Hate then Heal

Everyone on campus pretty much saw this week the “Hate” board that was on the Steps lawn, and it was great to see how many people were engaged. The point was to write something on the wall that had been said to you or that you had heard being said to someone else, and basically just fill up this wall with racist and sexist and other hurtful things that have actually been directed to someone. It was a chance to face the harshness of reality and see how shocking the magnitude of awful things that are said to others in our own community is.

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Photo by Malcolm Scobell

 

It opens the discussion up on inclusion and diversity and the impact of words on other people. Those words stick with you, they aren’t something that you’ll forget, and that’s the whole point of the wall.

Yesterday students joined together and tore this wall down, and replaced it with one that says “Heal”.

It’s great to be able to come back from so much Hate and hopefully respond with more positivity. The Heal wall isn’t complete yet, but its already so uplifting and positive and just the complete opposite of what was there before.

It makes you think about if every Hate term was replaced by a Heal one. What would our world look like instead?

 

The Good Life

sea-sky-beach-holiday

Exam week is around the corner here at Lehigh and once again people are on the verge of complete emotional collapse. Whenever I run into my sister on campus these days our conversation always seems to end with “Dan, fix my life.” This got me thinking, what exactly would constitute as “fixing” someone’s life?

In the society we live in, there seems to be this general idea that the so-called “good-life” consists of a strict daily regiment of lounging on a beach in Tahiti. There would be no debt, financial struggles, responsibilities of any sort, or even conflict. Essentially, we are obsessed with Kenny Chesney’s immortal lyrics “No shoes, no shirt, no problems.” Yet, we are so absorbed in this endeavor to escape reality, we don’t really think about what it would actually be like.

Aside from the constant need for sunscreen, we’d be in a world with no reason to do anything. Without deadlines and without the need to work for survival, we’d have no motivation to do anything. Sure, you could go surfing for a while, but what would be the point? In the same way that we outgrew Miley Cyrus and Bieber, things that seemed exciting and crazy would eventually sink to mediocrity.

As humans, we have an incredible capacity to lose interest in things that are commonplace. What does this mean for our “Good-life”? Perhaps we will still dream of palm trees and sandy beaches, but ultimately, that is one dream that doesn’t need to become a reality.

A year ago

It’s funny walking around campus and seeing tours going on, because it puts you in a totally different perspective. Now you’re the mysterious and interesting college students that you stared at just a year ago. You’re fortunately done with the whole college application process, you’re not scared and wondering where to go next year to begin your independent adult life. It looks like we have it all figured out, or at least just a step closer, and so it puts you in an interesting place. Now, when we talk to potential students, it’s exciting thinking of the influence we may have.

I remember when I came to Lehigh for an IDEAS info session, a student said to me “IDEAS is the reason I am at Lehigh”, and now I’m in the same position and would say the same thing to a potential student. It’s amazing to have that type of influence and to affect students’ lives in the way that yours was. It’s exciting to be able to say, “Come to Lehigh, I love it here and you will too.”

lehigh

“For those STS types”

Professor Best encouraged us to go to a lecture on Social Science, saying it’ll definitely be intriguing for those “STS” (Science Technology in Society) types. As a program and a set of students, we represent something on campus by being in IDEAS. We have interests that go beyond just the College of Arts and Sciences or Engineering, and instead fuse both of them together, which some lectures around campus already do.

The College of Arts and Sciences is so broad and diverse, its hard to choose what to do! As registration for the next fall quickly approaches, figuring out the avenue you want to take is important. That is why talks and lectures like that help, because they give insight into different areas other people are exploring and that you might want to as well.

It’d be great if more students got involved and sought out all that Lehigh has to offer. There are so many opportunities, and really where most of my blogging inspiration comes from. You’re not just at college to go to class and get good grades and hang out with friends. So much learning and opportunity exists outside of the classroom if you know where to look for it.

Unveiling Pluto

New York Times article on Pluto

I remember sometime during my childhood being told that Pluto was no in fact a planet, and that what I had been taught my whole life was simply not true. Since then not much has really been said about Pluto, and as time has gone on I’ve realized that they really don’t know all that much in depth about any planet in particular. Each one brings challenges to scientists with differing atmospheres and geographies and orbits etc. Each planet is interesting and unique, and that’s only talking about the ones in our solar system. How many more planets are out there that have circumstances that we could never predict just knowing from our experience here on Earth? Pluto surprised us, and its practically right in our backyard compared to the rest of the Universe.

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The New York Times, NASA/John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The above link shows what has been learned about Pluto and about its surprising composition. Its weird that we had to wait so long for this information, and weird that we will have to wait a while again until any further questions can be answered. It is still amazing to read about, and to think about what else lies out there for us to discover.

Feminisms

A three day conference happened at Lehigh this past week called Feminisms Beyond the Secular, and I wish I had been able to see more of it. Women from across the country and world came to share their insight and research from within their area of specialty and study. It was interesting to see how they all came together and discussed feminism and how it can be used in religions and races as a tool and language.

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I say I wish I had been able to see more because I came during the last panel discussion they had. Not many students were there, and I guess its hard when people have class and everything. But I could tell just from their wrap ups and summaries that a great deal had been talked about the days before, and that they were really important topics that more students should have been interested in. Lehigh has so many great speakers and opportunities– yet nothing of course is mandatory, and not everything fits in with the busy undergrad schedule.You have to just keep an ear out for anything that may spark your interest, and even if it doesn’t seem like it is worth it, and would be something that you could easily skip to watch Netflix instead, usually you’ll be really happy that you went. You leave thinking about new ideas from different perspectives, and have a subject of conversation when someone asks you how your Tuesday night was.

Corn on the Cob

So today I basically became aware of the fact that everything in the world is corn. That burger you ate last night, yeah, probably some corn in it. Chicken nuggets? Mhmm. Even some soda’s contain that lovable little yellow vegetable.

Why do I want you to care about corn? Well, I’m less concerned with the fact that we are eating vegetables and more concerned about how this vegetable came to be. Back in the earliest days of people corn was minuscule. So how did corn get to be to the delicious size that it is today?

Presumably, one day someone decided to eat a piece of this tiny corn. Like all corn, he failed to completely digest it, and that little hunk of corn was planted in a pile of “enriched soil”. Over the years, people continued to snack on the larger hunks of corn and the smaller pieces slowly faded away. Fast forward a ridiculous number of years and poof, corn on the cob.

However, this new corn suffers from a fatal flaw. In all our efforts to create the David Hasselhoff of corn, we overlooked something significant. It’s only one vegetable. One crazy bug or insect could severely damage corn production and leave us in a very bad, very awkward situation.

It seems that in many cases with advances in technology (in this case corn technology) we don’t always think in the long term. Sure, eating an entire large pizza from Dominoes seems like a chance to achieve Nirvana. Yet, I’m almost certain you’re stomach will be throwing a tantrum the next day. When will we stop looking for short term answers to long term questions? maiz-y-teosinte1

Unmodified picture from: http://lacienciaysusdemonios.com/2009/10/06/el-huerto-evolutivo-4-del-teocinte-teosinte-al-maiz-la-evolucion-es-la-repanocha/