Elbow Update

(written 12/19) Surprisingly, I'm not nervous (at least not yet) about my upcoming surgery on Tuesday. I do, however, keep coming up with silly/ridiculous questions: (answers in pink)
  1. Will I have to wear one of those silly shower caps? yes! but I don't ever remember anyone putting it on.
  2. Can I wear socks, or will my feet just freeze. I got to wear tan, thick socks with grippy thingies on the bottom. They're my new, favorite wear-around-the-house socks
  3. In addition to numbing my arm, will they sedate me? Cause otherwise I think I will talk too much--that's what I do when I'm uncomfortable/nervous. Yeah, they did sedate me too. And I did talk too much until they sedated me :)
  4. Can I eat afterward? I think I'll be hungry cause I can't eat before. yes, but i didn't eat anything till about 7 at night. weird.

The surgery went well! The surgeons found several small pieces of cartilage and also a chunk of loose tissue that they took out. Hopefully (fingures crossed) the stuff they took out of my elbow was the culprit for the pain in my elbow. I wont find out few several weeks though. They put a cast on my arm and I spent a week with my parents and had a loverly time.

Yesterday, I had a check-up and my Dr. took out the stiches and I now have a new splint (it's removable though)

Apparently my recovery is all going as it should. I start physical therapy tomorrow which I'm sure will be quite painful.

(oh, and gorry picture of the inside of my elbow to come--I forgot to ask my doctor for it yesterday.)



I like this word. I thought I got it from South Park, but apparently it was really The Simpsons I'm glad someone finally explained to me why I like it:


Human Rights Campaign and Celestial Seasonings

So, I promised some friends and classmates that I would send this a long time ago. What better time to do it than finals week when I have thousands of more timely things to get done! Although I have not sent this letter until today, I have completely avoided all Hain Celestial Group products since October of 2007. Also, I started with this company since I used to work there and thoroughly enjoy Celestial Seasonings products--but, it's just a start.
December 14, 2008

The Hain Celestial Group
Consumer Relations
4600 Sleepytime Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Dear Sir or Madam:

As a former employee of The Hain Celestial Group I was saddened to learn of the consistently low score that I have seen in the Human Rights Campaign Buyer’s Guide. As an ally to the LGBT community, I feel that it is my responsibility to make wise purchasing choices by avoiding companies that do not actively support this community. You can view the 2009 version of the “Buying for Equality” Guide here: http://www.hrc.org/buyersguide2009/hrc_buyersguide_09.pdf.

I will not be purchasing any products from The Hain Celestial Group until your score is “in the green” (between 80 and 100)



My pretty living room painting

courtesy of my roomie, Yola!

Kaleena's on a posting frenzy!!

So, last night I went with Gopi to a World Affairs Anthenaeum and had an incredible time!

The presenter was Cliff Stoll. He's an astronomer and mathematician (among many things) at Berkeley and his talk was titled, "Extracting Money from the Fourth Dimension".

I was trying to figure out who he reminded me of and I finally figured out that it was Doc Brown from back to the future. (Only Cliff is even cooler)

What an amazing person! The best part about the evening was before supper, Gopi and I were the only people sitting at our table...until Cliff, the presenter, came and sat down with us! We talked about absolutely everything: Gopi's dissertation, parenting, the use of technology in the classroom, astrophysics, and lots more things that I can't even remember. Cliff was genuine, compassionate and hilarious

Once the presentation started, I had to nudge him to stand up and go do his thing (because during the introductions, he was still talking to us and shoveling the last bits of food into his mouth).

The picture at the top is of Cliff holding a Klein bottle. (It's sort of like a 3D version of a Möbius strip) Now here's where I get confused. Apparently a Klein bottle is really a four dimensional object, and the picture shown above is just a 3D version of it. Cliff makes the glass Klein bottles as well as Klein bottle knitted hats Möbius strip scarves and (and that's how he "extracts money from the fourth dimension")

During the talk he quickly became the crowd favorite by drinking some random audience member's coffee, quickly exclaiming that it needed cream and then grabbed a fork and scraped a dollop of frosting off someone else's plate and stirred it into his coffee. Yay for sharing!

If you want a small taste of how awesome this guy is, watch this:

Merry Christmas Deanna

This is your x-mas present--it's from the heart. (It's my water bottle in the trash)

Bye, bye Bisphenol-A

"Prop 8 - The Musical"

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


Turkey-Break Summary

Asha is really adorable

Emily is really smart

I burned my face on gravy

I like my family

I kinda liked cooking, but I think I mostly just enjoyed being with my sisters/mommy

I missed David and Nicole

Contact is an excellent book

Everyone should listen to "Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bells" (originally a record) during the holiday season

Madison, WI is really far away

and cold


Mom's on facebook...hmmm...and cool!

One of my sister's is preggers!!

I didn't help drive at all the whole way home. whoops.

Those U-shaped pillows that go around your neck are really quite nice

I miss my hotel (but not school)

I brought 6 books, but only read 2-ish

I didn't do any homework

It took mom and dad almost four hours to get home from Boulder

And a turkey-day funny:

A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says,"I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.

"Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the father says.

"We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her."

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this."

She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "they're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way !"


Prayer and stuff

I just got a note from a friend who recently had surgery. Here's the last paragraph of the note:

"Anyway, when and if it is determined that the procedure was successful, I will give thanks so loudly that you will hear it no matter where you live. There are so many things that happen to us and so many prayer requests that are answered that we forget to give thanks for, that I want to offer up a most special prayer of Thanksgiving at this time for God bringing me through the operation, for all the prayers that went up for me, for all the friends and loved ones that came to visit me, and for my Love that never left my side the whole time that I was there. Thanks and Praise to our Dear Lord Jesus for all His mercy."

OK, so here's a big area I don't understand/dislike: prayer. (see the last paragraph)

so if surgery is a success, then thank God?

and if not, then he didn't pray hard enough?

what about the people who prayed really, really hard (or are really, really "worthy"), but still get don't get healed?

it seems that we (as humans) have the tendency to remember the hits and forget the misses. (i.e. remember that time when you had a feeling to turn left instead of right and narrowly missed and accident, but forget all the times you've had an accident and God didn't give you a special little feeling.

anyways...thanks for reading my rambles.


My Dirty Little Secret

(I currently have about 5 posts in the "draft" stage. I've decided that I should finally post a few and move on...please excuse the rambled-ness)

I watched The Secret last night, and I feel a little guilty to admit that I liked it. (especially since I have made fun of people who said they believed in the "secret") I mostly like the "Law of Attraction". I think that there is tons that we have yet to understand about the brain--especially the mind-body connection.

The part I didn't like was the idea that you can "manifest" things (a red bike or a $1000 check were the examples in the movie.)

I think I'm going to find some Eckhart Tolle, Jerry and Esther Hicks and Wayne Dyer to read next...sweet


Junk to Explore 3

Oh my goodness!! I need to get going!!

-The reason for God, Keller
-Stuff White people like, Lander
-The little book of atheist spirituality, Huston
-The accidental asian, Liu
-Thank god for evolution
-americans in waiting, hiroshi
-mindless eating, wansin
-2001: a space odyssey
-Labor of Love, Beatie
-The Final Inch, documentary
-Soul Made Flesh, Zimmer
-A People's History of the US
-mississippi burning
-sex and lucia
-nothing to be frightened of
-nothing: something to believe in
-1 Atheist, 1 Voice
-god on trial, pbs
-babylon by bus
-trick or treatment
-something by Kurt Vonnegut
-god in the white house, balmer
-boxing for cuba, guillermo vidal
-look back to yesterday
-bless all the dear children
-the last farewell



And...from "Stuff White People Like" (I'm reading the book right now)

An interesting fact about white people is that they firmly believe that all of the world’s problems can be solved through “awareness.” Meaning the process of making other people aware of problems, and then magically someone else like the government will fix it.


Colorado Voting

Hey everybody!

I got my mail-in ballot a few days ago and i just wanted to pass on some of the resources that I've been using to complete the super-long ballot. Enjoy!

30-minute video debates on each amendment and referendum from Rocky Mountain PBS:

Full-Text of each amendment and referendum:
10-15 minutes discussions from Colorado Public Radio:

Rocky Mountain News (you can select race or issue under "voter's guide" in the right column


I am a Front Desk Agent

(I found this while cleaning up the front desk computer at the hotel...It's amazing how much is Sooooo true!)

"I am a Front Desk Agent"

I have advanced degrees in Accounting, Public Relations, Marketing, Business, Computer Science, Civil Engineering, and Swahili. I can also read minds.

Of course I have the reservation that you booked six years ago even though you don't have the confirmation number and you think it was made under a name that starts with "S".

It is completely my fault that the blizzard shut down the airport and you have to sleep in a warm king-size bed while 5000 of your co-travellers are sleeping in benches at the airport. I am sorry.

It is not a problem for me to give you seven connecting, non-smoking, poolside suites with two king beds in each, four rollaways, 3 cribs, and yes, I can install a wet bar. I know it is my fault that we do not have a helicopter landing pad.

I am a Front Desk Agent. I am expected to speak all languages fluently. It is obvious to me that when you booked your reservation for Friday on the weekend we're sold out that you really meant Saturday. My company has entrusted me with all financial information and decisions, and yes, I am lying to you when I say we have no more rooms available. It is not a problem for me to quickly construct several more guest rooms. THIS time I will not forget the helicopter landing pad. And it is my fault that everyone wanted to stay here. I should have known you were coming in, even though you had no reservation. After all, you stay at our brand of hotel all the time, 300 nights a year, and this is only the first time you've ever been to our city.

I am a front desk agent. I am quite capable of checking three people in, two people out, taking five reservations, answering fifteen incoming calls, delivering six bath towels to room 625, plunging the toilet in room 101, and restocking the supply of pool towels, all at the same time. Yes, I will be glad to call the van driver and tell him to drive over all the cars stuck in traffic because you've been waiting at the airport for 15 minutes and you've got jet lag.

I am a front desk agent, an operator, a bellhop, houseman, guest service representative, housekeeper, sales coordinator, information specialist, entertainment critic, restauranteur, stock broker, referee, janitor, computer technician, plumber, ice-breaker, postman, babysitter, dispatcher, laundry cleaner, lifeguard, electrician, ambassador, personal fitness trainer, fax expert, human jukebox, domestic abuse counselor, and verbal punching bag. Yes, I know room 112 is not answering their phone. And of course I have their travel itinerary so I know exactly where they went when they left here 9 hours ago, and what their cell phone number is.

I always know where to find the best vegetarian-kosher-Mongolian-barbecue restaurants. I know exactly what to see and do in this city in fifteen minutes without spending any money and without getting caught in traffic. I take personal blame for airline food, traffic jams, rental car flat tires, and the nation's economy.

I realize that you meant to book your reservation here. People often confuse us with the Galaxy Delight Motel, Antarctica. Of course I can "fit you in" and yes, you may have the special $1 rate because you are affiliated with the Hoboken Accounting and Bagel Club.

I am expected to smile, empathize, sympathize, console, condole, upsell, downsell (and know when to do which), perform, sing, dance, fix the printer, and tell your friends that you're here. And I know exactly where 613 Possum Trot Lane is in the Way Out There subdivision that they just built last week.

After all, I AM a Front Desk Agent!


Star Trek Movie!!!

Star Trek XI is scheduled to be released May, 08 2009. Apparently it's about the early years and how the characters in The Original Series met. I can't wait!!

I miss Star Trek and Wish they'd make a new series...


Name Game

So, each time I join a new group (my new job is the one I'm referring to this time...) about half the people learn how to pronounce my name correctly, and the other half do not. And the ther is usually a "pronunciation battle" for a few weeks until I get disenchanted. I try to gently correct people but my requests seem to be ignored after the second or third correction.  Uggh, I never know what to do at this point.

My new job has a message board where anyone can post questions/comments/concerns. What do you think about just a general post:

This is how you pronounce my name:


International Day of Nonviolence

The International Day of Nonviolence is today! October 2 the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

So go out and smile at some strangers and tell your friends about the International Day of Nonviolence and spread peace!

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
~Mahatma Gandhi


The Craziest Thing Just Happened

I was sitting on my balcony when I heard a big thunk coming from above me. Then a fluttering noise and then a thud on the ground.

I crept towards the edge and looked over. A bird apparently hit something. (Ran into someone's glass window?) and then fell to its death.

But then, it slowly raised its head and looked around a bit. I watched it for awhile and then decided to go grab my camera to take a picture. But when I got back the bird was gone!

I guess it made it after all and flew away!


Junk to Explore 2

Just Another list of authors, topics, books, and movies that have been recommended for me to check out:

illustrated elements of style
human light
polar bear club
recommendation for chuck
milan halek
seeds of compassion
Al Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right called "Savin' It!" In it,
Unaccustomed Earth.
Lily Dale : The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead
The Fall of the Evangelical Nation.
David Sedaris--when you are engulfed in flames et al
BCC documentaries
heart of darkness
apocolyse now
the devil came in horseback
chavez-inside the coup, movie
the story of stuff, movie
"Côte d'Azur" ("Crustaces et Coquillages"), movie
20 cm, movie
black gold
st dsn season 5
darfur now
Pledge of Allegiance Blues
Atheist tapes
a history of disbelief
For the Bible Tells Me So
Beauty Mark, documentary
flow, documentary
blue gold
blue covenant
golden compass
undercover economist
I am America and so can you
The skeptical environmentalist
poisonwood bible
hunt for red october
there is a god
unaccustomed earth
dinner iwth osama
the fall of the evangelical nation
the god delusion
why we fight, jarecki
Miami Model, movie
peace day, movie
born again, movie
Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, Michael Dowd
King Corn, movie
towelhead, movie
When Corporations Rule the World by David Korten
Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God
The Road
Apocalypse How
Les Miserables
Center for Student Organization packet
Gangs of NY
civil versus criminal law
rosewood, move
Ward Churchill
holocaust versus genocide
zapatista reader
definition of secularism
convalescent, fecundity
John Perkins (American Imperialism, Confessions of an Economics)
The smell of old lady perfume
children of men
requiem for a dream
the fountain
angels in america
deblernes, louis-carellis mandalin
bajo juarez
casa amiga
black madonna
cradle to cradle
the daughters of juarez, rodriguez
the killing fields, valdez
overthrow, steven kinser
richard clark
cato institute
myths of migration
pastors for peace
us embargos
mexico solidarity network
history of mexico
future of food
go ask alice
brave new world
Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson
Jewel of Medina
Dragons of Eden
Salvation Boulevard
street fight
...so goes the nation

This makes me really mad!

The Pulpit Initiative is Sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. On a video that I watched on the ADF website, many of the pastors talked about biblical truth and how they were simply professing biblical truth.

"Those things that He stands for are worth us taking a stand for." (pastor from video on ADF website) 

"No pastor should fear the IRS. When a pastor speaks scriptural truth, and directly addresses the issues embraced by a party or a candidate and the IRS threatens the church's tax exemption then to protect his constitutional rights and the church's constitutional rights he should call the Alliance Defense Fund." (Also from the video on ADF website)

So, the thing I'm confused about is how they could think that a church has constitutional rights? I have no problem with preaching politics from the pulpit as long as you just remove the tax-exemption status.


New Study on Abortion Reduction

The heated abortion debate has up to this time been focused on legal measures. A new study commissioned by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good concludes that government social spending and economic conditions do more to reduce abortions than legal strategies such as parental consent laws.

Joseph Wright (Penn State University) and Michael Bailey's (Georgetown University) examined the dramatic drop in abortions in the 1990s. The results are significant. States that spend more generously on nutritional supplement programs, for example, could see up to 37 percent lower abortion rates. Other factors such as cutting welfare more slowly and higher male employment rates had a 20 to 29 percent reduction rate.

The negative approaches don't seem to work. Welfare caps on children born while on welfare and laws requiring parental consent for minors have only negligible impact. The study concludes that "pro-family policies reduce abortions."

Both Republicans and Democrats should take note. The authors estimate that increased welfare payments and less Medicaid funding for abortions could lower the current abortion rate by 37 percent.

by Mary Nelson via [God's Politics]


Nizhoni Raíces

In my INVST cohort, today we came up with a mission statement that is to represent the 8 of us in our cohort as we move forward in our lives.

I'm excited because it took a few weeks to develop since we used consensus-based decision making to decide on each section of the statement.

Here it is:

From our beautiful roots, we radiate hope, love and passion as we live for social justice and infinite possibility. We critically engage with the world and constantly seek to empower and mobilize ourselves and our communities in order to deconstruct oppressive realities and transform our society.



So I just listened to this really great podcast!

Spirituality. What does that word really mean? This summer, when I was in Mexico, we talked a lot about spirituality and how people from the U.S. may be may economically rich, but may also suffer from "poverty of spirit". This summer we also talked about how there are different types of poverty and each person can have strengths and weaknesses in each of these area:

Types of Poverty:
1. Economic Poverty
2. Bodily Poverty
3. Mental Poverty
4. Cultural Poverty
5. Spiritual Poverty
6. Political Poverty
7. Societal Poverty

Back to the podcast I just listened to:

It's called "Point of Inquiry" and this particular episode was titled "Thank God for Evolution"

Rev. Michael Dowd shared that in order to work towards uniting the world, we need a common "creation myth" and that creation myth can and should be evolution. He also had a non-supernatural view of God that I'm interested in learning more about in my quest to be a more "spiritual person" (whatever that means)

He also talked about heaven and hell as something that we can experience here on this earth (again, not supernatural). I can really get on board with that idea too.

I look forward to listening to part two "The Marriage of Science and Religion"

Thanks for reading...
~Ever Confused

P.S. What does spirituality mean to you?

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

(Note from me: This article was sent to me by a close friend. I find this article to be really inflammatory, but also wonder if are bits of truth in it. In the past few months I've been doing a lot of reading about affirmative action/racism/white privilege on both sides of the issue. So, in short, please consider the article below simply as some points to ponder. And I would appreciate your thoughts too!)

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
by Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend five different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while if you're black and believe in reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school, requires it), you are a dangerous and mushy liberal who isn't fit to safeguard American institutions.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives close to Russia--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and then Harvard Business school, and yet, still be seen as just an average guy (George W. Bush) while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then to Harvard Law, makes you "uppity," and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and that's OK, and you're cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."

White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and even ask whether or not you ever sold drugs.

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you "dangerously naive and immature."

White privilege is being able to say that you hate "gooks" and "will always hate them," and yet, you aren't a racist because, ya know, you were a POW so you're entitled to your hatred, while being black and insisting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because a lot of white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.



So, I found my old template through google cache, but it's needs cleaning up to use it again. Anyone know how to do that?

Some Random Notes...

1. I watched Ocean's Eleven--the 1960s version. I had no idea that the 2001 version was a repeat--same character names and everything! I'm a little disappointed cause I thought Ocean's Eleven was so clever...

2. I have all kinds of neat-o things to post from my trip to Mexico. Look out for it. It wont be for awhile because of the business of school starting and my new job at the hotel next door. Yay!

3. I was messing with my blog template this morning trying to add some fanciness and I royally messed it up. I managed to save the template, but then being the obsessive deleter that I am I deleted it before I was even done updating. whoops. I think I have a copy of it on my home computer that I will try to find this afternoon because I really like my template!

4. I'm going to try to post more about interesting things in my life. We'll see how that goes. (most likely in list form--cause that's how my brain works...)

5. Watch Obama's acceptance speech tonight! It starts at 8:00PM MST. Yay!


Affirmative Action: Institutionalizing or Eliminating Racism

(note: this is an issue that I am constantly working on, learning more and evolving. If you would like to know my current stance, please ask.)

More Questions than Answers?

As a white, female student, I have often been told that I will "do well" in the engineering profession. While still in high school, I was a part of "Project-Lead-the-Way", a pre-engineering pathway that encouraged students to take high-school level engineering courses. Early in the program, one of my teachers told me that I would have no problem getting a job after I graduated because I was a women. But, why should my gender have anything to do with professional success in the engineering field? After I graduate, I do not want my employment status to be based on gender, race or other attributes not of my choosing. (Note: The sentiment expressed by my high-school teacher has not been unique. People of all genders have also expressed similar opinions throughout my college career.) This attitude is held widely as an outcome of affirmative action. I am outraged that as a female engineering student, I have access to special studies areas, scholarships and other resources that are not easily available to my male peers.

History of Affirmative Action. Affirmative action is a term that includes many policies and initiative that serve to "overcome the effects of past or present practices, policies of other barriers to equal opportunity." Affirmative action started with best of intentions: to remedy the effects of undisputed past discrimination. Also, secondary purposes of affirmative action are to encourage publicly funded institutions to be more representative of their communities and to enhance diversity. The addition of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the state shall not "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws...", laid the groundwork for affirmative action by validating that "all men are created equal". In 1964, the Civil Rights Act enforced the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by outlawing segregation and creating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This Commission, "tasked with ending employment discrimination in the United States", also provided guidance for the implementation of affirmative action programs. Originally, taking affirmative action meant ensuring that a certain percentage of a staff or university was composed of racial minorities. However, the Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke eliminated this practice in favor of Bakke who claimed the quota systems kept him out of the University through reverse discrimination. While eliminating racial quotas, this court case upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action through other means.

Academic Programs Targeting Minority Students. Within the University of Colorado at Boulder, there are several academic programs that target historically underrepresented students. Both the Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) and the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP), are student programs "that are focused on increasing the diversity of the engineering student population and providing a supportive climate". (CU Engineering Diversity Plan) The mission of WIEP is to foster the success of women in engineering by recruiting, retaining, and encouraging students. And, the mission of MEP is to recruit, retain and graduate students who are culturally underrepresented in the fields of engineering and applied science.

While the University "takes affirmative action to increase ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity; to employ qualified disabled individuals; and to provide equal opportunity to all students and employees" (CU Equal Opportunity Policy), the University's non-discrimination statement declares that:
UCB provides equal opportunity for all students and applicants for admission and for all employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, age, or sex, except where sex or age is a bona fide occupational qualification. Discrimination on the basis of disability in educational programs and activities and employment at UCB is prohibited.
By targeting minority students (current and prospective) are we discriminating against those students in the majority?

Under the Chancellor's Leadership Residential Academic Program is a subprogram: the Ethnic Living and Learning Community (ELLC). The ELLC is a "living and learning community" that supports "multiracial living" and "develops culturally competent leaders who practice an ethic of civic and social responsibility". A requirement for participation in this program is first-generation status or racial minority status. By separating these students from the general population, the students enjoy the psychological safety that comes from sharing an experience with other students from similar backgrounds. But, if all students are to benefit from a "climate of diversity", how does keeping minority students separate from general student population add to that climate?

Colorado Civil Rights Initiative. This November, Coloradans will be voting on an amendment to the State Constitution. The proposed text to Amendment 46 is as follows:
"The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting"
This Amendment would effectively eliminate all state-sponsored affirmative action programs. Similar statements have already passed with an overwhelming majority in California, and Washington. And (along with Colorado) Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma all have similar petitions for the fall. Proponents of the Amendment are calling it the "Colorado Civil Rights Initiative", while opponents to the Amendment believe that this misnomer indicates that being pro-affirmative action means that you are anti-civil rights. For academic programs that target minority students, the most noticeable change would be that scholarships ear-marked for minority students would need to be funneled through private channels.

Language. One side calls it affirmative action and the other calls it reverse discrimination or preferential treatment. Are we all saying the same thing? Do we all desire the same end result? Minority/Majority, 1-up/1-down groups, Overrepresented/Underrepresented, and Oppressors/Oppressed are all different terms for explaining the same thing.
Rather than debating affirmative action, let's strive for understanding rather than talking over each other. We might be surprised to realize that we have more in common then we have different. (Note: even the participants of debates seemed to be carefully chosen from all minority backgrounds so as not to appear that the only the white-male is against affirmative action.)

White Privilege. On many different occasions, I have not felt valued because of my skin-color. When filling out optional forms regarding demographics, I often leave the "ethnicity" section blank since I worry about the negative impact that this selection may have. Every individual has been affected (positively or negatively) by affirmative action policies. I can think of many examples where affirmative action has given me an "unfair" advantage over others. But, when thinking about affirmative action, I often ignore an important concept: white privilege. White privilege is a term used to describe the historic advantage that white people have over other ethnic groups. It differs from racism in that I may be unknowingly be receiving benefits from my "whiteness". This is important because it blankets an entire race when on an individual level, members of this group may or may not be prejudice. Similar to white privilege, I think that affirmative action blankets an entire group regardless of individual circumstances.

Color-Blindness and Diversity. "Now, I don't see race...People tell me I'm white, and I believe them, because I own a lot of Jimmy Buffett albums." The character of Steven Colbert, a political satirist and host of The Colbert Report, describes himself as racially colorblind. But, is a racially color-blind society a desirable outcome? Striving to completely ignore is not only a cheap cop-out, but it also ignores all areas of difference. I agree that "A climate of healthy diversity is one in which people value individual and group differences, respect the perspectives of others, and communicate openly." (CU Diversity Plan) The University (and I) feel that greater diversity will enhance the quality of UCB and enrich understanding between students, employees and the entire community." In addition to overt characteristics such as race and gender, we should also strive for more covert characteristics and "diversity of thoughts".

Are we there yet? Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama marked an important historic first: the inclusion of two different minority groups as potential presidential nominees. Is this a result of affirmative action? Currently, Barack Obama, (the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party) is the first African American of a major political party to have a chance at the U.S. Presidency. As seen by this campaign, our social practices have not yet to catch up with our social awareness. If we were already "there", Barack Obama as president would not seem like such a revolutionary idea. If affirmative action was necessary at one time, when will it no longer be necessary?

Solutions. Is it time for post racism? To move beyond race, class, gender, et cetera? In order to move beyond race we must affirm that we are ultimately all members of the human race. "Like many other policies, affirmative action is not optimal, but necessary. It is only a means to an end and not an end in itself" (Wu 172). Rather than having a blanket policy that affects groups, let's have policies that support the individual. ("We should apply specific remedies for specific victims of discrimination." (Chavez, 314) Rather than waiting until the college level to right the historic wrongs, let's put more funding into primary and secondary education. Rather than having academic programs that target specific minority groups, let's have a Diversity Center that affirms the need for all types of diversity. Rather than striving for retention of minority students, let's strive for a sustainable structure that desires to retain all students.

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
(John Lennon)

Works Cited
Affirmative Action Debate. Perf. Dinesh D'Souza, Frank Wu. Videocassette. C-SPAN; Brown University ; Purdue Research Foundation, 1997.
Chavez, Linda. "Promoting Racial Harmony." The Affirmative Action Debate. Ed. George E. Curry. Addison-Wesley Company, 1996. 314-325.
Curry, George E., ed. The Affirmative Action Debate. Addison-Wesley Company, 1996.
D'Souza, Dinesh J. The End of Racism. Free P Paperbacks, 1995.
"Diversity Plan." University of Colorado At Boulder. .
"Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy." University of Colorado At Boulder. .
"Is It Time to End Affirmative Action?" NPR. .
"Nondiscrimination Statement." University of Colorado At Boulder. .
Wu, Frank H. Yellow. Basic Books, 2002.


Believe Me, It’s Torture

"How does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere. VF.com has the footage. Related: “Believe Me, It’s Torture,” from the August 2008 issue. "



I know I haven't posted in forever, but this was too funny to keep to myself.

Oh my goodness! He's really bridging the age gap now! Watch out! (I found it thanks to the Daily Show.



Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us everyday.
- Sally Koch


You know you listen to NPR too much when...

You hear news clips on the internet at home before they are even broadcasted in your area on the way to work!


Happy Poop for Peace Day!!

For there to be peace, there must be understanding. For there to be understanding, there must be a common ground. But the further the chasm deepens, the more fundamental to basic human nature the common ground has to be.

And so we poop for peace.

Poop is the one experience all human beings have in common. We may have varying ideas of God and politics, but the power of an impending poop is a higher calling to which every human must answer. Side by side in a public bathroom, any two human beings are stripped of their differences and reduced to their most basic essence: a pair of feet sticking out below the stall, and a pair of butt trumpets performing a greasy symphony to lament humanity's non-negotiable deference to the call of the vile.

(Poop for Peace!)



Be wise in the use of time. The question in life is not how much time do we have. The question is what shall we do with it.

- Anna Robertson Brown, author


Help us get to Mexico...BASH!

I'm a little bit nuts!

Thanks Susie!

You Are a Cashew

You are laid back, friendly, and easy going.
Compared to most people, you have a very mild temperament.
You blend in well. You're often the last person to get noticed.
But whenever you're gone, people seem to notice right away!
What Nut Are You?


Why I'm voting for Barack Obama

If you haven't had the chance to watch this yet, please do so soon. Yes, it's 37 minutes, but it's worth everyone one of them:

And if that doesn't convince you...there's always this:

(Just Kidding, I just always get it stuck in my head at the worst times)

3 years ago, I voted on just one issue--abortion. While this is still an important issue to me, I realized that I made a big mistake. I didn't even look at the rest of each candidate's platform and voted ignorantly....I hope this year I can make a much more informed choice!


Waaah! I feel poor!! (Adventures in Taxes)

My dad called this afternoon with some tax questions. He told me that he was finally getting started and he inspired me to do the same!

Oh man, I just combed through this giant stack of papers to find all my W2s and alas I got to the bottom of the stack and they were nowhere to be found...

But I did find my 2007 Colorado Income Tax Guide! Neatly stacked inside was all my W2s and 1098T! I'm more on top of things than I realized!

It only took me about an hour (I hate when I put things off for months and months and they only end up taking a little bit of time. When I finally finished, I sadly realized that I was only $77 away from getting a tax rebate. Also, my refund was very, very small. Generally it is considered a good thing to keep your free loans to the government to a minimum, but I am missing the days of christmas in may!

Anyways, if you haven't done your taxes yet, just do it. It's not that bad. And if you make under $30,000 (I'll just take a stab in the dark and say that most of my friends fall in that category) then you can you Freedom Edition of TurboTax for free!


With summer just around the corner, I'm getting excited about traveling! But will my summer travels be detrimental to the environment? Without making conscience choices about my travel, it's quite possible.

Eco-tourism is tourism that appeals to both the environmentally and socially conscience individuals. Can tourism really help the environment?

"Does the very act of observing something change it? Probably."

As you can see, tourism in Antarctica is on the rise. This can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. Antarctica's pristine nature makes it an idea travel location for the explorer, but by going to these remote locations we can impose on its untouched beauty? However, increased tourism has helped to clean the continent. 20 years ago, there was little regard for the impact that humans had on Antarctica, but now, even if just a plastic bag is thrown of a ship, that ship will turn around to retrieve it!

The next time you travel, please reflect on the total cost of your trip: The monetary cost of your plane, hotel and rental car plus the cost of each of those things on the environment. Your travel choices can make a difference!

What Can I Do?
  • Follow "Leave No Trace" principles when in the natural environment
  • Calculate the carbon footprint of your trip, and then...
  • Offset your carbon footprint. (Expedia and Travelocity even have options to offset your flight right when you purchase your ticket!)
For more information, check out the following sites:
NPR: A Changing Antarctica Draws 'Doomsday' Tourists
Sustainable Travel International
NPR: Penguins Helped and Hurt by Changing Climate


Joke from Jenn...

What does The Enterprise from Star Trek and toilet paper have in common???

They both circle uranus and they fight klingons.

Honor Among Shrinks

After attending a conference on professional ethics, four psychiatrists walked out together.

One said, "You know people are always coming to us with their guilt and fears, but we have no one to go to with our problems." So why don't we take some time right now to hear each other out?" The other three agreed.

The first psychiatrist confessed, "I have an almost uncontrollable desire to kill my patients."

The second psychiatrist said, "I find ways to cheat my patients out of their money whenever I can."

The third followed with, "I'm involved in selling drugs and often get my patients to sell them for me."

The fourth psychiatrist then confessed, "You know, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to keep a secret."


Bittersweet Birthday

Last Wednesday was by birthday. I had a wonderful day full of friends and fun but, for the last 5 years, my birthday has been bittersweet as it marks the anniversary of the Iraq war.

The total US military causality count is now at 3996. But, if you are counting "military" losses, don't forget to count the causalities of contractors (Private Military Company) The use of contractors today is ten times what it was during the gulf war and for every 4 soldiers that die, a contractor dies. As of May 2007, the total death of contractor life was 917.

But, which life is more valuable: the life of an American? or the the life of an Iraqi or Afghanistani? (Hopefully you will answer that they are equally valuable) Yet, often I think we forget how many non-American's have lost there life as a consequence of the war.

From the different websites I looked at, I found quite a range 80,000 (civilians only) to 400,000 Iraqi causalities as a result of the Iraq war!

Also, I think it is very important to note that medical advances have severely reduced the number of causalities. (Medical Advances Cut Combat Deaths In Iraq And Afghanistan) This article says that "the survival rate is 90% or higher--a significant improvement even since the Gulf War in the early 1990s".

A few sites to check out:
The Toll of War
Iraq Body Count
Contractor Deaths in Iraq Soar to Record

But, I'll end with a little humor...

(Wait till the end (or skip to it...either way, the end is funny)


Boulder County Democratic Party Assembly and Convention

SO, I had a super long day on Saturday as I was a delegate from my neighborhood for Barack Obama for the Boulder County Assembly and Convention. We also got to vote for who would be on the ballot for State Senate, U.S. Senate and U.S. House. It was interesting to see how democracy really works in America.

I tried to run to be a delegate to the next level (the State Democratic Convention) in hopes of becoming a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, but I quickly realized that it would be next to impossible to gain one of the coveted 70 or so spots that Colorado gets to send to the DNC.

Much of the day was spent waiting--waiting to get into the auditorium, waiting to vote, waiting for the votes to be counted, waiting to figure out where to go next. It was a true test of my patience. The only thing that kept me going was realizing that the only reason it was so slow was because of all the first-time participants in the political process. (Like me!)



"When you stand still, you reject the struggle, and you refuse to change and grow. Ultimately, you reject fulfillment, happiness, the dance for joy and everything else that is eternally good."

- Matthew Kelly, classical actor and game show host

Taking the path to personal growth

Action is the only way anything ever gets done. Sitting around and waiting for life to happen to you will only guarantee one thing: that you're not going to end up with a life you love. By waiting, you can react to what's tossed your way and nothing more. It's easy to take a passive approach to life without taking chances. It's easy to fall into a rut and do the same things the same way all the time. Change is sometimes hard, but it's change that will reveal all the wonders that life has to offer. You can break out of your set ways by taking action. Try doing the same thing a different way. Jump in with both feet and learn something new. Ask a friend to teach you a skill they're good at. Grow as a person and your world grows with you.

(Not my words, from SparkPeople)

The Consumer Paradox

Scientists Find that Low Self-Esteem and Materialism Goes Hand in Hand


Graffitti: A Public Menace.

Oh man, I saw this today and could not stop laughing...

Google Analytics and Me

So, today I got all exciting that someone found my blog through a google search.

And then I realized that someone was me...Nope. Not internet famous yet.

Maybe tomorrow

P.S. I thought I made up the term "internet famous", but it's in urban dictionary. Apparently I'm behind the eight ball there too.

A roller coaster of a weekend.

In a particularly low moment during my weekend, this podcast came up on my mp3 player. It made my day:

You can check out more essays at NPR: This I Believe


Cause for an entry...

I found out at about 5:30PM today that one of my cousin's took his life late last night. I'm so overwhelmed already with school, work, life, my elbow that this is just too much. I don't even know what to think right now except that this really sucks. He is actually my "first cousin once-removed" according to wikipedia, but he is my age and a junior in college so I've always thought of him as my cousin.

I was looking at his facebook profile today and noting all the people that wrote on his wall since he died. (about 70 people since last I checked) What is the problem!! Is this it? Is it because we all write on eachother's goddamned facebook walls instead of actually talking to each other? As much as I'm wrapped up in this whole stupid system, am I part of the problem too?

I would like to go to his funeral, but I'm not sure it's financially feasible and it seems silly to try and express my sentiments after the fact.

I'm mad, and confused, and sad, and pissed off, and depressed, and angry, but more than anything...I just wish I would have know him better.

Nick, I hope you've found what you're looking for.

More Nader--Don't worry, I think I'm done for now...



Probably one of my favoritest songs...

Look at me
You may think you see who I really am
But you'll never know me
Ev'ry day
It's as if I play a part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I am now
In a world where I have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What's inside my heart
And be loved for who I am

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don't know?
Must I pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

There's a heart that must be free to fly
That burns with a need to know the reason why
Why must we all conceal
What we think
How we feel
Must there be a secret me
I'm forced to hide?

I won't pretend that I'm
Someone else
For all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Nader for President?

Yesterday, on "Meet the Press" Ralph Nader announced his third bid for the white house. (You can watch it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23321310#23321310)

I wish our political system was a bit different--where the entrance of a third-party candidate isn't seen as them "stealing votes" from the "real candidates". Honestly, I don't know anything about Nader (except that he progressive and older than McCain), I just wish he had a chance.

Junk to Explore

This is an ongoing list of books and movies and stuff I need to watch/read/explore: (feel free to offer suggestions!)
-"Story of B"
-"The Old Ways", Gary Snyder
-"Compassion in Action"
-Mother Jones magazine, Jane Butcher
-"Catch 22"
-"Pedagogy of the Oppressed", Friere
-"Getting to Yes", Ury
-"Eat, Pray, Love"
-"Privilege, Power and Difference", Alan Johnson
-"Infidel", Ayan Hirisi Ali
-"A Different Mirror", Takaki
-"A Young People's History of the U.S.", Zinn
-"One Giant Leap", film
-Brandon Tina
-American History X
-But I'm a cheerleader
-The Harvey Milk Story, Kakow
-The Selfish Gene, Dawkins
-I Am America, Colbert
-Playful Mind, Downton
-Nanny State, Harsanyi
-a year of Living Biblically
-Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values we learned as children but may have forgotten
-Peaceable Kingdom, movie
-The gospel of the flying spaghetti monster, book
-Lake of Fire, documentary
-The Parties Over, book
-Blue Gold, book
-40 days and 40 nights
-sons of men?, movie
-a wrinkle in time
-The satanic versus, Salman Rushdie, book
-There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
-The Golden Compass, book and movie
-peace army of costa rica
-institute for heart math
-freedom is an endless meeting
-conflict web
-web of inner being
-local communities versus global
-places not worth caring about
-fields of fuel, documentary
-dead men walking, movie
-bring it on, movie
-beyond the call, documentary
-life cycle of a non-profit
-god's problem, book
-traces of the trade, documentary
-dark matters, book, by paul levitt
-about war, children's book, alice walker
-unweaving the rainbow
-Nothing: Something to Believe In by Nica Lali
-geography of nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
-Selzer reads an excerpt of "The Surgeon As Priest" from Mortal Lessons
-peace of cake, swati kaushal
-milan halek
-documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
-Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Separation of Church and State … but Were Afraid to Ask!, documentary
-Be Kind Rewind, movie
-Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell, book
-the giver
-Arthur C. Clark
-Night, Elie Wiesel
-40 days, 40 nights, dover trials
-post atheist
-science debate 2008
-woody allen
-JS/Craig Fergison
-WEB Debois
-human rights watch
-losing faith in faith
-spring poem-yip harbos
-inherit the wind, movie
-scopes trial
-sand oil
-new york times-feb 23, HNN
-the atheism tapes
-beyond the fringe
-a breif history of disbelief
-big daddy bagel shop-dustin
-arther miller (plays)
-the women's room", book
-gender neutral/unisex
heroes, rogues and lovers (book)
-warped passages, lisa randall, book
-Dinner with Osama, Marilyn Krysl
-Final Salute, A Story of Unfinished Lives


INVST Nationally Recognized, as CU-Boulder is named one of 3 schools to receive Presidential Award!

Dear Friends,

INVST is very pleased to share a wonderful honor with the other leadership civic engagement programs on campus! CU-Boulder has been named one of the top 3 schools in the country for student participation in community service! We have received a Presidential Award, signed by none other than the US president. To mark this very special occasion, I want to share the article released yesterday & featured on CU's home page, & thank all of you wholeheartedly, since this award is a testament to the many faculty, staff & students past & present who have dedicated countless hours, along with your energy & passion, to compassionate action & community-based changed. Along with being mentioned in the following news story, we anticipate that INVST students will be featured in a video that is being filmed on campus next Monday by the Corporation for National & Community Service. Hooray for us! CONGRATULATIONS, All! Thank you for being part of our movement to change this world we live in!


CU-Boulder Named One Of Three U.S. Schools To Receive Presidential Award For Exemplary Student Community Service
Feb. 11, 2008

University of Colorado at Boulder junior Andra Wilkinson stands in front of the Boulder County AIDS Project in downtown Boulder, where she volunteered during fall semester 2007. CU-Boulder was one of only three colleges and universities in the United States to receive a 2007 Presidential Award for General Community Service on Feb. 11, 2008.

Andra Wilkinson is one of 13,397 reasons the University of Colorado at Boulder is one of only three colleges and universities in the United States to receive a Presidential Award for General Community Service.

More than 530 universities and colleges competed in the 2007 awards program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a government agency in Washington, D.C. A total of 127 other schools received a "with distinction" designation and 391 were named to the honor roll, the agency announced today.

An estimated 13,397 CU-Boulder students participate in some form of community service and 3,512 are engaged in academic service-learning, a teaching strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction.

"The University of Colorado at Boulder is honored by this award," said CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "We have a commitment to civic and ethical engagement that goes back more than four decades, when CU-Boulder students answered President John F. Kennedy's call to service by joining the Peace Corps in record numbers. Today, through efforts such as those marshaled by our Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, we continue in that tradition, challenging our students to transform themselves, their communities and the world."

The Presidential Award for General Community Service was given to CU-Boulder, the University of Pennsylvania and Otterbein College in Columbus, Ohio.

The award was presented to Peterson at the 90th annual meeting of the American Council on Education in San Diego, held Feb. 9-12, and includes a certificate signed by President Bush. Attending the award ceremony with Peterson were Michael Grant, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education, and CU-Boulder student Wilkinson, a 20-year-old junior and graduate of Lakewood High School, who is a stellar example of what the award is all about, according to Peter Simons, director of the CU-Boulder Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement.

"Andra exemplifies the passion that many of our students have for the importance of being socially responsible and civically engaged citizens," Simons said. "I'd also like to add that this award is a testament to the many faculty, staff and students at CU-Boulder who dedicate their time and expertise to helping our communities and to making ethical and civic engagement a defining characteristic of our educational community."

The purpose of the IECE, founded in 2005, is to encourage and nurture ethical and civic education at CU-Boulder, to prepare students for a lifetime of service to society as thoughtful, ethical and engaged citizens. It oversees seven programs and offers financial support to faculty members who integrate civic engagement into their coursework and academic projects. To date, IECE has funded the development and implementation of 21 civic engagement courses and projects.

Wilkinson volunteers at a health clinic primarily for Spanish-speaking patients, serves as a tri-chair of the Women's Resource Center advisory board and founded a campus discussion group for men to actively oppose sexual assault and rape. She is also an honors student, member of the President's Leadership Class and an El Pomar Scholar.

Some of her previous volunteer activities include working at a Minnesota camp for youth impacted by HIV/AIDS; shaving her head in support of and to raise money for pediatric oncology patients; working with others to build a house for an indigent family in Juarez, Mexico; participating in the Global Leadership Program with students from all over the world in Prague, Czech Republic; and tutoring Spanish-speaking elementary, middle and high school students at the Family Learning Center in Boulder.

"My outside work relates to what I'm passionate about, so what I'm studying is going to relate to what I'm pursuing outside of the classroom." she said. "It's not just giving, it's absolutely a mutual benefit. You can't overstate the power of an experience."

In addition to finding a passion, an important second step is to act on it, she said. This is "the idea of being accountable for what you're passionate about. A lot of students are passionate but think that the problems will get solved by someone else."

Wilkinson is a Puksta Scholar, a program in which CU-Boulder undergraduates develop and implement an intensive yearlong civic engagement project. One of Wilkinson's passions is women's health care in developing countries. When she learned that another Puksta Scholar was working on providing clean water in developing countries, she thought, "That's going to help my work."

"We get energy from each other's pursuits and you get this beautiful interconnecting of ideas and issues that we are working on," Wilkinson said. "It's like oooh -- what are you doing? I want to be a part of that! And it's contagious."

Wilkinson is majoring in integrative physiology with a minor in women and gender studies and the equivalent of a minor in leadership. After graduating in May 2009, she plans to work on women's health in developing countries for two years, then hopes to attend Harvard Medical School's M.D./Ph.D. program with a focus on medical anthropology and women's health.

The CU-Boulder student programs honored by the award from theCorporation for National and Community Service include:

o The Volunteer Clearing House -- One of the first organizations of its kind in the nation, the student-sponsored VCH has worked to fill community needs since 1965. Currently 5,272 students have been linked with volunteer opportunities that best fit their individual interests and have contributed an estimated 211,146 hours of community service.

o Institute for Ethical And Civic Engagement -- Founded in 2005, the IECE's purpose is to nurture and encourage ethical and civic education at CU-Boulder, to prepare students for a lifetime of service to society as thoughtful, ethical and engaged citizens. It oversees seven key programs and has funded the development and implementation of 21 civic engagement courses and projects.

o Engineers Without Borders -- CU-Boulder is home to the founding chapter of EWB-USA, which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged communities worldwide improve their quality of life by building environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. Students have worked on projects from Peru to Rwanda to Nepal during the academic year, on breaks and in the summer.

o Puksta Scholars Program -- This nonacademic program provides substantial scholarships and support to approximately 20 students per year who develop and implement intensive yearlong civic engagement projects. Many students report that Puksta has been the most important experience of their college careers. Projects have ranged from developing rooftop gardens to mentoring Muslim high school youth.

Other campus programs recognized by the award include INVST CommunityStudies; Simply the Best!, an after-school science and technology program for African-American and Latina middle-school girls in Denver's Five Points community and the Peace Corps Recruitment Program. CU-Boulder is ranked third in the nation for the number of alumni currently serving as volunteers.

The Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes institutions of higher education that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs. Honorees for the various award levels, including the Presidential Award, are selected based on several factors including the scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

In addition to the schools receiving the Presidential Award for General Community Service, three other schools received a Presidential Award for Service to Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances. This award was given to Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii; Syracuse University of Syracuse, N.Y.; and the University of Redlands of Redlands, Calif.

The award program is jointly sponsored by the corporation, the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

In addition to her other volunteer work, Wilkinson co-founded a women's journal, created innovative advertising for student volunteering, worked to train high school students as peer educators on sexual health and AIDS awareness, and served as co-president of a CU student association for pre-health professionals.

"A quote that really drives me is 'If not you, who? If not now, when?" she said.

To hear an interview with Wilkinson about her community service experiences, go to www.colorado.edu/news/podcasts/. For more information on the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Presidential Award visit www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

Contact: Andra Wilkinson, (720) 394-1660
Peter Simons, (303) 492-1962
Bronson Hilliard, (303) 735-6183
Peter Caughey, (303) 492-4007





I've thought a lot about what keeping a blog would mean. I've had some sort of journal/blog (online and private) for a few years now, but I've wanted to at least try having something semi-public. Oh sure, I post interesting websites on facebook and occasionally share my thoughts in some sort of public, documentable forum but I'm still unsure about how I fell about sharing my total person publicly and the ramifications that it might have on my personal and soon-to-be professional life.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about honesty and whether complete and total honesty is a good idea. I would like to think that it might be possible to live life without lying, but the truth is--although I've tried to eliminate lying all together in my life-- it still happens often. No, I no longer tell bold-face lies to anyone, but lying happens in many ways: withholding information, exaggeration, or even lying to yourself (rationalization).

Please, don't take things personally, give me the benefit of the doubt and allow me to explain myself before coming to conclusions. This is only a test-run, trial of a blog type thing and for now--I'm just going to see how it goes. I may not spell things correctly and I will often end sentences with prepositions.