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He spent days practicing in heels, hours in dress rehearsal and 45 minutes applying makeup, but when junior Noel Bynum stepped out on stage Thursday night, the audience’s reaction made all of it worthwhile.Bynum, as “Sasha Apprecianté,” danced down the runway to a “Single Ladies Medley” as part of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender-Straight Alliance’s spring drag show, “Dance in the Dark.”The Lady Gaga-themed performances drew an audience of almost 400 to the Great Hall and featured original student performances from drag queens and kings, as well as performances from headliner and drag queen Vivian Vaughn.GLBTSA co-president Alex Kilkka said the Lady Gaga theme was inspired by the singer’s work in the gay rights community.“Lady Gaga has been a really big role model,” he said. “She’s very vocal about gay rights, and we wanted to do something to kind of recognize that.”Before the performances began, sophomore Lexi Cribbs discussed why she decided to become an amateur drag king.“It’s largely about queering performances,” Cribbs said.“You don’t have to conform to one strict standard of drag queen or king, because it’s all about queerness and not sexuality.”Cribbs dressed as a drag king and performed alongside two others.“Every time you do drag, you can’t avoid that you’re making a gender statement,” senior Reva Grace Phillips said.“You’re either saying, ‘I want to be a man and feel the transgression of gender,’ or ‘I want to be subversive and campy about what I consider to be stereotypical male attitudes.’”Though some of the performances were more comedic and lighthearted, the drag show was ultimately about embracing androgyny and having the courage to be comfortable and true to yourself, both Phillips and Cribbs said.Sophomore Demi Marshall said she continues to come to the performances for the show and the overt gender statements.“I love the spectacle,” Marshall said. “But I believe strongly and idealistically that people should feel beautiful no matter what their gender identity.”But the night offered the audience more than sequins, spectacle and entertainment. Part of the night’s proceeds were used to purchase toy soldiers as a part of “Stand with Honor,” a nationwide campaign to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.GLBTSA has partnered with other gay rights organizations at N.C. State University and Duke University to purchase 3,000 toy soldiers to send to senators.“We want to go to D.C., have a press conference and deliver them,” Kilkka said.“People want to serve in the military and also be true to themselves, and it’s very hard to do that in those situations.”Freshman Antonio Jackson said that he had large expectations for his first drag show and that he wasn’t disappointed.“I think it’s sort of an art from,” he said.“You have to be extremely comfortable with yourself to be able to dress in drag.”GLBTSA aims to advocate and educate students on issues that affect the LGBTQ community. They work to create dialogues and strengthen relationships between the homosexual community and their allies.Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
Students crammed into the fourth-floor conference room of the FedEx Global Education Center on Tuesday night for the chance to hear Russian journalist Yulia Latynina speak candidly about her country.Her provocative blend of sarcasm and intellect might garner a large audience in the U.S., but in Russia, Latynina’s candor has made her an infamous government target.“Where there are journalists like Yulia, there is hope,” said Slavic language professor Radislav Lapushin.“She never strives to please any kind of establishment. It takes courage and fearlessness to do what she does on a daily basis.”Latynina writes for one of the few independent newspapers in Russia and has her own radio show. She said she doesn’t write for a noble reason but because it is her job as a journalist to tell others what is happening.“You know, the Russian government is pretty immune to critics,” she said. “Putin prides himself on not reacting to what people are saying.”Despite her heavy accent, Latynina’s cynicism was clearly evident as she depicted Russia as a poor, corrupt country with a failing democracy.“There’s total corruption, total toleration of corruption. If the regime changes, it doesn’t follow suit that the corruption will change,” she said.Throughout the night she used pictures to contrast the wealth of the Russian political elite with the poverty of the people.According to Latynina, poor people cannot be trusted to elect responsible leaders because they make their decisions based on false promises.“Poor people vote for the people who promise them irrational things,” she said, pointing to Latin America and even Iran as examples. “It has nothing to do with Russian character, but with the fact that Russia is poor.”Latynina’s lecture was organized by David Pike of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies.Sophomore Stephany Murphy said she was shocked that Pike came through on his promise to bring Latynina to UNC all the way from Russia.“She’s so interesting because she does things that nobody else wants to touch,” Murphy said about Latynina.“We’re really lucky to get to see her.”Senior Ali Hawkins said Latynina’s lecture changed her perception of democracy and corruption in Russia.“Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, I always thought of Russia as a democratic society, but clearly that’s not the case.”
After a weekend of interviews and deliberation, the Carolina Union Activities Board of Directors selected junior Adele Ricciardi to serve as CUAB president for the 2010-11 academic year.CUAB uses about a third of the $39 student government fee to bring movies, entertainment and discussions of social issues to the campus community.Ricciardi, who has been a member of CUAB since her freshman year, sat on the Union Board of Directors this year in addition to serving as chairwoman of the music committee.
Correction (Feb. 22): An earlier version of this article stated that the N.C. Cancer Hospital was co-hosting the drive. It is the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The story has been updated to reflect the correction. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
When it comes to energy conservation, UNC officials are learning that a little effort can go a long way.In half a year, the UNC Department of Energy Management has helped the University avoid an estimated $1 million in energy costs through a series of easy-to-implement projects.Through initiatives as simple as turning off lights and regulating building temperatures when buildings are unoccupied, the energy conservation measure program — began in July — has cut down on the amount of electricity, steam and chilled water that the University uses. Department representatives said the amount of savings is growing daily. And with an average annual energy bill of $83 million, every amount of savings counts.Chris Martin, director of energy management at UNC and leader of the initiative, said his office’s campaign to aggressively attack energy consumption has been more successful than they imagined.Senior administrators backed the idea, and the group set about finding ways to conserve energy.“We got the message loud and clear, and once we got to that point, we had a short planning period to find the most productive things to do,” he said.A struggling economy drove the group to consider cheap initiatives instead of major changes that have a significant impact.“The intent was to find the largest opportunity for energy savings for the least amount of money,” Martin said.The project consists of seven projects split into two phases. The first phase consists of more computerized changes, such as creating occupancy schedules, while the second is more hands-on, requiring more involvement in the community.The group has addressed specific issues across campus as they moved through the phases, taking input from students, staff and faculty members through its Web site.“I can identify energy waste in the morning and fix it by the afternoon,” said Jim McAdam, energy engineer with the department. “We’re seeing immediate feedback, and we’re learning a lot.”While many of the department’s changes have been simple technological changes, solving energy waste isn’t always easy.One difficult area the department is trying to tackle is waste in the labs. Fume hoods — lab technology that prevent the dispersion of dangerous chemicals — consume a great deal of energy because air has to constantly circulate to flush out toxic fumes.To reduce the amount of energy used to maintain these hoods, Martin has teamed up with the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee, a subset of the executive branch of student government, to discuss an education campaign for energy conservation in labs.“Some of the fuel hoods use as much energy as three houses, so we’re hoping an education campaign can try to educate people in the labs,” said Erin Hiatt, co-chairwoman of the committee.Hiatt said students who want to be more involved in conservation can report wasteful energy use at save-energy.unc.edu. Each time a report is made, representatives receive an e-mail, and they contact the building manager to discuss ways of saving energy.“It’s almost like Fix My Room, but instead of it being something that’s broken, it’s wasteful energy use,” Hiatt said.The last step in the program will try to encourage the campus community to make behavioral changes like turning off the lights.“UNC is a leader nationally in our energy production. Now we’re focused on how we use the energy,” McAdam said.Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A deafening silence lasted almost two hours in the Great Hall of the Student Union on Tuesday night, as an audience of almost 400 students and members of the Triangle community heard the life story of Cleve Jones — a man who has lived and breathed the gay rights movement.An activist, author and powerful speaker, Jones said he feels the gay rights movement continues to be inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of tolerance and compassion. Though he was just a child when King died, Jones said he became close to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, whom he called a fierce champion of the gay rights movement. Jones was asked to deliver his message of tolerance in honor of Campus Y’s 29th annual Dr. Martin Luther King celebration. Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt began the night with a compelling introduction. As an openly gay public official, Kleinschmidt said the film “Milk” — the Academy Award winning film about one of the first openly gay elected officials, San Francisco city councilman Harvey Milk — motivated him to run for mayor when he needed inspiration the most.“I sat in a room with other openly gay officials — Harvey Milk’s legacy — and watched this film,” he said.“It confirmed for me that I had a role to play.”Jones began his career as an activist by campaigning and later interning with Milk. He was among the first to discover Milk’s body after Milk and the San Francisco mayor, George Moscone, were assassinated in 1978.“I thought, ‘It’s over,’” Jones said, swatting at the tears on his face. He added it wasn’t until that night, when thousands of people carried candles to the steps of City Hall to mourn the death of the mayor and his friend, that Jones felt he could continue to advocate for gay rights. Today, more than 30 years later, Jones has encountered and overcome almost every form of bigotry imaginable — from death threats to being attacked by skinheads — and still champions gay rights.He’s even survived his own battle with AIDS.Throughout the onset of the AIDS epidemic, Jones said he watched in helpless rage as almost all of his friends were ravaged by HIV/AIDS while the government did nothing to curb its the spread of the virus.“I was desperate to find a way to break through the stupidity and bigotry,” he said. It wasn’t until the death of his closest friend, Marvin Feldman, that he decided to fight back. He decided to make a quilt and that would memorialize anyone who has died of AIDS. With more than 40,000 panels memorializing more than 91,000 individuals, the NAMES Foundation’s AIDS Memorial quilt is the largest community arts project in the world.“Irrevocably, we are all linked — that was the message of Harvey Milk, and that is the message of Dr. King,” Jones said.
Correction( Jan. 14 12:39 a.m.): Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misstated the amount PlayMakers Repertory Company received for replacement lights. They were awarded $67,500. The story has been changed to reflect the correciton.
“Turn it Back” policy: Students who decide not to go to a game can return their tickets to the CAA by e-mailing them to ReturnUNCTickets@gmail.com.Other students can pick up these tickets by going to the Student Union information desk the day before any ticketed home basketball game at 5:15 p.m. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.Standby line:Students not selected to receive a ticket in the lottery can line up outside Koury Natatorium 90 minutes before tip-off to fill empty seats. Students will be given a bracelet on a first come, first served basis. Students with bracelets can line up 30 minutes before tip-off by their numbers.
President Barack Obama’s health care reform policy calls for a nationwide switch to electronic medical records by 2014.UNC Hospitals are almost 25 years ahead of him.What began as a pilot program in 1991 is now the Web-based Clinical Information System, or WebCIS. The Internet-based program was created by a team of UNC doctors and technicians to transfer all paper records into electronic code.“WebCIS makes everything more efficient,” said Dr. Robert Berger, chief architect of design for the program. “Paper records were a hassle. If your chart wasn’t available, then we didn’t know about you.”The focus of health care reform legislation winding its way through the U.S. Congress has been insurance. But the national government has expressed support for making major reforms to other components of the U.S. health care system if this legislation passes, including how records are saved.Berger estimated the WebCIS program has cost UNC Hospitals upward of $20 million over the past 18 years. But he stressed that the benefits far outweigh the costs.Electronic medical records allow doctors to seamlessly prescribe medication, check labs and access a patient’s medical history electronically. WebCIS also tracks a patient’s allergies and immunization history and prompts doctors when it’s time for a checkup.Berger said he and his team decided to switch to electronic medical records as a way to keep up with technology and other industries.“The PC was almost seven years old when the program started,” Berger said. “When it came to computers, the medical industry was in the Stone Age compared to other industries.”Now, almost 20 years later, UNC is leading the race for electronic medical records and is one of the few institutions that has created its own system.In a July press conference on health care reform, President Obama noted the advantages of electronic medical records but stressed they would require an investment.Berger said while he supports Obama’s push for electronic medical records, there will be financial stumbling blocks.“It’s a very expensive proposition,” Berger said. “The problem is that only about 10 percent of hospitals have full electronic records, so you can imagine the costs to get everyone computerized by 2014.”Dr. Alan Cheng, a chief resident of internal medicine at UNC Hospitals, said he enjoys the daily ease of access to patient information WebCIS provides.“As a patient, I’d rather go to a hospital with electronic medical records,” Cheng said. “I think it provides for better patient care.”He added that although he enjoys working with WebCIS, doctors have to be careful not to use the system as a crutch.“If we think that everything we need to know about you is online, we won’t ask questions. So we have to be careful,” Cheng said.In 2006, UNC Health Care and WebCIS were named a laureate in Computerworld Magazine’s Honor Program. The yearly award recognizes organizations’ use of technology and information to benefit society.“Our system has been recognized as top flight,” Berger said. “We just signed a contract with one of the top five computer companies in the world, and they’re going to sell it to other big universities.”And further down the line, a national network of hospitals would mean a doctor could easily access the medical records of an out-of-state student here at UNC. “If we could get this national network, then you could have tremendous benefits,” Berger said.He added that a national network also has implications for bioterrorism and disease prevention because it allows doctors to follow trends in medical histories.Earlier this year, the exposure of sensitive medical information from a UNC mammography study to computer hackers raised the issue of the security of computerized records. Berger said he’s confident in the measures that have been taken to secure WebCIS.For now, he and his team continually work to improve their program.“The days of doctor’s notoriously bad handwriting are gone,” Berger said.Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
When Charina Brooks, a housekeeper on the fourth floor of Cobb Residence Hall, awoke around 2 a.m. on Sept. 26, she knew instantly something was wrong.She logged in to her computer in an attempt to lull herself back to sleep and learned that a typhoon had flooded the area in the Philippines where her family lives.She returned to work the following Monday, and students noticed she wasn’t her normal, smiling self.“I tried to be strong, but it was hard. I would come to work, but my mind would be somewhere else,” Brooks said.The residents, many of whom said they consider her a part of the Cobb family, immediately stepped in to help.For the past three weeks, they have been working to raise money for Brooks’ family.Sophomore Caitlin Williams, one of the residents leading the effort, said Cobb residents have only raised about $20 so far, but they are working to raise more and are accepting donations from outside the dormitory.“Charina is very sweet, and she’s done so much for us. I thought we should show some gratitude and give something back,” Williams said. “Everyone there needs help, but when you can put a face to the situation, it becomes something that’s affecting our community.”Four typhoons have made landfall in the Philippines in since late September. Typhoon Ketsana submerged almost 80 percent the country’s capital, Manila, and surrounding towns when it made landfall Sept. 26.Brooks said she immediately tried calling her parents and other relatives in the Cainta Rizal province, but the line was dead.“I was really torn up. I didn’t know where they were or if they had food,” Brooks said.Though she received a short e-mail that her family was safe, Brooks said she had to wait three days to talk to them on the phone. The family moved in with neighbors since the house was underwater.Now, more than a month later, Brooks said the water has receded and her family is trying to rebuild their home, but she added that the fear is still there.“My mom said she gets worried when the sky is dark, and that children at school start crying and ask to go home,” she said.Brooks added it’s hard being away from them, but she loves her job and taking care of the fourth floor’s residents. She has worked at UNC for less than a year. She has lived in the United States for the past six years with her husband and daughter.“I think it helps when you enjoy what you do because it shows,” Brooks said. “I really love my girls, and I try to make them at home. It’s the least I can do.”If the heartfelt thank-you notes covering her door are any indication, Brooks succeeds at creating that family feeling.“It’s like having a mom away from home,” resident Molly Matthews said. “She’s more than our housekeeper. She’s like family, and you don’t hesitate to help family.”Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite a high concentration of students with priority registration in communication studies and exercise and sport science courses, administrators and students from these majors said the program is not hindering students’ access to classes.Now in it’s fourth trial semester, the Priority Registration Advisory committee met last week and will meet this week to determine which organizations will receive early registration times this spring.Forty-one student groups totaling more than 900 students were approved for priority registration for the fall 2009 semester. The committee granted 779 students priority registration for spring 2009.Priority is reserved for students who are affiliated with organizations or majors that require they spend a significant amount of time off campus during regular class hours or students with learning disabilities.This includes a range of students including varsity athletes, education majors and nursing majors who are required to intern at the hospital for a semester.Committee chairwoman Roberta Kelly, the interim registrar, said priority registration has had little effect on general student registration.The committee aims to make sure that the number of priority registrants in each section does not exceed 15 percent of the class.“Out of all the sections students enrolled in for fall 2009, only 7 percent of the total number of sections exceeded the goal of 15 percent,” Kelly said.In 68 sections this semester, students with priority registration accounted for more than 15 percent of the class.“But you can’t make a blanket statement. You have to look at it in terms of class sizes,” Kelly added.Many of these sections were concentrated in specific departments. Ten of these sections were in the communication studies department and 12 were in the exercise and sports science department.Of these 12 exercise and sports science classes, 114 of the 503 seats were filled by priority registrants.Some sections had fewer than 10 seats, so one priority registrant made up a significant percentage of the class.Sophomore Kyle Peterson, an exercise and sport science major, said he doesn’t mind that student athletes get priority registration for classes in which he’s enrolled.“They’re students, too,” he said. “It makes sense because they have to balance class with practice.” The committee meets each semester to review applications for priority registration and discuss their progress. The appeals process for organizations who were denied priority registration begins next week.“I think the PRAC works well in terms of maintaining class access for all students,” said Student Body Vice President David Bevevino.Bevevino said during his three terms on the committee, the number of priority students enrolled in classes rarely exceeded the quota of 15 percent.Initially allowing for 25 percent of class seats to be filled by priority students, Bevevino said the committee reduced the percentage to 15 after the first semester based on the amount of applications received.Although the project isn’t up for formal review until 2011, the committee discusses the effects priority registration has on the student body each semester, Kelly said.“If the committee notes sections where priority students are taking too much space in a class, we’ll work with that department to address the situation,” she said.She added that if you look at the big picture, priority registration doesn’t have a large effect on class registration.“Students get a total of a 30 minute advantage for registration,” said Kelly. “I don’t think it has that much of an impact on the student body.”Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
Entrepreneur Ryan Phelan spoke Tuesday to a packed room of medical clinicians and researchers about the benefits of personalized medical care and genetic testing.Phelan was the recipient of the UNC Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy’s 2009 award in patient service. The award recognizes her work as an advocate for genetic testing.“This is the direction health care is going, and UNC is at the frontier of this research,” she said.Phelan spoke at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, which recently received an award of more than $12 million dollars to conduct further research into genetic testing and DNA mutations. Doctors use genetic testing to reveal changes in DNA that can cause diseases and illnesses. Genetic testing can also predetermine a patient’s reaction to certain drugs.Phelan is the founder and CEO of DNA Direct, a San Francisco-based company that serves as an online and personal resource for patients, physicians and health care providers about genetic testing. “I’ve been at this for 30 years, and how patients make health care choices and who pays for them has always been at the forefront of my work,” she said. Phelan said her background in business improves her understanding of all sides of the issue of genetic testing.In 1995, Phelan founded Direct Medical Knowledge, a Web site dedicated to helping patients sift through medical literature to find the information that applies to them. Four years later, the company was acquired by the medical Web site WebMD, and her research became the foundation for the site’s database. “People used to say that my service was only for the worried well,” she said. “But I like to say it’s for the rightly worried.” Phelan estimated there are fewer than 2,000 doctors specializing in genetics, which she said emphasizes the need for creating an accessible database of genetic information.“Our mission is to act as a link between patients, physicians and health care providers to ensure that the patient receives personalized medical care,” she said. She added that too often patients are tested for the wrong illness — and that leads to mistrust from insurance companies who pay for the tests.Through genetic testing, patients can obtain access to drugs that specifically target their disease.“Patients have a role to be their own advocate and we’re here to help.” Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Alyssa Valdez expected to spend this semester in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of an honors study abroad program. But before classes started, she was on a plane home.Less than three weeks after arriving, UNC administrators withdrew her from the program, citing concerns about excessive drinking and allowing a man to spend the night in the group’s house.UNC officials maintain that the incident was handled according to policy.“It’s absurd,” Valdez said. “It’s completely against how a public university should treat its students, especially one as highly regarded as UNC.”Valdez said a Sept. 9 e-mail notified her she was dismissed from the program and listed the charges that led to the decision. She responded to the charges but said a Sept. 11 e-mail had even more accusations.Valdez said Margaret Lee, an associate professor of African and African-American studies who teaches in South Africa, abruptly woke her up the next morning.“She said ‘You’ve been dismissed. Get out immediately or I will take police action,’” Valdez said.Although she admitted to drinking on the night in question, Valdez, 21, denied having anything to do with the man who spent the night in the study abroad house. Lee and other members of the Study Abroad Office declined to comment, in deference to a statement from the University.“Our preliminary review of the facts about this situation indicates that this matter was handled appropriately,” said Karen Moon, a University spokeswoman.UNC policy states that professors or the Honors Program can suspend or remove a student from the study abroad program only in cases of “egregious behavior that poses a threat of disruption of the academic process.”Valdez said although Lee offered to take her to the airport when she was removed from the program, she declined the offer because she hadn’t had a chance to speak to her parents.Valdez knew a family in Cape Town who allowed her to stay with them until she could make travel arrangements with her family.“My bags were on the street when they came to get me,” Valdez said. “My parents didn’t even know the family I was staying with.” Her father, Luis Valdez, said he tried to call emergency contacts when he hadn’t heard from her, but when no one responded, he e-mailed UNC-system President Erskine Bowles.“I Googled UNC leadership so I could get someone of importance,” he said. “I would’ve done a lot more if I didn’t know where she was.”Valdez and her family are planning to meet with UNC officials to discuss the situation later this week. She trying to enroll in classes, and said she would seek an internship if classes aren’t available.Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
When student government officials went out to recruit new members Tuesday night, they were nowhere near the Pit.They were down at Rams Head Plaza on South Campus, hawking flyers and trying to get people to sign up for committees.Student government won’t be the only group raising awareness of their events on South Campus this year. The relocation of group space to Rams Head Plaza is part of a southward push by UNC administrators to help cope with campus space issues.While South Campus houses the majority of on-campus residents, it doesn’t get the foot traffic that the Pit gets between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., its peak hours. Despite that, student leaders said they’re excited to bring more events to where students live.Because a lot of his residents are freshmen and new to campus, Hinton James Residence Hall resident adviser Michael Stanley said more activities on South Campus would be amazing. “A lot of my residents ask me what there is to do specifically in South Campus and I don’t always have an answer,” he said.He added that the walk from South Campus to North Campus deters a lot of students from participating in activities at night. “At the end of the day, students go home to South Campus and there isn’t much to do,” Stanley said. “It would be nice to have more activities down there.” Student Body Vice President David Bevevino said the large amount of visibility and foot traffic through Rams Head and the Student and Academic Services Buildings’ plazas make them excellent venues.In the past, South Campus hosted a block party and “Flicks on the Bricks,” a free movie night during Week of Welcome. But the majority of student activities remain on North Campus.Carolina Union Activities Board President Amanda Kao said South Campus has a lot of opportunities for outdoor activities. “Where the students are is where we’ll be,” she said.Senior Matthew Dawson, who lived in Granville Towers through his junior year and now lives off campus, said he felt South Campus activities would exclude off-campus students. “If the target audience is underclassmen then I think it’s best to hold activities in South Campus,” he said. “But if not, I still feel the Pit is the best location.” Bevevino said getting students from one side of the University to the other could be tough. “There’s a strange barrier between North and South Campus, but we want to make sure that students have access to activities no matter where they live,” he said.Contact the University editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For college women who have answered the call of the goddesses and decided to go Greek, today is a big day.Today marks the kickoff of Panhellenic recruitment week, commonly known as “rush,” a four-round process spread out over five days where aspiring sorority members are placed in organizations. During the process, potential members will visit UNC’s 10 Panhellenic sororities and have the opportunity to talk to current members. Through a process of mutual selection, potential members work with sororities to choose the house and group that best fits them.For many women, this means the possibility of finding more than a new residence at Carolina.Las Vegas native Whitney Cox said she is excited about finding her place at Carolina. With red hair and freckles, the freshman doesn’t fit the stereotype of a Southern sorority member, but she said she’s not nervous.“I think the selection process is based more on personality,” Cox said. “Sure, there’s the obvious fear of rejection, but I like that throughout the process, the girls and the sororities have a say in where they join.”Amid the stress of memorizing faces and names and trying to impress future sorority members, UNC’s Panhellenic Council encourages women to remember to be themselves. Casey Cowan, vice president for recruitment, stands by the advice she received when she was rushing: Ignore the rumors and stay true to yourself. She also advised potential members not to panic but to approach the recruitment process as if they’re making new friends.“You should have an open mind. If you act like yourself, you’ll end up in a house that’s more fitting for you,” she said.Cowan compared the process to applying for college: You may not get your first choice, but you will end up at the best fit.The Panhellenic Council stresses the rules of recruitment — particularly the “no booze, no boys” rule. Members and potential members must abstain from drinking alcohol and socializing with the opposite sex during the recruitment process. The idea is to keep potential members focused on the sorority system. “We don’t want the girls to feel pressured, and the rules create a more relaxed environment,” Cowan said. In light of an outbreak of the H1N1 virus, the council recommends that sick potential members contact their recruitment councilors as soon as possible to make sure they don’t get left out of the process.Despite the nervous energy surrounding rush week, potential members have tried to remain positive. “I look at it as a way to make my best friends and find sisters for life,” said freshman Melanie Williams.
Chancellor Holden Thorp said last week he wants the University to explore the stresses of being in college in the wake of a student’s death.Since junior Courtland Smith told a 911 operator that he had been drinking and trying to kill himself Aug. 23, one particular focus has been on the issue of alcohol and suicide.While Smith did not commit suicide, his death has drawn attention to possible links between alcohol use and thoughts of suicide. UNC lost seven students to suicide between 2000 and 2004, according to a study by the Suicide Prevention Task Force, a group created in response to the rash of suicides at that time. At least three more have committed suicide since then, said Winston Crisp, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs.“You’ve got a lot of people hurting out there that self-medicate with alcohol and drugs,” Crisp said.He said that the number of suicides UNC has experienced is not above the national average.Allen O’Barr, director of Counseling and Wellness Services, said in an e-mail that there is an indirect relationship between suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse.“I can tell you that alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so depression is quite common in people who use excessive alcohol,” O’Barr said.A report published last month on the number of violent deaths in North Carolina in 2006 found 62 percent of violent deaths were suicides, totalling more than 1,100.Scott Proescholdbell, director of the N.C. Violent Death Reporting System, said that of the suicide deaths screened for alcohol in 2006, 30 percent of victims had alcohol in their system.The study also found that young adults aged 20 to 24 had the highest rate of violent deaths, with men being 3.5 times as likely to commit suicide.“There’s usually a cascade of events and sometimes a triggering one,” Proescholdbell explained. “It’s very different from male to female. Males end up using more violent methods.”Counseling and Wellness Services provides therapy sessions and referrals for long-term help in the community.CWS recommends prescribed medication, voluntary time away from school and lifestyle changes as possible solutions to anyone contemplating suicide.Fulton Crews, director of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, said heavy use of alcohol can distort people’s personalities.“One of the things that alcohol does that people often don’t talk about is it intensifies emotional feelings,” Crews said.“Most people know that often, good, honest, sane people do bad, stupid, crazy things when they’re drinking too much.”Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
Because of the current economic crisis" this year's Springfest will have a more ""home-grown"" festival atmosphere.The April 25 end-of-year bash will have free food" moonbounces and performances from Vinyl Records UNC artists Apollo Lake Inferior and Lafcadio" as well as other local groups.""It's how the event was originally envisioned" as a festival" said event coordinator Alex Groneman.Student government's spring music festival committee partnered with Students for the Carolina Way to make the event happen, but they had to jump financial hurdles.While last year's Springfest boasted headliner Boyz II Men and cost more than $60,000, this year's production had to make due with much less — about $14,000. But despite the setbacks, coordinators remain optimistic.We had to make something out of nothing"" said Emily Motley, another event coordinator.Springfest depends on money apportioned from student government, the Carolina Union Activities Board and corporate sponsors. Coordinators cite the economy and budget cuts as the reason for sponsors' hesitancy to donate money. Motley described recent Springfests as a resurrection"" of a Carolina tradition. The event was held for the first time in 2007 since it was banned in the 1990s because of unmanageable crowds and excessive alcohol use. Former Student Body President Eve Carson made reinstating the event a major part of her platform"" and it was a huge success.""Last year it was surreal how much everyone was supportive" Motley said. But this year the University has been taking huge cuts" and we felt it would be fiscally irresponsible to drop that kind of money on one event.""Performer Andrew Rooney" better known as Apollo" said he doesn't mind the ""home grown"" atmosphere.""It's a good opportunity to reach out to a diverse crowd"" Rooney said. He describes his music as East Coast educated hip-hop.""""My goal is to have a balance between something that's entertaining and something that people take a message away from."" Motley encourages students to bring blankets"" spend time with friends and enjoy the blue skies. ""I think it'll be a good snapshot in time to look back and say ‘that band performed at school before they made it big"""" Motley said. ""It speaks more of us as a University."" Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tone of Project Dinah's ""Take Back the Night"" rally — a night of open conversation about sexual and domestic violence — changed throughout the night Thursday from somber to inspirational. ""We want people to be inspired and empowered and get people active about ending sexual assault and domestic violence against women"" said Project Dinah co-chairwoman Jessica Edens. Because of the weather, the annual event — which normally includes a rally on the steps of Wilson Library and a march across campus — adopted a more intimate setting in an upstairs room of the Student Union and drew a crowd of about 50 people.It's a deeply moving experience"" co-chairwoman Christine Andrews said of the event.Stars lined the wall, symbolizing rapes reported on UNC's campus.According to the group, women are four times more likely to be raped on a college campus.The night began with a relaxed atmosphere as attendants pinned on teal ribbons and made T-shirts protesting domestic abuse to display in the Union.But the tone changed as keynote speaker Tanisha Bagley began her story of survival of domestic violence. Bagley stressed that not speaking out empowers abusers, and though her audience listened in rapt silence it was clear that her message hit home.After escaping her brutally abusive marriage, Bagley wrote The Price of Love" a story of domestic violence and empowerment.I do it because I'm here Bagley said of telling her story to audiences. If you live another day" you can get past it."" Since her traumatic experience" Bagley has made a career of sharing her story with others. Proceeds from the novels go toward opening shelters for victims of abuse in North Carolina. Following Bagley's speech Project Dinah members read anonymous testimonies of abuse as a part of reflection and healing.The testimonies could be submitted in boxes around campus or posted on a special blog. Andrews lamented the need for the blog" but she congratulated submitters for their courage and strength in sharing their stories.Project Dinah is named after a biblical character who was raped but never mentioned again. ""Her name is symbolic of the silence"" said sophomore Amanda Curtiss. The organization co-sponsored the event I Love Female Orgasm"" and has partnered with other organizations on campus to prevent domestic violence.The event was supposed to be part of Women's Week" which took place last week but was rescheduled because of rain.Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
Former U.S. Treasurer Bay Buchanan spoke Thursday to a small but rapt audience about the pitfalls of lax immigration laws and a porous southern border.Forceful yet undoubtably educated and impassioned" Buchanan paced the floor from the onset of her hour-long castigation of illegal immigration and multiculturalism.""Anyone who says that immigration is a conservative issue is wrong"" the conservative Buchanan said. This is what we want: secure borders and the laws of the land enforced.""Linking increased gang activity" the decline of the education system and the loss of American culture to a permeable border with Mexico" Buchanan blamed Washington politicians and their ""gutless"" complacency for the deterioration of American society.""That's what happens when you don't do your job"" Buchanan said. We can't sit around and let Washington sell out our country.""Buchanan stressed that war in the Middle East shouldn't be the primary focus of the government because drug wars in Mexico will have an immense and direct effect on America.The Mexican government" Buchanan said is losing its battle against the drug lords" and the ""imminent collapse"" of its government will result in millions of refugees pouring across the border.""The greatest threat isn't Afghanistan. It's right here on our border"" Buchanan said.She also spoke out against the celebration of multiculturalism, which she described as different cultures retaining their identities instead of adopting American culture.The difference between the immigrants that founded the country is that they came to be Americans"" Buchanan said. They melted into the melting pot.""But Buchanan said current immigrants use the language barrier as a way to form their own subcultures instead of integrating into existing society.""When you celebrate diversity instead of union" you start pitting one against the other. It's not something you want to encourage" Buchanan said. Although fiercely conservative, Buchanan's lecture attracted a mix of students and community members from across the political spectrum. As a Republican minority" it's nice to come to a lecture that speaks on the Republican party viewpoints" sophomore Devin Miller said. Buchanan spoke on behalf of the UNC chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, a relatively new organization that tries to counter radical multiculturalism and defend American culture.We believe that radical leftism is dangerous to the cultures of the west"" said Riley Matheson, president of the organization. We care about the assault of our culture.""Buchanan concluded her lecture by stressing that the only way to be certain about a stance on an issue is to debate it"" even if that means being wrong or publicly attacked.""I've been called every name in the book"" said Buchanan, who has been called racist on multiple occasions because of her fierce stance on immigration.The sacred fire of liberty is in the hands of the American people"" Buchanan said, quoting former President George Washington. Learn the issues"" learn them. You have to speak out.""Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A blend of humility humanity and economic savvy" Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus spoke to a capacity crowd Thursday on the value of business driven by compassion and a desire to make a difference in the world.""If we redesign the system piece by piece" we can create a different world" Yunus said.Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work with the Grameen Bank on microfinance in Bangladesh. The bank specializes in giving small loans to the poor and has spread to multiple countries.Dressed in neutral colors with a paternal smile on his face, Yunus didn't look the part of world-renowned bank chief executive, and throughout his lecture he emphasized the difference between Grameen and the traditional banking industry. We looked at the conventional banks and what they do and then did the exact opposite"" he said.Traditional banks in Bangladesh loan to men, but 97 percent of Grameen loans are to women. Traditional banks require collateral and a credit check, but Grameen banks don't do those either.We're not interested in the past of the person" we're interested in their future" Yunus said.And Grameen's future might lie in North Carolina. While in the state, Yunus spoke to a group of financial institutions on implementing a system modeled after the Grameen Bank in the state.We have 9 percent unemployment and 20 percent of North Carolina families live below the poverty level"" said Jim Blaine, president of the State Employees Credit Union, who spoke with Yunus earlier this week. There's a great need for this service here.""In order for Grameen to come to the state" the banking commissioner will have to provide the company with a microfinance license" and Grameen will have to work with existing nonprofit systems in the state.""What's unknown is if a model from Bangladesh will be successful" Blaine said. But it can be done at a low cost" and it is a very good opportunity to help a lot of needy individuals.""It's a part of human nature to be selfish" but it is also equally human to be selfless Yunus said. Thus if people develop businesses on the basis of selflessness they will not be driven by profit but by desire to change the world" he said.""Yunus embodies change and how that change can happen on a grassroots level and impact millions of people"" said Fahmida Azad, president of Aasha, a campus organization that helps alleviate poverty in Bangladesh. Along with the Carolina Microfinance Initiative, the group was instrumental in bringing Yunus to UNC and generating interest in his speech.It was unbelievable"" said the initiative's coordinator, Ryan Leatham. We're all equal in his mind. He's just done amazing things with the opportunities that he's been given.""Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.