Spotlight: Winter-Spring 2005
A potpourri of campus and culture: observations, thoughts and trends
Slowing down . . . spring break habits . . . diversity dropping? . . . "nones" — people without faith . . . more.
When was the last time you sat happily doing absolutely nothing? Can’t remember? You’re not alone.
U.S. journalist Carl Honoré first realized his life was off course when he spotted an advertisement offering “condensed” bedtime stories to help busy parents save time. At first the ideas sounded great to him—then he asked himself what he was saving time for that was worth more than half an hour alone with his little boy.
So began a quest that led Honoré around the world, tracking down individuals and organizations dedicated to opposing speed for its own sake. . . . Going slow doesn’t mean ignoring deadlines, but assigning to one’s duties and pleasures more appropriate measures of time and attention.
In the book In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed, Honoré describes new, less-accelerated products and activities that are making inroads in our careening daily lives.
Slow housing applies to non-standardized construction methods and traditional materials. . . . Careful work by artisans helps meet the special needs of individual families while still realizing the savings and economies of scale that come from prefabrication and large-scale planning . . . .
Slow exercise encompasses not only such low-stress techniques as tai chi, yoga and walking, but also super-slow weightlifting and brief but intense workouts you can perform in your street clothes without ever breaking a sweat.
Slow reading allows for complete immersion in a text. One London reading circle read one of Dickens’s novels in monthly installments over a year and a half. . . .
Slow professions include lawyers who take the time to conduct long, wide-ranging first interviews with new clients, thus saving time and achieving better results by learning in detail the client’s needs and objectives. . . .
—Lane Jennings in The Futurist, March-April 2005.
Gimme a break!
Ever wonder what your peers do for spring break? Here’s some stats on students’ spring break habits:
- 38% of students traveled for spring break last year.
- 540,000 students went to Panama City Beach, Fla., in 2003, and the trend continued in 2004.
- Top four destinations: Panama City Beach, Fla.; Daytona Beach, Fla., South Padre Island, Texas; Lake Havasu, Ariz.
- $615 was the average amount spent by spring breakers in Panama City Beach, $427 more than their usual $188 of monthly discretionary income.
- Average number of drinks per day for guys on spring break: 18.
- Average number of drinks per day for women on spring break: 10.
- 17% of students traveled outside the U.S. during spring break in 2003, and the trend will likely continue.
—Source: American Demographics, March 2004.
Desire for diversity dropping
Freshmen are less likely to seek diverse friends, according to results from the UCLA-sponsored annual survey of freshmen. Of the 300,000 students who responded, 67.8 percent reported that they frequently socialized with someone from a different racial or ethnic group in high school, a number that has been dropping steadily from 70 percent in 2001. Less than two-thirds of respondents said they expected to socialize in college with people outside their own racial or ethnic group. At the same time, students said they cared less than ever about promoting diversity. Only 29.7 percent said that “helping to promote racial understanding” was “essential” or “very important” as a goal for them. In 1992, that number was 46.4 percent.
—Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2005.
Not Quite Ready for College
Only 22 percent of high school graduates who took the ACT in 2004 have taken the classes needed to prepare them for success in college. According to the ACT company, most 2004 graduates who took their exam had not taken the courses recommended for college prep: four years of English, three years of math, and three years of science. The company believes a large part of the challenge lies in the popular notion that many seniors can “cruise” through their final year.
—Associated Press, October 15, 2004.
The “Nones” are coming!
“What’s your religion if any?” ask many public opinion polls, and according to Mark O’Keefe of Religion News Service, the numbers who say “none” have more than doubled in a decade. He says that if they were organized into a denomination, the nearly 30 million nones trail only Catholics and Baptists in members. “Some nones are atheists, others agnostic, still others self-styled dabblers in a variety of faiths and philosophies. Despite their discomfort with organized religion, many consider themselves quite spiritual.
“Nones are especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. In Oregon and Washington, where 21 percent and 25 percent, respectively, claim no particular faith, nones outnumber any single religious category.”
—Quoted by Martin Marty in Context, February 2004.
Science doesn’t like “no” for an answer
Why is there such vigorous disagreement among scientists over adult stem cells? C. Christopher Hook, director of ethics education for the Mayo School of Medicine, says, “Scientists in general do not like to hear the word no. They believe that science is an unmitigated good, and thus should not be restricted. Science has indeed benefited humanity in many ways. The products of science and technology, however, have also produced significant problems for humanity and the environment, and thus these activities require careful oversight and regulation. Unfortunately, science has evolved more into techno-science and is big business for individual scientists, universities and industry in general. There are patents, profits, professional posturing and political power at stake in this debate, and I fear that this is really what is driving much of the demand for unrestricted research.”
—Christianity Today, November 2004, quoted by Martin Marty in Context, January 2005.
Remember your SAT?
Conventional wisdom has long said no one will ever ask for your SAT score again after your freshman year of college. However, an increasing number of businesses have begun looking at the scores in the job interview process. Recognizing that grades may depend on the school one attended, they see the SAT as a common source for empirical data. Job qualifications such as “minimum expectations include an overall score of 1350” can be found for certain entry level positions. Sectors such as engineering, computers, and finance are very competitive and the SAT represents one more way to sort through their applications.
—Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2004.
Posted on: Feb 17, 2005
Last modified on: Jan 9, 2007
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