Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Announcing the one last chance for graduating seniors to be together!!!!


Hope to see you all there!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The End

As I finished up my final preparations for the big move back to the big easy, I began to reflect on my unique experience this past semester. I recognized how it’s likely that no two people had the same experience, even if they went to the same school. I am excited that everyone will have something different to contribute back at school. I’m anxious to return, and even more eager to rebuild my life down there. I’m looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding our life in New Orleans, everything from reestablishing our daily routines to developing new entertainment experiences. It won’t ever be the same again. I’m cool with that.

Whether you even return to Tulane or not, there is obviously a great deal of introspect that you can take away from this semester. There are myriad ways in which we can all learn and mature from our experiences this semester.

If anything, I can tell you that I gained a great deal of introspect from operating this blog. Being able to express my emotions and read responses (even the bad) was a wonderful opportunity. On this site, there were many different types of readers. First, were the positive supporters, the wonderful people who wrote me emails and posted positive comments that provided new insight into my analysis. There were the negative supporters. These people disagreed with my analysis or my perspectives, and posted so in a respectful manner. They contributed to balancing the issues when my views were biased. Then there were the nay-sayers. These people clearly disagreed with my analysis, and also found it necessary to bring down the tone of the blog by voicing extremely negative views, many times without any foundation or warrant. There were the quiet readers. These people read the blog and never posted a thing. Some emailed me, and some never spoke a word. Then there were the worried parents- parents so apprehensive about letting their child return, that the logic on this website did nothing to change them. There were supportive (and unsupportive) alumni, who were concerned that Tulane would never be the same, in a good or bad way. And finally there were the administrators, many who didn’t admit they were reading this site. The few who did admit they were frequent readers said this site helped many of them maintain hope that the students would return and the students would care.

This site did the same for many of us; it gave us hope during a time of absolute uncertainty.

Each of these types of people helped this blog become what it was: a voice. Sometimes it was a voice for the students. Sometimes it was a voice for the parents or for the alumni. Sometimes it supported the Tulane administration. Many times is disagreed. Regardless, we created discourse. We had intelligent discussion, unintelligent discussion, and even downright fighting. Nevertheless, it was a place in which we came together under the common desire for information and emotional relief.

As I sit here, only hours away from my return to New Orleans, I reflect on my experience at USC this fall semester. I remember the good, the bad, and the indisputably difficult. I remember when we were first just evacuees in Galveston. I remember when I had a special “Tulane student orientation.” I remember when I walked into my first class. I remember unforgettable football games. I remember finals. I remember saying goodbye to my wonderful professors. I remember having a ton of fun. I remember saying I’d trade it all for a semester in New Orleans.

As I went through and read each of my posts, I reflected on my emotions at the time in which I wrote them. What a rollercoaster it has truly been.

It doesn’t matter whether you agreed or disagreed with my views. It doesn’t matter whether you believe Tulane is good or evil. We all took something positive away from our experiences this semester. We are all more intelligent, well-rounded individuals. We all share a common bond. This semester will be a time in which we will unite under this bond and we will show the world that "us Tulane students are a special breed..."

We are all a part of the Tulane family, whether you like it or not.

I wish you all the best of luck and I hope to meet every single person who read this site over the course of the semester. Don’t you dare be a stranger, I’m easy to find (AEPI/my own parties/good concerts/class from time to time).


Brett Hyman

Monday, December 26, 2005

Face the Challenge

First of all happy holidays to everyone who reads my site....

Has the media forgotten about the help New Orleans will still need? Has the federal government ever paid attention to New Orleans? Have the people of the United States forgotten what has happened?

Sometimes I feel like they have.

Clearly, the media attention has dissolved. We would expect nothing less. One reason it has begun to disappear is because the federal government (mainly the executive branch) has ignored the rebuilding effort in its entirety. When was the last time Bush was in New Orleans? When was the last time he mentioned some ideas about what the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should do to PREVENT future disasters? We know something needs to radically change. Is he waiting until one more disaster happens before we make those changes? This criticism isn’t ringing loudly enough with the American people. It’s not that they don’t care about the future of New Orleans, it’s that they don’t recognize the lack of attention being paid to the rebuilding effort. I want to get these issues into the limelight. I am contemplating the concept of creating some type of political action committee that can raise money to put pressure on politicians of that sort. Wanna help? Join the N.O.L.A.- New Orleans Lives Again facebook group.

Let’s talk about the city for a minute. The city is bouncing back rapidly and not everyone is able to appreciate that. Still, a lot of work needs to be done. But the city is going to become radically different, relatively quickly. The rich people are going to come back right away. The poorer people will be forced to stay in their current situations until their neighborhoods are restored. Many of these neighborhoods are being rebuilt to be much higher class. Thus, we will see these areas improve socially. The poorer people may not come back. This would of course upset me, as I believe they play an equally important role in the culture of New Orleans. But I know that New Orleans will be a better place. There will be room for everyone to come back one day, and the city will flourish with a larger population.

But how can I prove this will happen? If you happen to be watching the news or reading magazines like the Economist or Newsweek, then you probably know how I’ll support these claims. New Orleans is receiving a ton of federal money (not enough but still a lot). They will not go broke. Politicians can’t afford to let them go broke. It’s wildly unpopular for a politician to be against relief for New Orleans. New Orleans announced it will be the FIRST fully internet wireless city. On top of that, real estate development companies are ALREADY in New Orleans, purchasing a ton of land. They know what the value will be, and many expect St. Charles to become one of the highest valued streets in the nation.

Will this happen right away? NOPE. Don’t expect it to. It will, however, BE happening while we are there. We have a chance to be a part of the biggest rebuilding effort in the world. We will watch as people flood into the city, as areas are restored, and as new structures are created. We have a chance to witness it all and learn from it. This disaster will inspire many to learn what went wrong. When we graduate, people will know that Tulane students have had the most unique experience in the world. And no, they won’t think Tulane’s academic reputation fell apart, because Tulane will make itself better known.

With all this said, I spoke with one of my favorite freshmen yesterday, and she told me how the chances of her going back were almost non-existent. She said she absolutely wanted to (she had just been down in New Orleans earlier this week) but her father said absolutely not. Her father said he didn’t like the way it looked and it appears he didn’t approve of her going back. I just don’t understand how a parent could completely negate their child’s wishes. Why would any parent want to make their son or daughter unhappy? Why would they want to make a decision against his or her wishes? It doesn’t make sense. I’m old enough to make my own decisions. If I didn’t want to go back, I wouldn’t. Anyone who goes to college makes much more life altering decisions than whether to return to Tulane. These parents act like their child isn’t returning to Tulane, but is going to live in a shack on the street. In fact, it makes me furious to believe that some people won’t be able to experience the magic of New Orleans and the love of the Tulane family, just because their parent wants them to stay a school that is “coincidentally” closer to home. For the love of God, let her make her own decision!

I have gained new introspect into the issue regarding people returning to New Orleans. I know that inevitably people won’t return. I know that the resilient ones will. I know that those who have the strongest bond with New Orleans couldn’t bear to miss out on the upcoming semester. I know that those who don’t have this bond won’t come back. I just wish that all of those who wish to experience the magic of Tulane won’t be stopped by anything other than their own free will.

Up until very recently, I refused to accept that New Orleans would be any different when we got back. How ridiculous, of course it will be different. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. In fact, it could present a multitude of opportunity that will enhance the experience that I have articulated in previous posts. We are all wary of change; we are all scared of going back to New Orleans and finding a deserted wasteland. I don’t run away from adversity. I don’t blame those that do. But I don’t. I face it and challengeit; ultimately defeating it or learning from my own mistakes. Returning to New Orleans is the biggest challenge that some of us may ever face, coping with our emotions from this tragedy may be a close second. Regardless, I look forward to it. But that’s me. And I guess have to accept the fact that some people view this challenge as a risk, and they would rather not risk their education. And that’s where I think I differ from those that aren’t returning. I view this as something that we can overcome with perseverance and persistence. But those that aren’t up to it, I’ll just say farewell. To be part of our community, it’s going to take a lot of work. You are going to have to care. In fact, you are going to have to take a lot of action. Those of us who will be in New Orleans for spring semester know this, and we are ready to face the challenge.

People who aren't coming back are still in a massive minority. Most of us Tulane students are the type who want to experience the rebulding of New Orleans and assist in some way. We are those who will look at the return as a CHALLENGE and not a RISK. But if you are wondering about how many people will return to New Orleans, I refer you to the following site, where about almost every single person has said that they will, in fact, be back. http://tulane.spatang.com/view.php

Another post coming soon,

Friday, December 09, 2005

Good news or bad news?

I will deviate from my usual unconditionally pro-tulane stance in order to offer you a researched analysis of the new Tulane policy. Some of you may know what this new Tulane policy is, but I fear that many of you haven’t even noticed that a change has taken place. This change isn’t just a minor tweak in the operation of the university policy, but according to President Scott Cowen it is “the most significant reinvention of a university in the United States in over a century (LA Times, 12/9/05).”

Let’s first take a look at the major changes: http://renewal.tulane.edu/background.shtml

Let me dispel the major rumor: they AREN’T cutting a ton of majors. They are making a bunch of minor changes in a lot of areas and a few really big structural changes, in areas that really don’t affect us. However, all of these changes serve to enhance the academic integrity of the university, and will not do anything to harm it.

Let’s first look at the assumptions of all this change. Tulane is acting in a way that will help mitigate its financial burden and cut expenses while establishing an opportunity to grow. I don’t expect any of the current people at Tulane to like the idea of these changes, because no one wants their undergraduate experience to be altered in any way. However, these changes won’t affect our experience at all. In fact, they will work to benefit the experiences of future students. We should look at these decisions as positive steps toward restoration of our old financial status as well as steps toward enhancing the academic quality of our remaining programs.

It seems that Tulane went ahead establishing these policies without consulting the student body. A few sources with whom I have spoken have indicated that Tulane moved forward with these major changes without input from any of the elected student representatives. This isn’t necessarily a big change from Tulane’s typical method of decision-making protocol. Apparently they, along with MOST colleges, tend to make decisions without major consultation with the student organizations. I don’t see why it would hurt to at least consult with the student government officials know what’s going on, even if they don’t get a big say. Not being a part of these organizations myself, I don’t have a lot to say about this particular aspect, but I know there are many who do. So let’s work toward that, Tulane administration.

Assuming you have read all the specifics, which are found here, I’m going to look at some of the major points and see how they may affect Tulane’s future.

Tulane’s biggest changes are the elimination of many engineering majors, layoffs of 230 faculty, elimination of the “coordinate system” and reduction of our involvement in the NCAA.

To begin with, the changes to the engineering majors is sad, it truly is. I mean, cutting five programs seems to be pretty drastic. But it isn’t a drastic move in any facet. I love all you engineers majors out there, but let me explain. The cuts will affect 229 undergrads, or 3% of all the undergraduates. That’s all. Tulane will, instead, save a ton of money and invest in programs that will help bring them academic recognition and, of course, federal funds (USAToday, 12/8/05). I'm sorry to you 229 undergrads, I truly am.

The next big change is that Tulane will now sponsor only six Division I intercollegiate athletics programs competing in eight sports. They will suspend the others. The changes will affect 100 students — one-third of student athletes. Athletic scholarships will be honored, and assistance will be given to those who wish to transfer (USAToday, 12/8/05). Since I don’t know a lot about NCAA sports, I contacted my friend Blake Rotor, who happens to be quite knowledgeable in this area. Blake writes: The sports situation is mainly a cost-cutting measure. It has been discussed for years that the athletic department loses a lot of money each year and there have been previous discussions about dropping out of division 1 all together, most recently in the spring of 2003. Tulane was granted a waiver from the NCAA for this catastrophe so that they don't have to abide by the membership requirements of being a Division 1 member, but the waiver is only good for 5 years. Normally, in order to be Division 1, a school must have 7 mens and 7 womens sports, or 6 mens & 8 womens, which is they way Tulane has been for 2 years now after the addition of women's swimming & diving, and the removal of men's track. There are also football attendance requirements to be D 1, but those are unimportant right now. Today, the school cut down to 4 mens teams and 4 womens teams which is far below the NCAA requirements. It is even below the requirements for being Division 3, like Emory, Wash U, Chicago and other academic institutions are. In order to be Division 3, a school must have 5 mens and 5 womens sports. Also, this is invalid with the provisions of Title 9 which says that your male/female athlete ratio must be very close, I think within 3% percentage points but I'm not sure, of the school's male/female total student ratio. Thus, changes will have to be made soon to add more sports, or decide to drop out of the NCAA entirely and become an NAIA school like Loyola New Orleans, which would be quite unexpected. The logical thing for them would be to bring back men's & women's tennis, and become a Division III school, without any athletic scholarships, but let baseball play at Division 1, which is possible and had been discussed during the football talks 2 years ago. The sports that were cut were expensive, brought in zero money, and don't bring much prestige or recognition to the school, while it is sad to see them go. – thanks Blake.

Now for the layoffs. I believe this is a purely financial decision. Tulane just can’t afford to keep a ton of people on staff, and consequently the medical school will account for 180 of the 230 layoffs. The university said that it will concentrate on areas where it has attained, or has the potential to achieve, world-class excellence and "will suspend admission to those programs that do not meet these criteria." But the university did not immediately identify which programs that would mean (CNN.com, 12/8/05). We can infer that the money will be reinvested into programs that yield larger financial grants, and thus make a huge difference. I’m sad to see this program go. But when the time comes, I know it will be back.

About 86% of Tulane's 11,390 undergraduate students have registered for spring semester, just under the more typical 90% registration rate by this time of the year. (Take that naysayers). Freshman applications for next fall are up about 12% compared with this time last year (USAToday, 12/8/05). Tulane will be raising academic standards and shrinking the size of the incoming freshman class. However, tuition only accounts for 35% of Tulane's revenue (LA Times, 12/8/05). If we get a huge federal relief grant (which we will), this will more than make up for the loss in tuition as well as help pay for the cleanup effort of the school.

Other change to note- almost every single class at Tulane will be taught by a full-time faculty member. I can’t stress how beneficial that can be to our ability to learn a thing or two.

Additionally, Tulane will be getting rid of the “coordinate system.” This unique system split men and women in hypothetical colleges, respectively Tulane College and Newcomb College. For people who didn’t meet all of these college’s academic standards, many students were accepted in the University College and given the opportunity to transfer into one of the other colleges after completing some coursework at Tulane. These different colleges will now be lumped in one administrative body, The College of Arts of Sciences. Big deal? Nope. Nothing changes academically, except men and women will share advisors, deans and such. What does it mean for the school? They don’t need three different administrative staffs running the same academic programs.

The bottom line, Tulane faces a $200 million operating deficit and these new policies will help solve more than 25% of that. This is a step in a positive direction for more than just financial reasons. Clearly, Tulane has solidified measures that will substantially enhance their academic status. I believe that these academic changes will really do some good for the university, especially in the long term. Yes, some of the changes are pretty significant. Yes, change is a scary. But we all should have gotten used to change by now.

Brett Hyman

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Whole Foods to Reopen in January

From the Whole Foods corporate website:

"Welcome back! While Arabella Station is under repair from Hurricane Katrina, Whole Foods Market has introduced the Pick Up Service that provides Whole Foods Market products to residents throughout the Gulf Coast region. Customers may call 1-800-967-9703 and order their favorite Whole Foods Market products, from fresh organic produce, artisan food, and special diet offerings to chilled prepared foods and holiday orders. All orders are delivered by refrigerated truck the following business day to the Arabella Station location only. Arabella Station will reopen the first week in January."

: )

Monday, November 28, 2005

Some Ideas

Not a whole lot of news to report.

It is truly astonishing just how close we are getting to going back. I’m looking forward to a smooth transition back into our beloved city. Tulane has resumed normal operations, including moving back into Gibson Hall last weekend. My assumption is that we will see a greater amount of announcements over the next few days/weeks.

Speaking of returning to “normal”, I’ve launched a new venture, Night Vision Entertainment, which will work to restore a lot of the social aspects to Tulane students. A lot of places aren’t going to reopen right away, so I’m working on deals with a bunch of reopening nightclubs and bars to establish weekly college nights, so that we can all stay together. I’ve spent a great deal of time doing this over my last three years, but now I feel that we are going to need a lot of social organization more than ever. The facebook group: New Orleans is, hands down, the biggest party city in the world” will be the place for people to get advance updates on all of our special events. So if you are interested, you can join now and I’ll be sending out updates on a regular basis.

I definitely plan to work on some philanthropy ideas for next semester. Those of you who are truly motivated to help out should join my other facebook group: N.O.L.A.- New Orleans Lives Again. We are going to think of innovative ways to help bring the city back stronger than ever, not just regular fundraising and toy drives- which are GREAT, but there’s much more to be done. See the group for more details.

It seems like people are just waiting to go back, counting down minute by minute. No one is excited for finals at their new school- I sure am not. However, most of us are just a few weeks away from completing our first and hopefully our last semester as a visiting student. Tulane and New Orleans will be a different place when we go back, but I’ll still see it as home.

More good news is that I still don’t know of many people who won’t be returning to Tulane. There are many people who are using next semester as an abroad semester, but since a lot of people did that this semester there will be a huge population on our campus.

I wanted to get some input on how people are handling the following situation. Most of us have become extremely acclimated to our new lifestyles; making new friends, building routines, and learned about our social and cultural environments. How does everyone feel about having to drop all that and go back to Tulane, or for some of you, go to Tulane for the first time? I’ve dealt with this by realizing that if its really that great, it’ll be there when I get back. I have a lot that I’ll miss here in Los Angeles, but I could never go without my four years of Tulane. If this lifestyle is important to me, I will resume it when I return to LA after graduation.

Speaking of graduation how about that? For me, and most of my friends, this is our last semester of college. Who’s getting emotional? Come on, we know you are!

Anyways, I miss you all. Hope everyone is well and excited for our return.

Coming soon- updates on moving back in and just how that's gonna go down.

Talk to you soon,


Monday, November 21, 2005

Tulane to Land Not One, But Two Presidents!!!!!

If this happens, I will ask for nothing more out of life.

Reported by the Washington Post Online:

"But let's not forget the newest cast of "The Odd Couple," former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton . The Disaster Twins, who've been working to help victims of the Asian tsunami and more recently those of Hurricane Katrina, are said to be looking at giving a joint commencement address next May at Tulane University in New Orleans."

CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO THE ARTICLE (you gotta scroll down a bit). It doesn't say anything else though.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Planning for the Future

Hey all!

Sorry its been a while since I’ve posted. I have been working hard on some personal things and didn’t have the time. However, from now on, I will be back in action, as I plan to take this blog into another new direction: that of preparation for our return.

It’s time, whether you want to or not, to start thinking about going back. Most people have registered for classes for Spring. Most have at least considered Lagniappe, and many are still confused. My friends and I are already planning Spring Break!

Consequently, discussion here needs to become more real and more proactive. We need to talk about how things will look next semester, what we can do in our spare time to help out the community and what new opportunities may be out there. I’m talking with great organizations, such as New Orleans Hillel, about many of their plans. If you want to email me info on what YOUR organization is doing, I will definitely post it up on the site. In addition to planning volunteer work, I began a new business that will be planning all sorts of exciting social activities; in fact we plan to do an event every week!

Let’s begin this new transition by talking about ideas on what we all need to do to prepare for the return. I’m not saying we know all the details yet- we are still uncertain about housing, understandably so. But as I said in previous posts, Tulane will take care of us. The cruise ship idea, controversial as it is, will be beneficial to the tons of Tulane students who are displaced. And knowing Tulane students, they will do just fine. I actually think it sounds really fun.

I am looking forward to going back. I heard generally positive reviews from New Orleans. Some people were very excited at how fast things have come along, others were sad that their favorite restaurant/bar hadn’t opened (or may never open again). Nevertheless, all these people were enthusiastic about going back. Sad or happy, they all just want to get back to New Orleans- and I feel the same way.

It’s such a unique situation. I have completely adapted to being here in LA for the semester- making friends, getting involved in the school and developing a business. I certainly don’t know how I will adequately maintain this connection while I’m back at school. Regardless, I’m ready to return and experience my last semester at Tulane.

I truly can’t articulate just how much this experience has helped me gain perspective on life. I sincerely hope everyone else took away the same lessons that I have this semester.

You’ll hear from me again soon, so come on back!

Brett Hyman

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good Luck and Safe Travels

I just wanted to wish everyone who's going this weekend to have a safe trip to New Orleans. I'm praying that you all feel some of the Tulane magic that I try to impart through this site. Unfortunately, I can't make it this weekend but I'm looking forward to hearing the reports, even from the naysayers! Speaking of naysayers I'm repositing my bout with our favorite one in the comments section (well just my response to his riduculous comment). Hopefully, this will put some kind of end to it.

I hope to hear lots of reports, and I would appreciate any and all emails about your perceptions to TulaneStudentBlog@gmail.com. When you get return, it would be great if you comment to this post with a little synopsis of your take on the Tulane situation- good or bad.

Again, good luck and safe travels everyone,

Brett Hyman

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"I can't wait to get back"

Every time I pass someone in the hall and every time I talk to someone who I don't normally speak to; the same words come out of their mouth "I can't wait to get back." It isn't that I'm hearing some variation of this; I'm actually hearing those same exact words. I thought by this time, we’d hear of people who aren’t coming back. In my inner circle, it just isn’t happening. I’d say 1 out of every 40 people I know isn’t coming back. This is exciting news. I sat down last night to write out a list of who I thought definitely wouldn’t return and possibly wouldn’t return. My original guesstimate was that 10% of the student body won’t come back, but it seems I was way off. It seems, at least to me, that it’s more like 3-5%. Now, did I conduct a scientific test? No. Did I try calling the kids of the people who love to bash Tulane? Nope. I looked at a group of freshmen (yes I know a bunch), sophomores, juniors and seniors- and analyzed that. I definitely know 3 people who aren’t coming back. And I think I know about 23 who might not. So that’s 26 out of about 300. How can I remember 300 people I know? The facebook and those wonderful emails I’ve received. ALMOST ALL OF 23 people who aren’t sure whether they are going to go back are saying it because their “parents won’t let them.” That, however, makes me quite sad.

Regardless of whether you buy my argument, I’m real excited about it. Many of you will be going to see New Orleans this weekend, and I can only hope to hear all your reports, good and bad. Maybe some parents will change their minds and allow their son or daughter to decide for themselves. Nevertheless, some will decide the complete opposite. I just hope the analysis is thorough and inclusive. I hope that we will see him or her in the Spring.

Missing Tulane,

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Tulane Village

A very interesting interview with Scott Cowen on NPR (which can be found by clicking here) confirms my prediction that Tulane will become a stronger school both academically as well as physically. In the interview, Scott Cowen shows the broad range of thinking that the university administration has covered. He mentions the plans to build a large self-contained village with housing, schooling, and shops for students and faculty. My guess is that this village be located in Uptown Square, down Broadway closer to the river (where there was virtually no damage). Tulane purchased Uptown Square a few years ago as a potential secondary campus and secondary housing area. It will probably have shuttle service for the 4 minute ride from the center of campus. This is exciting for me, as I had forgot about Uptown Square until I heard this interview. On top of this, local retailers and especially supermarkets have come back online much faster than predicted. According to many reports, the community will be in very good condition by the time we get back. And if not, Tulane will have its own community for faculty, staff and students.

In this interview Scott Cowen also shows how he is thinking outside the box about the potential long-term affects of Hurricane Katrina. Cowen discusses the implications of getting an education in New Orleans. Plans to shrink the student body and RAISE academic standards will heavily increase Tulane’s attractiveness to students and faculty. It will allow Tulane to keep providing us with a quality education and potentially increase the quality. However, the “Tulane experience” will also be enhanced. New programs to focus on the Hurricane and efforts will give students an opportunity to experience a hands-on academic experience. Tulane will be able to provide students with one thing that NO OTHER UNIVERSITY (outside New Orleans) can. They will be able to teach, learn and study the Hurricane and its affects from a primary perspective- in a place that experienced it all.

Sadly, many staff and faculty have lost or will lose their jobs. My assumption is that this is a financial decision. I know Tulane will make up for this by continuing as leaders in the New Orleans economy. When there was a big government fight over the minimum wage a few years back, Tulane raised it on campus and demonstrated to the city their support- resulting in the new law. This is just one example of how Tulane is a leader in the New Orleans community.

Class schedules posted!!

Good News: Class schedules are posted here!!!
Bad News: Business school will have many classes on Friday.

Good News: A LOT of classes are available next semester in all schools.
Bad News: Business school will have many classes on Friday.

Sad but true. We can't be wimps though. I think I can handle a 2pm or 4pm. Anytime earlier than that is another story...

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Orleans Becomes Home Again

Reports prove that New Orleans is ready for our return, but many parents refuse to accept it.

A report from two of my close friends from Tulane shed new hope on the question of whether “New Orleans will ever be the same.” Some people had, at times, questioned if uptown would be able to bounce back by January. They thought there would be no restaurants, markets, bars, or life in the area surrounding Tulane. Of course, there are valid arguments for this type of thinking. However, reports from this weekend proved those thinkers are just plain wrong.

Not only will Uptown come back, but it already has. My friends, Ryan Schimmel and Eric Israel, were very surprised to see that they were able to participate in activities that mirrored their past daily lives in New Orleans. Ryan told me how his apartment, which is right in the heart of flooded areas, faired well enough for him to take a shower and brush his teeth. He and Eric went to Cooter Brown’s Bar and Restaurant to watch a football game. They even attended the infamous Boot and grabbed a bite at The Dough Bowl. But Ryan elaborated on another feeling that arose from his visit, the feeling of being home. He told me that not only did New Orleans look like it once did before Katrina, but he felt like he was home again. He even said that he would not have been opposed to moving back down right away. He said that Tulane AND the surrounding area would be ready to host people immediately, if they weren’t so concerned with making everything perfect. All the main restaurants, supermarkets, bars, and roads are open. Other than some trees that still line some of the streets, Uptown looks brand new again.

Downtown is no different. The quarter is alive and thriving as curious tourists and locals looking to take a break from cleanup. Café Du Monde is back in business- and still doing tons of it. Residents are lighthearted and optimistic, and all have developed a sense of community and togetherness that resonates among all those who experienced this tragedy. In other words, the community is stronger and the unity is potent.

Yes, problems will exist in many areas. If we can all focus our attention on Lakeview and the lower 9th ward, the reconstruction effort will move quickly and smoothly. With help from the Red Cross and various charities, these communities will eventually be rebuilt. However, Tulane students should know that these areas will not affect their experience whatsoever. Students should do all they can to provide aid or help to the destroyed areas and their families, however you will be able to go on with your lives as planned. If we work together, we can make a huge difference.

I raised a point in my town hall meeting that has recently been amplified by many emails I have received. It appears that hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS, of students are having problems convincing their parents to “let them return.” And since I know it’s the parents who love to comment on this site, I’m sure they will read this. Tons of students are being pressured by their respective parents not only to explore other options, but to make finalized decisions not to return to Tulane. Sadly, some of these parents mitigated and even rejected any attempts for the student to reason. It seems that parents have been the source of a lot of inter-student discussion. As the parents decided to attack each other, the university, the administration and even myself on this site and other sites, students have stopped commenting on most of the Tulane student sites. While I see this as inevitable, I just thought I would show those students my support, and tell them that tons of other students are in their shoes. To those of you whose parents are pressuring you not to come: Know that we are with you. Many students have voiced the EXACT same dilemma. I believe that these parents will give you the power to make your own decisions, once their concerns are alleviated. And how will their concerns be alleviated? Just wait until they go back to New Orleans and visit. Let them see it all for themselves. If they don’t believe it then, you know they are living in a nightmare.

To those of you parents who have been as unbelievably supportive as mine have, thank you. I don’t mean to attack all the parents, or even imply that all parents are being ignorant. However, this has become THE primary student issue, just behind off campus housing situations. I voiced it in my own town hall meeting and tons of students agreed with me, on the spot. I hope that you will continue to support your child’s right to make his or her own decision. I’m sure that he or she would love to take your advice and wisdom to heart. But pressure is just not necessary. Working with him or her, you can find out what’s best for your son or daughter. If Tulane is in their heart, then let them explore their soul.

Miss you all,

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tulane Academics Will Improve

Yeah, I Went There

Today I received a report from a girl who was in New Orleans. She called me from her hotel room in the French Quarter to give me a detailed update the status of New Orleans. (I try to get at least one person call me from New Orleans every few days). My friend told me her house uptown was a “total loss” and most of her stuff was unsalvageable. I solemnly tried to console her, when the tone of her voice surprised me. She said, “it’s so happy down here, people are out drinking, enjoying the French Quarter and there is just so much life. I can’t wait to come back.” In a fit of confusion, I asked her how she was feeling. Her optimistic tone enlightened me. She spoke of how many restaurants and hotels are open, how there are just armies of workers fixing campus, and how things are lively in the Quarter. She said that our experience at Tulane would be unscathed. Today, she witnessed an enormous loss; but her spirits conveyed a sense a pleasant optimism.

I think this brings up a very interesting point; one which I will illustrate with my experiences over the past few days. I attended a town hall meeting at USC, where the intelligent and eloquent Dr. Cherry spoke about her firsthand expeience at Tulane. She also answered tough questions, and admitted areas in which things were goinrg to be difficult, and areas in which they still didn’t have answers. There's no doubt about what the main issues are. There's no doubt that we are going to have a few obstacles to overcome. But the Tulane Administration has no doubt that we will.

The theme that I took out from Dr. Cherry’s speech was exactly the same as the theme in my conversation with my friend who is in New Orleans. The theme is, “New Orleans will NOT be the same for a few years. However, Tulane will live on and grow, both academically and socially. The worries seem to be unfounded, and the hard evidence is pointing in a positive direction” From an academic standpoint, I have learned that Tulane has a tremendous commitment to maintaining its academic integrity. Consequently, Tulane IS going to bounce back from this as a greater academic institution. Yeah, you heard me. I’m going to suggest that Tulane will not just come back, but they will move up in the ranks, significantly. First of all, Tulane has managed to sustain all of its world renowned professors. In fact, this “break” has given them the opportunity to do more research, write/publish more, and design better curricula. One of the main factors that I miss about Tulane is, in fact, the wonderful professors. Maybe some of you enjoy professors at your new schools, but I absolutely miss many from my Tulane past. I think these professors will come back significantly more equipped to teach the material. Moreover, I know they will also return energized about the opportunity to bring Tulane back. The professors can singlehandedly improve the quality of our education. Additionally, Tulane is not going to lower their admission standards. Currently, applications are up from this time last year. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Will all of those people who are applying actually attend Tulane? No way. But when Tulane reopens, these prospective students will have a chance to see it all for themselves. I think Tulane’s commitment to reconstruction will comfort many prospective students’ fears and convince the many skeptical freshmen to attend. Tulane is encouraging prospective students just to apply. This way, they can woo them the same way they wooed us, by showing us the beautiful campus and giving them a taste of the culture. This segways in my next argument- how the city culture will come back.

Simply put, the city is already coming back fast. In very little time, things will appear the same, to the naked eye. The areas that you have experienced at one time or another in your Tulane life are virtually restored. Yes, there is going to be permanent damage here and there, but according to every report that I’ve received; most of the restaurants and music halls are open or planning to reopen in a matter of weeks. Hotels will be open in a month. Many people are permanently living uptown again. My biggest concern of all is the off-campus housing situation. Stay tuned for a post on this, as Tulane plans to make announcements in the next 2 weeks. However, let me calm your fears and say they are aware of the issues and they are seriously working on it. Yes, many places will need significant repair that will take a long time, but Tulane has a plan of action and a large team working every day on this. Just give it some time for this sticky situation to be solved.

Now, I was going to write all about how the social life will come back too, but I’m getting tired, so I’ll just touch on it. The social life isn’t about whether F&M’s comes back, or Ms. Mae’s. It’s about the people. At Tulane, we enjoy our social interaction because of the people. I can’t reiterate enough how much I love the unique blend of students that come to Tulane. Where I am attending school they do have some great people, and I’ve made some great friends. However, nothing compares to my Tulane family.

We’ll be back.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tulane Annoucement Post- Part 1

Tulane’s recent announcements were exactly what I was looking for. First of all, the deadline extension was a clearly necessary decision. Now everybody has a reasonable amount of time to see and assess the progress on campus. Another positive announcement is that the university is extending the payment deadline for fall tuition to May 1, 2006. Of course this will help anyone out who is still financially unstable due to the hurricane. In even more exciting news: priority registration will be available November 9-18! We have to start choosing classes now- that's really exciting for me, and hopefully many of you.

I encourage all people to make an attempt to come back to survey campus. This includes the few who made the final decision not to go back. Considering all the reports I have heard and pictures that I have seen, I think that many of you will change your mind. Most likely, some have made the decision to move on, and that’s ok. But we hear many are planning to come back. In fact, Tulane is reporting applications for next year are up from this time last year! Do I think these students will still need to be convinced? Yes. But at least we are getting their foot in the door.

My personal favorite announcement is these organized campus visits. They are exactly what I hoped for Tulane to do. This way, many people can meet each other while giving campus a feeling of life. Therefore, I encourage everyone to come out for the November 5th meeting; I’m going to try to attend as well. A good addition would be to get all the upperclassmen to come out during this weekend and meet with the freshmen. I t would be extremely beneficial for us all to talk to the freshman and maybe even show them around. I’ll try to organize some kind of function where the students can meet up very easily. That of course, depends on the creation of some system in which we can find out who that is coming. I'll work on that, if you have ideas then email me.

Expect another post later today with details.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Big Week For Information

Hey Everybody-
Hope all is well and you are enjoying the change in weather. There are going to be a bunch of annoucements this week regarding how they can help us with off-campus housing, the withdrawal deadline, coming back and gettting stuff on-campus, ect. I'm looking forward to watching these annoucements and commenting on them. I hope you'll join me in analyzing the administration's decisions. I'd like us to work together to facilitate the transition from recovery to reconstruction.

Reports from New Orleans this weekend were really optimistic. Supposedly Tulane and Loyola look brand new and uptown is opening up fast. I'll have new pics soon. If you are looking for info on what specific businesses are reopening, www.bizneworleans.com is a good site. Whole Foods has already offered delivery service until they get back up and running. However, they expect the New Orleans and Metairie stores to be up within the next month!

On another note, I'll be making annoucements about non-profit organizations and about my ideas to help unify the students before and after we get to Tulane. So stay tuned, I hope for a busy week.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

I’m Appalled

I’m sorry the mom’s blog got shut down. I wasn’t able to look at this blog for one day. I came back, and everything I fought to prevent did too. I had about 60 emails from students who are blatantly embarrassed about all negative things that moms have been saying. The fact of the matter is, you don’t belong here. This isn’t a fair and balanced site where people can mindlessly attack each other. We don’t care about “the other side” of the issues. It’s MY site and I get to pick the content. Your rude, distasteful, and ignorant comments make us all sound like idiots. Stop commenting and go make your own site. If you don't, I will remove commenting all together. This site is here for ME to post MY thoughts about Tulane. The site is here because most of the students benefit from hearing and talking about the positive aspects of Tulane. For me, this site is therapy; and it is also therapy for many students. That’s all there is to it.

So now, I’m asking nicely. This isn’t a site for upset mothers. This is a site for students. This isn’t a site for ranting or for negativity. This is a site for people who love Tulane. I ask that you go make you own site, and get your garbage off my site.

PS- I can’t believe that students have to beg to their parents to stop this insanity. It’s disgraceful.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Significant Progress

More pictures of the campus reconstruction efforts. It looks fabulous. Thanks to David Murphy, a true reporter in the field.

Click Here

Tulane Mom Blog Shut Down

I heard the administrator of the blog (whichwas so heavily promoted here) decided to shut down the site because she couldn’t take the “garbage” anymore. I can’t believe that parents could not restrain themselves from attacking each other and the creator of the site. I’m so proud that Tulane students don’t need to lower themselves to that level. Maybe a few mothers can take a lesson from their kids.

PS- Don’t bring that crap over here.


Monday, October 03, 2005

The Resurrection

Tulane webmail is up! www.webmail.tulane.edu. Hopefully we will be seeing a lot more communication soon.

Tulane Will Live Again!

Please note- there are two posts today! Read them both, as one asks you to help Tulane out.

It has been hard to measure the effectiveness of this site. We have had over 111,000 unique visitors. Since Tulane's population is under 14,000 that seems like a whole lot. Nevertheless, I've gotten emails from students and parents alike, saying how much this site has helped or hurt their hopes of a Tulane future. Right now, I'm going to prove this site worked in generating the support that Tulane needs.

The naysayers took over this site for quite some time. There was little news coming out of Tulane and Rita was about to hit. Things just didn't look good. Once I got rid of the anonymous option, both positive and negative posts declined but the number of visitors increased exponentially. Interestingly, many of the naysayers disappeared for good. We all know of one particular naysayer, who has created his own site to bash Tulane and the community. He is an alumni and a parent of a student; and he preached of a "reality" that Tulane will never be the same. He inferred that students would never come back, and the city should be “razed”. He told us that we were all in some kind of coping defense mechanism and that we should give up hope. I’m sure he bothered many of you, but I’m not going to attack him because of his opinions. He has the right to say what he wants, I’d rather him do it somewhere else; but if he needs to do it here, so be it. I never deleted his comments because I do stand for the freedom of speech- as long as its relevant to the site. He posted stuff that I thought had no factual basis, and shouldnt have stayed on this site. But I figured that soon, his day would come.

And I think it did, as I found this on his site:

"I was supposed to get my kid back from her ‘visiting’ school last night. What I got back was someone who was straight out of the Brett Hyman school of unbridled optimism. The whole drive home from the train station was like reading Brett’s blog. I also keep hearing many other students are acting the same way. Which made me think of the old expression, “there must be something in the water”. The conotation of course is that all of these people who are acting the same way because someone laced the water with something. The reality is, these kids are spread all around the country, and most didn’t even have a chance to drink the pre-Katrina Tulane water before being evacutated. So their attitudes must come from some other source. Kool Aid (Jim Jones – The People’s Temple reference) can’t be the answer either.

So what is it? I don’t know, but I’ll spend the next few days finding out."

Am I going to claim that this site created that type of enthusiasm and support in a student who hadn’t spent more than a few hours on campus? Nope. I think YOU guys did it. I’m sure the site was a great starting point for them, but I know that you are all out there confirming what I’m saying about Tulane. The naysayer is right; many didn’t have a chance to taste the water. But they did have a chance to read this site, and talk to all of you! They realized that Tulane is an unrivaled, unparalleled family of students and faculty that have a unique relationship with the city and the community.

Hearing this on his site did my heart very well. Emails are flooding in from tons freshmen who made the decision to return upon Scott Cowen’s announcement of a Spring semester. Even the ultimate naysayer couldn’t explain why a freshman would be so excited about the fact that we are coming back in the spring. But we know exactly why. Oh, we’ll be back in the spring- and boy am I excited.

PS- If he comes on here to bash us, don't listen to his rants. Form your own opinions about the issues. Even is you disagree with me, just do it with your own facts and beliefs.

Now, check out the following post!!!

A Story That Made Me A Believer

MESSAGE TO UPPERCLASSMEN: START A FACEBOOK GROUP AT YOUR NEW UNIVERSITY- CALL IT “Tulane @ ______” For example “ TULANE @ BU”. Create the facebook group in the TULANE facebook. Do it in the Tulane facebook because I want all Tulane students to be able to search for it and join it. Make sure you search for the group before you create it so there aren’t two group about the same school! We are going to use these groups to connect with Tulane students at our new schools and hopefully talk about issues such as returning to Tulane. Hopefully you can focus on finding a bunch of freshmen and meet up with them. Organize a party or a dinner, get together and tell them why they should be coming back to Tulane in the spring. If you want my help organizing anything, please feel free to invite me to the group and I will try to facilitate things. The least we can do is reach out to freshmen at our new universities. And to the freshmen, you gotta join the group so we know who you are!

Now for today’s post:

The great debate is about the future of the student body. Some people ask how big the freshman class with be, others ask whether there will be one at all. Clearly, a lot of freshmen have seen this site, so let me clear some things up for them. I speak to a ton of people, every single day. I get heartfelt emails from students who were helped by my site. I get confused emails from students who were perplexed by my site. And I get angry emails from students who think I’m merely a cheerleader for Tulane. Listen, I’m not concerned with what you think the intentions are for this site, but here are the facts about why I think you all will come back:

When I first put together this blog, a girl named Alli contacted me via email. She noticed that we were from the same hometown, so she sought a bit of advice about what she should do. Alli was a freshman at Tulane who was on campus for maybe 4 hours. She, along with almost 2,000 other freshmen, was told to go home before they even made a new home at Tulane. Alli and I became friends, and I spoke to her on many occasions about my experiences at Tulane. I told her everything that I’ve said on this site: about the Tulane family and the about uniqueness of the city and its culture. I told her that it may not be the same, but that that didn’t matter because the community will be even better. You see, she wasn’t deciding whether to transfer, she was deciding what she was going to do until she could go back. She didn’t know whether she’d stay home and go to school or go to a college further away. However, she was sure about one thing. She was sure she was going back to Tulane. The thing Alli didn’t know was that I was learning from her too. This remarkable girl was showing dedication to a university that she hadn’t yet attended. She was showing loyalty to the commitment she had made. She was able to sense the Tulane Family that I speak of... It seemed that she had made this decision to return without even reading the site, but I don’t know that for sure. I dont think she knew about the Tulane family that I describe here, but I think she was actually able to sense that something was in fact different about us. So, she spent a couple of weeks deciding what she should do. She flew around the country visiting schools, some academically superior to Tulane. In the end, she came to me with sentiments that nothing compared to Tulane, and she would absolutely be ready to return in the Spring. Remember: she hadn’t been at Tulane even one night! I think this has to do with her ability to sense the family and the love that the students had for Tulane.

I tell this story because it is a perfect example of what Tulane is all about. I only hope that Tulane recruited people like Alli for this year’s freshmen class. I don’t expect every freshman to be as confidant as she is in Tulane, but I do believe that many are. It’s perfectly normal to have questions, concerns and doubts; but in the end, your hearts will guide you. I like analyzing her situation, because it shows remarkable resilience and resolve in someone who had developed virtually no connection with Tulane. She was able to overcome severe emotions in a complicated situation. For that, I congratulate her; that's quite a feat.

I couldn’t imagine in being in the shoes of any freshman. We expect everyone to come back, but the freshmen haven’t been able to experience Tulane or New Orleans. Now they are going to get comfortable in their new universities and many may be doubtful of whether they want to go through the process of coming back. But that statement was recently proved wrong. I learned that a lot of freshmen already decided that they are coming back. Thanks to this site, I’ve been able to communicate with hundreds of freshmen, some confused and others certain about their future. Wouldn’t you know it- turns out we have a lot more Alli’s than I thought. In fact, I would say about 90% of the people I talked to said they were certain they were coming back. Now, don’t feel weird if you are one of those people who aren’t sure about what to do. I’m sure there are a good number of you too. I know it is a tough decision, but I ask you to read my letter to the class of 2010, I think it applies to you too. If you really think you aren’t going to come back, I ask that you try to come back to New Orleans in Nov/Dec and see the place. I bet if we all came back together, we’d be able to show you what I've been describing. And finally, I ask that you find a Tulane student who is at your new university and meet up or talk to him or her. Start or look for a facebook group called “Tulane @ ____” and fill in the name of your university (make sure you search first to see if one exists already). I think many Tulane students will be more than happy to meet up and chat with you about the school and the importance of YOU ALL coming back. What an idea!

Let’s expand on that November or December visiting idea, because I really like it too. If Tulane becomes back up in November or December, they should have a back to school weekend. They should invite everyone back to see the university, the city, and the community. The freshmen can come back and see the place as it is, and they could meet each other. Upperclassmen can come back and do some work on their houses, and of course, act as ambassadors of the university. The whole city might not be back yet, but I’m sure there it will help sooth the fears of parents and students alike.

And speaking of our wonderful parents, I have a small appeal to you- since I know there are a ton of you reading this site. Please consider encouraging your kids to come back, or at least make up their own minds. I have heard of a lot of parents who are influencing their son or daughter not to come back, without giving him or her a chance to make this decision. This decision will affect the rest of their respective lives, and I think it was orignally made with good reason. I know you are worried and I can’t empathize with your feelings (since I have no children). But I can tell you that there won’t be anything to worry about in January. I think there is a reason this site has been around and gotten wonderful support. I also know that there really is a major difference in going to school in New Orleans and at Tulane, especially since I have been attending another university this semester. I promise you that we have the most wonderful collection of people at the school who will definitely be there when you get back. You have to believe in the spirit of New Orleans and the family of Tulane. And if you can’t; well, just know that we, the students, are all living proof.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tulane Takes a Deep Breath

Reality begins to set in. My analogy of Tulane’s reopening is as if you’ve been shaking a bottle of champagne for 4 months, and then pop the cork. Joy, happiness, fulfillment, and relief will be just a few of the emotions that we will share, together. We are the blood of Tulane. When its heart starts pumping again; our bond will be greater, our resilience stronger. I know it’s been difficult. I’ve received countless emails from people who are experience unbearable circumstances in their new situations. But the news is official; Tulane will reopen January 17th, 2006.

Let’s dispel the obvious immediate assumption: what if New Orleans isn’t ready? Well, then Tulane won’t open. Tulane will wait until the appropriate time before it lets students in. They can’t hold classes if half the students have hepatitis C. Don’t even try to suggest on this site that they will do otherwise. But delving deep into that further, we can look at a few facts prove New Orleans will, in fact, be safe. The French Quarter has power (see New Orleans Fresh Quarter Comes Back to Life). The Central Business District had power. All of uptown will have power in the next few weeks. Potable water will be delivered to these parts of New Orleans in the next 5 weeks. These three areas are all we need in order to enjoy New Orleans in the same way in which we once did. The trash on campus is mostly cleared away (new pictures will be in soon). Facilities are being rebuilt now. There’s no way that New Orleans won’t be ready by that date. It’s been about a month, and look at where we already are. Imagine what we can do in 3 months. In January, the spirit of New Orleans will live again because the people who make up its soul will return. Case closed.

Now, we’ve heard comments from wonderful people who seemed to take pleasure in putting down the possibility of a Tulane reopening for Spring. Are you all going to eat your hat? My bet is some of them will come back to this site and tell us bad stories of what will happen when we go back. Some of them will talk of our houses being destroyed and of New Orleans “never being the same.” But please cross reference my last post about the New Orleans family and remember: New Orleans is more than just a bunch of cool streets, it’s about the people. It’s the students, the locals, and even the tourists. So, I’m going to have to say you are wrong. By typing this particular paragraph, I know I’m challenging the people who still naysay for whatever vain and narcissistic reason they have (which is not my intention). However, we’d appreciate if you’d start your own site about it, and leave us alone. Also, if you want to rant about New Orleans; maybe give us an idea on how to make things better, rather than just putting it down. For example, if you don’t like Tulane, suggest how to fix it. I bet you will get a lot more respect that way, and people might believe you “love New Orleans” like you suggest you do. You know who you are.

And if you want to get negative, I’ll get a little negative. I’m worried about off campus housing. By most reports, many houses will be fine. But there will be a few, maybe 100 students, maybe 500 students; who might be without homes. To solve this, we will need to think. I’m sure Tulane’s administration is worrying about this too; it seems to be their one largest problem. My bet is that they find some sort of temporary housing, I heard cruise ships. I’d do that for sure. I’m going to do some serious research about how we can handle “the mold problem.” I’ll get back to you soon. Don’t worry yet.

So let’s talk about what I’m not worried about, and that’s spring semester’s possibility. I’m energetic and enthusiastic to get back. I’m optimistic and confidant in the new government commitment after their successive failures. I’m realistic and practical about the many logistical issues that we’ll face. State and local officials are going to work hard to make the city come back as quickly as possible. In one month, New Orleans will be a different place. Most of the major services and businesses will be back and the individual businesses will then start to rebuild.
Today is a joyous day for Tulane students around the world. Today we had the chance to see the future. We are again given hope. Our dedication will demonstrate to the world just how important Tulane is to us. Our devotion to New Orleans will single-handedly bring it back to life. We will be a community once again.

Brett Hyman

PS- Stay tuned for a post on the lagniappe semester, graduation, and other fun stuff.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Tulane Family

It’s time to bring this site back to the students, so spread the word. Today I’m going to talk about why it is that we are just so obsessed with getting back to New Orleans as soon as possible, because no one gets it- not parents, not friends from other schools, not even many alumni. It seems that many of these people just can’t seem to fathom why we would be in such a hurry to go back. Some of us are in “better” universities than Tulane, others are in bigger schools or with our “best friends from home.” Why would we be so eager to get back to New Orleans when we can be with our home friends in our hometowns with our wonderful parents?

I know people at USC, UCSB, UCLA, Boulder, Stanford, Michigan, Texas, Arizona, and Yale; and very few of them understand why we are so eager to go back to a place that could have virtually no amenities (which we will but that's another argument). Each of those universities is unique in its own way, some small or big, some with mostly instate people and some with out of state people. So why are we so different from every single one? I should also mention the parents, who are generally terrified of the possibility of students returning, even though Tulane would never let us come back until it was 110% safe. Parents keep saying “I’ll never let my kid go back there” or “Why would you even want to go back?” Hey parents, I don’t expect you to understand. But students will.

I want to go back because Tulane is my second family, it's that simple. Allow me to elaborate. Something about New Orleans and about Tulane compels the students to bond in a way that I have never seen at another university. Clearly, something brings us together; you can say it’s simply the availability of common social locations such as the Boot, or a love for the community around Tulane. It could be that many of us all have this general craving for adventure (which is true, Tulane students seem to be very adventurous). But another major factor that is often forgotten is that we make New Orleans our homes, not our second homes or our temporary homes, but our primary homes. In many universities, students opt to travel or go home on the weekends, never fully establishing a permanent connection with their surroundings. I think this severely impacts the way they interact socially, if for anything, because these people retain very intimate relationships with their home friends. Many, not all, of these people have stronger connections with their hometown than with New Orleans, and that’s just not the case for us Tulane students. Now, I’m sure that there are people who are outside of this analysis; but I’m just trying to generalize things so we can analyze the situation further. It seems to be that since we all stay in New Orleans, without the opportunity or desire to leave every weekend, we bond on another level; that of family. We make connections on hundreds of levels, from the campus life to the restaurants, from the people to the transportation, from our classes to the supermarkets social scene (Whole Foods for sure). Tulane replaces your home situation, your family structure. This is a great thing because we all need a permanent local family (even if it’s just until we graduate). To me, my friends are my brothers and sisters, the university is my parents, and Bourbon Street is some weird uncle who is fun for the first 10 minutes of the party until he’s had a few too many drinks.

The good and the bad of my experience as a student at Tulane have fit neatly into a family structure. And thus, when I’m without New Orleans, I’m without my second family. At Tulane, we develop tradition; be it a crawfish boil on Fridays or Five Happiness Chinese Food on Sundays (hope they are still there). At Tulane, there is a sense of community; such as peoples’ relationships within the Hullabaloo, TEMS, Hillel, TUCP, CACTUS, sports, or the Greek system. These mini-communities become a focal point for our emotional stability. We use them to connect with each other under a common bond, and enhance our emotional states. At Tulane there’s a lot of love. Some of us love the music of New Orleans- from jazz to hip-hop. Others of us love the food, the culture, or the wild party life. You can’t get this unique blend of cultural elements anywhere, not even in major European cities. At Tulane, there is happiness. It seems that the students are just generally happy there. I base this on a 2 factors. 1) The sentiments I get from students all around the country, that nowhere and I mean nowhere, compares to Tulane and 2) The expression of content that students have with the school (read about it on the “what I miss about New Orleans” section). Finally there’s a major sense of unity. It seems that we the students have a general love for each other, and thus, a general respect for the community- a respect for the family. And hey, MAYBE IT’S LIKE THIS AT OTHER SCHOOLS, but I don’t know one person who understands my feelings about it and really, it doesn’t matter.

What about Tulane University itself? Well it’s just an amazing academic institution. The professors are remarkable. We could not do without Lesmond, Beau, Burrows, and Hogg (and that’s just people in the b-school). The facilities are new and high tech. The administration cares. When I want to talk to my advisor, I call him on the phone and HE answers. If you need to talk to a professor, you can email him or her and actually get a response. Most of my professors give me their home numbers. The students are intelligent, and always work together to help each other out. The food…well let’s just say we’d like Subway back, please. The campus is gorgeous, even in the latest pictures. Yes, Tulane costs a lot of money. It was a big factor in my decision where to go to school. But I think it’s worth every penny and so do my parents. You get your money’s worth- a quality institution with life at your fingertips.

So what about the potential class of 2010? Or the class of 2009? I don’t think that videos or even speeches from Administrators are going to entice a class of people who have a lot of other options for colleges. They know Tulane’s a good school. They know they are going to have a great dorm life. They know that New Orleans is an interesting city. But there are 100 other cities that can provide them with all these fabulous things. Why should they even bother when they can try to get in to Michigan? Family is the word. Tradition, community, love, happiness. This unique blend of culture and community can’t be found anywhere else.
To the class of 2010: This is your life. This is your future. It doesn’t matter whether you go to a school ranked 30 or 40, it matters on what kind of personal experience you can bring to your career. If your gut tells you that you might benefit from the array of opportunities that await you at Tulane, then I challenge you to take the plunge. I challenge you to try out the one university that will become your second .
family The decision on where to go to college will affect you for the rest of your life. No college is the same, and maybe Tulane isn’t for you. But if you are looking to gain valuable intellectual, cultural, and social experiences that can’t be matched anywhere else; then Tulane is the place. Plus, the other colleges will always be there, but you won’t find this experience anywhere else.

Look, am I saying New Orleans is perfect? No way. Could we do without a few things here and there? Absolutely. I’m saying its better. I’m saying that I’ve been a lot of places, and there’s truly nothing like it. The experience that I have taken away from Tulane is incomparable. I grew and matured in ways that leave my friends from home in awe. My parents think that I made the best decision coming to Tulane, where I grew culturally as well an independently. I’m saying that there are good reasons why these students want to come back as soon as possible. I’m saying there are good reasons very few people (if any) are permanently transferring. So those of you who don’t get why we want to come back- stop asking us why, and start asking us when.

Miss you all,
Brett N. Hyman

Friday, September 23, 2005

Change, Change, Change

A few things:

1) If people have specific topics that they would like to discuss, feel free to write an article and send it to me. I cannot promise it will get on, so if you don't want to waste your time, then send me an idea and we'll talk about it. I will probably get a lot of requests for this, so please don't be offended if I dont put yours up. I just have a way of doing things here, and I obviously can't put up 5 articles in one day. Plus, you always have the comments forum! The email for this is TulaneStudentBlog@gmail.com Only send them to that email.

2) Quit the personal attacks. If you want to attack me send me an email just ripping into me. I will gladly read it and respond. I really don't think people need to post just mean stuff on this site. We are NOT going to debate the greek system on this site. If you want to do that, go and make a site for debating the greek system. I bet people really care about that in this emotional time. Again, send these attack emails to TulaneStudentBlog@gmail.com. If you want to attack some one who is not me, then read number 3.

3) I'm getting rid of the anonymous feature. I've gotten a ton of requests to do it, and I actually think it'll do good. You also should put your email at the bottom of your comments, so other people can contact you when you post something really ridiculous on my site.

4) I hope everyone is doing well in their new schools and new situations. Sorry this site has turned into a bit of an immature Tulane/fraternity/Scott Cowen bashing session. I hope everyone that has contributed positively to this site will still come check it, as I think these changes will make a significant difference in allowing us to provide relevant content. I am keeping hope alive for this blog, and will continue to post my thoughts and analysis, as I always have.

Brett Hyman

9th Ward Takes Another Hit

Water poured into the streets of the ninth ward, as an 8 foot storm surge from Tropical Storm Rita overwhelmed a significantly weakened section of the Industrial Canal levee. The Industrial Canal levee was one of the first levees to break because of Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge. Army Corp of Engineers Brig. Gen. Robert Crear did not expect a breach this early, and they expect it to continue for several hours. The main pump that usually pumps water from the ninth ward is still not functioning, due to damage from Katrina. Moreover, FEMA claims to be working with parish officials to find ways to pump out the water.

This will have little impact on Tulane, as the university is very far from this particular area. As long as there are no other levee breaks, New Orleans should be able to recover from this relatively quickly. FEMA says the breaks are just in areas that were temporarily sandbagged and that the permanent part of the levee is still intact. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Orleans Under Tropical Storm Warning

The National Hurricane Center announced a tropical storm warning for New Orleans as hurricane Rita passes the gulf coast. Oil refineries are in danger and Galveston is could be destroyed; but preparedness is at a new high. No one is taking Rita lightly, and I think we will see an extraordinarily coordinated disaster effort. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco announced she wants 15,000 federal guard troops to help with evacuation procedures, as she encourages western Louisiana residents to go north. Reports coming in from Texas show that millions are still stuck in the Houston area, as highways are standing still for over 100 miles. The Army Corp of Engineers is saying even 3 inches can overwhelm the significantly weakened levee system. Most areas can handle 6-9ft storm surge, but any more will damage the levee system. Let’s hope Rita pushes west.

Monday, September 19, 2005

For the Future

This isn’t about us. This isn’t about the next year, or even the next 5 years. Many argue that Tulane and New Orleans will never be the same. I happen to disagree with that, but that’s not my point. If you haven’t figured it out, I care about Tulane and New Orleans deeply. Some of you actually believe I’m a naïve kid, just here to cheer on my school, only to graduate in the next year. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not.

Go ahead and claim that Spring semester won't happen, or that "New Orleans is covered with E.Coli." It will be back because there are enough people who appreciate the importance of the experience. I care about New Orleans because of the experiences that I’ve had at Tulane over the past 3 years. I was introduced to culture, music, and independence in a cauldron of love and joy; as I witnessed Jazzfest and Mardi Gras. I started to comprehend hospitality, loyalty, and tradition; as I learned about New Orleans’ fascinating history. Most importantly, I met lifelong friends with whom I shared hundreds of unforgettable memories; as we experienced a side of life, a side of reality, that many will never see. Tulane brought us together, and New Orleans has been a canvas in which we all painted our own interpretations of life.

It can take away my house, and all my stuff, but the hurricane cannot erase my memory. I will never forget the memories I have from Tulane, and I will always use the life lessons that I have learned. And all I want in this world is for other people to have the opportunity to experience this. I can only dream that every college was as unique as Tulane. I truly wish that there was a college with a uniquely distinctive mix of people, such as those that I found at Tulane and in New Orleans. But there just aren’t many colleges like that, or for that matter, many places like that on Earth. I spent the summer traveling all over Europe, meeting wonderful people and experiencing remarkable cultures. However, nothing compared to the culture and community of New Orleans. No experience even comes close to the memories I have from my time at Tulane. That’s why I won’t let it go. And all it takes are people like me, people who believe in something, to make change. Conviction must come before unity. Unity will found our vision. Our vision will devise our objectives. Unified objectives will generate action. Many will work together to bring back the essential culture of New Orleans. Miracles will occur.

Let’s agree, New Orleans might not be the same for quite a long time. It’s a fact. But is that reason to give up? No. Should we just surrender and say, “New Orleans will never be the same?” Never. Do you care enough about this city to make a difference? Then do something. We must step forward into positions of leadership and say, “I will not let New Orleans fall by the wayside. I will not watch Tulane suffer as their student body diminishes. We will rebuild the community. We will restore the culture. We will resurrect the spirit of New Orleans.” Not for me, not for you, but for the future.

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