Monday, April 7, 2008

Parking Sensei

Welcome parking student-san, I am parking cense, you have come to learn the ancient form of finding parking spot. Old Chinese proverb says: The great mountain is moved by single drop of water. Now, learn the different styles of finding parking spot and you too can be sensei...
Circling Shark- This ancient style consist of circling the streets until shark finds its victim.
Crouching Tiger- The fierce style of the tiger patiently waits and waits in same spot until open spot is made available and then tiger pounces and gets parking spot.
Hasty Monkey – The wise style of monkey finds first spot it sees even though it is mile from classroom. While other styles continue to search for parking spot, monkey is getting closer by walking.
Patient Panda- The unwearied panda passes many open parking spots looking for perfect spot.

Do you have parking tips for Sensei? Please comment parking-strudent-san below.

Your Power Point Sucks

I know it’s hard to make a required presentation interesting even though it’s about some subject you don’t care about. Nevertheless, for the sake of all of those having to sit through it, the least you could do is apply a few of these tips, recommended by professional public speakers, to make your audience in as little pain as possible.
First of all, the point of a presentation is to get others to adopt your point of view by communicating an idea that will help them understand why you’re excited, or sad or optimistic or whatever. This is not accomplished with a lot of text, bullet points or fade in animations (I wont even mention the awful built-in clip art). Think of all the presentations you’ve been to where the presenter just reads off the slides. Did the audience really have to come all this way to listen to you read the slides? Why not just pass out the information and be done with it?
Communication happens more effectively when a transfer of emotion is involved. The right side of your brain is emotional, the left side is focused on facts and hard data. When you show up to give a presentation, people want to use both parts of their brain, thus, PowerPoint presents an amazing opportunity. You can use descriptive pictures on the screen to talk emotionally to the audience’s right brain, and your words can go through the audience’s ears to talk to their left brain. You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image.
So when creating your PowerPoint, make slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them. Create slides that demonstrate, with emotional proof, that what you’re saying is true not just accurate. This is effective communication.
Some rules to go by:
• Never have more than 6 words on a page. Ever.
• Never have anything smaller than 20 point font.
• No dissolves, spins or other transitions. Don’t do it.
• Make yourself cue cards to say what you want to say.

How To: Surf the Web During Class.

With the news of everyone being required to have laptops, the amount of web surfing in class will be at an all time high. Here are some tips to getting away with deliberate inattention...
Do: Keep a separate browser window open at all times that is on the item being discussed in class.
Do: Practice doing Alt+Tab a few times until you are proficient in rapid screen changing.
Do: Sit in the back of the class so that as few as possible can see what you’re looking at.
Don’t: Watch anything too entertaining like Office episodes or else you’ll get a whole crowd of people staring at your screen from behind.
Don’t: Leave your volume up on high, you don’t want any unexpected commercials with sound popping up that will give you way.
Don’t: Play any games that are too involving that make it obvious that you aren’t looking at the teacher’s power point. Solitaire and Mind Sweeper are OK.

Let’s All Get A’s!

Here we are at the end of another tedious group project. The work has been split up, the presentation is over, and now comes the time to do peer review where we grade one another in the group. When it comes down to it, I don’t really care what grade you get at the end of the semester, I just want the highest grade possible for me. I’ll give you a perfect grade if you’ll give me a perfect grade, and we’ll both be happy, right? Let’s all get A’s!
Even if your contribution has been obviously less than perfect, what do I care? In these circumstances...
wouldn’t we all be better off if we all came to a consensus as a student body to give each other perfect grades whenever we had to grade each other? Let’s leave the objective grading up to the teachers and take advantage of peer review opportunities to help each other out. But alas, many students take it upon themselves to actually give others the grades that they think they deserve. Are these people really doing anyone a favor or do they just think they are?
Some people obviously don’t deserve an A on a group project, but even if you give them an A, what harm does it do? Usually the peer grade is about a tenth of total points available, so what difference does it really make? Letting the group slacker off the hook this time is not going to make a break their college career. Feel good about giving someone a break. That person getting a break could be you someday.

The "Oppress Code"

It seems to me that students have questions. This is a good thing, especially at an institute of higher learning like BYU-Idaho. One question that arises commonly is in regards to the Honor Code that we as students agree to (and mostly) abide by.
What is the purpose of the Honor Code, and more specifically, the dress code?
I had the chance to sit down with Michael Lehman, the Director of the Student Honor Office and ask him some questions last month. This is what I found...

In several devotionals, talks, forums, etc… President Clark has said that this place is special. “…we should treat the buildings as though we are going into a chapel, we look and act different in them.” Elder Bednar refers to the campus as a “temple of learning”; it is a special place and should be treated that way.
Many students however do not agree with the brethren. When asking students around campus their thoughts on the dress code, here’s what I found.

“I don’t get the point of an enforced dress code when were supposed to have free agency. I mean, if I want to wear shorts why can’t I? There were kids back home that wore flip-flops to church and nobody gave it a second look. But here, it’s some great taboo.” –Kyle Embley, Kentucky
“This summers going to be crazy. Pants in 90 degree weather? That’s something I’m not looking forward to. Why cant there be some exception for summer semester…just make the pants for Fall and winter semesters or something.” –Ryan Pickett, California
“In all honesty, I don’t give a crap about it. They want me to wear pants. O.K., I’ll wear pants.”- Stephen (steve-o) Busath, California
“I think its about obedience. If we reject something as small as ball caps and shorts, how can we accept bigger things down the road?”- Darren Stanger, Oregon
“To me, I don’t care if someone wants to have a beard or whatever. And with the shorts, why not in the summer? Shorts and summer are rather synonymous.”- Brandon Neal, Oregon
So it appears student opinion varies across the board. When I talked further with administration, I learned that the world see’s this campus in a different light when they visit. They see suits and skirts (especially on Tuesdays), and the general atmosphere of campus is unlike what they’ve ever experienced. President Clark has commented many times that we need to be preparing for the real world, and in the real world people don’t wear shorts, flip flops, and T-shirts to work.
While this is true, not everyone wears a suit to work. Not everyone is required to be clean shaven everyday. If a guy wants to have something besides a gay looking moustache, why can’t he grow out a goatee, or a full on beard? Id love to see some crazy beards around campus. The girls might not like it, but every now and then, a beard is a welcome sight. Just no moustaches, those are freakin ridiculous.
Another common argument is that we all as students signed the Honor Code, so why are we complaining? It made me think that just because we’re in a certain situation; it does not mean we can’t work to better that situation. If students truly feel the dress code is “oppressive” or “restrictive” (because it is), then it seems clear there are only a few options open for them. They can either comply and wear their shorts when they go home for break. They can try and bring it up with the SRC and other student groups (*this is the least effective method, as we all saw with Fight Night and such). Or lastly they can continue in a spirit of revolution and rebellion and try and slide by with not shaving everyday, or wearing those cute sandals to church because they “go with your outfit” or whatever.
To me, the choice is clear. Option three is the best by far. I encourage this. Just like the beard thing, I’d love to see some shorts popping up around campus. Maybe even some capris for you ladies. But everyone will have to make up their own minds. Go ahead you rebel, wear your Gucci sandals to church or try and sneak into the testing center with that two day growth going on. I know I do, and I'm still here. (not the sandals thing, but the two day growth)

Give Me Flip-Flops or Give Me Death

Submitted by Rachel Fuentez
Okay, so I have an issue with the honor code stating that we can't wear flip flops. Some reasoning is because it is unprofessional, makes the "flip-flop" sound, and because they were originally worn to the beach. First off, I have been wearing flip flops on campus for the past three weeks and not ONE person has said anything to me!!! I have been in the testing center (3 times!), through the MC, presented in front of two different classes (4 times) and visited many library services. For a campus that seems to be...
strong on the Honor Code, you sure are slow to address it... Now, the reasoning against flip flops. They don't look professional- I'm sorry, but do UGGS or crocs look professional either? Don't think so. Plus, since when is class a "professional" setting? We aren't in law school!
They make the "flip-flop" noise- I would argue that any shoe without a back will make that noise. Shuffling happens if there isn't heel support. Plus lazy people shuffle their feet... Can we ban them from campus?
They were originally worn to the beach- Yeah, and so are plenty of other kinds of shoes. Deal with it. Besides, since we're land-locked us visiting the beach anytime soon shouldn't be a problem.
It is such a stupid rule and loosely enforced. Besides, there are plenty of sandals out there that look just like flip flops, and those aren't a problem. For example, the women's sandal that has a triangle over the top of what could be considered a "flip-flop" yet they aren't banned. We are forced to keep our feet wrapped up all fall and winter because of the treacherous weather, can't we get three months of sun on our poor white feet? I bet there would be a huge influx of people that would wear flip flops, but eventually it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Administration here needs to unwad their panties and let us live instead of oppressing us. Besides, BYU-Provo can wear flip flops... Our school is growing quickly and you can't hold all of us back forever!! How many potential students are lost because they can't wear flip flops on campus? You like money don't you? Then why so strict on us? I'm paying you, BYU-I, thousands of dollars every year to be here, its the least you could do for me. Plus, the prophet/church has never said that its immoral or immodest to wear flip flops. Please, enter the twenty first century and get rid of the archaic rule of no flip flops. You say tomato, I say it's gay.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

BYUI Urban Legends

Us Mormon students love our urban legends. Fact or Fiction? You be the judge!

Tennis Racket Brothel
There was once a female apartment that was run as a brothel. All the “clients” knew when the apartment was open for “business” when they put two tennis rackets crossed in the window. The brothel was finally discovered when one of the girl’s Bishops became concerned over where all her tithing money was coming from.

Las Vegas Marriage Weekend
Students go to Vegas for the weekend, get married, have sex, then get their marriage annulled and return to school. This avoids complications with the school's honor code because the students were legally married.

Yoda Modeled After President Spence W. Kimball
LDS members who were working on the movie Star Wars helped director George Lucas create Yoda because he wanted to use a respected and dignified religious leader as a model.

Sheri Dew Foundation
Gives Tuition Refunds for Students Who Graduate Unmarried



By Brooke Chapman: A week ago I drove to school for the first time this semester. Like many students, I usually walk to school for lots of reasons – it only takes a little more time, it saves gas, and most importantly, it’s almost impossible to find parking.

As I pulled up to parking lot next to the library, I was elated.There were tons of open spots! But as I turned to pull into one, my observant passenger said, “I knew it was too good to be true. This is all A parking.”

I understand that there is an influx of cars here at BYU-Idaho. I understand that our campus was created for walking to rather than driving to. I understand that the faculty needs a place to park their cars. I do not understand, though, why the largest body that drives to campus, the students, have exponentially fewer parking spots in proportion to faculty parking areas.

I love this school, and I know that I am very blessed to be here. But I also know that I pay tuition. I clean my apartment every Wednesday. I try not to break curfew. I do all that I am asked, but sometimes I feel as though we, as students are very oppressed by the authoritarian beliefs that the school and those associated with it seem to have.

We are constantly told how blessed and how lucky we are to be here by our professors, but aren’t they pretty lucky that we are here? I mean, our tuition DOES pay their salaries, right? By our professors requiring our attendance to the classes WE pay for, by parking two blocks away from your friend’s complex to avoid getting towed by the superpower towing companies, by allowing the faculty to have eighty open spots when students are parked so close to each other, they have to escape their cars through their sunroofs, just to have a spot… we have lost the upper hand.

That day I went to each parking lot and was again and again shocked by the crowded B parking sections and the empty, leisure A sections. Eventually the Project Mayhem Mentality broke through me, and I parked, yes, I parked, in A parking.

Britney Spears: Most Important Person on the Planet.

Why as a society are we so obsessed with celebrities? What does it say about us that, as a nation, we prefer gossip to news of substance? When it comes down to it, it's all about ratings; the media simply gives the people what they want most. We all vote with the amount of attention that we devote; and as far as I can tell, the votes are in and Britney Spears is the most important person on the planet.
• A celebrity tabloid with Britney Spears on the cover sells 1.28 million newsstand copies, 33% percent more than the average.
• Between January 2006 and July 2007, Britney was a cover subject of People, Us Weekly, In Touch, Life & Style, OK!, or Star a total of 175 times in just
...78 weeks.
• During January 2006 and July 2007, newsstand sales of issues with her on the cover amounted to $360 million.
• Brittany topped the annual Yahoo! Search rankings in six of the past seven years.
• A Britney photo collects anywhere from $250, for a run-of-the-mill shot of her, to $100,000 or more.
• X17, a paparazzi company, sold $2.5 million worth of Britney photos in 2007 alone, including $500,000 for its exclusive Bald Britney pictures.
• Britney receives between $250,000 and $400,000 just for showing up at events.
• All told, Britney probably makes up a full 20 percent of the paparazzi business.
It almost makes you feel bad for how much Brit is exploited but hey, that’s entertainment.
(Source:, The Britney Economy, McDonald, Feb 2008)

The SRC is Pointless

The Student Representative Council at BYU-I is a waste of time. At most universities, it’s the students versus the administration. The students demand a change in school policy so they send around petitions and rally against the administration to change things. Here everyone accepts the idea that this is “God’s” school, so the way everything is run must be the way God intends. If anything changes at BYU-I it starts from the top down, from the administration to the students, and never the other way around.
For this reason, the SRC doesn’t make sense. The student representatives basically exist to improve their resumes than for any other reason. Just go to and take a look for yourself at the worthless contributions made by the SRC: Conducting surveys to find out student opinion on vending machine options at the request of Food Services, Fixing the access door for The Ricks building. These are not issues that necessitate a Student Representative Council. It should be called “students are free to complain but then the administration will...
tell them how it is, so deal with it.”
The biggest reason for the SRC being under utilized, in my opinion, is due to the fact that students at BYU-I are indoctrinated with ideas like: “It is a privilege to come to this school”, “If you don’t like it then leave”, and “This is The Lord’s university.” In this way, BYU-I instigates the apathetic attitude that many Mormon students have. No one questions the practices or policies of the school because if they did, they would be, in the school’s eyes, questioning the very doctrines of the church.
The truth is that BYU-I is a university ran by mere mortals just like everywhere else. President Hinkley doesn’t call the teachers to tell them how to run the school; he follows the admonition of Joseph Smith, “I teach them correct principals and they govern themselves.” We know the correct principals, but we would rather have the school govern us than govern ourselves.
So before the SRC changes anything at BYU-I they need to first change the BYU-I student’s mindset.