SGA’s #RealCards campaign highlights student concerns Saturday, Nov 21 2020 

By Tate Luckey —

As the first semester during the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, many may be wondering how the students themselves are feeling. The University of Louisville’s Student Government Association put together an online submission forum they dubbed “#RealCards” to ask U of L students how they were doing this semester.

SGA took inspiration from Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of sociology and medicine at Temple University, who started the #RealCollege campaign, helping refocus higher education on what matters most.

Students have been communicating these struggles with SGA, which has worked to “bridge the gap,” as Sabrina Collins, SGA president, puts it, between students and faculty.

“We wanted to provide an anonymous forum for people to connect with us on what this semester has been like for them. I spoke at length with Interim Dean Owen about this issue and how we can bridge the gap between students and faculty,” Collins said.

The number of anonymous responses surprised Collins. The responses all detail similar, serious problems students on campus are facing.

“It seems like the #RealCards campaign is reminding students that they are not alone in their struggle,” she said.

One major issue students faced this semester was that the workload given was just unreasonable, especially during a global pandemic.

Noah Vanrude, a sophomore music and new media major, said that “My main issue is just not having much time for a break, and some professors have not decreased their workload. Classes I’ve normally been doing great in I’m not doing well in.”

A junior from the College of Education and Human Development painted a more broad picture, saying that “being a college student trying to navigate college during a pandemic, civil rights movement, and global crisis is very, very draining.

For some students, communication via emails and Zoom meetings can only go so far.

“I wish my professors knew that I can only put in as much effort as they do for online classes,” freshman English major Cassidy Witt explained. “If they don’t care to have synchronous classes, and organized due dates, then I’m not going to feel attached to their class or feel the need to prioritize it.”

And with so many students on campus, many are also concerned with a lack of safety and accountability.

I wish that my professors knew how reckless students are outside of the classroom with the virus. I feel uncomfortable with my lab partner because I see pictures of where they were over the weekend. I’m doing my part to be smart with COVID, but I’m afraid I’m going to be the person to bring it home through school,” a junior from the College of Nursing responded.

I know I can be responsible for myself and know that I’m staying safe, but I don’t know if my peers are doing the same and being safe and socially responsible. I’ve seen them being irresponsible so that is hard,” another junior from the College of Arts and Sciences said.

SGA plans to connect with the university administration, including school deans, the faculty senate, and the Student Wellbeing Committee, with a report detailing the common themes in the results and how those might inform policy change for spring.

If you’d like to submit an anonymous response to SGA’s survey, you can do so here

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Mental health tips to stay healthy during COVID-19 Tuesday, Aug 25 2020 

By Catherine Brown–

It is often easier to worry about the physical precautions that we should take during the pandemic. Washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing in public are clear ways to care for yourself and others. But when it comes to mental health, it might not be as easy to spot the concerns.

As college students, many of us already probably struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Adding on a global pandemic certainly doesn’t make it any better.

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself during a stressful global pandemic:

 

Watch for signs of mental distress.

The CDC suggests ways in which you can identify signs of distress. Some of these signs can include fear or worry about your financial situation, or your or someone else’s health, changes in sleeping patterns and difficulty concentrating. 

Seek professional help if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs and they persist for several days leaving you unable to perform your normal responsibilities. The University of Louisville’s Counseling Center is available by phone at 502-852-6585 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Refrain from reading the news too much.

Syndicated news channels spin the news in their favor. Stories about tragedies related to the virus can incite panic and negative emotions. The CDC recommends taking healthy breaks from social media and television reports about the pandemic. 

When you do use social media, be sure to verify your news sources.

Local governments will usually have the most up-to-date information. Don’t read too heavily into the information you see posted on social media. Anyone can post false information on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Don’t fall into the traps of clickbait news. By carefully choosing your sources of news, you can prevent stumbling upon false information that could cause worry.

 

Take time to enjoy activities while socially distancing.

Practice hobbies that can keep you socially distanced, but can still be done with friends. Some hobbies can include reading, writing, drawing or even coding.

U of L Counseling Center Director Aesha Uqdah gave students tips for coping with the pandemic, such as being creative at this time. 

“Engaging in creative activities can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Creating some sort of art or writing can help you process your emotions in a productive way. It can also produce calming effects on your brain and in the body,” Uqdah said.

The Counseling Center is hosting virtual group art therapy sessions on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. starting Sept. 18. 

On Aug. 25, U of L is hosting a virtual RSO Fair for students to become involved in their Louisville community. This is an opportunity for students to look for activities that can let them separate from classwork.

 

Keep in touch with friends and family.

Take time to text, call or video chat your friends and family. Touch base with the people you care most about and let them know that you are alright. This could relieve worries for those of us who become preoccupied with the wellbeing of loved ones.

Take care of yourself physically too.

If you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, chances are your mental health will be affected. Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and keep up a regular sleep schedule. 

U of L’s Belknap campus has plenty of walking trails. With approximately 274 acres of land, the downtown campus is perfect for students looking to get some exercise into their day. Even walking from campus housing and between buildings can improve physical health. Improving physical health will improve mental health.

Make sure you put your health first. It might seem more worthy of your energy to worry about others. However, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t put in your full effort to take care of those around you.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Get involved to politics and take control of the future Sunday, Feb 16 2020 

By Ben Goldberger —

With the Iowa caucus Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary election Feb. 11, the presidential race heats up even more. Candidates are increasing their social media presence, continuing their efforts to fundraise and speaking at rallies to gain a strong base before the democratic presidential candidate is selected on June 13.

The presidential election is less than nine months away now, and while that may seem super far away,  it is important that everyone is educated on the candidates as early as possible. 

Many people shy away from politics, not wanting to start a fight with whomever they are speaking to.

But being involved with politics is extremely important for any citizen, especially college age students who will soon go into the real world and deal with the policies put in place by government legislators. 

I think, for anyone, it is important to get informed and involved in any way with politics,” says freshman political science major Ivy Stites.

“Politics are what leads up to the policies that police one’s life. Students should pay attention and fight against any policy that may hinder their success as a student and continue that attentiveness and fight when they leave school,” Stites said.

Politics are the engine that fuels this country. All of the laws and regulations that affect every aspect of life are linked to some level of politics. From speed limits on roads to how much college costs, politicians are the ones making the calls. 

Anyone who has ever taken out a federal loan for anything, student loans for example, are directly affected by the decisions made by government officials. 

This may seem like everything is out of civilians’ control with all the power laying in the hands of government officials. But regular citizens are the ones who control who is able to make those decisions. 

By being involved in politics, people are taking their future into their own hands. Being involved can look different for every person, whether that is just discussing beliefs with others, canvassing for a favorite candidate or researching policies and candidates on the ballot before voting. 

Even something as small as following government officials on social media will go a long way in keeping one up to date with new policies being passed. By following politicians on social media, citizens learn what policies and issues are important to them, therefore allowing the citizens to find a politician that cares about the same issues. 

Downloading an app for a news source is also an easy way to stay up to date with current events around the country and the world. Almost all of the major news sites have mobile apps for phones, such as CNN, Fox News and BBC News. 

Try to find the least biased news site to get the most reliable information. 

Other ways to get involved that include higher time commitments include contacting representatives about issues, volunteering with campaigns to call voters, going door-to-door representing candidates or volunteering at voting centers on election days. 

For those looking to get involved in politics on campus, Stites recommends joining party-affiliated Registered Student Organizations or Student Government Association.

Stites also explained that even simple things like watching the debates are a great way to become politically informed and get involved on a personal level.

Everyone should be involved in politics, no matter how they choose to do so. Government is where the country is molded into the form of America that citizens have to experience every day.

Whether by downloading an app, tuning into the debates or volunteering for campaigns, one is taking a huge step to taking their future, and the future of everyone around them, into their own hands. 

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WordCamp Louisville 2012 Monday, Oct 1 2012 


Scott Hack, who participated in StartUp Weekend Louisville with me, was kind enough to point me to info about WordCamp Louisville-- All day on October 13 at the Holiday Inn Louisville East1325 South Hurstbourne Parkway. 

I'm a Blogger user, and even on Blogger, I am very conservative with what I do. But WordPress is used for all kinds of web development (even, I am told, our CityAnchor site... isn't it sad that I don't know for sure?). 


WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress, the free and open source personal publishing software that powers over 25 million sites on the web.... WordCamps are attended by people ranging from blogging newbies to professional WordPress developers and consultants, and usually combine scheduled programming with unconference sessions and other activities.

The schedule is packed and looks great for people with short attention spans:

  • 8 to 8:45 Check in, Network, meet fellow attendees and nosh on a light breakfast.
  • 8:45 to 9AM Opening Remarks from Organizer and message from Jason Clark with VIA Studio
  • 9:10 to 9:45AM – WordPress and E-commerce ( Johnathan Davis )
  • 9:50 to 10:25AM – Foundation of Plugins and Themes ( Tammy Hart )
  • 10:30 to 11:00 – Deploying WordPress ( Jason McCreary and Nick Temple )
  • 11:05 to 11:35 – Frameworks and Child Themes ( Bill Rice )
  • 11:40 to 12:15 – How not to suck as a freelancer ( Drew Poland )
  • 12:15 to 1:15 LUNCH
  • 1:20 to 1:55 – WordPress Security ( Juston Jones )
  • 2:00 to 2:30 – WordPress Mobile ( Hal Bugriss )
  • 2:35 to 3:05 – 24 Ways to Make WordPress FAST ( Jason McCreary )
  • 3:10 to 3:45 – The State of HTML5 ( Wesley Reitz )
  • 3:50 to to 4:25 – bbPress : Plugin development done right ( Pippin Williamson )
  • 4:30 to 5:00 –
  • 5:00 to 5:10 – Wrap up!
  • 5:30 to ???? – After party at TBD
I'll be working at Flea Off Market with my Louisville, Not Kentucky peeps, otherwise I'd go. It's only $20, and as Scott says, "like most conferences, material between sessions and networking are just as valuable..."

At risk of sounding like a broken record and being "that person" in the Louisville Tech/Start-up scene... I have to point out... eleven fantastic speakers/presenters... but only ONE woman. 

For more information, visit: http://2012.louisville.wordcamp.org/