Archive for June, 2009
This is Gui Cavalcanti, Class of 2009, on my personal email address.
I was very sad to read the news that Olin changed its fundamental precepts to drop the scholarship from full tuition to 50% tuition. I can tell you point blank that I would not have been able to attend.
The fundamental nature of the school has changed, in a very significant way that cannot easily be undone. The school has responded to this financial crisis in a very conservative, unimaginative, businesslike manner that does a great injustice to the fundamental spirit that I signed up for when I decided to attend Olin in the first place.
If you had sat me and my parents down and said "Folks, in order to make it through a few hard years while maintaining the principles of the college, we're going to need each alumni and their family to donate a couple thousand dollars a year," I can tell you I would've tried as hard as I could to make that donation. If you had asked me to take some of the burden before making a structure-defining decision, in order to avert the structure-defining consequences, I would've put as much money aside as I could. I could probably even have been convinced to look for some corporate sponsorship for the college, ala FIRST Robotics fund drives, or to think of other innovative fund-raising techniques to pursue throughout the years. I'm sure that if the alumni, students, faculty and staff all got together and brainstormed, we could think of hundreds of ways to raise hundreds of little bits of money at a time that would contribute to the greater good. How about a required internship for a junior year semester, where the students' wages went to the college and the college provided housing? How about an Olin/Babson venture capital cooperative for technological student entrepreneurs? How about an engineering services business run for Babson students working on startups, run by volunteer Olin students with profits going directly to the school? What about a Massachusetts-area mentoring service through SERV, whose fees went to Olin? We would not only raise money, but we would all raise awareness of a school that cares so fervently about its fundamental principles that every participant is hitting the streets to conserve those principles.
Unfortunately, now the decision has been made. Instead of asking me for help to conserve the fundamental values of the college, it almost felt as if I had to ask if I could offer my opinion on this decision. On top of that, instead of having to swallow the expected pill of a 25% scholarship decrease, I'm being surprised with a 50% scholarship decrease. All of a sudden the cost of Olin jumped from $12,000 (room and board) a year to over $37,000 all told. Sure, we're still cheaper than the Ivy League... by a few thousand dollars... if you don't get any merit-based scholarships. It's now in the order-of-magnitude range of price difference to in-state tuition. In one fell swoop, we have declared this aspect of the Olin experience "nothing special."
Let me get to the point of this letter. I'm writing you to let you know that I will not be supporting the college financially as an alumni until the full scholarship is reinstated. I have decided to tie my personal philosophy of philanthropy towards the college to the college's current attitude on philanthropy (as best I can divine). My perception of the college's current attitude is this: that philanthropy is optional, a mindset you allow yourself when circumstances are comfortable. When times get tough, however, philanthropy can be first on the chopping block.
And so, President Miller, I must say "sorry." I have bills to pay, a new apartment to move into, a car to take care of, a wedding to save up for. Please let me know when the college acknowledges its mistake and reverts back to the beautiful spirit that I once knew, and I might be able to squeeze a little and support my alma mater.
Thank you for your time,
“Young boys are starting to realize their dreams and do what ever they can to make sure that those dreams come true even if they must get themselves dirty. [...] They don’t have money to buy a soccer ball….. they make it on their own. This how the ball is made: Firstly you look for old clothes or blankets. Then you put a few condoms around, which you blow up with your mouth, but not with too much air. Just so it’s the same size as a soccer ball. After this you put either a plastic bag or a piece of old clothing over the condom. Then to make it strong, you tear up the old clothing or blanket into long strips and tie the strips all around the condom to strengthen the shape of the ball and make it heavier. Once you can feel it bounces well, you take a strong plastic bag and wrap it around the ball. Lastly you reinforce it by wrapping strong rope or tire wire around it.”
Check out the full article at:
I have been receiving a lot of emails lately from friends looking for jobs in the international development field. I don’t know the magical formula or panacea (in fact, I’m quite sure neither exist). The most frustrating part is the catch22 of experience. Many employers only want to hire people who have X many years working in the developing world. It’s hard to get this experience to begin with when no one will hire a rookie in this field. I’ve been feeling it myself as I’m looking for a full-time job (just consulting now). I’ve talked to a lot of friends who do devworld work about this problem, and pretty much the unanimous answer is that you simply have to catch a break. Some of them got their first job by up and moving to a country they wanted to work and then started job hunting from there, others volunteered for a year or two with an NGO overseas and eventually got hired by them, there are also ones who simply had enough experience in something not in the dev-world (eg. product development, agriculture, sanitation) that they got hired based on their experience.
However after job-hunting for awhile now and meeting people who work in the field, I have collected quite the list of websites to start with the search. Here they are. Please add a comment if you have any further suggestions or comments! Feedback is very appreciated.
Specific groups/companies/ngos/government groups
List of aid organizations in Afghanistan, but a pretty good overall list
A dented, steel-clad figure stands tall; chest out, arms akimbo, head cocked to one side.
Without warning, it explodes forward in a gory shower of metal limbs.
The wrecking ball swings through the space where the torso once was, knocking pieces of the body onto the stone floor in a continuing shower of loud metallic clangs.
Slowly, ponderously, the ball swings away.
The pieces on the floor twitch.
Thin cords run between each piece of dented limb, keeping the disparate pieces in their original order. The cords grow tense, slowly dragging each piece back to the knee stumps which miraculously managed to remain standing.
Piece after piece clicks into the sockets they were meant to occupy. The figure doesn’t bother attempting its previous pose – wherever limbs decide to reconnect is where they stay. The head clicks back on, completing a pose of a man hunched over, about to fall forward. Small, new dents can be seen where the pieces met the wrecking ball, or the ground.
The instant it reassembles, the wrecking ball swings by again. Somehow the ball managed to find a new trajectory, and swings from left to right across the figures’ torso. Once again, the figure explodes into dozens of pieces, blown to the right off of the still-standing knees.
A brief second passes.
Slowly, painfully, grudgingly, the pieces drag themselves back into a recognizable whole.
On the third swing you pay enough attention to notice the outline of recognizable continents and oceans gently carved into the wrecking ball.
A cracking sound announces the arrival of the contraption.
The man’s body is contorted by the position of the seat, curled around the handlebars in a small crescent. His feet are forced to be too close to the pedals, making each stroke short and awkward. Another crack announces the fall of the whip on the man’s back; he arches his back, grimaces, but stays quiet. He resumes pedaling – haltingly. The vehicle moves as slow as molasses, as if it were geared for the tallest of hills.
A monster grows out of the back of the contraption. If ostrich-sized birds built nests out of broken computers and discarded electronics, they would build the nest that sprouts from the back of the tricycle.
A figure rises from the pile of broken, discarded technology; a demon in constant motion, covered in glossy white plastic scales fashioned from the cases of broken appliances. Its body moves in time with the pedals; every so often a chink in its scales temporarily exposes the rattling chains within that gear it to the man’s feet.
The glossy white demon draws its arm back to the fullest.
The man pushes on pedals which suddenly resist, warning him of the danger.
He pushes through anyway; the pedals give.
The whip cracks down.
The man spasms, kicking his legs instinctively. He finds himself on his feet, curled back over the handlebars as his release dissipates. He manages enough energy to drag himself off of the device, and crumples into a motionless heap beside it.
The figure, no longer driven by either its master or its slave, remains motionless.
Dogs at leash-less park
Bats under the South Congress Bridge at dusk
I have really enjoyed this conference so far. I'm so glad that I decided to stay at a hostel - this has been so much more fun. I just found out that one of my roommates is also attending the ASEE conference. I also made a new friend today - he's also an undergraduate presenting at the conference without his adviser.