Precisely Pinterest

By Cara Winkley

One step inside the red rustic barn and a warm glow hits your face. Strings of lights wrap around a white cloth canopy covering the ceiling creating a soft romantic atmosphere for guests strolling into the reception. Wooden tables are surrounded by twelve wooden chairs and are marked by numbers carved into a coaster-size cut wooden log laid out on the table. Blush pink flowers are placed in each corner of the room complimenting the soft lavender colors of the bridesmaid dresses as the bridal party walks across the barn taking their seats to eagerly await the newlyweds.

Valerie Whited, a recently engaged student at the University of Arkansas, started using Pinterest about two years ago. Like many girls, before her engagement, Whited had a dream wedding board where she pinned ideas for her future. Now, it has become a practical part in the planning stage of her wedding.

“It’s a fun tool to come up with ideas,” said Whited. “It is productive and inspirational.”

According to the Pinterest website, Pinterest was created in 2010 as a tool for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you. It is an online pin-board where users share ideas by “pinning” photos of anything from fashion and crafts to teaching methods and resume tips. Only a year and a half after launching Pinterest, it became one of the top ten social network services with eleven million weekly visits.

Despite the quick rise in popularity, Whited had her doubts about the website before she joined. She first heard about Pinterest from friends talking about it on other social media outlets. At first she disliked it because she thought it was materialistic and was just a way for girls to fantasize over things they want, but realistically will probably never have. After giving it a try, she thinks it is a great way to express yourself as an adult.

“It’s all about finding your personal style,” Whited said.

Pinterest is not only for personal use, but businesses can also benefit from creating a company account. Companies can upload pictures of products using different SEO words and hashtags to market and promote their merchandise or services. Businesses are able to view their web analytics and see how much traffic each pin gets. According to Bizrate Insights, a company that conducts customer surveys, 70 percent of online consumers use Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy. In addition, 39 percent use Pinterest for special offers and coupons from retailers and brands they have pinned.

While Businesses and individuals can benefit from everything Pinterest has to offer, teachers are also benefitting from this social media god-send.

Ariel Puccetti, a recent University of Kansas graduate and current elementary teacher, has been using Pinterest for a little over two years. As a teacher, she uses Pinterest to find supplemental materials for centers, extra practice or creative projects. Teachers are able to share ideas on different teaching methods and classroom decorations through Pinterest.

“It is a great place to go to gather information and ideas from other teachers and from a variety of sites to incorporate creative and engaging activities in a classroom,” Puccetti said.

Though Pinterest offers many diverse pins relating to women and men, only 30 percent of Pinterest users are male. In 2012 alone, 1,255,225,000 minutes were spent on the Pinterest website from a computer, 720,973,000 on the Pinterest App and 120,486,000 on mobile web.

“It’s no wonder I’m always thinking, I know I pinned that somewhere,” Puccetti said.

Here’s a how-to Pinterest craft:

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KU Students get left out in mad rush at Late Night

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By Cara Winkley

When the doors shut, I just kept thinking “What is going on and what are they doing?” We were packed like sardines outside the door waiting for them to open again.

Caycee Hatchette, a University of Kansas freshman from Lee Summit, got in line for Late Night around 11 a.m. Friday morning. She said there were about 200 people in line in front of her.

“The atmosphere at the beginning was actually fun.  We talked to the people around us and had a good time – until the doors were opened,” Hatchette said.

Allen Fieldhouse has a capacity of 16,300 and some students guesstimate they saw almost 25,000 people waiting in line to get into the Fieldhouse on Friday afternoon. As the doors opened that night, students in the back of the line rushed forward cutting in front of people waiting in line for hours, and ultimately taking their spot in the Fieldhouse.

Eric Turek, a University junior from California, was one of those students. Turek got to the Fieldhouse a little before 3 p.m. His friends arrived shortly before 5 p.m.

The doors to Allen Filedhouse were scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. A few minutes before the doors opened Turek said he saw about 30 people begin to race toward the door. They were in a bird-like formation similar to what you would see in the sky. People standing at the back saw this and began to copy. Soon hundreds were all rushing toward the doors cutting people in front of them.

“A rush surged through me, and I realized that if I didn’t run, I wouldn’t have made it,” Turek said.

A University Athletics staff member describes the experience from the inside as a scary bullrush of people. He said the University had cattle guards to direct the lines, but people jumped or toppled them to get inside.

Small numbers of tickets to Late Night were sold for reserved sections, but the majority of the tickets were given out at the doors as people entered. An exact number of 16,300 tickets including reserved tickets were to be given out in order to control capacity. However, many people who rushed in pushed University staff out of the way limiting their ability to know how many people came inside.

“It was chaos,” said a University Athletics staff member. “We had to close the doors to get a handle on everything and reposition staff.”

Abbey Johnson, a senior from Vermont, was one of the thousands who was still waiting in line when the doors shut. She describes the crowd around her as angry, restless and upset. The line was more like a mob of people shoved up against each other back to front. She said she was standing next to a family with small children who had waited in line all day and didn’t want to leave in the small chance they might get let in.

After waiting for 30 to 45 minutes after the doors closed, students were alerted not by KU Athletics staff, but by a tweet made by the official KU Athletics Twitter account.

“A tweet saying sorry does absolutely nothing for me. I’m a student who pays thousands of dollars for out-of-state tuition, and I deserved to be one of the 16,300 fans in Allen Fieldhouse that night,” Hatchette said. “I’m disappointed in their lack of organization and their incompetence to do anything to stop the fans that rushed in. They have ruined that experience for me and for that, I don’t even want to go to late night in the future.”

French Students Say America is like a Dream

For many American students, going to school and working here in the United States is a part of our everyday lives. However, for many French citizens coming to America is a dream.

The number of French students studying in the United States has increased 17 percent over the past seven years according to the International Business Times.

Despite this increase, I had a tough time trying to find French students taking classes at the University of Kansas.

After emailing multiple University departments and contacts trying to find a French student taking classes at the University, I was told that many French students opted out of being contacted for University projects.

Shortly after, I received an email from Clarisse Barbier, a University General Teacher’s Assistant (GTA) from France, who was more than willing to sit down and answer my questions.

Barbier left her home in Besancon, France to become a GTA for the University French department. She arrived in the U.S. for the first time this August and is currently teaching French for Beginners.

Barbier came to the United States to move on and start a new life. In Besancon she received her Masters degree in English, but had not been able to use it. She took this opportunity to use what she learned while starting a new chapter in her life.

Even though she has graduated with her Masters, as a GTA at the University she is still required to take classes.

Many French students choose to come to the U.S. to study because the U.S. school system is more efficient and has more money than in France, said Barbier.

Unlike the U.S., public universities in France are free. Because school is more expensive in the U.S., students are more studious and the curriculums are more intense.

“It’s much more demanding than in France,” said Barbier.

Barbier only takes two classes at the University, but said she works harder for these two classes than she ever did for her Masters degree.

Like Barbier, Amadine Thevenet-Brown also has an English degree from France.

Thevenet-Brown is a kindergarten teacher at Academie Lafayette, a K-8 French Language Immersion Public Charter School in Kansas City, Mo. Thevenet-Brown, originally from Nevers, France, came to the United States for the first time in 2009. She had just completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Anglo-Saxons studies and English language and planned on teaching English in her home country. But before she started, she wanted to spend a year abroad in an English speaking country. It was her dream, like many other French students to come to the United States.

“After arriving in the U.S., I was even much happier than what I had expected,” Thevenet-Brown said.

French citizens have been influenced by American culture since they were very young. They watch American movies, listen to American music and even take required English classes at school. Many fantasize about coming to the U.S. imagining it like the setting of their favorite television show. For many it may be a fantasy, but for some their dream becomes a reality.

Francois Asal, a 21-year-old French student, spent seven months working as an intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

He said he has always been attracted to the U.S. Asal describes it as the land of the self-made man, big cars and skyscrapers.

While the United States is one of the larger English-speaking countries, two other popular places to go for French citizens looking to use their English include the United Kingdom or Australia.

Many French students travel to the UK and Australia, however most choose the U.S. because of affordable living and distance.

“England is really close and we can go there whenever we want to. It’s different with the U.S.,” Asal said.