Our View

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Dec 122004
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff


Samantha Spady and Bennett Bertoli, that's really all that needs to be said.

We've begun the semester and ended the semester with similar tragedies. We have lost fellow students and as a campus there is no denying that a grieving period has begun. We have had to cover stories about the losses of our friends and we have begun to worry about our other friends.

We should not have to be concerned when we see yellow tape around a house that another student has just left his or her life inside.

Substance abuse has become a problem that can no longer be ignored. These students weren't strangers and this kind of behavior isn't uncommon in the social scene at CSU.

It is inevitable that people will continue to party, probably just as hard as they did before. But the next time you say goodbye to someone at a party before you leave for the night take a good look at their face and if there's any possibility that something could happen, stay by their side and don't leave.

We are all tired and we are all grieving. We are all sad that campus has become a place plagued with regret.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Students should take learning seriously

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Dec 122004
Authors: Jonas Hogg Kansas State Collegian Kansas State U.

(U-WIRE) MANHATTAN, Kan. – As the end of the semester rolls on in, there are many who will soon be leaving our midst. The question on many of their minds is: "What now?"

Doubtless many of our graduates will go on to do great things. This university has produced chemists, engineers, hotel managers, social scientists and even the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Myers.

These are the people that show the rest of us that hard work and perseverance does pay off. But it is not these people that I am concerned about. I am concerned about the other portion of our graduates.

These are the people who will re-emerge from anonymity during the last few weeks of class in a desperate attempt to get that vaunted "C." These are the people who vanished in early September only to reappear sporadically throughout the semester, if ever again.

These are the people who, through a combination of wasting their parent's money and everyone else's time, have managed to squeak out of here with a degree.

Those of us who have actually put effort into getting an education will be only too happy to see you go. Sadly, there's another fresh crop of idiots just waiting to take your place.

Fortunately, I think we'll be able to survive without you.

Granted, it will be hard. I'm sure that some of us will miss having to wait for you to finish your game of Yahoo!Pool on the library computers before we can actually do work.

As you are now a college graduate, maybe you are prepared to take on the strategy and intricacies of Solitaire.

I'll certainly miss you coming in however many minutes late to class, making as much noise as humanly possible. Fortunately, the job waiting for you mixing asphalt will allow for you to be as noisy as you could possibly want.

The classrooms will be lonely without your inane babble in the background. Ranging from intellectually scintillating topics such as "Oh man, I got so drunk last night" to the brain teaser "Oh wow, he's so hot." I can only hope your oratory skills serve you well as you flex your diploma by charging into that drive-through manager's position.

Are you one of these people? If so, then as the realization that you have frittered away several years of your life and thousands of dollars rolls over you, I want you to reflect on all these moments the rest of us truly treasure.

But, don't worry about the thousands of dollars that you owe for student loans. I'm sure they'll forgive them all when you tell them that you really didn't think that you would ever have to pay them back.

Ultimately, maybe it will dawn on you that you really didn't need to be here. That higher education was not, in fact, put into place to provide four additional years of high school.

There are many, like myself, who worked hard to get here, and now that we are here, continue to work hard. For us, having to wade through a sea of morons only cheapens the experience we've worked so hard to have.

As I said in my first column, there are many people, probably more deserving than you and I, who will never have the opportunities we have.

So, for those of you who will be returning next semester, stop and think about what you're doing.

If you're not here with an intent to learn then kindly extricate yourself and make way for someone who is.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Women needs to stop criticizing selves, others about beauty

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Dec 122004
Authors: Ginger McCall The Pitt News U. Pittsburgh

(U-WIRE) PITTSBURGH – I've only ever been in trouble once. It was 10 years ago, but I still remember it clearly – being called into the principal's office, sitting in the blue, upholstered chair in front of the tall, very Italian principal. He looked down at me; I was relatively unafraid. He asked me about my crime, and I freely admitted to side-kicking the girl in question. Then he asked me why I would do such a thing. My lips were sealed. There was no way I was going to repeat the insult that had inspired such violence in me, not to this black bow-tied man who had the cheesy motivational posters hanging in his office.

I can say it now, because it has been 10 years, and the offense has faded.

She called me flat-chested.

In hindsight, I should have just responded, "So is everyone else in the sixth grade."

But back in sixth grade, my breasts weren't the only part of me that was underdeveloped: My wit also lagged behind considerably.

Fast-forward about 10 years to my college career. Suddenly, I was facing the exact same insult. This time things were different. This time the insult came from an ex-friend, a self-proclaimed feminist who pretty much aced her SATs. This was no stupid middle school insult. This was a whole new level of bitchiness.

I, shamefully, responded in kind. Yeah, that's right. I dropped the "f" bomb. I uttered the unforgivable "f" word, those three little letters that drive all girls crazy: F-A-T.

Of course I didn't say it in such boring terms. No, I jazzed it up a bit, in true college fashion.

My inner sixth-grader still says; "She started it!" But the more mature side of me knows I was wrong. It's bad enough to feel the rest of society pressing in on you, affirming your worst self-image fears with every magazine cover and music video. What's worse is hearing it from someone who knows all of your secret fears, someone of your own gender, who should know better.

It's not particularly shocking to hear that most women struggle with self-image. There are entire industries built around this. Plastic surgery, diet programs, cosmetics companies and women's magazines revolve around this. Make yourself more beautiful in five easy steps!

And there is nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, to live up to your fullest potential, as long as people operate within safe – and sane – boundaries.

The problem arises when we enforce impossible standards on each other. No one is perfect. No one should be expected to live up to someone else's beauty ideal. The only ideal we live up to should be our own. As John Kenneth Galbraith said, "There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty." Each woman should only have to live up to her standard of beauty – not the standard of her friends, boyfriend or the editors of Vogue.

Yet so many women, including many so-called feminists, fall very easily into the trap of perfectionism and ridicule. Sometimes it's a vain effort to raise our own self-esteem, to make ourselves look better by tearing down the competition. Other times, we're actively trying to make someone feel bad. The reason doesn't matter, the result does.

My insults helped bring about someone else's eating disorder. Her insults made me spend hours standing in the mirror contemplating my own proportions.

And while both of us attribute our troubles to the subtle and cunning misogyny of the culture all around us, we should admit that we, as women, contribute to our image problems. Our insults to each other are self-defeating because they helped to carry on the pain of that impossible ideal.

The solution to the image problem begins here. We cannot enact a quick change in the beauty images that the media feeds us. Body image problems existed long before mass media did. Now we just have better technology to change our bodies to fit the standard of beauty more easily.

We can change how we enforce that image within our own social groups, among our peers, though. If we all sit around and nitpick each other's flaws, it only makes everyone feel bad. Trade in those tired old insults – "thunder thighs," "washboard chest," "baby fat" – for shiny new compliments.

Learning to find beauty in others may be the key to learning find it in ourselves.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Felonies, surveys, and books, oh my!

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Dec 122004
Authors: Courtney Cage

This year the Associated Students of Colorado State University has been busy working for the students. Some of the issues that directly shape the everyday lives of all students at CSU include faculty background checks, course book orders, graduate teaching assistant speaking requirements, ASCSU course surveys and a student Honor Code.

The ASCSU Senate passed legislation on Nov. 17 outlining the students' wishes concerning faculty background checks. Students are required to fill out a check box and self-disclosure question on their admittance application, and we are hoping to implement a similar method for potential faculty members. Not only will this increase safety at CSU, but it will also protect the university against potential negligence lawsuits. For more information regarding faculty background checks you can visit the ASCSU office in the Lory Student Center.

During the month of October, ASCSU was responsible for a program that encouraged professors to turn in their course book orders on time. The program, called Walk for Cheaper Books, organized students into groups to walk around the academic buildings on campus. Initializing conversations with professors, students had the opportunity to form better relationships with their teachers and helped remind them to turn in their book orders on time. Saving students money on textbooks was the goal of this campaign.

By ordering more used textbooks at an earlier date, students save money. Therefore, the more quickly faculty members turn in their book orders, the more likely it is for the University Bookstore to buy used books at a lower cost.

Another topic that is affecting students currently is the ASCSU course surveys. These surveys are handed out at the end of each class every semester. Many students are unaware of their purpose and question whether or not the surveys are taken seriously or used at the departmental level.

It is important for all students to know that the ASCSU course survey is used by faculty to assist them with their teaching effectiveness and is a tool that may be used in awarding promotion and tenure. Your input on these surveys is taken very seriously both on a departmental and college level. It is also important to note that your student fee dollars pay for this service and the results from this survey are available to all students on the ASCSU Web site, www.ascsu.colostate.edu. So when professors begin handing out those orange scantrons once again, remember that your voice counts.

If you are ever interested in getting involved or learning more about student issues on campus, please come by the ASCSU office to see how you can make a difference.

To those of you who are graduating in December, ASCSU would like to commemorate you and your hard work. CSU is proud to have developed the minds of students such as yourselves who have made the commitment to learning. We congratulate you on your graduation and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

As for those of you who are continuing your education at CSU and will be returning in the spring, take some time to relax and enjoy your Winter Break. We will see you back in Ram Country in 2005!

Courtney Cage is a senior biological sciences major. Cage is also director of academics for ASCSU. Guest columns from ASCSU members will run intermittently during the spring semester.

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Task force considers recommending return of beer to Hughes

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Dec 122004
Authors: Lila Hickey

Thursday's Alcohol Task Force meeting revealed a glimpse of the possible recommendations the committee will eventually make to CSU President Larry Penley – most notably, the return of alcohol to Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.

But nothing is certain yet. Several series of revisions and the task force's approval must be given before the recommendations will hit Penley's desk.

Katie Clausen, a member of the task force and president of the Associated Students of CSU, said the recommendations at the Thursday meeting focused mainly on increased and improved alcohol and drug education efforts, alcohol-related problems in the community and state, and the banning of beer at Hughes Stadium.

One subcommittee, of which Clausen is a member, gave a preliminary recommendation of reinstating beer sales at the stadium, after reaching the conclusion that controlled beer sales within the stadium do not contribute to underage or binge drinking.

"My subcommittee came out and said that we recommend that the ban of alcohol at Hughes be lifted," Clausen said. "It would be my understanding that once the task force sees all the facts that we have been collecting as a subcommittee, they would pass that on (to Penley)."

Jim Weber, assistant director of CSU's Alcohol and Drug Education unit and a member of the subcommittee that made the recommendation, agreed that the group had put considerable research into their decision, including several open-forums and a 4,000-person e-survey.

"There was a lot of things that went into the decision," Weber said.

Penley halted beer sales at the stadium on Sept. 16 without consulting the student body. He later told the student senate the ban was an effort to halt a spiral of negative press surrounding two riots early in the school year and the alcohol-related death of sophomore Samantha Spady.

Another subcommittee made suggestions that seem to echo the rental-licensing debate discussions before City Council.

The group raised the possibility of restricting sophomores to on-campus housing and forbidding freshmen exemptions. Freshmen are required to live on campus unless they have a close family member in the community with whom they can live.

Clausen called their suggestions "outrageous ideas" but said none of the recommendations are final and that many of the ideas were not plausible.

"How realistic any of these are is debatable," she said. "Some of the (student housing suggestions) were a shock to me."

A more contentious issue was a suggestion to reexamine Colorado's drinking age and a draft suggestion to allow people ages 18 to 20 access to alcohol in specific, controlled bars. Lt. Gov. Jane Norton quickly asked the subcommittee to reconsider the proposal.

Clausen said Norton's reaction disappointed her because she felt all ideas brought to the committee should be fully considered and discussed.

"I thought (Norton's reaction) was just ridiculous," Clausen said. "People just sat up and were lashing out in that meeting. It was disappointing to see."

But Weber said politically such a suggestion is unrealistic, regardless of the possible positive results of controlling underage drinking.

"The reality being, with federal highway funds being tied to the drinking age, unless this state is going to cut out several billion dollars more in the budget, (the drinking age cannot change)," Weber said. "The state can't afford to lose that kind of money."

Clausen said the drinking age should still be examined, since allowing drinking in controlled environments might reduce dangerous, illicit drinking practices.

"That's the whole point of the task force. Lots of these things have been in place for 30 years, and it's no longer working. We've got an entirely new generation. We know that students are drinking and they're hiding it and they're getting plastered in people's garages," she said.

Weber was pleased with the attention given to alcohol and drug education, as was Brad Bohlander of CSU University Relations.

One suggested education tactic, Bohlander said, was social norming campaigns, such the recently implemented "86 yourself." Bohlander said students need to realize that very few of their peers drink as much as they imagine – an important factor in increased drinking levels, especially among new students seeking to fit in.

"They perceive that other students drink a lot more than they actually do," Bohlander said. "It's a health promotion campaign to get the truth out, to get the facts out. To say '80 percent of our students have one drink or less.'"

Subcommittees also discussed the importance of safe ride programs, such as the recently expanded RamRide, and increasing public transportation in Fort Collins via Transfort, taxi and bus services, and designated driver programs.

Dave Nichols, a member of the task force and manager of High Country Beverage, said he was pleased by the attention given to transportation.

"I strongly believe that our community needs a complete transportation system," he said. "I think RamRide is a great, great program."

Members agreed that the task force committee and subcommittees have been productive and will present useful and worthwhile recommendations to Penley.

"I'm very hopeful. I think there's a real sense of 'we can do something,'" Weber said. "If (Penley) just wanted a task force to (do nothing) I think he would have picked some very different people …"

None of Thursday's recommendations are final. First, the subcommittees will review their proposals and present their final recommendations to the task force by Jan. 14. Then task force members will use a listserv to discuss the various recommendations and in two meetings on Jan. 20 and 27 will decide which recommendations to amend and adopt. These final recommendations will be presented to Penley for consideration and possible implementation on Feb. 1.



Here are the four subcommittees for the CSU Alcohol Task Force

Alcohol related policies, protocols & enforcement practices

Student behavior and educational & intervention programs

Alcohol related legislation, distribution & advertising

Use of alcohol at Hughes Stadium

"Let your voice be heard!"

Attend task force meetings and make suggestions to the committee: Jan 20 and 27, from 3 to 6 p.m., in Room 223 of the Lory Student Center. Public comment is allowed at the end of each meeting. Or make suggestions or comments at http://www.president.colostate.edu/alcohol_task_force/index.asp?page=alcohol_task_force_feedback_form

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CSU student death

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Dec 122004
Authors: Jon Pilsner

Fort Collins police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old male CSU student who was found dead Saturday morning in a house across the street from campus.

The cause of death is under investigation, but there are no signs of foul play. The investigation is focused on alcohol and/or drugs.

Bennett Bertoli, a freshman open-option seeking business major, was found dead Saturday morning by residents of 1201 S. Shields St., according to Fort Collins Police Services.

Rita Davis, spokeswoman for FCPS, said police received a call at 11:29 a.m. Saturday from a resident at the house who reported he was unable to wake Bertoli, who had been sleeping on a couch.

The Larimer County medical examiner performed an autopsy Sunday, but its findings have not been released pending toxicology test results.

"We don't know the cause of death. We have a good idea but we don't know for sure," said Associated Students of CSU President Katie Clausen.

An empty beer bottle, several plastic cups and a cardboard beer case were on the lawn of the house Saturday afternoon. At least seven cars were parked in the gravel driveway.

Bertoli did not live at the residence where his body was found. Residents of the house declined to comment.

CSU President Larry Penley released a statement saying the university is working closely with Fort Collins police to determine what happened.

"Obviously, this is a tragedy," Penley said. "If this incident is alcohol- or drug-related, it is precisely the kind of incident that caused us to form the task force, and why the important work of the task force will and must continue."

Clausen said she hopes the name of the student, friends and the family will not be subject to slander.

"The students who found him have to just grieve," Clausen said.

Bertoli is the second CSU student to die this semester. CSU sophomore Samantha Spady died on Sept. 5 of acute alcohol poisoning. Alcohol has been a contributing factor in five Colorado student deaths this school year.

The death comes as CSU students prepare for finals before going on Winter Break.

"(Students) need to focus on their studies and not get caught up in a rumor mill," Clausen said. "It was a rude awakening to those who may have forgotten (Spady)."

Clausen said she and Penley were working on a program to help educate students on alcohol poisoning.

"The issue of alcohol and substance abuse has been very widely discussed on our campus and at colleges around the country," Penley wrote in his statement. "It is more clear than ever that our students must take care and responsibility for each other and for their actions."

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Stress management techiques

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Dec 122004
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

Finals week is one of the most stressful times during the semester. In many classes, the final test can make or break a grade. And while many students stay up late cramming for their finals and stressing out about them, there are some simple, out-of-the-ordinary ways students can reduce and control their stress levels.

Yoga instructor Sarada Holik suggested students try yoga to help relieve stress. The practice of yoga unites the mind, body and spirit, and if the correct poses are held, it can lead to a less stressful finals week.

"When you do yoga you are not focusing on problems, you're focusing on letting go of stress and tension," Holik said. "Yoga is meditation in action."

Holik recommended doing the triangle pose, the bridge pose, forward bonds and plow/inversions to help minimize stress and anxiety.

For students who are not familiar with yoga, the Recreation Center offers yoga classes throughout the semester.

The stress management program at CSU also offers assistance to any full-time, fee-paying student.

The stress management program teaches students to deal with their stress using biofeedback and other relaxation techniques. Biofeedback combines relaxation training with the use of electronic instruments that measure changes in the body.

"When you're stressed less blood flows to your hands and feet, causing them to get cold. To relax and calm down focus on warming your hands, you can use your mind to influence your body," said Jenifer Thomas, a graduate assistant in the stress management program.

Biofeedback involves using the mind to control and lower stress levels. The stress management program has special machines to help students learn which relaxation techniques work best for them to relieve stress.

Thomas acknowledged that the technique takes some practice, but offered some advice for students who are stressed over finals.

"Pay attention to your thinking. If you see everything as an emergency then your body will respond in emergency mode," Thomas said.

In addition to staying calm during final exams, using aromatherapy can help reduce stress during studying and even help improve memory.

"The biggest stress reducer is lavender. Chamomile and Bergamot also help you relax and are good for studying. Rosemary is good for your memory," Holik said.

Holik explained that smelling rosemary while studying and again while taking a test helps some people better remember the information for their test.

Many students also get sick during finals week. This is because they are changing their eating, sleeping and exercise habits and studying for extended periods of time.

"I encourage students to keep in their same routine. Getting up early and staying up late to study combined with skipping your regular exercise routine will affect stress levels," Thomas said.

Andee Barocas, a freshman open option major, has found a way to help her reduce and manage stress.

"I make a schedule for myself and decide what I'm going to study and how long I am going to study for each subject. Then I don't let myself break it," Barocas said.

She said if she follows her schedule she does not over-study, which she believes can sometimes hurt students.

"Cramming causes excess stress," Barocas said.

Thomas agreed, and offered some last minute recommendations.

"Making a plan of some sort and fitting in some relaxation time can really help. Get good nutrition and plenty of exercise too," Thomas said. "It sounds clich/, but it really helps."

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Preparing for winter break

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Dec 122004
Authors: Sara Bahnson

Houses: To Do before Winter Break

Residences Halls: To Do before Winter Break

Fill out mail hold card

Stop newspaper delivery

Arrange for snow removal

Unplug all appliances

Secure/lock windows

Clean/defrost refrigerator

Take out trash

Unplug all appliances

Secure/lock window

Close drapes

Shut off lights

Check out with resident assistant

Preparing residence halls, apartments and houses are issues many CSU students face, as they get ready to vacate their home away from home for nearly a month.

Students in the residence halls on campus have their safety preparation confined to just one room.

Although the doors to the halls will be locked during winter break, David Hurley, Campus Services Office supervisor at CSU Police Department, recommends students use window blocks to safeguard rooms, especially those who live on the first floor in the residence halls. Windows should also be locked and drapes should be closed, he said.

"If students have high-dollar items, they should take those items home or safely secure them in the room," Hurley said. "We will still have officers on campus during the break, but students can do their part."

Beyond safety preparation, students in the residence halls are advised by Housing Services to defrost refrigerators, take out the trash, unplug all appliances and shut off the lights before they leave for break.

"It's important for students to check out of their room properly (with a resident assistant) to avoid getting fined," said Katie Minick, a resident assistant at Summit Hall and a freshman human development major.

For students who reside in a house or apartment, the safety precautions recommended by the CSUPD for the residence halls also fit. However, mail and newspapers can pile up after weeks of absence at a personal residence, so there are other considerations.

A mail hold card can be obtained at any local post office and all mail will be held at the main post office during winter break. Newspaper delivery can also by put on hold.

Paying a service for snow and ice removal or finding a neighbor to volunteer is necessary for homeowners or home renters to follow city ordinances. If the snow or ice is not removed from the sidewalk bordering or adjacent to the house within 24 hours, then the city will remove the snow or ice and the cost of this service will be assessed the owner of the property, according to the City of Fort Collins Web site.

While preparing for weeks away from a residence hall, apartment or house can take some effort; the work makes for a safer and worry-free vacation.

"Making my room safe and locked up tight is worth it because I get a month to relax and I don't have to worry about it," said senior biological sciences major Erin Olson.


Two checklists (one for houses, one for residence halls) for readers to cut out

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Plus/minus grading system weighs on students’ minds

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Dec 122004
Authors: Megan Schulz

As the fall semester comes to a close and final grades are decided, the fate of many students' GPAs could be altered because of the plus/minus grading system.

The plus/minus grading system, utilized by many CSU professors, depicts a student's GPA more precisely by assigning a grade based on percentage instead of just using the letter grade.

Without the plus/minus system, two students could both receive 4.0 grade points for the same class, even if one student earned a 92 percent and the other earned a 98 percent. With plus/minus grading, the student with the lower grade would receive an A-, which gives students only 3.667 grade points.

Courtney Cage, director of academics for the Associated Students of CSU, said a positive aspect of the plus/minus grading system is that it offers a more precise display of grades on college transcripts.

"I think it's good in the fact that it allows for a better depiction of student performance," said Cage, a senior biological sciences major.

Karen Raines, a biology professor who uses plus/minus grading, agreed.

"I think (plus/minus grading is) a good idea because (without it) if a student has an 80 percent and another student has an 89 percent, they both get a B," Raines said. "This doesn't truly reflect the effort the students put into the class."

There is no university-wide standard for plus/minus grading. It is up to the professors whether they choose to use plus/minus grading.

"Different professors for the same class with the same exams and syllabi may have different grading styles, and two students who earned the exact same grades could end up with different GPAs," Cage said.

In March 2003, CSU's Committee of Teaching and Learning proposed a memorandum requiring "either whole letter grades or plus/minus grading to be applied uniformly in all sections of a course taught in a semester." The Faculty Council turned down the memorandum.

"It's difficult to tell teachers what they can and cannot do," Cage said. "They want flexibility to feel how to do the best grading system for their classes. There is a lot of resistance by faculty to get plus/minus grading standardized."

Cage thinks it is impossible to standardize plus/minus grading on a university level.

If students feel a teacher's grading system is unfair, there are avenues they can take to make sure they receive fair grades.

On the course syllabus, teachers must specify what type of grading system they are going to use for the class. If they change it mid-semester, students can bring the issue up with the department head, Cage said.

Raines exercises her right to grade as she feels is appropriate for her classes but said students do not always like receiving minuses because they lowers their GPAs.

"I determine the (grading) scale before I start assigning grades," Raines said. "I typically give more pluses."

Some students believe the grading system needs to be standardized to be fair.

"I don't think anybody likes (plus/minus grading)," said Shane Haggard, a freshman open-option student. "I think it should be regulated instead of left up to the professors."

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Students struggle with holiday finances

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Dec 122004
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

Winter Break is almost here and many students' wallets may be in a state of despair.

Erin Schmidt, a junior health and exercise science major said she definitely feels stressed out because of finances during the holiday season. Although finances are tight for Schmidt, she still does her best to buy Christmas gifts.

"I just spend what I can on my family and boyfriend and just hope I have enough," she said.

Trying to buy holiday gifts can be stressful and time-consuming in general, and for some students worrying about holiday finances can have a negative impact when preparing for finals week.

"If you don't have the money then you are constantly worrying about it and getting more stressed out then you normally would which can definitely have an effect on your finals," Schmidt said.

Judy McKenna, Cooperative Extension family economics specialist at CSU, suggested students stop thinking about gifts during finals and concentrate on their studies.

"Get your job done, which is to do as well as you possibly can by reinforcing what you've learned during the semester," she said. "We have high expectations for what we give others and think that we must buy expensive gifts to show how much we love someone."

McKenna thinks family and friends realize how students can be severely limited in the money they have and cannot afford expensive gifts.

"People who love you appreciate thoughtfulness rather than gifts that cost a lot. Simple, special gifts include time to talk, time to walk or doing someone else's chores," she said. "In other words, prepare financially by sticking to your budget and being creative about how to express how much you care about others."

If a student is struggling with finances during the holidays, Schmidt said he or she should try to find a seasonal job and buy gifts that are not expensive but mean a lot.

Jackie Nguyen, a senior staff counselor at the University Counseling Center, said many students seek counseling at the UCC because of financial concerns.

"The holiday season can be especially stressful for many students who don't have any money to shop for gifts for loved ones" she said. "This is true for many students who are on financial aid and do not have any money left from their student loan they receive at the beginning of the school year."

Nguyen believes students tend to have the most difficulty coping with financial stress at the beginning and the end of each semester.

"It can definitely be hard at the end of the semester because the loan money has run out," she said.

Caitlin Holt, a junior food science and human nutrition major, said her job in the Resources for Disabled Students office on campus helps her save money during the school year.

"My job definitely helps make up for the money I spend on Christmas gifts and the time I take off for the break," she said. "Saving for the holidays is extremely important because I have a big family to buy for and gifts can add up."

Holt recommends students try to keep a job during the school year in order to plan and budget ahead in time for the holidays.

Holt also said that if students are on a tight budget, making things for family and friends may mean more than spending money on a gift.

"It's the thought that matters," she said. "I think that making gifts are more personable and heart felt."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm