Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sustainability Program to Debut Next Semester

As reported in one of my previous posts, Dominican has a brand new program for sustainability currently in development.

"We're approaching sustainability in an informal, but definitely focused way," said project manager Dawn Morse. "We're going to make it fun, and get people involved."

According to Morse, the project's origins can be traced back to the construction of Parmer Hall in 2007. Parmer's structure follows the LEAD criterion, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEAD is a set of guidelines created by the U.S. Green Building Council that focuses building design on sustainable practices, such as using local materials for construction and using recycled materials in building construction. Parmer Hall has many features which comply with LEAD, including efficient mechanical systems designed to reduce waste, engineered ditches to process storm water without using municipal processing methods, and occupancy sensors designed to turn off lighting, heating and air conditioning when rooms are unoccupied.

With Parmer Hall being Dominican's first official "Green building," it was decided the other buildings on campus could also be more environmentally friendly as well. Older windows in Power and Lewis Halls were replaced recently, to keep more cool and warm air inside the buildings. Campaigns to monitor water use and recycling have also been established. Modifications were also recently made to the heating system in Lewis Hall so that the same aging system could also be converted to support a central air system for the building.

Morse believes reusing existing structures and supplies on campus is key to the program.

"To reuse something is one of the best sustainability things you can do," Morse said of the Lewis heating and air system. "Now we're putting it into a framework of what we can afford and what's important to the world."

Along with construction and recycling initiatives, it was decided that students could also get involved. The program is currently seeking volunteers and an intern willing to lead the program forward.

"We're aiming at younger students, someone who's going to be here a while," said Physical Plant director Dan Bulow. "We want to keep it going."

According to Bulow, the primary goal of the program will be to work with students to develop programs, structures and ideas to make Dominican a more environmentally responsible campus. Students in the program will conduct measurements of energy use on campus, research benchmarks for energy use for schools of Dominican's size, and collaborate with Physical Plant and the university administration on environmentally friendly programs.

According to Morse, students will factor heavily in making new decisions on buildings, and that will start with student involvement in sustainability efforts.

"Getting students involved will be key," said Morse. "With a lot of people doing a little, you can still have a large impact."

The program will see an official launch next semester.

It's Basketball Season!

Today, November 29, 2008 there will be a basketball game at Lake Forest College at 3:00 p.m. The boys need all of the support they can get. The boys celebrated a victory on November 21, 2008 against Greenville College. "I just try to help them develop into the best player and person that they can be so that they are successful once they graduate," Coach White said.

Friday, November 28, 2008

DU Looks to Send Athlete to Leadership Conference

Every year the NCAA sponsors a leadership conference for a selected few NCAA athletes. This year DU is taking a shot at sending one of our athletes to the conference held in Orlando, Florida in May.

According to one of the student-athletes applying, woman's basketball player Melanie Bonifacio , there are four Dominican student-athletes applying. Dominican will then send one to Florida if accepted into the program.

The 2009 NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference will take place May 24 - 27 in Walt Disney World.

According to the NCAA website the Conference "provides NCAA student-athletes with a forum to openly discuss issues that may affect them on their campuses and in their communities, while also providing them with the opportunity to enhance their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills."

(Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Avoiding the subs at the Cyber comes to an end

After growing sick of the subs at the Cyber Cafe last year, I couldn't even look at them this semester and chose the pizzas or the dining hall food over it. Too many times last year I went and ordered the Philly Chicken sub to the point where I really rather not eat that anymore.

This year, a friend of mine said they chose the subs over pizzas because the wait wasn't as long. Logically, it takes longer for the pizzas to be made. But the only reason I opted for the pizza was due to the fact that I could eat it without contemplating throwing it out.

Yesterday (Tuesday), after my 5:30 P.M. night class, I had no choice but to order a sub. I had missed dinner in the dining hall, and two hours before the Cyber closed - there were no pizzas. This may have had something to do with this being right before Thanksgiving break, so maybe traffic was expected to be decreased?

I know at least one friend of mine who was planning to hightail it out of here right after night class Tuesday. I told him I was planning to get something from the Cyber for a late dinner. He said he'd just get something from McDonald's on his way back home. I probably would too if I had the option - I do like their crispy chicken sandwiches...

But despite the sometimes not so great selection in the dining hall, I prefer going there because at least there are more options - it's not just a sub/pizza with chips or fruit. Though a few times, the only thing worth eating was the potatoes or quesadillas; there's always salad. You can't really mess up salad, right?

The Cyber was open until 2 P.M. because of Thanksgiving break and they had limited options (sausage/pepperoni pizza or turkey/ham & swiss sub). I could have ordered a pizza, but I just went with a sub again. I'm guessing months of avoiding the subs has done its job - my appetite for them has returned. The subs are better in moderation though - I really don't think it's a good idea to eat them often during the week because you will grow tired of them.

Anne Marie Barrett, a senior at Dominican, weighs in on what she has heard from others on the food at the Cyber.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

RSA President Discusses Upcoming Battle of the Bands

I sat down with RSA President Jaron Salazar to talk about the upcoming Dominican Battle of the Bands, sure to be an interesting event. Proceeds from this year's event will go toward the American Red Cross.

Applications for bands are currently available from RSA.

Are we helping during the Holidays?

Around this holiday season Dominican offers many different ways that students, faculty and staff can give back to the community. As Natalie had posted earlier, some programs include Adopt-A-Kid and Thanksgiving baskets . Other programs are the NAC (Northern Athletics Conference) Food Drive, Warm Clothing Drive, and the Ronald McDonald Pop Tab Collection.

Each of these programs are great and follow in the Dominican mission...if participated in. This seems to be the main problem for the groups sponsoring these efforts.

Yesterday was the last day for Adopt-A-Kid sign-ups. When I went to choose my children to adopt at 5 p.m., Taylor Eshleman, president of Students Exploring Rewarding Volunteer Experiences (SERVE) said there were still about 100 kids to choose from. She planned on staying at the booth all night, just as long as people kept coming. I ended up adopting a whole family because of how many were remaining.

As I left the booth, I walked past a box for the NAC food drive and noticed it was empty, except for two winter hats. I think the person may have gotten the box confused with the Winter Clothing Drive.

I find this lack of participation in these programs to be disappointing. I understand it is not free and we are poor college students, but is a few dollars to someone in need to much to spare? I don't think it is.

Donate Clothing and Get Something In Return

The Clothing Swap, an event put together by Resident Assistants Jamie Zwijack and Stephanie Foley, allows residents to donate clothes that they don't wear or don't want as well as giving them a chance to find something for themselves out of the items there.

Residents can donate any clothing, accessories or shoes and then come to the event in the Coughlin Commons Resource Room (the CCMPR) Thursday, Dec. 4th, from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. to sort through what's there on the tables. Everything will be sorted by gender and size.

It's a chance to get free clothing/accessories/shoes as a reward for donating clothing.

"It's nice to know you're donating to charity but you can also come and find new things for yourself." says Jamie Zwijack on what she hopes people will get out of the event.

There will be bins available in the Coughlin Commons starting Monday, Dec. 1 through Wed., Dec. 4 for residents to drop off clothing items.

The ultimate goal, according to Zwijack, is to donate clothes to charity. Any leftover items will be donated to charity.

The Clothing Swap did take place last year, but a publicity mix-up caused the event to go forward mostly through word of mouth. Also, it was through Resident Student Association as a Hall Rep program. This year, the two RAs are doing it as one of the programs that RAs have to do each semester (6 programs each semester).

The people who did come and participate last year thought it was a really cool idea despite the last minute publicity. Zwijack is hoping that this year with publicity up earlier, that this clothing swap will be an improvement over last year's.

Clothing items that are gently used or not worn at all are preferred. Zwijack said that any roughly used clothing (i.e. stains are on them) will probably not be laid out on the table, but may be donated to charity.

Rather than just dropping off clothes to donate to charity - who hasn't seen the bin near the Commons desk allowing people to do just that? - the Clothing Swap goes a step further.
Zwijack hopes this will bring people together through coming to the event and "find[ing] new treasures" as the flier says.

Last year, most of the items were scarfs, hats, gloves and a couple pairs of shoes.

The timing of this event (right after the upcoming break) is to give residents a chance to dig stuff out from the back of their closets during Thanksgiving break. That'll make room for clothing received at Christmas...

And though that task of sorting through clothes in your closet might not be fun, at least you know you'll be doing a good thing by donating to charity. The Holiday Season is upon us, after all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Division III Players to Professionals...

To follow up on Natalie's post, I interviewed Mike Haiduc, Jose Garcia and Rashim "Shim" Lettsome.

Jose Garcia is playing basketball in Colima, Mexico which he considers a true dream come true. "A typical day for me is waking up for breakfast at 9 a.m., and then I have practice from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. I then get a break for lunch and a 2 hour nap. Then I usually wake up to talk to my family and my daughter. I then have practice again from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. After that, I will go back to my house for dinner, talk with my family once again and then go to bed," Garcia said. Garcia will be playing for this team until January 2009.

Mike Haiduc is playing basketball in Lemvig, Denmark. Haiduc loves living in Denmark but it was a little bit of a culture shock for him when first moving there. "So far it has been a great experience for me. It's the first time I've really lived on my own and I have loved it. However, I have to do laundry and dishes which was hard to get used to at first. It is not that big of a deal doing it any more. I've also had to learn how to cook a little a bit, which I struggled with for a while but now the meals I make are turning out pretty delicious. It's made it easier that most of the people here speak English so I havent had too hard of a time communicating. I guess this experience has helped me rely more on myself and not so much on others," Haiduc said. Haiduc will be back in Chicago in April 2009 if he does not play for another team after that.

Last but not least, Shim! Rashim Lettsome is playing for the St. Thomas National Basketball Team. He is eligble to play there because he was born in St. Thomas. "If I would have listened to people who told me I would never play basketball after high school, who knows where I would be now? I went from getting beat by a girl, to getting cut, then sitting on the bench, to 6th man, to starting in college and then to an all conference record holder," Lettsome said. Lettsome wakes up every morning and runs on the beautiful beaches of the Virgin Islands. Can we say, lucky?

Lettsome, Garcia and Hadiuc are on the road to a successful future in basketball! Good luck boys!!!

Students Get Hypnotized!

On Friday, November 21, 2008 comedian and hypnotist Frederick Winters was at Dominican's Priory campus. Winters hypnotized about twelve students and made them do a range of activities such as belly dance, act as if they were three years old and dance. Junior Derek Zebb was one of the lucky students who was hypnotized.

Mini-raffle at October's RSA meeting

With Resident Student Association's December Auction coming up in early December, here is a video clip of the mini-raffle that RSA does at every general meeting.

Attendees who sign in are eligible to win free stuff - not as exciting and big as the Auction in December and then in the spring (where you can win gift baskets, iPods, even a mini-refrigerator) - but it's still fun to win something.

This is from October 29th's RSA meeting - the Executive Board is dressed up in their Halloween costumes since it was only a few days before Halloween. Meetings are every other Wednesday at 10 P.M.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Unused Textbook.

They're weighing me down and overcrowding my room.

I realize the importance of over expensive textbooks. I admit that I've learned from them, been moved by them, hated them and have even fallen asleep on top of them.

Even though every one of my classes requires one or more of said textbooks, in half of these classes we have not even used the required textbook. There are textbooks that I haven't even opened since the beginning of the year. I haven't needed to. In some classes, we've used them once or twice; in others they haven't even been mentioned.

I have no problem investing in a book that I will get something out of. The textbooks that I use on a regular basis are, for the most part, insightful. Is it necessary to assign textbooks that students will only need once during the semester, or worse, not need at all?

I want to be more involved with the untouched textbooks that have made their home in my desk drawer(s). Or I don't want to be required to purchase them. These brand new "used" but unused books are taking up space while depreciating in value all of the time. My college lifestyle is expensive enough, and a few hundred dollars may not be much to some people, but could possibly be put to better use.