What I’ve Learned…

May 7, 2010 at 10:36 am (Uncategorized)

So I have finally made it though my intro to journalism class.  Going into the semester, I has somewhat of an idea of how a newspaper was set up, and how to write a decent story from my high school class, but that was about it.  I have learned so much from the beginning of this class to now.

Firstly, I learned about the long debate of old media versus new media.  There are many pros and cons to each side.  One of the most major problems with the new media movement is validating the source.  Since everyone who has access to the internet can post something, it is hard to tell what is fact and what is a harsh rumor.  However, I learned that news on the web truly connects us with the world.  People have the opportunity to share blogs, ideas, pictures, and get stories as fast as possible.  New media features such as graphic displays and videos lets journalists present their information in a new and exciting way.  As much as I love sitting down at breakfast with a Boston Globe ready, I think news will someday be all on the web.  It’s hard to say what I like best at this point; I love interacting with people blogs and  on the web as well as reading “letters to the editor”

Next, I learned how to really dig into a news story and critique it.  From all of these blog posts I have been making though the semester, I feel like my analytical skills are much improved.  I have learned to always question the text, find out what the sources are, and if there is any information that a story needs or is holding back.  I feel like I have a much better grip on what makes a really good news article.

Besides reading stories, I have learned how to go out into the real world and find one myself.  From the first group assignment of going out to New Salem to find a story, I realized that a story can be found anywhere, even in the middle of the woods.  In a small building in the city, our group learned about a facilitated event taking place in Amherst that would discuss new possibilities of state forestation.  When we got to the event, there were people picketing and dressed up as trees outside, and inside, there were real newscasters and loggers yelling left and right.  I was thrown into a real-life news situation when I was not even expecting to find a story at all.  Also, from my interviews for my final paper, I have learned how to go about the interview process.  I have to be the one to take charge of the meeting, and not be afraid to ask the hard questions.  More importantly, I have to make sure I do the research beforehand so I know exactly what to ask. 

Finally, I think this class has sparked an interest with the going green effort.  I have seen all the complexities of trying to conserve energy here at UMass, and have also looked at multiple articles on my own time about green issues in the state.  There are so many opinions about the manner, and I’ve enjoyed seeing it from all different angles, from the students to the big shots on campus.

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Green Kids

May 7, 2010 at 10:10 am (Uncategorized)

I read this interesting opinion article in the New York Times called “How to Green Your Parents,” by Allison Arieff.  Since I have done so much research on green initiatives, I figured I might as well keep going with the subject.

This past Earth Day, a nationwide effort called Green My parents started up.  This movement is to organize the youth into educating their parents and families to become green.  They have set the lofty goal of saving one hundred million dollars between now and April of 2011.  Green My Parents is going to try and create a ripple effect by educating 100 advocates, who will then educate 100 of their peers, and so on and so forth.  Some suggestions that they are planning on giving families are the simple things like walking to school, not using bottled water, and using cold water when washing. 

Arieff claims that this movement is going to be different than your typical green group because it is going about taking green steps in a smarter and easier way.  This is because it “recognizes that young people are inherently attuned to their environment and understand the importance of protecting it.”  Kids today have a much better awareness our environment’s problems because the generation has grown up with the issues of global warming and mass pollution.  Kids want the opportunity to be a part of something greater than them, and this program is able to give them just that.

Adora  Svitak, a young twelve year old activist, is highlighted in this article.  Her opinion is that adults need “bold ideas, wild creativity and, especially, optimism.”  This is the mindset of the imagination of kids.  Kids do not have limitations in their minds, and adults need to think along those same lines to get more accomplished.  Also, Alec Loorz is mentioned.  He is the thirteen year old who founded site Kids-vs-Global-Warming.com and became “youngest  presenter of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth talk.”  In addition, 16 year old Chloe Maxim founded a school group called Lincoln Academy Action Club who fight global warming.

Arieff goes on to say that it is essential for parents to participate with the program.  Kids today are already on board with the green movement, and “all the money-and-planet saving tips should, to them, seem as normal as putting on a seat belt or drinking a cup of coffee in the morning.”

I think Arieff draws attention to a good organization that has a very clear and direct goal in mind.  By mentioning young kids who are advocates helped prove her point that the youth really do not see any limitations.  This is a huge assent to Green My Parents because its young leaders are so ambitions.  It is nice to see kids who have such a positive outlook on the green  movement be in charge of an organization like this.

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“What Josh Stoffel doesn’t know..”

May 7, 2010 at 9:15 am (Uncategorized)

 My interview with Donald Sullivan, head of custodial services at UMass, was greatly beneficial to my final paper.  After finally finding his office in the maze of the physical plant building, I was able to ask good a conversation with him.

First I asked him what the custodial staff was doing to go green.  He said that all of their chemicals now must be green-approved.  They use foam soap in all of the bathrooms now that create less waste.  They have taken the bleaching products out of their paper products.  “We are doing our best to go green,” he says.  But he seemed very confused about the subject.  All of the aspects in going green are extremely complicated, and he said that he was even more confused than he was before he stared the process.  “My head is spinning from it.”  I had to agree… there had been so much that I had already researched about the sustainability effort that it was hard to keep a firm grip on.  Personally, he really does not know all of the details in the sustainability process, and he jokes in saying that “ if you can put a green sicker on something.  Hallelujah.”   This open my eyes to the fact that there maybe  be other departments at UMass that really don’t know everything that is going on either; there is so many aspects of going green,  it is hard to keep track of. 

I then asked him if employees are taught to shut off the lights after cleaning a classroom.  He nods his head and says “Good question.”  The answer is yes; the direction to employees is to shut everything of after cleaning part of a building.  I was curious about this because I saw how frustrated Josh Stoffel  was  when he would come into work in the morning seeing lights on.  By mentioning this, Don Sullivan started a long conversation with  “what Josh Stoffel doesn’t know.”  I learned from him that the relationship between the university and the custodial staff is quite the complicated one.  They do try to make a conscious effort, but sometimes Sullivan has workers in classrooms until one am.  And sometimes, the “control people” forget to shut the heat off, so the workers naturally open the windows because it’s so hot.  This is why when one walks into a classroom in the morning, all of the windows are left open.  Sullivan tries to get in contact with control to shut the heat off at night, but most of the time it does not work out.  Also, when cleaning during the day, they may leave the lights on in classrooms because there is usually a 15 minute break in between classes; there is really no point in shutting them off.  Some buildings  are even required to have the lights on all night.  In addition, most of the time Sullivan has only one or two staff covering five floors, so it really can’t be them leaving things on all of the time.  Sullivan says that it is the students too, that are doing this.  So I think the reason for the phantom light bulbs and windows open in Stoffel’s  office is a result of discrepancies between custodial staff, university, and the heating plant.  Maybe if they were somehow to communicate more, they could solve this problem more efficiently.  I feel like a lot of wasted energy issues could be solved with more communication. 

Next, I asked what are they improving upon, and Sullivan gave me insight into a mass energy-audit the campus did four or five years ago.  Every single light bulb was replaced with a smaller, more efficient ones, and low flush toilets were put into place.  Millions of dollars were out into this project.  Also, he talked about how much of an asset the new power plant is.  He really stressed that it is saving campus a ton of energy.  He said that before it was constructed,   “so much energy was wasted here it was incredible.”   For instance, windows in dorms in the wintertime were always open because so much excess heat was being pumped through the rooms.   He says that we all should be thankful for the plant.

Finally, he confirmed my document search about building codes.  He did not know specifically, but he said that the reason why “a lot of things can’t get done” is because if we go over a certain amount of money, the entire building must be renovated.  From our conversation, I got the impression that many think that these codes are getting in the way of what we could potentially do to make this campus a lot greener.

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“Most dangerous body of water in the United States”

May 7, 2010 at 8:20 am (Uncategorized)

I’ve just finished watching a video on 60 Minuets called “The Deadly Passage of the All-American Canal”, reported by Scott Pelley.  This story was pretty shocking to me, I really had no idea that a situation like this was even happening.  It turns out that hundreds of immigrants trying to cross the California border from Mexico are drowning in the newly installed All American Canal.  It is 225 feet wide, 20 feet deep, and has a current of eight feet per second.   An Olympic swimmer would have a hard time getting out of that situation.

The video opens with the scene of the California desert, and hundreds of brick gravestones surrounding the canal.  Pelley then introduces Dr. John Hunter, a Republican, who claims he is a very right-winged kind of guy.  He has been designing weapons for the American government for years, and does not at all support illegal immigration.  However, he says that we “should not let people drown in our own backyard”.  It is morally wrong for us to just let people die on our footsteps. He shows the audience the “drops” of the canal, or the dams in which they find all of the bodies.  Examples are then given of people who have died, such as a ten year old girl who was trying to help her older sister.  Hunter then shows Pelley a map of the canal and pushpins surrounding it.  He says that each pushpin represents a person who has drowned, and that there are over 550 reported cases.   

There are almost no safety devices in the canal, and there has been a long debate about trying to install more ladders in buoys.  Pelley explores the two sides of the argument.  He interviews a woman named Stephanie Martinez.  She and her Mexican husband lived the average American life, and had a young daughter.  One day, the police realized he was in the U.S illegally, and he was deported.  He attempted to get back to his wife and child, but drowned in the river in the process.  Pelley comments that many people watching the video must think that this is a terrible situation, “but he should have not have come.”  He says that what he did was illegal and wrong.  Martinez agrees and answers that she does not support illegal immigration, but that you can’t really understand the situation unless you’ve been in it.  A legality was keeping a father away from his daughter.  At first, I thought Pelley was being way too harsh on this woman, but then I realized he was going to be just as critical of the other side of the argument.

Next to interview was Stella Mendoza, who has been working with the Imperial Immigration District for nine years. This district is in charge of the canal, and has talked for years about installing safelty features, but has implemented almost nothing.   She says that adding safety features to the canal will just give immigrants a false sense of security.  The canal was intended to convey water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley, not for some “recreational” use.  I thought this statement was very odd and shrewd, and Pelley jumps right on her.  “We’re not talking about recreation here. We’re talking about people desperate to come into the United States and who are losing their lives in your canal.” She responds by saying that people take their life into their own hand when they try to cross it.

In 2007, there was a study done on the canal.  On one quarter of its length, escape ladders were put into place.  John Fletermeyer, who has been studying drowning for most of his life, conducted an experiment on it, and tells Pelley that the canal is “the most dangerous canal in the United States.”  Pelley asks him why, and he says that it is nearly impossible to cross due to coldness and deepness.  Fletermeyer wants the district to spend one million dollars to put in ladders every 120 feet  because he thinks it will save 75% of deaths. 

The exec board from the district said that they were going to do a test for John’s idea in December of 2009.  Pelley asks Mendoza if this ever happened, and she tells him that it did not.  One of my favorite lines that Pelley says is that “there seems to be no sense of urgency here, if you know what I mean.”  It took Mendoza off guard; she really did not know how to respond to that at all.

Pelley goes back to Hunter and asks him why we should care to save these people if what they are doing is illegal.  Hunter says that if these people were criminals, he would not care.  However, these are normal citizens with families and lives, and they should not have to die in trying to make a better life for themselves.  What is really ironic is that Hunter’s brother, Duncan, is the person who put up a fence around California’s border years prior.  That fence led the immigrants to the canal, where they are now dying.  Pelley ends his report by stating that the district is doing a test of a safety line for one year, which will cover only a small portion of the canal.  And as of right now, there is no plant to install further safety features.  Pella asks Mendoza  “So it’s not likely people are gonna stop drowning in the canal?”  She simply responds by saying “Probably.”

I think that Pelly really did a great job at covering both aspects of this story.  He was critical of the two sides of the argument, and was not afraid to dig up the dirt on Hunter and especially Mendoza and the district. 

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/staticfiles/NGS/Shared/StaticFiles/Photography/Images/POD/a/all-american-canal-steinmetz-740948-xl.jpg

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Follow Up on Prince

May 7, 2010 at 6:02 am (Uncategorized)

The Phoebe Prince case is a new story that has been covered nationally by many  top-newspapers.  However, I feel the article “Facing up to reality of bullying” by Christine Wu in the Daily Hampshire Gazette truly hit the nail on the hammer.  Lately, I have been reading multiple stories on the situation that have included statistics, opinions, quotes from officials, and released documents.  This article is a follow-up to Prince’s story, as well as the story of Carl-Walker Hoover,  and I think this summarizes the atmosphere surrounding the tragedies  today very nicely.

Wu starts out by stating “When the report of any tragedy hits the news, humanity responds.”  We automatically feel sympathy for these types of stories and feel inclined to read up on them as much as possible.  When the dust clears, however, we put up a defense mechanism so we do not feel all of the pain that the true reality brings.  For instance, we start rationalizing that bullying has always been a problem and we can’t truly fix it, and that many kids have been bullied and did not commit suicide.  Wu says that we do this so we do not have to feel guilty about the situation, but when something like the Prince case hits so close to home, we must let these defense mechanisms down so we can fully deal with the situation.

Wu goes on to simply sat that “we must acknowledge that there is something that can be done.”   Bullying is a problem, and as adults we need to realize that it can be stopped.  We have to stop considering it as just “a part of life.”  In order to do this, we must educate our community about the consequences for bullying, act as positive role models, and establish anti-bullying laws.  A great asset to her article are the statistics she adds, such as that 4,000 kids a year commit suicide and over 300,00 kids end up in the emergency room for self-infliction. 

She ends with the idea that “we may not be able to reach Utopia, but we can learn and aspire to do better.”  This quote especially caught my attention because I agree with it wholeheartedly; we may not be able to defeat bullying completely, but we have to at least try.  This article is definitely less fact-based and more emotionally driven, but I think it has more of an impact than some other hard news Prince stories that I have recently read.

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A Green Column

April 29, 2010 at 12:02 am (Uncategorized)

The column in the Daily Collegian titled “‘Going green’ misses the point” by Yevgeniya Lomakina gives a harsh blow to the media’s attempt to get us more aware of our environment.  She says that these days, “it seems as if suddenly, all spheres of society, from factory owners to private individuals, embarked upon a massive race for who can be the most green.”  This is true.  It seems like everyone is creating more green jobs and facilities, or walking around with “I Love Earth” T-shirts and mugs.  It is like we are all in a competition to see who can physically show the greenest initiative.  She goes on to say that the media is encouraging us to buy Earth-friendly products so that we can save the world by doing “a little part.”  However, no one is going to save the world by buying a hybrid car or recycled paper.  In short, her opinion is that the media as made us think that these gigantic problems of global warming and carbon dioxide emissions can be easily solved and “is only a purchase away”.

All of these products that we buy are actually hurting the environment more.  Taking into consideration things like transportation and packaging of those products, we could actually save energy on buying not even purchasing them at all. It wastes huge amounts of energy to mass produce products and bring them to the market.  By buying all of the Earth-friendly slogans, we are damaging Mother Nature even more.  Some solutions that she gives to this are carpooling, buying from a local farm, and taking better care of one’s car and electrical equipment instead of going out and buying the newer ones.  She deems these ideas unpopular for citizens though, because the effort cannot be physically seen by others. 

She goes on to talk about globalization, and how in order to make any kind of difference, each country needs to play their part by decreasing their mass surplus and exportation.  However, since there is a belief that “The United States is responsible for global warming,” it might take  other countries some more convincing to get on board with us.  Until each country plays a role in the effort, no one is really going to make a difference individually.  She ends her column by saying that “if one wants to truly go green, it can be done without expensive purchases. Meanwhile, if the voice of the media remains above the voice of reason, the global warming situation will remain.”

I think for the most part this column is very well written.  She states her opinion very clearly and simply, and provides adequate background information.  I also really liked her style of writing because it takes on a completely different side to the green movement.  However, I think her tone was a little too negative.  We all know that wearing an “I love Earth” shirt is not going to make a difference, but we do it anyways to make ourselves aware of what is going on.  I do agree that the media is making it into something that is easily fixable, but at least we are all talking about the subject.  Society today is well aware that we are causing global warming mainly because of the media.  If it wasn’t for the media, maybe it would not be a big of an issue because citizens would be less informed.  Her comment about how everyone needs to do their little part is a waste also seemed too negative, especially after researching about the green movement here at UMass.  For UMass in particular, I think we could make a great deal of difference by students just doing the little things. Article:http://dailycollegian.com/2010/04/22/%e2%80%98going-green%e2%80%99-misses-the-point/

Green Love - Dino 1 Kids Dark T's

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“A Place Where You Make Sense of Things”

April 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm (Uncategorized)

My journalism class just took the trip over to the Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, MA to do a press conference with the editor, Larry Parnass.  He had quite a few really interesting things to say.  I enjoyed the visit because I had never been in a newsroom before.  It is one thing to learn about the workings of paper in class, but it is a whole other thing to actually get to see it in action. 

One of the major topics we discussed about was the paper’s online website.  He says that many people are attracted to reading their paper online because of the social networking aspect; everyone loves to share their own personal stories and opinion on different pieces.  Even though the paper is making a decent amount of money from internet-only prescriptions, he says “it is almost like a religious war” with the advertising situation.  This is because ads cost as little as 1/10 as they do in print version, so it is causing them, and a lot of other major newspapers,  to lose a lot of money.  He says that having viewers pay an online prescription is working short-term, but not long-term, and they are trying to figure out how to fix that situation very quickly.  There is already a lot of free articles on the site, such as all the major stories, but discussion is being taken place to put even more free content on, like videos and multimedia.  

Next we got onto the issue of new  media versus the old-fashioned newspaper.  One of the major pros of having a print version is the letters to the editor section.  It is similar to commenting on blogs on the internet, but it has one great advantage. Almost always on the web people are reading blogs and comments that are already supportive of their own views; this is because the web is so links-rich.  So basically the comments and opinions you are usually going to see is only confirming the ideas you have.  Letters to the editor, however, has no links or related searches attached to them.  One has the opportunity to read an opinion that might be entirely different from their own.  Parnass says that he loves letters to the editor, especially when they take a more conservative approach, since the majority of people in the valley are liberal.  And most of the time, the letters are in direct response to other letters.   In addition, the old fashion approach lets a paper do what it needs to – it shows what the community is saying and acts as a  good “moderator for news.”  He jokes about the old ways and says “I think the cutoff is 35 now.”  Usually when breaking a story, it is put on the web the night before it’s in the paper.  Ideally, he says, with the new technology available to us, stories should be posted as they learn them. 

Another interesting topic was the Gazette’s editorial board.  Parnass is in charge of it, along with being editor of the paper, but other people work on it as well.  He says that is “a place where you make sense of things.”  It has recently greatly improved and much more of an emphasis is being placed on it.  A lot of the time, they use the space to celebrate all of the good things that are happening in the valley, which he says “is an extraordinary place” largely due to the five colleges.  Just recently, they ran two earth day editorials about the earth day events in North Hampton.  There really has not been an earth day celebration there before, so the Gazette wanted to discover why this year.

The general financial picture of the paper is that they are struggling, but making profit.  Again, advertising through the economic crisis has been extremely hard, especially because the businesses in North Hampton are small restaurants and retail.  Their news hole is getting smaller and smaller; the paper now has to be 40% advertisements.  However, the biggest loss is the classifieds, which are now all currently online.  The classified section was like “the goose that was laying the golden egg.”  It made them a ton of money before it all went to the web.  He related a story about the Boston Globe, who used to put out a very thick classified section that was like printing money.  They got an offer to sign up with Monster.com for 1,000,000 dollars, but turned it down.  Who knew what a horrible decision that would turn out to be?  The Gazette, however, has just signed on with Monster, and that deal should be put into effect soon. 

Next, we talked about cutbacks in employment, which is happening throughout their entire paper.  Six job spots have been cut over two years, and they are not independently owned anymore.  Up until five years ago, one person owned the entire Gazette, but now they are using a new company for distributing their paper.  Using this new company for distribution is saving them about ¼ million dollars.  Many citizens were furious at this because the company refuses to hire children, so after 240 years, kids cannot deliver the paper anymore.  There were quite a few angry letters were written, saying that it is the only job kids can get and builds character by driving their bikes through the snow.

The final piece of advice Larry Parnass had for us inspiring journalists is internships.  It is important for us to show that we have done work outside of the classroom.  It is a competitive market and it’s essential to get in some real world experience.

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Visit with Larry Parnass

April 14, 2010 at 5:12 am (Uncategorized)

At the end of the month, my journalism class is going to the Hampshire Gazette in North Hampton to interview editor Larry Parnass.  I have been thinking about some possible questions to ask him.  I know that every newspaper is going to run somewhat differently, so it’s going to be interesting to hear from him how everything is organized and put together.

How does the circulation and distribution of your newspaper run?

What sections or people are you in charge of?    Do you have someone you need to report back to?

Does your website or the print newspaper get to break a story first?  Do you have more website or print viewers?

What has recently changed in your editorial section?  Is it independent from the rest of the newspaper?

What is the makeup of you editorial board?

What does a typical day look like for you, and how has you routine changed over the past few years?

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Woodstock News Links

April 14, 2010 at 4:40 am (Uncategorized)

For a project in my journalism class, I decided to research old news articles about Woodstock.  This topic interested me because I heard and read many things about the historic event in the present, but I wanted to find out how it was actually covered during that time.  What I found out was that the New York Times actually started to cover the event months before it actually happened in August of 1969.  I found an article called “Peaceful Rock Fete Planned Upstate” by Louis Calta, from the New York Times, June 27, 1969.  I found this both interesting and funny, because at this time, no one knew how big and crazy it was actually going to be.  Head of security Wesley Pomerory says “I’m not worried about security particularly…if people have enough to do, there won’t be any trouble”.  Promoter Michael Lang says “ We don’t anticipate that we have to turn anyone away”.  Also, this was written when Woodstock was still going to be held in Walkill New York.   They later changed the location of Bethel, New York.  Here are two news advertisements, each one promoting the two places:

The producers of the Woodstock Festival had originally planned to hold it in Wallkill, NY. Shortly after this poster was printed the permit was revoked With less than thirty days to go, this advertisement was run in major magazines to let everyone know of the move.

http://www.woodstockpreservation.org/PastPresent/wallkill.html

I found two more articles.  One is from the New York Times called “300,000 at Folk Rock Fair Camp Out in a Sea of Mud” by Barnard L. Collier, on  August 16th 1969.  This was a day into the 3 day event.  Not to my surprise, it was described in a negative light, focusing on what went wrong instead of right, probably a move to get people interested in the article.  It described arrests, mostly because of the possession of drugs, 75 on first day.  Other facts highlighted were that a thousand people were treated by the 200 doctors badly manufactured LSD drugs, food shortages, and bus services cancelled because of police.  The last article I found was written by Billboard on August 30th of that year, a couple of weeks after Woodstock was over.  It is called “Woodstock: Peace Mecca” by Daniel Goldberg.  It had a much more reflective and positive tone.  He says: “The spirit of cooperation was at times more remarkable than the music that inspired it. Encouraging this was a sense of excitement and emergency… Woodstock was a celebration of joy which wiped out, at least temporarily, the persistent feelings of meaninglessness that permeate our culture.”   These ideas are similar to how we view Woodstock today; he says that people were able to forget about things like the War and the Watergate Scandal and just enjoy themselves.  I think the difference in the more positive tone here is the time that it was written.  In the one written during Woodstock, it was more about the excitement and drama of  the moment.  After a few weeks, Goldberg was able to take it all in and think about what it truly meant for our country. 

First Article:

http://woodstockpreservation.org/PastPresent/NYT-PDF/01_PeacefulRockConcertUpstate.pdf

Second Article:http://woodstockpreservation.org/PastPresent/NYT-PDF/9_300000CampInSeaOfMud.pdf

Third Article:

http://www.billboard.com/features/woodstock-at-40-billboard-on-the-scene-1003999292.story#/features/woodstock-at-40-billboard-on-the-scene-1003999292.story

Website with many primary sources about Woodstock: http://woodstockpreservation.org/

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Document Search

April 14, 2010 at 4:04 am (Uncategorized)

 I have recently been looking for documents for my final paper on sustainability at Umass Amherst.  What I found gave me more of a focus and direction for where I want to take it.  Now, I have three relatable factors of sustainability I want to write on: what is going on inside our old buildings in general that is causing us to lose so much energy, why it is so difficult to renovate them, and how students are adding to the problem.  While researching, I really wanted to find the exact law about renovation that Josh Stoffel was talking about.  He explained to me before that if they go over a certain amount of money, they have to renovate the entire building. 

I thankfully found that rule in the gigantic book of the Massachusetts State Building Codes.  It is under article 32, titled “Repair, Alteration, and Change of Use of Existing Buildings.”  Here is the excerpt, section 3200.3, number four:

Part Change in Use: If a portion of the building is changed to a new use group, and that portion is  separated from the remainder of the building with vertical and horizontal fire separation assemblies complying with the fire grading required in Table 902, or with approved compliance alternatives, then the portion shall be made to conform to the provisions of this article.  If a portion of the building is changed to a new use group,  and that portion is not separated from the remainder of the building with vertical and horizontal fire separation assemblies complying with the fire grading required in Table 902, or with approved compliance alternatives, then the provisions of this article shall apply to the entire building.  If there are conflicting provisions, then those requirements which secure the greater public safety shall apply. 

This basically says that if you are going to change part of a building to a new use group (a use group defines how a building will be used), and it is not separated by fire separation, then the entire building has to be upgraded in regards to the rest of article 32.  These include a ton of things like having a certain amount of exitways, having it be approved by an official, types of floors, exit signs, lighting, ventilation, stairways and alarms.  No wonder why we can’t renovate anything!  If we just wanted to fix part of a building to improve wasting energy, and it was not separated, we would have to pay so much more to fix basically everything.  This is why Stoffel said that he plans to spend five time more than needed on a building.  And let’s face it; our old buildings like Hills North, Morill, South College and FAC are not up to par with these standards.  I’m very excited to find this rule because it is what is keeping us from renovating our buildings to become more energy efficient; we simply don’t have the money to fix everything in them.  I’m sure there is a lot more details in this book about it, but I don’t want to get into heavy-duty specifics in my feature story.

Another interesting document I found is the UMass Green Card report, located at http://www.greenreportcard.org/report-card-2010/schools/university-of-massachusetts-amherst  We got an overall C+ for this year.  We got all A’s in each category except for in Green Building (C), Endowment Transparency (F), and Shareholder Engagment.  Even though our rating is average, we did get an A in sustainibility, which gives a counter-argument to my story; we must be doing something right. 

Finally, there is a list of what LEED measures at http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1989.  LEED the organization that UMASS will be using on all future buildings, and it gives a grade for a building based off of things like sustainible sites, water effciency, and enviornmental quality.  From now on, a building will need to have a silver rating or higher.  The new police station and marching band building will be of the first to be on this system.

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