Author Examines College Generation’s New Challenges

Alexandra Robbins, author of “The Quarterlife Crisis,” pinpointed the issues facing young people in a lecture that kicked off the first of Georgetown’s 2008 Homecoming festivities this Thursday in Riggs Library.

“I did high school the wrong way,” said Robbins, who most recently authored “The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids.”

As a Yale graduate who describes herself as a “recovering overachiever,” Robbins explained that the problem facing today’s youth is students all too often feel they must choose between success and happiness.

Robbins said she disagrees with the increasing focus among colleges on testing by the College Board.

“The whole AP thing is a crock of hooey,” she said. “Don’t get sucked into the competitive game.”

Reflecting on her own past as an overachiever, Robbins said if given the opportunity to redo her high school career, she would not have applied to Yale.

“So many students continue to have brand-name fever,” Robbins said.

She criticized the U.S. News & World Report college ranking system for its failures in measuring whether enrolled students were actually happy.

“Those rankings are a total sham,” she said, adding that many colleges cheat the system by manipulating or altering average scores and alumni endowments.

When it comes to choosing a career path, Robbins urged students to ask themselves what career fields they would pursue if they won the lottery. For every interest, be it shopping, cooking or rearranging rooms, there is a viable, corresponding job as a personal shopper, a chef or an interior decorator, Robbins said.

Robbins’ other books include The New York Times bestseller “Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities” as well as “Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power.” In addition, she has written for The New Yorker and Cosmopolitan as well as appeared on “The Colbert Report,” CNN, BBC and the History Channel.

The lecture was sponsored by New Student Orientation, the Lecture Fund and the Alumni Association.

– Anna Salinas

City Expands Recycling Program to Include New Items, Georgetown Aims to Stay in Step

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced that the city’s recycling program has broadened to include more plastics and cardboards beginning Oct. 6, enabling D.C. as well as Georgetown students to be even more environmentally friendly.

Nancee Lyons, public affairs specialist in the D.C. Department of Public Works, said that residents now have a greater opportunity to recycle items that previously would have ended up in landfills.

Some of these items include aerosol cans, juice cartons, plastic bags, wide-mouth containers and rigid plastics such as lawn furniture.

“This new list will allow D.C. residents to leave less of a carbon footprint behind,” she said.

This expanded recycling program is part of an ongoing effort by Fenty to boost the city’s recycling.

“Residents of D.C. have been wanting to recycle more [but] up until recently there hasn’t been a market for these recyclables,” Lyons said. “We were very eager to allow residents to recycle them.”

A study performed last year by DPW found that D.C. residents recycle at higher rates than the national average. Moreover, Ward Two, in which Georgetown is located, has among the highest recycling rates in the city.

“There is more recycling in Wards Two and Three than in every other ward,” Lyons said. “We expect them to take advantage of this opportunity more than residents in other areas and more than double what they are recycling now.”

William Del Vecchio, recycling manager at Georgetown, said that the university has a progressive recycling program in place.

“The university is constantly improving the systems we use to recycle these different commodities,” he said.

According to Del Vecchio, Georgetown just purchased a new, cleaner recycling truck for paper and cardboard, which was on display on Wednesday at Georgetown’s Green Fair.

“Georgetown is really on the cutting edge of recycling,” he said.

– Clare Scanlan

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