Archive for April, 2012

Charles Colson: A Personal Reflection

Monday, April 30th, 2012 by Dale M. Coulter

There have been numerous tributes and reflections on the life of Charles “Chuck” Colson since his passing from this life on April 21. For this reason, I will not rehearse here many of the details given elsewhere –three particularly poignant reflections on Chuck’s life are given by Michael Gerson, Bill Bennett, and Timothy George. Instead, I want to indulge in a bit of personal remembrance. It’s really only when someone exits this life that we gain a glimpse at the numerous ways in which the individual’s history intersected with and impacted events and others. While biographers attempt to distill a more complete historical account into a few hundred pages, it is in detecting the threads found amidst the myriad voices that we begin to see the complex way in which a person’s own history impacts human history. With this in view, I offer my own thread about Chuck Colson from two vantage points. Read the rest of this entry »

Allergic to the Campus

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by Wolfgang Vondey

It’s allergy season. If you have not noticed, because you spent most of your time in the classroom or on the couch with your iPad, you just have to come on campus. Pick any university, any college, and you’ll be greeted by the sound of the mowers and, soon, the smell of cut grass, weeds, and pollen. 55% of Americans test positive for allergies (source: WebMD). So let’s say roughly half of the campus suffers during allergy season. Sure, people with allergies suffer everywhere. But for some inexplicable reason, this suffering seems to increase when on campus.

Allergy symptoms are often higher indoors than outside. We track pollen and dust and carry it with us in our hair and clothes. The concentration of pollen is high in the classroom–a closed environment we cannot escape. As a result we suffer at school and await nothing more than to escape. As I am writing this, the smell of freshly cut grass invades my office on campus. It is mowing day. Well, really, that is not a special day. Any day is mowing day here. Mowers go Monday through Friday, rain or shine, short grass or tall grass. I keep wondering, do we really have to mow all the time? But more importantly, is there any consideration of those who suffer from seasonal allergies? Last week I was approached by a student with a box of tissues and asked if exam time could be scheduled outside of mowing time. Having exams during the spring semester in April and May with the mowers at full blast leaves a mark on many students’ capacity to perform. Before I even finished the last sentence, I hear some sneezing next door and down the hall. The mowers are still going strong. Actually, they are pretty loud as well, and last semester students asked me if I could go outside and request that mowing be suspended during a midterm. I got a bewildered look from the man on the riding mower, but they moved on to a different location–always tracking a dust cloud along. Oh, and have you ever tried lecturing for hours during allergy season when you are suffering from hay fever?

So what can we do about allergy season on campus? Do you suffer from allergies? What is your experience? What is your solution? 

Do you think it is necessary to mow every day? Would it not save cost to mow less? Does it not benefit the grass as well? Do we prefer an English lawn on campus at the cost of a sniffling, sneezing, and generally miserable half of the campus population?

Of course, I am wondering about the proper response from a Christian perspective. Something along the lines of: mowing in and of itself is not evil, but if it offends your neighbor…

I am just thinking out loud here, so please give me your feedba…       sorry, gotta grab a tissue…