May ASB trip

by Mike Bock

So do you guys remember Hurricane Katrina? It seems kind of crazy, but it’s been five years and there are still huge areas that are wrecked from the storm. I don’t mean to pull a Kanye here, but I think it’s ridiculous that more hasn’t been done to help out the people of Louisiana.

I guess someone at JMU agrees with me.

In an event that has become something of a tradition for Community Service Learning, JMU will be offering an Alternative Break trip to New Orleans to help out with Hurricane Katrina relief. The trip, which is open to 56 members of the JMU community, will be held from May 7-14, and will take place in the Orleans district of New Orleans. The main focus of the trip will be repairing houses and communities, but volunteers will be placed wherever help is needed in the area. Current estimates put the trip at around $300, but the price may vary depending on how many people sign up.

The application process is currently ongoing and will close tomorrow, February 1, at 4 p.m.

More information about the trip can be found here.


The Persnickety Punch

by Molly Robinson

Either as freshmen or as transfer students, we all got to know the ins and outs of on-campus dining the first year that we called ourselves “Dukes”. Perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of acclimating to JMU was learning the value of a dining “punch”.

Although there are some freshmen that prefer to stay on the side of the campus that houses their dorm and have only eaten at the same two places their entire academic career at JMU, most of us know the value of a punch at various locations.

For example, we know that an all-you-can-eat meal at E-hall is only equal to a cup of soup and a drink from PC Dukes. You can also help yourself to desserts and ice cream galore at D-hall, but if you help yourself to dessert at Festival, you will find your FLEX or dining dollar accounts seriously depleted over the course of a couple of days.

And then there’s the concept of proportioning…the fact that you can go to E hall and get seconds and thirds of burgers and fries doesn’t seem equal to the fact that you have to pay more in addition to a punch just to get a side of fries with your burger at the new burger place at Festival.

Learning the ropes of on-campus dining is the price to pay for the third best-ranked college food in nation. Though the nooks and crannies of the punch and dining dollar system can be irksome, most of us wouldn’t trade the quality of the food here for a simpler system.


by Elizabeth Short

Yesterday, I and many other students at JMU waited in anticipation for the 4-8 inches of snow we were supposed to get. After a morning of rain and ice I just wanted to see white flakes fall from the sky. During the hour I was sitting in the Carrier Starbucks the snow finally came and covered the sidewalks and roads! I was thrilled; I could now go home and veg-out. However, I was not anticipating the HOUR long commute home from campus.

Although I drive a Jeep Liberty, I did not want to deal with any hills on my way home, so I avoided Port Republic and the huge hill leading up to Copper Beech. Therefore, I went downtown towards East Market St…..bad idea. Cars were sliding and spinning out everywhere causing major delays.

I eventually made it home and took advantage of not having anywhere to be. I caught up on my TV shows and watched not one but two movies with my roommate. And now as I am writing this post I am enjoying my morning coffee and another snow day!

How did you spend your snow day?

Thoughts on the Super Bowl

by Mike Bock

“Wow… I really didn’t think the Steelers bandwagon could hold any more people.”

As I checked Facebook this morning while eating my cereal, I saw dozens of posts, ranging from devoted to borderline offensive, about the Steelers, the Jets, and the upcoming Super Bowl game. As a non-partisan Redskins fan from Maryland, I couldn’t care less about the outcome, but I love football and wouldn’t miss the game for the birth of my child.

Despite not having a stake in who actually wins, I will gladly take part in one of my favorite pre-Bowl activities—watching people trash talk. Trash talking adds a whole new layer to the Super Bowl hype, and it’s fun to see how riled up people can get while defending their favorite teams. Opinions like the one above (written on Facebook by a friend of mine who was apparently disappointed with the results of the AFC Championship game) will be popping up all over the place in the next few weeks, and it’s important that you try not to take them too seriously.

For the record, though, my money’s on the Steelers.

School Spirit

by Mike Bock

My alarm didn’t go off yesterday.

I usually get up around 9:30 for my 11:00 class, which gives me enough time to shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and have a cup of coffee just in time for the 10:30 bus. Getting up at 10:15 kind of messes up the order of my routine, so even though I caught the bus, I was still hungry and tired.

After a quick stop at Einstein Bros, I scrambled around campus with my hands full of coffee, a bagel, my iPod, jacket, and an overfilled backpack. Not having free arms kind of limits your ability to get around, but for every doorway and hallway I passed through, my fellow students were more than willing to smile and hold the door for a complete stranger.

It’s the little things like this that make me feel glad to be a Duke Dog.

I firmly believe that JMU is one of the happiest places on Earth. Maybe it’s our beautiful campus, or maybe it’s the quality of the student body, but it’s hard for me to walk through campus without a smile. I can’t say that I didn’t expect to have the door held for me, but the simple kindness of strangers reinforced my belief that the Madison community is more friendly, social, and polite than just about any university out there.

Starbucks vs. Java City

by Elizabeth Short

Every morning I need my fix of Folgers coffee, but I could always go for a ‘grande, non-fat, no whip, white chocolate mocha’ from Starbucks. And every Wednesday I know that I will be able to get that delicious drink with my friend. However, today I was told that she wanted to go to Java City because she had an extra punch to waste. At first I was very disappointed, but then I decided that there was nothing wrong with trying something new. So, I got myself a hot chocolate (I know that it is not a coffee drink, but I wasn’t feeling a coffee drink, especially since it wasn’t from Starbucks). I have had hot chocolate from Starbucks in the past and all I can say is that the hot chocolate from Java City didn’t taste nearly as good as Starbucks hot chocolate and it wasn’t HOT!

When I walk into Starbucks I know that I will be guaranteed a drink that is hot and satisfying. I also know that I will be given good customer service. In the future when my friend tells me the day of that she wants to go to Java City just so she can waste a punch, I will say okay, but I am going to go to Starbucks!

Where do you prefer to get your coffee fix, Starbucks or Java City?

Molly’s Thoughts on GenEds

GenEds Equal Gelatinous Brains

by Molly Robinson

Most people understand that in order to succeed in any job you need to have common sense and a good head on your shoulders, but how a history class GenEd class helps a Computer Information Systems major, I do not know. Nor can I figure out why a Philosophy major is required to take some kind Chemistry, Physics, or Environmental class. Maybe what happened in 1842 will come up in a coffee break convo when the CIS is in his corporate job office, and, possibly, the Philosophy major could ponder the deeper reasons why their science course is meaningful on some subconscious level. But, lets face it, in reality most of us will never use a good majority of our GenEd courses when we are out in the “real world” because they are not applicable to our specific career focuses.

Any student at JMU can testify that the General Education Program here is a little over the top and some would say that it’s just plain unnecessary. When push comes to shove, instead of going to bed after studying for the courses that are necessary for our major, we have to pull out the espresso and dive into out GenEd homework. Not only are students overworked when it comes to GenEds, but they also come to class with a disinterested attitude because they have in mind that after they pass the course, they never have to think about the subject again. Since no teacher wants a student in class who does not care about the material, the GenEd program should be tailored to fit each major. In the long run, this change would be undoubtedly pleasing to both students and teachers alike.

The Heart and Soul of James Madison University