DePauw tries living without technology

Thursday, March 31, 2011

DePauw students walk to class, sit outside and lounge in their dorm rooms. All the while, there is not a cell phone, laptop or I-gadget in sight.

That would have been the ideal on Wednesday. Sadly the ideal isn't always possible, especially when it comes to being connected to the world.

Wednesday night the school was host to an Ubben Debate between Wikipedia founder James Wales and author of "The Shallows" Nicholas Carr. But in honor of the event, DePauw students Christine Walker, student body president, and David Dietz, executive vice president of student government, came up with the idea and worked with Ken Owen, director of media relations, to make the students aware of it.

"We're not expecting people to go Amish," Dietz said. "It's more meant to address how much we depend on technology."

Dietz admitted to using different electronic devices upwards of five hours a day. And to stay connected in today's world, it is hard not to do just that. From checking current events and email to keeping track of Youtube videos, spending more time online is vital for some to keep abreast of what is going on in the world and in their own job.

Many people both professionally and socially depend on different forms of technology to keep them plugged into the world around them.

"You can be anywhere in the world and access anything," Owen said. "We have to look as a civilization at where to draw the line."

Owen said he would love to personally participate in the no-technology pledge, but he needs to be able to check his email and cell phone for work-related needs, and he is not the only one.

"If I can do this one day before I die that would be great," Owen said. "(But) there is a balance we are still looking for in our lives."

Dan Gurnon, chemistry professor and moderator for the debate, asked before the debate took place how many students had actually taken the pledge and lasted through the day without using any of these now common devices.

Of all the filled seats at the Kresge Auditorium, only three hands went up.

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