Are you “green” yet?

Your local supermarket has gone green and wants to know if you have yet. So do the celebrities that can’t stop doing voiceover for Discover Channel specials about global warming. The fuel manufacturers want to know too. Are you buying into the movement?    Are you going to jump on the bandwagon too? I was “green” before it became a trend, and before it subsequently became an exclusive club that you can buy a Prius to gain admission to. Growing up I was always environmentally aware. It’s almost something indoctrinated from birth with in my native California. The impact of a population of about two million people in my hometown of Oakland magnified the effects of pollution in a tangible way. The night sky takes on an eerie red cast from the ever present smog, and light pollution has wiped away the evidence of stars. As a teenager we began experiencing power shortages in the summer. Power grids were overtaxed from the exertion of powering millions of Californians. It was the beginning of rolling blackouts, a practice of intentionally engineered power outages caused by insufficient resources to meet high demands. On the hottest of summer days we would be without power for hours at a time. It was terrifying to confront our own society’s mass over consumption.    Having never lived outside of California, I imagined the rest of the country in the same predicament as us. It was easy to buy into even the most sensational of doomsday predictions. I always felt an urgency to change the world, which is admittedly a lofty ambition. But I like to believe that the basis for all great change is the acceptance of one’s personal responsibility in the matter. I was excited for the advent of the green movement. I thought that it denoted a shift in the perspective of the greater whole. Finally, we were having open discussions about what we intended to do to fix the problems we were creating. Then came the mass market onslaught of green living accessories.   Suddenly, being green became less about changing our ways, but seeking the external quick fix. We are going to buy ourselves a new environment with new cars and organic snack food. Being green is becoming just another trend, a fad that people will shed with the next season’s clothing. Even the movement’s coined title is annoyingly cheesy. We are never going to make a difference until we accept the fact that it may require personal sacrifice. The necessities of the modern American life exceed that of many other cultures. We are a culture of excess. It will open your mind and broaden your horizons. Education is so much more powerful than ignorance. Educate yourself socially. 

Recycling Rocks! Western joins the recycling cause

So it’s begun.   We, as a campus, have finally entered the 21st century and joined the recycling world.     Students can now recycle the following in the bins on campus: white and colored copier paper, “post it” notes, envelopes without windows, computer paper, stationary, manila and colored file folders without labels, notebook paper, forms that use non-carbon reply paper and heavier papers such as card stock. Facilities Director Lonnie Johnson says we should be able to recycle newsprint and magazines in the near future. Bravo! Just in case you didn’t catch last week’s story in The Griffon News, this all got started over the summer by Annette Wright, library assistant, and Victoria Sample, Biology Lab Coordinator.   The ladies helped spearhead the program by forming an ad-hoc committee and presenting  a campus-wise paper recycling proposal to University President, James Scanlon. He backed it with some funding. That was followed by support from the SGA as well. We want to applaud the efforts of all these people. This is a fabulous program and it can lead to Western doing good far into the future. For now though, don’t put the following into those bins: hanging file folders, newspapers, shredded paper, magazines and catalogs, food contaminated paper, candy wrappers, corrougated cardboard, metal, plastic, styrofoam, photographs and other non paper items. So could the offices who regularly shred paper and forms  stop shredding and recyle instead? We love that Western is making a good start on the program. What we’d like to see as we seem to be in competition with Northwest Missouri State on several other fronts -is a recycling program which does more than theirs. It’s a goal. But please, pretty please with sugar on top, get the newsprint thing up and running asap.   With our readership program scattering newsprint far and wide across campus, it would be nice to have a way to get rid of the clutter once it’s no longer being read. And you really should see the amount of magazines that funnel through the residence halls every summer when students aren’t around to get their mail. If recycling those can make some difference somewhere we could do a lot of good. So  hats off for a good start. But please, let’s not wait another decade before moving to the next step.

New president needs good qualities

Get the job done right. We, as students, expect nothing less from decision-makers at Missouri Western. The firm hired to assist in the search for Missouri Western State University’s next president has begun its work and we’d like to submit some ideas to Dr. Allen E. Koenig, senior consultant with R.H. Perry & Associates (RHPA) and to Patt Lilly, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the search committee. Things to keep in mind when searching for a new president: -Be open to women and minorities; be accessible to students as well as your staff and faculty.   We’d like to see you once in awhile and feel like we know our president. -Be ready to address the gap between facets of the student body, like those who live on campus and those who commute or nontraditional students versus the traditional. The two groups need to be dealt with in different ways. Get people on and off campus to enjoy all of the things that this school has to offer. The more people Missouri Western get involved in campus activities, the more school pride each student will have in the university. -You need to be able to unite the student body. -Once that is done, it’s time to move towards building a bridge between the university population and the population of St. Joseph. Western may be within the city limits of St. Joseph, but St. Joseph could not be called a college town. The community doesn’t support the school much and the school doesn’t do enough to get others interested in what happens around the campus. We as a campus community need to be part of the community as a whole, and it will take us reaching out first to succeed in getting the community support that schools like Northwest enjoy. I understand that Northwest is smaller than St. Joseph and there is more to do around this area, but there is no reason why people in this community can’t get excited about campus events in the same way.  It’s a short enough list, but it’s long on the effort and smarts that will be required to see that list accomplished. So please find us someone who can do the job that best represents us, the students and always has ideas of improving what this school has to offer.

There’s a right way and a wrong way

Back in seafaring days it was bad luck if rats abandoned a ship when it was docked at port. The superstition went that they knew something was wrong and the ship was doomed. Well the S.S. Missouri Western saw some rats go over the side this summer.

Jumping Ship

The roster of departures reads: Stan Sweeney, director of student engagement;   Mark Linder, athletic director; Jeff Wilson, director of student employment; Paul Shang, dean of student development; Tim Crowley, counselor and Brett King, director of sports information.  There’s a right way and a wrong way Staff One departure we knew about before the end of the last semester when Dr. James Scanlon announced in May that he would be departing  June 30, 2008. That was classy. Giving us a year’s notice, made sure we had the chance to find the best candidate possible and make whatever preparations are required for such a change.  There was none of this two weeks’ notice before the start of football season, or worse still, sneaking out in the middle of summer. At least we aren’t Missouri Southern State. Their president Dr. Julio S. Leon resigned Aug. 17 after 15 years—effective immediately. Lovely. The other issue here is whether or not it was the employee leaving that was the non-class act or whether it was the administration. If the powers that be had, oh, we don’t know, sent out a mass e-mail to advise returning students that several familiar faces were gone then we’d have been prepared. This seems like it would’ve been useful in the case of the dean of Student Development. Not telling us several familiar faces were leaving wasn’t the best way to do things. No matter where the fault lies, however, the fact remains that it could’ve been managed better. So the question is, how do we view this? Are the rats abandoning ship and we should all prepare to drown? Or is the way being cleared for new blood and a new future? We’ve considered both and even though we seem to be hearing about more problems university-wise than we had in the past—we’ll take the rosier of those two futures thanks. We wish nothing but the best to those who’ve opted to leave the Griffon family. We’re sure they will succeed wherever they go—like we’re sure we will succeed. We have our new university status. We have new funding promised from the state and now we have plenty of open offices available for new talent. As to the future, bring it on!

No Left Turn

You’ve seen it right? When you come into campus via Faraon like we’ve had to do all summer, there is a lovely sign here, just as some people might normally turn left to get into the student union parking lot entrance 50 feet away. No Left Turn.

No Left Turn

So technically, to get into that lot one must drive all the way around the campus to park there. Occasionally there is a Public Safety officer on hand to light up and flag down those awful malcontents that flaunt the sign and turn left anyway. Most of the time though, they have better things to do. So what’s with the sign? “It’s a temporary measure,” said Buildings Supervisor Brian Harrah. “A way to control the traffic flow while the main entrances to the campus are closed. Also, if one person wanted to turn left, they could hold the line up until we have a traffic jam all the way back to Faraon. This is a way to keep traffic moving.” Calls to Campus Safety Director Jon Kelly were not returned for comment. We understand why it’s not enforced. It’s a silly waste of officers time and effort to sit there all day, every day doing traffic stops. What worries us is that people who need to be in the Student Union will cut through Lot H in order to circumvent the need to drive all the way around campus. If those drivers aren’t careful, that could be the site of more traffic problems, from fender benders to full on multi car accidents. The people who cut through the lot will likely be those in a hurry and that doesn’t bode well for traffic safety. So students, watch yourself. With the new year starting, it’s likely that officers will be on hand to enforce the new sign. And in case you haven’t heard, ticket prices are fairly hefty around here. No matter how silly it seems, don’t risk it.