We the Future

News

By Jordan Owens

In 1971, the 26th amendment was ratified lowering the voting age to 18, yet almost 50 years later young people choose not to vote.

“We want young people to vote for a couple of reasons. One reason is that they make up so much of the population now,” says former Georgia State Rep. Deborah Gonzalez. “And the second reason why young people need to vote is that they are voting for their future.”

In the past 48 years, voting rates have dropped nearly 15 percent among people 18 to 29. Not only do Millennials and some of Generation Z choose not to play a part in our democracy, but they also seem to only vote in the Presidential elections.

“Every election is important because every election we are electing different people for different seats, and we need those votes to make our democracy work,” Gonzalez says.

Even though young people make up half of the voting population, they have the lowest voting rates out of all the age groups in the U.S.

With easy access to the internet, there is no need for the excuse “I don’t understand” to ignore these rights that are given. There are many websites, like The New York Times, that give information on candidates and other issues. Youtube can also be used as a way to see debates and speeches made by candidates.

Some people think what is going on in our government will not affect them only because it is not now. The truth is many laws put into effect now will not affect people immediately, instead, they will most likely not feel the consequences for at least five years.

Making that kind of life change starts now. This is the world that the older generations are leaving behind. “Fifty-four percent of Georgia Representatives and Senators list their occupation as retired, and it gives a sense of just how old they are,” says Gonzalez.

The generations that can do something about it has to. If this generation does not, then there will never be any progress, and the future generations will get stuck repeating the same history.

Voting in elections start with registering. Some high schools and colleges let their students register there, and anyone else can go online. After getting informed, people can then vote on the person who best matches their views.

Gonzalez says, “It’s very important for [young people] to get involved now ’cause it’s about them.”

Snoozing Students

News

By Maya Cornish

There are many factors of why high school-aged students are feeling less than rested most days, such as biology, technology and stress. For their future to succeed, certain changes need to be made.

It’s 7:00 a.m., a high school student drags themselves out of bed and gets dressed half-awake and snags a Red Bull from the kitchen to give themselves a jumpstart before sluggishly getting on the school bus.

They arrive to school, classes starting at 8:00 a.m., but their eyes feel weighted with a multitude of bricks. This feeling sticks with them the whole day, getting harder to fight against as the day goes on. The student finishes school at 3:25 p.m., only to move on to extracurriculars.

They then go home, barely able to convince themselves to put on foot in front of the other with homework yet to complete. Finding time to eat a quick dinner, the student does not go to bed until 1:00 a.m., having to complete the cycle all over again.

“Junior year (is) always one of the busiest years, (and) I was taking a mixture of (International Baccalaureate) and (Advanced Placement) classes, which are higher level classes that require a lot of time outside of school to study and do homework. On top of that, I founded my own program and was facilitating meetings, running (the program) and basically being the program,” Hanover High School rising senior Sophie Ward said. “Towards the end of the school year that resulted in me being nominated for a lot of awards which took up a lot of my time and a lot of my nights (and I) also was the editor in chief of my (school) newspaper.”

Ward’s experience is similar to many. A survey of high school students attending the Grady College Media & Leadership Academy showed that 95 percent of students receive less than eight hours of sleep during the school year. All over the country, this is the story of high school students who are not getting the sleep that they need to be successful.

“Some studies report up to 90 percent of teenagers are getting less than the amount of sleep that they should be getting,” University of Georgia graduate student Sarah Lyle said. “Decreased sleep can actually lead to more stress as well, so it’s kind of like a vicious cycle.”

In today’s modern society, the usage of technology are becoming present due to a multitude of factors. Screens release blue light, which tells the brain not to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. This disrupts the circadian rhythm, the cycle of being awake and asleep.

This nighttime ritual is becoming common in society, especially among teenagers. In a 2016 Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 50 percent of those who checked and got on their phone at night were 18-24 year olds.

“I feel like it puts me to sleep because when you’re laying in bed and can’t go to sleep, it’s something to do. Like, you can scroll on any form of social media until you get drowsy,” Fitzgerald High School rising junior Nate Walker said. “Then if you want to turn it off right before you go to sleep, you can, and I know some people who fall asleep on their phones.”

It seems like a harmless act, but the consequences will last for a life time.

“We lay in bed and essentially shine a flashlight in our eyes and the flashlight is (the phone),” UGA Department of Psychology associate professor Janet Frick said. “It’s like your brain thinks ‘oh, it’s morning’ (and) so that’s a structural change that actually has an effect on the brain.”

During her junior year, Ward was extremely busy with taking higher level classes, starting a program for high school students to talk about mental health with middle school students and preparing for a number of award acceptances due to the program.

“(For) example, I didn’t think I was nervous for my (Advanced Placement) exam, … and then I went to bed the night before my AP exam and I just couldn’t sleep,” Ward said. “(I was) waking up every hour (and) I had a nightmare that I was late to the exam, which I don’t even know where that came from, and I thought I wasn’t nervous about it but (when) I was trying to sleep I couldn’t.”

Things won’t improve until certain changes are made.

“The biggest one is school start time, having it be as late as possible for high schools and I know it’s not necessarily a popular thing, but Athens has a curfew for people under the age of 18 (that are) not supposed to be out past midnight,” Frick said. “I think community-wide curfews are probably good policies.”

“You want to regulate your sleep cycle, so shifting from weekday to weekend try to keep that (at a) minimum. …That not only helps your body but also your physical health (and) your mental health,” Lyle said. “Limiting screens before bed is helpful. So in our computer and on our phone we have a lot of what’s called blue light, which stops the body from producing melatonin. …So if you limit screens a couple hours before you go to bed that will help your natural melatonin actually start producing so that you get sleepy and fall asleep.”

Botanical Gardens Gives Fresh Produce to Athens Community

Features, News

By Charlotte Luke

This summer, the Dig and Grow area of the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia bursts with delicious colors and smells: purple, red, and yellow stalks of chard, fragrant leaves of basil, tiny tomatoes budding from their vines, kale curling out of the soil.

More than 1,000 edible plants grown from seed by the Garden’s greenhouse manager, Melanie Parker, were planted in January 2018. Today, Dig and Grow is a thriving source of fresh vegetables and herbs and an important opportunity for “children [to] learn at an early age that vegetables don’t come from the grocery store originally,” said Ann Frierson, an advisory board member of the Botanical Garden for three decades.

But in addition to providing an “edible gardening experiential learning gallery,” said Cora Keber, Director of Education at the Botanical Garden, Dig and Grow provides fresh produce for people in the Athens community.

After the grand opening of the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden in March, the Botanical Garden partnered with Campus Kitchen, a student-run hunger relief program of the UGA Office of Service-Learning. Specifically, much of the produce grown in the Dig and Grow area of the Children’s Garden supports Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, a program through Campus Kitchen in which participants receive pre-made meals and a bag of fresh produce each week.

“We have donated hundreds of pounds of produce since opening in March and will continue to provide to our community whether it be through tasting in the garden, our programs or meals and produce provided by Campus Kitchen,” said Ms. Keber.

Dig and Grow and the Botanical Garden cultivate food and educational experiences, but Ann Frierson said she also envisions the Garden as a nice escape for visitors.

“The beauty of this garden is that it exposes people to nature which is becoming something harder and harder to experience as we become a concrete jungle, and to be able to get out within nature is critical to everyone’s state of mind.”

The grounds of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia are open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Food Waste on College Campuses

Features, News

By Elyssa Abbott

One in six Americans are unsure where their next meal will come from, even though 40% of food prepared never even touches the plate.

“Certainly, the statistics on waste and food insecurity are staggering and it is natural to wonder why one issue [waste] isn’t being used to address the other [hunger],” said Brenna Ellison, associate professor in Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. “Even though there is legislation to protect organizations who donate uneaten food in good faith, many are still concerned that they could be held liable if someone were to get sick from the donated food. One way to increase benefits to donating organizations would be to provide some sort of tax incentives where they would be willing to incur the costs of redistributing food.”

According to HuffPost, 130 billion pounds of food are discarded each year. U.S. colleges alone waste 22 million pounds of food per year. Due to the popular buffet style found on college campuses, food waste is overwhelmingly high. In addition to the “all-you-care-to-eat” dining approach the University of Georgia and schools around the country follow, the conveyor belt designed to transport dishes back to the kitchen allows students to not feel responsible for the waste they created. A common characteristic of college students is saving the most amount of money possible, which leads to purchasing groceries in bulk. Often times, the food will spoil before eaten.

In American colleges, a meal plan that typically includes five meals a week can cost anywhere from $720-$1850 for a single semester. Students understand that this is pricey and will fill multiple plates of food to receive the full value out of their meal plan investment. As imagined, the wide array of options found in dining halls skews perception to overestimate how much they can actually eat. After paper, food waste is the second largest contributor to waste due to the carelessness of college dining hall tactics.

The 22 million pounds of food colleges waste each year also includes food that never touches the plate. Dining hall food managers have the incredibly difficult job of estimating how many students will visit the dining hall that particular day, as well as determining the amount of food each will eat. Different foods and genres will be eaten more than others, so this task provides a challenge. Colleges across the country have begun implementing programs and different approaches to college dining.

The University of Georgia is one of the few schools that have switched to, “tray-less,” dining halls. This cuts down on the amount of plates a single student can carry. Still, colleges often use the “all-you-care-to-eat” (AYCTE) aspect to their advantage when recruiting.

“However, an a la carte or pay by weight pricing system would most likely result in less waste as students now have a financial incentive to think more carefully about the foods they select and waste,” Ellison said. “Other ways dining halls could reduce waste could be by using different serviceware (e.g., smaller plates, smaller scoops); offering samples; or pre-portioning items (instead of self-service). Each potential change has its own associated costs, though, which have to be considered. For example, offering samples may reduce food waste but could increase packaging waste (extra sample cups/silverware) or water use (if sample dishes are used).”

Simple solutions may be the most efficient way to overcome drastic food waste. A 2011 study with 600 university student participants found that more than 57 grams of food were wasted per student. After researchers issued a message to the students about food waste, it decreased by 15 percent. Posting signs in the dining halls could be an easy fix to diminish food waste on campus. Dining halls choosing to reduce portion sizes or reuse untouched leftovers are possibilities, but come with liability risk and controversy. At Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, resident halls have received solar-powered food composters to accommodate those that choose to grocery shop. The University of California, Davis, has started a student led program that collects near 2,000 pounds a week in carrot peels and coffee grounds from the school’s waste to compost the items into a material donated to community gardens. Food Recovery Network, a well-known student driven program at the University of Maryland, recovered 30,000 meals compiled of untouched leftovers in their first active year. The meals were given out around the D.C. area, a community where one in seven households struggle with hunger.

The immense amount of waste that comes from college campuses, communities that receive recognition for cutting-edge innovations and renowned studies, should outrage people. Colleges have the resources to fix this problem and improve hunger rates in the U.S., as well as elsewhere. Typical buffet style dining halls serve as a detriment to those that struggle with hunger, simply because loading an unnecessary amount of food onto a plate   appeals to 18 year olds when searching for higher education.

In a 2013 article with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation , José Graziano da Silva, director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said a solution has to happen.“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day.”

Preview of the 2019-20 Georgia Men’s Basketball Season

News, Sports

By Jackson Stone and Noah Monroe

Head Coach Tom Crean’s first season as the Georgia Bulldogs head coach fell below many people’s expectations as the team finished 11-21 and 13th in the SEC. Crean’s job this year will not be any easier with the loss of star sophomore Nicolas Claxton to the NBA Draft.

“Nic [Claxton] was unbelievable for us,” assistant coach Chad Dollar said. “It’s going to be a group effort for everyone to raise their level of play up and come together as one to replace him.”

Despite the loss of Claxton, the Dawgs bring in one of the top prospects in the country in Anthony Edwards. “Getting a guy of his caliber definitely upgrades our program from a national level and from a state level… It shows that the best players in the state of Georgia can stay in-state and play at their home schools such as the University of Georgia,” Dollar said. “We aren’t not going to do anything different from what we do with any other freshman but the publicity he brings and the excitement he brings is definitely something that will jumpstart our program.”

In addition to Edwards, the Dawgs have six other recruits coming in that help make up the 8th ranked recruiting class according to 24/7 Sports. This highly touted recruiting class has many Georgia fans excited for the upcoming season. However, Dollar knows there will still be a learning curve for the young talent. “They’re still high school kids,” said Dollar. “We’re taking their old habits and trying to build new habits and getting them adjusted to college, whether it’s on the basketball court or in the classroom… Summer is really a development stage.”

Under Coach Crean, the Dawgs take an unorthodox approach to many traditional basketball practices, which helps in many instances, such as when the NCAA recently announced it would be moving the college 3-point line back several inches. “We play with a four point line [in practice],” says Dollar. “That line is farther back to give us spacing, so the line being moved back won’t affect our offense at all; in some aspects, it will help us, because now it will open up even more and the defense will have to come out farther to guard us.”

The Dawgs coaching staff taped on a 4-point line (far right white tape) in practice to help with spacing

The Dawgs have on their schedule a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, a tournament showcasing some of college basketball’s elite programs. “We are going to use Maui like any other tournament,” says Dollar. “Obviously it will be publicized more on ESPN, there will be more coverage, but we want to use Maui as a way to get exposure for our program, but also to help us get ready for SEC play which is always competitive.”

The high expectations surrounding the program after an excellent recruiting class are certainly exciting, but Dollar knows that the Dawgs can’t get too far ahead of themselves. “I would preach patience. Even though we do have a talented group of young men and we’re excited about them being here at the University of Georgia, they’re still young. Once these guys get older and mature, then you will see a great product.”

The fans hope to see the team mesh together quickly into the season and compete for the SEC Championship. The Dawgs start the season off in Atlanta against Georgia Tech on Nov. 20.

High Schooler Addicted to Vaping Admits He Regrets His Decision

News

By Jenna Lo

*pseudonym used to protect the identity of a minor utilizing a nicotine product

High school student Grayson Howard* didn’t expect back in November of 2017 he’d be part of the 20.8% of high school students addicted to e-cigarettes according to the American Cancer Society.

“I started juuling because I was hanging around a group of friends who all did it. I just wanted to see what all the rage was about,” said Howard. “Looking back now I highly regret it.”

One in five high school kids and one in 20 middle school kids currently use e-cigarettes, as reported by the CDC. Additionally, according to the American Cancer Society there was a 78% increase of high school students using e-cigarettes between 2017 and 2018. This increase is often due to students feeling pressured by their friends to be cool or to fit in while being completely unaware of the dangers of e-cigarette usage.

“I didn’t know anything about juuling when I started,” said Howard. “I just thought it looked cool.”

Out of a group of high schoolers who admitted they had taken a hit of an e-cigarette at least once, they all disclosed they were with a group of friends the first time they took a hit. They either wanted to fit in, tried it because it looked cool, or were curious. No matter the reason, however, none of the high schoolers initially knew what was in the e-cigarette or the potential risks.

“I’m a big follower. Whenever I see all my friends doing something I also have to try it. I knew it had nicotine in it, but they hadn’t done as many studies back then. I really didn’t know what I was doing,” said one of the high schoolers.

While most of this group of high schoolers stopped juuling after their first hit, Howard continued to Juul. He eventually became addicted, which then cost him over $500 worth of e-cigarettes and affected his daily life.

“It would hinder my mood if I went long periods of time without it, and I would be cranky,” said Howard. “I highly regret it and discourage anyone from starting because honestly, the buzz isn’t worth it and it’s not worth affecting your day.”

As of right now, Howard is in the process of trying to quit juuling. However, officially quitting has proven to be more difficult than he ever could have imagined when picking up a Juul for the first time back in December 2017.

“I’ve tried to quit a couple of times. I end up being fine for a day or two, but then the withdrawals kick in, and I cave again,” Howard said. “I’ve spent too much money on it, and it has consumed too much of my life. It really sucks that I was naïve and got addicted to such a stupid thing.”

Photo courtesy of https://vaping360.com/.

Fairlife Causes Dairy Consumers Everywhere Heartbreak

News

By Erin Stafford

The dairy company known as Fairlife, a Coca-Cola partner, is known for its sustainability of dairy production and popular tourist attraction, “The Dairy Adventure.” However, behind the guise of ultra-filtered milk and agritourism, Fairlife stands amid controversy as videos released by Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) reveal that calves in Fairlife’s Fair Oaks Farms have been abused by multiple employees.

“While we were made aware a couple months ago of the fact that ARM had gone undercover at Fair Oaks Farms and had proactively made a statement, we had no idea of what kind of footage had been captured or what—if any—abuse had occurred,” said Fairlife founder, Mike McCloskey in an official statement about the ARM video release. “Regardless, I am disgusted by and take full responsibility for the actions seen in the footage, as it goes against everything that we stand for in regards to responsible cow care and comfort.”  

In the agriculturally driven town of Fair Oaks, Indiana sits Fair Oaks Farms, one of the main dairy farms that raises calves and produces milk for Fairlife products, which are sold in many grocery stores throughout Canada and the United States. About three months ago, ARM went undercover into Fair Oaks Farms to investigate. ARM is a non-profit investigative organization that is dedicated to eliminating severe animal cruelty operations. While undercover, ARM documented videos of four Fairlife employees and one third-party employee implementing severe abuse onto the calves in the farm. On June 6, ARM released these videos to the press, causing an immediate uproar on social media.

Almost immediately after the videos inside Fair Oaks Farms were released, the founder of Fairlife, McCloskey released an official statement addressing the abuse that was seen throughout the videos. In the videos, calves were stabbed, beaten with steel rebars, burned in the face with hot branding irons, subjected to extreme temperatures, provided with improper nutrition and denied medical attention.

“It is a shock and an eye-opener for us to discover that under our watch, we had employees who showed disregard for our animals, our processes and for the rule of law,” McCloskey said. “This ARM video shines a light on an area that—despite our thorough training, employee on-boarding procedures and overall commitment to animal welfare—needs improvement.”

The general public has been struggling with the idea that this kind of abuse could go on right under the nose of McCloskey, who prides his company on being one that ensures the comfort, safety, and well-being of its animals. “As an owner or manager of a company, you can’t always be in every place at one time to oversee your employees and production. Then sometimes employees will act in an appropriate way when their boss is around, and then act the opposite when their boss isn’t around,” said Professor John Bernard of the Animal and Dairy Science department of the University of Georgia.

“My family uses Fairlife products because of the high-protein content, but I would like to stop using the product because I want to be ethically conscious of what I’m consuming,” said Bridget Frame, a Fairlife customer. “If they are not treating the animals properly, then they’re probably not producing milk properly.” Many grocers are taking the same stance as customers and discontinuing the distribution of Fairlife products. Indiana grocers Jewel-Osco, Family Express, and Strack and Van Til have been some of the first to drop Fairlife products from their inventory.  

Though Mike McCloskey is under a lot of criticism, he is taking full responsibility for the abuse that happened to the calves of Fair Oaks Farms. Since releasing the official statement and taking responsibility for the abuse depicted in the ARM videos, Fairlife has taken steps to resolve and terminate the abusive employees. Even before the videos were released, McCloskey was made aware of three of his abusive employees by some of the coworkers who turned them in, and the abusers were terminated immediately. The fourth one, however, was brought attention to a little later than the initial three employees and was terminated after the video was released. The third-party employee that abused calves, who worked on the Fair Oaks Farms grounds through transporting calves, has been reported to the transportation company he works for and is not allowed to come and work at Fair Oaks Farms ever again.

After terminating the appropriate employees, Fairlife’s first call to action was to install camera surveillance throughout the entire farm. Following this, Fairlife also made a pledge of accountability and hired animal welfare experts to be on staff full-time and oversee animal care. They will also go through third-party audits with Food Safety Net Services that are unannounced every two weeks. In order to maintain their reputation and prevent any more abuse from happening to calves, McCloskey said Fairlife will continue to repair and strengthen their practices.