The weekly Wednesday night run to the Pit to spend unused blocks is a ritual among freshmen. Now, however, the Presidential Cabinet has devised a way for students to put their meal plan surplus to a greater good.

It is now possible to donate food and drinks to FoodLink, the local food distributor to the city’s homeless.

Each Wednesday, sponsor organizations set up a table facing students leaving check-out. Cereal, candy, chips, soda, juice, water ? just about anything that won’t spoil ? is gladly accepted.

“We encourage people not to get milk,” said program creator Greg Stein, a presidential cabinet member and junior.

The non-perishables, however, “will do a lot of good,” he said.

This pilot program has sponsor groups so, as Stein says, it won’t be the same people every week, and “it’s good publicity for them.”

Anyone may volunteer by contacting Stein.

The fledgling program is already a success. Stein reports that students donated about $250 worth of food in the program’s first two weeks. This week seems to be continuing the trend.

“We’ve had a really good turn out tonight,” said Vicki Bottazzo, a junior and member of Circle-K, this week’s sponsor.

There is plenty of room to grow, though. Despite the early success, Stein still hopes for greater awareness. “One problem is that [most] people don’t really know or understand it,” he said.

Perhaps their attention-grabbing, but questionable program title, “Don’t be a cock. Donate a block,” will help.

ITS offers computer learning in convenient “brown bags”

For those looking for an easy way to pick up skills in such computer programs as Photoshop and Dreamweaver, Information Technology Services is now offering one-hour “brown bag seminars” in Rush Rhees Library.

The classes are open to all university staff, students and faculty and run through October. A full schedule can be found on the university’s calendar Web page. No registration is necessary.

“We know not everyone has time to come in and learn hands-on so we offer these sessions for them,” said Jeff Hildeck, a computer classroom technician.

Access to these programs are available to members of the university community at the EdTech center.

Alaska first topic of Neilly Series

Arctic writer Kenn Harper begins this season’s Neilly Series of lectures, presented by the River Campus Libraries.

Besides his success as a writer, Harper is a linguist and advisor on land disputes involving Eskimos.

He will discuss his book, “Give Me My Father’s Body: The Life of the Minik,” “the New York Eskimo.” The book follows the Inuit boy, Minik who was taken from his family and brought to New York in the late 1800’s.

Other Nelly lectures will deal with Supreme Court rulings, foreign policy, and Latin music.

Harper’s presentation, which includes slides, is in the Welles-Brown room of Rush-Rhees at 5 p.m. today. There is no charge.

Reporting by Dan Bobkoff.

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