Archive for February, 2014

A Quick Catch Up

An original suggestion for this topic was for the companies to offer one or two continuous six-month leases to the apartments they already own. This seemed like an idea that would work pretty effortlessly. However, after talking to a consultant at one of the nearby housing companies, she told me otherwise. (Refer back to One Side Verses The Other for more details) I decided to find out what was listed in our area for what I was searching for-I wasn’t picky either. An online apartment list only provided me with one housing company that offered it. I was more shocked than not. I understand that it’s not common for many people to only need a six-month lease and that it’s slim to non that people passing through the area need a place to stay for six months, but Longwood University provides enough people to make a dent in the housing demand. Going back to the programs I listed in the beginning of this blog, upperclassmen who are in the Student Teaching Program, Nursing Program, students who decide to study abroad for a semester, or students who need to stay an extra semester to graduate would all benefit with a six-month lease. On US NEWS, they state that Liberal Studies/ Liberal Arts Majors consisted of 18% of the graduating class in 2012. In total, that comes out to being 774 students that could potentially need a lone semester here at school. That number doesn’t include all of the other students who may have decided to add another major and stay another semester to graduate or students who had the opportunity to study abroad either.

I’m not saying students haven’t been able to get by in the past, but I’m announcing the dissatisfaction with the amount of options the student body is given. Longwood University’s freshman class grows each year as the “largest class ever”, which can be positive for the university. However, what we aren’t paying attention to is the fact that if we continue this habit, students are going to run out of places to live. I bring this up because this year two residential halls are undergoing construction and the Residential Housing Company almost encourages students who are eligible to move off campus. They recently lowered the amount of credits a students need to move to off campus housing. The policy is that once a student moves off campus, they are not permitted to live back onto on campus housing again. With this being the case, the off campus housing companies now have to deal with the increased amount of students. Arizona state schools increased the amount of beds for the student demand because it rose so quickly. Since we’re much smaller than the school they mention, we wouldn’t nearly as many as they state. In a New Jersey article that discussed some similar issues, they stated that it could take approximately 3 years from the start of a project to the time tenants move in. At Longwood, there have been some quickly built apartment complexes and they appear to look nice, but after living in them myself for not even a whole year I can speak from experience that they were built cheaply.

Building a few more apartment complexes could be a place where students who specifically need six-month leases can live. A suggestion is to start a relatively manageable size in a space that can be expanded on later. Having more property can help out a large minority of the students who need a place to live in a relatively close proximity to campus.

Start the Stand

 

The main problem within the issue of college drinking is that there are not enough informative information on the dangers and the consequences of drinking while in college. Informative information is information that “informs” students of what the possible outcomes may be if they are associated with drinking, and not just the consequences. Within the Longwood University Student Handbook it doesn’t show any informative information on drinking, but within the handbook you will mainly see policies and punishments by Longwood but not the dangers.

As a new coming student from high school the dangers that these individuals run into could be endless, and alcohol is one of them. In Longwood, new students are required to go to various meetings before attending their classes and start their education as new students. Within those lectures, again have no informative information on alcohol but just mere scares on the policy and its punishments.

Although students can use common sense on how alcohol can disrupt their college career, it may be too late to catch back up on their work, or may be too late for preventing injuries, and sometimes-permanent damage.

A suggestion and my stand towards college drinking in Longwood University would to increase the amount of awareness and informative lectures on the dangerous and sometimes life ruining affects of alcohol while attending college.

One Side verses the Other

The main issue that students’ deal with when they come across with six-month leases is that they aren’t offered. On the contrary though, the leasing companies don’t want to offer them because it’s an entire semester where they don’t create income. I’ve narrowed this down to one of the main leasing companies closest to campus for the sake of this blog and it’s understandable on both sides, however students should not have to pay for the extra six months.

When I called the office of one of the main leasing companies and asked if they offered them, her answer was simply no. She expanded and told me that if they can find someone to rent for the following semester that they would, but that they don’t allow that to happen for more than a couple of people. This brings up a couple of issues. For one, what requirements do those people have that others don’t that allow them to be chosen for these select few leases? Another reason, that this causes issues is for the reason that is there are under ten leases that are chosen for a main leasing company. That’s a small fraction of the student population who could use it.

Although student’s can understand the business side of the company, students still want the option to live nearby campus and have the opportunities and experiences like their peers. The options given to students are further away and students feel as if they’re missing out on the college life style. Although some people can’t always get the perfect living situation, more people would be able to be accommodated.

A suggestion would be to allow for more six-month leases, the school is expanding and so does the companies. Some of these apartments can be set aside to accommodate for the students.

Stand & Startles

The specific problem in this issue is that there are not enough policies regarding consequences for bullies in Mecklenburg County Public School Systems. The word “bully” or anything resembling that word only occurs once in all 400 pages of the Mecklenburg County Public School System handbook.

A controversial aspect of this issue are on multiple levels. From inside personal conversations some parents are worried that if the schools “buckle down” on the bullying policy that they will over-react to small issues and cause more problem. Then some parents were thinking that it was a great idea. As one would assume, the parents who were for this policy change are parents whose children are being bullied in school. While the parents who feel like this policy change would just cause more issue are usually parents who have children with no issue with bullying or children who are the bully and have enough on their hands as is. Another controversial issue would be with the policy writers. Living in a very small town they do not care much for change. Convincing them that this is an issue and some well thought out change should be in process. The final bit of controversy, is death. Although, my issue is based on policy change the most controversial issue is what leads up to the need for policy change. Many cases of bullying lead to suicide. The teens who are being bullied feel like there is no other reason to stay; and more and more teen bullies are getting away with this crime.

There are multiple organizations to try advocate for anti-bullying. Some of these organizations include but are not limited to: stopbullying.gov and the National Bullying Prevention Center. There are not many research numbers involving Bluestone High School alone. Yet, there is some research regarding national averages on bullying, outcomes, and other statistics. Many claims are valid given information regarding police reports, investigation reports, and death certificates. The issue is bullying inside school systems, the problem is the policy regarding consequences against bullying inside Bluestone Senior High School. Many stakeholders, including: parents, board members, students, and school staff. Regarding Bluestone High School, the history of the issue usually ends up as fights during school hours resulting in injuries, suspensions, and social issues among students; as if their are not enough. The issue of bullying will never die. It is in human nature to belittle others who are different. Although, I firmly believe that although the specific problem may never be able to die off, the consequences of the issue could be more severe with hopes that the issue will start to lower in instances.

I feel like those with hopes to rid bullying in its entirety works about as well as the 18th Amendment.

Why bans and restrictions don't work fully.

To support my final sentence.

 

Stakeholders on Bullying

Stakeholders in this situation would be various people. Depending on the view or angle one decides to come in at. In my case I am coming in on a policy angle. I am more focused on stakeholders such as committee boards, the principle, teachers, and parents. The students are the main concern. So, why are they not one of my stakeholders? I believe that in order to change a behavior you must start with the influences that focus that behavior. In this case, school guidelines and outside influences are going to have a larger impact than simply lecturing these students on bullying.

Interests in this subject is myself, a positive influence; as well as others. There are positive and negative influences, such as the board committee not wanting to have to use the time to re-write the policy handbook. Whereas teachers feel like they have enough on their plates as is. The principle, feels as if, he is doing the best he can although, not all things can be prevented. I feel like everyone WANTS to be invested, because deep down they know that it is an issue and needs to be addressed however they feel as if there is nothing that they can really do about it and that they should focus their time and energy on something else.

Unfortunately, this issue is much more than just policy being changed. It needs to be enforced; not only in the school environment but also in the home environment. If people such as the board committee or the school personnel feel like that is the source of the issue then their vested interest may not carry far due to the fact that they feel like there is not much that they can do.

A commonplace within the audience I am trying to address is agenda. Most of the persons on this committee have other full time jobs, families, social lives, or other pre-prioritized things. I feel like hitting an emotional level would be my best advancement. They already know the statistics, the information, the current policies, but the board members are not necessarily in the school systems everyday.  Many of them have or have had children in this particular school system. I feel like reiterating situations that perhaps a “gateways” around what little policy they have could effect a large population or even effect their credentials as a school system. In such a small town “image is everything” when someone can show them how their policy could ruin their image I feel like that is where it will hit close to home. No board member wants to be recognized as not being able to write and carry good policy, no principle wants to be seen as “not being able to control his students”, as would no teacher want to be seen as a pushover, a horrible teacher, or creating an unsafe learning environment.

In conclusion, this situation has many stakeholders. The stakeholders are on a local level. Combining anyone from a blue collar parent to a “high-sitting” board official. Some voices are spoken while many are quiet. This issue should be address by the “bottom of the totem-pole” or else change will never be met.

Drinking On College Campuses Stakeholders

Drinking in general is a problem that is consistent throughout the United States, and throughout history drinking on college campuses goes hand and hand which involves multiple people and creates multiple problems. While not all college students drink the primary focus is on the students that do and their actions as well as the outcomes. Students are the main stakeholders within this problem because without them drinking on college campuses would not be an issue. Students are affected by this problem because drinking can cause a decrease in academic performance and consequences from their poor decisons/actions.

Presidents are also a stakeholder within this problem because they are affected by the problem of students who drink on campus mainly those who are underaged. The presidents try to limit students drinking by creating rules and regulations to try and prevent these problems from happening. For example multiple colleges have a student handbook which notifies students on their policy of drinking on campus. By creating these rules and regulations presidents and school officials try to reduce the problem of drinking on campus. Another stakeholder involves multiple policy advocates and organizations that try to reduce drinking on college campuses. Organizations such as MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) and HEP (Had Enough Project) use their efforts to try and inform and create policies for college students from drinking on campus and attempt to eliminate the problem. Another stakeholder includes beer companies that are focused on or around college campuses. Students that do drink buy from these beer companies and eliminating it would cause a decrease in their profits. Also law enforcement play a role in college drinking. they are affected by this issue because they have to be more cautious for the students that have been drinking for their safety as well as the society’s safety mainly for driving while under the influence.

Stakeholders of Farmville Leasing

Upperclassmen at Longwood University are impacted by this situation, especially those students in the liberal studies program, the nursing program, transfer students, or students who have chosen to study abroad during a Spring or Fall semester. Another stakeholder would be the off campus housing companies. A few popular companies that many students choose to rent through are Walk 2 Campus, Sunchase, Green Properties, and Poplar Forest.

Students who are in the liberal studies or nursing program understand that there is a great chance that they need to go to another city outside of Farmville there last semester senior year and that there are limited leases available to them. Most students end up paying the rent for the extra six months that they aren’t living here because the housing companies don’t allow for six-month contracts.

The housing companies point of the view however is that the University is expanding. There are more and more students that are being admitted and less places to be housed on campus therefore making them move off campus. Because of this, the housing companies feel they don’t need create six month leasing contracts because they will have more students who need yearly contracts in the end. It’s not that the students don’t understand the business side of their decision-making, it would just make the process of going to school and dealing with one more thing a little less complicated than it had to be. In the past, students end up upset or frustrated if the housing companies state that they will find someone to live in that apartment for the next six month and then fail to do so leaving the first set of tenants to pay the rent.

Some of these housing companies have six month leases however their prices are not advertised, nor when students go to ask about them are they made available to college aged students. Many state you must be 26 years old to live there or older, which most students who need these leases aren’t any older than 23.

An idea for the apartment communities would be easy to just extend a six or twelve month contract option, The majority of the time, students will choose the twelve anyway and it wouldn’t be much different. Giving the option for a six-month lease could open more leases with their company and help out a great percentage of students who struggle with this living situation.

Drinking and Learning: College Capuses

The social issue within my proposition is that underage drinking or drinking in general on college campuses is a growing concern, which is affecting multiple students. The stakeholders within this problem include students, teachers/staff, and law enforcement. The controversy of this problem is that children are not aware that the decisions that they make by drinking can cause problems within school or physical problems such as injuries and possibly death. I believe that students mainly underage and first year students are unaware of these problems, and the development of more programs on awareness can help to improve their decisions as well as their academic success.

The History Of College Drinking

Times have changed but some things remain the same; and on college campuses its the presence of alcohol. It is obviously clear that a large number of college students (many underage) develop a pattern of binge drinking and it is widespread throughout multiple college campuses. This has become a growing problem not just on academics but also on student’s health. In the article History of College Drinking On Campus the author explains the history of just a few of fatalities throughout history that has occured on college campuses. One of the fatalities included that a student within a sorority attended a party and died due to alchohol poisoning. According to this article Heavy Drinking Remains a Constant On College Campuses the incidents within college campuses and drinking have been constant for 30 years. The article also states that drinking incidents have occured more often compared to sexual assault and violence. One amazing fact that was displayed was that alcohol trumps facebook, outside jobs and class attendance as a predictive factor in a students academic performance. The steadiness of this problem is better than an increase, but the constance of the negative influences alcohol has brought upon college campuses is not a good thing, and needs to be addressed.

Bullying History in MCPS

As a small rural area, bullying has always been a large issue in Mecklenburg County. It’s bullying is focused more towards children of the homosexual orientation, or with some sort of disability, or if they simply do not “fit in”. Unfortunately, this happens just about anywhere you go. Human nature in this age tends to be in the “survival of the fittest stage” of life. So, in turn if bullying someone else to feel “fit” in their group is what a child feels is necessary then that is what they will do. On most occasions, they are not educated to the knowledge of what consequences can come from these actions.

In recent pasts, Mecklenburg County Public Schools (MCPS from here on out), has verbally enforced its concern with bullying among students although, they do not have much of a consequence system. When students are being bullied within the school grounds it is normally addressed by a lecture by some sort of authority who naturally has no respect from said student. Also, the consequences towards the bully are often times not severe enough to make any sort of impression. The student is normally told to stop and move on. All this teaches the student is that it’s okay to bully someone because you’re not going to get into any real trouble.

The current guidebook for MCPS states:

“The Mecklenburg County School Board shall establish, within its existing programs, a character              education program in its schools, which may occur during the regular school year, during the summer in a  youth development academy offered by the school division, or both…..The program shall also address the inappropriateness of bullying, as defined in the Virginia Code.”

This is the only section in the total of 400 pages that MCPS uses the word bullying/bully in any way. They have a small minute section of their guidelines focusing on “Character Education” but nothing regarding the larger sum of bullying inside or outside the school grounds. In time, I have a meeting with the principle of Bluestone Senior High School, where I will obtain more information on bullying on an individual level as opposed to only knowing the broad spectrum for the whole MCPS system.