College debt a necessary evil?

Every good businessman will tell you that you must spend money to make money, so investing a hefty amount of cash in return for an invaluable education is the responsible, even clever, thing to do.

It used to be that an American would have a pretty good chance for a sound life with just a high school diploma under his or her belt and a good work ethic. Today, that is hardly the case.

College is no longer just an option. It is almost a necessity. The general demand for higher education has risen, but so have tuition costs. The question that plagues those who suffer in the present economy must be: Is the gross cost of a college education and resulting near-debilitating debt worth it?

Pulling together the money to send a child to college is a difficult and stressful process for those families who have not been able to save up the money. The FAFSA forms are long and tedious, and, after they are completed, some families find that they do not qualify for financial aid.

Many times, it seems that the families who need financial aid the most do not qualify. Furthermore, families that can afford to take out loans and pay the expense often receive financial aid. Besides this somewhat messed-up side of the system, there remains the simple fact that many who want to attend college are not receiving support from their families and must take out massive loans on their own, thereby placing themselves in debt before they’ve taken their first class.

From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a terribly inefficient model. In this day and age, a bachelor’s degree is more of a hindrance than a help. A student may enter college upon graduating high school and, assuming he or she follows through, graduate from a four-year program. After that, the student will have a bachelor’s degree, a load of debt and a slim chance at getting a job in his or her field of choice.

The present economy makes getting a job an even more competitive process than it may have already been. For this reason, that student will be stuck in a difficult quandary: Get more education and more debt or rough it out?

Ask Walt…


Dear Walt,

I’m a junior guy. I’m a good guy–no bad habits except for the occasional “that’s what she said” joke. So why is it that the girl-to-guy ratio has not yet played out for me? I know I can’t find a freshmen girl and get into a relationship that afternoon–who’d want that anyway? I guess my real question is, on a campus where the girl-to-guy ratio is something like 6-1, why can’t a girl, 

ONE GIRL, notice what a good guy I am?

-Mr. Lonely


Dear Lonely, 


Since I don’t know you personally, it’s difficult for me to give any specific advice. But here are some truths that every guy should know, from the guy who knows it all.


Every guy should have two things before he’s even ready for a relationship. 


First, you should have a hobby. Video games and movies are not hobbies unless you’re the one making them. A hobby should be something productive and something you enjoy doing. When you’re relaxed you can really be yourself, which is vital because girls always know when you’re being fake with them. 


Second, you need a job. Some source of income. Not because girls expect you to spend a fortune, but paying for dates is kind of an important part of a relationship. 


Also, if you ever plan on getting married, there will be things for which an income is required. Like a house.

Another thing to consider is that Eastern isn’t the only place to find girls. The main line is full of college girls. The world is full of college girls! 


And you’re, what, 21? There’s plenty of time to have a girlfriend. Why not just enjoy being a single undergraduate?


Trust me, love in real life isn’t at all like what is shown in the movies. There is no epic music or fireworks. People aren’t perfect, and until you can acknowledge their imperfections–and yours–with maturity and grace, you should not even be thinking about getting into a relationship. 


Now that’s truth you can take to the bank. 


– Walt


History chairperson responds to ongoing health care discussion



St. Paul admonished us in Romans 13:8 to “owe no one anything but to love one another.” Furthermore, he upbraided the Corinthians for looking to the law courts of those outside the Church to find redress of grievances. 


He noted that we shall judge angels and, as this is so, how much more are we able to judge things of this life?

We are called to maturity, and not to relegate our responsibility to those outside of the community of love, namely the Church. 


I have read with much appreciation both Dr. Jonathan Yonan’s article on health care (Sept. 16), and Dr. Bret Kincaid’s rejoinder (Oct. 28). 


Dr. Yonan’s and Dr. Kincaid’s respective efforts possess the shared goal of how best to provide health care for the people of our country. They diverge, however, in regard to the means necessary to effect this. 


Dr. Yonan’s approach seems fairly clear: We should look to the markets, unhindered by government interference, which we would correctly call the classical liberal model. The market is nothing other than people deciding what they need and what they are willing to pay for it. 


Prices in this regard are nothing other than modes of information, detailing the desires of individuals in relation to supply. Third-party interferences (health insurance and government insinuations) bring an aberrant influence on prices, driving them up as they alter the nature of both supply and demand. Thus we have seen prices rise in the health field far faster than inflation. 


The only other major industry where this has occurred is higher education, another place where a third party has insinuated itself between the consumer–the students or their parents–and the supplier–the college or university. 


Dr. Kincaid countered that Dr. Yonan’s approach would throw the whole matter into the impersonal world of an “academic discipline.” 


Dr. Kincaid believes that we should be guided by a Biblical model, which he links to the notion of wholeness, and for this he calls upon the Hebrew word “shalom.” 


I am not exactly sure why this word should be valorized as opposed to the basic word for health, which in Greek is the same as the word used for salvation. 


Be that as it may, Dr. Kincaid’s most welcome appeal to Biblical norms, though moot to our federal government, should help prompt us in a correct direction. 


This involves charity. Like all the virtues, charity is first and foremost personal. So I don’t spend myself into debt, for doing so will deprive me of my ability to help those in need, per St. Paul’s Romans 13:8 admonition. 

In the end, this is why I find myself siding with Dr. Yonan’s approach, for while countries that have what is sometimes termed “socialized medicine” provide health care for all their citizens, this has all come with an ever-expanding cost and an ever-diminishing return. 


I will be honest and say that in this regard I speak only of the countries whose health systems I have studied–Canada, the U.K. and the former Soviet Union–for I have not looked at them all. 


What I see in them is the ever-dwindling ability of many to be able to respond to the needs of the few. There is an ever-expanding number left without the means to be charitable, for they have an increasing debt to a bureaucracy. The health care bureaucracy–this does not include doctors and nurses–in the UK is now 1.5 million people. 


Laying aside the question of subsidizing peoples’ poor choices–like sky diving and smoking–many people are driven to seek health care from no fault of their own. My diminutive wife has very high cholesterol, mine is minuscule, and for these the market is much like breaking down in the middle of nowhere: You get the wrecker du jour, and that’s it. 


Here, catastrophic insurance would provide a protection for all citizens, while enabling us to have the resources to pay the innkeepers to watch over the strangers we find wasted by thieves in the journey from Jericho to Jerusalem.

Jesus vs. Santa in the fight for the holiday season



People do lots of things to commemorate the holiday season.  Some people attend church. Some purchase gifts for one another and hang decorations on a beautiful tree. 


Others listen to festive music and visit family and friends or hang stockings above the fireplace, go caroling and bake cookies.


With so many things happening, I have to wonder, “Is there a correct way to celebrate Christmas?” Some might feel that the holiday should be solely about Jesus’ birth.  Should we, as Christians, incorporate Santa Claus into the holiday season?  


Here is the way I see it: Christmas is about Christ, the Son of God. He was born on this glorious day. He gave his life for us so that our sins could be forgiven.  The holiday is about giving and celebrating and, believe it or not, Santa Claus represents this kind of selfless giving.  


The idea of Santa Claus came from an eleventh century Bishop. As the story goes, he was the patron saint of children because he once rescued three children who had been captured by an evil butcher. 


He put gold coins in the children’s stockings as they hung by the fireplace to dry. His gift-giving was always secretive and unexpected. 


He was the patron saint of sailors because he was once thought to have calmed the sea during a storm. This was how his stories traveled the world–on sailing trips across the globe. 


He is known in almost every culture. In England, the Bishop is called Saint Nicholas. In Germany, he is known as Sankt Nikiaus and in Belgium he is called Sinterklaas. This is where we got the name for our American Santa Claus. 


Santa represents the joy of giving, caring and loving one another. Therefore, why not incorporate Santa Claus into the holiday season? 


Santa spreads the message of Jesus’ birth by reminding people across the world to love each other selflessly and to give like Christ gave–without expectation of return. That is a valuable gift everyone should learn each holiday season. 

Invaluable internships


I had plenty of aspirations when I was younger. First, I wanted to be a firefighter, but then I  realized I didn’t want to wear all of that gear. Another time, I wanted to be a police officer, but I quickly realized I wasn’t prepared to put my life on the line every day.  


Finally, I decided I should further my education in the field of journalism–particularly sports journalism.

One day in school, I was introduced to an important new concept: an internship. 


I soon learned that having an internship under my belt would be crucial when interviewing for a job, since it could mean the difference between getting the job I wanted or having it passed on to someone else. 


With my love for sports journalism, an internship would be vital for me in order to become a sports writer.


Many people say college is challenging enough with studying and classes alone. However, we all need to make sure that we are able to show our future employers we can juggle multiple tasks at once. 


An internship shows them that you have the experience and the skills necessary to keep up with today’s hectic work world.


Let’s face it, the economy doesn’t favor students who enter the workforce immediately after college. The competition is fiercer these days than ever. 


The four years you spend at a university are key, but what if you are able to help yourself in the long run with an internship?


It is true that an internship takes up a lot of time. There are days I find myself just going to class, doing homework, getting meals and going to my internship. 


When that happens, I just think of the opportunities that lie ahead because I’m getting a good experience at a young age.


When I do get the job that I desire, I will remember the opportunity I had a few years before as an intern. I will remember that it put me in a better position in life.


If you don’t have an internship, it doesn’t mean you will end up unemployed for the rest of your life, but an internship does give you a chance to stand out against the competition.


Sometimes, working for free doesn’t seem like the best thing in life, but the experience may be worth it. College kids are working to make money in the future. Right now, take advantage of the tools that college gives you outside of the classroom. 


Look into an internship or two, or even three. There is no such a thing as too many.

What boils my egg

 As I write this in my living quarters, with my bifocals on and my bubble pipe in hand, I contemplated my life at home.

I remembered playing in the streets with some of the kids from the block, and hearing parents yell at us to “go home and stop making so much noise.” Good for those parents, because the noise is slowly disappearing…


You know what really boils my egg? 


Overprotective parents. And I do not mean the parents who force their children to eat vegetables or drink milk. I am referring to the parents who have stepped too far into a child’s life to ruin their creativity.


I was walking through the mall the other day and I noticed a man walking a small dog. 


My immediate thought was, “Wow. I did not know animals were allowed in here!” 


Then I noticed the dog oddly resembled a small boy with brown hair. I put the pieces together and realized that this was, in fact, a toddler. On a leash.


When have children become less than humans? Suddenly there was an outcry of kids not getting enough exercise, and yet, out of fear, these same parents will not let them out of their house. 


It is time to take a few more “risks” and let the kids be kids. Let them return to building their own imagination. It is time to cut the cord.


Consider this egg: boiled.

Fudamentalism: Extreme religion or just plain selfish?



Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it. So what makes some Christians, who work very hard to be like Him, so judgmental?


 Fundamentalist Christians, rather than being remembered for their Christ-like compassion, are known for hating the gay community and for holding up graphic pictures to deter people from entering nearby abortion clinics. 


When some Christians decide they are allowed to set the pace for all fellow believers, it doesn’t do anyone very much good. What makes fundamentalist Christians think they’re perfect?


The problem isn’t that these Christians have fundamental beliefs—they should. The main problem is that the people who claim to be saved by God’s grace start to believe they don’t need Him anymore and that, if other people would simply live like they do, then they too can be saved.


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fundamentalism as “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.” I don’t see anything in there about picketing or offering unwanted advice. 


In fact, if we’re going by this definition, I consider myself a fundamentalist Christian. Jesus himself said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” 


What commandments are those again? Love your neighbor, take up your cross daily and be a servant of all. 

My faith–my attitude–stresses literal obedience to those words. Instead of throwing around scripture coupled with harsh Christianese, Fundamentalists should practice the fundamental principle of love.


There are a few people at my home church that are pegged for being overzealous.  They would describe themselves as Fundamentalists, but I see distinct differences between each of them. 


They all strive to follow the commandments of God. Some of these Christians focus inwardly, while the others turn their loving gazes outward. 


Ultimately, these Fundamentalists can do one of two things with their principles of faith: They can love themselves or love others.  


Performing acts of love–leading by example–is considered “pure and undefiled religion,” as stated in James 1:27, but memorizing a list of rules and pushing others to obey them is selfish religion.


Typically, judgment comes from those who think they’ve fulfilled enough commandments and are now responsible for showing others the way (without much tact). 


Last time I checked, Jesus is the only human capable of completely fulfilling any commandment but, still, He is described as humble. 


Perhaps it’s a good idea to start adhering to a person rather than to principles. 


I’m not saying this because I think that it’s easier or that it’s less to live up to. I believe it’s a higher calling–an impossible lifestyle–to live blamelessly and still love the way Christ loves.


Of course, there are scriptures that force Christians to draw the line between exploitation or exhortation, lukewarm teaching or peacemaking, aspiring to lead or leading to inspire. 


The question posed by these options is this: Are Christian Fundamentalists striving to please God or themselves?

Letter to the editor:


To the Editor, 


This letter is an expression of community  in response to the article, “Misguided Maintenance” in the Oct. 28 issue of The Waltonian


Let me first say that absolutely no amount of effort is held back to ensure a safe environment here at Eastern.  Transforming this century-old estate from a personal residence to a university has been, at the very least, a bit challenging, and occasionally there will be maintenance-related items that transpire.  


The buildings are constantly filled to capacity in an endless effort towards assisting in the completion of our mission.  Needless to say, the operation of this unique collection of buildings requires a great deal of attention, care and resources to maintain.


Eastern’s mission is one of peace, and that mission of peace does not often allow for an over-abundance of financial resources.  Each and every department here at Eastern works very hard to provide the very best that it can, with the resources available. 


Eastern fills students’ hearts with knowledge, commitment, tenderness and light. Then empowered and overflowing, these students go forth into the world to pour themselves out for those in need.  


I truly believe that those who leave here to help fulfill that mission do so to fill spirits with hope, and lovingly share what they can afford back to the university.      


Every opinion is very important to us, and we want to thank you for letting us hear your voice.



-Carl Altomare

Executive Director of Campus Services

Ask Walt …

Dear Walt,
So, there’s this girl in my Bible class that I think is really cool, but I don’t know how to get her to notice me. Any thoughts?
-Mr. Invisible

Dear Invisible,
Ah, first-year love. Try to sit near this girl when you’re in class, that way any time the professor wants you to discuss something in groups, she’ll have to notice you. Sitting beside her also lets you slide some jokes in during the lecture to let her know what a funny guy you are. Or you may have that occasional, but crucial, eye-contact moment.

If this doesn’t work, see if she wants to study with you for an upcoming exam or go to chapel or Windows on the World. Use that Bible connection in any way you can.

Dear Walt,
I was assigned to do a group project with, how should I say, some of the less-motivated people in my class. The project is twenty percent of our grade, and I’m concerned because my partners aren’t doing their share of the work. What should I do?
-Scared for her GPA

Dear Scared,
I have been in this situation more times than I can remember and I know how frustrating it can be. If your group is especially lazy and you are getting stuck with all the work, do not hesitate to approach your professor about it. However, sometimes they make you work in groups to force you to handle conflicts like this.

In that case, you need to talk to your classmates and hash it out. If they’re not doing they’re share, you have my permission to be mean.

Dear Walt,
I’m a fairly neat guy. I know this is kind of petty, but my roommate is driving me crazy! His side of the room is always trashed, and his mess is slowly moving to my side of the room. I’ve just about had it. How do I tell him he has to at least put his dirty shorts somewhere other than the futon without sounding uptight?
-Febreeze Freak

Dear Freak,
Take a garbage bag and dump all of your roommate’s stuff in it. Tie the bag up and either throw it on his bed or in the nearest bathroom or shower stall. Or take it straight to the dumpster–your call.

This method is legendary and perfect because you get your point across in a practical joke-type of way. If your roomie doesn’t want his stuff piled beside the urinal, he’ll start cleaning up more.

In addition, the smell that erupts when he opens the bag will be unforgettable.


Give me coffee or give me death

We all know that wherever two or more students gather, caffeine is required, but due to the new change in its hours the Jammin’ Java is no longer open on Sunday nights.

Most students, myself included, spend all week saying things like, “I have to get work done this weekend. No fun for me.”

But, once Friday rolls around, the books hit the floor and the tried and true procrastinators kick up their feet and don’t return to those books until Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday night, the library becomes a haven for those who have put it all off and who will now spend the evening eating their words and cursing the gods of academia.

Without fail, I’m usually in the library on Sunday nights for several hours, and sometimes I may need a refill or two or three–I have a problem, ok?

So, with the Jammin’ Java closed, we dedicated students and caffeine addicts are robbed of an accessible source of fuel for our addiction. I find this completely unfair.

It takes roughly eight minutes to get to the nearest coffee supplier (Starbucks) from campus, about 10 minutes to order and receive your drink and eight minutes to get back.

So it takes close to a half an hour to get a much-needed cup of coffee on a Sunday night, when in reality I could just walk across to the Jammin’ Java and be back in about six minutes.

According to several Jammin’ Java employees, the hours were changed to Saturday night in an effort to keep students on campus and provide activities for those without cars.

Employees feel that the change has been unsuccessful. The employees at Jammin’ Java made roughly eight to 10 drinks during their hours of operation one Saturday night, whereas on Sundays the drink production was always far more substantial. It’s a loss in business revenue.

Not to mention, there are several clubs that meet on Sunday nights, as well as traffic to and from Sunday Night Worship. Campus is simply more alive and caffeine-hungry on Sunday nights. Don’t misunderstand me. I remember what it’s like to be without a car and to be bored on campus on a Saturday night.

I wouldn’t mind as much if the Jammin’ Java was actually being utilized, but it’s not. So don’t take it away when the majority of the student population is desperately craving caffeine on Sunday nights.