Fast response to errant fire alarm

Greenville fire and police officers responded quickly to a fire alarm at the Jenkins Fine Arts Building on campus March 20. Pictured above, students return to class after Greenville Fire and Rescue and ECU Police give the all clear. (Photos by Jay Clark)



Annual Hamstring Hustle set for March 31

ECU medical student Sarah Bennett runs in the 2011 Hamstring Hustle April 16. She finished first in the women's 20 - 29 category with a time of 22 minutes, 1 second. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

The 18th Annual Hamstring Hustle 5K Run/Walk to benefit the ECU Pediatric Healthy Weight Research and Treatment Center will begin at 9 a.m. March 31 on Red Banks Road in Greenville.

Participants should report to Moe’s Southwest Grill at 610 Red Banks Rd. by 8:15 a.m. for race day registration and tee-shirt pickup.

Online registration is available at (search for “Hamstring Hustle”) or users may download a form here. Pre-registration by March 24 is $20; late and race day registration is $25.

The event is presented by the Brody School of Medicine’s Medical Student Council.

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NEH chairman to present discussion on humanities

Dr. James A. Leach, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will present “Humanities, Citizenship and the American Spirit,” at 4 p.m. April 12 in the Willis Building.

Leach served the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years, was a professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and served Harvard University as lecturer and interim director of the Institute of Politics.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For reservations, visit

Leach’s presentation is sponsored by the David Julian and Virginia Suther Whichard Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities, the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, and the ECU Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development.

The NEH senior program officer, Stefanie Walker, will hold a grant-writing workshop from 8:30 a.m. until noon, April 13 in the Willis Building.

For more information, visit or contact Denise Miller, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences executive assistant, at (252) 328-6249 or at

Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.



ECU researcher finds heavy debt burdens among college graduates

East Carolina University social work professor Dr. Intae Yoon found high levels of debt among college graduates in research published in the Journal of Social Work Education.

Dr. Intae Yoon

In a study titled “Debt Burdens among MSW Graduates: A National Cross-Sectional Study,” Yoon examined the debt load of master of social work graduate students. One quarter of respondents said they owe at least $40,000 in educational loans, he said, and 30 percent had borrowed at least $30,000 of their total college expenses.

One quarter of respondents also reporting at least a $500 monthly payment obligation to credit card companies at the time of graduation.

Yoon surveyed 260 MSW graduates from 25 states who graduated in 2009. He found that 31 percent of respondents said they were very or extremely burdened by loans from non-educational funding sources, without considering educational loan repayment obligations.

The study also examined the relationship between how students acquired credit cards and the extent of their debt. Those who received their plastic money from family members had about $2,500 less in debt than those who opened credit card accounts from on-campus vendors. Those who opened the accounts from on-campus vendors had about $2,000 less debt than those who received the cards through off-campus mailings.

Yoon said, “Since this study is based on a relatively small sample among social work graduates, it is problematic to generalize findings for all students. Yet, as these finding reflect national trends, I see danger in the current borrowing habits of many students.”

Unlike federal educational loans that can be readjusted based on the income level of the borrower, consumer debt will not be forgiven even if it is used to fund education. “The borrowing habits revealed in the study present a potential risk to our future workforce,” said Yoon.

“This exorbitant non-educational debt will siphon off a substantial portion of social workers’ discretionary income and threaten their quality of life.”

The full text of “Debt Burdens Among MSW Graduates: A National Cross-Sectional Study” may be obtained at