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Relays Edition

Year In Review: Collection of the most talked about stories

Photos: File photos

1. DistinctlyDrake Campaign

The Drake Alumni and Development Office announced the distinctlyDrake campaign in October, an effort to raise money for several new projects on campus. As a part of the campaign, Distinctly Drake aims to endow 26 new faculty positions and strengthen Drake’s academic rigor. Another goal set by Distinctly Drake is to create new academic centers like the Center for Global Leadership, Center for Speaking and Writing and Intellectual Property Law Center. The campaign also has several capitol projects including a new on-campus building for the School of Education, renovated and new science facilities, expansion of Cartwright Hall and renovations to Cowles Library and the Fieldhouse. The campaign was announced to the Board of Directors during homecoming, when the Alumni Office also treated Drake students to a firework show in Helmick Commons.

2. Middle East Protests

Three Drake students studying abroad became caught up in revolutionary protests occurring throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa in the early part of 2011. The movement has been called the Jasmine Revolution, and it started in Tunisia in December 2010. The protests, which were supported by social media, have spread to Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The revolution has forced the resignation of world leaders, including Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. The students were able to leave Egypt, but the protests have continued to spread to other countries in the region.

3. D+ Controversy

The Drake admissions department launched a new marketing campaign at the beginning of the year that raised eyebrows across campus and the country. The Drake Advantage campaign aimed to show the benefits of Drake to high school students, but most attention was raised when the logo was sent out in mailings and on the website was released: a large D+. Outraged students, alumni and parents complained to leaders at Drake, feeling that the graphic tarnished Drake’s academic image. After a few weeks, the plus was removed, but not before the story reached national headlines.

4. New Facilities

Last fall, students returned to campus and several renovated facilities. After a semester of construction that lasted into the summer, Hubbell opened in the space previously occupied by Cool Beans. The new location offers the traditional wraps, sandwiches and pizzas, but Sodexo added new burrito and international lines, a grill and a smoothie bar. A renovated C-Store was opened on the lower level with new TVs and private study rooms. After a naming contest, the dining hall was re-named Quad Creek Café and the lower level was dubbed Spike’s Spot. An addition to the Harmon Fine Arts Center opened as the Patty and Fred Turner Jazz Center in December, after a $1.5 million gift by alumnus and former McDonalds CEO Fred Turner.

5. Dogtown After Hours

What started out as a contest between campus organizations to create an alcohol-alternative program turned into a Guinness World Record pie fight in the Olmsted Center parking lot at 2 a.m. Friday, April 9. A collaboration between several organizations and a planning committee consisting of members from the Student Activities Board, Student Senate, Residence Hall Association, Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils and the winning organization, Crawford Residence Hall Executive Council, put together a lock-in event in Olmsted that led to the record-breaking fight. The lock-in featured vocal performances, multicultural food and crafts, an obstacle course, laser tag, a bags tournament, food-eating contests, headphone disco, hypnotist and game shows, among other events. Drake broke the record with 688 participants who threw over 1,700 pies, breaking the previous record of 671. Over $700 was raised for Peaks 4 Poverty, a non-profit organization supporting people affected by AIDS in Africa.

6. Student Publications Nominated for Pacemaker Awards

Students and faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication were excited after the announcement in September that all five Drake publications that submitted content for Pacemaker Awards were finalists. Pacemaker Awards are one of the top college media awards in the nation given by the Associated Collegiate Press to the best college publications. The publications included feature magazine capstones Think and 515, Drake Magazine, literary magazine Periphery and The Times-Delphic. Drake’s five nominations were more than any other college or university in the country. Drake Magazine received a Pacemaker in October. Drake launched its first completely online digital magazine Urban Plains in December as well.

7. Theft scandal

Former Drake Director of Student Accounts, Robert Harlan, was charged with five counts of first-degree theft in April. The charges were made after an audit was requested after the discovery of missing funds. The audit shows the embezzlement of university funds began in 2004 and totals over $600,000. Harlan is being charged for each year he allegedly took funds, and each count is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison. The Des Moines Police Department is calling this one of the largest embezzlement cases they’ve seen recently.

8. Celebrate Drake

The Office of Student Life collaborated with numerous student organizations to put together a lock-in event in Olmsted Center in October. Celebrate Drake was an effort to boost morale on campus after a host of unsettling events in the Drake Community, including several student deaths and a spike in reported assaults. The event included a comedian, bands, game shows, poker, indoor laser tag and salsa dancing—all which were sponsored by various student organizations. The night ended with a pancake breakfast, pie-throwing contest and prizes (including two airline tickets). Celebrate Drake was one of the most highly-attended programs on campus, with an estimated attendance around 850 people.

9. Supreme Court Justice and New York Times Bestseller Speak at Drake

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito delivered the 12th Opperman Lecture in October at the Knapp Center. Alito gave the 1,500 people in attendance an overview of oral arguments before the Supreme Court and how they have evolved throughout time. He also answered questions from the crowd. New York Times bestselling author Azar Nafisi also spoke to Drake students at the Knapp Center in October for the Bucksbaum Lecture series. Nafisi is a professor who grew up in Iran and authored “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books.” Her speech offered the audience a personal portrait of Iran.

10. Social Media

The use of social media has skyrocketed within recent years, especially among college students. Drake campus organizations have used this tool to reach out to their organization and other students by using Facebook and Twitter. Large organizations like Student Senate, Student Activities Board, Residence Hall Association and countless others have been using Facebook fan pages and event pages to inform students and invite them to their programs. In addition, offices at Drake have been reaching out students and alumni by using social media sites. Drake University has around 9,000 fans and followers between Facebook and Twitter accounts. Other departments like Student Life, Admissions and Alumni have also joined social media websites. Drake students studying abroad have also been able to communicate to friends and family at home by posting pictures online and creating blogs to showcase their travels.

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