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There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sweet, sweet sound of construction noises at 7 a.m. Unfortunately, for many students, this has been their reality for as long as they have attended the University — our school just seems to keep expanding. From the construction of Contemplative Commons on Grounds to the Ivy Corridor Projects off Grounds, University President Jim Ryan has jump-started his plan to make the University the top public school in the nation by the end of the decade by creating spaces to further grow our residential learning environment. The administration only seems to support development efforts within our community, however, when these efforts originate from the University itself.
We are barely two months into the new year and multiple states, several cities and countless communities have already been burdened with the trauma of mass shootings. January consisted of multiple in California — including one in Monterey Park, Calif. which killed 11 people and two more in Half Moon Bay, Calif. which killed seven. Tuesday — exactly three months after second-year College student Devin Chandler, fourth-year College student D’Sean Perry and third-year College student Lavel Davis Jr. died in a shooting on Grounds — there was a mass shooting at Michigan State University in which three students were killed. Five are in critical condition. While these tragedies in and of themselves are senseless and devastating, the continued failure by federal legislators to enact sensible gun reform is equal in ignorance and ludicrosity. We do not have time to spare — and we never did. Tuesday’s mass shooting in East Lansing is a horrific reminder of that. As the federal system continues to fail us, state legislatures must be proactive and pass legislation that will create stricter and smarter gun laws in order to protect our safety as citizens.
It’s been almost two years since doctors developed a vaccine to mitigate the deadly consequences of COVID-19, restoring a sense of normalcy to our lives. Despite the high efficacy of this technology, COVID-19 remains a threat to our lives — stubbornly refusing to wave the white flag of surrender. This is especially true in Charlottesville, where the Centers for Disease Control categorizes the area as having a high community level of COVID-19 — recommending those with symptoms to get tested. As such, the University must reinstate its free COVID-19 saliva testing program and tracker website in order to ensure the safety of all Charlottesville community members.
Like most kids, when I was younger I dreamed of having a private jet. I thought it would be the neatest thing, to own something that exudes power, status and wealth — or perhaps that it could take me to Disney World whenever I wished. Now, at my ripe age of 21, a harsh reality has replaced that dream. While celebrities — and others fitting into their economic class — are parading around on private jets, the rest of the world is left to deal with the harsh environmental consequences — intensifying natural disasters, increasing global temperature and rising sea levels to list a few. We must hold those who participate in the private jet industry accountable by taking staunch advocacy efforts and governmental action against them.
Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Raising Canes and Cook Out all have one thing in common — their popularly-known, conveniently cheap, greasy yet sought-after menu items. Whether it be the Original Chicken Sandwich, Big Mac, chicken finger meal or Cook Out tray, customers flock toward these fast food establishments to throw money in their direction. And though a majority of Americans consume animal products, they fail to hold the questionable internal operations of the meat industry accountable. Not only do the practices of the meat industry negatively affect one’s health, but they contribute to global warming and raise serious ethical concerns of inhumane animal treatment. The meat industry must be reformed in order to turn toward more ethical and sustainable practices.
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Finding transportation as a first year is no small task. As students are not permitted to bring their cars during their first year, they must fully rely upon the University for getting around Grounds and Charlottesville. Thankfully, the University Transit Service offers a plethora of fare-free options for students, including its bus routes — Gold Line, Green Line, Orange Line and Silver Line — and shuttle systems, including UTS Night Pilot, UTS OnDemand and SafeRide. Despite this, transportation availability is not as wide-ranging as it appears.
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Famous former basketball player Michael Jordan was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Sept. 11, 2009. The speech he gave to commemorate the momentous occasion will forever be ingrained in time — not for the things he said, but rather, for how he reacted. Being inducted into the hall of fame for anything is a high honor, especially when one has dedicated a majority of their life to it. This holds true with Jordan, who was so overcome with emotion that he began to cry. The public saw photos of him crying and began using this to describe any sort of inconvenience. The trend soon went viral, even receiving its own Wikipedia page. A meme was born.
William Shakespeare once said, “No legacy is so rich as truth.” Yet each year, Americans hide the truth of their legacy behind a perfect day of feasting, family and ignorant gratitude. There is a bit of uncertainty facing the history of Thanksgiving, as it is traditionally taught as a day in which Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the first harvest in harmonious unison. The narrative is set as a happy one — Pilgrims in their buckled shoes and collared outfits sat around the table with their Native American counterparts, merrily conversing and indulging in a warm-cooked meal. And then the Native Americans graciously handed over their land to their European friends, fading back into the void they existed in prior to 1621.
One of the most important elections in state history is set to take place next week. Virginia is considered a purple state that has leaned increasingly Democratic over the past decade, making it a key player in federal politics. The gubernatorial race between candidates Glenn Youngkin and former governor Terry McAuliffe is crucial. It marks the first major election since the 2020 presidential election, making it both an indicator of the future of Virginia’s political identity and President Joe Biden’s approval ratings.
Growing up is hard. Whether it be picking up a trade, attending college or working a full-time job, no one says quite how hard it really is. Transitioning into a college such as the University with its rigor and oftentimes intense competition can be especially difficult. In high school, the adults handle almost everything — guidance counselors help pick classes, parents typically house and feed their children and teachers provide countless opportunities to perform well. There is room for error in high school — students are often coddled. But as soon as college classes begin, that support disappears. Suddenly students are told to grow up and fend for themselves. It can be stressful — scary even — to navigate the collegiate experience alone.
Dieting has always played a major role in society. A UC San Diego article defines diet culture as a set of beliefs that values thinness, appearance and shape above health and well-being. Anti-diet registered dietitian Christy Harrison highlights the history of diet culture in her book, “Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating,” noting its ancient Greek origin. Being fat was looked down upon in their society because it opposed their supposedly virtuous lifestyle of balance and moderation.
Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast in world championship history. Biles began competing at the senior gymnast level when she was only 16, earning four medals in her first world championship in Antwerp, Belgium. Now, at age 24, she holds 25 medals total from the Olympics and World Championships, with 19 of those being gold medals. Eight years later, she still finds herself at the helm of gymnastics, culminating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Following the release of regular decision offers for the Class of 2025 on March 25, prospective students were given until May 1 to accept their offers. Before that deadline, students had many opportunities to further explore the University, including attending Virtual Days on the Lawn. Virtual Days on the Lawn is an annual event — though typically held in person — that allows students to learn more about the University through University Guide Service tours, chatting with current students and accessing logistical resources. It seems as if Virtual Days on the Lawn is the perfect way for a student to decide if they want to attend the University. However, Virtual Days on the Lawn fails to provide substantial information on the history of the University — which is integral when making such an important decision.
With COVID-19 vaccine distribution ongoing and COVID-19-related deaths decreasing, it would seem as if America is finally going back to normal. However, we are forgetting what our normal really entails. For the past year, news coverage has focused on everything pertaining to COVID-19 due to its viral, widespread nature. Now that a return to normalcy is in sight, news coverage has begun diverting to more pressing issues that bring us back to a harsh reality. One of the most devastating and heartbreaking examples of this is mass shootings.
Just when we thought that the COVID-19 pandemic had finished stripping our lives of any remaining normalcy, it proved us wrong. The Atlantic Coast Conference announced March 12 that the Georgia Tech vs. Virginia ACC Tournament semifinal game had been canceled. This devastating decision was prompted by a single positive coronavirus test found within the Virginia men’s basketball program. This cancellation should only serve as a reminder to the student body that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over — we must remember to act responsibly.