With all the hubbub of new franchises and chains breezing in from the Lower 48, it’s easy to get swept up in the frenzy. But when the dust settles, there still exists the homegrown goodness that makes Alaska unique.
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Crowds gathered in the Bookstore parking lot Dec. 6 to watch a lone piece of metal hoisted to the top of the continually growing Engineering and Industry Building. This piece of metal bore the signatures of more than 50 individuals commemorating the final piece of steel to be outfitted onto the frame of the new building in what is called a “topping-out” ceremony.
Freezing rain led to the closure of UAA’s main campus in Anchorage on Nov. 22 and Dec. 5. In addition, bus services had been canceled, leaving many students stranded.
“By the time they closed, many of us were still on campus, and the buses were canceled,” said Veronika Spry, a student. “It was a big inconvenience.”
USUAA and Alaska state legislators persevered through a handsome ice storm to sit down for lunch Friday afternoon in the Student Union Den. All but two guests were able to attend the event, which was cut short by campus closures.
It touches a nerve to consider that every year a certain number of students at institutions of higher education take their own lives. Success and failure are well defined for the average college student and it may be convenient to chalk up desperation to the latter.
As part of Engage Week, UAA’s Smoke-Free Task Force, Seawolf Debate, the Journalism and Public Communications Department, and the Department of Health hosted a soapbox debate about whether or not UAA should initiate a comprehensive smoke-free policy.
Faculty and administration are working to iron out the kinks in the juggernaut that is prioritization. Many details of the massive assessment of programs and services at UAA are still undecided, but several decisions have been reached following motions passed by the faculty Senate.
As Alaskan oil reserves dwindle, belts will require tightening and the state will take a close look at budgets. The University of Alaska is young, and just as a malnourished child may suffer effects into adulthood, the university may suffer in the long-term if it doesn’t find the best use of an inevitable decrease in funding.
There is no safe exposure amount to smoke. This is the message UAA’s Smoke-Free Task Force hopes to communicate. The task force was formed in response to a challenge made by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for all college campuses to go smoke and tobacco free by 2016.
In spring 2012 the Northern Light mourned the loss after seven years of the UAA Housing & Recreation Activities program in an editorial chastising the university’s budgetary reasoning.
Now a group of students and faculty is hoping to bring back outdoor opportunities — not only to students who live on campus but to everyone at UAA. This time around the money would come from a student fee.
Last Thursday the Alaska Supreme Court traveled to Barrow to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit brought against the State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. The plaintiffs are asking the courts to rule that the atmosphere is a public trust resource as a way of compelling the state of Alaska to regulate its carbon emissions.
Students and members of the community packed the Barrow High School auditorium to observe the judicial process as part of Alaska’s Supreme Court LIVE program.
Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children’s Trust and Eagle River attorney Brad De Noble represent the six young plaintiffs.
“It’s about leadership and collaboration. We must focus on the students and listen to the students, even when they burst our bubble. When we think that we have it nailed, and then talk to a group of students, and they say, ‘No, that’s not where we are at. That was 10 years ago,’ we must listen,” said University of Alaska President Pat Gamble at last week’s Board of Regents meeting in Juneau.
Gamble is referring to the University of Alaska system’s Strategic Directive Initiative, or SDI.
“SDI is about collaboration,” he says. “Collaboration means incentive.”