University of Southern California

Photo Credit: Xintong Guo | Daily Texan Staff

A recent UT study found an increase in vegetable consumption in children is enough to prevent diseases and improve health.

The study, contributed to by Jaimie Davis, nutritional sciences assistant professor, was published in the November edition of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It was originally focused on trying to determine whether every vegetable had the same effect on the body, according to Davis. She said the research team discovered that some vegetables have a greater positive effect than others. Five other researchers from the University of Southern California assisted with the study.

“Even a small amount of green and orange vegetables have a great effect in children’s health,” Davis said. “They can also help in the prevention of diseases.”    

Davis said many diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, may be prevented with the consumption of small amounts of leafy vegetables, including spinach, broccoli and lettuce. She also said consumption could reduce liver fat and visceral fat, which is fat in and around the organs that can be toxic to the body.

“We found that not even more than a full serving in an ordinary meal would make a big difference in the children’s health,” Davis said.    

According to Davis, researchers made it a goal to not only send information to policy makers, but also to parents, so they could plan healthier meals for their children.    

“This research could pursue policy makers to push leafy green vegetables in a school’s lunch,” Davis said.

A statement from the University said the research found eating the right kind of vegetables would not necessarily help children lose weight, but will help children who are most at risk for diseases.

“This research shows that policy makers can make a difference if they roll up their sleeves and help serve even one healthy vegetable each day to a toddler in child care, a student in the school cafeteria or a family in an isolated neighborhood,” said Lauren Dimitry, health and business fitness policy associate with Texans Care for Children, a nonprofit organization that works on children’s issues.

Dimitry said she thinks the research could help change the way people view nutrition. 

“Most of all, I think this research illustrates that increasing nutrition is important and achievable,” Dimitry said.

The mobile phone app “Snapchat” launched a new feature called “Our Campus Story” on UT’s campus Friday.

According to a statement released by Snapchat on Oct. 17, Snapchat users on and around campus can view a regular feed of images and videos uploaded by users on the campus. For its first trial of this feature, Snapchat selected UT, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Southern California and Pennsylvania State University. Snapchat launched similar features at Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Electric Daisy Carnival, New York Fashion Week and college football games.

“Our Campus Story was the natural evolution of the Our Story product that we launched at [Electronic Daisy Carnival] this year,” Snapchat said in statement. “Our team heard tons of requests for Our Story at college campuses — so we just had to make it happen.” 

Mike Horn, director of digital strategy at UT, said Snapchat did not consult with or alert the University prior to the launch of the feature, but so far the University has reacted positively. 

“Our first reaction was kind of curiosity,” Horn said. “It’s so new to us that we haven’t developed a formal strategy around it, but it seems like a great tool for students to get a feel for whatever is going on on campus.” 

Officials from Penn State’s and USC’s social media teams said they had not been contacted by Snapchat about the new feature either. 

Horn said Snapchat may have selected the four campuses because of their large base of Snapchat users. 

The Snapchat team filters all uploaded content and removes inappropriate material. The recent feed has included videos of pranks inside University dorms, chemistry experiments, student yoga classes and football locker rooms.

Hugo Rojo, a public relations senior and “pretty consistent” Snapchat user, said he has not uploaded any content yet, but has enjoyed the feed. He said the new feature allows users to witness slices of daily life on campus that they would otherwise never see. 

“With the introduction of Our Campus Story, it’s really providing a lens to the greater campus community to people who normally wouldn’t be able to experience it,” Rojas said.

Snapchat is planning to expand its Our Campus Story to other campus locations around the world.

Sofia Gruskin, law professor and director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights at the University of Southern California, discusses reproductive and sexual rights Monday afternoon. 

Photo Credit: Mariana Munoz | Daily Texan Staff

A University of Southern California law professor gave a presentation on campus Monday on sexual and reproductive health to emphasize the interplay of global and national health policies.

Sofia Gruskin, who is also USC’s director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights, discussed reproductive and sexual rights, current global debates on both rights and revisions being made on transgender issues at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice’s Fall Colloquium in Townes Hall.

“Reproductive rights first came up at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo,” Gruskin said. “[The conference] increased the understanding of what governments are responsible of doing.” 

Gruskin said she believes these issues need to be further challenged on an international level in order to continue advancing human rights and reproductive health. She said, although there are countries that are at the forefront of protecting sexual reproduction and health policies, other nations are more resistant to change.

“There are a number of conservative countries that are eliminating any indication of sexual rights,” Gruskin said. “There are countries watering down rights for sexual orientation. [These] implications, at the local level, have a huge impact right now for the UN.”

According to Gruskin, the International Classification of Disease, or ICD-10, is used for collecting and reporting health globally and discussed the document’s importance. The 10th installment of the diagnostic tool was established by the 43rd World Health Assembly in 1990, and the ICD is currently under revision. An 11th revision will be finalized in 2017.

Gruskin is part of an organization called Rights-Oriented Research and Education, or RORE, Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health, which hopes to contribute to the revisions of the ICD-11.

According to Gruskin, “gender identity disorder” is considered a mental disorder in the ICD-10. RORE aims to promote human rights and gender equality as well as conduct research and provide evidence to move being transgender from a behavioral illness to a reproductive health issue.

Rhiannon Hamam, second-year law student at the University, said she liked that Gruskin discussed the advancements that have been made in sexual rights and reproductive health.

“I liked that she highlighted positive shifts in discourse and focus, [such as] the move toward transgender rights and issues becoming part of the new conversation, but also said that regression was happening in some areas,” Hamam said. “We should be wary about re-conservatizing the health and human rights movement, like focusing on maternal health and family planning rather than evolving our focus to other issues as well.”

Leon Holland and his wife Peggy hold up a picture of Leon with Peggy and his mother at his first military commission. The Hollands are members of the Precursors, a group of some of the first African-American students to attend the University.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Leon Holland could live in the dorms but was not allowed to eat in any cafeterias. Holland could attend classes but could not take part in nearly any student organizations. He could cheer for his school’s football team but could not expect to see any athletes who looked like him. 

In the fall of 1956, Holland was a member of the first black undergraduate class allowed into the University.

Today, Holland is a proud member of the Precursors, a group of some of the first black students to attend and integrate the University. Lonnie Fogle, the current president of the Precursors, said the organization was originally an old group of alumni friends who used to gather for the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, informally calling themselves The Dudes. They changed the name to be more inclusive to women and organized themselves more formally in 2005.

Leon said he vividly remembers attending the first football game of the 1956 season, in which the Longhorns played the University of Southern California. USC had black players on its team, but UT did not.

“Throughout the game, we’re sitting here … surrounded with nothing but [the chant] ‘Kill that nigger,’ talking about the black player on USC’s team, running up and down the field, trouncing UT’s team,” Holland said. “‘Gee, who are you going to pull for?’ ‘I’m going to pull for USC.’ … That’s what set the tone for the rest of the time here.”

Peggy Holland, Leon’s wife and a fellow Precursor, began attending UT in 1958. As a female student in the business school, Peggy was even more of a minority than her husband.

“I truly hated [the way I was treated], but it wasn’t in me to give up,” Peggy said of her time at the University. “I stayed because we had a right to be there.”

Because of their segregated living situations, black students grew especially close and often passed notes about which professors to take. Peggy said certain professors, such as Seward Robb, went out of their way to help and welcome black students. Other professors refused to call on black students in courses where class participation was a mandatory part of the grade, resulting in unfair markdowns. “That’s why I sort of pointed [toward recognizing] what took place,” Leon said. “You could be bitter, yes, but you also have to know that this is building awareness, and we all have to work together to improve it and keep making progress.”

Fogle said he recalled participating in a sit-in at Kinsolving residence hall to protest the treatment of black students on a Friday night in October 1961. The following morning, the dean called every black student on campus into his office and individually questioned them. All of the students refused to answer or name any of their peers as participants in the protest.

“He said, ‘You know what this means, don’t you?’ ‘What does it mean?’ ‘You’re on probation.’ ‘Well, OK, what does that mean?’ ‘It means you can’t participate in varsity athletics, you can’t run for student office.’ … He listed a bunch of things,” Fogle said. “We already couldn’t do that because we were black.” Fogle said that when he graduated, the disciplinary probation was nowhere on his transcript, having been a scare tactic used by the dean.

Looking at the University now, Fogle said he would also like current students to actively stand up for others who are discriminated against.

“It’s part of every college experience — it’s so important to be socially active,” Fogel said. “It’s part of the education, and we acted because it just wasn’t right.”

Ari Gootnick, a sophomore advertising major, co-developed a new app, GreekLink, to better connect those involved in Greek life. Gootnick hopes the app will make communicating events in Greek life easier and aspires to eventually share it with universities across the nation.

Photo Credit: Zoe Davis | Daily Texan Staff

GreekLink, a new social media mobile application targeted towards Greek life at UT, is in the early stages of introduction, but its creator is setting sights high for the future. 

During his freshman year, advertising sophomore Ari Gootnick joined the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and collaborated with friends to develop the initial framework of the app. 

“I’m from Los Angeles, and I came to UT and didn’t know anybody. I thought a fraternity would be a good idea to get to know people and to see where it would take me,” Gootnick  said. “The idea came about last spring, probably the last month of school, and so we actually started sitting down and developing the app in the summer.”

One of these friends was Noah Johnson, a business administration sophomore at the University Of Southern California, who is now a co-founder and CEO of GreekLink. Gootnick said he appreciates the dichotomy between the pair’s work styles.

“My partner and I are very different and very similar at the same time. I’m more of the designer, and he’s more of the businessman — the doer,” Gootnick said. “It’s the reason I think we’ve been so compatible.”

Johnson said Gootnick possesses some essential qualities for this project.

“[Gootnick] is creative and diligent,” Johnson said. “He’s social enough to create connections within Greek life, and I think he’s working hard enough to make this app naturally take over.”

Gootnick said the process required his team to look critically at how fraternities and sororities communicate.

“We looked at what was flawed in the Greek community,” Gootnick said. “First, there is no central space to share events, so we created a calendar where fraternities and sororities can share their events. And secondly, we wanted it to be more connected, so we made it into a more social platform where you can comment or post pictures on specific event pages.”

Gootnick said producing the app required cross-cultural communication skills to prevent the nuances of Greek culture from being lost in translation.

“We actually found a developer located in Ukraine,” Gootnick said. “They didn’t really understand Greek life at first. It’s actually really funny to describe it to someone who doesn’t know what a fraternity or a sorority is or how they interact with each other.”

Zeta Beta Tau president Daniel Warner said Gootnick’s initiative speaks to the inventive spirit of the fraternity.

“Any entrepreneurship that impacts the university is a good thing,” Warner said. “We’re glad to be supporting him and we’re eager to see how it connects the brothers in our University.”

Gootnick said he can see the project impacting all students at UT in the future.

“The app is about awareness,” Gootnick said. “Your school can be aware of Greek life, whether you’re directly involved or not.”

As the Dell Medical School continues to search for its inaugural dean, UT has selected an architect to design the first phase of buildings for the school.

According to UT medical school spokesman Robert Cullick, Page Southerland Page and ZGF Architects have been selected to design two of the four new buildings on the complex. The firms will design the research building and the medical office building.

“It’s a very competitive process,” Cullick said. “It’s a premier project. We had a lot of different participants from around the world.”

According to Cullick, the University was attracted to the local and outside perspectives brought by the two firms teaming up on the project. Page Southerland Page, an Austin-based firm, has designed buildings for the Baylor College of Medicine and the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Page Southerland Page has also worked on several buildings for three other UT System schools: UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas and UT-El Paso. ZGF Architects, based in Portland, Ore., has worked on projects for the University of California - Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

Citing an agreement with UT, Page Southerland Page declined to comment on winning the assignment.

UT is in the process of selecting a firm to design the education and administration building. According to Cullick, the University expects to select an architect in the coming weeks. Cullick said the University chose to separate the project into two assignments in order to ensure the buildings will be completed by the school’s fall 2016 opening date. 

Seton Healthcare Family selected architecture firm HKS to design the $295 million teaching hospital which will replace University Medical Center Brackenridge in June.

Cullick said the selection of the medical school’s inaugural dean will be the next major step in the school’s development. According to Cullick, the University will review applications during the fall semester.

Follow Jacob Kerr on Twitter @jacobrkerr.

Captain Melissa Zak of the Los Angeles Police Department speaks at a public forum Tuesday afternoon in the North Office Building. During the forum, Zak discussed her prior law enforcement experience as well as her plans for UT should she be selected as UTPD Chief of Police.

Photo Credit: Becca Gamache | Daily Texan Staff

Captain Melissa Zak of the Los Angeles Police Department said she was ready to leave the City of Angels when UT football beat the University of Southern California at the 2005 Bowl Championship Series.

Seven years later, Zak is entertaining the possibility of a move to Austin, as one of four candidates for UTPD Chief of Police. The selected candidate will replace current UTPD Chief Robert Dahlstrom, who is retiring next month.

The search committee for UTPD Chief of Police held a public forum Tuesday afternoon in which students, faculty and staff were invited to learn more about Zak and her previous experience
in law enforcement.

According to Bob Harkins, the associate vice president for Campus Safety and Security, the search committee of 23 includes two undergraduate and two graduate students, along with other officials, who will ultimately decide on the winning candidate.

“The intent is to get as much exposure for each candidate and for the search committee to be as wide as we can make it,” Harkins said. “The search committee decides based on professional competency, leadership and a personality that fits with us.”

Zak recalled a past experience when she was phoned at 4 a.m. about the murder of two USC
students near campus.

“You look at crime across the U.S. and across university campuses and it’s all the same,” Zak said. “You see crime targeted at students because of what they have, from iPhones and iPads to other expensive technology.“

Zak also talked about her love for the youth, strategies to improve retention within UTPD staff and her overall perception of leadership.

“A team is only as strong as its weakest link,” Zak said. “When you look at a team you always want to identify its strengths and its weaknesses. Retention is a big issue here and I want to work with them and find out why [officers] want to leave and what makes [officers] want to stay.”

Assistant Dean of Students Mary Beth Mercatoris said it is important to pick someone who understands that the safety of the UT community needs to be a team approach.

“We need someone who both understands how to lead us but also someone who is willing to follow and understand how those roles can change under different circumstances,“ Mercatoris said.

Rachel McCoy talks boosters, agents at UT

During Colt McCoy’s college career, he was twice named an All-American, scored a school-record 102 touchdowns and won a NCAA-record 45 games. McCoy was the quintessential Longhorn quarterback – talented, productive and likable. But his wife, Rachel, made some controversial comments Tuesday, claiming that boosters frequently approach student-athletes at the University of Texas with improper invitations.

Rachel McCoy called in to ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to discuss relationships between boosters and football players, as well as between agents and her husband. She asserted that athletes were offered things like “a dinner, a hunt, a fishing trip,” also adding, “At Texas, you’re taught to take absolutely nothing.”

University of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds swiftly responded.

“We take compliance very seriously at Texas,” Dodds said Wednesday in a statement. “We have procedures in place that enable our coaches, student-athletes and administrators to make the right choices. We are performing our due diligence as always to make certain there are no outstanding compliance issues.”

The comments made by Rachel McCoy and the statement issued by Dodds come on the heels of fiascos unraveling at Ohio State and the University of Southern California, where improper benefits were given to star players and punishments were retroactively handed down. Between the two programs, 30 scholarships, two years of bowl eligibility, a Heisman Trophy, a national championship, a head coach and a starting quarterback were lost. Incidents like these lead many to believe that a culture of corruption characterizes college athletics, especially in college football.

“People in Texas are just being friendly, they don’t mean anything by it at all,” she said. “You cannot expect 19- to 20-year-old kids to say no to free stuff when they’re in college.”

While there could not have been much malice behind her words, it remains baffling as to why she would randomly call into a radio show (one of the nation’s most-listened to radio shows, at that). What’s even stranger, however, is what she said once she made the call. She questions what “grown, adult men with law degrees” would get out of extending a dinner invitation, but fails to realize the dire consequences that could befall a program (see Ohio State and
USC) if those invitations are accepted.

“It’s hard because you have adults who you respect and who you think will know what’s right and wrong,” Rachel McCoy said. “My joke is that my biggest competition with Colt is not girls, it’s 40-year-old men who just want to say, ‘Hey, I did this with Colt’ and ‘Hey, I did this with his teammates.’”

This is not to say that Rachel McCoy is a bad person or even what she did was all that bad — it was merely startling and ill-timed, considering the violations and sanctions that have dominated college football headlines recently. More importantly, her comments are unlikely to trigger investigations or consequences like they did at Ohio State and USC. Nevertheless, the call and the comments made during the call should not have been made.

Rachel McCoy and Cowherd spent six minutes wondering why boosters wave perks under student-athlete’s noses or why agents kept bugging Colt when he was in college. Now, Texas fans are left wondering what compelled Rachel McCoy to have that conversation in the first place.

Qingyun Ma, Dean of the University of California School of Architecture, exhibited his past architectural projects as part of the Chinese Architecture Lecture Series on Monday afternoon. Ma has created various award-winning works in several major Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Xian.

Photo Credit: Victoria Montalvo | Daily Texan Staff

China is an architectural powerhouse with new projects constantly underway, said Qingyun Ma, dean of architecture at the University of Southern California.

Ma presented a multitude of projects currently in progress or recently completed in three major Chinese cities: Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai, as part of a four-lecture series hosted by UT’s School of Architecture on Monday.

“So much is going on in China — it’s become a laboratory of architectural ideas,” said School of Architecture dean Frederick Steiner. “Some of the most interesting ideas in the world are there.”

Ma approached the topic of China’s rapid growth with humor and noted the rapidity of the projects currently in progress.

“In China, if you have an idea, it will be done,” he said, laughing. “So you’d better be responsible with your idea because they might build it.”

Ma discussed larger projects, those he said resolve urban issues and bring different programs together to form projects. One of these projects was titled the “Shopping Zoo,” which used the principles of a zoo’s closely connected buildings to draw shoppers into spending an entire day at the center, he said.

Ma also discussed the importance of small-scale projects within Chinese architecture by showing pictures of the building processes. Some of these images included local workers constructing the buildings brick by brick. He said these small projects took place in both China and the United States, and included a hotel, an addition to a bridge and even a house Ma designed for his family in Los Angeles.

Despite the large amount of architectural development, many projects have halted because of loss of funding, Ma said. These dead projects included the addition to a new natural history museum in Shanghai, a mountain-cut memorial and an art museum in Pasadena.

Ma said he is hopeful the projects have potential to resume construction in the future.

“We have a very good attitude to the notion of dead projects,” he said. “Some will get built because it’s the right fit.”

Graduate architecture student Nate Schneider said he found the lecture to be enlightening about some of the most current examples of Chinese architecture.

“It’s kind of amazing — the scale that they’re designing and building in China,” Schneider said. “I thought the speaker had a fresh approach to architecture.”

Ma said he hoped to convey architecture as something with a broader goal than the construction of new projects.

“My hope is that we realize that architecture is global,” he said. “[And] that our goals are interconnected.”

Printed on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011: China a hotbed for innovation, according to architecture dean

The need for technologies to prevent and respond to a nuclear attack is growing, according to the National Academy of Engineering website. This global challenge, along with others, is a focus of a new program at the University that engages students in directly working towards solutions to major issues.

The Longhorn Grand Challenges Scholars Program makes its debut at UT this semester and joins a number of similar programs at other prestigious universities. The program was originally founded collectively at the engineering colleges of Duke University, Franklin W. Olin College and the University of Southern California.

“We started doing research in 2008 on how active students here were in humanitarian engineering,” said UT program director Christina White. “We found that students were incredibly interested yet felt they hadn’t participated enough in it.”

White said UT faculty searched for a way to implement a program that was complimentary, not additive, to students’ current curriculum. She also said that students can apply as early as their freshman year and do not have to be engineering majors.

“We know we have a really diverse and talented pool of students at UT,” White said.

The program is named after the National Academy of Engineering’s list of Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century, said White.

Program coordinator Sheila Reynolds said the opportunities it provides for students will greatly benefit them during their undergraduate years as well as after graduation as they dive into the real-world engineering pool.

The highly prestigious program is accepting applications through Oct. 7, and Reynolds said there isn’t a cap number on how many students will be chosen.

“We’re choosing the students based on the high-quality talent we’re looking for,” Reynolds said. “If it’s 10, it’s 10. If it’s 50, it’s 50.”

She also said that the five-question application allows students room to be creative with their answers. Once accepted, students will choose one of the 14 grand challenges and will have to address five components based on that challenge, she said.

“I like this program because it obviously has an emphasis on engineering, but it tries to go outside the realm of engineering to try and solve problems,” said civil engineering junior Ali Barton. “I think it’s really applicable and necessary if we want to solve large challenges.”

Reynolds said students that participate in GCSP gain additional skills that might not be acquired without taking part in the program. She said the students will have better skills interviewing, applying to graduate school and applying for jobs. These skills will help them grow professionally, scholarly and personally, she said.

“GCSP has the potential to change the very fabric of engineering education at UT,” said mechanical engineering professor Kristin Wood. “It has the potential to create a ground swell of design-based learning, of interdisciplinary learning whilst removing, through a natural and student-centric process, the barriers caused by our college, department and discipline structure, of diversifying engineering in every form as students actively engage in changing the world.”

Wood said the program provides exciting opportunities for students to further develop after graduating from the University.

“The students will be partners in the endeavor and become the next generation of entrepreneurs to make our world the essence of our dreams,” Wood said. “It is exciting. It is contagious. It is real.”

Printed on October 4, 2011, as: Program encourages student involvement in worldly issues