That’s one more semester in the can

By Josh Albrecht

A lot happened during the last four months, so if you slept through it all, a la Rip Van Winkle, here is what you missed.

This past semester brought a whole new perspective to how journalism is viewed.

It is a perspective that I wish didn’t exist at all, but nonetheless, our world has changed. You’ve heard it before, but sometimes it doesn’t always sink in. At least not until people mention their vacation plans, or you happen to drive west of DeKalb and see the Byron nuclear power plant.

The Sept. 11 attacks for many of us are as fresh today as they were on Sept. 12, especially since the War on Terrorism marches on. Unfortunately, it’s a war that never will have a truly conclusive end.

The Star, along with every media outlet in America, dealt with the problems that stemmed from what happened. Questions such as “How much coverage is too much?” and “Are we merely creating new fears by reporting on what terrorists may do next?” plagued our meetings and minds in the weeks following the attacks.

We responded with a series of articles that addressed some of the fears that affected the community, and we published the newest developments everyday in our “World” section.

But, along with Sept. 11, a wide variety of news happened upon the NIU campus and surrounding community.

Things like the East Lagoon being contaminated with pollutants, which apparently has caused the project to last into the winter months. With the lagoon out of commission, many of the animals & carp, frogs, etc. & perished and some community members protested the project.

Two task forces were formed to help improve the outlook of Greek Row. While the two task forces haven’t accomplished too much yet, surveys have been passed out to gauge the level of improvement that is needed. Apparently, the level is pretty high if two task forces are needed to solve the area’s problems. Also, the fate of the old Delta Upsilon house remains to be seen, as a number of fraternities along with DeKalb County vie for it.

NIU sports saw an impressive semester with the football team finishing 6-5 while almost upsetting the Big 10 champions. The volleyball team catapulted through the regular season with an 18-game winning streak and the MAC Championship, but its season ended in the NCAA tournament at the hands of its evil twin: Northern Iowa.

However, sports took a blow when the NCAA announced new regulations for Division I-A schools. The paltry attendance at Huskie home games could cause the football team to be dropped to Division I-AA status. And we don’t want that.

Major construction projects such as Barsema Hall, the arena and Altgeld Hall all kept pace and still remain incomplete. What truly is baffling is how quickly the Barsema project is moving along, while the other two still are crawling behind. Although there are good reasons for the prolonged building and renovation projects, it would be nice if the arena had an actual name and if Altgeld would be completed in the next five years.

Campus Activities Board pleaded with the Student Association for more money, but wasn’t granted the $117,684.63 to be added to its budget, a 25.2 percent increase. Sure, that is a lot of money to ask for, but no other student fees-sponsored group on campus does more for the entire university and community than CAB. The amount of student groups increases every year, and a simple cut back among other groups would allow for more money to float CAB’s way.

With the money it does have, it was able able to provide us with Ben Folds (who rocked Duke Ellington last night) and that was it for big-name acts. Please SA, give CAB some more money, and then reevaluate some of the groups that are receiving funding. It won’t be surprising if some of the organizations turn out to be the same thing, and if I am correct that is a no-no.

And while the SA is on the table, the new co-director positions are unneeded. Remember SA, those are your student fees, too.

With all the news that happened this past semester, it seems unfair to only cover these topics, but these are some of the more pressing issues that will be with NIU for years to come, not just this semester or the next.

And so I look forward to the coming semester, and as editor in chief of the Star again in the spring, I can say that these topics among others will continue to grace the pages of the Star.

We also have a few special things planned, as well.