Life-saving training: BYU tsunami education in Indonesia

With recent hurricanes and specifically the tsunami in Palu, Indonesia, we’re reminded yet again of the devastating impact that natural disasters have on individuals and families across the world.

BYU Geography professor Chad Emmett is taking action to make sure that no matter how devastating earthquakes and tsunamis can be, lives do not have to be lost in the process.

Evaluate (and recognize) regional risk

Indonesia is at a high risk of earthquakes and tsunamis because of its location on the Ring of Fire where several tectonic plates collide. Add this risk to limited infrastructure and a lack of uniform tsunami education and evacuation plans, and the potential damage is astronomical.

Since the 2004 Aceh tsunami, national and local disaster mitigation agencies across the Southeast Asia country have worked to better prepare Indonesians against tsunami risk by putting up evacuation signs, designating gathering places, building tsunami evacuation buildings, offering training and holding evacuation drills. What hasn’t been done, however, is emphasizing the need for individuals to know the signs of tsunamis and the need for individuals to act on their own to save their lives.

tsunami signs
Evacuation signs point the way to landmarks that are high enough in elevation to be safe from tsunamis.

“The tsunami monitors and sirens did not work in Palu,” notes Emmett in regards to the catastrophic aftermath of the recent tsunami. “At the first shaking of the earth, people should have instinctively headed to higher ground.”

Emmett has been involved in research in Indonesia over the past 18 years. While the majority of his studies focus on Christian-Muslim relations and the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Indonesia, more recently Emmett has worked with BYU Geology professor Ron Harris to collaborate on an interdisciplinary study looking at tsunami mitigation and training efforts in the country.

Educating for a better-prepared future

During the summers of 2016 and 2017, Emmett and a group of BYU and UVU students and faculty (funded by Geoscientists without Borders) traveled the more than 9,000 miles to Indonesia to perform critical research and carry out essential education in regards to tsunamis.

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2018 Cutler lecture: Securing marriage with (research-proven) attachment

Research and clinical experience not only tell us that a healthy, happy and passionate marriage is possible, it also shows us how to create it.

The School of Family Life 2018 Virginia F. Cutler Lecture will give you the knowledge and resources to do this within your own family and home.

On Wednesday, October 17, BYU Marriage and Family Therapy professor Jonathan Sandberg will give his lecture “Secure Attachments: The key to a happy, healthy, and passionate marriage” that will highlight current research on adult attachment and romantic relationships. More specifically, Sandberg will review actionable behaviors that we can adopt to promote attachment—a key factor that leads to safety and security in marriage.

Our society may spread the message that having a happy and healthy family is no longer an option, but science says otherwise. You can choose–and act–to have a healthy, happy and passionate marriage.

Learn how to strengthen your marriage and family at the 55th annual Virginia F. Cutler Lecture on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in 151 N. Eldon Tanner Building. The event is free and open to the public.

This lecture series is named after Virginia F. Cutler, former dean of the College of Family Living (now the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences). Dr. Cutler spent her entire life educating people on the home and family. She also cared deeply about women and people in other nations, and her career took her across the globe as she served people in Thailand, Indonesia and Ghana.

Celebrating the Economic Department’s history with chili: Saying farewell to the FOB

You’ve probably been to a graduation or a going‑away party. But have you ever attended a farewell celebration for a building?

In winter 2019, the long-standing Faculty Office Building (FOB) will be demolished. For the past 35 years, it has been the home of the Economics Department, which will now be temporarily relocated to the Crabtree Technology Building.

On Oct. 19 from 5-6:30 p.m., the Economics Department will be hosting a free chili dinner for all current economics students, professors, alumni and emeritus. This commemoration party is as unique as the history of the building it celebrates.

The FOB’s Rich History

The FOB began in true Cougar fashion: at the stadium. Before housing faculty offices, the FOB was nothing more than the restrooms of the Cougar Stadium, which lay on the hill below. When the stadium was demolished in 1964, architects included the north and south stadium bathrooms in their FOB design, adding offices between them. Additionally, the old press box was used for research rooms until the early 2000s.

In 1970, the FOB was dedicated alongside the indoor tennis courts and new football stadium by Ezra Taft Benson. The new building housed Language Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, Economics and more. Besides providing space for faculty, the FOB has been a place of research, hosting many labs over the years and contributing to BYU’s search for knowledge.

After decades of rich history, this building is stepping down to retirement. Although the FOB served more than only faculty, questions yet remain about similar buildings on other campuses. Senior writer of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lawrence Biemiller questions the future of faculty office buildings. “Faculty offices are typically occupied… less than half the work week,” Biemiller says.

With faculty spending much of their time off campus and outside of their offices, will universities be willing to continue funding faculty buildings? Soon, it may be easier to spot a professor in a coffee shop than in an office.

As the university environment continues to change, we take a moment to look back into the past and commemorate the layered history of the Faculty Office Building. And of course, there is no better way to celebrate than with a chili dinner.

Preparing with hope: 2018-2019 Families at Risk lecture series

We aren’t meant to be alone, and in a world continually changing, Families at Risk reminds us what the core of life is: our families. An upcoming series of lectures powerfully advocates effective communication, healthy sexuality, mental health awareness and more.

The Families at Risk lecture series is held every second Wednesday of the month for nine months, beginning on October 10th, 2018. Classes start at 7 am and last for about two hours. Prices vary from $10 to $25 depending on the class, and all lectures are held at the BYU Conference Center.

From parenting kids with behavioral concerns, helping children transition to adulthood, and building healthy relationships in all stages of life, BYU Continuing Education offers advice and techniques for you and those you care for.

With such a diverse range of subjects, you may register for only the topics which are most useful and compelling to you and your family.

In Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy asserted, “All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” No family’s trials are the same, and yet they can all be reconciled through Christ. His hands are outstretched, offering hope and healing. The best thing we can do to build lasting, beautiful relationships with those who mean the most is to learn and grow together.

Registration is available in multiple convenient ways: over the phone (877-221-6716 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays), by mail (Families at Risk Registration 229 HCEB 770 E University Pkwy Provo UT 84602), in person at 116 HCEB 770 E University Pkwy, or online at familiesatrisk.ce.byu.edu, where a full schedule and additional details are also posted.

Growing together: The importance of consistent sexual communication in families

Patting yourself on the back for gritting through “the talk” with your kid? Not so fast: new research from BYU family life professor Laura Padilla-Walker suggests that when it comes to your teens, one vague and generic conversation about sex is not enough.

In her study, just released in top-ranked Journal of Adolescent Health, Padilla-Walker found that ongoing communication about sex between parents and their adolescent children benefits the parent-child relationship and leads to safer sexual activity at age 21.

“Our current culture is highly sexualized, so children are learning about sexuality in a fragmented way from an early age,” said Padilla-Walker, who has been publishing in top family science journals for nearly two decades. “Research suggests that parents can be an effective means of teaching their children about sexuality in a developmentally appropriate manner, but that does not occur if parents only have a single, uncomfortable, often one-sided talk.”

Padilla-Walker evaluated parent-child communication among 468 14- to 18-year-olds and their mothers, plus 311 of their fathers. She contacted participating families every summer for 10 years and evaluated their level of sexual communication.

Each summer, participants responded to a four-item measure assessing parent-child communication about sexuality and avoiding sexual risk.

The study found that both teens and their parents reported relatively low levels of sexual communication, though teens reported even lower levels than their parents did. Those levels, for the most part, stayed constant.

“Whether or not parents think they are talking about sexuality often, children are generally reporting low levels of communication,” said Padilla-Walker. “So parents need to increase sex communication even if they feel they are doing an adequate job.”

An increase in sexual communication between parents and children, she found, can help adolescents feel safe going to their parents with questions and concerns. She also found that ongoing sexual communication resulted in safer sexual activity at 21, a finding that should increase the urgency parents feel to have conversations with their children.

Even if parents don’t anticipate that their children will be sexually active before marriage, said Padilla-Walker, “all children are developing sexually and need continuous and high-quality communication with parents about the feelings they are experiencing.”

Moving forward, Padilla-Walker hopes to explore the quality of conversations parents have with their kids about sex, specifically whether parents are being open and approachable or are using fear tactics and negativity.

“I would like to see an upward trajectory of parent-child communication as children age,” she said. “Parents should talk frequently with their children about many aspects of sexuality in a way that helps the child to feel comfortable and heard, but never shamed.”

– Jayne Edwards, University Communications

Alumni Achievement lecturer John H. Zenger: Leading a field, leaving a legacy

“There are some people who are thinkers and others who are doers. You strike me as an enlightened doer.”

This simple comment from John. H. Zenger’s undergraduate psychology professor shaped his career and many other aspects of his life.

Zenger is the definition of an “enlightened doer.” Taking psychology research and using it to change the way we see leadership and train leaders, Zenger has changed the business world as he has built and strengthened organizations and helped thousands of individuals across the world.

As the 2018 Alumni Achievement Lecturer for the BYU College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, we celebrate the intellectual curiosity of a man who has changed the way we see leadership and use it in the world around us. Zenger’s lecture will be on Thursday, October 11 at 11 a.m. in 250 KMBL.

Developing into a leader

Zenger grew up working alongside his father, a self-made man and an administrator at Utah Valley Hospital. Watching his father direct and lead a full staff of MDs when he himself had never had the opportunity to attend college made Zenger contemplate what leadership truly means.

“I watched the ability of a leader to impact an organization and what they could do and the amazing leverage they had. As a very young boy, I became interested in the phenomenon of why people go into leadership and what made them good leaders.”

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Recalling the sweet moments from bitter times: peanut butter cups and 9/11

What is the connection between peanut butter cups and 9/11?

As we reflect on the tragic events that occurred on this day 17 years ago, we remember the influential stories of heroism and selflessness that sweetened the heartbreaking experiences undergone by individuals, families, communities, and nations.

At the 2018 Fulton Conference, BYU Sociology professor Mikaela Dufur shared a touching story of one such hero who gave his life at the Twin Towers as he held a door open so that his coworkers could make it to safety. His family anxiously waited to hear news of him, promising him his favorite candies–peanut butter cups.

Click here for the full article.

Professor Dufur’s story is just one of many inspirational and compelling articles shared in the 2018 edition of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences’ Connections magazine.

For an interactive copy of the 2018 Connection magazine, click here.

Constitution Day 2018: “The Constitution in the Age of Trump”

President Donald Trump is known for several things:

  1. His infamous tweets
  2. His hair, and
  3. His sometimes controversial policies and presidential actions.

At the 2018 Constitution Day panel event “Hanging by a Thread?: The Constitution in the Age of Trump,” scholars will discuss debates brought up by both sides of the political aisle concerning the health of the U.S. Constitution during the Trump Administration.

Faculty members including Justin Collings and Carolina Nunez from the BYU College of law, Neil York from the BYU Department of History, and Adam Dynes from the BYU Department of Political Science will delve into the Constitution in regard to current political forces and the value of the Constitution in current times.

The event will take place September 17, 2018 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the Harold B. Library Auditorium. The event is free and open to students and faculty from all disciplines and the public.

Panel participants expect the discussion to be not only lively, but illuminating as scholars discuss the document that defines the many rights and liberties American citizens all too often take for granted.

 

Candidates and campaigns to visit BYU campus for Political Involvement Fair

It’s the beginning of the school year, and BYU will be bustling with more than just the new student class of 2018.

On Monday, September 10, the Political Involvement Fair will welcome more than six U.S. Senate and House of Representatives campaigns—including campaigns for Senate candidates Jenny Wilson and Mitt Romney—to BYU campus to interact with students and faculty. Individuals will not only get an up-close look at some of their potential national leaders, but they will also learn about political campaigns and how they can volunteer in the political movement.

The Political Involvement fair will be held from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Garden Court and is sponsored by the BYU Public Affairs Society and the BYU Office of Civic Engagement. The Office of Civic Engagement is a campus organization that provides students and faculty with the skills and meaningful opportunities to become engaged in their communities.

Connect with political campaigns and learn about local civic engagement opportunities and BYU Washington Seminar happenings and internships at the 2018 Political Involvement Fair. The event is free and open to students and faculty from all disciplines, and refreshments will be provided.

 

A message from Dean Ogles: Finding our semester swing—together

Getting in the swing of a new semester can be hard.

There’s the inevitable homework assignment that catches you off guard, friends have graduated and moved on, and the changing-of-building acronyms leave you searching for 10 minutes, trying to find the KMBL and wondering what happened to the SWKT.

But you’re not alone in your quest to successfully make it through the semester and your college career.

In a recent address given by College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences Dean Benjamin Ogles to faculty and staff, Dean Ogles refers to the story of nine young men who overcome tremendous hardships during the Great Depression to attend the University of Washington and later go on to win the gold medal in men’s rowing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Just like each student on campus wants to be successful, each boy in the boat wanted to find success in their own endeavors. Only by working together, however, were each of the individual young men able to overcome trials and succeed.

Rowers, such as those in the 1936 Olympic boat, only succeed when they come together in a unique harmony and rhythm, when they come together in a perfectly synchronized “swing.”

Sometimes to feel like we’re in the “swing” with a situation or with those around us, we think that we should all be the same (or at least very very similar).We wear similar clothing, we say similar phrases, we try to look like others and we try to act like others.

But in rowing, coaches and rowers suggest that it is better for oarsmen to have differences. They are different in their physique, in their personality, and in their backgrounds.

Quoting the story itself, “In physical terms, for instance, one rower’s arms might be longer than another’s but the latter might have a stronger back than the former. Neither is necessarily a better or more valuable oarsman than the other; both the long arms and the strong back are assets to the boat. But if they are to row well together, each of these oarsmen must adjust to the needs and capabilities of the other. Each must be prepared to compromise something in the way of optimizing his stroke for the overall benefit of the boat.”

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As George Pockock, the builder of the boat that won Olympic gold, shared as inspiration to one of the oarsmen, “A man couldn’t harmonize with his crewmates unless he opened his heart to them. He had to care about his crew.”

When we open our hearts to those around us and when we care about our BYU “crew” is when we will—together—get in the swing of the semester and succeed.

This story of young Olympians applies to us: our college (and university) benefits from our different strengths. We need faculty, staff, and students with various characteristics, backgrounds, and personalities.  As each individual willingly adjusts to, compromises and harmonizes with, and opens us their hearts to their peers, our efforts will be strengthened and benefit the whole campus and college community.

When we are unified in our goals and actions, that feeling of joy and unity is never forgotten.