Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Cure" Hits Campus Headlines

The top drawer of my dorm desk is full of odd things. An electric razor, a pack of Ice Breakers (mints), a beat-up box of Princess Beads (a prop for this year's mock trial case)...these are a few of the items inside. Buried under them sits a small stack of thin newspapers: editions of the Tufts Daily. Two ran articles on mock trial. Another three ran Op-Eds that I wrote.

Now, for the first time, a new sort of article has joined the collection. It isn't anything I wrote, and it isn't about any club I joined. It's a front-page article complete with a full-color photograph. It continues onto page 2. It looks like this:

The Tufts Daily, Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The photo caption reads, " leading an initiative encouraging students to download a program that donates their laptops’ idle time to calculations which benefit cancer research." The article itself is huge publicity for the movement, despite not including the link to our official website.

Two days before the story ran, I was contacted by a Daily writer. Without me having ever talked to them, the newspaper learned about Tufts 4 the Cure, assigned it as a story to cover, and sought me out. The result? A front-page feature on the program. You can read the full text of "Student group donates idle computer time to facilitate global research" online via the Daily's website.

For those who don't know about the program, here's the bottom line: I am trying to get students on campus to download a screensaver. The program helps scientists get research done faster by using your computer's power when you're not using it.

Icing on the cake came nine pages later. The day's cartoon, to my surprise and great excitement, featured a brilliant and humorous take on Tufts 4 the Cure.

Cartoon from page 9 of the Daily

In preparation for the release, I spread posters around campus (for a second time this semester), printed in gray-scale on bright yellow or green paper. Such flyers are available for download on our website, as are the laptop stickers (as seen in the Daily's photograph), meant to spread awareness about the program.

The fan page has 20 "likes" on Facebook. An event entitled "Want to Cure Cancer?," meant to promote the program and scheduled to "take place" on May 1, currently has 150 people "attending." The real question, though, is: What kind of impact did Tuesday's publicity bring to the effort? Before the article ran, we had 54 students on the online team, and the website was getting about 6 new visitors a day. We will have to wait and see what the effects are over the next few days. There are over 5,000 undergraduate students on campus; hopefully, we can get more than 1% participation.

I still cannot get over the fact that the Daily made this happen. They independently decided to feature this movement, giving it as much attention as the front page, a color photograph, and a cartoon reference. If usage spikes this week, the World Community Grid will have them to thank.

While we're waiting for results, I'm going to head off to bed. It's been a long day, what with saving the world and all. Besides, my computer could use a break from it can get back to curing.


  1. You are such a special kid! G-d Bless You!!

    Grandmom and Grandpop

  2. OMG - You still Rock!
    Love, MOM ♥


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