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The Big Q

A dialogue on the big questions college students face. Like The Big Q now on Facebook to stay updated on the latest post and winners.

  •  A Good Sport? Do College Athletics Build Character

    Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

    The Big Q contest for the best student response to this case is being hosted by PolicyMic, "the first democratic online news platform to engage millennials in debates about real issues."  PolicyMic rules will apply in selecting the winner of the prize, a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 4.  A link to PolicyMic follows the case.

         Nathan has always thought, to be the best, you have to believe you’re the best. Recruited to a top Division I school to play basketball, he is ruthless on the court. If he knocks a player down, the player shouldn’t have been in his way. If he scores a three in his defender’s face, he lets his opponent know how bad his defense was. Most guys dislike playing against Nathan because of his competitive callousness. But confidence, alone, can’t take you to the top, and Nathan knows that. He is the first guy to arrive at practice and the last one to leave. Nathan may be called inconsiderate, rude, and egotistical, but being the best means making other people worse than you.

         Off the court, however, Nathan seems like a totally different person. He is polite, soft spoken in class, and is willing to help others if there’s homework they don’t understand. Noticing this shift in disposition, one of Nathan’s teammates—one that Nathan had recently called out in front of the whole team—accused Nathan of being two-faced: although he tries to appear friendly off the court, he’s really just an arrogant jerk.

    Weigh in: So, is Nathan a good guy or a bad guy?  What impact have sports had on his character?  In general, do you think participating in college sports has a good or bad influence on the players?

    Useful Resources

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making SCU

    Do Sports Build Character? (Chronicle of Higher Education) 

     To be eligible to win this week's contest, you must post your comments on PolicyMic.

    Comments To PolicyMic Here

  •  Down So Long: Helping a Friend With Depression

    Monday, Feb. 6, 2012

    The best student comment on "Down So Long" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Feb. 19. Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest.

    Megan and Amy have been best friends since high school. Now, roommates for their second year in a row at college, they are still very close. But lately Amy has been pretty down, even depressed. She doesn’t want to socialize with their other friends. She doesn’t want to go out for food. She even struggles to get up for class.

    At first, Megan was very patient with her friend. There was a time after Megan’s boyfriend dumped her, when Amy had been there for her. So Megan, in turn, spent several weekends in the dorms and brought meals back to the room to share with Amy. After a while, however, Megan insisted that Amy speak with a counselor about her troubles, but Amy became insulted and refused to go.

    Megan has grown very worried about her friend, but she's also sick of Amy not doing anything for herself. Now Megan has a chance to go to a great party with a bunch of friends, but Amy seems especially unhappy. What should Megan do?

    Useful Resources

    Depression--from the National Institutes of Health

    How to Help a Depressed Friend (And When to Stop Trying)

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    To read other comments and find out about the winner, subscribe to the blog with the RSS button or the email subscription feature at the bottom of the right-hand column.

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    Photo by gogoloopie available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License. 

  •  Pay Attention: Using Stimulants Without a Prescription

    Monday, Jan. 23, 2012
     

    The best student comment on "Pay Attention: Using Stimulants Without a Prescription" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Feb. 5.  Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest  

    Jill has always had trouble focusing. In middle school and high school, she has struggled to maintain her attention on class, homework, and other academic responsibilities. If not for her own determination and the encouragement of her parents, she probably would have never gone to college as she does now.

    However, with midterms just around the corner, her inattentive tendencies are flaring worse than ever. And with poor grades after her first semester, she needs to do well on these tests to keep her GPA above her scholarship’s cutoff. Fortunately, a friend of hers, one familiar with Jill’s problems, has a prescription for Adderall and offers some to Jill so she can concentrate better during finals.

    Jill only plans to take the pills this one time considering summer is so near. She doesn’t think she’s getting an advantage because her peers can already focus better than she can. She really needs higher grades this semester to keep her scholarship.

    Is it all right if she takes some Adderall? Here are some resources that may be helpful:

    Is Using Study Drugs Cheating

    Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy (Nature)

    Adderall (& Other Stimulant) Abuse on Campus

    Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by hipsxxheart available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

  •  Sleeping Around

    Monday, Jan. 9, 2012

    The best student comment on "Sleeping Around" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Jan. 22.  Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest

    It was halfway through Mike's senior year. His grades were up. His friends were close. He was particularly involved in both the skiing and triathlon clubs. However, he recently got into a discussion with his friend Jason that continued to bother him.

    Because Mike was both outgoing and good looking, there were a lot of girls interested him. Although he didn’t want any kind of relationship with them—and he told this fact to every one he started to become intimate with—he enjoyed fooling around with a lot of them. Sex was fun for Mike, and as long as he was safe about it, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with the number of partners he had.

    His friend, however, disagreed. After calling Mike a man-whore, Jason said, "Isn't sex supposed to be more than just sleeping with any girl who shows an interest in you? And what about the girl's feelings? Shouldn't they be considered?"

    Where do you stand on this issue and why? Would you feel any different if Mike were Michelle?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Casual Sex in College

    No Hooking Up, No Sex for Some Coeds

    Good luck and don't forget to like our Facebook Page.  

     

  •  The Value Of Giving

    Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

    The best student comment on "The Value Of Giving" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Jan. 8.  Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest.

    Jessica worked as a hostess all fall quarter in addition to taking a full load of classes. Although her parents and her scholarship cover her tuition, Jessica pays for her own books and uses the extra money from her job for personal expenses. But as the holidays approach, she decides to go to the mall and use some of that money to buy gifts for her friends and family.

    Once she finished shopping, she notices that she has some extra money and no one to spend it on. Feeling she worked hard this last quarter, she decides to treat herself with a new blouse she had spotted earlier. However, as she heads back to the store, she runs into a man asking for donations for a homeless shelter. Jessica knows this extra money would be useful to the organization, but she worked hard over the quarter to earn it.

    Should Jessica donate the money or use it for herself? 

     Here are some helpful resources and great charities for you to consider:

     A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Kiva – Loans That Change Lives

    Heifer International Charity

    Grameen Foundation

    Vittana – Education Changes Everything

     

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    Photo by Bagunçêiro available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  A Recycling Dilemma

    Monday, Nov. 28, 2011
    Photo by Bill Bumgarner available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

    The best student comment on "A Recycling Dilemma" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Dec. 11.  Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest.  If you want to follow the comments as they come in and be informed about the winner, you can subscribe to the blog with the RSS button or by email at the bottom of the right-hand column.

    One Friday night, Steve and his housemates threw a huge party at their place for a good friend's birthday. After many hours of fun, all the guests went home, leaving bottles, cups, food wrappers, and party favors everywhere throughout the house and backyard. The next morning, when Steve came downstairs, he found that his housemates had put all the garbage into five large trash bags and were about to put them all in the dumpster. However, Steve knew a majority of the contents were recyclable, and his friends had just been too lazy to sort it.

    Should Steve stop his friends and make them go through the trash for the recyclable materials, even though it may take an extra 30 minutes? Or should he just let them throw it all in the dumpster and be done with it?

     

    Here are some helpful resources:

     A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/framework.html

     

    Recycling Basics

    http://www.wm.com/customer-service/residential-recycling-faq.jsp

    Is Recycling Worth the Trouble, Cost?

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=91824&page=1

     

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    Photo by Bill Bumgarner (bbumavailable under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  Sexting

    Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

    Best student comment on "Sexting" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Comments must be posted by midnight Nov. 20.

    Mary and her boyfriend of two years, both freshmen in college, have decided to continue dating even though they go to different universities. Unfortunately, after a couple of months apart, they have found it difficult to maintain the intimacy and passion they once shared.

    In an attempt to improve the situation, her boyfriend has suggested they send naked pictures to one another. At first, Mary is a little offended that her boyfriend would make such a request; however, the more she considers it, the more she thinks it might be a good idea.

    She’s over 18. She’s been dating the boy for a while. Why shouldn’t she?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Room for Debate: What's Wrong With Adult Sexting? (New York Times)


     

    Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  Should College Athletes Be Paid?

    Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

    Contest extended:  Best student comment on "Should College Athletes Be Paid?" wins a $100 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Nov. 6.

    Jordan’s family never expected to be able to pay for their son to go to college, but because Jordan received a full ride scholarship to play football at a big university, he has now been given an opportunity his family never hoped for.

    However, because his scholarship only covers tuition—and Jordan doesn’t have the time between classes and practices to get a job—he often isn’t able to afford social outings with friends like tickets to the movies or dinner in the city. In fact, he can rarely afford flights home to see his family, too. Still, he enjoys his sociology major and is looking forward to a career as a teacher after college.

    Meanwhile, the university itself is making millions of dollars off of the ticket sales, concessions, and memorabilia that Jordan’s athletic talents have helped stimulate. In fact, the value of Jordan’s scholarship is probably just a tiny fraction of the value that he, as a star running back, generates among the university’s rabid fan base. Thus, is it really fair that he doesn’t receive some form of monetary compensation in addition to his scholarship?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    The Shame of College Sports

    Should College Athletes Be Paid? Why They Already Are

     

    Photo by Parker Michael Knight available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

  •  Long Distance Love

    Monday, Oct. 17, 2011

    Best student comment on "Long Distance Love" wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Oct. 23.

    When Thomas went to college, he left his girlfriend, Angela, back home, 500 miles away. Thomas promised Angela he would remain faithful to her even as he was exploring college life. However, Thomas isn’t sure if being faithful means he’s just not supposed to have sex with other girls.

    He has had his eye on a few freshman girls in this dorm. Would it be okay for Thomas to fool around with them as long as he wasn’t having sex? If his girlfriend never specified what faithful meant, is it really all that wrong to do it?

     

    Here are some useful resources: 

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Advice for Long Distance Relationships

    Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

     

    Photo by abbynormy available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  The Drinking Age

    Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

    Best student comment on "The Drinking Age" wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Oct. 9. 

    David was always a responsible young adult in high school. He worked hard for good grades. He participated in a number of extra curricular activities. He never drank or did drugs. It was his desire to attend a prestigious college that motivated all of this, and he didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize his chance at admittance.

    Even still, David’s friends would occasionally ask him why he didn’t party with them, and he always had the same response: It wasn’t a moral abstention, but a legal one. People under the age of 21 aren’t allowed to drink, and he didn’t want to do something he could wait a few years to experience.

    However, now that David’s 18-years-old and in college, he finds himself with a different opinion. He no longer has to worry about getting into his university. He finds himself less concerned with the dangers of high school drinking. He gives more consideration to the idea that he can vote and go to war, yet he’s not allowed to consume alcohol.

    David doesn’t intend to do anything dangerous when drinking, just have a couple beers when he goes out with his new friends. He’s in a relatively safe environment. He plans to drink responsibly. Is there really a problem?

    You may find these resources helpful:

    Drinking Age Pro-Con

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by bunchofpants available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.