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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 22, 2010 7:30 AM

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University should stay away from 21-only

The University of Iowa has taken a strong stance by supporting the 21-ordinance, which is a huge attempt to limit student’s civil liberties. For some reason, the UI and President Sally Mason believe that they have the right to be involved in student’s lives outside of school.

Why they think they have any business in what students do on their Friday and Saturday nights is beyond me. Downtown is not considered “on campus,” so why does the university have to get involved?

Furthermore, students such as me are paying money to get a quality education from a great school, not for the university to take interest in my social life. Students don’t want the university involved in their business outside of school, so why are we paying them to run programs which AlcoholEdu, which most students don’t want anyway?

I would rather have my school offer more courses that I’m interested in and not have them worry about what I’m doing on the weekends off-campus. It is understandable that the university wishes to keep alcohol off its campus, but again, downtown is not on the UI’s campus.

And if the university really wants to take an interest in student’s social lives, then offer more events on the weekends. There is no bowling alley located on campus, and “Night Games” is rarely offered.

The university basically invites students to go downtown and then gets angry when students do just that.

So please, President Mason, don’t concern yourself with what students are doing off-campus.

Instead, focus on improving academics and offering more on-campus recreational activities that you can police all you want.

Peter Michalik
UI sophomore

Think sustainability

On Earth Day 2008, UI President Sally Mason made a commitment to transforming the University of Iowa into a leader in sustainability. Mason stated, “Sustainability must and will become a central priority of all aspects of our university enterprise — our operations, our academic mission, and our responsibilities to the greater society.” This speech was given in the spring prior to my enrollment as a graduate student at this university.

As I prepare to graduate in May with a master’s degree in Urban Planning, I’ve seen students and faculty accept this challenge. This fall, our department introduced a new initiative for our capstone course — the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities. We’ve spent a good portion of the last year engaging the communities of Anamosa, Columbus Junction, Decorah, and Wellman in conversations on sustainability. Over the summer, students in my program helped connect the IMU cafeteria to local food sources. And as students, we maintain a full-scale recycling program in our departmental space, reducing our impact on the environment.

I also have had the opportunity to volunteer with the Office of Sustainability last spring, and I have continued working with it through this year. Each day, I’m exposed and introduced to new projects across campus, and I am inspired by all the progress that is underway at the university.

Opportunities exist all over campus for students and faculty to becoming involved in this movement. The creation of the Certificate in Sustainability and the new Sustainability Living Learning Community only begin to skim the surface of the opportunities and programs that are fulfilling the sustainability goals of this university.

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day reminds us of the need for environmental stewardship, but it also challenges us to carry the commitment forward — not just on Earth Day, but throughout the entire year. The experiences in sustainability I’ve gained at the UI haven’t come from single events.

They have been integrated into my entire education at the university and as a result, will be integrated into the work I do in my professional career.

Sara Snyder
UI graduate student, urban and regional planning

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