- Students affected by Tinbergen closure
For first-year undergraduate Biological Sciences students, practicals are a compulsory part of the course. The closure of the Tinbergen Building has caused concern that these requirements will not be met.Suzie Marshall, a third-year Biological Sciences student, said: “It’ll inconvenience first year undergrads and DPhil students most, I imagine, as they’ll need to find alternative labs to do their practical work.”Associate Head of the Zoology Department, Tim Coulson, told Cherwell: “We have been able to continue all the lecturing on the biological sciences degree course we had scheduled for all students. We have had to cancel a small number of practical classes for the first and second years on the biological sciences course. Teaching lab space is being set up, or has been offered, in other departments and we are currently making sure it will work as we need it to. We will be able to teach everything on the syllabus as planned. Students have been hit by a string of relocations and delays for practical work and lectures following the closure of the Tinbergen building on Monday after a major asbestos discovery.The Tinbergen Building, which is home to the Departments of Zoology and Psychology, is not expected “to reopen for around two years,” according to an Oxford University statement.More than 200 air quality readings were taken in the Tinbergen Building since September 2016. However, the building was deemed safe until the discovery of new asbestos earlier this February, which prompted its sudden closure. The University has reassured students and staff that they “do not believe there is any risk to health”.Numerous affected students have informed Cherwell of their dismay at a lack of information on the rescheduling and relocation of their lectures and crucial practical work, which for some forms a compulsory part of their course.An anonymous source told Cherwell that in several instances DPhil studentships have had to be extended as a result of the closure of the building. The disruption means that they are unable to complete their lab work, and could have to wait possibly months to be relocated.There were mixed responses from students on the impact of the closure. Second year Biological Sciences student Maisie Vollans told Cherwell: “Our practicals have been postponed, and we’re waiting to hear where and when they’ll occur. Our main concern is our research projects we’ve planned in Trinity Term, many of which were arranged to occur in the labs in Zoology.” She added: “We’re given regular updates by our head of department on the fate of our projects and practicals, however it currently seems quite unclear what will happen.”Similar concerns were expressed by first-year Biological sciences student Henry Grub, who said: “We have had no word on the lab sessions, most likely cancelled for at least this week. Finding the available space is proving difficult.”He added: “It’s very disappointing from our point of view, last week we spent four hours preparing special E.Coli slides for use this week — chances are now they’re in the bin.”However, some students appear to have been less badly affected. Third-year biochemistry student Cameron Henderson told Cherwell: “The closure doesn’t affect me too much person- ally, other than the cancellation of my labs that were meant to be this week. Instead, we have been kept updated and it seems we are going to do them in the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre during Eighth week. Albeit not the full practical, but enough so we can complete the necessary work.” “The students and staff have been amazing during the crisis, but of course it is a difficult time.”Some students have had their lectures take place in the Natural History Museum lecture theatre. This is significantly smaller than the theatre used in the Tinbergen Building, with one lecturer describing it as the “refugee centre”.First year Biological Sciences student Daniel Antonio Villar said: “We are now in smaller more crowded lecture theaters, and we don’t really know where our practicals are.”Oxford University said it is “working to minimise disruption to all staff and students” and does not believe that any face a threat to their health.
- Hallmark marks more occasions
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Buying a greeting card for someone’s birthday, anniversary or if they’re feeling under the weather is pretty straight-forward. But what if they’re undergoing chemotherapy or struggling with depression? “Get Well Soon” probably won’t cut it. Likewise, most cards lining the store shelves don’t work on occasions as someone leaving an abusive spouse, undergoing drug rehab or declaring sexual orientation. Hallmark Cards Inc., which has built its $4.2billion empire on sentiments for life’s happier times, is releasing a new line of cards that will speak to those and other situations that the company says have either been ignored by greeting card companies or received only a smattering of attention from niche players. For illness: “Cancer is a villain who doesn’t play fair … but it can’t dim your spirit, and it can’t silence prayer.” For eating disorders: “All I want is for you to be healthy – healthy and happy with yourself. Please take it one day at a time until you are.” For depression: “When the world gets heavy, remember, I’m here to help carry it with you.” The 176-card collection, called Journeys, went on sale Thursday at Hallmark’s 3,800 Gold Crown stores. Cynthia Musick, the editorial director who oversaw Journeys, said the cards’ writing provides more personal messages of support, encouragement and hope, for which the company’s research showed there was a demand. Theresa Steffens, an assistant product manager at Hallmark, said a majority of online and focus group respondents said they couldn’t find what they were looking for when needing an encouragement card. “Either the consumer said they were walking away from the display or they were just unhappy with the card that they purchased, so we saw this as a huge opportunity,” Steffens said. Customers said they wanted cards dealing with more real-life situations. “They said, `I don’t know what to say during a difficult time, so I don’t say anything at all,”‘ Steffens said. “So again, there’s an opportunity there to help them talk through these tough situations that they’re dealing with and to foster that communication.” The $7 billion greeting card industry already brims with tiny niche players who make and sell cards dealing with such things as serious illness or thanking caregivers, said Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Greeting Card Association. But she said none of them has the ability to reach customers searching for those types of cards across the country. “My guess is it’s a breakthrough for a large company like a Hallmark,” she said. The new line includes cards tackling cancer diagnoses, quitting smoking, caring for an aged parent, miscarriage, anniversaries of loss, loved ones in the military and traumatic loss, such as someone dying in an accident or homicide. Others are more happy and even humorous, celebrating a year being cancer-free, nearing the end of chemotherapy or general encouragement for teenagers. There are even a few birthday cards encouraging the recipient to celebrate even though they’ve had a rough year. Some cards feature whimsical or inspiring photographs – a baby making faces, a marathon runner – but the majority feature abstract designs or just words in flowing script. Card designers said they aimed for bright colors that matched the mood of the card, ranging from bright orange for the more hopeful cards to purples and blues for somber notes. Writing the cards proved a challenge because the messages were designed to take a more personal approach than the standard sympathy card, card writer Sarah Mueller said. “You can’t send somebody who is seriously depressed a `cheer-up’ card because it’s insulting, and it doesn’t help. That’s what depression does, is it makes you feel like you’re all alone. So just being able to write something, the attempt was just to say, `I’m here.”‘ Fellow card writer Linda Morris said society has become more open to discussing people’s feelings on difficult topics, such as divorce or drug recovery or serious illness, which is why people are demanding cards that deal with those issues. “There was a time when we weren’t so detached, when writing a note to someone was very simple, when picking up the phone and calling was just what you did,” Morris said. “So cards fulfilling that need in that specific way may not have been quite as intense. But now we need to know, and we need to pull back from the electronic age, and we need to be more specific because it’s not as detached anymore.” No topics were off-limits, company spokeswoman Rachel Bolton said, noting two cards that could be sent to gay people who have disclosed their sexuality. The cards don’t directly refer to homosexuality, only extolling the person to “Be You” or “This is who I am” or featuring a rainbow, a symbol of gay pride.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!