Category Archives: At Issue

Going Off The Derech

[deck]A man leaves his faith in search of answers.[/deck]

Ari Mandel poses for a photo at his wedding in 2001. He is wearing a shtreimel, a traditional hat worn by married Hasidic men on Sabbath, holidays, and special occasions. "At the time, I was happy and excited," Mandel says. "I was doing what I was expected to do. Looking back, I was clueless. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and was essentially a child."

[caps]W[/caps]hen Ari Mandel left the only life he had ever known, he was torn between two different worlds; the one his parents and rabbis had envisioned for him, and the one that existed outside his synagogue. From science and mathematics to popular culture, he found that his parents’ views rarely matched up with the world he experienced away from home.

Mandel wanted answers.

“I remember asking my father; ‘You’re a smart man — don’t you ask questions?” Mandel says. “He told me, ‘I don’t want to know. I don’t want to ask, I don’t want to look.’ But I wanted to know.”

So he joined an ever-growing number of Orthodox Jews who, when confronted with the realities of an increasingly interconnected modern world, choose to walk away from their faith.

There was a time when being an Orthodox member of the Chosen People wasn’t really a choice. An aversion to razors, immodest clothing, and the meat of animals lacking cloven hooves was just part of being born into an Orthodox family. A strict adherence to the many Covenants of the first Abrahamic faith was a birthright. Simply walking away from that path wasn’t even conceivable, let alone an option to explore.

That was before the Digital Age sowed the seeds of what could be called a modern Jewish exodus. Widespread access to information began rendering old anchors—like being born Hasidic, or any other form of Orthodox—unable to stop people from leaving their traditional roots behind. Orthodox Jews of all persuasions are increasingly reaching for the razor and giving up on kosher diets. Some maintain the Orthodox customs of prayer and ritual. Others distance themselves as far as they can from the Jewish faith, dealing with the conundrum of being a Jew without being Jewish.

These modern, former-Orthodox Jews—Mandel included—are known within the Orthodox community as being “off the derech” (Hebrew for “path”), referring to the spiritual path adherents of Judaism are expected to follow. Some depart on intellectual grounds, unable to reconcile a strict literal adherence to Talmudic and Biblical principles with the scientific paradigm of the modern world; others struggle with the confines of strict dietary, behavioral, and other lifestyle restrictions.
Some, like Mandel, depart because of both.

As a Hasidic Jew growing up in New York, marriage to an acceptably conservative Jewish woman was what defined Mandel as an adult. It was also his first taste of true independence from his family and faith. With that independence came exposure to a world that didn’t fit with the one constructed for him by the tightly-controlled media he’d been permitted access to as a child.

After fruitless conversation with his father, Mandel took his questions to his rabbis. Even with their practiced theological rhetoric, their answers couldn’t satisfy him.

“They would fall back on, ‘Oh, you just need to have more faith [and] stop worrying about these things,’” Mandel says. “Or they would say, ‘Shut up—why are you asking questions? Are you smarter than your father? Are you smarter than your rabbi?’”

Evasive answers like those weren’t what Mandel was looking for. They didn’t explain how dinosaur bones fit with the young Earth theory, or how members of his faith could overlook evolution. And they certainly didn’t explain how a personal and often vengeful deity could be so important in his life, yet seemingly absent from the world around him.
Mandel decided their answers gave him no reason to shape his entire worldly paradigm on Judaic principles.

Nor did they explain why he needed to adhere to a rigid Jewish lifestyle, avoiding foods like bacon, cheeseburgers, and shrimp, or why he was required to dress in a modest fashion, donning the well-recognized black suits and hats sported by many Hasidic Jews. He wondered why he was expected to refrain from the simplest of activities on Friday evenings and Saturdays. More importantly, his rabbis’ explanations made him doubt the need to raise an ‘ideal’ Jewish family.

“I had one kid, and I knew if I stuck around, I would be expected to have a dozen,” Mandel says, explaining that he would also be expected to raise them in the same fashion he had been. “I came to a point where I was either going to leave . . . or stay there and lose my mind.”

So, in 2007, he left the fold. Taking his young son with him, Mandel abandoned his old life. After researching other faiths to little satisfaction, he eventually replaced his faith in a higher power with atheism. He remained a Jew not by faith, but by virtue of culture and heritage alone.

He even lost his wife and, temporarily, his son—though she eventually followed him out of the Orthodox community, bringing her child with her, their relationship didn’t survive the looser structural and social expectations of secular marriage.

“Coming from the world we come from, everyone has their place in life handed to them,” Mandel says. “But as [my wife and I] developed our own identities and personalities, wants and needs, we quickly drifted apart … we just weren’t a good match. But before we left, we couldn’t have known that.”

They parted on good terms, and they still work together as friends to raise their son. For that, Mandel says he’s grateful.

Almost every one of Mandel’s friends and acquaintances, all members of the Orthodox community, stayed behind when he left. Even his own family shunned him for more than a year after it was clear he wasn’t going to change his mind and re-join the Orthodoxy.

“They cut me off, they wanted nothing to do with me, they encouraged my wife to leave me, they cursed me out and called me names,” Mandel says. These malfeasances ultimately prompted his wife to start her own journey off the derech.

His father, who had told him that he didn’t want to know about the outside world, was furious.

“My father looked me in the eye and told me he was going to make sure I never saw my son again,” Mandel says.

His immediate family came around eventually, and within a year of his departure from the Orthodox lifestyle, they acted as though nothing had ever happened. Today, they get along with Mandel perfectly, having ultimately adjusted to the dramatic change in their son’s lifestyle remarkable well.

“Within the Orthodox community, it’s very much all or nothing,” Mandel says, who was eventually built up a social network through joining the army and meeting up with fellow Jews who had strayed off the derech via online communities. “Either you’re Orthodox all the way, or you’re not at all, and they’re not part of your life.”

Yechezkel Altein is a rabbi and Eugene ambassador of the Chabad-Lubavitch (Chabad) movement, one of the largest Hasidic communities in the world. He disagrees with the claim that all Orthodox communities are intolerant.

“I don’t think you’re bad just because you grew up different,” Altein says. “Some people will tell you, ‘You have to change your ways if you want me talk to you.’”
Altein is very clear that he isn’t the kind of person who limits his friendships to people who believe exactly as he does.

“I’ve had many very close friends who, while maybe they didn’t necessarily go off [the derech] all the way, swayed to the right, to the left, and then maybe back to the right,” he says, referring to both Chabad members and non-members alike.

“Some of them had intellectual questions when they were 15 or 16 and their teachers didn’t have good answers,” Altein says. “But when they were 17 or 18, they realized their teachers had good answers, but they had been too young to understand them.”

Mandel in 2007 during his first day of basic training. At this point he had gone almost fully "off the derech." "I didn't plan it that way, but in hindsight, the military was great for me, because everyone shows up completely out of their element, and is treated like a child, so I didn't stick out like a sore thumb," Mandel says.

He says it’s not at all surprising that many Orthodox Jews stray from the path at least once in their lifetime, especially given the influence of the United States’ cosmopolitan culture. Most return to the faith, he says, but even those who don’t aren’t held in ill regard by the Chabad movement.

Altein’s surroundings in the Eugene Chabad Jewish Center speak volumes about his personal commitment to Orthodox thought.

Leather-bound religious texts with gold-leafed Hebrew running down the spines line the bookshelves within the old Victorian house. Accompanying them are pictures of revered Chabad leader Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who gazes knowingly at the occupants of the house.

That’s to say nothing of Altein himself—conservatively dressed, yarmulke present and accounted for, beard unshaven. Clearly, his personal conviction is sound.

While Altein believes in tolerating religious differences, he doesn’t agree with the lifestyles or beliefs of those who choose to go off the derech. In fact, he says, he actively finds such people to be living in error, and he certainly wouldn’t want his children spending time around them.

“Even when being accepting, it’s something we have to be very careful about,” Altein says.“Our kids must always know what our philosophy is and why we believe what we believe.”

Still, he reflects the Chabad tenets in his own philosophies, and believes in an open dialogue between Jews of different levels of faith, even if Altein would rather his children not be present for the discussion.

“You can come in here with whatever notions you have and that’s perfectly fine,” he says.

“And we’ll talk and we’ll learn and we’ll discuss and we’ll discover together, and either you’ll come to see it my way, or you’ll choose not to, and as long as we stay friends and remain happy, that’s what counts.”

Even so, suave public relations campaigns may not be enough to bring many off-the-derech Jews back into the fold anymore, says Mandel, mostly due to one particularly prevalent product of the modern age: the Internet. With it, Jews who find themselves off the derech can connect with one another and organize like never before. They can also get together in person to swap stories about their time within the Orthodox faith.

Mandel’s own favorite tale to recount was his first experience of Yom Kippur in the U.S. Army. He was in the middle of boot camp and was given time off with his fellow Jewish recruits to celebrate the holiday. Rather than participating in a somber day of atonement and reflection the way Yom Kippur is intended, the day turned into a party. It was the first time Mandel had ever felt free to act that way on a holiday. For him, it was “completely and utterly surreal.”

At the end of these informal tale swaps, Mandel feels unburdened and pleased he made it this far off the path he had once trod so devotedly.

“I genuinely love life now,” Mandel says. “I marvel at how far I’ve come and I’m just happy to be alive.”

Members who choose to leave the faith are given the opportunity to re-define their lives. For Mandel, going off the path meant making his own.

Re-engineering a Species

[deck]Three scientists with different backgrounds come together to save a native oyster population on the brink of extinction. [/deck]

The Kumamoto oyster (right) is a gourmet half-shell oyster. They are smaller and have deeper shells than a Pacific oyster (left).

[cap]T[/cap]he Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon is bustling with scientists carrying tubs full of sloshing salt water, careful not to spill any as they walk. They take the tubs into a “Larval Room,” setting them onto shelves and attaching small thermometers to keep track of the bucket’s ambient water temperature. One man dressed in black galoshes and a neon orange fishing bib monitors the tubs going into the Larval Room, making notes on a clipboard about each of the cultures. He walks into a concrete room full of pipes and hoses that keep the cultures in a stable environment before moving over to one of the tubs.

The tub’s label reads: “01.2012 Adam.” Inside the tub is a milky white swirl of genetically-altered oysters, and they are geneticist David Stick’s pride and joy.

They may also be the Olympia oyster’s last hope.

Olympia oysters are native to the West Coast, and their population has been on a rapid decline since the days of the gold rush. Only recently have scientists understood how vital Olympia oysters are to bay and estuary ecosystems, as the species preserve the natural balance of these ecosystems better than any non-native oyster could.

Although Stick doesn’t specifically work with Olympia oysters because it is illegal to harvest them, he does experiment with the traits of the Pacific oysters to improve their yield and to make them hardier than Pacific oysters found in the wild. Stick says that he focuses on gene sets that will improve the shell quality, the animal’s survival rate, the actual size of the oyster, and the oyster’s meat-to-shell ratio. However, it’s difficult to genetically design an oyster that has these superior qualities because oysters are a naturally weak species that haven’t yet developed ways to combat the thirty-two lethal genetic diseases they’re susceptible to.

Stick breeds two species of oysters at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Pacific Oyster and the Kumamoto Oyster, which are categorized by type and family.

“Parent oysters put out about ten million oyster larvae, and if you get a couple to survive, that’s good,” Stick says, looking over his notes before checking the families of each oyster larvae tub.

“Oysters are sloppy at doing what they do [reproducing], but they do produce a lot.”

Stick wasn’t originally involved in oyster restoration efforts. Before he was manipulating the gene sets of oysters, he was working with livestock in the Midwest. “I didn’t want to work with cattle, and chicken, and pigs like I was,” Stick says. “I knew that I wanted to work with an aquaculture species. I knew where I wanted to go, I tried to create my own job, and that’s what I’ve essentially succeeded in so far being able to do.”

Stick enjoys being part of a young and developing field of biology. There are currently only two oyster breeding programs in the United States and about a handful worldwide. “It’s developing, and so it’s the taking of essentially a wild animal and making massive gains within a short period of time that help the producers that are struggling,” Stick says.  He hopes his breeding projects will continue for the next several years and that the Olympia oyster’s population numbers will return.

“Nature’s a wonderful thing and I do see [the Olympia oysters] coming back in the kind of numbers that it can improve the ecosystem associated with where they were once located,” Stick says.

Olympia oysters weren’t always so depleted. The species used to thrive in the bays and estuaries along the West Coast, the most densely-populated regions in Oregon having been located in Coos Bay, Yaquina Bay, and Netarts Bay. Historically, the Olympia oysters were an important source of food for Native Americans, although it wasn’t until Europeans flocked to the West Coast in search of gold that the Olympia oysters became over-harvested.

The oysters became popular during this period because they were served in brothels as an aphrodisiac. In addition to the over-harvesting, wildfires caused fine sediment to fall into the West Coast’s bays and estuaries, thus burying most of the

Olympia oysters and causing them to starve to death.  While these tragedies have kept the Olympia oyster population small, two more scientists are determined to keep this endangered species from any more demise.

Up in Washington, on a small island in the Puget Sound, Betsy Peabody looks out into one of Bainbridge Island’s glorious bays. It’s bays like these that she works tirelessly to protect. Peabody is the founder of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), an organization dedicated to preserving Olympia oysters, Pinto abalones, and kelp, all of which are keystone species to the region’s ecosystem. The Olympia oyster project is one of the PSRF’s largest and longest-running initiatives because of how sparse the Olympia oyster populations are in the Puget Sound. While Peabody says PSRF has found the species living in the bays, less than four percent of historic core Olympia oyster populations remain.

“The oyster beds of old were dense and resilient and provided lots of ecological benefits as described above,” Peabody says. “This is what we’re trying to re-establish.” Peabody prides herself on the amount of restoration work her organization has done so far, and says the PSRF hopes to restore one hundred acres of oyster populations in the next eight years.

While Peabody originally procured a bachelor’s in English, she has been involved with marine biology her entire life. She went to scuba and marine biology camps as a child, and biogenic habitats such as mangrove forests and coral reefs have held a special place in her heart. “These are natural structures built by living species that support a whole community of organisms around them. I’m still smitten with these types of habitats today,” Peabody explains.

Her affinity with the sea is one of the motivations behind her work.

“I feel like I’ve discovered who I am through this work,” Peabody says.  “Frankly, I think I would have thrived as a member of a Paleolithic tribe.  I’m a bit of a misfit in the modern world but enormously happy that I get to participate in this kind of restoration work.”

Peabody feels that coastal resources, including Olympia oysters and other shellfish, represent the beginning of humankind and our primal habits. To her, all shellfish are a connection to a time thousands of years ago, and it is because of this special connection that she wants to raise awareness.

Having lost eighty-five percent of the shellfish population worldwide, she fears the animals will be perpetually be endangered if over-harvested, and humans may not only lose this important piece of their history, but a key piece to all aquatic ecosystems as well.

By going out into the bays to find oyster samples and monitoring and enhancing oyster beds, Peabody hopes this keystone species will slowly turn itself around.  Still, she feels the oysters are a long ways away from becoming completely restored.

Over in Coos Bay, Steve Rumrill and his team of graduate and doctoral students have been working diligently on several restoration projects. Rumrill, whose projects are located in Coos Bay but who works in Newport at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, is a research scientist and the Shellfish Program Leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The water temperature is carefully controlled at the Hatfield Marine Science Center so that the oysters can fully mature before they’re bred.

Rumrill has five different restoration projects set up. One works in Coos Bay. The other, located in South Slough, is trying to discover everything from why the Olympia oysters haven’t been able to repopulate their own species to where the best areas along the tideflats are to “plant” more of the creatures so they won’t compete with other Pacific oyster populations.

One of Rumrill’s major projects is a “common garden” study, a scientific method that determines genetic diversity. Rumrill and his team will take some of the Olympia oysters found in Washington and raise them next to animals living in Coos Bay. He works closely with Stick on this project, as Stick uses his genetics background to tell if Coos Bay Olympia oysters are faring better or worse than their Washingtonian counterparts.

“Turns out that being local is better,” Rumrill says. “Those juveniles [Coos Bay native Olympia oysters] grow and survive a little bit better than the imports from Washington even though they’re the same species. There’s something about that – being local for generations from that bay is helpful.”  The project, which has been active for around three years, has so far been successful; the team currently has about four million Olympia oysters spread out in the South Slough area, although this number is still extremely small in comparison to its historic population numbers.

For Rumrill, oysters and marine ecology are extremely important. Upon realizing that shellfish populations were on a global decline, he knew he had to get involved.

“I was looking at a situation in my local backyard in the Coos estuary where I could make a difference in the recovery of a population before I was too old to do some good work,” Rumrill says.

Beginning his career as a marine scientist during his undergraduate years in California, Rumrill has always been interested in the world’s ever-growing environmental problems and wanted to be part of the solution.  It wasn’t until he came to Oregon that he was able to put his environmental solutions into practice.

“The opportunity to really have an impact on populations and to be able to go to bed at night and say, ‘The world is a better place because of the work I’m doing,’ is one of the most rewarding things,” Rumrill says. He says his work is just as rewarding intellectually due to his ability to draw from the scientific work happening all over the world and give students and volunteer groups the tools and resources necessary to help them with their own restoration projects.

While Rumrill doesn’t think Olympia oysters should be put on the endangered species list quite yet, he does believe the animals should be given the time they need to naturally restore their population. He worries that oyster poaching will prevent this from happening.

“Whenever people hear the word ‘oyster’ they immediately think ‘food,’” Rumrill says.

“What I ask people to do is to think about oysters in a way other than food. Think about them as an ecological habitat and a major component of the ecology of estuaries that has been taken away.”

Until people stop associating oysters with food, he believes the Olympia oyster population will constantly be in danger of going extinct.
Back at the Hatfield science lab, Stick feeds the oysters a sample of the facility’s home-grown algae.

David Stick checks on his homegrown algae that serve as the oysters’ main source of food in the microalgae room at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR. The algae seen here are in their fourth growth cycle.

He looks over his tanks full of oysters, each maturing on their own—his life’s work there growing for all to see. Each sample has the potential to become the hardiest oyster. To Peabody, Rumrill, and Stick, oysters are precious species. Although Stick raises his oysters to be harvested and eaten, all three scientists believe that the Olympia oyster plays a vital role in marine environments, and that if people would simply change the way they think about this animal they can save a keystone species, an important piece of humankind’s past. 

Carla Viles of Labor of Love Midwifery Services talks with patient Elaena Shepard about her choice for a homebirth.

The Hospital at Home

[deck]Midwives, legislators, and doctors battle over the safest way for women to give birth.[/deck]

Carla Viles of Labor of Love Midwifery Services talks with patient Elaena Shepard about her choice for a homebirth.

Carla Viles of Labor of Love Midwifery Services talks with patient Elaena Shepard about her choice for a homebirth.

[caps]T[/caps]he birth of Elaena Shepard’s first son happened so quickly that she barely made it to the futon, where her husband caught their son. Odin was born three years ago in the Shepards’ old home before their midwife even arrived.

Now seven months pregnant with her second child, Shepard has yet to experience the smell of latex-gloves and sterilizing cleaners indicative of a hospital. She doesn’t plan to give birth there either.

Shepard helps make up the 1 percent of women in the United States who have chosen to give birth in their own home with a midwife.

“I felt like if I went to a doctor, I would be someone who had an appointment that day—a piece of paper,” Shepard says, preferring instead a natural and personalized birthing experience.

Midwife Carla Viles has been providing homebirths for the past twenty years. She assisted Shepard with her first pregnancy and is guiding her through her second. The two women share a close bond and chat freely with one another during appointments.

But unlike an obstetrician at the hospital, Viles has never been to medical school and doesn’t carry a license to practice. Viles learned her trade through field experience and by completing apprenticeships with other midwives. Some medical professionals argue this training isn’t sufficient for midwives to handle complications during birth.

The conflict between doctors and midwives concerning the safest way to give birth has been going on for years, and the issue recently faced legislative action. Homebirth midwives are illegal in ten states and eighteen states require midwives to practice under a government-regulated license.

The question of whether or not a compromise exists still lingers in Oregon—one of only two states that still allows voluntary licensure for midwives.

Only seventy-seven licensed midwives practice in the state of Oregon, and they are required to follow regulations set by the Oregon Health and Licensing Agency (OHLA). A license guarantees that a midwife has accomplished a certain level of training and permits her to carry medications. It also allows the OHLA to investigate a midwife’s records if a patient or doctor files a malpractice complaint.

Viles uses a stethoscope to listen to the heartbeat of Shepard’s baby during a prenatal exam.

Viles uses a stethoscope to listen to the heartbeat of Shepard’s baby during a prenatal exam.

Midwives who choose to practice without a license are not allowed to carry medications and are not held accountable by the government.  This is the issue that Margarita Sheikh of Eugene, Oregon, now faces after losing her son during her homebirth in July. When Sheikh hired an unlicensed midwife to help her deliver her first baby, she never imagined her midwife wouldn’t know how to perform CPR on her son when he was born without a heartbeat. “I didn’t know my midwife was lying to me,” Sheikh says.

Sheikh says the midwife made false claims about her experience and training, but she can’t receive any aid from the government because the midwife is unlicensed.

This tragedy put midwives in the media spotlight, placing the push for mandatory licensing—once again—at the forefront of the homebirth debate in Oregon.

Melissa Cheyney, a licensed midwife and chair of the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery, argues that mandatory licensure is not a matter of making the practice safer but a matter of holding midwives accountable and making sure every midwife has a minimal entry level of training.

“The real danger in our state now is that you could have somebody who knows absolutely nothing, but calls herself a midwife,” Cheyney says.

Oregon Representative Mitch Greenlick has been pushing for mandatory licensure for several legislative sessions after he realized there were midwives practicing without the credential. “That to me is completely crazy,” Greenlick says. “Midwifery is a real health profession. Why is it not licensed?”

But Cheyney is wary about establishing a law so soon without data proving licensed midwives produce better birth outcomes than those without a license. Though a project to obtain this data is under way, it will take at least three years to compile the information and determine the results.

Greenlick isn’t waiting for this information. He plans to once again present a bill in 2013 that would mandate licensure and allow the OHLA to set regulations. The regulations would establish specific training requirements and possibly restrict certain home birthing situations including twin births, breeches, or VBACs, which occur when a woman attempts a vaginal birth after previously having a cesarean section.

Oregon license holders currently receive entry-level training in those procedures and only face minor limitations assisting high-risk births. But midwives who oppose licensure and government involvement in the practice fear that restrictions will only tighten.

According to Viles, if Greenlick’s law passes, the number of hospital transfers could increase. “It could prevent women from getting the experience they really want,” Viles says.

Many women who are uncomfortable with having cesarean sections in hospitals often look to homebirth as a natural alternative. Viles fears the government might prohibit certain options, infringing on a women’s right to choose her own birthing method.

“It’s an issue of women’s reproductive rights, not midwifery rights,” Viles says. “My main concern is that birthing women will lose their rights.”

Colleen Forbes has held a license for all ten years that she has served as a midwife. She says a lot of energy is spent preserving the rights of a small number of women instead of thinking about the 99 percent of women who choose to give birth in hospitals.

Sarah Macrorie, a licensed midwife, discusses the necessities her patient, Bree Staffelbach, will need to prepare for the birth of her baby.

Sarah Macrorie, a licensed midwife, discusses the necessities her patient, Bree Staffelbach, will need to prepare for the birth of her baby.

“Shouldn’t we be promoting the safety and credentialing of midwifery so that more of the mainstream population sees it as a viable alternative over medicalized hospital birth?” Forbes asks.

She believes more women than the 1 percent currently choosing homebirth fit into the low-risk category, and therefore more women should be choosing to give birth at home with a midwife. “I don’t think [mandatory licensing] is going to make a damn bit of difference in terms of safety,” Forbes says. She thinks mandatory licensing should be viewed in terms of setting training standards and increasing accountability for all midwives so women, such as Sheikh, are more protected.

Forbes says midwifery should be held to the same standards as other health practices.

“The government has a responsibility to oversee the practice of midwifery, just like they oversee the practice of medicine or getting a tattoo or getting your hair done,” Forbes says.

Sheikh agrees that the government needs to take action. “If the state is not going to protect you from untrained practitioners, how can you protect yourself?”

The death of Sheikh’s son could be the last push legislators need to finalize a new law. But barriers still prevent some midwives from obtaining a license, like the hefty licensing fee that recently increased from $630 per year to $1,800 per year.

“It’s a really significant problem,” Forbes says. “At $1,800 it’s really cost prohibitive for some midwives.”

Forbes is able to charge $3,300 per birth and performs about thirty births per year. Lane County has one of the highest planned homebirth rates in the state, with thirty-eight this year according to the Midwives Alliance of North America.

Cheyney is concerned for many midwives, including those with fewer client bases such as student midwives who are just starting out, midwives who work in rural towns, and midwives who work with under-served populations. If those midwives can’t afford a license under a new law, they would be forced to give up their practice.

“Would that mean that those communities then have no one to serve them? That seems like a problem,” Cheyney says. “I have always been a fan of bringing the cost down and giving an incentive to midwives to license.”

Greenlick is also aware of the issue and says he hopes to reduce the cost of a license and possibly wave the fee for the first year if his bill passes.

Obtaining a license gives midwives the ability to legally carry medications such as anesthetics and antihemorrhagics, a drug that controls bleeding. Cheyney says she is more comfortable attending a birth with those medications.

Among framed art pieces and sculptures, the workspace of Macrorie’s workspace reveals subtle hints of a doctor’s office. Macrorie works with Modern Midwifery Care.

Among framed art pieces and sculptures, the workspace of Macrorie’s workspace reveals subtle hints of a doctor’s office. Macrorie works with Modern Midwifery Care.

While many unlicensed midwives choose to use herbal remedies in place of medicine, Viles says medication makes the birthing process much safer.

However, Cheyney argues that the intent of voluntary law is to protect those midwives who want to practice traditional midwifery for cultural or philosophical reasons. “I have less sympathy for a midwife who wants to practice like a licensed midwife but doesn’t want to pay to get the license,” Cheyney says.

Cheyney wants to maintain protection for traditional midwives regardless of licensing laws. She suggests allowing midwives to apply for exemption from mandatory licensure to preserve those traditions. “I think it’s a travesty around the world that Western-style obstetrics have come in and annihilated long traditions of traditional midwives,” Cheyney says.

Tradition holds a different meaning for Eugene midwife Amanda Moore, who says the license training requirements disregard the traditional learning aspects of midwifery.

“Midwifery is something that is passed down. You gain experience by seeing things happen over and over again,” Moore says. “It is not textbook. It is not something you learn at school; it’s [a] midwife teaching a midwife.”

The majority of midwives who choose to serve the mainstream population may be forced to adapt to modern changes in their practice. “Midwifery has always changed and morphed and evolved to fit the community and the culture that it’s working in,” Cheyney says.

Midwife Macrorie examines her patient at a prenatal session.

Midwife Macrorie examines her patient at a prenatal session.

Despite the high costs of acquiring a license, midwives covet the long-term economic and security benefits that come with credentials, such as the ability to serve women who rely on the Oregon Health Plan. “It opens the door to more women who would never be able to pay out of pocket,” Forbes says.

Even midwives who don’t agree with licensing are making the shift to secure their business. Moore just received her license in August, after practicing the trade for five years. “I could serve more people,” Moore says.

And an increasing number of mainstream women are choosing to eschew hospital sheets and epidurals for the comfort of birthing in their own home. Many mainstream women feel more confident hiring a midwife that carries state-recognized credentials and can access medical care if it becomes necessary. “It’s not just radical women choosing to have radical births anymore,” Moore says.

When the time comes, Shepard plans to have her baby on a couch in her Oakridge, Oregon, home. She wants her husband to be there for support and hopes her three-year-old son will get to be a part of the process. There are only two months left until the baby comes, but Shepard feels confident and ready with Viles by her side.
At a prenatal appointment on a Tuesday afternoon Shepard lies down atop a pink duvet cover in a small bedroom in Viles’s home. The two women sit quietly as Viles runs a handheld Doppler over Shepard’s bulging tummy. A rhythmic pulse fills the room. Both women smile as they listen to the strong heartbeat.  “It sounds like a girl,” Viles says.

Three boys read at charter school

Considering The Alternatives

[deck]Montessori and Waldorf schools offer an attractive alternative to parents who are tired of traditional educational models.[/deck]

Three boys read at charter school

Calvin Chambers, Jacob Larrabee, and Quinton Kaser read together after lunch at The Community Roots School in Silverton, Oregon.

[caps]B[/caps]ookcases cover the walls of the classroom, each one supplied with a colorful set of materials—a box of three-dimensional geometric shapes; an abacus with red, green, and blue beads; and a plastic puzzle replica of a human heart. Equipped with these items, children work independently or in small groups throughout the room.

One child sits with a map of Western Europe in front of him. His eyes dart back and forth across the continent. After several moments of concentration, he takes a small green flag and pins it to Italy. A few feet away, another child studies her multiplication tables using a multicolored checkerboard and strands of beads. She places a strand into a square and scribbles something in her workbook. A girl at the neighboring table drags a diminutive rake across a Zen garden, slowly tracing an “S” pattern in the sand.

This is the three-hour work period at The Community Roots Montessori School in Silverton, Oregon—a time for children to independently delve deep into their studies. In many respects the school is a departure from traditional teaching methodologies.

Many types of alternative educational models exist around the world. The Montessori method focuses on child-led exploration, while Waldorf concentrates on teaching through storytelling and art, with an emphasis on introducing new concepts at the appropriate developmental stage.

Both methods share one powerful theme: helping children find joy in learning. Rather than expecting children to memorize facts and figures, the schools focus on discovering what will motivate children to seek out information on their own and inspire their intellectual curiosity.

Boy listens to music at school

Audrey Surbaugh displays a picture she drew in the cafeteria during lunch at The Community Roots School.

The Montessori and Waldorf methods, developed by Maria Montessori in 1907 and Rudolf Steiner in 1919, are structured to educate students differently depending on where they are developmentally. Followers of both methods believe younger students are sponges that absorb information from their surroundings, and think children need concrete examples to understand foreign concepts.

While creating her namesake educational method, Montessori developed sets of materials to express ideas to children in a tangible way.

“As opposed to memorizing what to do, [the Montessori method] can give you lessons to show what is actually happening,” Community Roots instructor Gary Grenier says.

In a typical Waldorf classroom, desks face the front of the class in a configuration similar to those seen in traditional schools; however, the similarities end there.

Waldorf educators teach Rudolf Steiner’s concepts by using both dynamic and pictorial methods. Students are either asked to move their bodies or are presented with art and stories when introduced to new lessons.

“Developmentally, children are so in their imagination in those early years,” Valerie Perrott, public relations and enrollment coordinator for the Eugene Waldorf School, says. “That’s the way they find their motivation or interests—through that picture or through that movement.”

Perrott says that letters of the alphabet, for example, are often presented with a picture and a story. The instructor might introduce the letter “F” by drawing a picture of a fish leaping from the water. The instructor would then tell a short story to the class using words that made “F” sounds. At the end of class students would be given the chance to draw their own fish. When the students return the following day, the instructor would relate the story of “F” once again, using repetition to cement the lesson.

The Eugene Waldorf School is a private school, and therefore does not receive state funds; administrators charge tuition instead. Most Waldorf schools must be private due to their nondenominational “emphasis on the divine.” Perrott says every person has a spiritual self, and the Waldorf method explores this self through teaching its students about world religions. This can sometimes include highlighting a celebration observed by a student’s family and integrating that into lessons.

A girl shows her drawing at school

Audrey Surbaugh displays a picture she drew in the cafeteria during lunch at The Community Roots School.

Unlike Waldorf, many Montessori schools are charter schools, which means they’re partially funded by the government and have much more freedom in their curriculum than traditional schools.

State law requires that at least 50 percent of charter school teachers are certified in traditional teaching methods, regardless of what system the school employs. The Community Roots School additionally requires their teachers to be Montessori-certified. The Eugene Waldorf School has its own two-year certification program on site. These certifications are issued to maintain the integrity of Waldorf and Montessori’s unique teaching styles.

As opposed to traditional classrooms, Waldorf schools don’t use textbooks. Instead students work with a selection of materials and create their own workbooks as they progress through their lessons. These workbooks are considered just as useful as any textbook, and students will often use them to reference previous lessons.

This is not to say that Waldorf classrooms are completely without books. Waldorf schools will often have encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases available for student use.

At The Community Roots Montessori School, each student is given a workbook containing lessons and a set of goals. They work independently and move about the room collecting materials to complete their studies. Students choose which lesson to work on and spend as much time as they need on each task before moving onto the next one.

“You might have a kid working on the same project for two or three hours,” Community Roots Principal Miranda Traeger says. “It allows for that deep concentration that a lot of traditional schools interrupt.”

A girl lies down to read at school

Amaya Running Cox takes some time to relax and read in Gary Grenier’s class at The Community Roots School.

This block of time is essential to the Montessori method. During this work period, teachers assist students as needed and sometimes give short lessons to the class.

Fifth-grader Amaya Cox says she enjoys the way The Community Roots School allows her to learn at her own pace.

“I think it’s a lot funner,” Cox says. “When I was in the other schools I got kind of bored just listening to a teacher teach. I think it’s funner to be independent. I’m a very independent person.”

Unlike traditional public schools, students in typical Montessori classrooms vary widely in age. Most classrooms have at least a three-year age range. The idea is that older students—who are accustomed to the Montessori method—will model appropriate behavior and help younger students understand the material. This helps the class develop a sense of community.

“You won’t see [older students] giving directives on how things should go, but just graciously intervening when they see a child is needing help or a child is struggling,” Traeger says.

“We’re training these little people to treat each other in this amazing, warm way; and we’re giving them the opportunity to do that without the adult intervention.”

At The Community Roots School learning doesn’t stop at lunchtime. Each day instructor Jenny McCord asks her students to give thanks before lunch starts. The process helps students ease out of their work period and honors the notion that every child has something important to say.

As students file into the lunchroom, McCord turns off the lights. The natural light from the sun instead fills the room.

“I’m thankful for my mom,” one student exclaims.

“I’m thankful for everything,” another says.

After each student has given thanks, one student proudly proclaims “Bon appétit!” The lights flick back on and the students dig in. Their lunch tables are devoid of soda, flavored milks, or other sugary treats. Instead, students munch on carrot sticks, salad, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The Community Roots School considers food preparation an important part of the Montessori philosophy. The school encourages students to take part in preparing their lunches. This helps them learn about nutrition.

When a student brings something unhealthy to lunch, fellow classmates offer constructive suggestions. The point is not to shame the food choices of other children, but to build a community where students work together to find healthier alternatives.

“That piece of community is really important because they rely on each other versus relying on the one person in the classroom, which is the teacher,” McCord says. “So they have to use their resources.”

girl uses beads

Grace Traeger uses strings of beads to learn math skills during a three hour work period.

Montessori and Waldorf schools are popular among educators and parents who feel traditional public schools aren’t reaching the children in their community. Parent Jade Elms says that Waldorf’s creative teaching methods prompted her to enroll her two children into the Eugene Waldorf School.

“I walked through the school for the first time on a tour during the school day and heard the children singing, saw the beautiful watercolor paintings, observed the artful and soothing classrooms with chalk ‘paintings’ on the board, and found myself crying with relief that there really was a living alternative to the sterile, over-stimulating, rote educational experience I had as a child,” Elms says.

When her daughter Rya first entered the Eugene Waldorf School she struggled academically. Rya’s instructors encouraged her to express herself artistically instead, building her confidence and keeping her interested in learning.

The Community Roots School only offers classes up until the fifth grade, so students must return to a traditional school when they leave. Unlike Montessori, the Waldorf curriculum extends into high school; however, no Waldorf high school exists near Eugene. Perrott says most of their students move onto either the International High School in South Eugene or Churchill High School.

Elms says her daughter’s transition from the Eugene Waldorf School into high school was easy. Rya received mostly As and Bs and graduated from the International High School with a cumulative GPA of 3.67.

“In my experience, the Waldorf graduate is an inordinately compassionate, respectful, confident, and intelligent individual who has already created many beautiful and useful objects with their hands and possesses the beginnings of a deep understanding about not only the mechanics but also the relatedness of our world,” Elms says.

Instructors at both the Eugene Waldorf School and The Community Roots School hope to ingrain a love of learning and self-confidence in their students so they will continue to succeed once they graduate. Konrad Siefer, a fifth-grader at The Community Roots School, feels he’s gained something invaluable from the time he’s spent receiving an alternative education.

“I’ve learned how to respect and have a choice of freedom,” Siefer says. “That’s what I’ve learned—what freedom feels like. I just love this school.”

Online gaming addiction illustration

Trying to Unplug

[deck/] A woman battles gaming addiction. [/deck]

Video game addiction illustration

*Indicates name has been changed to protect the subject’s identity.

[caps/]T[/caps]he sound of clattering cups intermingles with the quiet chatter of customers on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. College students, well-dressed churchgoers, and busy families crowd around the cash register at a small coffee shop. A toddler wearing his Sunday best presses his hand against the glass of the pastry display case and begs his mother for a cookie. A barista shouts the name of a convoluted order. A woman talking on her phone comes to retrieve it, while bemoaning to the person on the other end about the lofty cost of replacing a set of slashed tires.

They are all different; and yet, they all harbor secrets.

Miranda Smith* waits in the corner of the coffee shop, sipping a cup of black coffee and brushing her dark brown hair out of her eyes. She looks like any other woman enjoying her morning caffeine boost. No one would guess Smith is recovering from an unusual addiction.

Smith is a former video game addict.

Most people can separate gaming from reality. But for those like Smith, video games are all consuming. Her addiction destroyed many aspects of her once rich and positive life.

“I think one of the misconceptions is that people who get addicted to games have nothing else going on in their lives, and that isn’t actually true,” Smith says. “I dismantled my life to game more.”

Despite the prevailing belief that video game addiction only occurs among young men and teenagers, gaming addiction doesn’t discriminate based on age or gender. While gaming can be healthy in moderation, it becomes an addiction when the sufferer forgoes basic activities like sleeping, eating, having sex, and taking care of personal hygiene.

Smith says among American adults, the appeal of gaming is obvious: it’s a fun, low-risk stress reliever that allows gamers to connect with one another. Fully customizable character templates allow gamers to adopt a new persona while playing. You want to be a fantastical elf skilled in archery? No problem. You want to be a scantily clad sorceress who heals and conducts spells? Done. You want to be a twisted, evil monster whose only goal in life is to kill? All it takes are a few keystrokes and some imagination.

Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG ), like the online fantasy game World of Warcraft (WOW), have it all. And the anonymity of these digital worlds reduces the pressures associated with having to socialize outside the computer, where the only persona you have is your own.

By day, Smith was a spunky, cheerful woman who worked with computers; by night, she was a Blood Elf priest, who had long, pitch-black hair and glowing green eyes, and wielded a deadly jewel-encrusted bow. For Smith, it was her escape—a way to connect with others and fulfill a craving. What she didn’t realize was that her habits were detrimental to her health, her family, and her happiness. Before her addiction, Smith had a job, a family, and an active social life. In her spare time she tended a garden and a flock of chickens. Her friends and co-workers often saw her at social gatherings. However, bit by bit, Smith’s addiction tore her aware from reality.

Smith had grown up during a time when video games were less prevalent. She first began playing basic games on her Palm Pilot, and then learned about flash games on the Internet. Working in the technology industry, gaming was popular among her co-workers, and when some of them showed her WOW, everything clicked. WOW was the perfect game for her. At first, it was a way for Smith to bond with her co-workers, but soon her addiction began to take hold.

“I wanted to keep going because the compulsion was there,” Smith says. “I think addiction is the loss of choice. What separates me from everyone is that, at some point, I couldn’t choose how much I played anymore.”

Even after Smith’s husband and friends expressed concern, she couldn’t stop. Smith would partake in Local Area Network (LAN) parties, where she and her Internet friends would play WOW together on their computers in the same room. Sometimes these parties would last until six in the morning.

Smith began cutting corners at work, lying to cover up the fact she was gaming on the job. She paid little attention to her family, working as quickly as she could to pick her daughter up from school so she could spend a few extra minutes questing in the digital world. Once her daughter was home, Smith would assemble a quick dinner and put her daughter to bed. Then she was off for the night, completely immersed in another reality.

“The more self-centered I got with [gaming], the more I could justify what I was doing,” Smith says.

Smith began to pull away from her marriage. She became agitated when her husband wanted to have a conversation with her while she was gaming, and they soon stopped going on date nights.

A year before Smith decided to quit gaming, her husband walked away from their marriage. Smith was devastated, but even the divorce wasn’t enough to stop her from playing.

“I was willing to sacrifice many things in my life,” Smith says. “And I did.”

According to TechAddiction, a website created by psychologist Brent Conrad for technology addicts, 72 percent of U.S. citizens play eighteen hours of video games a week. In addition, over 40 percent of the country’s ten million-plus gamers are addicted to MMORPG’s like WOW. While many of those addicted are teenagers, there are thousands of adults who suffer as well.

Lily Cook, a therapist based in Portland, Oregon, deals with video game addicts of all ages. She explains that her approach “depends on the person and what they are willing to do.”

“Some people have experienced serious consequences and want to regain control of their gaming,” Cook says, “while others don’t really want to stop and are seeking treatment only to satisfy someone else.”

Cook says there are many reasons why people become addicted, but one of the most notable is the intense pleasure of finishing the games’ tasks feels similar to that of a drug addict’s during a high. This feeling is highly addictive and makes players want to relive the sensation again and again. Games like WOW reward players for completing repetitive tasks, thus continuing the cycle of addiction.

When Smith was in the peak of her addiction, she didn’t shower or clean her home. She would sit for hours hunched over at her desk in near darkness, staring fixedly at the screen. She lived in the same clothing for days. It got so bad that her daughter couldn’t invite friends over because the house was overrun with filth and infested with mice.

It was during one of these nights—in the middle of Smith’s questing—that she heard a knock on the door. The police were on the other side.
Smith’s daughter had been pushing buttons on the home phone and had accidentally dialed 911. Smith was terrified.

“My house was appalling and I was worried that if I let [the police] into the house they would take my kid away, or they would at least report me to social services,” Smith says. This was her wake-up call.

Smith begged a friend to delete her characters on WOW.

“I knew that if I logged back in, I didn’t know if I could log back out again,” Smith says, explaining the relief she felt when she realized her characters were gone forever. “I really felt like I had one window to quit.”

It was only by finding a support website called Online Gamers Anonymous (OLGA) that she was able to put her life back together. For Smith, OLGA was a perfect substitute for WOW.

“Instead of reading gaming forums or raid strats [gaming lingo for strategies] I could go and read some actual posts on how to have a life again,” Smith says.

The first step was cleaning her house. Smith started small, cleaning one pile at a time. She would often go outside to observe ordinary people going about their daily lives in order to sort through what she calls her “brain mush period” of fighting her addiction. She also adopted the twelve-step program to control her urges. Each day, Smith spends about fifteen minutes assessing her life and her feelings.

Today, Smith occupies her time by working and spending time with her daughter. She exercises and showers regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She can’t pick up a video game anymore, nor are games allowed in the house. Smith is still a member of OLGA, and she currently sponsors other gamers who feel like they have lost everything and want to work to gain it back.

“You don’t have to blow everything up in your life to decide it’s time to stop,” Smith says.

Back in the corner of the coffee shop, Smith stands up to leave. She looks around at the other customers, watching them go about their lives. No one would have guessed the struggles she has overcome.

She shoulders her green messenger bag and moves out of the coffee shop. Her eyes are bright and the sun is shining—a rare occasion in the Pacific Northwest. She receives a text from her daughter that she’s on her way home from her father’s house. Smith smiles and goes about the rest of her very ordinary Sunday afternoon.

A caretaker at the Homes for Hounds adoption agency plays with a greyhound in the exercise yard. The dogs are let outside two at a time and wear muzzles to protect the dogs during any playful roughhousing.

Greyhound Racing: Humane?

[deck]Greyhound racing has long been a topic of controversy, yet Rayetta Holder, who owns a shelter for retired racing dogs, stresses the benefits of the sport for both the people and animals involved.[/deck]

One of Rayetta Holder’s greyhounds takes a run around her yard just outside of Waldport, Oregon. Holder has placed over three thousand greyhounds since she opened Homes for Hounds in 1991.

One of Rayetta Holder’s greyhounds takes a run around her yard just outside of Waldport, Oregon. Holder has placed over three thousand greyhounds since she opened Homes for Hounds in 1991.

[cap]T[/cap]he greyhounds break from their starting boxes, hearts pounding as they race around the track. The animals fix their eyes on the fuzzy, toy-bone lure, and after twenty seconds, the finish line is in sight. They race down the home stretch with their ears flat against their skulls to drown out any noise as they run. The crowd screams at them, fully engaged in these last few seconds of the race.

Rayetta Holder is among the audience, cheering for her dog. She’s on her feet, bouncing up and down with her hands in the air, excited that her greyhound is in second place. A red-brindled greyhound that Holder didn’t bet on, number six, crosses the finish line and the race is over. The crowd moves toward the exits, while the dogs slow down and walk back to their trainers. For the audience, the experience of the race is over. For the greyhounds, however, it’s only half the day’s torture.

“Racing greyhounds endure lives of nearly constant confinement, kept in cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around,” says Christine Dorchak of Grey2kUSA, an East Coast-based, non-profit organization that lobbies for greyhound protection laws meant to stop the cruelty they believe racing dogs endure.

Holder sits with one of her favorite greyhounds that she has decided to keep inside her home. Many greyhound racing venues have closed in the United States with the only remaining ones in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Alabama.

Holder sits with one of her favorite greyhounds that she has decided to keep inside her home. Many greyhound racing venues have closed in the United States with the only remaining ones in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Alabama.

When asked the same question about the confinement of greyhounds to their cages, Holder rolls her eyes. According to her, trainers do keep the dogs in kennels that the track provides—standard crates that allow for the greyhound to stand up, turn around, and lie down—and each greyhound is given ample room to run around during the seventy-two hour resting period required after a race. Animal rights activists, she says, just skew the details to gain favor with the masses.

Many trainers work hard to condition the perfect greyhound racer, using the most humane methods possible. But animal rights activists claim the greyhounds are being exploited and abused—used only as tools to make money for their owners. Recently published photos on animal rights activists’ websites depicting malnourished greyhounds in undersized cages are fuel for the escalating controversy.

Activists claim these photos provide concrete evidence that the sport should be outlawed, but Holder disagrees. She says that the people trying to outlaw racing, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), don’t see what goes on behind the scenes at a track, and therefore only assume that abuse is happening. Holder goes on to say that Oregon has some of the toughest greyhound racing laws in the country and few verified cases of abuse.

Holder is the president and founder of the Homes for Hounds greyhound adoption agency, located two miles south of Waldport, Oregon. Holder says she has placed over three thousand greyhounds with families since establishing the agency in 1991. She adds that she has yet to place a greyhound into a home where the greyhound was neglected or abused.

A caretaker at the Homes for Hounds adoption agency plays with a greyhound in the exercise yard. The dogs are let outside two at a time and wear muzzles to protect the dogs during any playful roughhousing.

A caretaker at the Homes for Hounds adoption agency plays with a greyhound in the exercise yard. The dogs are let outside two at a time and wear muzzles to protect the dogs during any playful roughhousing.

The three staff members at Homes for Hounds work to negotiate adoptions for newly retired greyhounds from Florida, one of the seven states that continue to allow greyhound races. The other six are Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Alabama.

Holder explains that the dogs travel from their home state of Florida to Oklahoma, where they rest for a few days before heading to Kansas. From Kansas, they continue on to Holder’s adoption facility. Under her care and discretion, each dog is placed with a family in Oregon, California, or Washington, which provides a forever home—a permanent, loving family.

Bending down to pet one of her greyhounds, London Designer, Holder lets him out in the kennel yard—the fenced, sand-filled backyard of her green beach house—and unclips his leash. The dog breaks from her grasp, barking happily as he tears around the fenced yard. Smiling, she says she can tell he wants to be on the racetrack, but since the tracks are slowly being shut down, the retired racers need new homes.

Holder bonds with one of the greyhounds in her program, Homes for Hounds. When greyhounds are bred for racing, they are tattooed on the inside of each ear: one with their birth date and the other with their litter number.

Holder bonds with one of the greyhounds in her program, Homes for Hounds. When greyhounds are bred for racing, they are tattooed on the inside of each ear: one with their birth date and the other with their litter number.

Holder has been working with retired racing greyhounds for twenty-one years, until Oregon’s Multnomah Greyhound Park was closed for good. She explains that if an owner abuses the dog, the abused animal won’t perform well; and without winning, the trainer’s profits will suffer.

“These dogs earn people’s livings. They pay for humans’ meals, medicine, and life. It’s their responsibility. If you mistreat a dog, you don’t make any money,” she says.

When told that many people who oppose greyhound racing claim the dogs are routinely forced to wear muzzles all day and night, Holder shakes her head. She insists that the humane muzzles are taken off when the dogs are in their cages and are only left on when they are in the training yard with other greyhounds; the breed likes to play rough and the muzzles prevent injuries.

Greyhound racing began several decades ago, but today each breeder must follow strict guidelines regarding their care and training. After a litter is born, the breeder has forty-eight hours to report the number of newborn puppies to the National Greyhound Association (NGA). The NGA then sends an association official to check on how they are being treated. When they are six weeks old, the dogs are tattooed with their date of birth on one ear and their litter number on the other.

Holder explains that there is always a paper trail so the NGA can keep tabs on each dog. She says some trainers euthanize their dogs if an injury prevents racing in other states. Even though running comes naturally to most greyhounds, some dogs aren’t interested in racing. The paper trail ensures that the trainers won’t euthanize the dogs that won’t race, or dogs that race but perform badly.

“You can’t teach a greyhound to run. You can’t teach a greyhound to chase. They have to want to do it,” Holder says.

Luckily, most greyhounds want to run, as running is the core of their personality and is what makes them a unique breed.

A greyhound at the agency watches as other dogs are let outside for exercise. The cage that each dog calls home is meant to be a temporary solution while each awaits adoption.

A greyhound at the agency watches as other dogs are let outside for exercise. The cage that each dog calls home is meant to be a temporary solution while each awaits adoption.

Holder explains that people look at dog racing as a horrible sport, but she insists that the dogs that want to race love it. “As far as I’m concerned,” she says, referring to one of her dogs, “the retired athlete has had the best of both worlds. He got to do what he loved to do, and then he goes into someone’s home and is treated like a king.”

Holder says greyhounds become uniquely attached to one particular crate.

“They won’t go in another crate. They know which crate is theirs and they enjoy spending their time there. They don’t view it as a place that they’re forced into. It’s the place that they feel the safest in,” Holder says. Inside their crates they often have dog toys and bones so they don’t become bored.

The dogs are shuttled back and forth between the track and the kennel, nomads for most of their careers. Each dog is given a racing name—something catchy and unique, meant to illustrate why that dog is a good pick to win, such as: Fuzzy’s Grady, Alcindor, or Starz Lazy Red. These memorable names stick in a gambler’s mind, hopefully helping them remember which greyhound has been on a winning streak lately and which one they should bet on.

When the greyhounds retire, they are usually given a kennel name to simplify their racing name, and many times their name seems to fit their personality perfectly. For example, Starz Lazy Red, a six-year-old, red-brindled greyhound whose kennel name is Starz, acts just like a star: She hoards attention and always takes up all the room on the couch when she and Holder sit down to watch television.

One of Holder's greyhounds lounges on the floor of her home just outside of Waldport, Oregon. Holder keeps two greyhounds as pets and runs the adoption agency out of her garage where she has space to house fifteen dogs that are up for adoption.

One of Holder's greyhounds lounges on the floor of her home just outside of Waldport, Oregon. Holder keeps two greyhounds as pets and runs the adoption agency out of her garage where she has space to house fifteen dogs that are up for adoption.

“After a racing career, they appreciate a home much more because they didn’t have it before. It’s something new to them, to have a forever home, and they bond very quickly. Ninety-nine percent of them think kids are great,” Holder says, gesturing to one of her dogs curled up in a patch of warm sunlight.

The greyhound, despite being the second fastest animal in the world, is an incredibly lazy breed. Many times Holder finds her dogs curled up on couches, chairs, and rugs in front of the fire. Still, she says assimilating from the world of racing to living in a home is a scary and often rocky experience for the first few weeks. When they first come to Homes for Hounds, they always seem to want keep running, says Holder.

“Racing dogs are not pets,” says Holder.

“They’re retired athletes. They’re treated very well, but they’re not like puppies that you buy or get and have as a pet.”

While most trainers practice humane methods of training, greyhound racing is not without its bad seeds. For example, Ronald Williams, a Florida trainer, abandoned thirty-seven greyhounds after the racing season. Williams pled not guilty to thirty-seven counts of animal cruelty. In March 2011, he was fined $170,000 and his training license in Florida was suspended.

Isolated but well-publicized cases such as Williams’s make it easy to lose track of the good in the industry. For example, track gambling profits are often put straight into education or building funds, according to Ann Church, the senior director of ASPCA Government Relations. Slot machines have been added in many of the greyhound tracks in order to provide an instant gratification for the customers gambling, since many customers don’t want to wait for the race to begin. These same tracks also provide an entertaining race between members of the second fastest land species in the world.

“It’s really too bad that dog racing isn’t around anymore. I loved the atmosphere and knowing that the dogs were fulfilling something that they were born to do and love to do,” Holder muses as she pets London Designer’s black coat. She takes the squishy toy bone out of his mouth and tosses it to the other side of the yard. He races after it and attacks the stuffed bone, shaking his head. Running back to Holder, he looks overjoyed at being able to do what he loves to do—run.

Casey von Ofenheim decided to take a detour from studying abroad inJordan to witness history in Egypt. In the photo projected behind von Ofenheim, Egyptians celebrate the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Stuck Abroad

[deck]Studying overseas during a time of political revolution can be exciting, frightening, and even life threatening. Three college students who spent time abroad learned this first hand.[/deck]

Casey von Ofenheim decided to take a detour from studying abroad inJordan to witness history in Egypt. In the photo projected behind von Ofenheim, Egyptians celebrate the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Casey von Ofenheim decided to take a detour from studying abroad in Jordan to witness history in Egypt. In the photo projected behind von Ofenheim, Egyptians celebrate the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

[cap]S[/cap]he interlaced her fingers in her friend’s hand and yanked her away from the mob of men carrying chains, pipes, and bats. The girls sprinted up three flights of marble stairs, screaming for their roommates to open the door. The heavy sounds of a thousand footsteps chased them, followed by sounds of heavy objects smashing the building’s structure. Once inside their apartment, the girls pushed a heavy cabinet against the door and turned off all the lights. They sat in the dark with their four roommates and waited for the looting to be over.

“Those were the longest forty-five minutes of my entire life,” says Adriane Bolliger, reflecting on her time in Tunisia during the government collapse.

Through the University of Oregon’s IE3 (International Education, Experience, Employment) internship program, Bolliger worked as a study abroad coordinator at AMIDEAST, a non-profit organization established in 1951 that works to strengthen relations between America, the Middle East, and North Africa. During her time in Tunisia, former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was evacuated from the country after demonstrators protested his oppressive regime.

“Ali had been ruling with an iron fist for twenty-three years,” says Bolliger. “That’s longer than I’ve been alive.”

Ben Ali took over the Tunisian presidency in 1987 when he declared Habib Bourguiba, the former president, senile. There was no election. Although Ben Ali helped stabilize Tunisia’s economy, he governed with strict Islamic rules and gave few rights to his people. In January 2011, protesters began to riot and Ben Ali fled the country, leaving Fouad Mebazaa as the interim president.

The riots in Tunisia marked the beginning of a string of Middle Eastern uprisings—unlike anything the world has seen. In Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman, revolutionaries are organizing, communicating, and sometimes overthrowing historically oppressive regimes by banding together through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Although each government struck back in violent ways, social media, grass roots protests, and pride have kept the movements in motion.

While working at AMIDEAST, Bolliger watched the governmental structure in Tunisia unravel and found herself stuck in the middle of a political revolution. Like many others living and working abroad, she eventually fled from the revolution, choosing to watch, with the rest of the world, from a distance.

In the beginning, the staff at her internship told Bolliger of unrest in the country. However, they were unable to provide any details about the revolution, in fear that undercover police were in their midst.

Von Ofenheim experienced a revolution firsthand when she took a trip to Egypt while studying abroad. She says more than being present at world changing events, she enjoyed meeting people and being invited into their homes.

Von Ofenheim experienced a revolution firsthand when she took a trip to Egypt while studying abroad. She says more than being present at world changing events, she enjoyed meeting people and being invited into their homes.

“Tunisia was on the news in every country on every publication—except in Tunisia,” says Bolliger. “I ended up getting most of my news from a publication called France 24.”

Bolliger explains that in addition to reading foreign newspapers, she also got a lot of information from Twitter. Although the Tunisian government censored the news, they were unable to gain control over many social networking sites. For some time, political blogs and Facebook were used to post updates from the rebel groups.

“There were a lot of blogs that were discussing politics, but they got shut down quickly,” says Bolliger. “It was a sign of pride for political bloggers to have the ‘404 page not found’ message to show up.”

Ben Ali eventually shut down access to Facebook for a few days, but was never able to contain Twitter.

Throughout her experience, Bolliger’s family and university advisers reminded her to stay safe and away from the danger.

Bolliger remembers hearing large crowds shouting outside, prompting her to walk onto her apartment balcony and look down at the streets of Tunisia. In the distance she could see the protestors gather. She would watch as the large crowd swarmed, as though covering an anthill, racing towards the city. Bollinger went inside her apartment and warned her roommates. After the looting had finished and the noise had died down, she returned to her balcony to see the despondent street vendors pulling their cars into the street and emptying their store’s contents. They would leave behind whatever they could not fit and tack wooden planks to the outside of the windows and doors, hoping that the looters and protestors would spare the remains of their livelihoods.

A crowd gathers to protest Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule. Nadia Abraibesh was living in Benghazi Libya when rebellions against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi started.

A crowd gathers to protest Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule. Nadia Abraibesh was living in Benghazi Libya when rebellions against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi started.

While in Tunisia, Bolliger moved apartments three times, each time attempting to move away from the shopping centers where the looting happened most often. She also did her best to always live with many people, typically five others, to feel safer. Although the company helped create a sense of security, she recalls often running out of fresh fruits and vegetables and needing to ration portions.

“My boss would call me and tell me to buy supplies, go straight home, and to remember that this was not my fight,” says Bolliger.

She recalls how one of her friends, an older man she had met through work in Tunisia, was injured.

“We were at home when we got the call that he had been shot,” says Bolliger.

He was on his way to his apartment when he saw a mob forming. Although he knew that he needed to get away quickly, he paused to take a picture. As the camera clicked, he saw the first tear gas canister fly in the air. He started to run and felt what he thought was a can hit his leg, until he looked down and saw his pant leg filled with blood. He had been shot. The gentleman was taken to the hospital in the back of a pickup truck where he was treated without anesthesia and immediately discharged, as the hospital’s supplies had run out.

“They told him that there might be others who would need the bed more than he did,” she says.

While living in Tunisia, Bolliger spent many days afraid. She relied on those around her for support. However, unlike Bolliger, some individuals living abroad hope to experience moments that define a culture and change history in the most hands-on way possible.

Casey von Ofenheim studied abroad in Jordan through a University of Oregon program. Three weeks after former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, von Ofenheim flew from Jordan to Egypt to witness the rebuilding of a nation. In addition, she took time during and after her internship to visit Bahrain, Palestine, and Israel.

“I’ve always been curious about revolutions and the atmosphere right after a tyrant has been removed,” says von Ofenheim. “This was a once in a lifetime chance to be a part of history.”

She explains that she waited for Mubarak to be evacuated and for the violence to calm down before venturing to Egypt, adding that most people forget that despite the political revolution, daily life continues.

“My favorite moments of my trip weren’t captured in the big events that I participated in,” says von Ofenheim. “I enjoyed meeting people and being invited into their home[s].”

Reflecting on her time abroad, von Ofenheim remembers spending Ramadan with a family and being invited to partake in the fasting and celebrations. The people showed humility and devotion in ways that she says changed her outlook on life.

That doesn’t mean that von Ofenheim didn’t see her share of violence. She remembers being tear-gassed at a protest and running into a line of tanks during a march.

Libyans inspect the aftermath of a conflict in Benghazi over Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule. Nadia Abraibesh was studying Arabic Benghazi at the time. Four days after the conflicts started she ventured out of her home to be a tour guide for foreign reporters.

Libyans inspect the aftermath of a conflict in Benghazi over Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule. Nadia Abraibesh was studying Arabic Benghazi at the time. Four days after the conflicts started she ventured out of her home to be a tour guide for foreign reporters.

Von Ofenheim explains that she was tear-gassed in Palestine while accompanying a woman she worked with on what she thought was a walk through Bil’in. However, she quickly realized that they were heading towards a Palestinian rally. When she saw the first tear gas cans arcing toward the marchers, she quickly ran to a nearby hill and tucked herself into safety. From a distance she watched as the people, children included, gagged on the gas.

“I didn’t want to be a part of the action, however, even after the tear-gassing, I did eventually chose to participate in a peaceful march in Tahrir Square [in Cairo],” says von Ofenheim. “I really enjoyed being in the midst of it all and loved getting to see it firsthand.”

Like many students who live and study abroad, von Ofenheim enjoyed being afforded more than the typical tourist perspective, but still realized this was not her country or her revolution.

On the other hand, for Nadia Abraibesh, being a part of the revolution was a necessity.

After graduating from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, with a major in psychology and a minor in Spanish, Abraibesh traveled to Libya to visit family, take classes in Arabic, and work in a European school. While there, she witnessed the revolution against Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi.

In February 2011, rebel groups began to stir in several Libyan cities—including Benghazi, where Abraibesh was living. Qaddafi had been in power since 1969. The rebel groups trying to oust Qaddafi clashed with hoards of his army and civil war erupted. Qaddafi’s troops made their way into residential areas of Libya, threatening to kill all those who opposed the government.

Five days after the protestors took to the streets in Benghazi, Abraibesh emerged from her aunt’s home and ventured into the city.

“It was too hard to just stay at home and wait to be killed,” says Abraibesh. “I needed to do something to distract myself.”

Despite being scared and knowing that her family in Portland worried about her, Abraibesh felt it was her duty to stay with her Libyan family.

“My mom was really worried about me, cried a lot, and wanted me to leave immediately,” says Abraibesh. “But I think my dad, being from Libya, understood how I felt. It was the first time that I actually felt like a proud Libyan.”

Because she was able to speak English, she began to act as a tour guide for the journalists arriving in the country. Abraibesh showed them the hospitals brimming with injured people and the courthouses where most of the demonstrations happened.

Abraibesh explained that living with her family was a strong coping method.

Sitting with her uncles, aunts, cousins, and family friends crowded into a single home, Abraibesh watched the news. They sat near each other knowing that being together was the only way to know that relatives were alive. Qaddafi had already shut down most methods of communication.

“We would watch the news and laugh at the mad man [Qaddafi] ranting on TV,” says Abraibesh, referring to one of the first speeches Qaddafi gave in response to the protests. “He was threatening to come door-to-door to kill families. If you take threats like that serious, it’s too scary.”

Abraibesh remembers going to sleep with knives next to her bed for the first few days of the uprising, knowing that they offered no defense against the guns Qaddafi’s soldiers carried.

“I only slept an hour or two a night and I was always on the edge,” says Abraibesh. “We would go to sleep hearing the gun shots and wake up to the same gun shots. It was terrifying and something that I’m still trying to process.”

Despite now being away from the danger and home with her family, Abraibesh says that she wishes she were still in Libya.

“I feel helpless from so far away,” says Abraibesh. “Because Qaddafi shut down the Internet and phone service, all I can do is watch the news here and pray that my family and friends are okay.”

Bolliger agrees that it takes time to recover from traumatic experiences. She recalls that the weeks after leaving Tunisia were very difficult. She was sent, by her University of Oregon internship, to the AMIDEAST program in Morocco to be in a safer environment while concluding her internship, but often felt as though she were still in Tunisia.

“There’s a marble staircase in my apartment here that reminds me of the one in Tunisia,” says Bolliger via Skype from Morocco. “And I can often hear people yelling in Arabic in the mornings. Even though I know I’m safe here, I still wake up in cold sweats.”

While the experiences of anyone studying abroad range in intensity and reaction, in every one of these women’s cases, there came a point in time when it was no longer safe to stay.

Bolliger explains that she left Tunisia when her program directors told her to. They arranged to send her to a family friend’s place in Sicily for a limited period of time.

“I only packed a small bag and my backpack,” says Bolliger. “I thought I’d be going back to Tunisia. I hadn’t finished what I went there to do.”

However, Bolliger didn’t return to Tunisia. Wanting to finish her internship, Bolliger instead accepted a transfer to the Morocco AMIDEAST, where she works now.

Bolliger explains that leaving Tunisia was a bittersweet experience for her.

“I always thought I’d go back to Tunisia, to my job and my friends,” she says. “Now I’m getting ready to go back to my Salem family where I’ll still be able to close my eyes and relive each moment and hope that it eventually gets less traumatic.”

While Alicia Walcher has struggled with crippling anxiety throughout her life, the condition was exacerbated by the stresses of college life.

A Shortage of Support


[deck]Overwhelmed campus counseling centers make changes to meet the increased need for mental health services.[/deck]

While Alicia Walcher has struggled with crippling anxiety throughout her life, the condition was exacerbated by the stresses of college life.

While Alicia Walcher has struggled with crippling anxiety throughout her life, the condition was exacerbated by the stresses of college life.

[cap]H[/cap]er eyes jolt open. She feels glued to the bed – a mass too heavy to move. She’s confused by this half dream, half reality. Her heart is trying to escape her chest, and sweat beads up on every inch of her immovable body.

Thinking about this stuck feeling makes her throat cinch up; now she can’t breathe. All she needs is one breath, anything to make it through this.

Alicia Lynn Walcher, a twenty-two year old University of Oregon student, has awakened to these anxiety attacks more than once. Although she was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at age thirteen, Walcher still battles moments of trepidation.

In middle school, Walcher knew it was time for a doctor’s visit when she started suffering from bouts of dizziness and fading consciousness during class.

“I just started crying because I was so happy I wasn’t gonna have a heart attack and die at fifteen,” says Walcher, of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Being diagnosed at a young age helped, Walcher explains, because she was able to learn how to manage her anxiety before going to college.

Walcher is part of a growing majority of people with mental health issues attending college. And because many students are away from home and their regular doctors, campus counseling centers become their main support system.

Many students arrive at school predisposed to mental health problems. The normal stress of classes, relationships, finances, and family can cause panic attacks to develop at any moment.

“It can be random,” says Walcher. “I could wake up one day and feel incredibly anxious, like you’re about to go skydiving.”

In a phase of severe stress, Walcher discovered the University of Oregon’s counseling center during her second year of school. After waiting over a week to get an appointment and eventually going through the maximum ten appointments, it’s now been ten months since her last panic attack.

Walcher sought out her own private counselor when she reached the maximum amount of visits allowed for University of Oregon counselors.

Walcher sought out her own private counselor when she reached the maximum amount of visits allowed for University of Oregon counselors.

Since the sudden surge in demand for mental healthcare, students often get scheduled weeks out, put on waiting lists, or given contacts for counseling off campus. Campus counseling centers across the nation have been adapting to the increased demand from students with extended hours, same-day appointments, and outside referrals—adapting with little increase in funding or staffing to cope with the changes.

The University of Oregon and Oregon State University’s counseling centers completely shifted appointment policies, hours, and staffing to accommodate the influx of students. In a 2008 survey of 284 counseling centers throughout the country, almost 60 percent reported a growing demand for services with no increase in resources.

Ron Miyaguchi, a senior staff psychologist at UO’s University Counseling and Testing Center (UCTC), said it became evident midway through fall term of 2010 that the increase in students wasn’t going to stop.

“The number of students coming in is through the roof,” says Miyaguchi.

“We’re turning away more students and racking our brains on how to see more students without over-stressing ourselves.”

Staff members at the UCTC have added an hour of drop-in time to their load. The trade-off for seeing more students for shorter periods, Miyaguchi says, is that they have to cut back on long-term counseling appointments.

At the same time counseling centers were beginning to notice leaps in demand around 2009, Walcher’s anxiety disorder developed a new symptom—hyperventilation.

During Christmas break, Walcher found herself in the hospital with pneumonia; something she didn’t think would affect her mental health. However the stress on her lungs, coupled with the exhaustion of being sick, brought up anxious feelings about breathing. Her first episode of hyperventilation—rapid breathing, which causes faintness and sometimes lack of consciousness—struck her when she was driving down Highway 99.

“I swerved across two lanes of traffic; I was just so dizzy,” says Walcher.

It was a miracle the oncoming cars stopped, she says, but a new fear of driving kept her out of the driver’s seat for more than a month.

Walcher found a strong support group in her sorority, Delta Gamma, to help deal with recurring anxiety attacks.

Walcher found a strong support group in her sorority, Delta Gamma, to help deal with recurring anxiety attacks.

“The stress level was just so high, I was becoming my sorority’s president, and I still couldn’t breathe 100 percent,” she says. “So I knew I needed to figure out how to deal with it or it was all just gonna come crashing down.”

Although she was aware of the university’s counseling center, Walcher says she assumed they wouldn’t be able to help with her specific needs. Then, a graduate student who taught one of Walcher’s courses came to her with Ron Miyaguchi’s contact information, knowing he specialized in anxiety cases.

“I thought…I’ll give it a shot. I was at a point where I didn’t know where to go; I was really struggling.”

Walcher decided to take a chance for the same reason counseling centers across the nation decided to make changes—necessity.

Oregon State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) also struggled to keep up with the rise in demand. The staff’s caseload exploded fall term with a 44 percent jump in the number of students coming in compared to fall 2009.

“Essentially, we’ve overhauled how we’re doing our caseloads,” says Jackie Alvarez, CAPS’s director. “We expected some increase because our enrollment increased, but we didn’t expect 44 percent. That was just like ‘surprise!’”

Caught off guard by the increase, CAPS took in two new staff members in March 2010, and hired two more part-time professionals in December. This brought the number of staff to sixteen plus three pre-doctoral interns.

“It’s hard to know whether this is a blip or if this is a trend,” says Alvarez. “It could be the stigma has decreased or it could also be there’s just an increase in the level of concern and pathology among college students.”

Another reason counselors stipulate for the incursion is the ever-growing enrollment, which is also a nationwide trend.

Between 2000 and 2008, undergraduate enrollment exploded by 24 percent. Furthermore, enrollment at degree-granting institutions jumped from 18 million in 2007 to 21 million in 2009, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

At the University of Oregon, UCTC’s assistant director Joseph DeWitz hasn’t nailed down one specific reason for the change, but he does consider the increased enrollment to be one contributing factor.

The university saw a 6 percent increase in enrollment between 2004 and 2009. However, the number of drop-in students being seen at the counseling center during these same years jumped 17 percent, almost triple the percentage increase in general enrollment.

Whatever the reason for the new trend, DeWitz says it has forced them to look more closely at how they manage their resources.

Off-campus counselors and psychologists are resources the UCTC must utilize. DeWitz says turning away students takes the biggest toll on staff – something they have to deal with now more than ever. DeWitz adds that when you have an extremely caring staff, not being able to help every student in need just adds to the daily stress level.

Staff psychologist Miyaguchi agrees that outside referrals are a major downside to having maxed-out caseloads.

“If there’s a waiting list, it can be intimidating for students,” he says.

For Walcher, the wait was worth it. After working up the nerve to call Miyaguchi, there wasn’t an open block of time for more than a week. The first session was like a get-to-know-you appointment, Walcher says.

Then he asked her to do something she didn’t think she would ever do.

“I said hyperventilation scares me,” Walcher recalls. “He goes, ‘Okay I want you to make yourself hyperventilate,’ and I looked at him like he was actually insane.”

Although she was in disbelief at the time, Miyaguchi pushed her boundaries over the following nine weeks. Not only did Walcher trigger her own hyperventilation, she learned how to pull herself out of it. She even got behind the wheel of a car.

By the time Walcher reached the ten-week treatment limit, that was the end, she says. With no off-campus references or follow-up calls, Walcher felt severed from the counseling center.

“It would’ve felt like more of a support system that I could go to again, whereas now I feel like I have to look elsewhere if I need a support system.”

Heavy caseloads aren’t just forcing more outside referrals; they’re cutting into appointment lengths, on-going counseling, and drop-in hours.

“We’re in the process of looking at changes we can make both short and long term,” says DeWitz. “We’ll probably even look at staying open later.”

The UCTC also brought in a temporary counselor to help stave off extra stress and pressure on staff members.

Back at Oregon State, Alvarez dreads sending students off campus for problems they can address there, therefore hiring four new staff members helped balance out the caseloads. The crisis hours, or drop-in time, also changed when appointments were getting booked three to four weeks in advance. Instead, the staff is scheduling students on the day they call in—a policy CAPS switched to winter term.

“If we can get them in the same day, maybe they won’t get worse over four weeks,” says Alvarez. “I think students love it, faculty love it. I can’t imagine going back.”

She explains the same-day appointment system is most effective for both students and staff, as it cuts no-shows down to almost zero.

UO’s counseling center picked up on the same idea. Also, by recently switching to same-day scheduling for individual counseling, the UCTC has seen similar positive results, but still suffers from a backed-up waiting list. The new temporary staff has only begun to help relieve the issue.

Currently, staff and students must find understanding as they adjust to the imbalanced ratio of counselors to students. According to the latest 2009 survey of counselor directors, that ratio is 1 counselor to 1,527 students.

Walcher is thankful for Miyaguchi’s persistence and patience in coaching her through one of the most stressful periods of her life.

Just days before her graduation from the University of Oregon School of Education, Walcher reminisced about her struggles of completing school with severe anxiety.

Just days before her graduation from the University of Oregon School of Education, Walcher reminisced about her struggles of completing school with severe anxiety.

“Looking back, I overcame these things,” says Walcher. “I have skills now from therapy about how to deal with certain situations, like driving.”

Now, Walcher prepares to present her senior project – a video presentation for her family and human services program. She has to stand up and speak in front of a hundred people. While thinking about walking to the front of the room, with all eyes on her every move, Walcher feels her nerves tingling. But she takes a calming breath, contains her thoughts, and remembers she can do it.

Outside the Wire

[cap]O[/cap]utside the Wire tells the story of two local photojournalists, Dan Morrison and Cali Bagby, who were embedded with Marines on the front lines of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Bagby was one of Morrison’s former students at the University of Oregon before they became friends and colleagues while reporting from one of the most dangerous places in the world. This video was originally produced for Dan Miller’s Documentary Production class.

Messages to Japan

[cap]E[/cap]very year, Japanese students travel roughly 4,800 miles to study at the University of Oregon. Currently, there are 147 students from Japan at the university. One of those students, Maiko Ando, is a staff photographer for Flux magazine. Since learning about the earthquake and tsunami in her home country, Ando has been looking for a way to help. Together, she and fellow student, Leilani Rapaport, gathered these messages of support to send to the people of Japan.