Grand Bridge construction causes adjustment among students, faculty

Situated in an urban setting, Saint Louis University is accustomed to adjusting to its surroundings. Currently the Grand Bridge reconstruction, which has been on the city’s to-do list for over two decades, is presenting the campus community with new challenges.

The Grand Bridge, situated between the mile-long stretch of SLU’s main campus and Medical Campus, is scheduled to close in early Spring of 2011, causing students and faculty to plan for the upcoming changes.

The group on campus that will be most affected by the closing are the students who use the shuttle service provided by the University to get to the Medical Campus. The increased time it will take to get there is causing concern among students, and faculty is trying to make the necessary adjustments.

“Our intentions are to remain as flexible as possible with it under the traffic flows and see which way people are headed in the mornings or evenings and try to stay away from the heavier traffic volume so we can keep on time as much as possible,” Tom West, Director of Transportation Services said.

Currently, the city is reviewing the bids for the construction, which has already experienced numerous delays. Even though they have looked at a variety of ways to meet the demands of the changes, Transportation Services will not have a set plan on how to proceed until the details of the project are more finalized.

Students are already thinking about the ways it will affect their everyday routines for the upcoming Spring semester.

“It definitely will [affect me] because it takes like five minutes to get to the Med Campus and it being closed, I’ll have to wake up earlier and find a new route so it will take longer,” Junior nursing student Mary Zindrick said.

Not only will it take more time for students to travel between campuses, but their class schedules will also be affected. No longer can students rush from the main campus to the Medical Campus in ten minutes and make it on time, causing their class schedules to take up more time during the day. Despite some students’ current hectic schedules that force them to rush to the Medical Campus, it is recommended that they allow 30-40 minutes of travel time regardless of whether or not the bridge is closed, College of Arts and Sciences academic advisor Pamela Jackson said.

Even more students will be looking to take advantage of the recent classes available on the Medical Campus. Core classes such as Psychology, Philosophy and Theology are offered, so students taking their applied science courses would not have to keep traveling back and forth between campuses to fulfill their class needs. Despite the ease of class scheduling, many students and parents are expressing concern about the transportation issues.

“We have responded to parents and students talked with SGA we have done surveys on the rides to see what the actual riders want, what they’re expecting from us when it closes,” West said.

Transportation Services has yet to decide if they will reduce service or add an additional shuttle, West said. In the Fall, an express shuttle was added to meet the demands to the school of nursing, which helped alleviate the congestion. In addition to considering many alternate routes, Transportation Services is looking into class times that cause the most demand for use of the shuttles.

“There is concern obviously. The same concern as when Highway 40 shut down,” West said. “We are hoping it is kind of the same type of thing. It’s not as much of an impact as everyone assumes it is going to be. We are hoping for the best. The only thing we can do is just communicate everything we are trying to do and be responsive to their concerns.”

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Grand Bridge news report

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Pakistan flood relief efforts receive boost from SLU basketball tournament

Dwyane Chatman goes up for a block during warmups in between tournament games.

The sounds of shoes squeaking on the hard wood floor, referee whistles piercing the air, players calling for the ball and spectators cheering on the sidelines all filled the air in West Pine Gym as the SLU NAACP and SGA Pakistan Flood Relief Basketball Tournament went underway Oct. 22.

Despite only three teams being entered in the tournament producing $75 for the cause, the SLU NAACP, in conjunction with SGA and the SLU Pakistan Flood Relief Task Force, brought attention to the otherwise overlooked Pakistan Flood relief effort.

The lack of teams forced the competition to be more like common pick-up games, but the atmosphere was competitive and energetic. Teams of Red, Blue and Black each took turns playing each other, with Black winning the tournament by virtue of the best record.

“I like that all of my friends and others that I didn’t know come out and supported the event,” Antuan Knox, member of the Blue team said. “It was a chance for students to get together and know each other while also showing off some basketball skills. I definitely enjoyed being a part of the event. It’s not very often where there are basketball tournaments and your family and friends can come out and watch you play.”

The initial expected turn out for the tournament was 100-150 people, event committee member Monica Frazier said. However, the combined factors of other on-campus events and broken preparation time due to Fall Break the number of participants was considerably lower causing less money to be raised for the flood relief than was initially expected, Frazier said.

Had more effective advertising been done the tournament could have had a greater turn out, but the actual event was well organized and enjoyable, spectator Ryan Soles said. The tournament was advertised through mass emails to students, as an event on Facebook and posts on Twitter, yet generated little interest around campus.

Despite the lack of participation by teams, the SLU NAACP, a new group on campus this year, was determined to make the event as successful as possible as part of their “We Are” theme for the school year. The basketball tournament fit well with their specific theme for October, “We Are Healthy,” and coincided with the timing of the flood relief effort.

The Pakistan floods, which began after monsoon rains hit the region in July, have left more than 6 million people dependent on aid and up to 10 million people on shelter according to AusAid, an Australian medical response team who recently returned after treating victims. Dr. Ian Norton, the head of the medical response team, believes it will take many years before Pakistan returns to their pre-flood state, and that the country still faces serious threats from disease caused by the floods.

Frazier, along with other participants in the event, highlighted the importance of the cause and of the SLU NAACP group to come together for the event. The group is seeking a charter from SLU. With the basketball tournament being their first big event, they are looking to build on this experience and establish themselves on campus.

“I hope that in the future that it will be an annual event that everyone will always remember us for,” Frazier said.

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Revised profile: Roamin’ in Rome

Move-in day on a college campus can be very overwhelming to students. The chaotic routine of moving into their new space in a new environment does nothing to help calm the feeling of uncertainty about the new year. Almost all college students go through this uncertainty at one point or another, but relatively few also experience this at a foreign country.

Before the spring semester of 2010, Madalyn Guy, then a sophomore was apprehensive about traveling to Rome for four months. That feeling, however, transformed into a life-changing experience which continues to impact her today. Guy has gained a better understanding of different cultures, made new friends she still has contact with, and found new self-confidence.

Guy packed her bags and boarded a plane, about to immerse herself in another culture with different languages, social norms and lifestyles. She would have to leave behind all of what she was used to–friends, family, the routine of daily life and the feeling of comfort and security.

“The thought of being thrown into a culture and being forced to start completely over was frightening,” Guy said.

In high school, the thought of leaving her comfortable upbringing to go to a foreign country was uninviting. It wasn’t until Guy started to become more independent in college when she realized the unique and special opportunity studying abroad would provide. Guy, who’s mother is Italian, set off to immerse herself in the culture that was a large part of her life. She was raised on large family meals, yelling across the table, and many other traditional Italian mannerisms and cultural norms.

The trip didn’t start smoothly though, as she was sick with a stomach ulcer for the first month and a half of her stay. Guy was even forced to go to the emergency room, and was not able to travel much during the first part of the semester. That time, however, proved to be one of the most important experiences abroad. She was forced to get to know Rome and fell in love with the city.

“She was very much laid back and wanted to enjoy the city of Rome for what it was.  I think because of this she has a love affair with the city a lot of us never got.  She went to the obscure neighborhoods, ate gelato on the regular and knew how to tear up an Italian dance floor,” Angela Wells, a friend and student at the University of Loyola-Chicago whom Guy met in Rome, said.

Later, when feeling better, Guy traveled to Paris, Assisi, Gubbio and Bracciano.

Guy has embraced her experience and is looking forward to her graduation gift after college: going back to Rome.

“It sounds cliché, but Rome has really changed me as a person,” Guy said. “Studying abroad has really given me a new confidence about myself and my capabilities, especially when I had to deal with being sick so far from home. There has never been a day that goes by that I don’t think about it or am reminded about it in some way.”


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