Monday, May 5, 2014

Deconstructing Nelson Mandela's Legacy

What do people talk about when they talk about Nelson Mandela?
Carolyn Holmes, ’06, asked this question at last week’s symposium on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. The answer may not be as straightforward as you think.

For decades, Mandela has been a symbol of justice, hope and dignity for the nation of South Africa. His devotion to the African nationalist cause and his unwavering struggle against the inherent injustice of apartheid reveal his truly extraordinary character. He spent twenty-seven years in prison for his activism. Upon his release in 1990, he picked up right where he left off and began working with the government to eliminate apartheid and institute multi-racial elections. He became the first black president of South Africa in 1994.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Media and Tragedies: Coverage of Flight 370 and the Sewol Ferry Accident

Turn on CNN.

The anchor is most likely dissecting what may have happened to missing Malaysian flight 370 or the ferry that sunk off the coast of South Korea. The two disastrous events have prompted extended coverage on many television networks.

The question becomes: does the information deserve such extended coverage, or is it merely an attempt at scoring higher ratings?
Malaysian Airlines flight 370 went missing with 239 people aboard. The plane lost all contact with air traffic towers and GPS navigation. Search costs have exceeded $40 million dollars but are expected to reach hundreds of millions of dollars. The U.S. sent a Navy submarine that has covered over 50 square miles of the ocean floor, but the search efforts are expected to cease next weekend.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cost of a Resume: Competing to Get the Job

If education is competitive, getting a job is even more competitive.

Most college students are pressured to join clubs, to play on teams and to take on leadership positions. We’re told that travel experience, studying abroad and having an internship or two will set us ahead. All of this, of course, on top of your degree of choice from whatever school you were accepted to. Each of these in and of itself takes some type of competition—and a LOT of money.

Most of us at DePauw University are willing to take on the competition. We accepted it back in grade school, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy. I’ve discovered though, that many of my peers and I had no idea how much it would cost. This brought into light a whole new type of competition, a financial one.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Competitive College: Does competition help or hinder our academic performance?

“What obligations do we have to our adversaries?  Do virtue and integrity enhance or impede our quest for victory? Is competition an obstacle to or an essential component of a meaningful life? How should competition be effectively regulated?” These questions and others will be addressed by visiting students and scholars from across the country in this year's Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, which will take place at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics April 10-12. The topic for the symposium is “Virtue and Victory: Ethical Challenges in Competitive Life”, a topic that is very relevant to our everyday lives as university students.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The A-Listers: Can College Rankings Define a School?

How important are college rankings? As prospective students size up educational institutions, what is it that attracts them, their parents? Time and time again, we’ve seen DePauw’s name on the top party school list across the nation, but does that invalidate the academic standard we hold ourselves to? A new list was recently published by the Business Insider that appears to cast a redeeming light on “party schools." Is this enough to simply put aside all the images we have created in our minds about the type of environment DePauw cultivates? Some believe so.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Privilege at DePauw: A Personal Perspective

In light of recent discussions on campus, I’d like to offer up my own understanding of privilege. The notion of privilege has frequently come up in conversations around campus, but rarely does it seem to be understood. I have heard numerous complaints that discussing privilege demonizes someone for something they cannot control or that it is some sort of boogeyman of reverse discrimination. This understanding of privilege is far from the truth.

By only thinking of privilege as a personal attack on someone for factors they cannot control, we ignore the destructive effects that privileged society continues to have on marginalized peoples.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

TOMS: When ‘Conscious Capitalism’ is Not Enough

With great anticipation for TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie’s visit radiating throughout DePauw’s campus, I had to do a double take every time I saw the words “Conscious Capitalism” broadcast on posters. The term “conscious capitalism” has arisen out of the assumption that through making ‘helping’ fashionable, we are somehow working to end poverty. The reality, however, is that philanthropic enterprises such as TOMS allow us to feel that we are helping the world without having to relinquish our role as consumers.

According to the DePauw website, while traveling in Argentina in 2006 Mycoskie was struck by the daily struggles faced by shoeless children. He consequently decided to create a for-profit organization that would provide impoverished communities throughout Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa with shoe donations. As a result, TOMS ‘One for One’ campaign emerged, and for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased in the US, one pair is donated to an impoverished community.