Thumbs sideways to…One Book revisits science genre again

If nothing else, no one reading the selection for next year’s One Book One Northwestern program will have read it before. Or heard of it, for that matter. On Monday, campus officials announced that Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will be the centerpiece of the campus- and community-wide program. The book sounds like a fascinating look into medicine, race and technology, but a science-based selection is, as the proverb says, a dead horse. Last year’s book was about Dr. Paul Farmer, the year before’s was about climate change, the year before that focused on Charles Darwin. Are you seeing the trend? All three books had mixed results in terms of interest and popularity in the ensuing symposiums, so why take a walk down that path again? It’s great to expose incoming and current students to pertinent scientific controversies and quandaries, but it’s also nice to have a cultural institution make the reading list every so often. We think the One Book One Northwestern program should balance recent selections with some classic novels so that students know Thomas Hardy as well as they know Tracy Kidder.

Thumbs down to…2013, 2014 football season is daunting

We express our utmost concern about Northwestern’s upcoming football schedule. Earlier this week, the Big Ten announced its conference schedule for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Wildcats’ 2013 conference campaign will begin with two nearly certain losses (vs. Ohio State and at Wisconsin) and could see them drop four of their first five Big Ten games. The 2014 season doesn’t get much better for NU with trips to the Horseshoe and a home date with our NU rivals, the Cornhuskers. While the Big Ten rotates which non-divisional foes NU plays on a two-year basis, the Cats unfortunately drew the worst possible outcome, playing perennial powerhouses Ohio State and Wisconsin, in addition to protected rival Illinois, while missing the mediocrity of the Hoosier State in Indiana and Purdue. The Cats could struggle to reach bowl eligibility, and while nonconference matchups with Maine and Syracuse may bulk up the win total, they will likely leave NU unprepared for its conference season.

Thumbs up to…NUTOMcats brave the cold for a cause

While most people didn’t dream of strolling around campus without knee-high boots on Tuesday, some eschewed footwear altogether. Students supporting TOMS Shoes’ “One Day Without Shoes” walked through campus from the Arch to Tech barefoot, and we applaud their commitment despite the unseasonably cold weather. Although the philanthropic effort confusingly melds corporation and poverty awareness, it certainly draws attention and participants. Other campus organizations should take note of the event’s inclusive and interactive nature that attracted interest outside the NUTOMcats club that organized it. This, combined with the chilly weather, makes the event all the more impressive.

Thumbs up to…Unity Fashion Show presents positive message

What’s not to love about unity, diversity, philanthropy and raffles? Last Sunday night, the 4th Annual Unity Charity Fashion Show was held in the Norris Louis Room. The show brought together 12 cultural student groups and models that dared to be less than 6 feet tall and more than a size zero, debunking all kinds of fashion stereotypes. With the event showcasing both student and local designers, the show managed to get some town-gown relationship building involved too. NU sometimes seems to be lacking a creative scene but Sunday night’s event showcased a successful artistic and altruistic effort.