The Crippling Weight of the 'Last Straw'

These bureaucratic barriers, however, often lie hidden beneath the surface of a student’s experience of the college, cumulatively eroding their resolve and capacity to cope with other difficulties. In consequence, all of us—students and observers—might be tempted to explain away a student’s breaking point as entirely due to some unforeseen personal crisis, or the grinding pressures of some chronic hardship.

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A New Yorker Responds: Bloomberg's Plan for Mandatory Composting

Just last month I had documented the wonderful work of our faculty and student fellows with their community partner at the Lower East Side Ecology Center. That a city of New York’s size intends on establishing a serious, progressive city-wide program to handling waste is something to celebrate. The New York Times article cites benefits beyond the environmental impact: the city will save about a third of the money it spends disposing residential trash (over $300 million last year) by diverting the organic material to composting plants. Furthermore, the city would pursue plans to build a plant to convert the waste matter into a renewable energy source used to generate electricity for the New York region.

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Framing and Deepening the Hurricane Sandy Response

The crisis of Sandy still serves as a catalyst to engage students in in-depth discussions on everything from the appropriate role of government, public resources, and infrastructure planning and development to scientists' growing concern about climate change and disaster preparedness. In light of the urgency of the lasting crisis, how do we reconcile the bureaucracy of higher education timetables with the real-time needs of next-door neighbors and citizens, and expedite services? How do we make use of large-scale student resources and labor while remaining mindful of the students and staff who have been personally affected by the storm?

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