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Serving it up

New Wahoos will have the chance this Sunday to plunge into the all-day service project of their choice.

SERVE, an annual event, allows students to volunteer in projects ranging from working with children and senior citizens to cleaning parks and painting murals.

The day starts at 9 a.m. at the Student Activities Building with registration and breakfast, and students then divide into groups based on specific projects. Last year over 175 students participated in volunteer events in Charlottesville. One of the event's organizers, third-year College student Hina Ayub, remembers working at a children's carnival two years ago as being a highlight of her experience with the program.

The three hours of volunteering is intended to break new students into the community service scene, Assistant Dean of Students Stephanie Goodell said. While new students are the focus of the program, Goodell reminds upperclassmen that they are more than welcome to participate.

As an incentive to get additional student involvement, the group of students from the same hall or dorm with the largest turnout will receive a pizza party for lunch.

Say cheese?

Driving through the intersection of Alderman and McCormick Roads, motorists and pedestrians may be surprised by a large camera-like object perched on top of the newly-improved traffic light. Fear not -- this is not a weird extension of the latest reality television show.

This is a camera sensor meant to help ease traffic flow in the stadium area.

The spruced-up intersection features the very best in traffic technology. Older traffic sensors work below the pavement and are activated when a car drives over them.

At this high-tech intersection, cars now drive under the sensors.

The new sensors at Alderman and McCormick Roads connect the camera on top of the stop light to a computer. When a car enters a specific squared-off area drawn by a computer mouse, the light changes. The Virginia Department of Transportation tested these sensors at major intersections in the Northern Virginia area, but this is the first of its kind at the University.

The traffic light improvement project has been in the works for a while, but the addition was bumped up in the schedule and completed on Monday because of the dedication of the renovated Scott Stadium, said Spike Weeks, contract Manager for Facilities Management. The new sensors are "low-maintenance, because we don't have to cut into the roadway to install them or repair them in the future," Weeks said. "It's also a much safer intersection, and it's the best technology we could hope for."

Compiled by Stephanie Batten

Odds ideas? Call Ryann at 924-1092.


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