Want to learn more about North Carolina’s proposed marriage amendment? Get a haircut at Aveda.

The Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill made Amendment One materials available to their students April 5 as a part of Tell a Hairdresser – a campaign started by N.C. State sophomore Alton Russell.

Tell a Hairdresser provides materials to participating salons. It’s as simple as learning about the amendment and its potential effects from the informational packets and placing an “Ask me about Amendment One” sticker on the mirror or in the window, Russell said.

“It got started over Christmas break,” he said. “I was thinking about ways to reach people about the amendment and at the same time I was reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping PointIt’s about how to create social change.”

At the end of the book Gladwell tells the story of a nurse who used beauty salons to inform women in her community about diabetes and breast cancer. She’d begun her campaign by holding seminars at local churches, but found that most attendees were already fairly knowledgable and interested. She wanted to reach women who didn’t know the dangers and switched gears. She provided training and materials for stylists willing to pass the information along to their clients during the work day and was remarkably successful.

“People who work with hair spend their whole day talking with people – lots of different people each day – which made them perfect candidates for teaching people,” Russell said.

Russell, 20, and a small group of friends got started by going to the Facebook pages of hair salons located throughout North Carolina to ask if stylists would be interested in participating.

One of the first salons to sign on was Funky Monkey Hair Studio in Durham.

“What’s great about Funky Monkey is that they were already talking to clients about the amendment,” he said. “But they said having the decal and materials are super helpful.”

Aveda is the first salon in Chapel Hill to participate. Lauren Lanier, the Chapel Hill institute’s marketing outreach coordinator, said the school isn’t forcing all of the students and stylists to participate but has made the materials available to those who are interested.

“We chose to do it because we’re very diverse and we support that diversity,” she said.

Lanier said she knows not all clients – who range from UNC students and faculty to people from Durham, Raleigh and Cary – will agree with the campaign’s goal to help defeat the amendment on May 8, but said the “Ask me about Amendment One” stickers allow the clients to be the ones to initiate the conversation.

“We have the materials if students want to put stickers on their mirrors of look through the information. We’re leaving it up to them.”

The UNC-Chapel Hill class of 2015 was selected from the greatest pool of applicants to date. The admits’ test scores and class ranks are more impressive than those of last year’s accepted students. Still, admissions official Ashley Memory said that students shouldn’t feel like studying alongside the newest class will threaten their own abilities to succeed.

“I hope they see this as, you know, they’re studying with some of the strongest students in the world,” said Memory, the senior associate director of admissions at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “When you study with the best, students tell us, you aspire to the best yourself, and that’s really good.”

According to UNC News Services, the University admitted 7,571 first-year students from a pool of 29,486, a 24 percent increase over last year’s number of applicants. The University admitted just under 50 percent of in-state applicants and 14 percent of out-of-state applicants.

Of those, the University anticipates enrolling 3,960 students for the next school year.

The Daily Tar Heel reported that admissions rates have jumped since the University allowed students to apply through the Common Application.

Accepted applicants from this larger pool had an average combined SAT score of 2019, up from 2001 the previous year, and an average ACT score of 31.3, up from 31 last year.

Memory said that the first-year students may find greater competition amongst themselves.

“There may be ramifications for certain professional schools,” she said. “It’s something to bear in mind.”

Memory went on to say that each professional school within the University sets its own admissions guidelines and standards.

Professional opinions

Junior Katie Fischetti, an elementary education major in the School of Education, said she worries about competition within professional schools.

“With budget cuts, they had to cut our program in half,” Fischetti said. When she applied last year, the school admitted only about 30 students, Fischetti said. She also said that in the past, a class size of 100 had been typical.

Fischetti said she thinks that the new group of students might make competition even worse.

“If there’s a large group of very intellectual, very hardworking people coming into certain professional schools where you’re fighting to get your spot and budget cuts have cut them in half, it’s super competitive,” she said. “I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people who do not get into the program they want to get into.”

Representatives in the School of Education were on vacation and not available for comment.

At the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Senior Associate Dean Chris Roush said that admission to the school is a matter of personal accomplishment.

Will the school place numerical limits on class admission?

“We’ve not reached that yet,” Roush said.

However, the school has recently changed its requirements for admission. New rules state that any student pre-declared to enter the school by the spring semester of sophomore year who holds a 3.1 GPA will be automatically admitted, no application necessary.

“We just raised our GPA to the 3.1 from the 2.9, but we don’t think that’s going to have any effect on our enrollment,” Roush said.

Roush said that the average GPA on campus is, in fact, a 3.1.

“Work hard and you’ll still be able to get in,” he said.

Roush added that students who don’t meet those requirements can still appeal to the senior associate dean for admission.

A silver lining?

While some students like Fischetti worry about the new class, some students choose to see the low acceptance rate as a boost to the University’s image.

“I think it helps us, as a University,” said junior Anna Maness. “It makes us look better.”

Junior Sarah Evans said she thinks of the competitive nature of admissions as a status symbol.

“I just like that the admission rate is lower,” Evans said. “I think it adds to the prestige of our school, but I didn’t realize there were so many more people applying.”

Some news organs disseminating information about admissions rates, like the Daily Tar Heel, have placed emphasis on selectivity as well.

Memory, however, said she feels prestige can’t be marked by disappointing the thousands of students who weren’t offered admission.

“We are certainly lauded for the quality of our student body, the faculty, the engaging community here,” Memory said. “We’re very proud of that. We’re honored by student applications, and yes we got a lot more this year. But for us, prestige is not measured by the number of students that we must turn away. That is an individual choice made by the students.”

She said she thinks students should base prestige upon how well the University serves them as a student, and to determine whether or not their individual goals are being met, and whether or not they’re happy here.

Memory said that 8,000 visitors have toured the school in the past week alone, and that the way they have complimented the University should be a source of prestige instead.

“The compliments we hear are about how friendly everyone is and how beautiful it is,” Memory said.

“You know,” Memory added, “if we don’t have the interest in Carolina, and we don’t have students applying, we’re not fulfilling our basic mission, to be a teaching university.”

Ben and Jerry's created the annual free cone day as a thank you to its customers. Photo Credit: Flickr Yukino Miyazawa

Tuesday is Ben and Jerry’s 34th free cone day in honor of the company’s April 3 anniversary. Free cone day has been an annual event since the original Ben and Jerry’s opened its doors in Vermont in 1978. All 800 U.S. scoop shops will participate today in addition to locations in 28 other countries. The event will last from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that free cone day was created by Ben Cohen and Jerry Springfield as a thank-you to devoted customers. The Ben and Jerry’s ice cream chain began as a small business after the two friends took an ice-cream-making class. The company grew successful through the years, receiving an award from Ronald Reagan and eventually selling to a food production conglomerate, Unilever.

Ben and Jerry’s has created many unique ice cream flavors including “AmeriCone dream,” which was recognized on the Colbert report and “Late Night snack,” featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Watch a clip from the Colbert report featuring the ice cream flavors here.

In 1992 Ben and Jerry's was the first national brand of ice cream flown into outer space. Today, Ben and Jerry's lovers everywhere can indulge in a favorite classic like "Phish food" of "Cherry Garcia" or try a new flavor like "Cinnamon cereal swirl."There are also a number of flavors expressing the company's lasting support of environmental and human rights. The "Chubby Hubby" ice cream flavor was renamed "Hubby Hubby" in 2009 to support gay rights.  The company protested opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling by leaving a 900-pound baked Alaska on the front steps of the U.S. Capitol building in 2005. Ben and Jerry's has been affiliated with the Children's Defense Fund and the humane society as well.

Senior journalism major Ryan Gibson has found a sense of closure through his latest venture as NBCUniversal‘s campus representative.

Gibson will host a viewing of American Reunion at the Varsity theater on Franklin Street this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the film screening, which will happen a day before the film is officially released in theaters, is free for all UNC-Chapel Hill students.

Gibson said that showing American Reunion, a film which he said celebrates and gives closure to the American Pie movie franchise by exploring the films cumulatively and in retrospect, will give audience members an opportunity to go down memory lane and see a film that reminds them of seeing the franchise’s first films as teenagers. However, he also said that showing the film will be his last project as NBCUniversal’s campus representative after two and a half years spent working with the media giant.

“It’s kind of the end of a chapter,” he said of seeing both the franchise and his personal adventure in public relations come full circle.

Gibson said that the American Pie films, which are fairly raunchy comedies about a group of friends’ adventures as they go through high school, college, and even a wedding, are great because they don’t have a steady plot line and use flashbacks to clarify story arcs.

“It’s not a series where you need to see the first one to get it,” he said.

The American Reunion showing is only one of many high profile events Gibson has been charged with organizing in his capacity as campus representative. In effect, Gibson has been helping to organize events for NBCUniversal well before he was officially involved.

Gibson’s friend Jake Camp was the campus representative during Gibson’s sophomore year. When Camp screened MacGruber, Gibson was able to participate in press junkets, moderate an autograph signing session, help organize a screening and interview with the films’ stars at The Varsity, and hang out with the stars and NBCUniversal representatives afterward.

“Being a journalism student and PR major, it was right up my alley,” Gibson said of helping Camp. “I had marketing experience and I really enjoyed planning things, strategy, and logistics.”

Since learning how to do the job alongside Camp, who is now an associate producer at NBCUniversal, Gibson has successfully put on his own events, including a showing of Bridesmaids last semester.

Gibson’s job description is extensive. Each semester, he is assigned a movie for which to organize an early showing and given materials with which to promote it. In the time leading up to the showing, Gibson must create hype for the film in any way he can.

Many students use social media to get word out about their events, and Gibson is no exception. However, he has made it a practice to use alternative marketing means that people can’t so easily ignore.

“It’s great to tweet and update your Facebook status,” he said, “but people get 15 million Facebook events a day.”

Gibson said he is a fan of using face-to-face marketing, or ‘push’ marketing, to evade falling to media glut.

“With all the stuff that NBC gives me, I am able to walk up to people and interact with students, give them something free and give them the opportunity to see a movie before it comes out.”

He also makes sure to approach people who’ve attended his events to collect feedback he can give to his representatives.

While the job is taxing, Gibson says it is well worth the effort. Apart from allowing him to give skills learned in class real-world application and gain skills through experience, the job has also given him contact with prominent figures in public relations. He communicates regularly with his bosses in Los Angeles through multiple media channels.

Moreover, being a campus representative has convinced him that he wants to work in public relations when he graduates.

“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “Obviously, attaching a national company’s name to it helps a lot, but the whole events side of it and the logistics of marketing face-to-face has really allowed me the opportunity to see what I want to do and will help me when I graduate.”

The Carolina Union Activities Board and Carolina Athletic Association, who are co-sponsors of the 2012 Homecoming concert, are reaching out to the UNC student body for more input on the acts they would like to see. Homecoming celebrations will begin Nov. 9 and continue throughout the weekend.

The New Pornographers headlined last year’s show, which sold about 703 of 4,500 available tickets. CUAB lost about $63,000 on the concert. The committee does not want a repeat of this at the 2012 show.

Beginning April 18, there will be a whiteboard in the bottom of the Carolina Union where students can write ideas of potential acts for the 2012 concert. Tom Low, incoming president of CUAB, said members of the committee will take photos of the board every few hours, making sure all suggestions are accounted for. Students can also send their input to CUAB through email.

Although planning and paying for the concert is a complex and time consuming process, CUAB members hope that, with realistic suggestions, they will be able to book an act popular among the student body.

UNC’s Hyde Hall played host from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 2 to an interdisciplinary panel discussion titled, “METAMORPHS: Artists Spin Science,” which centered around the intersection of art and science.

The panel, organized by UNC-CH art professor Elin O’Hara Slavick, featured three artists who use science to tell stories: Brandon BallengeeJane D. Marsching and Marina Zurkow.

Slavick opened the event, which was held in Hyde Hall’s theater-like University Room, and introduced the panelists.

She first introduced Ballengee, whose work has appeared in numerous international exhibits. The artist and biologist, who also works as a field observer for the U.S. Geological Survey, presented a lecture titled, “Beyond Nature.”

In it, Ballengee, who creates trans-disciplinary art, stressed the idea of  interdisciplinary inspirations — the process of weaving together different things one studies.

The artist presented several examples of the visual art he creates, which is only possible by closely studying the insects he encounters and the ecology he studies.

Ballengee, who regularly contributes insect images to scientific journals, said he first photographs, then makes high-resolution scans, of the insects and amphibians he studies.

The biologist-turned-artist, who often juggles several different projects at once, also presented images of his most recent undertaking — a project that creatively incorporates artificial light into architecture and the environment to attract insects and nurture habitats for threatened species.

He said one of the things that fascinated him the most about the project was how “people just love to watch,” the insects’ innate attraction toward the light.

Slavick next introduced Marsching, a digital artist, whose work focuses on showing the effects of seasonal change.

Marsching, whose lecture was titled “The Field Research Impulse,” said her most recent work tackles some unanswered questions about climate change.

Marsching showed a video of a webcam of the North Pole, which she says is “the most pristine environment.” But, she explained, her work tries to point out inherent contradictions, by showing that even in the most remote of places, humans’ carbon footprints can be found.

She also showed an animation of a “science-fiction” reality of a future earth — one forever changed by climate change. The time-lapse compilation was set to an opera performance of random news headline about the arctic taken from Google News.

Marsching, who lives in Boston, also presented a field-research project that takes a look at “what’s happening in our backyards instead of speculating on what’s happening far away.”

The research project focused on the 181 million birds living in the U.S. and the effect climate change has had on their migratory patterns and habitats. Using her observations in the field, Marsching also presented an artistic data visualization of the relationship between several bird species.

Like Ballengee, Marsching stressed the importance of looking for interconnected elements between ecology, climate and academics.

The final panelist, Zurkow, is a faculty member in NYU’s interactive telecommunications program.

She presented several pieces from a project she recently completed in England that also focused on climate change and its effects on animals.

She said she embarked on the project to develop a new understanding of nature — one that includes climate change and species power relations among other variables.

Zurkow, a recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, titled her presentation “Agency, Intimacy and Ambience.”

She said the inspiration behind the project came from a picture of a squirrel that she came across. The picture led her to discover and then document a squirrel-species battle for survival in Britain.

Essentially, the project tells the story of how a single pair of American grey squirrels brought over from the U.S. led down a path that has resulted in a threat to Britain’s domestic red squirrel species.

Following the’ presentations, the artists were joined by respondents, whose occupations ranged from epidemiology, to academia, to editorial writing, for a panel discussion that kept with the artists’ theme of  ”interdisciplinarism.”

Respondents included artist and field biologist Courtney Fitzpatrick, Harper’s Magazine contributor and a Duke University writer in residence Duncan Murrell, UNC epidemiologist David Richardson, physician and anthropologist Barry Saunders, and arts writer Amy White.

The conversation spanned a number of subjects, broaching everything from research methodology, to scientific visualization, to the challenge of telling the story in a way that others are attracted to and can understand.

The UNC School of Nursing has just been awarded $3 million over five years to design and carry out the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation.

The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation awarded the grant in hopes that the program will help produce the next generation of nurse innovators. Once selected, undergraduate nursing UNC Hillman Scholars will enter a rigorous curriculum that puts them on an accelerated path to a nursing Ph.D. The scholars will attend seminars and take clinical and research courses during a post-baccalaureate bridge summer to guide their learning and enhance their experience.

The first six Hillman Scholars will begin the program in spring 2013, selected from students admitted into the B.S. in Nursing option in May 2012 and the Accelerated B.S. in Nursing option January 2013.

UNC and the universities of Pennsylvania and Michigan are the only three schools of nursing in the nation that have been awarded the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation grant.

“By completing a Ph.D. earlier in their career, the Hillman Scholars will have a longer time to impact patient care through leadership, innovation and research in academic and clinical settings,” said Dean Kristen M. Swanson in a statement.

Complete news release: New Hillman Scholars Program offers UNC undergraduates accelerated path to nursing Ph.D.

Avoiding soft drinks may be the best way to stay healthy, according to a new study by UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. If you do consume soft drinks, you may be better off with diet soda – but only if you eat an otherwise healthy diet, the study found.

The study involved more than 20 years of data collection from more than 4,000 adults who participated in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. Researchers discovered that people could be placed into two diet categories: “prudent” and “Western.”  A prudent diet includes fruit, fish, whole grains, nuts and milk, while a Western diet consists of fast food, meat and poultry, pizza and snacks.

The people who are the healthiest are those who eat a prudent diet and do not consume diet beverages, the study found. Prudent eaters had significantly better cholesterol and triglyceride profiles and a lower risk of hypertension and metabolic syndrome. The second-healthiest group were those who consumed a prudent diet and drank diet sodas.

People who followed a Western diet had an increased risk of heart disease, regardless of whether they drank diet beverages.

Study author Kiyah Duffey, research assistant professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in a statement that the new research parallels the previously know fact that people who consume diet beverages tend to be less healthy than those who do not consume them.

Duffey added that the study “confirms the recommendations of the American Diabetes Association and many weight-loss programs, which suggest people drink these beverages as a way to cut calories and lose or control weight, but only in the context of the whole diet.”

The study can be found in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


UNC professor Mary Floyd-Wilson presented her talk, “’Maidens Call It Love-in-Idleness’: Potions, Passion, and Fairy Knowledge in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Thursday, March 29, in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room at Wilson Special Collections Library. The Rare Book Collection and the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature sponsored the event.

Her talk drew an audience of over 75 attendees and was preceded by a viewing of the exhibition, “Nature and the Unnatural in Shakespeare’s Age,” which features a display of Shakespeare’s second, third and fourth folios. This exhibition will be on display through June 8, 2012, in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room.

William Shakespeare Facts

  • Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets.
  • He lived to age 52.
  • Shakespeare also was an actor; however, he often played minor parts due to his heavy involvement in writing.
  • There are currently over 150 million pages on Google referring to him.
  • President Lincoln was a Shakespeare fan, and his assassin was a Shakespearean actor.

Source: No Sweat Shakespeare 

Claudia Funke, the curator of rare books at Wilson Library, introduced Floyd-Wilson.

Along with being a 2008-2009 fellow at the National Humanities Center, Floyd-Wilson is currently an associate professor of English literature and director of graduate studies in UNC-Chapel Hill’s English department. She also taught English literature at Yale University from 1996-2002. She is the author of “English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama” and the co-editor of three other publications.

Floyd-Wilson began her talk by saying that when she teaches “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” her students tend to be confused that the character Demetrius questions his final state after being awakened. His perception is “dreamlike,” Floyd-Wilson said.

She went on to point out that many literary critics are quick to “disenchant Shakespeare’s era,” when, in actuality, Floyd-Wilson argues many audience members from the 16th century believed in the supernatural and in magical forces and readily used them.

Floyd-Wilson argued that when humans practiced natural magic, they drew upon the same magic that the fairies in the play used. She asserted that most modern scholars misconstrue what magic meant. It was not always perceived as a naive act by scholars of Shakespeare’s time, said Floyd-Wilson.

Classical scholar Erasmus warned that it was idolatrous for the characters of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to use magic and rely upon fairies. Furthermore, Floyd-Wilson discussed that theologian of the time, William Perkins, asserted that those who used potions were “unknowingly employed by the devil.”

She used Perkins and Erasmus to show that some scholars of the period did not simply see the fairies and use of spells as just a superstitious belief. She said that the doctrine of early scholars often associated magic and the supernatural with damnation.

Floyd-Wilson also briefly discussed some of the early magic recipes that were created and used by those in the 16th century. Many included requiring consumption of human fluids, animal parts or some sort of reliance on flowers and herbs, Floyd-Wilson said.

She mentioned that 16th century “magic recipes” will be discussed further on March 30, 2012, at 4:00 p.m. Wendy Wall will discuss, “Recipes for Thought: Shakespeare and the Art of the Kitchen” in the Pleasants Room of Wilson Library.

This lecture and exhibition was the start of the “Shakespeare and the Natural World” Graduate Conference that lasts through Saturday, March 31, 2012. This conference includes discussions about topics of nature and the environment in Shakespeare’s work from lecturers such as Wendy Wall, David J. Baker, Mary Floyd-Wilson and Gordon McMullan. The conference is sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill and King’s College London.

A Clemson University professor is making the case for computer technology as a teaching and research tool in the humanities and social sciences.

During Thursday’s “Cyberinfrastructure and the humanities” lecture, Vernon Burton came to speak in Sitterson Hall about the changing role of technology in the social sciences and humanities.

Burton, a history professor and the director of Clemson’s Cyberinstitute, is a world-renowned historian who is known for his work about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

The Cyberinstitute creates infrastructures supporting multidisciplinary and large-scale data driven discovery, he said.

The most exciting part of the Cyberinstitute is the Social Media Listening Center, he said. It is an interdisciplinary research lab and teaching facility that opened in early 2012.

Burton’s lecture illustrated the need for technology in the humanities through the story of the “Three Little Pigs.”

He said he used to tell the story to his five daughters, but the message of the story applies to the humanities’ shift to technology.

He said certain building materials stabilized the house, just as certain innovations strengthen the foundation of the humanities.

“Knowing our history is essential for democracy,” he said.

In fact, Burton argued that humanities technology is the cornerstone of the digital revolution. Humanities technology, such as databases, allows historians to archive, analyze and interpret human activities and history, he said.

“Social science technology is way for us to understand the human record,” Burton said. “We use all evidence available to get history as right as we can.”

Burton used “word clouds” as an example of how technology can be used to teach patterns and themes in history.

He said he made a word cloud for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and the most frequently used word was “dedicated.” Other frequently used words were “nation,” “dead,” “great” and “people.”

Burton said he did the same thing for the Emancipation Proclamation. For this word cloud, the word “States” was used most frequently–even more than the word “United.”

He said word clouds illustrate the differences between the two speeches. For example, he said, the words in the Emancipation Proclamation are much more legalistic because that speech tried to establish the legitimacy of Lincoln’s order. But the word clouds also show that the word “people” is common across both.

“The subtle interpretations between these two documents is made more apparent with word cloud,” he said.

He said that it would be possible to do this analysis without computing, but it would be a difficult task.

“It would take forever,” Burton said. “And who would want to?”

Burton also generated word cloud illustrations for the writings from Lincoln’s inauguration to the Gettysburg Address and another word cloud for the writings from the Gettysburg Address to his death.

He said these word clouds represent how Lincoln’s political emphasis shifted over the course of his presidency. This task would be much more difficult without computing, Burton said.

The importance of these technologies, he said, is that they are readily available to students as well as professors.

Still, he acknowledged the problems that can arise with humanities technology.

“Researchers often struggle with the plethora of data sources,” he said.

And financial pressures may prevent research universities from investing in humanities technology.

Bringing new technology to the social sciences may also increase the disparities between those with access to it and those who do not.

“Technology must not widen the gap between those who have access to information tools, and those who do not.”