Thumbs: Winter woes, slippery roads

Thumbs up to Northwestern students and alumni who trekked to San Antonio to root for NU in the Alamo Bowl.

Critics and sports junkies often pick on Wildcat fans’ meager game attendance. So what if we routinely only fill up half of Ryan Field’s 47,000 seats? Northwestern supporters really did paint the town purple for the Dec. 29 matchup against the Missouri Tigers. Other elements that added to the turnout: the university sold better seats than the ones in Ryan Field’s student section, student groups and alumni organized road trips and many industrious supporters coordinated their own travel and accommodations. Attendees decked themselves out in purple for NU’s first return to the Alamo since 2000. Now if only we had won the game.

Thumbs up to Northwestern’s schools for receiving a record amount of

research grants in 2008.

The University announced last month that NU’s research grant volume reached $438.8 million this year, a 5 percent increase over last year’s total. According to Vice President for Research Jay Walsh, NU’s research grant volume bucked the trend of shrinking research grants and diminishing budgets. NU’s schools continue to do what they do best by raking in research funds and adding to the University’s prestige.

Sideways thumb for fraternity rush and sorority recruitment. More than 30 percent of the student body is involved in IFC or PanHel organizations, and on a campus well-acquainted with the word “apathy,” it’s great to see so many underclassmen getting involved in something besides Keg Mondays.

But while less than half of NU’s best and brightest are flirting with freshmen, the majority of students are left on a campus almost devoid of life. Starting tomorrow, classes will be half-empty as sorority girls sleep off late night gossip fests, professors will have to hear yet another reason why we just couldn’t get our work done and Hundo will barely know what to do without its legion of gone-Greeks. We here at Forum will be waiting with bated breath for the light at the end of the tunnel when NU once again explodes with debauchery and, of course, more Greek t-shirts. For those about to embark on the journey: good luck and Godspeed.

Thumbs down to School of Communication administrators for changing their pre-registration process and hurting dance majors and minors as a result.

As an underrepresented program within the School of Communication, the dance major continues suffer from a lack of resources. Changes to the school’s pre-registration policies have opened up dance classes for others but have made it difficult for dance majors and minors to take the classes they need. Opening up fun and different classes to non-majors is good, but the most dedicated students should still have priority. Dance students said they are missing out on the opportunities, classes and professors that drew them to study at Northwestern in the first place.

Thumbs down to Evanston for stocking nearly 3,000 fewer tons of road salt than last winter. If this winter is anything like last year’s record-breaking season, the city could face a potential crisis without enough salt to keep streets and sidewalks safe. Students living off campus must be especially careful, and Evanston residents might be left out in the cold.