Elon progresses in strategic plan for LGBTQIA community

by Dalton Cox

The lobby of Elon's Gender and LGBTQIA Center
The lobby of Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center Photo by Dalton Cox

On May 10, 2015, Elon University’s LGBTQIA Task Force Implementation and Assessment Team released its first annual progress report in a 3-year strategic plan, aimed at bettering the experiences of Elon’s LGBTQIA students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Rodney Parks is Elon’s registrar and a member of the University’s LGBTQIA Task Force Implementation and Assessment Team.

“It does reaffirm to every student that we value this group of people on campus, and you have a lot of us who are really fighting hard to push for the rights of students, faculty and staff alike to make this a campus of equality,” Parks said. “I think we have a long ways to go but we’ve done a lot of work in a very short period of time.”

Some of the highlight achievements include Elon’s the implementation of LGBTQIA housing with mixed genders, as well as the option for applicants to Elon to identify their sexual orientation or gender identity on their college application.

“One of the biggest things that we’re so proud of is asking the question on the admissions application, ‘do you affiliate with the LGBT community,’ ” Parks said. “I think with the incoming First-Year class, you’re looking at 6 percent that actually answered that question.”

Sara Machi is a current First Year at Elon, who identifies as an ally to the LBGTQIA community. Machi plans to live in LGBTQIA housing next year.

Letter by Barack Obama recognizing Elon's efforts in LGBTQIA inclusivity. Click to enlarge. Photo by Dalton Cox
Letter by Barack Obama recognizing Elon’s efforts in LGBTQIA inclusivity. Click to enlarge.
Photo by Dalton Cox

“You don’t want people to feel uncomfortable in their home on campus,” Machi said. “This offers a way for people to live with people that they feel the most comfortable living with.”

Over the past academic year, Elon’s Campus Pride Index ranking has risen above over 250 colleges and universities.

Kirstin Ringelberg is a professor of art history at Elon. She worries that Elon’s efforts to recruit more LGBTQIA students may create initial disappointments.

“There’s a difference between what we want to achieve and whether or not we’re achieving it,” Ringelberg said. “We are also creating a situation of disappointment. You’re experience is going to be different than the type of campus that we’re advertising, and that’s not unique to Elon. Lots of university admissions offices often advertise a campus that is more diverse than what they actually have.”

Kimberly Fath is an assessment specialist at Elon and a member of the LGBTQIA Task Force Implementation and Assessment Team. Fath spoke about some of the next steps in the initiative. As Parks mentioned, there is still a long way to go.

National autism trend exemplified in North Carolina

by Dalton Cox and Matthew Krause 

One in 68 people in the United States have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In North Carolina, the ratio is higher — one in of 58, and recent data suggest the prevalence of ASD has risen in recent years.

A March 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed 8-year-olds across North Carolina. Currently, more than 65,000 North Carolinians have an autism spectrum disorder.

“That is a number, but that doesn’t tell the true story,” said David Laxton, director of communications for the Autism Society of North Carolina. “That’s about prevalence. That means one in 58 kids in the counties that were sampled would meet the criteria for a diagnosis of autism.”

The autism spectrum encompasses a broad range of brain development disorders, characterized by social difficulties and restricted patterns of behavior.

“No two people are alike, and you have a wide range of levels of independence, functioning, strengths and weaknesses within the individuals who have the diagnosis,” Laxton said.

Patients might also experience body rocking, lack of verbal communication and aggression.

“On the other end of the spectrum you may have somebody who is out in the workforce, living on their own and driving,” Laxton said. “They have other challenges relating to processing information and organizing their day.”

Linda Watson

Though these individuals have higher functioning intellectual abilities, their challenges are no less significant. They typically struggle to process social interactions in their personal and professional lives.

“The adults who are higher functioning may suffer more than the adults with intellectual impairments related to autism,” said Linda Watson, a professor who specializes in autism research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “The services that are available are oftentimes geared more towards the individuals who have intellectual impairments.”

Diverse disorder rises in prevalence

This prevalence rate of ASD diagnoses is consistently growing. Within the past 10 years, the number of students with autism in the North Carolina public school system has more than tripled. According to Laxton, two other factors have gone in to these increased rates – better research in to autism and overactive diagnoses.

But Watson doesn’t believe that overactive diagnoses are as great of a threat.

“With more awareness, we are going to get more misdiagnoses, but on the whole we’re probably missing more kids than we are misdiagnosing kids,” Watson said.

Others say environmental factors may play a role in the increase in prevalence rates.

Brian Boyd

“There may also be something unknown happening that truly reflects a rise in autism” said Brian Boyd, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “It could be something environmental, but the prevailing theory is just that we’re better at screening and diagnosing kids than we were in the past.”

Most medical experts agree that the increase in ASD diagnoses are at least partially due to milder cases of autism now being more prevalently diagnosed. However, despite significant progress in diagnostic techniques, there are still improvements to be made.

“We’re still working on bettering bilingual assessment and diagnosis,” Boyd said. “Kids that are bilingual or learning English as a second language sometimes have communication delays, and we have to distinguish what’s autism and what’s communication delay. We’re also still trying to work out assessment of kids who have other intellectual disabilities that may be mistaken for autism.”

Diagnosing ASD

Children diagnosed with ASD can exhibit developmental irregularities at as early as 18 months. Though infants could still be developing language skills at this early age, children should express their needs in other ways, such as crying or making noises. Red flags are raised when an infant cannot express a need for food, a diaper change or parental attention. Autistic children may also avoid making eye contact when interacting with people or objects. A lack of interest in toys, pets or environmental changes may be a warning sign of ASD.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborn children be screened for ASD after 18 and 24 months during their routine well-child visits. Still, the mean age of ASD diagnosis in North Carolina is 37 months.

Parents typically answer a questionnaire known as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT). These questions assess the social skills of the child and restricted behaviors. Suspicious responses merit further testing.

A sample M-CHAT test. From www.m-chat.org
A sample M-CHAT test. From http://www.m-chat.org

“There are developmental milestones that people are supposed to reach at certain ages,” Laxton said. “If there are some delays in reaching those milestones, especially around language and communication, that’s something that needs to be looked at pretty closely.”

Because autism disorders vary across the spectrum, each individual’s intervention plan is unique. Autism treatment usually involves behavioral and educational therapies, possibly combined with medicines. Many individuals with ASD typically face additional medical conditions that require further medical treatments.

Adults with ASD struggle to compete

Increased awareness has led to a rise in ASD being diagnosed in early childhood, but individuals who reach adulthood have struggles of their own.

“They can continue in to high school until they are 21,” said Lisa Guy, clinical director of the UNC TEACCH Autism Program’s Greensboro Center. “Then at 21, they graduate from the special education system. We are seeing that there really is a lack of services for individuals as adults. That’s really true for individuals in North Carolina as well as throughout the country.”

Despite a lack of services across the autism spectrum, high functioning individuals with ASD are making plans for post-secondary education at a rate that has outpaced empirical research.

“Oftentimes people get their college educations, and they still are not successful once they get out in to the job world,” Watson said. “So it’s not a panacea for solving the problems of careers and independent living.”

Brian Boyd agrees that adulthood is especially challenging for individuals across the autism spectrum.

“One of the things that we found is that if you compare kids with autism to kids with other intellectual or learning disabilities, it is children with autism who are most likely to not be employed post high school,” said Boyd. “They have some of the worst post high school outcomes. A lot of them may unfortunately end up staying at home, because they can’t fight competitive employment or even supported employment.”

What can be done?

Aside from doing research and learning more about ASD, Laxton encourages people not directly affected to contribute time and resources.

“The Autism Society of North Carolina is a nonprofit, and we do provide a lot of services throughout the state. It costs money to do that and providing services to individuals with autism is a very expensive proposition,” Laxton said.

As more people are diagnosed, treatment and support become increasingly expensive, placing a greater strain on societal efforts.

“We have to do more fundraising on an annual basis to try to meet the need,” Laxton said.

That increase in diagnoses haScreen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.40.17 PMs an additional byproduct – a higher possibility of knowing someone affected. With one in 68 people on the autism spectrum, there is a greater chance of having a connection with someone affected than ever before. Laxton says that fact alone should encourage people to research the facts behind autism.

“It’s not a matter of, ‘do you know somebody?’” Laxton said.  “It’s a matter of, ‘when will you know somebody?’ That’s why it’s important to understand for people to understand it.”

The Autism Society also conducts several community events, such as Autism Walks, to promote awareness of autism across the state. In 2015, eight walks are scheduled in cities such as Raleigh, Greensboro and Wilmington. The society also gives the opportunity for people to design their own fundraiser to support autism and its treatments.

Laxton says that even though the cause always needs support, those directly affected don’t realize it.

“They don’t view themselves as folks that need to fixed or cured, they like themselves just the way that they are and the more that you spend time in this community you realize that it is like a big extended family.”

For more reporting on ASD in Alamance County, North Carolina visit http://www.cdonohue.com/autism-alamance/

Elon’s security upgraded in wake of racial incidents


Multimedia reporting by Dalton Cox

On May 6, Elon University’s Department of Campus Safety and Police announced its efforts, in partnership with Elon’s Industrial and Campus Technologies, to deploy 64 new security cameras throughout Elon’s campus in an ongoing security upgrade.

Elon currently hosts about 440 security cameras on campus, which have been successfully used in the past to solve crimes. The current upgrade will include the instillation of 50 additional cameras, 14 license plate-reading cameras and new storage servers.

“These cameras will be placed in strategic locations, where security of people and property will be enhance,” said Dennis Franks, director of Campus Safety and Police. “Upon the completion of this project we will have 500 cameras to assist our efforts in achieving our mission of striving to maintain a safe campus environment to work, live, and learn.”


Several Elon students expressed approval of the new camera instillation, though some were skeptical of the necessity of the upgrade.

“I don’t’ think it’s necessary, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” said Carrie Spicher, Class of 2016. “It’s the atmosphere of the bubble. We don’t have that many people around us. So I feel safe.”

Elon senior Nicole Costa approves of the upgrade.

“For the most part I do feel really safe,” Costa said. “I do, however, think the new security cameras are necessary, because of the recent events that have happened over this past year with people reporting slurs yelled on the street. I think it will be beneficial.”

The latest of such an incidents occurred on April 22 when a female African-American student reported that a racial slur was directed at her from passing car on Elon’s North O’Kelly Avenue.

“Using the new video cameras, we were able to identify the vehicle involved in the incident within 48 hours, and subsequently determined that the occupants of the car were Elon students,” said Smith Jackson, Elon’s dean of students. “One of the students is taking responsibility for using the slur, is remorseful, and is being held accountable to the office of student conduct.”

Spicher spoke about Elon’s campus climate and the recent incidents of racial slurs.

“Responsibility requires that we hold ourselves and each other accountable for our actions,” Jackson said.

Concealed weapons on college campuses stirs debate both at Elon and across the nation

by Dalton Cox

photo by Dalton Cox
photo by Dalton Cox

In April 2015, North Carolina legislature removed language from a bill that would allow gun owners with concealed weapons permits to bring a gun onto the property of private schools. In 2013, at least 19 states introduced laws that made allowances for concealed weapons on campuses, and in 2014, at least 14 states introduced similar legislation.

In March 2015, the Texas state Senate passed legislation that would allow concealed weapons to be carried legally on college campuses. The bill, however, must still be approved by the state House.

“Students have expressed concerns to me about their ability to protect themselves,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Brian Birdwell, reported The Associated Press. “It’s time we don’t imperil their safety.”

Several students at Elon University disagree with Birdwell’s logic.

“I would not feel safe about it if a bill of this nature was passed in North Carolina,” said Erin Valentine, Class of 2015. “I wouldn’t feel very safe if students around me could carry concealed weapons. If you’re going to carry a weapon, I should know about it because it’s my right to know.”

Julia Elleman, an Elon First Year, agrees.

“Even though they would have a permit, I don’t’ think anyone should have that control,” Elleman said. “You never know what could happen, especially on a college campus.”


Thomas Arcaro is a professor of sociology at Elon University.

“This has nothing to do with anybody’s rights,” Arcaro said. “It has everything to do with selling a particular view of the world, selling more guns and ammunition and using the massive lobby influence of the NRA to move in that direction. These types of laws would have an effect on the culture in moving it further along the path of really separating a true democracy from one that is dominated by powerful lobby influence groups like the NRA.”

Are Elon students wealthier than those at other schools?

by Dalton Cox

Elon University is sometimes stereotyped by its students as an educational haven for affluent academics. However, despite the well-manicured lawns, adorned in daffodils, and the well-manicured scholars, adorned in Lilly Pulitzer, Elon does not attract a particularly wealthier group of students than similar schools.

According to Elon Director of Financial Planning Patrick Murphy, approximately one-third of Elon’s students receive need-based aid.

“We see a significant number of students, about 10 percent, that you would call extremely high need, because they are eligible for the Pell Grant,” Murphy said. “That’s not as much as you would find in a state school, but I think that’s a pretty good amount for a school like Elon.”

Murphy also explained that approximately half of Elon students must pay off student loans after graduation.


Jamisen “Kat” Moore is an Elon First Year, who was selected to receive one of Elon’s Watson and Odyssey scholarships, which consider applicants on both merit-based and need-based criteria.

“I’m not as privileged as some of the kids here,” Moore said. “Most of my friends at Elon aren’t particularly privileged.”

Moore, however, remarked on what she perceived to me most people’s first impression of Elon.

“I’d probably think that most Elon people were upper-middle class, if I were on a tour,” Moore said.

Moore reflected on falsehood behind this common perception.

Stephanie Burke, Class of 2015, attends Elon without the assistance of finical aid. Burke observed that the stereotype often comes from the initial perceptions of Elon’s gilded student body.

“The rich kid stereotype is common because of the brand names on everything that people wear, or where they travel to, or based on where they’re from,” Burke said. “Also, I think that when people take unpaid internships in expensive cities and abroad, that’s pretty telling too.”

During her four years on campus, Burke came to realize the complexities behind this “rich kid” façade.

“I think that is a gross over estimation to call the majority of Elon kids wealthy or financially privileged,” Burke said. “There are more people than we realize that have student loans or are employed in some capacity, who depend on the paychecks they make.”

This article was written entirely by Dalton Cox. It is a portion of the collaborative article Behind the stereotype: Labels on Elon’s campus.

Elon Greek life creates communities, divides diversity

Elon's Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Elon’s Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.

by Dalton Cox

Fact. At Elon University in fall 2014, there were more White members of historically Black Greek organizations, than there were Black members of Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations.

Fact. Both Elon faculty and fraternity members reported that even though fraternities frequently accept gay men, these organizations have avoided publicly advocating for their gay brothers’ civil rights.

Fact. A recent student survey, described by Elon’s Dean of Multicultural Affairs Randy Williams, included “a surprising number” of responses that characterized Elon’s Greek system as creating divisions and a more segregated approach to student life.

Fact. All students and faculty interviewed for this article reported their opinion that the benefits of the Greek system outweigh the potential negative consequences.

Digits depict system that dominates and divides

Over the past decade, Elon University has seen its enrollment increase by 23 percent. Like many other colleges and universities, Elon has also witnessed the percentage of students involved in Greek life rise as well. Approximately 40 percent of Elon undergraduates are currently members of a fraternity or sorority.

Click here for an interactive version of this graphic 

For Elon’s fraternities, disciplinary measures imposed by the university or an organization’s national administration have slowed the increase of student membership over the past decade; however, the percentage of women who undergo the sorority recruitment process has risen 55 percent since 2005. Currently, over half of Elon’s female undergraduates are involved in Greek life. For Elon’s female population, Greek life involves the majority.

“It makes Elon feel a bit smaller,” said Shana Plasters, director of Greek life at Elon. “Students are looking for a niche, a group with which they feel comfortable. There are a lot of different ways for students to meet that need. For many, a Greek letter organization is one of those ways.”

For others, the appeal to join Greek life comes from a desire to be inducted in to an exclusive social and professional network.

“At Elon we talk about being this community,” said Randy Williams, Elon’s dean of multicultural affairs. “It sort of shut people down if they’re not in Greek life; you can’t go to a party for example, if you’re not a brother or sister in an organization or don’t have a friend there.”

The diversity of Elon’s student population is not growing at the same rate as Greek membership. Though Elon’s Hispanic community has risen approximately 3 percent in the past decade, Elon’s African-American community has decreased by about 1 percent. In Elon’s current undergraduate population, approximately 82 percent of students identify as White, 6 percent as African-American, 5 percent as Hispanic-American, and 2 percent as Asian-American.

Though diversity is less represented in Elon’s Greek system, it does not appear to be exceedingly disproportionate to the demographics of Elon’s overall student population – not until one examines diversity across individual Greek councils.

According to statistics provided by the Elon Office of Greek Life, 91 percent of students in Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations initially identified as White. Another 3 percent of these students identified as Hispanic-American, 2 percent as Asian-American, and 4 percent as “mixed race.” Only 1 percent of these students identified as African-American. These percentages exclude members inducted in 2015. These numbers also do not represent members of Elon’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which governs historically Black fraternities and sororities.

Elon hosts six organizations that are part of the NPHC, which collectively have 48 members. In fall 2015, Elon expects to welcome a new sorority, Chi Upsilon Sigma, which will celebrate Hispanic and Latina culture.

Plasters. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Plasters. Photo by Dalton Cox.

In Elon’s NPHC organizations, 90 percent of students initially identified as African-American, 4 percent as “mixed race,” 2 percent as Hispanic-American, and 2 percent as White. According to this data, in fall 2014 there where more White members of historically Black Greek organizations, than there were African-American members of Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations.

“The more that a group is homogenous, you run the risk that they’re homogenous in their thinking,” Plasters said. “There can be challenges in particular when you talk about having empathy for others who are not necessarily just like you. There are positive aspects to homogenous groups as well. A lot of people join fraternities and sororities to find somewhere they feel comfortable, and part of that is finding people who are like you in a larger community. So what’s the balance?”

Encouraging diversity and connecting communities, ‘what’s the balance?’

Brianna Moragne, Class of 2016, identifies as African-American. During her first year at Elon, Moragne embraced the Panhellenic recruitment process, which concluded in her initiation in to Elon’s chapter of Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

“It’s the place that I felt the most at home with the people who I thought would be most like me,” Moragne said. “I think in that NPHC is a lot smaller and makes things more exclusive. Elon already being a small school, I was looking for something bigger and more involved. One of the biggest benefits of being in AXiD is having so many people that connect with you, but also having so many people that are different than you.”

Nevertheless, Moragne observed that many African-American students approach Panhellenic recruitment with more hesitancy than she did.

“Most people who identify as African American don’t feel as comfortable trying something out where the majority of the population may not look the same as them,” Moragne said. “I think those people are discouraged because they don’t see a broad representation.”

Courtney Vaughn, Class of 2015, joined the NPHC sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha as an alternative to Panhellenic organizations.

“I didn’t necessarily agree with the Panhellenic rush process, which is based on first impressions,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t feel they were not targeting me as a perspective member, but I didn’t feel I would meet the expectations required in the rush process.”

Elon's Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Elon’s Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.

Vaughn eventually came to admire the women in Elon’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, as well as the values that the organization aims to embody. She was initiated in to the sorority during her sophomore year.

Vaughn remarked that all of Elon’s Greek organizations are attempting to incorporate diversity more across councils by encouraging collaborative projects and events. Vaughn also expressed the common misconception that historically Black Greek organizations are exclusive to one ethnic group.

“We have a White girl in our chapter, and she lives by what AKA stands for,” Vaughn said. “It’s just a matter of understanding what we stand for. If that rings true with you, then why not go ahead and join?”

Growing up with a younger sibling, Vaughn understands sisterhood. She has come to value the connections that she has made in Alpha Kappa Alpha, both on-campus and worldwide. When Vaughn studied abroad in South Africa, she had the opportunity to bond with a local Alpha Kappa Alpha sister, who was culturally dissimilar but shared a common connection.

To many students that identify as an ethnic minority, NPHC organizations provide a sense of commonality and sanctuary, and reflect a past of minority accomplishment in the face of a historically segregated education system; however, to what extent does this historic segregation create divisions in contemporary academia?

Williams. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Williams. Photo by Dalton Cox.

“In a recent survey, I was surprised by the number of respondents who said that one of the salient roles of Greek life at Elon is that it creates divisions and a more segregationist approach to student life,” Williams said.

Williams is an alumnus of the NPHC fraternity Omega Psi Phi, and a supporter of NPHC organizations in Greek life.

“You can’t dismiss the relationships are formed,” Williams said. “There are some people who are just seeking that. We want to be in a setting where we can just be authentic and genuine. There’s some comfort there and some movement toward better growth and development. I think there is certainly a place for that, just like I think there’s a place in society for historically Black colleges and universities.”

Greeks shun stigma of ‘gay fraternity’

Unlike ethnic minority groups, it is impossible to determine the precise representation of LGBT students within Elon’s Greek system; however, Shana Plasters knows that this demographic is represented.

“In terms of our work in diversity, that’s probably one of the biggest areas for us,” Plasters said. “I will hear from students, ‘I’m out with my brothers, and they’re really cool with that, but my fraternity doesn’t want to be known as the gay fraternity – so they’re not going to publicly take a position – so they’re not going to publicly advocate – so they’re not going to let me be the public face of my fraternity.’ ”

Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center is currently leading “ally training” workshops for Greek organizations, enabling Greek students with the skills to effectively consider the issues of LGBT individuals who are involved in Greek life or who may participate in the recruitment process.

Gianelle. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Gianelle. Photo by Dalton Cox.

Sophomore Zachary Gianelle joined Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity during his first year at Elon. Gianelle underwent the recruitment process not being entirely open about his sexuality; however, his boyfriend at the time was close to several members of the fraternity, and had recommended Gianelle participate in recruitment.

“I found out later that all the guys knew already,” Gianelle said. “I can talk about it with them. They all knew my ex. While we were dating it was all right for him to show up at a party and for us to make out in the corner or the middle of the dance floor. It didn’t matter.”

Despite finding acceptance among the members of his brotherhood, Gianelle knows that not all LGBT students may find such tolerant in Greek life.

Students must deliberately seek diversity

Caroline Anderson, Class of 2015, joined Sigma Kappa sorority during her first year at Elon.

“I don’t think that sororities discriminate based on minority groups,” Anderson said. “But what’s a sorority at Elon? It’s usually a bunch of White girls that show up to a meeting once a week.”

Anderson. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Anderson. Photo by Dalton Cox.

Anderson has intentionally made an effort during her time at Elon to bond with her peers outside of her sorority. She believes this is something that can only be achieved intentionally.

“I’ve looked for opportunities to make friends outside of Greek life,” Anderson said. “A lot of my friends in my sorority only have friends in Greek life. You don’t have to break out of that circle to have a social life, but if you want to make friends outside of that circle you do have to try.”

Shana Plasters agrees with Anderson’s statement.

“We are naturally drawn to people who are like us or to whom we see similarities and experience,” Plasters said. “You have to be intentional to break out of that. Some of our groups are better about that than others. For some, it may be about really exploring their own biases or privilege around race or sexual orientation.”

An overview of Kathleen Wickham’s ‘Math Tools for Journalists,’ chapters 9–12

Chapter 9: directional measurements

Reporters shouldn’t simply rely on numbers provided by people involved in a story. Checking the numbers in time, rate and distance problems usually involves just some basic math.

In time, rate and distance problems, the basic formula is the same, but components are switched around depending on the solution needed.

Distance = rate * time

Rate = distance / time

Time = distance / rate

Speed and velocity are not the same measurement. Speed measures how fast something is going, while velocity indicates its direction.

The speedometer on a car gives the driver the speed at exactly one moment. This is called instantaneous speed. A more useful figure for a reporter is average speed, which is calculated by dividing the distance traveled by the time it took to get there.

Average speed = distance / time

Acceleration = (ending velocity – starting velocity) / time


Ending velocity = (acceleration * time) + starting velocity

Mass is a measure of amount. Weight is a measure of the force of gravity pulling an object. Mass is the same regardless of gravity.

To determine the speed of an object when it hits the ground. One needs to manipulate the equation for acceleration.

Ending speed = √2(acceleration * distance)

Momentum is the force necessary to stop and object from moving.

Momentum = mass * velocity

Practice problem

Janet Adamson is writing about the speed of a train, which commonly passes through Elrond University’s campus. The train’s acceleration at full throttle is .3 miles per hour per second. If the train is already moving 30 mph, and accelerating at full throttle for 3 minutes, how fast will it be going?

Chapter 10: area measurement

Knowing how to express measurements in an accurate and clear way is vital to good journalism. Analogies are a great way for illustrating measurements that may be otherwise meaningless, but analogies sometimes fail when exact measurements are essential.

Premature of a rectangle           

Perimeter = (2 * length) + (2 * width)

Area of a rectangle

Area = length * width

Area of a triangle

Area = .5 base * height

Small spaces are measured in square inches or square feet. Larger areas, such as parking lots, are measured in square feet, square yards or square rods.

144 inches = 1 square foot

9 square feet = 1 square yard

30 square yards = 1 square rod

160 square rods = 1 acre

1 acre = 43,560

640 = 1 square mile

The radius of a circle is the distance from any edge to the middle. Knowing the radius is key to finding the circumference, or the distance around. Knowing the radius is also necessary to find the area of a circle.

Circumference = 2Pi * radius

Area = Pi * radius2

Practice problem

Elrond University’s quidditch field is 120 yards long with two end zones of 5 yards each and a width of 75 yards. What is the field’s parameter and area?

Chapter 11: volume measurements

Volume measurements play a key role in many articles, especially on the business beat.

Rectangular solid

Volume = length * width * height

Common liquid conversion

2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce

½ pint = 8 ounces, or 1 cup

1 pint = 16 ounces, or two cups

2 pints (32 ounces) = 1 quart

2 quarts (64 ounces) = ½ gallon

4 quarts (128 ounces) = 1 gallon

1 U.S. standard barrel = 31.5 gallons

1 U.S. gallon = 4/5 Imperial gallon

British or Canadian barrel = 36 Imperial gallons


A cord is commonly used to measure firewood, and is defined as 128 cubic feet.


There are three different types of tons. A short ton is 2000 pounds. The British ton is the long ton, which is 2240 pounds. There is also a third type of ton called the metric ton, equal to 1000 kilograms, or 2204.62 pounds.

Practice problem

A famous book of college reviews sent one of their workers to Elrond University to measure the size of a student dorm room. The rectangular room is 8 feet by 12 feet by 12 feet. How many cubic feet is the dorm room?

Chapter 12: the metric system

Outside the United States, most of the world uses the metric system for nearly every type of measurement. The unit names are meter (length), gram (mass) and liter (volume).

Length (metric) U.S.
1 millimeter [mm] 0.03937 in
1 centimeter [cm] 10 mm 0.3937 in
1 meter [m] 100 cm 1.0936 yd
1 kilometer [km] 1000 m 0.6214 mile
Area (metric) U.S.
1 sq cm [cm2] 100 mm2 0.1550 in2
1 sq m [m2] 10,000 cm2 1.1960 yd2
1 hectare [ha] 10,000 m2 2.4711 acres
1 sq km [km2] 100 ha 0.3861 mile2
Volume/ Capacity (metric) U.S.
1 cu cm [cm3] 0.0610 in3
1 cu decimeter [dm3] 1,000 cm3 0.0353 ft3
1 cu meter [m3] 1,000 dm3 1.3080 yd3
1 liter [l] 1 dm3 2.113 fluid pt
Mass (metric)   U.S.
1 milligram [mg] 0.0154 grain
1 gram [g] 1,000 mg 0.0353 oz
1 kilogram [kg] 1,000 g 2.2046 lb


(1.8 * °C ) + 32 = °F

.56 * (°F – 32) = °C

Practice problem

 While studying abroad, Janet Adamson was asked to cook her host family dinner. She needs approximately 3 pounds of flower to bake dessert. Will a 1 kg bag be enough? Why or why not?