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Tag Archives: philanthropy

Northwestern Chemistry Department to be Kicked Off Campus

25 Oct
Students entering the Hippocratic pledge process.

Students entering the Hippocratic pledge process.

EVANSTON–Citing the highly publicized recent death of a Northwestern University sophomore’s social life, The Interfraternity Council has announced its intention to open an investigation into homework-related hazing at the hands of Northwestern University Chemistry Professors.

The announcement came as little surprise, as suspicions have long swirled that the Northwestern Chemistry Professors practice severe hazing.  Rumored hazing rituals include depriving students of sleep, trapping students in an enclosed room and forcing them to memorize senseless facts, and even keeping pre-meds in Tech for days at a time.

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Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: The 13 Types of People You’ll Meet in College

24 Apr
Not listed: That Guy.

Not listed: That Guy.

  1. The Walking College Stereotype

Every sitcom and movie involving college students likes to portray them as rigidly focused students looking for their way in life during the day, and uncontrollable party animals at night. On Wednesday days at 3 A.M., they’re at the library struggling to stay awake – and on Saturday nights they’re at the bar struggling to stay standing. They’ll pull at least two all-nighters every week, eat ramen or fast food for every lunch and dinner, and get blackout drunk every weekend. Some people are like this for the first couple weeks of their freshman year – and others are this person for the entirety of their college lives; however, one thing is certain: you will come across someone like this at some point in college.

  1. Mr. or Mrs. Pre-Professional

This person is always working towards some goal that they had in their childhood.  They’re in the pre-med class, the pre-med fraternity, the pre-med club, and even the pre-med field hockey team. It’s impossible to talk to this person without eventually hearing “When I’m a doctor,” or “When I’m at Harvard Law.” The entirety of their life revolves around their future, and they won’t let you forget it.

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A Comprehensive Timeline of DM Emotions

10 Mar
Oh my god yes! ANOTHER HARLEM SHAKE DANCE!!!

Oh my god yes! ANOTHER HARLEM SHAKE DANCE!!!

A couple things that I had working against me going into DM: I slept like 4 hours a night the week before, and I had 5 cups of coffee the day of (yes I KNOW that you weren’t supposed to do that). I’m also so caffeine dependent that I might as well just take it intravenously at this point. So, like, dsklgjsiojklcxmv nerjeoijwsak. I am one tired motherfucker.

Block 1: I look around the tent. 30 hours in this bad boy. The feeling of “what the fuck have I gotten myself into god I really hate myself sometimes” comes on with the ferocity of an orgo midterm. The music starts. I bob my head with tepid enthusiasm. I should probably conserve energy. After all, it’s 30 fucking hours. I dance awkwardly. I realize that I’m not used to dancing in situations other than The Keg. I hate myself. It’s been 30 minutes. I have completely exhausted all of my dance moves. Ooh snack time! “All dancers with nut allergies please exit the tent.” Awkward, that’s me. They start playing music that people can get into (MY LIFE. WOULD SUCK. WITHOUUUUUT YOUUUUU) and this DM thing is kind of fun.

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A (Late) Review of the Kony 2012 Campaign

13 Mar

The Kony 2012 campaign is garnering far more attention than the Romney 2012 campaign, for better or worse.

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am by the Kony campaign. It’s not because I’m a cold, hateful cynic who hates children. It’s because the video wouldn’t be nearly as viral as it is if people had thought past the initial “Oh my god this man is a subhuman aberration who clearly deserves to be slaughtered in the most slow and painful way possible oh my god how do people even become that horrible oh my god.” And that should be your gut reaction, assuming you aren’t a cold hateful child-hating cynic. Now if you’re rational and logical as well, Step 2 is asking yourself whether you agree with the campaign. I don’t.

Yo, America, remember the last time the entire country suddenly flipped an outraged shit over going to catch a bad guy hiding halfway around the world? It’s okay if you don’t — the target audience for Kony’s video was twelve at the time. Whether or not you support the war in the Middle East today, you know that it had widespread support at the time. Nobody likes people who kill people, unless their names are Dexter or Katniss. Let’s put on our 10-year-hindsight hats.

First of all: does anyone have a post-Kony-killing plan? Because once Kony’s out of the picture, we will have (according to the video) an army of armed, brainwashed, possibly orphaned trained killers. What, pray tell, do we do with them? Yeah, we can return them home — those of them that haven’t killed their parents. But it’s not like we can let ‘em off at the nearest bus stop and pat ourselves on the back — the kids are all fucked up, and kicking their leader out of the picture is not going to save them. If they’ve been brainwashed to think Kony’s the next Messiah, they’re clearly not going to take to a bunch of assholes with a Superman complex trying to save them.

But don’t worry, nobody’s planning on “putting Americans into combat.” If our troops happen to get attacked, we can just tell the Kony Killer Kids that we weren’t actually planning on fighting them. Just stopping them. Problem solved.

As for the campaign itself: It’s been said before, but I’m cynical about the power of middle-class American college students’ Facebook status fads changing the world.* The problem with “awareness” is that it reaches a set point: right now, everyone who’s gonna know about Occupy knows about Occupy. And everyone who’s gonna know about breast cancer knows about breast cancer. At that point, you’re either doing something about the issue or not. Kony 2012 will reach that point.

But, what if “awareness turns into action.” I’m totally on board with them there. So long as you define “action” as letter-writing, calling Congressmen, and pretty much endorsing the message. But if you’re anything like me, you can be aware that you’re an out-of-shape lump of hot cookie bar who couldn’t run 20 minutes anymore let alone 20 miles, make a hearty New Year’s Resolution, plan to multitask on the treadmill with your reading — and still find yourself at Shepard Munchies stress-eating your finals via homemade baked goods and cocoa product. Awareness turns into intention, which sometimes turns into action.

Philanthropy’s easy when all you have to do is type some words on the Interwebz. But as any former philanthropy chair/DM 60-hour-clubber/Camp Kesem counselor can tell you, and as you probably already know, it’s really goddamn difficult to regularly squeeze money and time out of broke overinvolved college kids.** People will forget/“forget” to donate their time, money, and empathy around the same time the Keg starts forgetting/“forgetting” to notice again that your ID belongs to a 5’2” 115 lb Asian.

The viral philanthropy campaign set up by author Parrty Cat.

I’m also annoyed with certain vague, majestic proclamations regarding Ugandan child guerrillas. Prime example: “It’s bad for the world.” First of all, Jason Russell, this isn’t the persuasive essay you shat out at 3:00 AM your junior year because your coffee machine was broken and Starbucks was closed and you couldn’t stay awake any longer. Support your goddamn generalizations or it’s propaganda. Because, second of all, is it really, truly bad for the entire world? Honestly — somebodyisgoingtohatemeforsayingthis — no. It’s really, really bad. But this half of the world is personally affected by things other than Kony. And y’know, that’s why the Invisible Children sentiment is admirable – most anti-Kony campaigners have nothing to gain. Unlike the satisfaction of getting in shape, or taking vengeance on Osama, or having the kids for whom you raised $1.1 million high-five you onstage after 28 hours of anguished feet, the US and its inhabitants don’t gain anything from killing Kony (another reason our government is hesitant to help). Diehard Ko-pponents have their hearts in the right place. It’s the heads I’m worried about.

One thing I’m unclear about, and I ask this because I truly don’t know: why this plan of action? Our narrator gives us a step-by-step tutorial of how we’re going to stop Kony. But why aren’t there alternatives? They need technology and training – why doesn’t IC ask us to send money to the Supply The Ugandan Army With Necessary Shit Fund, instead of having ten middlemen? Is deploying American advisers overseas really our only option, or can’t we bring people here to train them? Who decided on this plan, and why don’t we have a say?

Sidenote: There’s an imaginary New York Times newspaper at about 22:25 in the Kony 2012 video, with the headline “KONY CAPTURED.” But I’m LOLing a little at the second article’s title: “The world agrees, Kony is the ‘Worst’.” I’m not entirely sure why this is amusing, but it might have to do with the ironic fact that the most vile adjective we can think of to label Kony with is “The Worst.” Was “ruthless sack of diarrhea” inappropriate somehow? And Flipside, could you pleaseplease take this and run with it?

I do admire the campaign for its great methods, and I’m not preparing for sarcasm here. Having only 20 “culture makers” and 12 policy makers = 32 public voices is a really, really good way to approach it. You might wonder why they don’t involve more, but what this strategy does is keep responsibility on a few committed individuals, rather than letting the campaign diffuse.*** The committed public’s gonna focus on pressuring those people to continue advocating. But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if our lawmakers are just waiting for the initial outrage to blow over.

The sentiment is nice. Watching it for the first time without feeling the total emotional rush that I know others felt made me wish I could be less of a cynic and believe with all my heart in happy endings and butterflies and peace. I said the same thing after watching The Notebook.**** But that’s not how humans work. And if we aren’t at least slightly more cautious about running in headfirst without a plan for the lasting repercussions after an intervention is over, we haven’t learned a damn thing.

That said, Kony deserves every profanity in the English language and I hope he dies slowly and painfully.

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*Black with hot pink polka dots and a lacy bow by the clasp which is in the front not the back because I enjoy experiencing my boyfriend’s momentary bewilderment.
**Although for some reason, people in Bienen are the best cookie consumers. Sometimes I feel guilty because I should really tell them to save their money for when they’re starving artists and I’m relying on my non-music degree. But it’s all for the kids… right?
***Sherman Ave’s all about the psych terms. Right, Brother Jürgen?
**** You’re not a bird. Neither of you are birds. Get out of the middle of the road. Stop that nonsense. You’re both neurotic and your sex scene was weird. Shave and move on. Where in this movie am I supposed to be crying? Oh, now you have to go and die together. Does that even happen? You suck.