Ron Paul's speech at Colorado State

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Jan 312012
Authors: Erik Carman

Ron Paul signs crowded the LSC Main Ballroom Tuesday morning as 1,200 eager supporters flooded in –– ushering a sea of blue and white Paul t-shirts.

Fort Collins was the first of three campaign stops, followed shortly by Denver and Colorado Springs.

Leading up to and during the congressman’s speech, the ballroom served as home to fans young and old, cameras, reporters, petitions, musicians and free copies of the constitution.

According to CSU political science professor John Straayer, Ron Paul has proven to be an attractive candidate to a sizable chunk of the country’s youth.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon of an older candidate appealing to a younger generation,” Straayer said, adding that it explains why Paul would have an interest in speaking on a university campus.

In addressing the overwhelming support he has received from America’s youth, Paul said the nation’s young people are causing the old to revive ideas they gave up on years ago.

“There is truly an intellectual revolution going on in this country,” Paul said. “And I’m happy to be able to participate in it.”

The ballroom met its capacity limit of 1,200 people before 200 others were turned to an overflow room where the event was streamed, said one of the event coordinators, junior horticulture major and Youth for Ron Paul member Matt Martinez.

Paul appeared before the mass of his energetic supporters, happy to be before so many “friends of liberty,” he said. He went on to discuss issues such as the need for a smaller government, a non-interventionist foreign policy and an emphasis on personal liberty.

“Once a country lives beyond its means, it’s forced to live beneath its means,” Paul said of federal spending.

“Absolutely, it’s happening now,” said Straayer in a response to Paul’s statements. “If you go too far on your spending, it comes back to bite you.”

Paul spent much of the speech emphasizing a non-interventionist foreign policy, which he believes can be done by ending wars and withdrawing foreign aid.

“We shouldn’t be the policemen of the world,” Paul said, causing another cheer from the audience and a flurry of Paul signs overhead.

This sentiment of Paul’s struck home with senior landscape architecture major Issac McCracken, who served in the U.S. Air Force for six years.

“Conservatives should be about peace,” McCraken said, adding that Paul receives more contributions from active military than any other candidate.

But, according to Straayer, the foreign policy that Paul advocates is easier said than done.

“On the margin you could back off some foreign policy,” Straayer said. He added that he felt there was too much interest retaining aid in several foreign nations, such as Israel.

But, while Straayer said he thought many of Paul’s policies would be unattainable, he was sympathetic to some of his points, such as the war on drugs –– especially when he said prohibition is ineffective and an “unwinnable war.”

“I think more and more Americans are beginning to realize that,” Straayer said in a response to Paul’s comment.

Not everyone at the event was a Colorado resident. Some traveled from around the country to see the presidential hopeful speak.

“We drove here from Idaho Falls,” said James Marshall. “We drove 10 hours through the night”

Marshall, who planned to follow Paul on his campaign throughout Colorado, said the least he could do was attend and show his support.

“We don’t want any of these other politicians,” Marshall said. “Ron Paul is the only honest one.”

Straayer agreed that Paul is one of the most honest politicians running for the presidency.

“More so than any of the other candidates,” Straayer said. “Paul is operating with somewhat of an arm’s length from big money.”

After wrapping up his 30-minute speech, Paul, with his wife Carol and their granddaughter, left the stage and were met by a barrage of handshakes and autograph requests.

“This energizes him completely,” Carol said of the crowd. “He’s happy to come to the colleges.”

Collegian writer Erik Carman can be reached at

How long did Paul speak for? 30 minutes
His talking points included: a smaller government, a non-interventionist foreign policy and ending the war on drugs.
How many people showed up? More than 1,200

 Posted by at 3:59 pm

Two of top-four teams in Mountain West battle at Moby Arena Wednesday

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Jan 312012
Authors: David de Besche

A tough non-conference schedule was not kind to the Colorado State women’s basketball team, but since conference action has started, CSU coach Kristen Holt has had her team ready.

CSU has won four of its six Mountain West games, falling only to third-place TCU and first-place San Diego State.

The Rams host another tough match-up in second-place UNLV, which is coming in to Moby on a four-game winning streak.

Stakes are high because with a CSU victory, the Rams would jump to a tie with the Runnin’ Rebels for second in the conference and possibly TCU. A loss would drop the Rams to fourth in the conference in a tie with rival Wyoming.

“Every game is big at this point with positioning for the tournament, but all home games are so important,” Holt said.

Holt has a dominating 5-1 career record against UNLV, and a year ago, in the friendly confines of Moby, CSU left with a 68-63 victory.

Saturday the Rams got their three-game winning streak snapped as San Diego State defeated them 66-57 in southern California.

Turnovers were the weakness for CSU, giving the ball away 22 times leading to 30 points, as opposed to 15 total times during their win streak.

The Rams know that protecting the ball and executing on every possession is key.

“We could have cut out a lot of turnovers if we just wouldn’t have traveled, and that is just a fundamental discipline that you just can’t do,” Holt said.

CSU will look to get out to a fast start in the first half, something they did not do against San Diego State.

“We have to go inside right away instead of waiting for the second half,” senior Kim Mestdagh said.

Mestdagh has been on fire of late, tallying 20-plus points in three of her last four games.

“Obviously she is a huge key,” Holt said. “Kim just needs to stay composed.”

With the first round of MW play wrapping up Wednesday, a win would solidify an impressive run for the Rams through their first half of conference games and set them up nicely for the last stretch of the season.

“This is a really big game. It is really important we win this game,” Mestdagh said.

Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter David de Besche can be reached at

The Game
What: UNLV (17-5, 5-1 MW) vs. CSU
Where: Moby Arena
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Live chat on

 Posted by at 3:57 pm

The impact of Governor John Hickenlooper's budget proposal on colleges; higher ed cuts scaled back, $30 million added to 2012-2013

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Jan 312012
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Funding for higher education stands to be cut by $30 million less than originally proposed, according to the latest revisions to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2012-2013 budget proposal.

The fiscal plan originally suggested cutting funding to state colleges and universities by $60 million when the governor unveiled it last November, but Colorado officials decided to halve the dollar amount after receiving larger-than-expected December revenue forecasts.

The restored money would go toward funding need-based financial aid.

The budget proposal is currently being discussed in the state House’s joint budget committee. It will be introduced to the House of Representatives and Senate in early April for final approval.

Chase Eckerdt, Associated Students of CSU director of Governmental Affairs, applauded the news as a sign that the state’s economic circumstances are changing slightly for the better. In recent years, he said headlines across Colorado described outright financial turmoil.

“There’s potential there, and we haven’t been able to say that in a number of years,” Eckerdt said. “ … If you go back to that revenue forecast in September … the economy was pretty stagnant, revenue was pretty slow, there was a lot of uncertainty in terms of the national economy and where everything was going. ”

Colorado Rep. John Kafalas [D-52] of Fort Collins cautioned against making too much of the revisions.

In March, Colorado legislators will receive yet another revenue forecast. If it turns out to be lower than they expected, the budget proposal could be revised to reflect the new information. Cuts to higher education could return to its initial $60 million level.

“We still have to make cuts,” Kefalas said. “We’re not out of the deep end of the pool.”

A poor March forecast isn’t the only factor that could force legislators to raise higher education cuts back to $60 million. The state of the national economy could also affect what the final budget proposal stipulates.

“If we see a double-dip recession, or if we see major economic events in the world that impacts our national economy,” Eckerdt said, citing the potentially troublesome European debt crisis, “that’s certainly going to trickle down to the state level.”

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at

Gov. Hickenlooper’s top five budget priorities
1. Protecting the vulnerable (seniors, people with disabilities)
2. Education reform
3. Job creation and economic development
4. Long-term budget planning
5. Redesigning government to make it more effective

 Posted by at 3:55 pm

Colorado State kicks off Black History Month events

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Jan 312012
Authors: Emily Smith

From documentaries to comedians to famous speakers, February will be packed full of Black History Month events at CSU.

According to Joy Anderson, president of the Black Student Alliance, the Black/African American Cultural Center brought several student organizations together to plan out events and prepare the calendar for Black History Month.

“I think it’s important to celebrate black history and diversity always,” Anderson said, “but I think Black History Month gives us time to recognize how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.”

According to Danielle McConnell, president of Black Definition, the Black History Month kickoff will take place on Feb. 1 in the Lory Student Center Commons at noon with Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat in attendance.

“I’m excited for people to come and explore history this month,” McConnell said. “We always have a few really exciting speakers.”

One of those speakers this year will be Daryl Davis, on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Cherokee Park Ballroom in the LSC.

“He (Davis) is known for converting members of white supremacist groups,” McConnell said.

Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcom X, will also be speaking on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in the LSC’s North Ballroom.

United Men of Color is sponsoring a viewing and discussion of the documentary “Why We Laugh” on Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. in the LSC, room 204.

“It pretty much talks about the history of black comedy in America,” said Edward Harlan, president of United Men of Color at CSU.

According to Anderson, the Black Student Alliance is putting on “A Night in Harlem” on the last day of Black History Month, which will feature casino games, jazz, prizes and raffles, as well as educational posters. It will take place in the Cherokee Park Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28.

“We wanted to end it with something fun,” Anderson said. “Black History Month is a really exciting time for CSU.”

McConnell said it is important to celebrate Black History Month in the CSU community.

“It’s an opportunity for people to learn and experience people and events they wouldn’t normally be around,” McConnell said. “Black History Month is that door for people to get a better understanding and be more aware.”

For more information and the full calendar of events, students are encouraged to visit the Black/African American Cultural Center in LSC, room 204, or go online at

Collegian writer Emily Smith can be reached at

Attend Black History Month events at CSU:

Feb. 1 – Black History Month Kickoff – 12 p.m. – Lory Student Center Commons

Feb. 9 – Daryl Davis on his Extraordinary Journey Into the Heart of the Institutions of the Ku Klux Klan – 7 p.m. – LSC, Cherokee Park Ballroom

Feb. 10 – Social Issues Comedian Tracey Ashley – 5 p.m. – LSC, Ramskeller

Feb. 23 – Malcom X’s Daughter: Ilyasah Shabazz – 7 p.m. – LSC, North Ballroom

Feb. 28 – A Night in Harlem: Games, Magic, Music & Light Refreshments – 7 p.m. – LSC, Cherokee Park Ballroom

 Posted by at 3:52 pm

Question Authority with Tony Frank and Rick Miranda

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Jan 312012
Authors: Allison Sylte

During last week’s budget retreat, CSU President Tony Frank and Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda outlined the latest draft of the 2012/13 fiscal year budget.

The Collegian caught up with Frank and Miranda after the meeting to get more details about what’s in the pipeline for next year.

How much are we expecting to see tuition increase next year?

Miranda: Right now we’re modeling 9 percent. The greatest increase we requested from the CCHE (Colorado Commission on Higher Education) is 12 percent, but we don’t think we’ll need to do that.

Frank: Out-of-state students will see somewhere in the 3 percent range, and graduate students will be somewhere in the 6 percent range. The tuition increase between in-state and out-of-state students is about the same monetary amount.

In Dr. Frank’s presentation, he detailed how, because of budget cuts, we have fewer staff who are, in essence, working harder. How do you think this effects the quality of education at CSU compared to a few years ago, before our financial difficulties hit?

Miranda: I wouldn’t say that it has significantly eroded. I just think that it’s forced all of us to work a little bit smarter. We’ve also been relying on technology a bit more, and different online resources.

It’s also meant that we’ve seen a lot more student tutors — quite a few of which are undergraduates.

Frank: And we’ve also implemented new registration options that just have made it more efficient for students to waitlist classes. The bottomline, really, is that the education hasn’t been diluted at all.

You’ve talked a lot about increasing the number of out-of-state students to increase revenue. Do you have any goals in mind?

Frank: Well, a lot of the $4.5 million surplus came from an influx in out-of-state students and transfer that we didn’t expect, so especially in these troubling financial times for the state, they’re definitely a revenue generator for us.

Miranda: As for goals, we’ve had our amount of out-of-state enrollment decrease in recent years, because of the economy, so we’d like to see it get back up to the 18-20 percent range where it was a few years ago. That’s kind of our immediate goal.

Frank: But, obviously, as a land grant institution, we have an inherent obligation to Colorado students, something that I think our Commitment to Colorado has done a great job fulfilling.

As compared to last year’s budget retreat, when each department was asked to cut up to 15 percent off of their budget, I can’t help but notice that this year everyone’s a little less panicked. Is that a true statement?

Frank: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. The projections coming from the state level are looking a lot better than last year. Most of us think that this is the last year we’re going to be looking at a negative budget. Things are definitely looking a little better, and I think that represents a little bit of the mood in the country.

Miranda: I wouldn’t say that we’re grateful to have gotten to where we are as an institution, especially after the hurdles we’ve had to deal with in recent years. I’m especially impressed with the students’ willingness to accept the tuition increases they have to deal with — to kind of see the necessity.

During last week’s budget retreat, CSU President Tony Frank and Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda outlined the latest draft of the 2012/13 fiscal year budget.

The Collegian caught up with Frank and Miranda after the meeting to get more details about what’s in the pipeline for next year.

 Posted by at 3:51 pm

Could Klout or another social media ranking site change relationships, how we get jobs?

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Jan 312012
Authors: Matt Miller

Like it or not, we are all defined by a number. The government tracks us through a nine-digit number. Banks evaluate us through our credit score. To universities and schools, we are just a grade point average or a standardized test score.

But in the not-so-distant future we could all be haunted by another numerical ghost –– one that possible employers, friends, family or even girlfriends/boyfriends judge us by.

This number is a ranking of how influential we are in the online world. How many friends or followers do you have? Who reads your tweets and status updates, and do they care?

Imagine if, in high school, everyone was assigned a number for how popular he/she was. Depending on how high school went for you this might sound like a nightmare.

Essentially, a number can define how cool you are on the Internet, and this number already exists. Sites like and –– launched in 2007 and 2010 respectively –– already have this score (sort of) calculated.

These types of sites take information from anyone’s Facebook or Twitter and assign a numerical value (between one and 100) indicating how many people you reach and how influential you are.

For example, Justin Bieber has a Klout score of 100, President Barack Obama has a Klout score of 90, the New York Times is scored at 85 and mine is currently 48.

The problem is numbers like these have drawn some harsh criticism. Why is Bieber more influential than Obama?

In a blog post in December, Klout, trying to quell suspicion with their ranking method, said, “We measure influence primarily as the ability to drive others to action. When you produce content online, we look at how your network responds to that content.”

So, according to Klout, Bieber uses social media better than Obama.

Even though these numbers seem a little skewed, it’s important to remember that the concept is still young. What could happen when technology companies find a better way to calculate online presence?

According to the Pew Internet Research Center, more than 65 percent of adults use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. As social media becomes more ingrained into our society, a number that calculates online influence could become a powerful tool.

When searching for a job someday, an employer may ask for a Klout score (or whatever other website manages to create a reliable algorithm). This may seem far-fetched, but social media has become an important aspect of most careers.

Going into the business world? Every good business knows how to market to customers through social media. Going into politics? Virtually every politician or political organization uses Facebook and Twitter to reach voters.

Want to be a writer, actor, musician or visual artist? What better way to show that you can engage people and build a fan base than with social media?

Earlier this month, LinkedIn spokeswoman Lindsey Pollak spoke to the Washington Post about the importance of measuring social media presence. She said, “If you’re interested in building your personal brand online (and anyone with career or entrepreneurial ambitions should be), then you should definitely pay attention to your Klout score.”

But a number like this could also be useful for more than just job seeking –– it could be valuable for businesses and advertisers. For example, someone might have a powerful online presence about shoes, a company like Nike could find this information and use it to market their product.

Even in the nonprofessional world a social media ranking could prove to be important some day. As our online worlds start to merge with real worlds, a social media score could reflect one’s personality or worth as an individual.

Before you go out on a first date, maybe you check out their online influence score? He or she is a 15, maybe you’ll forget your wallet. When you’re trying to keep up with relatives or old friends, you might be impressed to find that he or she has gone from a 20 to a 35 since you last talked.

I know since I’ve found out my Klout score, I check the site to make sure I’m still a few points higher than my friends, or to throw a tantrum when it drops.

Separating our online identity and the identity we look at in the mirror is becoming more difficult as technology shapes our lives. With social media becoming the norm for how we communicate professionally and non professionally an accurate, quantifiable ranking of these interactions may be the next number to rule our lives.

News Editor Matt Miller is a senior journalism major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Official_MattM.

 Posted by at 3:49 pm

Is Facebook becoming Myspace?

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Jan 312012
Authors: The Rocky Mountain Collegian Editorial Board

Sometimes, it can feel like Facebook owns us –– we constantly refresh the page, hoping to see if that newly-”friended” hottie commented “cute ;)” on our profile picture. It can be demoralizing.

But today, the tables may start to turn. Facebook is set to file for an I.P.O. (Initial Public Offering), allowing any of its faithful uses to buy stock in the company and eventually, that’s right, own Facebook.

It’s estimated that Facebook’s value will amount somewhere between $75 to $100 billion. Hot. Damn. And while many will be tempted to invest significant assets into the Internet behemoth, we can’t help but wonder: Will Facebook continue to be a sustainable company? Or is it on its way to sliding into Myspace-esque irrelevance?

While it’s clear Facebook’s impact on the world of social networking is incomparable, we are starting to think it just may have reached its peak already. And with its probable impending financial partnership with Morgan Stanley, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s going to change significantly –– a change that may finally makes its million of users walk away.

With its foray into the public world of IPOs, many critics are worried Facebook will begin to cater to advertisers, if it’s possible, even more than it does now.

And with the increased pressure from advertisers, we’re sure there will be even more ambiguous privacy-dealings; because really, why are the only ads on the side of our Facebook page for Alcoholics Anonymous and The Cupcakery? How do they KNOW?

The truth is, Facebook has a hold on our generation, and they know it.

 Posted by at 3:47 pm

Local Fort Collins business makes strides in hydro power

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Jan 312012
Authors: Jason Pohl

All too often it seems even the best ideas get caught up in red tape and never take off.

But the folks at Flywater, a local water-management and conservation group, are wading through the murky mess of unnecessary bureaucracy in search of an easier option in support of clean-water energy.

Tucked away in a basement office in Old Town, Brad Florentin and his team of about 10 have made radical improvements to more than just river ecosystems throughout the state’s watershed — they’ve cut through unnecessary red tape and streamlined a process to bring hydro-electric power to those who need it in a timely and efficient way.

“I think the interesting thing for where we are with our company is we want to help balance,” Florentin said. “How do we identify energy? How do we allow people to utilize water? We strive a lot to make that balance.”

Florentin and co-founder Corey Engen started Flywater in 2006 as a river restoration group focused on identifying problems within the watershed. Since then, it has grown into one of the leading consulting groups of its kind, helping people to receive federal approval for use of hydro-electric power by using already existing infrastructure.

He explained that his group acts as a middle-man between a client who wants to install a hydro-power structure on existing dams and farmers or community leaders hoping to utilize their water rights in a responsible way.

By dealing with both sides and navigating through the government oversight as necessary, the final approval process has been cut to about 60 days per project — down from around three years traditionally.

“It’s a huge, huge deal,” Florentin said. “It’s opened the door for a lot of projects.”

Flywater has helped create an understanding among state leaders that if infrastructure is already present and damages will be virtually nonexistent, the projects should not be subject to the scrupulous inspections given to large-scale new projects.

“I believe in balance as far as utilizing our resources,” Florentin said while stressing a need for responsible use of the environment as a top priority.

“You’re able to utilize what impacts are already there,” he added. “If you can develop energy out of that, then why not?”

By doing this, his group has completed, or is working on, about seven of the 15 projects slated to take place in the U.S., marking a key step forward in terms of renewable energy.

The use of the hydro-electric power is something that researchers, including Neil Grigg, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, recognize as a needed step forward.

“In special cases, you can get some energy where you might not get it elsewhere, like in a rural area,” Grigg said. “It can be a good balance. Hydro is the No. 1 source of renewable energy by a long shot.”

About more than just electricity

In addition to serving as a middle-man in helping individuals utilize their sustainable energy, Flywater places an emphasis on their roots in river work.

The group works in three additional areas including aquatic restoration, conservation and water resources. Whether it is ensuring communities around the state their fair share of water for people and crops or committing to responsible use of the river for fishing and ecosystems, they pride themselves on working in the field as much as possible.

The staff-size increases during the summer months with the addition of an internship program.

Parker Scherman graduated from CSU in December with his degree in environmental geology and watershed management, but he said the bulk of what he has learned has come through the real-world experiences of interning and employment with Flywater.

I just kind of got my feet wet with everything that I learned at school,” Scherman said. “I learned a lot I’ll definitely be able to use. That was the biggest thing.”

The workload involves both field and office work and builds on skills learned from the design and building process.

“My biggest draw is how we are just helping out,” Scherman said. “We’re benefiting a lot of areas. We’re benefiting the whole ecosystem.”

It’s that benefit that keeps folks at Flywater working to help strike balance in the natural world as the demands of energy use and debates continue to soar. Florentin stressed the importance of not limiting options, and he said too often the debate centers on extremes rather than the middle-ground where the better answers are.

“The technology (of water as power) isn’t new,” Florentin said, explaining how it has been used for centuries for grain milling and essential needs for society. “It’s a reconnection of the community to their past and their energy source.”

Senior Reporter Jason Pohl can be reached at

 Posted by at 3:45 pm

Colorado State basketball travels to Las Vegas to face UNLV

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Jan 312012
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

CSU took a big step toward an NCAA Tournament bid Saturday by beating San Diego State and could take a giant leap with a win in Las Vegas against UNLV Wednesday night.

The No. 11 Runnin’ Rebels enter the game 20-3 (4-1 Mountain West) and have won 10 out of their last 11 games and 12 straight at the Thomas and Mack Center.

CSU (14-6, 3-2 MW) won its last game in Las Vegas, defeating the Rebels 78-63 last season.

“I think our guys feel like, ‘Hey we’ve done this before, we can do it again; let’s go in there and win,’” CSU coach Tim Miles said.

In order to repeat their victory from last season, the Rams will have to contain one of the fastest, most dangerous offenses not only in the MW, but also in the country. UNLV leads the conference in scoring at 80 points per game, topping 100 points twice, largely because they like to get out and run.

“It starts with eliminating their transition (game), and you do that by hustling and making good decisions on offense,” Miles said. “If you can make it a half-court game, I think you’ve got a shot at them.”

One of the primary reasons UNLV has been so dominant this season is the emergence of sophomore UCLA-transfer Mike Moser. Moser ranks fourth in the MW at 14.7 points per game and third nationally with 11.7 rebounds per game.

“His rebounding brings a whole new element to the game because of his length and athleticism,” Miles said. “He’s a game changer.”

CSU had trouble controlling dominant inside players in their losses at New Mexico and Wyoming, giving up double-doubles to Drew Gordon and Leonard Washington, respectively, in those games.

“He’s one of the best rebounders we’ve seen,” CSU junior Dorian Green said. “We need to keep a body on him, play tough and make him work for everything.”

As a whole, UNLV is the top rebounding team in the MW, pulling down 39.6 boards per game compared to CSU’s 30.8.

“It’ll be tough because we’re looked at as one of the worst rebounding teams in the conference,” CSU senior Will Bell said. “But nothing worth doing is easy.”

Dealing with UNLV’s ball pressure and limiting turnovers that can lead to transition baskets for the Rebels will go a long way in determining the game’s outcome.

“We can’t give up easy baskets, and we have to make them pay on the press,” Green said.

CSU countered UNLV’s pressure well in last season’s win, and at that point thought the victory could propel the team to the NCAA Tournament.

The Rams sit in a similar position this season after their victory over San Diego State and are determined to end this season in the NCAA Tournament rather than the NIT.

“This is one of the best teams in the country and would be another (NCAA Tournament) resume booster for us,” Green said. “This is what college basketball is all about, and we need to take it one game at a time.”

Men’s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at

UNLV at a glance:
Season Record: 20-3, 4-1 MW
12 straight home wins
Defeated then-No. 1 North Carolina Nov. 26 in Las Vegas

 Posted by at 3:44 pm

The soul of the theatre and the bones of tradition

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Jan 312012
Authors: Morgan Mayo

It is a world unlike any other.

A place where time can stand still beneath superficial lights and race wildly in the surrounding darkness. Where a new world is born every single night to that sudden hush of muted conversations, the metallic smell of makeup and beaded perspiration, the clench in everyone’s chest as the curtains part for the first time and you see this infant of a world, dreamt from a hundred imaginations, alive and pulsing for the very first time.

The wonderful thing about the theatre is that it can be anything you want it to be: a coming home or an escape, extrinsic or introspective, fact or fiction, question or absolution.

It is an intimate experience of make-believe that society has never been able to parallel. Movies provide the same cookie-cutter experience, the same stagnant story, each time you watch them.
But the theatre is a distinctly human endeavor. The artistry of different actors, the slight variations in how the light falls or the way a costume fits, evolving performances, human flaw. You will never see the same play twice. Thus, each journey you take in the theatre can never be re-created.

I grew up in, around and of the theatre. I was taken to see my first Broadway play when I was five (Cats, if you’re wondering) and acted for the first time when I was six. I was the monkey in Dr. Doolittle.

For years I took dance classes, voice lessons, attended every summer drama camp I could. I stayed up all night to watch the live coverage of the Broadway auditions for Annie. Most kids were singing along to Barney cassettes and I was belting out show tunes and ordering my mother to call me Mr. Mistoffelees.

In high school, the theatre was where I spent most of my time, made all of my closest friends and found all of my love interests. It was a place where I could hide away all of my doubts and anxieties about the future and become somebody completely new for a few hours. When I was on stage, all of life’s stresses would get quiet and fade away.

And then, after one of our late night rehearsals, tragedy struck. After everyone had gone home for the night, there was an electrical fire, and by the time I woke up the next morning the theatre had completely burned to the ground.

The next morning my mom drove me to see the charred ruins, and I sat in the backseat and cried. Because for me, the theatre wasn’t just mortar and stone or some drafty building where I spent my afternoons. It was this living, breathing entity through which flowed all the hopes, desperations and passion of centuries of dreamers before me. The theatre is a modicum of another time that has somehow survived a thousand years of dying kings, wars and famine just to flutter its red curtains at a new audience each night.

Young lovers dying together in a tomb, three witches telling the future, a tortured son thirsting for revenge, children wandering into a wardrobe, a young girl singing about tomorrow –– all brief glimpses of the human condition throughout time, the creeds and desires of men and women 600 years ago, not so different from ours today.

As college students, it’s hard to make to ends meet sometimes. When you go a week living on rice cakes in order to pay the rent, the thought of spending money on theatre tickets is a rather far-fetched concept. But as educated people, we should always strive to support the local arts and preserve those bones of tradition that keep us walking forward.

Theatre lies at the heart and imagination of every community. Without it, our society would have no soul. So whether it’s The Lincoln Center, Bas Bleu or any of the other well-deserving theatre venues in Fort Collins, skip the bars and bad pizza one night and go to a play. Enjoy a unique journey, glimpse the constancy of humanity through the years and witness the birth of a new world.

Awkward times are ahead my friends. But until we meet again…Cheers!

Morgan Mayo is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Wednesdays in the _Collegian. She can be reached at

 Posted by at 3:39 pm