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Striking a cord at Assumption.

Byline: Lisa D. Welsh


When members of various honor societies receive their diplomas at Assumption College next Saturday, you'll need a telephoto lens to distinguish them. Instead of the traditional honors cords, sashes or medals that are draped over commencement gowns, graduates will be limited to wearing their honor society induction pins.

In a statement that created quite a stir on campus, it was announced that honor society cords "are not recognized Assumption College academic regalia. Only those students who have achieved a minimum of a 3.25 average in their overall coursework will wear the honor cords provided by the College. ... Honor cords are not to be worn at graduation unless they are from the Latin honors society, supplied directly from the college."

Assumption College provides honor cords to seniors graduating cum laude with a GPA of 3.25, magna cum laude with a GPA of 3.5, or summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.75. Several honor societies which Assumption recognizes, including history, English, Spanish, psychology and philosophy, have a minimum requirement of a 3.0 GPA.

"The Provost ... is not recognizing that there is also a requirement of being in the top 30-35 percent of your class to be inducted into these honors societies," said Amy L. Krager, president, psychology honor society, Psi Chi. "Currently the top 37 percent of the class of 2008 has a GPA of 3.25 or higher. Therefore we all meet the requirement of 3.25 for academic excellence at Assumption."

Although this is the second year that the rule has been applied, 166 students petitioned the school's president in hopes of reversing the decision for the class of 2008.

"Assumption strives for academic excellence, but by banning honors cords we feel that our academic achievements are not being recognized," said Miss Krager.

Another student, Kristyn Perron, also a Psi Chi Assumption Chapter member, sponsored the petition with Miss Krager and presented it to Assumption President Francesco C. Cesareo and Provost Mary Beadle. As a result, it was decided to allow honor society members to wear their induction pins, which fell short of the students' hopes.

Gone Green

With every other commercial focused on all things green lately, area colleges might ask "what took you guys so long?" The college community has long been at the front of the line when it comes to recycling and other environmental initiatives. Some new programs in this area are:

Worcester Polytechnic Institute launched a new Web site, "Sustainability at WPI," and announced improvements to the university's recycling program. As the first official acts of the President's Task Force on Sustainability, established in September, the new Web site's goal is to create a space that represents WPI's support of campus greening programs and community sustainability projects. It also expanded its campus recycling program to include aluminum, glass, and plastic returnable and non-returnable containers. To date, WPI has recycled campus-generated waste at a rate of 13 percent by focusing on mixed paper, corrugated cardboard and mixed electronics. The addition of aluminum, glass and plastic is expected to have a significant impact on that percentage. The compilation of its data and information can be attributed to a talented and passionate team of students - Keilin Bickar, Shawn Carey and Christopher Lambusta - who drove the Web site's development through a student project facilitated by WPI's Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and directed by professor Scott Jiusto. Check it out at

Across town at Worcester State College, Margaret E. Kerr, associate professor of chemistry, has received recognition for development of a green chemistry curricula, a teaching approach that reduces the use or generation of hazardous substances during chemical processes. Under her direction, Worcester State College adopted a green chemistry curriculum for its organic laboratory sequences four years ago, the first school in the area to do so. Last year, she received a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant to support university green chemistry curriculum development, K-12 outreach and the creation and expansion of green chemistry networks in Southeast Asia. For her efforts, Ms. Kerr will receive the George I. Alden Excellence in Teaching Award during the college's commencement services at the DCU Center May 18.

Did you know that one tree provides enough paper for 28 new textbooks? An easy way for students to go green is to buy used books and sell them back at the end of the term. Anna Maria College joined 280 college bookstores in a nationwide "Buy a Book, Build a Forest" campaign that concludes with the this academic year. The goal of the campaign is to plant 100,000 trees in a national forest. Participants donated a portion of each used textbook purchased or sold at the bookstore to The Arbor Day Foundation.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 11, 2008
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