Thank you for publishing Margaret Whitt’s remembrance of Stuart James [Essay, fall 2009]. I attended the first class he ever taught at DU, in the fall of 1957 at the old downtown campus. During that class he mentioned flying the B-17 Flying Fortress, and after class I told him I, too, had piloted that plane. He invited me to join him for a beer, and we began what became a lifelong friendship. He was my mentor at DU, and after his retirement we got together nearly every Tuesday for the last 12 years of his life to have lunch, drink an occasional beer, and talk literature. He was the closest and dearest friend I ever had.
Jesse Gatlin Jr. (PhD ’61)
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Thanks so much for a wonderful reminder of the impact and influence one teacher can make. I was a student yearning to learn more about literature, and Stuart James put it in front of me. He engaged the classroom to speak up and prodded our sleepy minds to realize the force and impact that the written word could have — through Hemingway, Cather, Faulkner, Twain and O’Connor. He opened up a world for me, and I thank him for being a catalyst when I needed one. I’ve been fortunate to have had a small handful of teachers like Stuart James. They are gold.
Doug Hall (BA ’81)
After reading “Going Green” [fall 2009], it is apparent that the green “commissars” have finally appeared at DU. They have ostensibly come to re-educate the masses at DU on the merits of “sustainability.” Of course it’s all for the “good” of the people, even if some may disagree. Clearly “members of the University community will be asked to change the way they do things: the way they teach and learn, the way they get to work, where they get their food, etc.” A little friendly coercion will be necessary if someone deviates. Ms. Lyndsay Agans, lead author of this plan, correctly recognizes that “The hard work starts now.” Knowing which light bulb to use, how to properly grow flowers and when it’s OK to use a car will take moral clarity and perseverance. Maybe a “green” book can be produced to delineate which actions are correct and which are not. Now that the University can feel good about itself by setting goals to reduce its carbon footprint, wouldn’t it make more sense to just close the University and really go carbon neutral?
Igor Shpudejko (MBA ’77)
You seriously missed the boat in your article on DU going green. Nice sentiments. But how about demonstrating the University’s commitment to going green by having the magazine go green? Right now, you’re using a high-quality unrecycled paper to print the magazine on. And are you using soy-based ink? Not that I can tell. How about you cut out the luxury paper and go for something with a high recycled content? Frankly, I’m appalled and disappointed that the choice wasn’t made to do so at the outset. Make your alumni proud and be a little bit progressive. Go green yourself and don’t just write an article about it.
Leigh Phipps (BA ’82)
Ed. response: We continue to seek ways to mitigate the magazine’s environmental impact while also keeping costs down. Soy-based inks are not available for our cost-effective high-volume printing process, but we do print on elemental-chlorine-free paper certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council. And, as noted on page 4 of every issue, our paper contains 10 percent post-consumer recycled waste. (Cost and availability limit our options for higher-recycled-content papers.) We also encourage those concerned with the environment to read the magazine online at www.du.edu/magazine rather than subscribing to the print edition; readers can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to unsubscribe.
After reading “Going Green” I remain tremendously skeptical about DU’s carbon-neutral plans. As a 2008 graduate of the School of Education I am on campus two to three times a week, mostly at the Ritchie Center. On my way to work out, I see water sprinklers watering the lawn during the noon hour, wasting precious water. I don’t see any recycle bins on my way to the Ritchie Center or other buildings. I realize some are there, but they are not easy to find. I see a large open refrigeration unit across the workout area check-in station, keeping drinks and sandwiches cold with the unit’s cold air escaping into the room, again wasting energy. Worst of all, there are no water conservation policies in the men’s showers. No auto-off, no water-saving shower heads, no signs asking users to limit their shower times. In fact, countless times I see swim teams stand in the showers for up to 30 minutes, just standing under the hot water, wasting not only energy to heat the water, but the water itself. I see why it will take 40 years to obtain carbon neutrality. DU does not have the environmental culture that other colleges have, such as CU-Boulder. It will take a long time to change students’ attitudes, especially since many have never had to sacrifice. I wish you luck in your endeavors, but it makes me sad to see that nothing really changes. It is easier to put in large solar and wind energy systems than promote the turning off of water or a light switch, but it is the little things like not watering during the noon hour or limiting your shower time that will make the big difference. Hopefully someone will note these little problems, which truly add up, and do something about them.
James Rogers (MLIS ’08)
I’m appalled at the “The Rising Cost of College” [fall 2009]. I started at DU in 1955, when tuition was $210 per quarter, or $630 per year, and this was considered high compared with in-state tuition for the state universities such as CU. If my math is correct (I’m an engineer, not an economist), the average rate of inflation of tuition at DU over the past 50-plus years has been 7.65 percent. My economic advisers tell me the average inflation rate of the Consumer Price Index over the same period has been between 4 and 5 percent. If tuition had kept pace with the 4 percent inflation of the CPI, it would be about $5,300 per year. If it had been a 5 percent increase per year, tuition would have been a whopping $8,700 per year. The difference between $8,700 per year and $34,000 per year shown on page 33 is staggering beyond belief! You wonder in the article how you can contain the rate of increase. I say you should strive to decrease the tuition, and costs, of education at DU. Attending DU was of value to me — with an MS degree in chemical engineering I landed in a Fortune 500 company, had a productive career and was able to retire fairly comfortably. However, had I had a debt load of three times my starting annual salary when I graduated, things would have been considerably different. I certainly could not have afforded to attend, since I was supporting myself with a part-time job whilst attending, with an hourly rate only slightly higher than minimum wage. There would never have been a way I could have earned enough to cover tuition and living expenses with a minimum-wage job nowadays. Your bean counters should get together with your educators and figure out how to use technology to reach the masses, lest DU and other traditional schools be left in the dust.
Henry Greeb (BS ’59, MS ’60)