who is going to be more socially outgoing, laid back, and easy to live with,” he said.


UVM Taps into Maple Week

April 12, 2010

Guess who’s in charge of everything maple?

The launch of a maple syrup research website, in partnership with the National Agricultural Library, makes the University of Vermont the only place in the country that has created a source strictly for maple.

Maple syrup is Vermont’s most perfect crop, according to David Brynn, a professor and lecturer in the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources.

“Healthy, well-managed sugar bushes produce clear and clean water, do an excellent job of sequestering carbon, provide diverse habitats, and have very stable soils,” he said.

Brynn ventured beyond the technical aspects of maple as well. He pointed out that the scientific name for humans is, of course, “homo sapiens.” “Sapiens,” he said, is derived from the French “sapere,” meaning, “to taste.”

“Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch, but I think that really appreciating maple is one of the great benefits of being human,” Brynn said.

The new website, headed mainly by University librarian Elizabeth Berman, allows the opportunity for anyone to reap these benefits. Among other categories, she said one can find digitized historical records and photographs, as well as a virtual maple cookbook on the website.

“There is something on the website for everyone, depending on their interests,” Berman said.

She said the website, which took about two years to complete, was made possible with the support for the Center for Digital Initiative and many other supporting players.

In addition to the website launch, Maple Week 2010 included events like a Maple Madness Cook-off and special collections exhibits. The three exhibits will be on display in the Bailey/Howe Library until June.

“Party in the Woods: Sugaring, Community, and Celebration under a Changing Sky” was one of many events during Maple Week, hosted by the UVM Libraries, Special Collections, and the Center for Digital Initiatives.

John Elder, Middlebury College professor of English and Environmental Studies, spoke at UVM on March 31 about his experiences with both maple sugaring and environmental activism.

Through reading excerpts from his soon-to-be newest book, Elder encouraged everyone, especially students, to get involved.

Elder said sugaring especially is a great portal for students to learn about environmental issues. One important question to ask, he said, is how life on campus is related to life in the town.

“The food is related to prosperity of local farmers. Sugaring is related to community sustainability and ecological balance,” Elder said.

He said that while he recognizes the difficulties like the price of wood, it is possible to transfer the tradition of sugaring to young people. He said he would like to see community sugaring return.

“We should return to school sugaring so every student can experience it,” he said. 

Professor Brynn said that he had the opportunity to work at the Proctor Maple Research Center when he was a UVM student back in the early 1970s. Brynn said he worked hard and learned a lot along side three professors conducting research.

“It was an experience that I will never forget,” he said. “One that is still available to students to this day.”

Elder said he has confidence in today’s generation to carry on environmental activism.

“The college generation today is so far beyond my generation for it’s hungry for diversity,” he said. “Today’s generation of students have a desire for savvy activism.”

Elder said he believes conservation does not just have to be “take your hands off the hummer and put them where I can see them.”

“A sense of encouragement and inspiration is a vital resource for all activists, not just conservationalists,” he said.

With so much excitement, University librarian Jeffery Marshall really summed up Elder’s talk, and Maple Week in general.

“I think we really tapped into something,” he said.


Unassigned Damage Costs Pile Up

April 1, 2010

Unassigned damage costs in Harris Millis are in the thousands this year, according to reports posted in the lobby of the residence hall.

Harris Millis Residence Director Antoqniue Flood said that while the costs are higher than last year, the building with the highest unassigned damage cost fluxuates.

“It depends on the student culture year to year,” she said.

The total unassigned damage for Harris Millis this fall is nearly $14,000, according to UVM’s residential life website. As of March 26, the total unassigned damage cost for Harris Millis this spring is about $12,000.

According to the posted list, unassigned damages range from hair dye in the shower to bodily fluids in the sink. Whatever the circumstance students have mixed opinions on the damage costs.

“I just feel like I’m getting ripped off here,” 4th floor Millis resident Sara Stewart said. “I don’t even know what half the damages are and I’m still giving my money to fix them.”

Kathryn Esposito, a 3rd floor resident of Millis, said that while she does notice the rising costs, the damages are not usually in proximity to her.

“I just know that every time I look at the chart in the lobby something as been added,” the freshman said.

Unassigned damage charges — credits for damages that are being directly billed to a particular student/students — vary depending on the item, according to the posted list.

Propping a back door of Harris, for example, costs $500 each time. The door was propped 11 times between Jan. 22 and March 23, according to Harris Millis records.

The most expensive item posted on the list this spring involves theft. According to an e-mail sent March 1, a series of posters entitled “The Americans Who Tell the Truth” were stolen from behind glass cases.

Flood said that the posters, which have been in the building for three years, were part of a committee initiative to bring diversity into the residence halls.

“More than anything we would just like to get them back,” she said. “I think they were an important part of the complex.”

The five posters, stolen the last weekend of February, are valued at a total cost of around $1,000, stated the e-mail sent by Flood. While the posters have not been returned, Flood said students are encouraged to submit tips or return the posters anonymously.

Harris Resident Advisor Kofi Mensah said he feels sorry for students who do the right things but are charged fees because of the few knuckleheads running around the complex.

“We do the best to investigate, ask around, and if that doesn’t go anywhere then the cost is going to be covered,” Mensah said in reference to the stolen posters. “It’s an unfair system. Everyone is sheltering the blame.”

As recent SGA President-Elect, Mensah said he plans to try and stop the nature of high vandalism within residential halls.

“We need students to realize that their actions will have consequences,” the junior said.

Mensah said that things could definitely be looked into in order to get through to students, such as stressing the importance of one’s actions during initial floor meetings in the beginning of the year.

Not all dorms on campus, however, reach such high unassigned damage costs, according to residential life online reports.

Last falls total for both University Heights North and South complexes, which houses around the same number of students, is under $1,000.

Marsh Austin Tupper, also on Athletic campus, had a total of about $300 last fall.

Gregory Francese, a sophomore Tupper resident, said he has a hunch as to what is causing the difference in totals.

“There are probably more freshman in Harris Millis,” he said. “That’s not to say all freshman cause damages, but most damages are caused by freshman.”

Although the total costs in his dorm may be relatively low, Francese said he has still has some trouble understanding the origin of the costs that do exist.

“The damages are completely arbitrary in terms of the costs because they never tell us how they come up with the cost,” he said. “But then again, nobody asks.”

Regardless of where the price comes from, Flood said students should value their residence halls and take pride in what is essentially their home for a majority of the year.

“We can tell students to be responsible but nothing will change until the students change and decide they care enough to not treat their residence halls this way,” she said.


Drought Ends for The Water Tower

March 23, 2010

After struggling with finances and readership in the past, the alternative student paper, the Water Tower, is finally breaking even and coming out ahead. 

“The future has always been questionable until now,” said Max Bookman, editor in chief of the publication. 

The senior from New City, NY said this is the first year the  Water Tower has made more money than spent, which he said would translate into increased circulation.

“The exciting thing about this is that the Water Tower started the year with $-213.67,” SGA treasurer Hannah LeMieux said. 

The club’s total recognized revenue for the year is $2,362.50. LeMieux said this money is raised on their own and generated mostly from advertising. 

LeMieux said The Water Tower has rebounded in a really positive way.

“The Water Tower really makes the effort to get what they need,” she said.

The debt started from poor handling of the paper from the beginning, according to Bookman.

When he started writing for the publication as a freshman, he said, there were only six or seven people involved with the Water Tower, most of whom were seniors.

Bookman said the lack of the founders’ focus was the main issue.

“They really had no extensive vision, they just spent the money,” he said.

Bookman said that when he inherited the paper along with three other people as a sophomore, all they had was the original concept and a basic structure.

“It was like starting from scratch, we had no writers,” he said.

Like the finances, student involvement with the Water Tower is stronger than ever, according to Bookman. He said there are a number of strong writers, as well as people looking to hold leadership positions.

Although the Water Tower continues to acquire new readers and staff members, Bookman said the publication will never be incorporated into the official student media, but that is not wanted anyway.

“We pride ourselves in being completely student run,” he said.

Bookman said that remaining separate is a part of being an underground newspaper.

According to a student-created online survey, the nontraditional sections and overall alternative aspect of the Water Tower is what draws readers.

“I like “the ear” and “I want you so bad,” said a UVM junior.

Or as one UVM sophomore said, “The Water Tower is news and entertainment.”

Of course, as came through in the survey, various student publications such as the Vermont Cynic are read for different reasons.

Whichever publication UVM students choose to read, this adjustment has not gone unnoticed by the SGA. The club has been budgeted almost $3,000 more than last year, said LeMieux.

The Water Tower was budgeted $7,524.50 in the beginning of Fall 2009. The club’s remaining costs as of March 19 are $509.11.

LeMieux points out that this spending is not done carelessly and used mostly for publishing costs.

“What they’ve spent is just what they need to survive,” she said.

LeMieux said the SGA does a good job of growing with clubs who are growing in a positive way, noticing when clubs like the Water Tower pull themselves out of a financial situation.

“It’s important that we trust their leadership and feel like they have a good head on their shoulders,” she said.