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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009

Breakneck:

"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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In nod to diversity, Christmas Tree Lane becomes Holiday Lane

By Lexie Grant

December 11, 2008 | The Associated Students of Utah State University Traditions Committee changed the name of Christmas Tree Lane to Holiday Lane this year to be more accommodating to growing diversity.

Crystal Degen, chair of the Traditions Committee, said the name change was an important way for the university to be more considerate to diversified beliefs of the students.

She said, "Not everyone celebrates Christmas. We are trying to consider what other people believe and include them in the lane."

Degen said that a Festivus was held during the week of Holiday Lane to include those who do not celebrate Christmas.

A Festivus is a non-denominational holiday, made famous in the sitcom Seinfeld. It was formed due to the dismay of the commercialism of the traditional December holidays, and is continuing to be adopted and taken seriously by many people throughout the world, according to New York Times reporter Allen Salkin.

The Festivus involves an aluminum pole rather than a tree, and an Airing of Grievance ceremony where people are given the opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed them in the last year. The USU Festivus included a spaghetti dinner, an Airing of Grievance, and a free concert featuring Allred and We Shot the Moon.

Another new change to Holiday Lane, Degen said, was the presence of menorahs to the lane.

student Amy Mattson said, "If we are celebrating holidays, and you can put Christmas trees in, why not extend it to include other holidays that are celebrated. Utah State may not have the most diverse student body, but we still need to be open to the ideas and cultures of other people."

According to Degen, Holiday Lane is a service project held the first week of December. This year, there were 33 trees decorated and donated by different clubs and organizations at USU. These trees were put on display in the TSC International Lounge.

The trees have diversity in themselves. The different clubs and organizations get way into decorating, and design their tree to the theme of their group.

Kiely Hayden, Student Alumni Executive Board Service Chair, was in charge of organizing the decorating of the USU Student Alumni Tree. Hayden said that thinking of ideas and ways to decorate the tree was a fun experience for the group.

As an organization Student Alumni decided to use one of their best traditions to theme the tree, True Aggie Night. Hayden said it was full of hearts and kisses, and topped with a miniature replica of the A. She said, "This year we have been celebrating True Aggie Nights to the fullest. It was such an awesome way to extend this celebration and share one of our organizations main events as a service project."

With the help of Bear River Head Start, the trees will now be distributed to low-income families in the Cache Valley who would not have a Christmas tree without this service project.

Hayden said, "I feel so honored to be a part of this amazing tradition at USU, and I hope that our tree will be able to bring the Christmas spirit to a family in need."

MS
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