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May 5, 2008

Presentation analysis and reactions

1. Riverside Apartment Renewal

2. Environmental Website

riverside.JPG

One of the projects presented by the Honors students angered me a lot. Their whole project was to renew the Rapson designed Riverside Apartments. Although the thought process put into it was good. The feasibility and the logic is just nonexistent. Anyone who has worked in construction knows that what they were proposing to do would cost millions of dollars in remodeling costs. I know they gave a list from cheapest to most expensive but even the cheap things would be hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is three apartment building complexes comprised of 1,800 units and they wanted to replace every water using fixture to water saving ones. This will cost a lot of money, yes it saves water and I am all about saving the environment but come on people. Another they proposed was replacing all the windows with special triple pane windows. That would cost tens of thousands of dollars in labor alone. It is not logical for the owners of the towers to sink that kind of money into something they will see a minimal if any return on. To do the things that this group proposed, it would be cheaper for them to tear down the current towers, redesign them and build them brand new. Retrofitting new things into an old building always takes 3 times more time and about that much more money that just doing it in the first place. You first have to undo everything that was currently there, then implement in the new things. Overall this project is just not going to happen, EVER.

One that was presented in section was the one about Global Warming. They knew what was happening to the Earth and what was going on in the world, but they really didn’t explore too many ideas beyond the more common knowledge things. Like having your own garden to grow your own vegetables, because then you won’t have the harmful chemicals. What is weird about that section is in their presentation they really did not even go into transportation cost, a huge reason why there are so many advocates for locally grown or home grown veggies. They completely skipped over the fact that much of the U.S. is transporting fruits and vegetables hundreds if not thousands of miles just to bring it to our tables each day. I liked how they talked about our electronic waste and how we are paying other countries to dispose of this, and that we need to find alternative ways of getting rid of these things besides piling them up and burying them. What they said about housing design solutions were really basic, I would have liked them to go further into material choices and orientation a lot more in this part of their project. They stuck to the basic energy efficient appliances, programmable thermostat, which really is saying something everyone knows because everyone wants to save money. Everyone knows that having E-Star appliances save you money on your electric bill and by having a programmable thermostat you can have different temps for different times of day when you need it warmer and when you don’t need it so warm saving you on gas costs and usage. One thing that this country knows they need to do and do not do well is recycle. Only 10% of water bottles around the U of M- TC campus are recycled. That is an appalling figure to see. Considering how many people you see walking around with them to know that only 1 in 10 will be put in the recycling when the bins are everywhere is terrible. Overall I felt that by their presentation they made their project seem very surface level. Like they read things took the words for what they were and did not really do much thinking on their own. I felt they could have done a much better job with it, hopefully they did in the website which I must have written down the wrong link for because I cannot get to it.

Service Learning #4 (Final Blog)

Today was a rather productive day at Common Bond. Throughout the afternoon I sporadically helped a teenage girl work on a paper for her ESL class about how and why she felt that the United States needed to set an official language in which everyone needed to adhere by. It was interesting coming from a Somali foreigner, and also really cool to read some of the reasons why they don’t put more effort into learning better English. For most of them it is so different than their native tongues that it is extremely difficult for them to learn and it takes a long time. They feel while practicing around us we make fun of them so that also deters their progress of the language. Another problem she found was that businesses and homes around them speak Somali so why would they need to learn a new language to get about and do their everyday tasks. I did a lot of editing on this paper because much of it did not make too much sense but I think I helped her out, I explained to her why I was changing what I was changing so hopefully I didn’t just follow her views of us and just made fun of her.

When I was not helping that girl I was typing out my Rapid Writings for 3412, and I got all of them typed out in the 3 hours I volunteered today. I was pretty happy to get those done and out of the way.

At the very end I also helped a little boy navigate to www.candystand.com because he was having difficulties typing it out and getting to play the game he wanted to. He was really cut and it was fun playing mini-golf with him online.