Among the Hustle and Bustle of “The Ave”

 

 

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It is rare for me to leave my normal routes around the University between classes or club meetings, but the other day I decided to take a different stroll around my community outside of campus. I never realized the multitude of activities that dance around me day by day as I pass by them without even the slightest of acknowledgements. This walk was different. It was eye-opening…

I started walking with my SLR and tripod up University Way or lovingly called “The Ave” by students. It was in the afternoon around noon that I made my first trip. I was slightly intrigued by the lack of traffic on the Ave during this time of the day as normally my trips on the Ave took place during the evening hours where “The Ave” is generally vibrant. It was surprisingly sunny that day and the sky yelled “Summer is fast approaching” as I took each step. 

 

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The stark contrasts in building styles and designs were enormous! I would walk out of Alder Hall, which looked like a 5-star hotel compared to the Rick’s Gyros stall just a block ahead. Cafe Solstice was reminiscent of the crammed, small Amsterdam coffee shops I had visited a few years ago. Shalimar, an upscale Indian restaurant with a small waterfall inside looked magnificent whereas its counterpart, Spice of India, looked like an army canteen with a touch of elegance. I couldn’t help but compare the half-painted Cedar’s Mediterranean Place with the sprawling Starbucks. But across all buildings and stands one thing was the same: the hustle and bustle. 

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I saw this downtown express bus departing and couldn’t help but take a long shutter speed shot to capture the speed at which things took place on “The Ave.” The bus was jam-packed with students, residents and tourists all scrambling to get to various parts of Seattle. Then I thought to myself, “how are bus routes going to change if King County Proposition 1 were to be passed?”

So I went to this website to understand more about what the proposition is all about.  

http://seattletransitblog.com/2014/04/07/explainer-why-we-need-to-save-metro/ 

Next year, “2/3 of King County metro routes will be affected” (SeattleTransitBlog) by budget cuts. So the proposition is “a 0.1% sales tax and a $60/year car fee (with a rebate for low-income individuals) to fund roads and transit in King County over 10 years. 60% of funds raised would go to buses” (SeattleTransitBlog). 

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Image courtesy of Kevin’s Bus Rail: http://www.kevinsbusrail.com/kcmetro_gillig-40.html

If I were not to have deeply thought about that bus, the idea of researching this proposition would have never hit me. In fact, the next day coincidentally I saw rallies regarding this proposition on Red Square. Raising awareness about social issues is an integral part of the university culture. Having an politically educated student body is very important as us students will go on to determine the fate of our country. After researching about the proposition later that afternoon I went for another walk in the evening. 

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It was much cloudier yet busy during the evening time and I saw “The Ave” sprawling with students. This time around I tried to capture the hustle and bustle of pedestrians as they rushed to small restaurants to grab a quick bite and get back to their busy schedules. But I was absolutely thrilled by the reduction of cars on “The Ave” come the evening time. I expected the number of cars to increase as we went later into the evening, rather it decreased. On the contrary, I saw a good number of bikers moving along “The Ave.”

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This led me to conduct another mini research project in which I tried to find how the mode of transportation to/from and within college has been changing over time. This article by Urban Milwaukee has an explanation for how colleges have been “coaxing” students out of using cars.

http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2014/02/13/streetsblog-5-ways-colleges-coax-students-out-of-cars/

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According to the article, “104 colleges and universities around the United States provide free or reduced-price transit service to students” (Urban Milwaukee). This push for alternative modes of transportation has been extremely important in the “green movement” across the United States. There is increased consciousness about CO2 emissions and there are clearly efforts taking place across colleges in America to reduce these emissions and create environmentally sound habits among the younger generation in order to bolster the use of these alternative modes of transportation when students graduate and leave college. 

I never realized that a trip to “The Ave” could spark so much discussion about social and environmental issues such as the upcoming elections and CO2 emissions. It just goes to show that there is a deeper meaning behind virtually everything we see in our community. I guess what Lynch and Rivkin strive to do in their article is espouse that exploration of the tiny aspects of our surroundings only enhances our understanding of our society and interest in our beautiful Emerald City. 

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Oxford City and University Demographics (Assignment 1)

The Streets of Oxford

 

Oxford City is part of the Oxfordshire county and has a population of roughly 150,000 people but is said to be growing rapidly as the population in 2021 will be 165,000 (Oxford City Council). The industry there is mainly tourism as Oxford “is the sixth most visited city in the UK” (Oxford City Council). Of course, the largest public sector industry is employment and research at the University of Oxford. The annual revenue of the city is about 770 million pounds. On the whole, Oxford is a rather well educated town. About 43% of its residents have either attempted or completed a college degree whereas the average for England is about 27%. About a quarter of Oxford residents are full-time students. 

 

The University of Oxford is actually not as large as some American universities. The number of students at the University is “22,000 including 11,772 undergraduates and 9,850 postgraduates” (University of Oxford). To put things into perspective, The University of California- Berkeley has more undergraduate students, 25,774, than Oxford does total students (Cal- Berkeley), Oxford is largely diverse as about 40% of its student body is of international citizenship in countries ranging from the United States to Singapore to India. The University of Oxford gets a large sum of money from endowments of about 686 million pounds and individual colleges receive more of their own. For example, one college has an endowment of roughly 1.5 billion pounds! The University of Oxford is undeniably one of the leading universities in the world and these numbers are absolutely mindboggling

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Sources:

http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decC/Population_statistics_occw.htm

http://www.ox.ac.uk/about_the_university/facts_and_figures/index.html

http://www.berkeley.edu/about/fact.shtml

 

First Thoughts

I am truly excited to be embarking on this journey to learn more about how the age old debate between science and humanities came to be, at one of the world’s most premiere universities! I hope to find the roots of the University of Washington Honors Program interdisciplinary academic philosophy buried within the depths of The University of Oxford, only 4762 miles away….

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