Re: “Are we really living in a porn nation?,” 2/15

I am writing to you in response to your article found in our school newspaper, The Daily Anthenaeum. Before I start, I thought that it would be appropriate to share that I am actually involved in leadership with the organization Campus Crusade for Christ and that I also helped to promote the event “Porn Nation.” I wanted to let you know that I believe you have misinterpreted not only the reason for the outreach of porn nation, but also the meaning behind the outreach. I feel like you believe that “Porn Nation” was just a cheap trick by our campus ministry to bring a “new audience” to our weekly meetings. Well, coming from the source who helped promote it, this was not at all our intention.

I’m not sure that you are totally aware of what goes on for these types of things, but I would like to inform you that in the months leading up to this outreach in October, the entire ministry would meet in prayer and pray that this event would be beneficial to people on campus. Our goal was to reach people who might have had a skewed mindset (according to the Bible) on sexual behaviors, not to bring people into our ministry.

I just want to make you aware that our intention was not at all to use a “perfect hook” to bring people in. It was solely to inform people about the problems of masturbation and premarital sex. As far as the presentation goes, I, and I am sure Mike, will be the first ones to admit that the presentation was not all that great. We hyped this event up so much and to be honest we felt like it had a very small impact because of the bad presentation of materials. I felt like it may have even gone so far as to push people away from what we were trying to present them with. I’m sorry if the presentation and the things that were said there offended you. There is nothing I can do about that for you. I would like, however, to tell you that what he did say was truth. These things such as masturbation and premarital sex can lead to destruction of relationships and families. But I don’t want to preach to you.


Adam Swiger

Student, West Virginia University

Re: “President Shalala talks Peace (Corps) with The Hurricane,” 2/8

I enjoyed reading your recent interview with President Shalala in The Hurricane. I, too, served as a Peace Corps volunteer and have very similar impressions of how it has changed my life. About a year after having graduated from UM in 1993, I embarked upon an amazing journey as a Peace Corps volunteer to teach English in a small, rural village in northern Thailand from 1994 to 1996. I taught English to the most amazing group of Thai students (7th to 10th grade) and still keep in touch with many of them today. I was the only foreigner, fluent in the local language who lived and worked in a small farming and wood carving village. Everyone knew me and looked after me as a beloved member of their family. (At times, when I needed to let loose, I was able to leave my village and travel an hour to a nearby city where nobody knew me just to play a game of pool and have a glass of wine, or go dancing with friends!) It was the best experience for someone open-minded, adventurous and with a sense of humor. If you didn’t begin your Peace Corps experience with an open-mind, a sense of adventure and a sense of humor, you certainly came home 27 months later with one! I learned a lot about myself, too, along the way and I certainly appreciate every step of the journey. I rode elephants in the rain forest, camped in tents and bungalows on exotic, isolated beaches, experimented with culinary delicacies like fried worms, and became proficient in the art of Thai karaoke. Where else can one experience such an amazing adventure but in the Peace Corps? I hope, and suspect, that your article inspired many Hurricanes to consider the possibility of joining the ranks of over 170,000 other fellow Americans and applying for the Peace Corps. It was the best decision of my life! Thank you again for interviewing my fellow RPCV, President Shalala.

Warm Regards,

Keri Gilford

UM Alum

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Thailand 1994-1996