Archive for September, 2009

Cardinal is the new green

September 29th, 2009

Washington football Coach Steve Sarkisian must have been feeling green with envy after his Huskies lost to the Cardinal 34-14 last Saturday. Sarkisian had said on his radio program last week that he was turning off the practice music to get his team used to “a somewhat more quiet atmosphere” at Stanford Stadium. Didn’t help much. Stanford fans were cheering from the get-go, after sophomore CHRIS OWUSU returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. Owusu was named Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week.

According to ARIADNE SCOTT, the university’s bicycle program coordinator, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, which provides free bike valet parking for the Stanford home games, had much to cheer about after the game as well. They parked 1,002 bikes last weekend and 974 bikes the weekend before. Scott called these “record numbers to date for the most bikes parked for one game.”

seedfutureBeWell@Stanford and Athletics also have gotten into the green act by printing “Seed the Future” cards, which they are handing out at BeWell events, such as this Saturday’s football game against UCLA. The holder of the card can “redeem” it online for a tree that will be planted in a global reforestation project of the holder’s choice. The card, printed on seeded paper, also can be planted. Instructions are included.

And if the notion of hundreds of multitasking, distracted and preoccupied students whizzing by on bicycles BikeFrogmakes you turn another shade of green, there is some comforting news, Scott reports:

  • An estimated 90 percent of new freshmen registered their bikes during New Student Orientation, which means that these frosh are equipped with a front headlight, handed to them free upon registration.
  • At the Medical School’s orientation,  first- and second-year students who took an anonymous poll indicated that their entire class wear helmets while riding a bike. Scott called them “great role models and helmet heroes.”  We need all the help we can get since only an estimated 10 percent of undergraduates wear helmets.
  • Scott’s office joined the Department of Public Safety in hosting a bike safety show Sept. 18 at Bechtel International Center, to a standing-room-only crowd of 75 new international students who learned all the rules of the road, including the top three citations issued by Public Safetyredhelmet to bicyclists: not stopping at stop signs, not having a headlight at night, and wearing earbuds in both ears. A show of hands at that event indicated that all international students wear helmets or planned to buy one.
  • Free bike safety classes continue this quarter. There is one today (Wednesday, Sept. 30) from 4 to 5 p.m. at 340 Bonair Siding, Conference Room L. This class is an interactive presentation with video clips on how to ride on campus and follow all the rules required by law, how to maintain a safe bike, and how to properly lock a bike to avoid theft. Attendees also can receive a coupon from Public Safety to purchase a $40 retail-priced helmet for only $10 by attending the class. More information is available at the Public Safety’s bicycle programs website. Bike Safety Stations are set up every Friday at White Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. offering bike registration on site ($3.50, valid for up to 3 years), free bike safety information and free bike safety check-ups.

- Elaine Ray

What’s in a name?

September 28th, 2009

“Name a well-known university. Move the last letter three places earlier in the name. The result will be a phrase meaning ‘represent.’ What’s the university and what’s the phrase?”

“Stanford” and “Stand for.”

Joe Gregory of Windsor, Colo., said it didn’t take him long to come up with the answers to the Sept. 20 Sunday Puzzle challenge on National Public Radio. After all, he told puzzlemaster Will Shortz and host Liane Hansen on this Sunday’s program, he was a Pac-10 graduate himself – not Stanford, but UCLA Medical School.

- Elaine Ray

Stanford’s Facebook page inspires poetry

September 23rd, 2009

Fans of Stanford’s Facebook page were invited to answer the question “What was the best book you read this summer?” and asked to submit a short poem or haiku on their favorite summer book. ANDREA LUNSFORD, professor of English and director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, judged the contest. Among the more than 80 entries, she chose her three favorites and a couple of honorable mentions. The winners, who included alums CARA HOLMAN, ’78, MS ’81, and CECILIA TOM, ’93, AM ’94, each received a signed copy of a book by author and medical Professor ABRAHAM VERGHESE, who also was one of the authors who participated in this year’s “Three Books” program.

Tom wrote:

Gaiman’s Neverwhere
Puts me neither here nor there.
Summer, transcended….

Holman’s entry:

On Pride & Prejudice:
Her pride offended
His manners haughty and proud
An age-old story

Travis Plummer wrote:

Read Murakami’s
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Curled up in a well

Stanford traditions bow to swine flu

September 23rd, 2009

Hugging and kissing are sooo last year. On Sunday, just before introducing The Peace, a segment of the University Public Worship service in which members of the assembly in MemChu traditionally greet one another with hugs and handshakes, the Rev. JOANNE SANDERS, associate dean for religious life, asked congregants to think about other forms of greeting, such as bowing toward one another with hands together as in prayer. The concern, of course, is the spread of H1N1 virus. Now, GREG BOARDMAN, vice provost for student affairs, has announced that he is putting the kibosh on Full Moon on the Quad, the decades-old Stanford tradition of lip-locking under a night sky. “Curtsey on the Quad” just doesn’t quite have the same ring.

- Elaine Ray

Sheer genius

September 23rd, 2009

They may cheer for the Golden Bears or the Tigers or the Crimson now, but they have roots with the Cardinal and the Tree. Four Stanford alums are among the 24 newly anointed winners of 2009 MacArthur Fellowships, commonly known as “genius grants.” DANIEL SIGMAN, professor of geological and geophysical sciences at Princeton, earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford in 1991. L. MAHADEVAN, a professor of applied mathematics at Harvard, holds master’s (1992) and doctoral (1995) degrees from Stanford. LIN HE, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at Berkeley, received her PhD from Stanford in 2003. MANEESH AGRAWALA, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at Berkeley, received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford in 1994 and a doctorate from the Farm in 2002.

What they did during summer vacation

September 23rd, 2009
Chrysanthe Tan ('09), left, and Alexis Ortega ('09) show off their Equality rings at Commencement.

Chrysanthe Tan ('09), left, and Alexis Ortega ('09) show off their Equality rings at Commencement. (Photograph by Urvi Nagrani)

In a new twist on “How I spent my summer vacation,” here’s what some Stanford students didn’t do: tie the knot. In response to the passage last November of Proposition 8, a group of undergrads launched the National Marriage Boycott (NMB) and have vowed to swear off marriage until the federal government repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Their slogan: “We won’t, until we all can.” Members of the movement encourage allies, including straight married couples, to wear “Equality” rings on their left ring finger. In an interview with the Huffington Post in June, ALEXIS ORTEGA, ’09, one of the boycott’s directors, cited findings that show that “gay (and questioning) youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than the national average. The repeal of DOMA is one step of many in moving toward social change, and it can’t wait. We hope that by creating a visible, nationwide movement committed to marriage equality, not only will our voices be heard, but also, we hope that our strong, visible support will produce an environment where these kids feel safer and more supported.” NMB members began recruiting branches at schools across the country last spring, and according to junior SARAH MASIMORE, the group’s chief operating officer, there now are about 20 campus branches including Columbia, Dartmouth, University of Alabama, UCLA, University of Miami and several high schools across the country, including Gunn High School in Palo Alto.

On Sept. 15, the boycott garnered a $10,000 grant from ideablob, a social entrepreneurship website that connects grassroots organizations with those willing to contribute seed money. The proposal was submitted by sophomore KENZIE SEAL, the NMB’s chief financial officer, who said the boycott sold about 80 rings per month on Stanford’s campus last year, and has sold about 70 rings per month on their website. “I hope to get similar numbers from our other branches,” Seal said.

- Elaine Ray


September 21st, 2009

Congratulations to . . . Stanford and SLAC physicist AHARON KAPITULNIK, who received the 2009 Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Prize for Outstanding Superconductivity Experiments earlier this month at the Ninth International Conference on Materials and Mechanisms of Superconductivity in Tokyo. Kapitulnik, who is chair of the Department of Applied Physics, shared the prize with Brookhaven National Laboratory physicists J. C. Seamus Davis and John Tranquada. “[The Onnes] is one of the most eminent prizes in the field of superconductivity,” said ZHI-XUN SHEN, director of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science. “The award recognizes the outstanding scientific contributions Aharon has made.” . . .

BILL LARSON, who coordinates the Department of Public Safety’s crime prevention and risk management efforts, was awarded the 2008-2009 California Crime Prevention Officers’ Association Practitioner of the Year Award for Region 11, which includes all agencies in Alameda, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. . . .

JAYNE APPEL, captain of the women’s basketball team, was named one of Glamour magazine’s top 10 college women for 2009. According to the article, Appel, a senior, devotes seven hours a day to basketball, but the psychology major’s other passion is advocacy work on behalf of the mentally ill.

New Student Orientation’s baby boom, boom, boom

September 16th, 2009

(Photograph courtesy Edith Wu-Nguyen)

New Student Orientation (NSO) is pregnant with possibility – and that goes beyond the stellar talents of the Class of 2013.  Just after EDITH WU-NGUYEN, ’99, the director of new student programs, delivered a daughter last week, she sent a photo of little Eleanor, who was sporting an “I’m an NSO Baby” button. The Labor Day delivery took place in the throes of preparations for the arrival of the freshman class.  And to add to the baby-and-mama drama, two other key members of the NSO team are with child. KOREN BAKKEGARD, associate dean in the office of Undergraduate Advising and Research, is expecting a baby next month.  AMANDA WILSON BERGADO, who runs “Approaching Stanford” and adviser recruitment, is due in November. But the staff hasn’t missed a beat. “I think it’s going to make us stronger,” Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising JULIE LYTHCOTT-HAIMS, ’89, wrote in an email after delivering Edith’s news. “We’re all donning our rowing trou, grabbing an oar, so we can pull together.”

- Elaine Ray

Talisman a capella joins Seal on stage

September 14th, 2009
Seal with Talisman

Seal with Talisman (Photograph by Douglas Peck)

Talisman a capella began the  school year on a high note. At the Children’s Health Council’s benefit concert at Frost Amphitheatre on Sept. 12, the Stanford singers joined Seal for a rendition of the ‘60s hit “People Get Ready.”

Walk this way

September 14th, 2009
Coach Harbaugh has made some changes to The Walk this year.

Coach Harbaugh has made some changes to The Walk this year. (Photograph by Kyle Terada)

Stanford is wacky for its walks.  In addition to the nontraditional Commencement processional, there is the more reflective  ”Walk the Farm” event, led by history professors DAVID KENNEDY and RICHARD WHITE, and based on the Midwestern practice of walking the perimeter of one’s property to stay in touch with the land. There also is the Cardinal Walk, led by Provost JOHN ETCHEMENDY and designed to get us out of our desk chairs and into the spirit of health and wellness.

But there also is a tradition simply known by football aficionados as The Walk. A tradition at Stanford for decades, it’s the one where the football team and coaches make their way from the locker room at Arrillaga Family Sports Center, past the Chuck Taylor Grove, into the Gate 1 at the stadium, cheered on by fans and our not-exactly-traditional Band.  In the past, the coaches and players – fully suited in pads and helmets – began the walk 80 minutes before kickoff.  But starting with this Saturday’s home game against San Jose State, the team will take their walk two hours before kickoff donned in sweats instead of full gear.

Coach JIM HARBAUGH, who has enjoyed The Walk since the days when his father coached here, explained:  ”We are making these updates to The Walk, in both time and dress, to allow our players to put on their pads, braces and uniforms in the Stanford Stadium locker room. Each player and each position group will now be able to conduct their most beneficial pre-game warmups and routines before putting on those pads.” Harbaugh  added that the updated tradition will also protect players from extra exposure to the sun and heat. Harbaugh says he does not expect the changes in The Walk to dampen the spirits of supporters during pre-game festivities. “Cardinal fans can now set their watches to join me and our players two hours before kickoff, each and every Saturday we proudly play at home in Stanford Stadium,” he said.

-Elaine Ray