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Toast Toss isn’t so wasteful

To the Editor,

In reference to the recent hullabaloo about the wastefulness of the toast-throwing tradition at football games as covered in The Daily Pennsylvanian (“Penn’s toast throw triggers controversy,” 9/22/10), I write this letter both to the editor and to Pranav Merchant, who decided to take his battle to The Philadelphia Inquirer recently, arguing that the tradition is a wasteful one.

Describing a time-honored tradition created by students as wasteful — when Penn is one of the most innovative universities in the nation when it comes to environmental sustainability, waste management and community involvement — is simply fighting an uphill battle.

Of course we shouldn’t waste. No one is for waste. Yet, Merchant, no one is also for you attempting to stop our Penn tradition to make your point when you either don’t have all your facts straight or you seemingly simply just want to make a point to make a point.

In the case of the toast-throwing alone, Penn donates $500 to a local soup kitchen in an offsetting measure. In addition, now the toast, along with the dining hall food waste, is starting to be brought to the Wilmington Organic Recycling Center for composting. Still a wasteful tradition, I ask?

I admire when Penn students make Penn proud and when Penn students make outstanding points through freedom of speech. I don’t admire when Penn students cause headaches for the University and its administrators. In this case, thank you, Merchant, for the latter.

David Helfenbein The author is a 2008 College alumnus. The Iraq war has left an impact on Penn

To the Editor,

I was very glad to read an article regarding the legacy of the Iraq War and its tangible impact on the Penn community (“Iraq war leaves legacies at Penn,” 9/17/10). I believe it is important to realize that this ongoing conflict is more than a CNN snippet, foreign policy debate topic or fuel for political action. Rather, it is equally important to recognize the small but clear footprint it is leaving in the annals of Penn’s history. In my short time here thus far, I have already known two who are veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am confident there are many more.

I also appreciated highlighting the culture shock some experience after leaving the military and entering academia. I, a former Army officer who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, found myself experiencing quite a jolt when I first came to Penn two years ago.

James Huang The author is a post-baccalaureate student and works for the School of Medicine as a clinical research assistant.

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