Across the nation
Florida St. University parties their way to top of magazine list
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Princeton Review's annual guide to U.S. universities and colleges was released on Monday. In the 2000 edition of the 750-page "Best 331 Colleges" issue, Florida State was once again named the top party school in the nation, receiving the title for the second time in the past four years. It's also the fourth time in six years the review has ranked FSU among the top five party schools in the nation.
"This second top party school ranking promotes an image contrary to reality at our world-class institution," University President Sandy D'Alemberte said. "We do think that our campus, like other campuses around the country, does have a problem with alcohol. (However,) FSU is not the No. 1 party school. No one, I suspect, knows what the No. 1 party school is."
The last time FSU held the title was in 1996. The university then fell to sixth place in 1997 where it has stayed until returning to No. 1 this year. In response to what he believes is "the most cavalier survey of the year," D'Alemberte awarded Princeton Review the "Golden Gargoyle" award for "manipulative, bogus research." The award was a gold-painted, frog-like statue that was grabbed from the side of a campus building.
"We've decided to expose this publication and its rankings based on invalid survey data," D'Alemberte said.
Princeton Review publisher Evan Schnittman responded to D'Alemberte's award in a Tallahassee Democrat article, calling D'Alemberte's statement "a cute response" and pointing out that the rankings are tabulated as a result of campus interviews with about 59,000 students nationwide. Each campus in the survey gets a visit every three years.
FSU's data is based on a visit during the 97-98 school year.
Some professionals, however, question the scientific accuracy of the poll.
Dr. Barry S. Sapolsky, professor of communication at FSU, has conducted more than 100 telephone and mail surveys for state and local government agencies, media and other businesses.
"Their poll is not scientific," Sapolsky said. "It in no way represents the FSU student body."
The Princeton Review admits their survey is "qualitative and anecdotal rather than quantitative and scientific." Sapolsky believes their survey is highly quantitative, because they report on each institution's "GPA," or on averages of ratings on various questions. These GPAs form the basis for the Review's rankings.
D'Alemberte also reminded the publication that for four of the past five years, FSU has been among the nation's top 20 universities in recruiting National Merit Scholars. The number of honors students at FSU has doubled in the past two years, and this fall FSU welcomes its smartest freshman class ever. D'Alemberte concluded by pointing out that the publicity generated by such polls gives FSU a bum rap in the eyes of many parents, as well as in the world of academia.
"The Students of FSU deserve to receive the credit for their academic achievements and not to have those accomplishments undermined by a survey based non-scientific study," FSU Student Body President Kim Fedele said.
College students not first to enjoy easily-made ramen noodles
EAST LANSING, Mich. - When cooking ramen noodles, most people don't realize they're about to eat something that's centuries old.
Ramen noodles, made primarily of flour, water, salt, dough conditioner, seasonings and spices, are a Japanese modernization of a noodle that originated in China around 220 B.C. The goal was to adapt the noodle to better serve people with busy lives. According to an online project by The Hartford Courant, in 1957 the Japanese invented Instant Ramen, a convenient, inexpensive meal that was packaged in shiny plastic.
However, the rage didn't hit the United States until the '80s, when Americans became attracted to the virtually foul-proof preparation of the noodles.
The price of the noodles is also appealing: around $.20 per package and usually sold in bulk at five or six packages for a dollar.
The noodles have become a popular means of nourishment for students on the run or those who are just not in the mood to cook a more complicated meal.
These benefits are not usually present with the average quick meal, said Funny Lee, a spokesperson for Nong Shim America Inc. in Los Angeles, a manufacturer of ramen noodles.
"It's so popular among college students, and people in general, because it's convenient and instant yet is like a full meal," Lee said. "The price also contributes to its popularity because it's not expensive and is fairly easy to get."
With flavors such as Oriental, chicken vegetable, spicy beef and shrimp, Lee said that the best-selling Nong Shim America flavors are kimchi and the basic hot flavor.
This ready-made meal is relatively low in fat as well. Some containers produce just 12 grams of fat. However, there is quite a bit of sodium and preservatives (especially considering that ramen can be stored and is edible for up to a year). The noodles also run about 150-200 calories per package.
The popularity of ramen can be seen on Nong Shim America's Web site, www.nongshim.com, which shows that approximately $450 million worth of ramen was sold in 1997 (about 2.2 billion packages).
Laura Deer, a business pre-law junior at MSU, said while she got used to the taste, the price was what initially drew her in.
"I've been eating them for about a year now," she said. "And I basically started because they were so inexpensive."
Some enjoy eating ramen raw, which Nong Shim America insists is completely safe.
"I actually started off eating them dry," Deer said. "But I definitely don't eat them like that all the time, only on rare occasions. I usually add the water, they taste much better that way."
Some people have gone above and beyond simply enjoying ramen as a quick meal, dry or not. The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Yokohama, Japan, opened in 1994, is devoted entirely to the noodles so often enjoyed by college students around the country.
This ramen tribute also serves as part historical theme park and part highly specialized restaurant mall. Staying open until 11 p.m. for die-hard ramen fans, the museum often feeds late-night concertgoers who are returning from the nearby Yokohama Arena.
There have been cookbooks dedicated to hundreds of different ramen recipes, and some U.S. college students have created Web sites paying tribute to this instant meal. The word "ramen" typed in on any Web search engine will yield more than 6,000 sites to browse, with everything from favorite ramen recipes to the official ramen homepage.
Additionally, ramen is not just popular among the Asian community, as it once was in the United States. According to Consumer consumption by Nong Shim America, 30 percent of Asian-Americans, 36 percent of Hispanics, 22 percent of African-Americans and 12 percent of other populations consume ramen in a given year. These numbers are up almost 2 percent from 1995 to 1996.
"Before, ramen was mostly for Asian people," Lee said. "But now ramen is becoming more mainstream and will be sold in convenience stores like 7-Eleven in the fall or early winter. Company's like Nong Shim American who manufacture ramen have been trying to spread it out to the masses, and I think it has caught on mainly because of its taste and low price."
Being fast, inexpensive and a tasty way to create a meal with little effort in a short period of time is exactly what makes ramen the perfect college meal. Though the adjustments that come with leaving home and living a life free from parental supervision and a home-cooked meal can be difficult, with ramen, at least one worry of the average college student is eliminated.