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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

BARFing for credit

I wrote a short news story on the UVM BARFers for this week's paper, and in the course of my research, discovered that these clowns are actually GETTING CREDIT for blogging about how much they hate the university's food. How, pray tell, are they doing this, you ask? Turns out the blog is part of their final project for a class called POLS 195, Politics & the Internet. Guess who's teaching it — none other than Zephyr Teachout.

I don't know why this surprised me. Zephyr told me she was teaching a class at UVM, and I think Zephyr was the one who sent me the link to the UVM BARF blog. I guess I just didn't connect the dots. It doesn't say that the blog is for a class anywhere.

Zephyr tells me that she pretty much let her students tackle the issue of their choice. The three groups that chose to do projects have generated UVM BARF, and, not surprisingly, the Burlington Noise blog.  A third group of students has chosen to go the altruistic route with their class project — they've started KeepVermontersWarm.com, which is dedicated to helping low income Vermonters heat their homes for the winter. Kinda makes the rest of those kids look a wee bit selfish, don't it?

The story will have a few more details, and will be out in tomorrow's paper, and, of course, available online at the Seven Days website.

November 22, 2005 at 09:47 AM in VT Blogs | Permalink


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In our defense, while we did start this for selfish reasons (actually, come to think of it, I don't eat the food on campus anyway), I honestly think if we get meal points accepted off campus it'll be good for more than just the students. Think of all the $$ that goes straight out of Vermont via Sodexho that could be going to local businesses instead. Also, yeah we're doing it for credit, but I know at least two of the members of BARF (myself included) are going to keep it going past this semester.

On a personal note, I chose to do this project as opposed to a more altruistic one because I felt that given everything else on my plate I couldn't do justice to a bigger problem. I didn't want to start something I couldn't finish, so to speak. I have in the past, and will in the future, volunteer my time and effort to “altruistic” causes. Besides, what's wrong with tackling a "selfish" issue? Most class projects and papers accomplish nothing beyond learning (admittedly an admirable goal). At least ours has the potential to affect the outside world a bit.

Posted by: Ben | Nov 22, 2005 1:21:58 PM

Ben--setting realistic goals is important, no argument there. And I'm sure local food vendors would be happy to get more of your moolah. Geting meal points accepted off campus might well be good for the local economy. And yes, I think that students ought to be able to get a good meal for their money. Absolutely.

But I still think those Keep Vermonters Warm folks deserve props for good citizenship.

Alas, perhaps my feelings are colored by the fact that my furnace is broken, and my 7-months pregnant partner and I have no heat for the next two or three weeks...

Posted by: cresmer | Nov 22, 2005 1:46:06 PM

Well, I hope you get your furnace fixed. I guess I just don't like being called selfish. I do absolutely agree that some of my classmates have much more noble goals for their project than we do. Anyway, it's great you wrote an article on the whole deal. Every little bit of publicity helps (for us and the other groups). Thanks for the posts.


Posted by: Ben | Nov 22, 2005 2:49:08 PM

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