#MyWordsMatter at WIU… Nationally syndicated columnist agrees

#MyWordsMatter at Western Illinois University

To raise awareness of the impact of the words we use, a group of WIU graduate students, who were charged with a mission to create a project that would make the world a better place, have created the #MyWordsMatter campaign at WIU.

“To raise awareness of the impact of the words we use, a group of WIU graduate students, who were charged with a mission to create a project that would make the world a better place, have created the #MyWordsMatter campaign at WIU. The campaign, which began last semester, is picking up momentum across campus.” — Western Illinois University

For a Western Illinois University press release in early March, University Relations Director Darcie Shinberger interviewed AJ Lutz, the assistant director of communication and marketing for Western Illinois University Housing and Dining Services, who provided the background of the grassroots campaign #MyWordsMatter at Western.

Last week, the release caught the attention of Suzette Martinez Standring, a nationally syndicated columnist with GateHouse News Service.

In her piece, “Word choice matters,” Standring reflected on her own experience when she didn’t think about the implications of a word she used:

Years ago while at a cafe, I complained about buying a jacket at full price, only to find it elsewhere at 75 percent off. “I got gypped on that deal,” I told my friend. Nearby, a stranger cut in on us, “You shouldn’t use ‘gypped,’ because it’s a racial slur. It suggests that all Gypsies cheat and steal. The term is offensive.”

I retorted, “You know what’s offensive? Eavesdropping on other people’s conversations.” I left, annoyed at political correctness run amok. Yet once I realized the word had a racial element, I never used it again.

Suzette Martinez Standring

Suzette Martinez Standring is a nationally syndicated columnist with GateHouse News Service. Read more about her work at www.readsuzette.com.

In her column, Standring also noted the #MyWordsMatter buzz.

“Unknowingly, eight classmates created a campus-wide movement among 12,000 students who now promote taking responsibility for one’s words,” she wrote.

Standring also interviewed Lutz and noted that he suggested ways to speak up in a respectful way that doesn’t create shame or anger in others.

Use reflective questions. For example, ask, “Do you know what you’re saying when you say ‘that’s so gay?’” Often people will admit it’s something they’ve heard, or common slang, but it gets them thinking. Use a kind tone, and a meaningful conversation may emerge.

Read Standring’s column at www.norwichbulletin.com/columnist/x168224319/Suzette-Martinez-Standring-Word-choice-matters and follow the #MyWordsMatter campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MyWordsMatter.

School of Ag Faculty Gruver featured in Prairie Farmer

When it comes to cover crops, School of Agriculture Assistant Professor Joel Gruver is the go-to guy at WIU. This month, “Prairie Farmer,” features a large photo of Gruver and an article by Josh Flint, featuring commentary from Gruver. Flint’s article identifies key points about cover crops, including:

  • why cover crops have been discouraged in Illinois;
  • how 2011 highlighted the value of planting a cover crop before corn; and
  • reasons why Illinois farmers may be taking another look at planting cover crops.
WIU School of Ag's Joel Gruver Featured in Prairie Farmer

Joel Gruver, faculty in the School of Agriculture at WIU, is featured in an article about cover crops in Illinois in the Jan. 2012 issue of "Prairie Farmer."

In “Cover it up,” Flint writes:

Gruver says for the past several years, a number of factors have worked against cover crops across the state. [He] says wet seasons have pushed Illinois farmers toward intensive fall tillage in an attempt to alleviate compaction issues. [M]any Illinois landlords seem to have an obsession with squeezing every last cash-rent dollar out of tenants. With so many paying steep cash-rent rates, Gruver says it discourages tenants from adding the risk of a cover crop. “We have to be realistic. Cover crops can add more risk,” [Gruver noted]. “Over multiple seasons, cover crops help to weatherproof a farm by improving soil quality. In the short term, dry weather can be tough on establishment, and wet weather can cause termination challenges.”

Read more about cover crops from “Prairie Farmer” in the article, “Look For New Rules For Cover Crop Reimbursement In Mid-January.”

Learn more about Gruver’s research and work with cover crops at the School of Agriculture’s Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm at wiu.edu/ag/organicfarm/

McLeod featured in a major magazine

Congrats to Western Illinois University Assistant Professor of English professor Charles McLeod, who was recently featured in Poets & Writers magazine in an article about the somewhat unconventional path to publication of his novel, American Weather. The book is available from Amazon.co.UK, and was released earlier this month.

McLeod is also a popular professor at Western. Best of luck to Professor McLeod up on the release of this exciting new work of fiction!



WIU graduate puts nursing degree to work after (barely) surviving Joplin tornado

According to her hometown newspaper online, the Juneau (Alaska) Empire, Victoria “Torie” Powers, who just graduated from WIU with a degree in nursing, had “just settled into the Plaza Apartments after her graduation with honors from Western Illinois University’s School of Nursing” when the F5 tornado hit, in what is being called the worst tornado in the U.S. in 50 years.

“It came right for us,” Torie said. “We were on the northern edge of the vortex. One minute, I was talking to my dad and then I was screaming for God to save me in the bathroom.”

WIU student, professor share reaction to bin Laden death

In a recent local story on reaction to news of the death of Osama bin Laden:

Christopher Mansour, who will graduate this spring, said Macomb and WIU have been a peaceful community for him and other Muslims.

“As a Muslim, you’re relieved the man who was this crazy mastermind is out of the way, because we don’t want this man representing Islam.”

Authentic Lincoln signature discovered at WIU

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in the United States. And a Western Illinois University staff member recently discovered that a document found on a campus—that appeared to be signed by President Abraham Lincoln—is indeed authentic. The document will now be housed in the archives at Western Illinois University’s Malpass Library, as explained in an article in from McDonough County Voice.

Look for more information soon at wiu.edu/news!

Thunderstruck? Not these guys!

Five WIU students were recently featured on WQAD News for their attempt to chase down a tornado—and they explained why storm spotters are helpful to the National Weather Service, too.

(More, below the image)

screen shot of WQAD news clip

Learn more the meteorology program at WIU, and what makes it one of the very few of its kind in the Midwest.