January 2011 Archives

Going Underground

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National Geographic and NPR have fascinating story on Paris catacombs:

Chicago's got it's own underground historyMorganRackLocos1.jpgOf course there's the CTA's subways, but there's a lot more going on underneath us. Some of us learned about the Chicago Tunnel Company's 60 mile underground freight network 40 feet below ground in the 1992 Chicago Flood. The photo above is from tunnels at the corner of Randolph and State Streets.

And then there's the ginormous Deep Tunnel project of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, one of the largest civil engineering projects ever.

Like the Paris catacombs, Chicago has a story to tell of what we do with our dead, which reveals much about the city's history, development, politics. There's the mass grave of Camp Douglas POWs from the Civil War, the Couch mausoleum still in Lincoln Park from when it was a main cemetery for the city, and the current controversy over the cemetery where a new O'Hare runway is planned...For more on Illinois graveyards, visit graveyards.com.

Mayoral Election Resource Guide

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Compiled by Lynda Lopez, News and Public Affairs Intern

After 21 years of Mayor Daley, the city of Chicago is getting ready to elect a new leader. The election, which is set for February 22nd, has become one of the most contested in the city's recent history. There are currently 6 candidates running for office, including former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and former chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago Gery Chico.

There has been no lack of coverage on the election, as every major media outlet is putting the candidates under public scrutiny. With an endless amount of coverage on the mayoral candidates, it can be quite difficult to filter through the media cloud to find the actual important content.It is important to make the right decision on election day, as the future of the city is going to be shaped by our new mayor. In order to facilitate your voting in February, here is a handy resource guide containing everything from how to register to vote to the best websites for candidate information.

Eligibility to vote:
-- be a U.S. citizen;
-- be at least 18 years of age by election day;
-- live in your precinct at least 30 days before the election;
-- not be in prison/jail serving time for a conviction; and,
-- not claim the right to vote elsewhere

How to register to vote:
-- by submitting this mail-in form. This form can be used: to register for the first time; to file a change of address; or, to file a change of name.
-- in person at 69 W. Washington St., Sixth Floor.
-- at any Secretary of State's office where driver's licenses and state IDs are issued.
-- through an active deputy registrar affiliated with a local organization, such as a political party, ward organization or other state-certified body.

Last day to register to vote is on January 25, 2011!
If you miss the deadline, you can still register until February 15th if you...
Pass by the Chicago Board of Elections in person at 69 W. Washington 6th Floor
To find your polling place, go to Chicagoelections.com/voterinfo

Voting Early
You can vote early starting January 31st until February 17th. Go to chicagoelections.com to find out which locations have "Early Voting."

On Election Day:
Election Day is Tuesday, February 22nd. Polling places are open from 6am-7pm.
If a candidate does not receive the majority of votes (50%+1 vote), there might be a "Run-Off Election" on Tuesday, April 5th.

Mayoral Candidate websites
William Walls: http://wallsformayor.com/
Rahm Emmanuel: http://www.chicagoforrahm.com
Carol Moseley Braun: http://carolforchicago.com/
Miguel Del Valle: http://www.delvalleformayor.com/
Gery Chico: http://www.gerychicoformayor.com/
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins: http://www.patriciaforchicago.com/

Election News Sites

Volunteer for the election
Rahm Emmanuel: http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/action/volunteer
Gery Chico: http://www.gerychicoformayor.com/get_involved.aspx
Carol Moseley Braun: https://services.myngp.com/ngponlineservices/volunteer.aspx?X=4sEYvJt99957195ouYMbmQ%3d%3d
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins: http://patriciaforchicago.blackdogcreativegroup.com/about/
Miguel Del Valle: http://www.delvalleformayor.com/2010/11/join-volunteer-team.html
William Walls: http://wallsformayor.com/volunteer-signin/

UCSC accepts story submissions from contributing writers that take a timely national issue and examine it in the local perspective. To join the pool, or learn more, visit http://tiny.cc/ucsc-civic-journalist.

MLK in Chicago

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MLK Mollison Video.jpg

Video: Mollison Elementary & CUIP video honors MLK

King's legacy in Chicago is complicated. Forty-five years ago this month, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. moved into an apartment at 1550 S. Hamlin in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood on the west side. He worked with local leaders for open housing. Chicago challenged him in new ways.  Of his time in Chicago, he said: "I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hostile and as hateful..."

Students Help Save Mothers in India

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By Lynda Lopez. News and Public Affairs Intern

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed his long debated health care bill into law, but it still remains an issue of controversy among concerned Americans.

While the United States deals with its own share of health care issues, there is another world of health concerns on the other side of the world and some inquisitive University of Chicago students in a new student group have taken notice.

The Global Affairs Leadership Society (GALS) became a Registered Student Organization (RSO) in the fifth week of the first quarter. The basic premise behind the group is to provide a place where students can discuss issues of conflict within women's rights in the Western and in the developing world. Not only do they seek to talk about these important issues, they also want to take an active role in combatting them.

"So many people spend their time talking about important issues, but spend no time doing anything about it," says Molly Cunningham, a GALS board member and 2nd year in the College, "GALS is 'doing' rather than just talking."

One of the first issues the group has sets its eyes on is the high maternal mortality rate in India. According to save-a-mother.org, over 160 women in India die each day due to problems from pregnancy and complications in childbirth, over 50 times higher than the rate in the United States. Statistics and concerns such as these spurred the members of GALS to become involved with Save A Mother, which is a local organization that is working to reduce the maternal mortality rate in India by educating villagers regarding better ways to maintain good health while in pregnancy. Eventually, these educated villagers become health activists in each of their villages.

Hoping to learn more about this organization, GALS held a special event at the Center for Gender Studies on January 10th. Dr. Shiban Ganju, founder and chief volunteer of Save A Mother, visited the university in order to talk further about the organization's work and to inspire the group to further the organization's cause.

Cunningham says that his visit definitely motivated the group. "After hearing him speak, we felt that we could truly change the world," she says.

Throughout the upcoming quarter, GALS is going to work on strengthening its relationship with Save A Mother and continue furthering the organization's cause.

Besides their work with Save A Mother, GALS has also been thinking of unique ways in which to spread the word about their unique RSO. Since their inception as a RSO, they have carried out a series of social experiments intended to gain insight into the issue of women's rights. One of the first and most interesting social experiments was implemented at the end of last quarter. Each of the members of GALS changed their Facebook status to "people like people who like women's rights."

"Our generation is constantly checking their emails, phones, and Facebook, so we knew we should take advantage of this connectivity," says Cunningham. "This social experiment gave us further insight into the thoughts of men regarding women's rights."

Cunningham says that she received many playful, silly comments on her status that day, which, she says, indicates the unclear role that women's rights tends to have in society. What does it truly mean to have rights as a woman? GALS plans to continue its social media experiment throughout the quarter in order to further explore this question and many more.

Despite all of the different endeavors that GALS is working towards, including a conference on women's rights, all of these activities have an underlying theme: Education.

"Ignorance kills even the best of ideas," says Cunningham. "We are hoping to raise awareness about important issues and even if the students we talk to don't get involved, it is still a better world because we opened their eyes a little more."

UCSC accepts story submissions from contributing writers that take a timely national issue and examine it in the local perspective. To join the pool, or learn more, visit http://tiny.cc/ucsc-civic-journalist.

By Lynda Lopez, News and Public Affairs Intern for UCSC

The winter quarter has officially gotten underway, which means another 10 weeks of dedication, hard work, and discovery in everyone's academic lives. Even though the quarter represents the return to academic normality, it does not have to mean a return to the same day to day routines of campus life.

Before planning out your entire winter schedule for involvement on campus, make sure to ask yourself some important questions. Am I getting to know the city of Chicago? Am I doing something that I feel passionate about? Are the groups on campus fulfilling all my needs/expectations? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then it may be time for you to branch out into the city as a whole and get involved with an organization not necessarily on campus.

It can often be difficult to leave the UChicago campus because of homework and transportation expenses, but getting involved in an organization off campus may prove to be a much needed booster to your academic confidence. Reaching out to new horizons allows you to truly gauge your ability as a person and a student. Besides, getting involved does not mean that you are becoming an employee at this specific organization. It simply means that you may start to volunteer once or twice a week on a weekday or weekend, depending on your availability.

The city of Chicago is a vast place with endless resources for college students. From environmental activism to anti-violence prevention, there are a myriad of opportunities for students to get involved.

In order to facilitate your search around the city of Chicago, the UCSC has compiled an easy reference list of some great non-profits around the city. There are different non-profits listed under each side of the city with a brief description of what each does, which can also be found on each of their websites.


Beyondmedia Education
Beyondmedia Education is an organization that collaborates with under-served and under-represented women, youth and communities to tell their stories, connect their stories to the world as a whole, and organize for social justice through the creation and distribution of media arts.

Center on Halsted

The Center on Halsted serves as a place where the LGBT community can find a safe and nurturing environment. It provides community resources and other social services for youth and adults.


Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization is a place where students and other activists come together and discuss issues pertaining to the condition of the environment in the city, specifically the Little Village community. The organization has a reputation of being at the forefront of the environmental movement and is well-respected across the city.

Latinos Progresandos
Latinos Progresando was founded in 1998 to address the lack of high-quality, accessible community resources in Little Village. The organization is uniquely attuned to the specific needs of the communities Little Village and Pilsen. Some services offered include immigration services and theater programs for young men and women.


Erie Neighborhood House
Erie Neighborhood House is committed to empowering Latinos and diverse low-income communities to reach their fullest potential with a range of educational programs for all ages. Their mission is to promote and just society by providing low income families with the tools for a better future.

Homan Square Community Center
The Homan Square Community Center is for every resident of North Lawndale and Chicago's West Side. The programs and services offered are designed to meet the needs and wishes of the community.


Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to equal participation in the life of our society. It also aims to raise awareness about immigrant issues to the general public in order to encourage further participation in the important immigration movement.

Dreams for Kids
Dreams for Kids is a volunteer based, registered non-profit children's charity that breaks down social barriers and end the isolation of at-risk youth. Dreams for Kids is empowering youth who live in poverty and those with disabilities, by uniting them with their peers, recognizing their abilities, and allowing their voices to be heard. The most isolated young people from every community are reminded they have something to give, and they are the solution- not the problem.

The Chicago Project HEALTH site is pleased to announce our name change to Health Leads.

Health Leads is still a national organization (and University of Chicago RSO), and we remain committed as ever to alleviating the factors of poor health in our communities. Over 90 UChicago student volunteers work with patients at 4 area health centers across the South Side to help them obtain food, safe housing, employment, child care, and more. Last year over 5,000 families were aided by Health Leads volunteers. It's a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in medicine, public policy, public health, or community involvement. We'd love to have you join our team!

If you're interested in applying, please visit our website at www.healthleadsusa.org to view and complete the Chicago application (Go to "Get Involved-->Volunteer"). The applications are due Thursday, January 13 at 10pm.

We are also hosting 3 information sessions during first and second weeks to give an overview of our program, go over details of the application process, and share volunteer stories of time spent with Project HEALTH.

Info Session Dates:

Thursday, Jan 6 @ 6:00 pm, Harper 145
Monday, Jan 10 @ 7:00pm, Harper 141
Tuesday, Jan 11 @ 6:30pm, Harper 135