Lame Ducks and Green Schools

Our Weekly Digest

Every week, we’ll be sending you an email with our favorite news stories, events, and overall advice for getting through school in one piece. Enjoy!

Lame Ducks

What the heck is a lame duck anyway?

This is omething that was heard a lot in political discourse around late November. The lame duck as you probably guessed is not actually a duck that has a limp or was never that much fun at a party.

Originally from England, the term referred to stockholders who defaulted on their debts. Now at a high level, lame-duck is a term referring to someone who is holding office when they won’t be holding office again, like a president in his second term or members of congress who were not reelected.

The lame-duck session leaves just a few months for the politicos to wrap up their plans before they leave office and the new administration comes in. This can either lead to not much getting done, or politicians pushing to pass unpopular decisions since they aren’t seeking re-election.

Critics say that bringing up big decisions in a lame duck session may not be fair because most of those people may not be in power come the next term, so they won’t be accountable for their decisions. Congress will reconverge on December 16th, and here you can review some of the big decisions that they will make before the administration.

The Rule of 5

If your parents ever worried about your one of your friends being a bad influence, they may have had a point. Despite a person’s belief that they can choose right or wrong, research shows that we are most influenced by those we spend the most time with, and specifically become the average of the 5 closest people to us. We base our thoughts, behaviors, and decisions off their influence.Think of it as a sort of inadvertent, social mob mentality.

This idea originated from entrepreneur John Rohn, who is the originator of the quote “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

The same way you’d want to train in a sport with someone more experienced than you to improve, you want to surround yourself with people who push you. The level to which you take this advice is up to you. This article gives a nice exercise on how to do so, just to check that you are in a good place.

Interestingly, this idea is not only about your social circle, but to a greater extent the environment you spend the most time in. Many companies have shifted from the classic cubicles to investing in offices that are visually beautiful – with results of higher productivity and greater employee satisfaction and loyalty increasing. So go find positive people who inspire you, and beautiful places to enjoy- it’s good for you.

Go Green!

As careers in environmental sustainability and green energy grow and develop, universities all over the United States are adapting their programs to become more earth friendly. This is not only good for the universe, but also good for business. As the Princeton Review found, 61% of incoming students said that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to attend the college. We’ve picked three of the top green schools.

  • Colgate University: In upstate New York, this school is ahead of the curve – in 2014 they instituted a Green Building Standard. This standard includes things like renewable energy, green buildings, and replanting projects.They currently get 80% of their heat from biomass generation, and the university also makes students aware of the campus impact, with access to a dashboard that tracks minute-by-minute energy, electricity, and water consumption on campus facilities. There is even a community garden on campus that has the harvest later served at dining halls. If you are looking for ways to make your school’s footprint a little greener, check out some of the standards at Colgate, it’s pretty amazing!
  • College of the Atlantic: Located in Maine, this school has a green mentality embedded in all aspects of campus life, with almost 75% of the college faculty working in sustainability research. The university, which considers itself a college of human ecology accordingly also has over 35% of the courses offered relating to environmentalism and received a 99 out of 100 ‘Green’ rating from the Princeton Review. The college, which became carbon-neutral in 2007, has also made a commitment to be fossil fuel-free by 2050. They live this stuff.
  • University of California – Irvine: We had to include a California school, and while there were a lot of options, this school was a clear choice. As one of the more notable foci, the campus is actively trying to conquer a difficult green category: transportation. Having installed a sustainable transportation program, more than a third of the campus vehicles are hybrid, and there are bicycle resources, car sharing, and mass transportation options available for all. Additionally, the campus also announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, which aims for the campus to emit zero greenhouse gasses from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025.

December Birthday Struggles

Ah December, a joyous time where we can hide our holiday pounds under multiple layers, and enjoy the various festivities. For December babies however, the season can get a little glum – a birthday party can get sidelined when there is a holiday party or new years. This issue seems to be a topic for parents, as reviewing various chats showed that many struggle with how to clearly distinguish between birthday and holiday.

  • Don’t ever, ever merge a birthday with a holiday theme. Ever. Birthday parties are about you, and the day you gloriously entered the world. If a friend of yours has a birthday near a specific holiday make sure to clearly celebrate just the birthday. No merging gifts, combing holiday decorations and birthday ones- keep the two events separate, but equal.
  • Ask what your friend wants to do! Usually the holidays can be stressful and with so much going on end of year, things can pile up. A person usually has a idea of what they’d like, perhaps something so different from the ‘tis the season’ joy- this guide here has some good recommendations.

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