The week that was included another debate over gun control
after a Kansas City Chiefs player killed his girlfriend and then himself after
attempts by his coach and GM to stop him failed.Of course, the thing that
could have solved the problem of gun violence is if another gun had been

We’re debating the merits of the “fiscal cliff” and t here
are problems relating to whether the really super rich will be taxed or if just
the super, super rich will be taxed.

My home state of Wisconsin and its higher-ed system are
battling over the idea of if it should raise the cap on out of
state students
, thus theoretically making it harder for some in-state kids to get
in. Some state politicians don’t want this and argue that it’s a money grab. Of
course, this is the group of idiots who have constantly cut UW System funding
at the state level, thus necessitating the money grab.

Students are hitting the wall around here, with finals
leading to cheating, leading to crying, leading to paperwork. Faculty members
around here are grumbling about “kids these days” and how they somehow expect
to turn an F into an A by begging for extra credit two days before the final.

I also have a faculty meeting that is likely to be so bad
that my stock in Rolaids will go up by two points by the end of the day.

If all of these things represent the worst of us,
#BiebsMeetAly represents the best.

According to the Facebook page started for this concept:

Aly is a 19 year-old from McFarland, WI
who is battling cancer. She was scheduled to have a liver transplant but when
she went in for the final check up, doctors found that the cancer had spread
and the liver transplant would no longer be effective. We have put together a
YouTube Video and started the Twitter campaign #BiebsMeetAly to raise awareness
for Aly to meet Justin Bieber.

You can make all the cracks you want about the value of
wanting to meet Justin Bieber, but the fact is, this is a kid who is clinging
to hope. If you know anything about recovery from violent acts, deadly illness
or anything else in which the odds are not good, mental strength is 90 percent
of the game. This kid is suffering from neuroendocrine cancer that is
spreading. She was taken off the transplant list. She’s on a clinical trial drug
and God alone knows if it will be effective. Clinging to hope, regardless of
what that hope is, is likely to be the difference between a successful recovery
or an untimely demise.

You can make all the cracks you want to about how “kids
these days” can’t be bothered to vote for state races or stay informed or
galvanize support for the “important things” out there if you want. However, in
a relatively short time, a group of students from this campus built a social
media campaign that has #biebsmeetaly trending all over the place. Famous
athletes, local mascots and other important people have jumped on the
bandwagon, as have people like me who have never met this kid and couldn’t pick
her out of a line-up if she mugged me. They didn’t say, “It’s finals week and I’m
busy” or “Maybe later.” They hopped on this and kept pressing the issue because
they found something important that was worthy of their support.

Instead, think about what her hope represents: a hope within
us all that some small thing can be the driving force behind a larger goal.

like a small blade of grass that forces its way through a crack in a concrete

It’s so damned courageous.

If you agree, tweet for #BiebsMeetAly.

9 thoughts on “#BiebsMeetAly

  1. I really resonate with your last 4 sentences.
    I never understand the folk who would derisively point at such projects. There are plenty of things that need changing that we can’t change. So what is wrong with a group finding something that they may be able to influence for the good?

  2. RE: End of term woes / out of state cap / Walmart-ization of education.
    Amazingly, while there is a move to teach courses with adjuncts earning near minimum wage (despite their working many years and going in debt to get their doctorate) – how many high level educational administrators has your school added? I know here I’ve seen the administrative staff increase with the formation of a whole new office to guide the curriculumn with the unit acting as if somewhere between a Dean or Associate Dean level.
    Admittedly, some personnel is needed to assure effectiveness of education. But a whole new unit?

  3. Maple- Oddly enough, our school is pretty good about trying to take care of faculty. We haven’t added in the upper ranks in a good long while.
    Sheep- Thanks. It means a lot. 🙂

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