Obama’s Middle East peace negotiations

How America’s 20-somethings are viewing the current peace initiative

From World War I to Vietnam, presidents have been working to implement peace throughout the world’s nations.  However, each war has led our nation’s leaders to discover new ways of applying peace.

The plan

Barack Obama Capitol

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is scheduled to take the essential strides to obtain peace in the Middle East by visiting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak May 26 and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas May 28.

Robert Gibbs, an Obama spokesman stated that the president will discuss steps the United States can take to deepen our relationships between not only Israelis and Palestinians but also between Israel and the Arab states.

From Jimmy Carter’s approach of diplomacy to George W. Bush’s injection of democracy into other cultures, peace ebbs and flows with the world’s current status.  However, Obama’s declaration of change is a step most young American’s are grasping onto and believe can make a difference.

Public opinion on the peace initiative

Mileah Kromer, assistant professor of political science at Elon University

Mileah Kromer, assistant professor of political science at Elon University

Mileah Kromer, assistant professor of political science and assistant director of the Elon University Poll believes that the public’s opinion on the peace initiative follows a few different trends.  To discover these responses she and her colleagues have polled numerous North Carolina residents on the situation.

“Right now we see a few different trends in terms of public opinion, our recent university poll asked peoples public opinion towards the war in Iraq,” said Kromer.  We see an overwhelming majority of people now who are opposed of the occupation in Iraq and the ongoing conflict.  One of Barack Obama’s platforms when elected during the campaign was a strict timeline of withdrawal from Iraq.  This is something overwhelmingly the majority of American’s are now supporting.”

Youth opinions

John Paul West

John Paul West

Young professionals and students alike have high hopes for Obama’s peace talks however daunting they may seem.  John Paul West, a 2007 graduate from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University believes that Obama will be successful in extending a peaceful hand to Netanyahu, however expects Obama to remain realistic with his hopes for change.

“Since his inauguration, Barack Obama’s rhetoric regarding Israel has been troubling for those who consider the Israeli’s to be an unwavering ally amongst its questionable neighboring countries,” said West.  “I sincerely hope that Barack can reach out to Netanyahu during this visit and reassure him that they have our continued support regarding the threat that Iran and other similarly dangerous countries pose. While the desired outcome for this region is surely an eventual long-lasting peace, I want Barack Obama to be realistic with his expectations and strike a balance between protecting our alliance with Israel and appealing to other countries in an effort to bring them to the negotiating table.”

Similarly, Elon University senior and art history major, Sarah Simmons hopes that Obama will realize the balance needed to maintain the peace between nations and also decrease the looting and stealing from nations. 

“Most American’s don’t realize that these peace talks are not just about the war but also about the affects the war has had on these countries.  Thousands of pieces of art and artifacts have been looted or damaged  during the riots and fighting between these nations,” said Simmons.

Will it be successful?

Wade Blackburn

Wade Blackburn

The success of these meetings is pending upon the actions of both nations.  Wade Blackburn, a graduate from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University believes that diplomacy may not be the answer and that  less U.S. involvement in the Middle East’s issues may be closer at hand.

“The Palestinian/Israeli conflict is that of such magnitude that third party diplomacy will most likely fail,” said Blackburn. “However, Obama’s actions will reflect positively on the World’s perception of the United States. However, it appears that this could be the beginning of less U.S. involvement in Israel.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama’s meeting today in Washington is expected to be the first real diplomatic test for Obama, it is also will set the precedent for Obama’s upcoming Middle East trip.  These forthcoming meetings will require extraordinary diplomatic tactics if it hopes to be successful.

Can Obama follow through?

John Harvey

John Harvey

While the current peace talks are expected to be successful some believe that nuclear threats may complicate the situation.  John Harvey, a member of the USAF Reserves is one of those that believes this.

“Although the Israelis want the US to use its diplomatic clout to encourage the Palestinians to resume peace talks, that task is complicated by the continued threat of possible nuclear attacks on Israel by Iran,” stated Harvey.

The actual mechanics of Obama’s plan for change are difficult to apply due to changing relationships and situations in the Middle East.  Kromer stated that the situation is “sticky” and Obama may be able to follow through with it, but none of us know for sure what is to happen in the future.

“Things could worsen and we could not pull our troops out.  If things worsen or another political situation happens there then he will have to reevaluate his plan,” said Kromer.

Only time will reveal the outcome of the peace talks, though most young Americans have high expectations.  However, many young American’s are unaware these talks are even happening due to the current economic downturn taking focus off international affairs and focused back on domestic issues.

Below, Mileah Kromer, assistant professor of political science at Elon University discusses Obama’s peace initiative:


Abridged Chapters 5 – 8: Math Tools for Journalists: Kathleen Woodruff Wickham

Alex Baker

May 5, 2009


Don't worry reporters, numbers are not as scary as they seem.

Don't worry reporters, numbers are not as scary as they seem.

Journalists can use polls and surveys to their advantage when applying them in the reporting focused on business, stocks and bonds and taxes.  When used correctly polls as well as surveys can be beneficial to detail anything from public opinion to political campaigns.


Polls and surveys, though similar, evaluate different situations.  Polls are based on representative samples of a population and are used more so when evaluating politics.  Surveys on the other hand are used in a wide variety of settings and are based on multiple questions.  However, while these are different ways of gathering data it is important that a reporter remembers to use both of these methods by using random selection and double checking for reliability.

Sampling and Population

Random selection is based on sampling and populations sizes.  There are different types of sampling dependent upon each situation:

Valid Sampling:  This type of sampling aims for at least 400 interviewees.  In order to keep the margin of error manageable it is necessary to have a large population size.  An example of Valid Sampling is the United States Census.  This is a strong example because the population of the sample includes everyone within that population.

Cluster Sampling: This type of sampling focuses on sampling in a certain area or region.

Multistage Sampling: Rather than sampling in a smaller specific area or region, Multistage Sampling focuses on national samples.  A reporter can do this by selecting a certain geographic area and then selecting a sub-group from that larger population.

Confidence Level and Margin of Error

Confidence level and margin of error are two different degrees of population measurement.  The confidence level is necessary for a reporter to maintain and reaffirm accuracy.  The confidence level is the level or percentage, at which researchers have confidence in the result of their research.  It is determined in advance and can be found at the 90 percent, 95 percent, and 98 percent level.  By offering the reader a variety of levels, they are able to assess the results of the sampling for themselves.

In order to determine confidence level you must know your margin of error.  This shows the accuracy of the research based on degrees of the standard norms.  It is usually presented to the reader in the form of a percentage is dependent upon the sample size with an inverse relationship.  The larger the samples size the smaller the margin of error.

Z & T Scores

Z and T scores are used when reporting on the results of studies conducted.  Both are used in different circumstances, for instance the z score is the standard score.  This means that it shows the difference between a certain figure diverges from the mean.  (To re-learn what a mean is click here)  The t score is closely related to the z score but is known as the distribution.  This score is only used in samples with population sizes under 100.

Finding a z score is not difficult for reporters to accomplish.  To find this score you first take the raw score and then subtract the mean divided by the standard deviation.

Numbers in Business

Many times a reporter has to write about events occurring not only in the hard breaking news but also the financial and business world.  While this realm might not be the most comfortable for most reporters, business reporting is where most of the math is in any news.  From earnings and annual reports to press releases and gross margins, it is important for a reporter to make sure they report on these facts accurately.

Different expenses arise in the business world on a daily basis.  This is where a company’s “cost of good sold” comes into play.  This term refers to the direct expense a business incurs in making or buying its product.  The “gross margin” is the difference between the “cost of good sold” and the actual selling price.

EXAMPLE: If a graduation gown is sold for $30 and the actual cost of goods sold is $10, what would be the gross margin?

30 – 10 = 20.  The gross margin of the graduation gown is $20.00.

Ratios and Balance Sheet

Dealing with costs of good sold and actual prices it is necessary to understand how to operate ratios.  These numbers evaluate a company’s money status, efficiency, profit margin as well as the market value.  These ratios come in different shapes and sizes but the most common ratio to use in the business world is the current ratios.  Acting as a liquidity ratio, it measures the ability a company has to meet the cost of its liabilities.

A balance sheet on the other hand is a written statement of the financial estate of the company’s assets, liabilities and equity.  Many reporters use these facts to show the financial stability of a business or company.

Stocks and Bonds

Stocks and bonds is a common term heard around the world on a daily basis, but do people really know what it is?  It is important for reporters to be able to report on the figures behind stocks and bonds to help the public understand what it is they are reading about. 

Stocks and bonds both raise and lose money for businesses.  Most hope that it will help the company gain assets by using stocks to raise money as they sell certain stocks and buy others to make investments.

After understanding the first part for stocks, it is necessary for the reporter to also fully understand the second part of bonds. Bonds are technically loans from an investor to another organization or the government.  Bonds can earn interest and are seen as a low-risk investment. While bonds are seen as low-risk the returns on the investment are known to fluctuate.  Finding the yield is determined by taking the interest rate time the face value.  Then you divide that result by the price.

EXAMPLE: Leo Lambert has paid $600 for a $2,000 bond that has a 10 percent interest rate.  What is the yield on this bond?

(.10 x $2,000)/ 600 = 33% So the current yield on the bond is 33%.

Property Taxes

Property taxes provide the local government, school districts and other municipal organizations with the largest source of income.  You can determine the property tax by taking the total amount of money the higher body needs and then dividing it between the property owners in that taxing district.

The appraised value of a assets depends on local policies, which can mean credits and other modifications. To find this, you have to take the appraisal value and multiply it by the rate. The last step is to calculate taxes owed, you have to take the tax rate and multiply it by the assessed value if the property over $100.

Abridged Chapters 1-4: Math Tools for Journalists: Kathleen Woodruff Wickham

Alex Baker

April 28, 2009

Chapters 1-4 Summary

            numbersSome might believe that numbers and journalism are on opposite sides of the educational spectrum, as well as opposite sides of campus, however numbers are necessary for journalist.  Numbers, percentages and statistics aid a journalist in making their story credible and accurate.  If used effectively, numbers can help a journalist secure a spot in the work world by proving their precision and reliability.

            When using numbers in an article it is important to make sure that the figures being used are accurate and from a reliable source.  These numbers are not provided to add an insignificant layer of depth to the story or to help a journalist design a graphic.  Figures provide the reader with solid information and a visual aid to the facts they are reading.  Before going to print it is very important for a journalist to DOUBLE CHECK the figures being used even if they are from a reliable source.  Just because they said they were true does not mean this is the fact.  It is a journalist’s sole responsibility to provide the public with credible information.

            When using these figures in article journalists must remember four tips.

  1. Spell out the numbers that are under ten.
  2. Write out the numerals from ten and over.
  3. Use the word fewer when referring to items that can be counted.
  4. Use the word less than for weight or scale and time.
  5. Use “more than” when referring to numbers and “over” for spatial relationships.


Please reword the following: Around one hundred and fifty students went to the Phoenix basketball game and watched Brett James make over thirty points in fewer than 2 quarters.

Answer Key: Around 150 students went to the Phoenix basketball game and watched Brett James make more than 30 points in less than two quarters.

            There are a variety of types of numbers that a journalist can use in their story to add detail and depth.  Percentages are one of these figures.  They are commonly used by reporters to show the reader percentage increase, percentage decrease, percentage of the whole and percentage points.  When reporters are using percentages they should make sure the numbers used in their stories should be converted into percentages when possible.  This aids the reader in understanding the quantification of the numbers.  By making the reader understand the statistic better the reporter is improving the story.


How to determine a percentage:  Elon’s total square footage on campus is 8.1 million square feet.  The amount of academic building space is 2,430,000 square feet. What is the percentage of square feet on Elon’s campus that is used for academic buildings? 

Answer Key:  30% of campus is dedicated to academic buildings.

How To: 2,430,000/8,100,000 = x/100 So I multiplied 2,430,000 x 100 and got 243,000,000 and also multiplied 8,100,000 by x to get 8,100,000.  I then divided 243,000,000 by 8,100,000 so x = 30.  Putting the reporter at 30%.

            Besides percentages, statistics are also commonly used by reporters to provide a story with credibility.  However, when using statistics it is important for the reporter to remember that skewing facts is unethical.  Manipulating figures to sway the readers’ viewpoint is not the purpose of statistics.  Statistics can be used to present test scores as well as report crime rates.  A reporter commonly uses percentiles to report statistics.

Examples of Statistics:

Mean: The sum of all figures in a group divided by the total number of figures.  Also known as the average.

Median:  The midpoint in the grouping of numbers.  Numbers must be ordered from lowest to highest when determining this number.

Mode: The most frequently appearing number in a set.


Determining the Mean:  What is the mean number of internships completed by seniors in Vic Costello’s Capstone class?


How To: 5+2+6+1+4+2+1+1+3+4 = 29 divided by 10 (the number of students in the set) = 2.9

Answer: The average number of internships completed by seniors in the Capstone class is 2.9 or approximately 3.

Earth Day awareness at Elon University

Students today claim to be environmentally aware but is Elon doing anything to contribute to their awareness

By Alex Baker

April 16, 2009


Earth Day is April 22.  What action are YOU going to take?

Earth Day is April 22. What action are YOU going to take?

Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22 and Elon students have a lot to appreciate thanks to Mother Nature.  From Elon’s perfectly coifed lawns to the environmentally safe transportation offered to students, appreciation for the earth’s environment is a popular action to take.

Appreciating the earth’s environment is Earth Day’s main objective.  However, Elon students seem to be celebrating Earth Day year round rather than only one day in April. 

Reducing carbon footprints, reducing, reusing, and recycling, conserving water, and reducing gas usage are all ways Elon students find themselves taking personal action on Elon’s campus. 

Freshman Nikki Rodriguez, believes that global warming is a huge issue in our society and that students can make a difference.  “There is a huge population that do not pay attention to what we need to do in order to improve the climate and things that are going to affect our natural resources in the future and it is something that we all need to kind of work towards and encourage others to start.”

In a student poll on Elon’s campus surveying 131 students, 90 perecent believed that they were environmentally aware and 67 perecent are taking action to help the environment.  Senior Elizabeth Jazinski believes that any bit can help.  “My roommate and I recycle our plastic and glass items.  It’s not much but I figure it can’t hurt and is probably doing some good.”

Students consciousness of Elon’s role in environmental education is surprising.  While they are responsive of environmental issues presented by the media only 42 perecent of students surveyed believe that their Elon education made a significant difference in their awareness.

Hoping to increase knowledge of Earth Day on campus, The Green Team and the Sierra Club are hosting Earth Week from April 20 – 24.  In the second annual celebration of Earth Week on Elon’s campus events such as a potluck, a fashion show and even a night of sustainable smores.

Full details on Earth Week from Elon’s website are posted below:

Monday, April 20:

Elon Township Stream Cleanup
3-5 p.m.
End of Wooddale Street (corner of the golf course)

Pot Luck in the Elon Community Garden
5:30 p.m.
Co-sponsored by Elon Hillel and Students for Peace and Justice

Tuesday, April 21:

College Coffee
9:40-10:20 a.m.
Learn about Elon’s new sustainability pledge and how you can make your life a little greener.

Farmers and Local Arts Market
1-5 p.m.
In front of the Colonnades Dining Hall

Fashion Show
4-5 p.m. (at the Market)
Hosted by Students for Peace and Justice, the show will feature sustainable fashions that are fun and wearable. 

Wednesday, April 22 (EARTH DAY):

Landfill on the Lawn 
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
See a portion of trash waste created by students, and watch as volunteers sort out the recyclables on the West Lawn outside of Moseley.

“Moving Towards Carbon Free Living: Practical Steps to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Increase Energy Dependence”
7-9 p.m.
Stephen and Rebekah Hren, authors of The Carbon Free Home, will speak on “carbon free living” and sign books at a reception following the talk. McMichael Science Center Room 115 for talk, Room 117 for reception.

Smores with Outdoors
10-11 p.m.
Come try Smores made with sustainable ingredients.

Thursday, April 23:

Sierra Club Highway Clean-Up 
3-5 p.m.
Help clean up the portion of the highway that the Sierra Club has adopted.

Elon Community Garden Work Day
4-6 p.m.
Help Elon’s garden plant for the spring season and work the soil.

Movie on the Lawn
9-11 p.m.
On the West Lawn next to Moseley, watch movies “Way of the Bear,” “On Natures Terms” and “Cities.”

Friday, April 24:

Tour of TS Designs
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Transportation will be provided by the Elon BioBus

9 p.m. – midnight
Sea Monster, Ailyne, Russell Howard, Layden, and the Tipsy Bacchanals perform on the Campus Quad outside Alumni Gym.

Organizers will be at Mosley table #7 to accept donations to The Bald Head Island Conservancy and help protect the natural environment of the Smith Island Complex on the North Carolina coast. They will also have giveaways, calendars, and updates on what’s going on for the week.

If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions please contact green@elon.edu.


Below, Nikki Rodriguez talks about her environmental awareness on Elon’s campus.

Behind the scenes: How Elon decides future expansion

With the Master and Strategic Planning Committees in session this year, students wonder where Elon is headed next

To see a print version of this paper: click here

The Progression of Elon University on Dipity

Elon University

Elon University

By Alex Baker    

April 9, 2009                                  

For graduating seniors, the past four years at Elon University have expanded their knowledge and understanding of life.  However, the students are not the only things that have expanded since 2005.

Koury Business Center. The Oaks Housing. The Academic Village. Collonnades Dining and Residence Halls.  Elon Law.

All six of these buildings have been just some of the additions to Elon’s campus, both near and far, since the fall semester of 2005.  Looking back past 2005, it is obvious to see that Elon has had a vision to create a solid foundation for the next strategic planning process for the campus. 

Looking into the past growth of Elon

Neil Bromilow

Neil Bromilow

Back in 1995, Neil Bromilow the director of construction management at Elon, arrived on campus as a one-man show for the physical plant.  When he pulled in to Elon’s campus it was a mere 900,000 square feet.  Since then he has had a hand in every single building raised on Elon’s campus, including McMichael, Belk Library, the Greek courts and the expansion of Danieley Center.

When it started Bromilow was single handedly in charge of communication between contractors, architects, mechanics and electricians for the development of the new buildings being constructed.  Almost 19 years after his arrival at Elon there are three full-time staff and one part-time staff and 150 employees working on the construction management team and physical plant at Elon.

Bromilow’s facilitation of building on campus has had an affect on the prolific growth of the campus. Reaching 1.8 million square feet, Elon is almost double in size from what it was when he arrived.

Percentages out of the total 1,843,682 square feet of Elon

Percentages out of the total 1,843,682 square feet of Elon

However, with such construction in such a relatively short time frame, both Bromilow and the school are wondering if Elon can sustain the same rate of growth.  “We know where we have been and if you look back in time it was pretty flat.  However, in the 90’s Elon really grew,” said Bromilow.  “It would be hard to sustain that type of growth.”

The growth-spurt of Elon is also supported by factors such as recruiting done by admissions, administrative leadership, maintenance of the campus, and the high quality of teaching.  These factors are considered by Elon’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Strategic and Master planning at Elon

whoswhoNewCentury@Elon, a long-term strategic plan, was created in 2000 to help answer the campuses questions of sustainability and recruitment.  Realizing the Elon was a university on the move, Dr. Leo Lambert strived to establish the university as a “national model of excellence in engaged learning.”

The goals and objectives of the strategic plan are to allow Elon to grow slowly while continuing to add graduate programs.  Stress remains on maintaining an intimate feel, and enhancing green space as well as the pedestrian nature of the campus while continuing to expand.

In 2000, when the strategic plan was put into progress it was decided that a Master and Strategic Planning Committees would come back in 10 years and review the progress made and create a goal for the next 10 years.  As the 2009-2010 school year approaches, a Master Planning Committee has been assembled from a collective group of faculty, staff, and administration.

The Master Planning Committee implements the decisions made by the Strategic Planning Committee to help fulfill space needs on campus.  These needs include academic spaces, administrative offices, dining halls, athletic facilities, residence halls and various campus requirements.


Gerry Francis

Gerry Francis

Gerry Francis, provost and vice president for academic affairs and a member of both committees witnesses the progress of the committees.  “The Strategic Planning Committee asks what is Elon going to look like in 2020?” 

With the answers that they discover then it is the Master Planning Committee’s job to ask the location question.  “We take a look at housing and ask what kind will it be and where will it be, if we need more playing fields, where are we going to put them and what do we need,” asked Francis.

Chaired by the vice president for business, finance and technology, Gerald Whittington is in charge of the Master Planning Committee.  Twelve members were selected for their expertise in planning. 


Gerald Whittington

Gerald Whittington

“We try to pick people who have worked on facility issues,” Whittington said.  “We try to pick people who would represent various parts of the campus well, so we have folks from academic departments, folks from academic support, folks form technology, and others like that.”

The committee is focused on maintaining the beauty of campus and reflecting the needs of the past strategic plan.  “I think first of all the goal is to come up with a five year plan for the physical layout of the campus,” stated Vic Costello a member of the comittee.  “That will take into account the kinds of physical structures and spaces that Elon currently has on the table, and the things that it is considering.”

Another member of the Master Planning Committee is Dan Harrigan, the director in charge of planning at Spillman Farmer Architects.  Acting as the facilitator between Elon and the architecture firm, it is his job to assist in the process where program needs are expressed and reflected in the development plans.

In Elon’s 5-to-10 year future Harrigan believes growth both physically and academically are hoping to be achieved by the university.  “I see Elon continuing to respond to the needs of the students, academic changes, better use of existing space and addition of some new spaces to accommodate growing programs,” said Harrigan.

Building plans (and hopes) for the future

The Strategic Planning committee does not foresee admissions rates growing at the same rate as in the past.  “For the last ten years we have grown about 130 students per year, and last year was the first time we started to calm that,” said Francis.  “We will continue to grow moderately at 50 to 75 students a year.”

While student rates are set at moderate rates, building projects are continuing to buzz with two new construction projects in progress currently.


Linder Hall (my images are on the way...)

Linder Hall (my images are on the way...)


Linder Hall

Expected this summer is the completion of newly added Linder Hall in the Academic Village.  Beginning papers for Linder Hall were drawn up in the fall of 2006.  “Planning and construction went pretty fast,” said Bromilow.

Powell rennovation

With the addition of academic classrooms, programs are planning to be moved into new locations.  One move is focused on the School of Communications new M.A. in Interactive Media.  If approved by the board of trustees in their meeting on April 17, 2nd floor Powell will be renovated as a self-contained area for graduate students in the new program.

“Powell building is going to be renovated for the masters program.  We will add edit bays, faculty offices and classrooms.  It will be a miniature McEwen,” said Bromilow.  Renovations will take place this summer making Powell available to the communications students beginning this fall.

The renovation of Powell for the Communications department is drawing attention to McEwen.  Students and professors agree that the expansion of the building is something they hope to see occur in the future to bring the master’s and undergraduate program together.


Current master plan of Elon

Current master plan of Elon

“The School of Communications needs to expand.  We are maxed out in terms of physical space and now the graduate program will be across campus in Powell,” said Costello.  “There will be physical disconnect and I think it will in fact affect the community.  I know Dean Parson’s has proposed an expansion to McEwen to bring in the graduate school and displaced faculty.”


Field house and pedestrian tunnel

Other construction pending, due to the board of trustee’s approval, besides the Powell renovations are a new field house and a pedestrian tunnel.  A $50,000 donation was made to support the development of the Koury Field House by Wade Williamson Jr, a 1970 graduate from Elon.

The drafts for the new field house include new offices, locker rooms and weight rooms.  If approved by the board of trustees the new field house will be located on the north end of the football field in Rhodes Stadium and will be set to open in the fall of 2010, said Bromilow.

Also waiting approval is the creation of a pedestrian tunnel planned to run beneath the railroad tracks connecting South campus with main campus.  While dates for the tunnel have not yet been set, the location of the tunnel is set to be built near Hook and Barney residence halls.

Convocation Center

While these plans are scheduled to occur in the near future, others are scheduled for later down the road.  The construction of a convocation center has been on the Master Planning Committee’s radar since 2000, according to NewCentury@Elon.

The impressive construction goal is a 9,000 – to – 10,000 seat convocation center that’s purpose would serve a venue for convocations, campus wide events, graduation, sports events, concerts, community events and…get ready for it… an ice rink.

Such a large endeavor requires detailed planning, copious amounts of land and generous giving.  With the current economic recession at hand, timeframes for such ambitious endeavors will probably be extended.  “The economic conditions make everybody cautious,” said Whittington.  “We will end up with a plan that is workable but it will be in a longer timeframe just simply because that is what it is.”

Faculty incorporates student’s opinions

As the Master Planning Committee strives to reach the needs the Strategic Planning Committee has developed, student voices tend to fade behind trustee and administration opinion.  However, the Strategic Planning Committee has decided to reverse that trend and has created an opportunity for students to voice their desires.

Including posters around campus and a blog created as a place for exchanging ideas about the future of the university, students can write their desires for the progression of Elon by the year 2020.  Surprisingly, student, faculty, and administrative concerns tend to be on the same wavelength for the most part.


What Elon professors want to see added or enhanced on campus

After polling students and professors both had interest in the new field house and graduate programs.  However, a noticeable difference was that faculty was more concerned about developing engaging learning and students tended to be more concerned with developing the town of Elon.

Senior Maggie Lamond thought back on her four years at Elon and wished the town had been developed further.  “As a freshman I thought it would expand but it has mostly stayed the same,” Lamond said.  “We need a Starbucks, a grocery store, even a dry cleaner close to campus for those [students] who don’t have cars.”


Students responses

What Elon students want to see added or enhanced on campus

Similarly freshman Lo Lewis is hoping for development in the next four years.  “I chose Elon because of the environment and academics, but there isn’t much around here which is annoying.”



Hearing the student’s needs, the university has begun to talk to the town to work together to create a more viable environment.  Gerry Francis agrees and is hoping to develop the Firehouse Fields.

“We really need a more significant town, and now the economy is going backward,” said Francis.  Though planning and execution are set for a long-term plan, discussion has been started discussing the development of a new town hall, new post office, dining venues, grocery store and pharmacy on the Firehouse Fields.

Below is a list of Elon’s progress dating from this year back to 2000.  To see this information in timeline form or a flip book of pictures please visit: 




Interactive Media extending the reach of Elon University

Elon’s new graduate program in Interactive Media is preparing students to think strategically

By Alex Baker

April 8, 2009

Elon University will be offering a masters in interactive media beginning in the fall of 2009

Elon University will be offering a masters in interactive media beginning in the fall of 2009.

You can use interactive media to tell stories in different ways and reach wider audiences.  This is just one of the main reasons Elon University has decided to add a Master’s program beginning in the fall of the 2009 -2010 centered around interactive media.

What an M.A. in Interactive Media entails

The one-year, full-time program will teach students across a variety of media platforms, including creating content complete with text, audio, images, videos and graphics.  These tools will be used in creating entertainment, news and overall communications interactive mediums.

Elon is focusing on interactive media acknowledging the power it has to extend both individuals and companies reach, and allowing them to communicate in different ways.  With new technology’s ability to offer a two-way system of communication, choice and control are provided to the viewer.

Courses offered will provide recent communication graduates and young professionals in the program with knowledge in writing, design, production, law and aesthetics.  Interactive Media Strategies, a course being offered in the fall of next year, will investigate strategic issues.  New design paradigms, information design, as well as exploration into an in depth range of interaction media will be observed in the course.

Applying interactive media to real life

Ken Calhoun

Ken Calhoun

Ken  Calhoun, assistant professor of communications at Elon and resident academic of all things interactive believes that extending the possible reach to your audience will provide lucrative opportunities.  “Extending your reach creates more career options and more communication options,” said Calhoun.  “You create a more immersive, media rich work and create more ways to connect with and build audiences.”

Calhoun also believes that the future of Web sites need to focus on strategic thinking.  “We use strategic thinking everyday by being consumers.  We need to ask what is the best way to deliver this message?”

The messages being delivered are coming in the form of three “flavors” as Calhoun describes them, for their ability to blend and mix.  Storytelling, responsive visuals, and conversation are all interactive in the media landscape of today.  From infographics and data digitalization to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, current interactive media is immersing the viewer.

“Make [interactive media] so people want to touch, to play, to explore,” says Calhoun.  “People like bells and whistles, make it responsive and rewarding, and make it a story.”

A look into the life of an interactive media specialist

Ken Calhoun received his M.F.A from Emerson College and has had professional experience in interactive television, corporate and entertainment industry multimedia productions as well as creative writing.  In the past Calhoun has taught  Digital Storytelling at Duke University and also served as the creative director for Center Line Productions.

 Below, Ken Calhoun discusses how interactive media can extend your reach.

Anderson Cooper visits Elon University

Cooper reassures Elon community that, “all of us are capable of anything.”

By Alex Baker

April 7, 2009

Anderson Cooper visited Elon April 7

Anderson Cooper visited Elon April 7

“I don’t believe anyone cares what an anchor thinks,” stated Anderson Cooper.  However, the packed gym at Elon University begged to differ.

Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360o, visited Elon University today to conduct a question-and-answer conversation and deliver a special lecture titled, “A 360o Look at World Events” at 4 p.m. in Koury Center’s Alumni Gym.

Reporting in today’s world

Leo Lambert, President of Elon University, opened the lecture by explaining the serious level that Elon takes within its journalism and communication courses.  Especially within the new era of journalism, Elon is staying afloat with reporting in today’s society.

In his address, Cooper also stressed that reporting is a vital communication tool for society.  “You do need reporting, and reporting is more important, I would argue, than ever before,” commented Cooper.

However, Cooper understands the changing technologies that journalists face. Anderson Cooper 360o understands that its audience is watching the show while on their iPod’s or on the internet.  Therefore they have created podcasts, a Facebook page, a Twitter for Anderson Cooper, and a live blog.

“Be on as many platforms as possible,” advised Cooper.  “Audiences are spread out today and you must master as many mediums as possible.”  These new mediums are providing the generation of young adults with a superfluous amount of information.

Cooper stated, “I think young adults today are better educated and more informed than any previous generation in history.”  The benefit of more information provided to audiences than ever before also comes with a great danger, warned Cooper.  “We live in the instant age of information,” he said, “know where your information is coming from.”

Follow your Bliss

img_07641Upon Cooper's graduation from Yale, his mother gave him the advice to, "Follow your bliss."For those who watch Cooper on a regular basis, they have no doubt their information is coming from a reliable journalist.  However, Cooper never studied journalism.  It was his love of travel that gave him the idea to become a foreign correspondent.

With almost 20 years of experience under his belt and over 50 countries stamped in his passport, Cooper is in a business where his job is to run towards what everyone else is running away from.  He experience more than most can fathom.

“It is easy to look the other way,” says Cooper.  “Look directly to the things that scare you most.”  And Cooper has done just this in countries, including Somalia, Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, and Iraq.

As hard as it is at times, Cooper understands his responsibility to the public.  “I couldn’t save [those people], but I could bear witness and share their stories,” said Cooper.

It is undeniable that Cooper’s passion is telling other’s stories to the world.  He is a strong advocate of opening our minds to different viewpoints and believes in “walking in other peoples shoes as much as possible.”

The 360 degrees of Anderson Cooper

Cooper joined television’s 24/7 news-station CNN in December of 2001.  He served as the weekend anchor until after the progression of the war in Iraq; he was promoted to the prime time spot in March of 2003.

Beginning his career as a self-made war correspondent, with a home made press badge and video camera Cooper learned that to survive in the reporting world you much make opportunity and chance happen for yourself.  With past experience in wars, CNN believed he could report any story.

Cooper has been in the middle of large national stories, including the genocide in Rwanda, the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, as well as the controversial death of Terry Schiavo.  In the past years Cooper has also been an unbiased figure in the debates leading up to this past November’s presidential election.

Since graduating from Yale in 1989 and receiving a Bachelor of Arts in political science, as well as studying Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi, Cooper has made a significant name for himself in the journalistic world.

Cooper’s current show, Anderson Cooper 360o, went on the air in November of 2005 and airs weeknights on CNN.

Below, Cooper discusses the importance of reporting in today’s multimedia platform journalism.