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2120 Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine
S T U D E N T L I F E C O N C O U R S E
Room to move
No more mystery meat
Michael CarrollGraduate student,electrical & computer engineering
THE 4-1-1 A decade of building robots brought Michael Carroll 10 to the cutting edge of engi-neering. In June, the Decatur native, along with his two roommates, placed second in a national competition and won a $10,000 prize for creating a robotic lawnmowerdubbed Moeable to cut grass while dodging flower beds, fences and even a car.
CUTTING CORNERS The contest, sponsored by the Institute of Navigations Satellite Division and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, annually pits college teams and their unmanned lawnmow-ers against each other. Carroll and his teammates equipped Moe with light radar sensors to detect obstacles. You just press one button and let it go, Carroll says. Moe had to maneuver around the obstacles, including a remote-controlled poodle, to score points. There are two classes to the competition, static and dynamic, Carroll explains. The static competition features a rectan-gular playing field with a single standing obstacle. The dynamic competition is more complicated, because it is a non-square playing field and has two static obstaclesa fence and a flower bedas well as a dynamic obstacle, a remote-control car. We focused on software development and controlling the robot instead of the mechanical and electrical aspects. First place went to Case Western Reserve University.
SPARE TIME Are graduate students allowed to have free time? jokes Carroll, who is pursuing a masters degree in electrical engineering. Although he started designing Moe as an undergraduate project, its now just a hobby. He also does volunteer work for Au-burns annual Boosting Energy and Science Technol-ogy robotics competition for high school students.
Auburn alumni are apt to wax nostalgic about campus traditions ranging from Ti-ger Walk to Toomers Drugs lemonade, but a battered-and-browned poultry cutlet oddly named Maryland fried turkeyserved regularly in the old War Eagle Caf-eteria during the 70s and 80srarely makes the list.
I mean, who has ever heard of Mary-land fried turkey? The first quarter, I didnt even eat it, Kathleen Saal 83 recalls with a chuckle. It was just a joke.
These days, food is serious business on campuses nationwide, where administra-tors must juggle competing prioritiesin-cluding nutrition, waste management and pricingwhile also offering dining venues that spur both eating and socializing.
Todays studentswho spend upwards of $3,800 annually on food, according to University Business magazinewant made-to-order meals, broad operating hours and lots of food choices.
To meet the demand, Auburn boasts 29 eating venues in eight locations. Break-fast and coffee stops open at 7 a.m., and a Dennys restaurant outpost in The Village residence complex serves late-night cus-tomers until 1 a.m. Students who live on campus must purchase a $995 meal plan
each semester to cover their meals, while students living off campus pay $300.
Communication disorders major Laura Howard lives in an apartment off campus but typically eats lunch with her class-mates twice a week in Auburns Student Center, which opened in 2008. Its a fun time to not think about school, and hang out and laugh, she says.
Auburn students can now treat them-selves to sushi, grilled shrimp quesadillas and turkey sandwiches topped with cran-berries and Brie. Popular chains, including Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Au Bon Pain, are represented in the Student Center food court.
And what about that culinary classic served during the disco era? Maryland fried turkey is no longer offered, but you can make it yourself, if you must. Kaki Tucker Barto 78, whose mother, Inez, ran the old War Eagle Cafeteria in those days, recently posted the recipe for Mary-land fried turkey on the Auburn Alumni Associations Facebook page: Dip slices of baked turkey into a batter made of beaten egg whites (from one or two eggs), two cups of flour, one cup of milk, egg yolks, black pepper and salt, then fry in deep fat until golden brown.Morgan McKean
Just as they were 50 years ago, dormi-tory rooms on Auburns Quad and Hill are roughly 135 square feet and havent expanded with age. But that doesnt stop students from cramming enough belong-ings into their living quarters to qualify for an episode of the TV show Hoarders. College students around the country this fall will pack up their clothes, iPods, laptops and bed linens, and relocate to dorm rooms that might measure half the size of the bedroom they have at home and also contain a roommate. Today you see students bringing in more and more stuff, says Kim Trupp 79, Auburns director of housing and residence life. Everybody has all of the electronics now. Back in the earlier days, everyone didnt have a TV or stereo. Auburns Quad and Hill rooms, which are designed for two students to share, come equipped with a pair of beds, dress-ers, desks and study chairs. Living spaces in the universitys newest residence com-plex, The Village, also include furnished living rooms and kitchens.
I usually tell parents its OK to bring a lot of stuff, because they can take it back home if it doesnt fit, says communica-tion disorders major Lauren Thomas, who conducts housing tours for incoming Au-burn freshmen and their parents. The start of a new school year is the second-largest consumer event on the cal-endar, with back-to-college merchandise alone accounting for $33.77 billion in spending last year, according to the Na-tional Retail Federation. I think my biggest expense was add-ing up all of the little things that you take for granted when you live at home, like an iron and sheets and things like that, says Sterett Seckman, an economics major from Franklin, Tenn., who lived in Glenn Hall during his freshman year. That sum-mer, I got the dimensions of my room and then figured out where our bed and desks were going to go. And we were bringing a futon, so I wanted to make sure it would fit. Seckmans priorityfunction over beautymirrors the mindset of most col-lege men, says Trupp. Female students,
though, often get significantly more creative in terms of interior design. The decorating just blows my mind on how they do some of these rooms, Trupp says. They look like they are right out of Better Homes and Gardens maga-zine. Its just amazing. Margaret Anne Hendry, wholl move from Birmingham to Auburn to begin her freshman year this fall, spent the summer gathering things meant brighten up her space. My roommate and I went to T.J. Maxx and Stein Mart, because they have cute stuff thats not expensive, she says. Meanwhile, accounting major Sarah Oliver was searching for a bedroom set and sofa for her place in Two21 Arm-strong, a newer off-campus complex with its own Internet caf, swimming pool and fitness center located off Thach Avenue. I did a lot of asking around, talking to people who just graduated who may have extra stuff they didnt need, Oliver says. I also went to antique stores and thrift stores.Morgan McKean
Auburns fall classes began Aug. 17. Need dorm decorating ideas? See a list of dos and donts, plus a cool online slide show com-plete with floor plans, at: https://fp.auburn.edu/housing/.
Less green for gradsYou think tuition is expensive? Nearly 31 percent of Americans spend about $90 each on graduation gifts each yearbut fewer are giving cash. The number and amount of individual cash gifts recently reached a five-year low, perhaps reflecting the state of the economy, the National Retail Federation reports. More popular? Presents that can be bought on credit, such as gift cards, apparel and electronics.