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Rowan Students Travel to Foreign Countries to Provide Aid

Rowan University text logoWhat are you doing for New Years? If you are one of ten students at Rowan University, your answer might be going to El Salvador or The Gambia to participate in Engineers Without Borders.

Sarah Gettings and Gemma Peebles are two juniors who are going on these trips and who will play important roles in the success of the projects. Gettings is the project lead for the group heading to El Salvador and Peebles will be the web master and clinic team lead for those going to The Gambia.

Rowan students have already traveled to El Salvador twice already: in January and June 2011. The Rowan EWB students have been working with a city in El Salvador, La Ceiba, since 2007.

“The river and wells in the community are all contaminated with unhealthy levels of coliform,” said Gettings. “This contamination causes high incidence of diarrhea and parasites among community members, resulting int eh death of many children. …The final solution, which was affordable for both the chapter and the community, sustainable and practical overall, was to install biosand filters in each of the 150 homes of La Ceiba. ..So far, the filters have been successful in removing contamination from the water. A team of Rowan students and a professional mentor will be traveling this January to install 15 more filters and continue to monitor filters that have already been installed.”

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Harvard to Allow ROTC Back on Campus

Harvard University CrestHarvard has been among many colleges that banned ROTC from their campuses in light of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Today, Harvard President Drew Faust is ending the ban by signing an agreement with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to re-introduce the program.

Earlier this year, President Obama urged colleges to open their doors to military recruiters during his State of the Union address. “It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation,” he said.

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McCain Takes Issue with ROTC Ban at Columbia University

UPDATE [1/27/11]: After commenting on the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” President Obama addressed the issue of the ROTC on college campuses in the State of the Union speech on January 25th. “With that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiter and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.”

While speaking at Columbia University on September 11, Republican presidential candidate John McCain criticized the school’s ban on the ROTC program — a program (which stands for Reserve Officer’s Training Corp), which trains college students to be military officers while they are still in school.  Although McCain offered lots of accolades to Columbia — where, in fact, one of his daughters attended — he argued that the ROTC ban excluded students from an opportunity that many would find rewarding.

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So why does Columbia — along with a number of other schools across the U.S. — ban the ROTC program, which is a staple on many college and university campuses across America?  Columbia’s ban is in protest of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” regarding homosexuality.  Established under the Clinton administration, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy basically says that it’s OK for gays to be in the military, as long as they don’t openly identify themselves as gay.  In turn, officers are not supposed to inquire about anyone’s homosexuality, therefore allowing gays the opportunity to serve in the military as long as they remain silent. Open homosexuals are barred from serving in the military, so if they identify themselves as gay, they get thrown out.

Columbia University, along with many gay rights supporters, feel this policy is blatantly discriminatory and inhumane to people who are willing to put their lives on the line for America, so they’ve banned the ROTC from campus in protest.

Is Columbia right to do so, even though this prevents students on its campus from choosing the ROTC option?  What do you think?





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