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Campus Times

Volume 136, Number 22


Serving the University of Rochester community since 1873

Migrating south

Young, uninsured
unlikely to use
outpatient care

The University is eyeing more than

just the 19th ward for expansion
BY ANdrew Otis
Opinions Editor
Since the 1920s, the University has expanded at
a rate of about a million
square feet per decade.
By a combination of good
luck and mere historical
coincidence, the University
has found itself in possession
of vast tracts of prime real
estate of an area known as
UR woodlands.
These woodlands exist
south of the River Campus
in the town of Brighton. The
question, now, is what to do
with the land.
URs administration has
proposed building on the
Woodlands, according to the
Universitys master plan. As
with any development, the
natural order is disrupted
woodlands and wetlands
are either preserved, or destroyed. How, then, can the
University preserve as well
as expand?
In June, members of the
biology department met
with administration officials to discuss just that:
the Universitys expansion.
Professor of Biology Justin
Ramsey and biology department chair Tom Eickbush
met with URs Chief Financial Officer Ronald Paprocki
and Director of Facilities
and Services Richard Pifer
to propose conservation,
education and community

outreach activities in the

The plan and the land
Critically important to
understanding the master
plan is geography. The
Woodlands are in fact two
separate tracts. The northern of two, known colloquially as the Whipple Park
Woodlands which is
closer to campus is to be
developed. A 44-acre parcel
south of Crittenden Road,
known as the Lynchwoods,
will be donated to the town
of Brighton, where the
land will most likely be
The Universitys plan is to
construct office and research
buildings on the northern
part of the Whipple Park
Woodlands. Of note, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics
will be expanded upon and
a new Rochester General
Electric Substation will be
built to provide electricity
for the University.
The only significant
industrial thing to be created will be a new electrical
substation to provide power
for the University, Pifer
said. The current plant is
at capacity and there is not
enough room to replace at
its current location.
In the southern park


Office and

Image courtesy of Ayers
Gross Architects

WeBWorK expands reach

with $1.2 million grant
By Emily Berkowitz
Staff Writer
WeBWorK the personal
online homework set has
expanded to over 150 institutions since it was founded in
1995 at UR. And the online
homework program is set to
expand even further, due to
the $1.2 million grant given
to the UR last Wednesday,
Nov. 4, by the National Science Foundation.
According Professor of
Mathematics Michael Gage,
the larger goal of the grant
is to make it plausible for
the widespread adoption of
WeBWorK in universities,
colleges and high schools all
over the nation. Gage hoped
that the grant could help
triple the number of institutions using WebWork.

Inside this issue:

We think WeBWork is
really quite useful, Gage
said. [Other schools] have
a lot of barriers facing them
so the purpose of the grant is
to lower these barriers.
More specifically Gage,
Professor of Mathematics
Arnold Pizer and Dean of
Sophomores Vicki Roth will
work in collaboration with
the Mathematical Association of America to provide
a permanent and stable
home for WeBWork and
they also want to expand
the base of faculty who use
the system.
Our goal is to train consultants who in turn will be
able to help anybody in their
region to set up a WeBWork
server, Gage said. Its
easier [to use] if you have

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interactive training.
UR faculty will lead training sessions where consultants learn the skills to
enable them to assist other
institutions in incorporating
WeBWorK into their curriculum. UR plans to continue
working on the software
to improve the consistency
and efficiency of WeBWorK.
Lastly, more assessments,
led by Roth, about the use
and success of WeBWorK will
be conducted. These results
will be utilized to make
software developments decisions and also to improve
future training sessions and
outreach workshops.
The feedback concerning
WeBWorK from UR and
other universities over the
See WEBWORK, Page 4

Thursday, November 12, 2009

By Kashika Sahay
Senior Staff Writer
In the broad context of the
health care debate, one of
the central issues remains:
the uninsured. One-third
of young adults are likely
to be uninsured, and that
number increases to almost
50 percent among black and
Hispanic populations.
According to a study published recently in the Annals
of Internal Medicine by UR
Faculty member Robert
Fortuna, young adults are
the least likely to use ambulatory (outpatient) health
care. Analyzing national
statistics on outpatient care,
Fortuna, a Doctor of Internal
Medicine and Public Health
Researcher, found mortality
rates for young adults are
more than double the rate
for adolescents.
Fortunas study concluded
that young adults receive less
attention from researchers,
advocates and policy makers
than adolescents do, despite
having higher risks for preventable diseases. It suggests
that health-care providers
and policy makers should pay
closer attention to the access
and preventative care needs
of young adults.
While lack of health insurance is a major barrier, it is
not the whole story.
Insurance status does
not count for everything,

Fortuna said. Even young

adults with insurance need
to navigate the system Navigating the health care system
involves more than calling a
doctor when one is sick.
According to Fortuna,
health literacy is a public
health term that refers to the
ability to read, understand
and use health care information. This involves researching the best health-care
plans, knowing when to call
a doctor and understanding
additional costs associated
with health-care-like co-pays
and deductibles.
Linda Shone, a health literacy researcher and policy
advocate at Strong Memorial
Hospital, agreed with the
complexity of navigating the
health care system.
It could be hard for
young adults to understand
why health insurance is
important, to make sense
of their choices for health
insurance and choose a plan
that matches their needs or
to manage their health if they
are uninsured and unable to
get advice from a health care
provider, she said.
According to the study,
young adults, ages 20 to 29,
are the most likely age group
to be uninsured and the least
likely to use ambulatory (outpatient) health care.
The study identifies

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fireside chat q&a

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Association government at the sparsely attended Fireside Chat yesterday evening.

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Page 4

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Uninsured: Young people lack coverage WeBWork: Math made easy

Continued from Page 1
many possible reasons for low usage statistics among young adults,
including lack of health insurance,
low perceived risk and lack of access
to preventative care.
Young men are especially lacking
in preventative care services. On
average, insured young men are
seen for preventative care services
once every nine years; uninsured
men are likely to be seen once every
25 years, with blacks and Hispanics
using ambulatory services less.
According to Fortuna, young
men do not have an established
pathway to access primary care,
while women tend to have access
through gynecological care. For
example, if a young woman goes
in for her regular Pap smear, she
may be more likely to talk to her
doctor about other health issues.
Young men do not have those access
points and are more likely to ignore
health issues until they need more
serious attention.
Even though the study excluded
college and school-based health
services, Fortuna points out that
college students represent a very
small minority of people in the 20to 29-year-old demographic. Also,
many of high school and college
students first jobs do not provide
health benefits.
Graduating seniors may face the
potentially confusing health care

system. Individual, nonemployerbased programs are often prohibitively expensive.

As of July, New York State law
allows unmarried, dependent
young adults to stay on their parents employer-based insurance
until age 29.
The legislation was passed to
reduce the number of uninsured
young adults by 31 percent in New
York State.
University Health Service Director Ralph Manchester agrees that
the system is complex. UR mandates a health fee and insurance
coverage for all full-time students.
Students can buy Universitysponsored insurance or buy their
own coverage.
Thirty-five hundred graduate and undergraduate students
choose the University-based option, which does not deny anyone
coverage based on pre-existing
After graduation, UR students
have the option of staying on the
UR-based plan, but would have to
pay significantly more for the same
amount of coverage.
Students at the University
of Rochester are in much better
shape, but then theres graduation, Manchester said.
According to Manchester, many
other colleges, especially public
schools and community colleges,

do not require that their students

buy health insurance.
According to Associate Director of Health Promotion Linda
Dudman, UHS sends out a short
letter to graduating seniors in April
about future steps. The paragraph
on health insurance reads:
Now is the time to think about
health insurance coverage after
Due to the high cost of health
care, it is very risky to be without
health insurance. We suggest you
check your insurance plan and
explore options for coverage after
The paragraph provides no specifics about how to research plans,
although there is limited information on the UHS Web Site.
Manchester argues that the
system itself is flawed. He believes
people should not have to think
about insurance coverage every
time they change jobs or employment status.
What we really need is a system
that covers everyone regardless
of whether they are a student,
unemployed or anything else,
Manchester said. Our system as
a whole fails to cover 16 percent
of the entire population, but that
number is much higher among
young adults.
Sahay is a member of
the class of 2010.

Continued from Page 1

last 14 years has been encouraging.
In general, the feedback from
the students and the faculty has
been positive, and most students
given the choice would prefer to
use WeBWorK, Gage said. The
number of sites using WeBWork is
growing and the number of sites
who stop using is very small.
Students feel similarly to faculty
in that they believe that WeBWorK
makes a significant difference by
helping them to comprehend the
material more effectively.
WeBWork has you do practice
problems that help to develop basic
math skills and further in-depth
thinking, sophomore Chelsea
Virgile said, who has taken four
math courses for her bio-medical
engineering major.
Over the years, WeBWorK has
been tweaked and altered to benefit students experiences with the
One change in particular was
the addition of the preview button,
which was added six years ago. This
addition allows students to preview
their answer and see the mistakes
they made before submitting it.

A future goal for WeBWork is to

be able to connect WeBWork and
Blackboard so that students will
have one login for both sites and also
so that the grades will automatically transfer from WeBWorK to
Blackboard. UR wants to continue
to improve WeBWorK as it becomes
more widely used.
In 1995, Gage, Pizer and Roth
created and implemented the
WeBWork software. This was accomplished by combining Pearl
open source programming software,
a CGI server program and the
Internet to provide students with
an online problem set that would
inform students if they were correct or incorrect immediately after
submitting their answer.
The main motivation for this
software was to improve student
learning. Gage is excited that WeBWorK is still relevant.
Students keep working on their
homework until they get it right.
Im sure they never did that when it
was just paper and pencil, he said.
Its an article of faith of mine that
when they are doing more homework they are learning more.
Berkowitz is a member of
the class of 2011.

Expansion: A history of valuable land

Continued from Page 1
Woodlands, near Whipple Park
graduate student housing, the
University plans to build graduate
and possibly retiree and alumni
living centers.
This is probably the least ecologically valuable spot, Ramsey
said. It's been cut down multiple
times and the trees are fairly small
and shrubby.
While the majority of the woodlands would be left intact, what
would be most damaged is the
mature woodland at the north
end. Forest west of Whipple Park
and north of the marsh will be
This plan is probably better and
more generous to the woodlands
than was originally proposed [in
2006] which was they wanted to
have free reign to do a lot of development and Brighton said no,
Ramsey said. The land is quite
valuable. There's a tradeoff. You
can't save everything.
The administration believes that
its plan makes sense for the city
of Rochester and inside Brighton,
according to Pifer.
Now its completing the administrative process to get final
approval for both of the rezoning
efforts, he said.
The process might be completed
sometime next spring or next fall.
There is no rush to be approved due
to long term nature of the plans,


which are on the order of 10 to 20

years away.
Acquiring land
West Brighton , where the Woodlands reside, is far less developed
than its cousin, East Brighton. Despite its proximity to the city center,
avenues of transportation were
largely built connecting East Brighton to Rochester and elsewhere.
The area of West Brighton was the
Genesees floodplain. Such floods
discouraged urban development.
Also, the city of Rochester, Brighton
and Monroe County, in conjunction
with private institutions like the
Catholic Church, acquired a large
percent of land in the area, leaving
little for development.
It's sort of amazing how much
got left here; it reflects the fact that
this area was a floodplain for the
Genesee River, Ramsey said.
According to the Ramsey Lab
Web site, the University made its
first land purchase around South
Campus in 1948 from Cora Warrant. UR later made subsequent
purchases of smaller farms in the
In 1982, UR obtained St. Agness
School now the Alumni and
Advancement Center and associated woodlands from the Sisters of
St. Joseph. A later land donation
extended UR property south of
Crittenden Road an area now


including wetlands and second

growth (new) forest.
The University was really
lucky, Ramsey said. They never
went looking for this land, they
never bought it because it was
valuable. A lot of universities...
will buy land or actively pursue
donations of land.
For a long time, the land went
untouched and unnoticed. Prior
to the Universitys acquisition, the
majority of the plot was agriculture.
These areas have now reverted
to nature swamps and second
growth forest. About 15 acres, however, always remained woodlands,
subject only to small-scale timber
harvest. It is these acres that are
most environmentally valuable and
of most interest to preserve.
Expanding southward has
brought up ambivalent responses
from the student body.
I dont have a strong opinion
since its so far into the future,
but given the University's expansion, it makes more sense to have
them expand into the city than
the woodlands, junior Jordan
Witte said.
In the end, the University will
grow, as it always has.
Otis is a member of
the class of 2011.
This article is the first in
a two-part series.
Next week: What expansion
means for the Woodlands ecology.

Courtesy of the Ramsey Lab

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