by Niki Purcell

Daily Cougar Staff

Tuesday's International Food Fair kicked off UH's third annual Cultural Diversity Month, which will focus on the university's cosmopolitan nature.

This year's theme of "Celebrating a University of Diversity" was chosen by UH students in July.

"Our goal for the event is to get the entire university interested in what we are doing," said Nicole McClenic, UH Campus Activities adviser.

Tuesday's fair consisted of 16 food varieties prepared by students highlighting foods from Asian, African American, Hispanic and Latino backgrounds.

By the end of the month, McClenic said, "through participation in the events, we hope that individuals will become better aware of the cultural diversities that people celebrate."

In addition to the food festival, this week's events will also include a speech by UH President James Pickering; Sankofa, an African American bookstore; and music and entertainment from the UH Afro-Cuban Ensemble, plus four surprise guests.

Other cultural events during November include concerts, forums, dances, games and films.

"We want to make this a learning experience as well as fun," McClenic said.

Cultural Diversity Month is sponsored by the UH Council of Ethnic Organizations, a body of campus groups dedicated to promoting cultural diversity and multiculturalism.

Over 60 student organizations are involved with "Celebrating a University of Diversity."

McClenic said she wants the celebration to be the first step for people to later explore a culture different from their own.

"Our main goal with all of our events is to educate the UH community as well as other individuals," she said.

Event breakdown (highlights):

<B>Week 1:<P> Kick-Off Party, International Food Fair and a seminar on black religious radicalism.

<B>Week 2:<P> Cultural Education Week, panel discussions and the Study Abroad Fair.

<B>Week 3:<P> Film Festival (<I>Schindler's List<P>, Judaism; <I>And the Earth Did Not Devour Him<P>, Latino; and <I>The Wedding Banquet<P>, Asian) and the Cultural Awards presentation.

According to McClenic, cultural awareness began in 1990 with Diversity Day, with 1991 came Diversity Week and finally 1992 showcased Diversity Month.

"People from the different sectors of the university community will be able to gather together in a nonthreatening setting to learn about the different cultures of their friends and classmates," McClenic said.

Students interested in a complete listing of the month-long activities can contact Campus Activities at 743-5180 in the UC Underground.






by Rachel Elizabeth Woods

News Reporter

At the beginning of the fall semester, the Black Student Union met in executive council to change its name to Pan Afrikan People For Progressive Action.

PAPPA President Henry Bell said the reason for the organization's name change was because many students had expressed unhappiness with the term <I>black<P>.

"The term 'black' is an American term," Bell said. He added that the term 'black' did not encourage other students of African descent to join the Black Student Union.

Marlon Smith, PAPPA's Performing and Visual Arts chairman said, "The word 'black' didn't include African students from the Caribbean and other students of African descent."

Bell said the name change was also done in order to include other UH students of African descent in the organization, not just African American students.

Bell said the word "progressive" signifies that "we are trying to move forward in a progressive manner. 'Black' was the 'in' term in 1969 (when the Black Student Union was founded), but now it's 1994, and we want to move forward."

In addition to the name change, members of PAPPA said they are trying to present the organization in a new way to attract more students to the group.

Along with African American fraternities and sororities, the organization plans to become more involved in the community by sponsoring lectures, talks and panel discussions about current issues throughout the semester. They also plan to sponsor more campus events.

In that regard, the group hopes to make more of an impact than in 1993.

Bell said the past BSU administration had not been as active on campus as they could have been. What the past administration did or didn't do wasn't enough to make it an active force at UH, he said. As a result, Bell said that administration, "lost focus, and people dismissed the organization."

Smith said the past BSU administration was "not as effective as they could have been." There was no African American student participation, Smith said. He added that many African American students did not know about BSU because the organization did not succeed in making itself publicly known on campus.

Bell said he is proud of the fact that he has, "been able to get more support than when (he) first came (in 1993).

"More people are interested in the group. More people claim that group. I believe that everybody should have been involved in BSU, everybody of African descent, or everybody who was interested in the issues."

Bell added that one of the BSU's problems was its lack of wide support form African American students. And while PAPPA has more support this semester, Bell said it is still not enough.

Both Bell and Smith agree that PAPPA has been treated well and received well by UH's administration, including UH President James Pickering, because of the political clout the group's members have on campus.

Bell, who is also the vice president of the UH student body, and many other PAPPA members are also involved in student government.

"We've been treated better (by the administration) than other organizational groups because of the attention our (PAPPA) leaders have on campus in politics. We're better known." Smith said.

Bell said being vice president of the student body helps PAPPA because he has more access to high-level members of the administration.

Bell also said he tries to help other organizational groups gain more political clout, "That has to be their focus. I try to get them more involved, but if they don't meet me halfway, or if they aren't worried about getting clout, it won't be effective."

After he graduates, Bell said he hopes the new administration will continue to use the organization to do progressive things for the betterment of African American students at UH.

Bell said PAPPA also plans to work with other groups that are centered around people of African descent, like the Caribbean Students' Association.

He said that in the past, "the other organizations tried to compete with BSU, and we're not here to compete with the other groups. We're trying to pull everyone together."

Members of PAPPA said they are planning many cooperative ventures, including lecture series and panel discussions with other groups like the Hispanic Students' Association and the Chinese Students' Association.






Students given chance to run things for awhile

by Marlene Yarborough

Daily Cougar Staff

UH President James Pickering and head football coach Kim Helton returned to the classroom Tuesday to become students for a day.

Pickering and Helton switched with students Brian Greul and Mark Kallus, respectively, as part of the UH Student Foundation's "Big Switch," a fund-raising campaign that brings in money for the university and helps educate students about their future roles.

Greul is a freshman computer science major, and Kallus is a senior management major.

This year's switch began at 8 a.m. The students performed administrative duties while Pickering and Helton attended classes, took notes and visited student hangouts.

"I feel it was an interesting opportunity to see what Dr. Pickering does on an average day," Greul said. "It also gave me the opportunity to discuss student problems with university leaders and give feedback where I feel things can be improved."

While meeting with various administrative leaders, including Willie Munson, dean of students, and Elwyn Lee, vice president for student affairs, Greul discussed student pride, parking and transportation, and campus activities.

He said the overall issue became student pride. "Pickering is trying to put the student first, but he has a humongous organization underneath him."

During the day, a faculty member came into Pickering's office complaining about a parking ticket she received. Greul decided that if she parked in the wrong place, she should pay the fine.

"I feel Pickering ends up being the fix-all, cure-all for everyone," said Greul, adding, "He chooses to be involved instead of delegating authority. He really does care."

Kallus said he felt the switch with Helton was a great adventure and that every student should experience something like it.

"Being a football coach for a major university is not just a cakewalk. It's not just making play-calls," Kallus said. "You have to make sure students are keeping the grades and classes to stay eligible."

Kallus said he has a newfound respect for Helton, and he never realized the extent of his responsibility.

The highlights of the day for him, Kallus said, were touring the new sports facility and the luncheon with Pickering and Helton.

Pickering said, "I believe it is a good idea to share experiences because it helps people relate better, and besides, I think I look good in a T-shirt and cap."

Pickering attended Fundamentals of Chemistry from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. From 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m., he shot pool at the Satellite, bought Cokes and watched soap operas.

Helton attended U.S. History Since 1877. He said he found the class interesting.

The topics covered included Vietnam and Watergate – events he lived through. I thought "this isn't history," he said.

He also recessed from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. at the Satellite.

Helton said, "It's important at times to look whence you came, so that you'll know where you are going."

The event ended with a group luncheon in the President's Office.

The UH Student Foundation raffled off tickets to students wishing to trade places with the president and coach. A portion of the proceeds will help buy tickets for area youths to attend UH men's home basketball games.






Researcher says desire to think is seriously lacking

by Niki Purcell

Daily Cougar Staff

Student interest in the fields of science and technology has declined, a trend seen nationally.

Max Fogiel, president of the Research and Education Association since 1959, believes parents and television are the main reasons the United States ranks lowest among technological nations.

He says television robs students of the time they need to engage in serious study of mathematics and sciences.

"It is easier on a student's mind to be entertained through television than labor over problems to be worked out in math, science and technology," Fogiel said. He added that "Television does not fire" the student's imagination to do bigger and better things with math and science knowledge.

Parents, the other problem, do not instill in their children a desire to excel in studies and to strive for scholastic achievement, Fogiel said.

Also, he adds, they do not spend enough time with their children, generating interest and enthusiasm about math and science.

"Parents have often become busy with their own careers and daily responsibilities; they nevertheless need to find the time to do more in getting their children away from in front of the television and into more productive learning activities," he added.

However, he asserts that students will not be persuaded to reduce their television-viewing times unless parents lead by example.

In addition to television and parents, Fogiel lists several other reasons why American students no longer compete with students from other countries. "Students are often discouraged from pursuing math and science if they receive poor grades in those subjects." This results in students becoming turned off and dismissing the subjects altogether.

Another reason is that the textbooks for the courses are not easily understandable because they are written by professionals who have insight into the subject matter that is not shared by students.

"The explanations offered are not sufficiently detailed and extensive to take into account the wide range of applications and different aspects of the principles being studied," he said.

The teachers and professors in math and science, he added, often lack the skills and knowledge to convey a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and clarify the information presented in the texts. He also said a poor teacher in math or science can cause permanent damage very easily in young students.

Problem-solving is also lacking, according to Fogiel, in America's education.

"It is not uncommon for students to spend hours reading and re-reading pages in their textbooks that apply to a problem to be solved, and still not be able to solve the problem," he said.

This situation can be solved by rekindling student interest in those fields, he said.

Various problem-solving study guides have been developed in the form of books, videos and computer software, which give the student step-by-step instructions for solving intricate problems.

Fogiel has authored and published numerous books on science and technology.

The Research and Education Association is an organization of scientists, educators and engineers.






UH business students bet it all on Japanimation store

by Naryth Phadungchai

Contributing Writer

Many of us would like to have our own businesses, but for many reasons, we do not act on our desires. For two senior UH business students, making an idea come true is nothing new, but nonetheless challenging.

Hiep "Hip" Huynh and Jean-Binh Valente, both 23, own and operate a retail store, Planet Anime, in Rice Village, selling Japanese animation and related merchandise. They both agreed that it took real-world experience and determination, not textbook knowledge, to make their most recent venture a success.

"It was his (Valente's) idea, and I agreed to it," Huynh said. "He's bounced a lot of ideas around, but I never liked those ideas."

After a trip to California during last year's Spring Break, where both men saw a booming animation business, Valente came up with the idea of starting a similar business in Houston. Before their store opened five months ago, a handful of other places in the city sold a limited selection of animation from Japan, and none of them had the soundtrack CDs, model kits, posters or Japanese-style comic books called mangas.

Themselves fans of the medium, Huynh and Valente decided to put their enthusiasm for the hobby and for business to good use. "Jean's been tossing back and forth ideas of doing something on his own," Huynh said. "He couldn't handle that nine-to-five job, and he always wanted to be an entrepreneur." Huynh is the same way.

Each have experience when it comes to starting up and running a business. Both Huynh and Valente have been friends for the past 12 years, during which each owned a comic-book stand and operated a video-game distributorship, putting video game machines in convenience stores. They used the money earned from their previous businesses and a loan from Huynh's parents to set up their latest enterprise.

Despite their eagerness to make their business work, at first, neither Huynh's nor Valente's family shared the same feeling. "At the beginning, they weren't real supportive," Valente said of his family.

"Everybody had doubts because it's an unexplored business," he added.

He said his parents were concerned that the store would fail and that he and his partner would lose their money. "They said we shouldn't have done it," he added.

Despite Huynh's parents' doubts about the success of the business, they loaned him the money anyway.

The store, located on Times Boulevard, now seeing a steady stream of customers, is expanding its inventory and branching into mail order. "They (his parents) are OK with it now," Huynh said.

A major reason for their success, Valente said, is a crucial decision they made shortly after they opened the store.

"When we were first starting out, we went to other people (distributing for their merchandise)," he said.

"We wanted to do everything safely. We didn't want to take any risk." Valente said that not taking risk meant going through a distribution channel – in particular, dealing with distributors in the United States – to get the goods from Japan.

That experience proved difficult, but in the end helpful. "They didn't treat us fairly," he said. For example, Valente said in order for him to get the goods he wanted, he had to buy merchandise he didn't want.

Moreover, domestic distributors overcharged the store for those items, so he and Huynh decided to bypass the normal pecking order and deal directly with the distributors in Japan.

"Going to Japan was a big risk," Valente said. He admits that he didn't have any idea how the Japanese conducted business, hence his apprehension dealing with a different business culture.

He has since made two productive trips to Japan. In addition to not having to bother with U.S. distributors, the store is now one of the players in the importing of animation-related merchandise from Japan.

To make their business work, Huynh and Valente put in about 50 hours a week at the store, with Valente's younger brother helping out at times. The effort they put in means they are able to take only one class this semester. Huynh is studying marketing while Valente is studying management.

Though their college work is going slow, that seems to be fine with the two entrepreneurs. When it comes to running a single, small store, "it (school) didn't help me any," Valente said. "What I learned from opening up my businesses, from my past failures and successes," he said, helped him the most.

Such experiences include stocking up on merchandise that didn't sell. When it comes to that kind of gambling, Huynh said, it's best to listen to one's business sense, not what happens to be the trend at the moment.

Both Huynh and Valente plan to further expand their business by next year. When that happens, Huynh says, what they learned in class will become useful.






Victory tonight against Rice will give Houston Cougars first-ever championship

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Every season, every team in every sport works toward the same goal: to be champions.

Tonight, the Houston volleyball team will try to realize that goal. The 7:30 p.m. match at Autry Court between the Rice Owls (7-15 overall, 0-8 in the Southwest Conference) and the Cougars (17-3, 8-0) will give Houston the chance to clinch its first-ever SWC championship.

In fact, if the No. 19 Cougars win, it will mark the first time a team other than Texas has laid claim to the title. The Cougars have already beat the Longhorns twice this season.

They have already faced and defeated the Owls this year too. The two teams played Oct. 8 in Hofheinz Pavilion, and the Cougars came out on top with a 3-0 victory, winning 15-5, 15-4 and 15-3.

In fact, the Owls have not beat the Cougars since 1988. The Cougars lead the series 42-4. Actually, SWC wins have not come easy for the Owls, with their last one coming against Baylor in their final game of the 1990 season.

Also, the Cougars are taking a 14-match win streak into the match.

So what do all these stats mean? Head coach Bill Walton is talking about team focus.

"What have they (Rice) got to lose," he said before Tuesday night's practice, the first one since Sunday. "All they need to do is have fun and play their butts off. We don't want to make their season."

But if senior hitter Lilly Denoon-Chester is any barometer for the rest of the team, he does not need to worry about a Rice upset.

"We have two Southwest Conference games left," she said. "We can't go into this thinking championship."

Denoon-Chester leads the team in kills (379), hitting percentage (.345) and is second in digs (197). She also leads the SWC in kills and is second in hitting percentage.

As a team, the Cougars are league leaders in four of the six statistical categories: hitting percentage (.263), kills (16.44 per game), assists (14.70 pg) and blocking (2.99 pg).

The Owls rank near the bottom in every category except aces; they are second with 2.06 pg.

Although the Rice program is in disarray, it has good talent. Junior hitter Sammy Waldron was on the U.S. Olympic Festival gold-winning team and has led the Owls in kills for the last two years.

This season, she is second in the SWC in kills (324) and fourth in hitting percentage (.298).

She leads the Owls in kills, hitting percentage, digs (195) and serve aces (49).

Denoon-Chester said Waldron is a good opponent who should not be taken for granted.

"Hopefully we'll go in there and play hard," she said. "I don't know if it will be in three or five games, just as long as we get a win.

"We want to win really bad."

If they do, the party will be short-lived, she added.

"After we win, we can't afford to celebrate," she said.

There are still seven games remaining on the Cougars' schedule, plus the SWC Tournament, the winner of which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars seem to be prime for the NCAAs, but first, Rice stands in their way. But with a win tonight, they will have taken one more step, which is how they plan: one step at a time.






Andersson heads charge to regionals with 11-1 record

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

Should you ever walk by a University of Houston tennis practice, don't be alarmed if, by chance, you hear a few of the players speaking in a foreign language – to themselves or anyone else for that matter.

Players from Sweden, France and Canada have each made their way to the Houston hardcourts in hopes of competing with the same desire once enjoyed in their native lands.

Four of the seven current players have proceeded to journey from overseas, while the other three players are from Texas.

Swedish star and Sweden's former Top 20 player Susanne Andersson is the Cougars' top player this season as she has breezed through her singles schedule this season, compiling an overall record of 11-1.

"Tennis is such an individual sport in Sweden," Andersson said. "But now I'm playing for the whole group (team) now. There is more than just myself."

Andersson's only defeat occurred Oct. 1 as the freshman dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision to No. 21 Florida Gator Divya Merchant at the Lady Seminole Classic in Tallahassee, Fla.

But since that time, Andersson has reeled off 10 straight victories and may soon be ranked among the nation's elite Top 80 should she keep up her success.

"(Andersson) has solid ground strokes, volleys, and her back-hand is pretty good," said tennis coach Stina Mosvold, who is also from Sweden herself. "She doesn't really have a weakness."

Senior Frenchwoman and Andersson's doubles partner Karen Dasprez returns for her senior season after a sensational international career in which she was named the top player in all of Northern France.

"We have a better team this year and should do much better than we have done in the past," Dasprez said.

The doubles team, consisting of Andersson and Dasprez, is currently 9-2 on the season and said it hopes to continue on that success when the team travels to Austin Thursday to compete in the Rolex Regional Championships, which run through Sunday.

"It's a really tough tournament that always has a good level of competition," Dasprez said. "It should be the toughest one this semester."

The 128-player, 25-team field will consist of 64 singles and doubles matches.

In addition to the players competing against one another for future seedings and rankings, the tournament offers players the chance to receive an early qualifying invitation to the NCAA Indoor Nationals in May.

"Since it's such a tough tournament, everyone goes in with great motivation," Andersson said. "If we can just put everything together, I think we can do well there. At least, I hope we can."

Other Cougars competing in Austin's tournament are remaining foreigners Linda Gillner (Sweden) and Sabrina Segal (Canada) as well as Kristen Paris and Amanda Barnett.

Freshmen Gillner and Segal team up with sophomore Paris and senior Barnett, respectively, during doubles matches, while Barnett is listed as a singles-match alternate for this weekend's tournament.

"Normally, we're allowed to take everyone (on the team) to tournaments," Mosvold said. "But that just wasn't the case this year."

The lone Cougar not making the Austin trip is junior Caty Sánchez.






by Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

Trying to come out with a hard, electric and alternative album, Janet Speaks French strays from its strong points. <I>The Planet Janet<P> is not even worth a listen.

The album starts out with a pitiful attempt at being amusing. Often between songs, there is an irritating and pointless comic story line interjected. The same can be said for many of the songs on the album.

The band has talent, but neglects it. Having two lead singers to choose from, the band often chooses the wrong one. "World on a Wire" starts out well, but deteriorates when Sean O'Sullivan tries (and fails) to do a Henry Rollins impression.

The decent music is compromised by the corny singing/talking of O'Sullivan. Perhaps best representing the band is the song "Nycita." It clearly illustrates that Janet Speaks French is best when it is a light-rock band, and at its worst when it tries to pick up the pace to something heavier. The grinding, semi-industrial guitars were horrible.

"Pushed" shows that the band can play more than light rock. The funk is decent, but once again, O'Sullivan seems to be in the wrong song. Trying to have a soulful voice, he whines and aggravates the listener.

O'Sullivan seems to be an odd choice when he's on vocals. Often, the band tries to push its limits only to find that the lead singer cannot keep up because he can only sing one style. His whiny, folk-like singing does not add anything to the music. His voice in most of the songs is distracting.

The best song on the album is "River to my Soul." It is the only song worth a listen. Not trying to be amusing or alternative, the band gels.

If this band ever gets it together and produces music that has a little meaning behind it, and O'Sullivan either leaves or becomes less annoying, Janet Speaks French would be decent.






by Jim Presnell

Daily Cougar Staff

When I read song titles like "Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Cigarettes and Alcohol" from Oasis' debut release, <I>Definitely Maybe<P>, I immediately thought of the rather hip, humorous stylings of David Bowie and the Kinks from the mid-'70s periods. And that's a rather apt comparison for this music, which is nothing if not fun.

It's not a dated sound, but it definitely recalls vintage Who or Rolling Stones. You may have heard its hit, "Supersonic," which has already hit No. 1 on the British independent record charts and was an alternative-rock hit here in the States.

Songs like the poignant ballad (which still rocks) "Live Forever" and the tear-up frenzy of "Shakermaker" make clear one thing: This is a band that emphasizes songwriting. You would guess that, even if you had not noticed the poster of Burt Bacharach in the living-room shot on the cover.

As Oasis tears into its extremely well-written, catchy, pop-rock song-craft, there is no doubt at all that it is headed for great things. A fivesome from Manchester, England, the band already had a certified potential hit with "Supersonic." Give it a little more time, and the band will build stuff like "Columbia" ("I can't tell you the way I feel/Because the way I feel is oh so new to me...") into certified successes.

Oasis includes Liam Gallagher on lead vocals, Noel Gallagher on lead guitars and backing vocals, Paul Arthurs on rhythm guitar, Paul McGuigan on the bass guitar and Tony McCarroll on drums. The band has been together since 1991, but from the time the group began doing live gigs outside its hometown, it has had sold-out shows since early '93.

There are definite neo-psychedelic leanings here. Swilling, distorted guitars are propelled by chugging, whirling bass-drums combination. At times, it is as if the early Jesus and Mary Chain has met the early Stones.

The only thing wrong with this album is that it ends too soon. Here's to waiting for the follow-up.






Photo courtesy of Houston

Grand Opera

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

<I>Carmen<P>, the sultry, seductive temptress who can cast a spell of love on any man, is now dazzling the Houston Grand Opera.

George Bizet's best-known opera opened Friday night with a full house awaiting to see HGO's modern <I>Carmen<P>. Transformed from the 1875 gypsy queen to a 1960s independent wanderer, <I>Carmen<P> was quite a surprise for the traditional opera audience.

Tights, Playboy-bunny outfits and a striptease show clearly announced a modern side to <I>Carmen<P>. The set consisted of a white wall and stage floor. Aside from the few chairs, tarot cards and crystal ball, the set was lost in insipid simplicity. The audience could easily see more imaginative and artistic scenery in a high school musical production.

What made this <I>Carmen<P> an extraordinary, magical experience was the superb, powerful voice of Denyce Graves and the impassioned interpretation of Bizet's music by energetic music director and principal conductor Vjekoslav (Gigi) Sutej with the Houston Grand Opera orchestra.

The story of the voluptuous gypsy queen who uses men with no mercy was vibrantly sung by mezzo-soprano Graves. Her seductive dances and sultry body language added to the power of her impressive voice. Her theatrical abilities created an exotic atmosphere of passion, and her voice opened up a world of magic.

Tenor Neil Rosenshein sang Don Jose with acute emotions and power, and he mastered the doom of his character wonderfully. However, whenever Carmen (Graves) was present, it was difficult to see anyone else.

Soprano Nancy Gustafson sang Micaela, the innocent girl in love with Don Jose. Although her voice rang with clear beauty, her acting was stiff and lost for emotions.

Escamillio, the vibrant Toreador, was sung by baritone Richard Paul Fink. His deep-voiced Toreador aria left no fingers that weren't tapping. Fink held many of the jovial parts of the opera with Escamillio's absolute infatuation with himself.

The children's chorus was a pleasure to watch and hear. Clearly, in a few years, new talents will be rising from this bunch.

The chorus did not consist of the usual large numbers; however, the singers still gave all of themselves.

Great credit needs to go to Maestro Sutej for three hours and nine minutes of continuous vibrancy and energy. His interpretation of Bizet's magical music created an atmosphere of beauty, forming a musical masterpiece.

<I>Carmen<P> is the perfect opera for those who have never experienced the emotion and power of opera. With familiar tunes, <I>Carmen<P> is able to dazzle an array of audiences.

<I>Carmen<P> will be at Wortham Theater Center through Nov. 18. Special ticket prices are available for students. Tickets may be purchased by calling 227-ARTS.

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