Oxfam fighting for fair-trade bananas on campus
Bananas are the next target of the campus fair-trade movement, as members of Oxfam at Brown seek to increase the University’s offerings of fair-trade products in the dining halls.
“The (fair-trade) movement has been really big in the coffee industry, and other industries are starting to have fair trade too,” said Hope Turner ’08, former co-president of Oxfam at Brown. “We haven’t been able to get fair-trade coffee into the dining halls, so we decided to expand” to bananas.
Oxfam decided to advocate for fair-trade bananas in the dining halls after representatives from a fair-trade banana company came to Brown last semester to discuss their cause. Dining Services bought a box of fair-trade bananas in late November, giving some to Oxfam for sale at a sustainable alternative gift fair and giving away the remainder in the Sharpe Refectory.
Though she said the University has not yet made any official decision on the banana proposal, Turner remained optimistic. “I think there’s a good chance that fair-trade bananas will be offered, if not in the dining halls then in some of the other eateries like the Blue Room or the Ivy Room.”
- James Shapiro
Jindal ’91.5 to seek La. governorship
U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal ’91.5, R-La., will challenge incumbent Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, in the 2007 gubernatorial election. Blanco defeated Jindal in the 2003 runoff election by a 52-48 percent margin.
“Our state, our communities and our families have been through some very tough times. There is clearly a hunger for a new approach to governing,” Jindal said in a Jan. 23 post on his Web site announcing his candidacy.
Jindal’s chances in the race seem promising. A recent poll showed Jindal with a 24-point lead over Blanco in a head-to-head race, according to a Jan. 28 article in the Shreveport Times.
Blanco has been criticized for her role in the state’s lackluster response to Hurricane Katrina and the slow pace of recovery in the state.
A native of Baton Rouge, Jindal was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004. He had previously served as head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and assistant secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. After graduating from Brown, he received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England.
- Zachary Chapman
U. scientists study bat flight
Using 3-D video recordings and a laser-imaging device, Brown researchers have developed new insights into the aerodynamics of bat flight patterns. The results of the study, funded in part by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, may lead to advances in the fields of evolutionary biology and engineering.
The research casts doubt on traditional assumptions about the evolution of bats from other flying mammals. Stark differences between squirrel-type gliding wings and bats’ thin, flapping wings decrease the possibility of a close relationship between the two types of animals, according to Associate Professor of Biology Sharon Swartz, a collaborator on the project.
The study holds particular promise for biomimetics, a field of engineering that uses organisms’ natural functions as a model for mechanical designs. “We want to understand bat flight and be able to incorporate some of the features of bat flight into an engineered vehicle,” said Kenneth Breuer ’82, professor of engineering, in a Jan. 18 University news release.
- James Shapiro
R.I. likes Hillary and Cicilline ’83, new poll says
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is the favorite candidate of Rhode Island Democrats for president in the 2008 election, according to a poll conducted Jan. 27 by Darrell West, professor of political science and director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy.
If the primary were held now, 33 percent of voters who said they would likely vote in the Democratic primary said they would vote for Clinton. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., came in second in the survey, with the support of 15 percent of likely voters, followed by former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., with 8 percent of likely voters.
In a general election match-up between Clinton and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, 49 percent of Rhode Island voters said they would support Clinton, 36 percent favored McCain and 15 percent were undecided. Voters also favored Clinton over other potential Republican nominees – former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The survey polled 475 registered voters in Rhode Island over one day. The poll had a margin of error of 5 percentage points, except for the questions on the Democratic primary race, which had a margin of error of 6 percent.
- Zachary Chapman