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MU Improv in full swing

I am in a relatively fresh improv group at MU. We are (for now) called the MU Improv troupe. We recently had a show with Chicago Second City’s Emily Wilson. Wilson is also an MU alum so she paid us a visit and offered her words of wisdom and added more than a splash of funny to our first show.

Last night was the second official show for our troupe which was held in the North Ground Lounge in Memorial Union. You might be asking isn’t there another improv group at MU? Yes, Comedy Wars was here first but there is a day and night difference between the groups. MU Improv specializes in long form scene shows while Comedy Wars is more game based. Just two different forms of improv.

Our next endeavor will be a show for ResLife on May 1. The future plans for the troupe is that it will continue on next year(and hopefully for many years thereafter) but we are thinking we might decide to break down into smaller groups within the troupe.

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The MU Faculty Council met today and went over a few discussion items that have popped up on its agenda several times this year.

The proposed academic integrity statement that drew fire from many faculty council members has been sent back to UM’s legal department with a list of questions and requested clarifications. Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin said she had met with past council chairs and they were also against the new statement.

“They unanimously like what the Columbia campus already has and don’t want the curators messing with it,” she said.

The council discussed results from UM’s recent employee benefits survey, paying particular attention to the issue of domestic partner benefits. Rubin said it was a highly polarized issue, with 34 percent of employees strong in favor and 34 percent strongly against. However, 1,200 of the 7,000 employees who took the survey opted not to answer the question.

There will be a general faculty meeting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at Jesse Wrench Auditorium. The next faculty council meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6, in S203 Memorial Union.

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FULTON— Walter Hester, a 1977 Westminster College graduate, returned to his Alma mater Wednesday to speak to students.

Hester is CEO of Maui Jim, a luxury sunglasses company that is renowned for its polarized lenses. He purchased Maui Jim in 1991 when it filed for bankruptcy. At that time the company had seven employees but has since grown to have 11 international offices with over 600 employees worldwide, Hester said.

Hester, who spoke at length about the company’s support of its employees and commitment to brand quality, specifically emphasized Maui Jim’s ethics and integrity.

“I think you need to trust people,” Hester said. “You expect commitment from your employees. You have to let them know the company is behind them too.”

Among the tips Hester gave to students, he said that

  • reputation is everything
  • people should stick with long term goals
  • businesses need to recognize their market
  • the world is changing every day, and we have to be able to change with it

Hester spoke to a full lecture hall that holds approximately 200 people. Among the attendees was large group of members from the Sigma Chi fraternity, of which Hester was a member when he attended Westminster College.

Walter Hester speaks to a fully packed lecture hall on Wednesday in the Coulter Science Center at Westminster College.

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“Going green” has been one of many issues President Obama vowed to tackle (remember the White House’s LED lights and recycled Christmas ornaments?), but the issue isn’t just in the government. Colleges and universities have been working to make their campuses greener, and students and faculty at MU are right in the thick of efforts to make a more sustainable campus.

One website, www.greenreportcards.org, analyzes schools around the country to determine overall “grades” for sustainability, and the following summarizes MU’s “green report card.”

Overall Score: B-

Administration: B

MU is currently drafting its official sustainability policy, planning to emphasize energy efficiency, awareness and resource protection.

Climate Change and Energy: A

MU reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per square foot by 11 percent between 1990 and 2009 and saves $50,000 annually by since switching 4 percent of its coal supply to burning wood chips. Heating and electricity on campus are provided by a cogeneration plant, and major HVAC systems have been upgraded to meet high-efficiency standards.

Food and Recycling: B

The university boats 16 composting dumpsters around campus, and MU has increased campus-wide recycling from 20 percent to 25 percent in the past year.

Green Building: C

All new construction projects will follow sustainability principles and concepts, but only two buildings on campus (University Hall and the General Services Building) are Energy Star-labeled.

Student Involvement: A

Students on campus can participate in organizations like Sustain Mizzou.

Transportation: B

MU’s fleet includes two hybrid and many E-85 vehicles, and the university provides numerous public transit options.

Endowment Transparency: B

All holdings are available on the MU website, but shareholder voting records are not public.

Investment Priorities: C

The university does not invest in renewable energy or community development funds.

Shareholder Engagement: F

MU asks its investment managers to handle proxy voting details.

For more details on how MU stacks up against other universities, go here.

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As the school year winds down and I slowly lose my mind trying to hold it together, it seems it’s the little things that really make my day. For all you Tweeters, history buffs, both or none: CHECK THIS OUT for a good laugh.

CLICK ME!

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Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of articles focusing on college admissions. It makes sense – it’s spring and college seniors have been anxiously awaiting acceptance letters for months. But the articles I’m talking about delve a little deeper into the admissions process.

A recent New York Times article said that students on Duke University’s ever-expanding waiting list will be chosen not by test scores or academic achievements but by their ability to fill what the admissions department sees as “deficiencies” – majors with dwindling numbers or states that are underrepresented in that particular incoming class.

A 2003 ABC series on Georgetown University’s “diversity drives” said that the school had begun selecting students based on the “total package.” While academic records were still considered, increased weight was given to factors like leadership, race, special talents, or any other unique factors students might bring to the campus.

While the term “diversity” immediately brings to mind controversial affirmative action policies that place increased importance on race, schools hasten to clarify that diversity in the college experience is extremely important. The following quote jumped out at me:

Charles Deacon, dean of admissions at Georgetown, is unapologetic in his defense of diversity as a part of the educational experience.

‘Probably the one time in your life when everyone’s equal is when you’re living together in college,’ Deacon said. ‘You come from homogeneous communities, usually, and return to homogeneous communities. But you can take a lot away from that undergraduate experience where everyone, essentially, is the same and you learn from each other.’

I posted a similar blog earlier this semester after I learned about Tufts University’s creative application process. While I loved the idea of YouTube videos serving as application materials, I also wondered about the seeming decreased importance placed on academic records. This topic brings to mind a similar question: What do you think about college and university quota systems that reserve space for students based on traits like experience, diversity, creativity or special skills, rather than academic records?

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When I first heard about the “True Confessions of a High-Heeled Leader” event at Stephens College, I immediately thought of the movie poster for “The Devil Wears Prada.” Perhaps it was the high heel imagery. But Anne Deaton, the speaker at Thursday’s event, is nothing like Miranda Priestly/Meryl Streep, the scary, mean, bossy, walk-all-over-everyone type magazine editor in that movie.  In fact, Anne Deaton, wife of MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, is SO COOL.

The Graduate and Continuing Studies program at Stephens puts on “True Confessions,” which features successful professional women in the community. Deaton is the fifth woman to be honored as a high-heeled leader, for which she received a small trophy with a Cinderalla-esque high-heeled shoe on top (cute, right?).

You can read the article on the event here, but here’s some tidbits about MU’s first lady, as mentioned Thursday night:

  • As a child in Brooklyn, N.Y., she organized all the kids on her street into a summer school that charged 10 cents a day. “I named myself principal,” she said. “And my girl friends were the teachers.”
  • At age 12, she moved from Brooklyn to Lexington, Ky., where she was teased for having a Brooklyn accent. “The kids would say, ‘Say anything’ and so I would say something and they’d all laugh,” she said.
  • She considered joining a nunnery as a way to pay for college, but then realized she “had too many boyfriends.”
  • After college, she wanted to join the Peace Corps, but her father was apprehensive. He finally agreed to attend a Peace Corps meeting with her. As the young spokesman for the program talked, she said she leaned over and said, “See, Dad? That’s the leader and he’s really nice!” Oddly enough, that leader was Brady Deaton, her future husband.
  • Her favorite color is yellow, though she called “black and gold” her favorite color combo, of course.
  • She loves pasta and Italian food.
  • She called herself a “news junkie.” When not watching the news, she tunes in to The History Channel. “I have no idea what’s on TV these days,” she said.
  • She’s a poet and enjoys the work of e.e. cummings and Emily Dickinson.
  • She describes the perfect day off as walking on the Katy Trail, having dinner with friends over Italian music, and “reading, reading, reading.”

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