Highs and Lows

Thumbs up to the $1 million grant to improve Searle Student Health Services … with all the upgrades to renovate and expand the office.

Doctors will be happy that they can get more done by zipping in and out between their own offices and the many exam rooms that will be available. And, of course, the students will be delighted to know that the details of how they contracted a certain not-so-pleasant little malady (or the flu) will be kept private now that the lobby’s getting a makeover as well. But the happiness doesn’t stop there. Counseling and Psychological Services will get a new home, too.

There wasn’t anything drastically wrong with the old Searle, but the renovation will definitely be much appreciated, even though it seems a bit overdue considering that students have been seeing the same Searle for as long as they’ve attended Northwestern.

The million bucks Searle received goes to show how times have changed. Searle got its start with $800,000 from John G. Searle. And Johnny Boy must be happy with these ch-ch-changes.

Thumbs up to the Northwestern faculty who snagged nine awards … including $1.5 million to philosopher and law Prof. Charles Taylor for his research that includes solutions to social problems by using spiritual and secular perspectives.

The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities offers the largest chunk of cash to any one person annually as an academic award.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, eight NU scientists received Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowships and Faculty Early Career Development awards.. While it isn’t a 7-figure paycheck, they do get a sizable sum of money to continue their research – $45,000 a piece – about enough for a year at Northwestern.

It isn’t a trip to Jamaica on Spring Break after acing all of your finals, but it’s nonetheless an impressive way to wrap up Winter Quarter.

Thumbs down to the mysterious aqua-maniac … who used the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house for water balloon target-practice early Tuesday morning.

Throwing things on campus is never a good idea – just ask anyone who’s tossed firecrackers near a SafeRide car or performed some other similar stunt. Experimenting with projectile motion outside of physics class can get you in hot water with the Department of Student Affairs.

Then again, perhaps the person or persons who lobbed the balloons were intending to do Gamma Phi a favor. Maybe the individuals noticed some dust or bird excrement on the sorority house wall and wanted to cleanse the offending materials from the building.

And, of course, one has to wonder if the thought processes that led up to the decision to fling liquid-filled rubber spheres at a campus residence were in any way influenced by alcohol.

But when it’s all said and done, while chucking water balloons at someone’s house isn’t a particularly friendly thing to do, at least the incident was worth a few laughs, especially because no one was injured and no significant property damage occurred.

Thumbs up to women’s lacrosse star Kristen Kjellman … for breaking the NU’s all-time points record during the Cats’ victory over Syracuse Friday. Kjellman surpassed the previous record of 289 points with her third point in Friday’s game, bringing her to 290 points. Following Sunday’s win against UConn, Kjellman’s point total stands at 296.

At a university that sometimes lacks student sports heroes, Kjellman and her teammates fill a vital role. The NU administration is perennially attempting to build campus community. Athletics give students a cause to rally around. The women’s lacrosse team, with their back-to-back national championships and stellar players and coaches, deserves credit not just for their athletic prowess but for giving NU something to be proud of.