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Master’s Project 2011

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Double Dutch: From the Streets to the Big Stage

By Linda Abi Assi

Double Dutch is widely known as a street game that originated on the streets of New York City. It’s a style of jump rope in which players leap between two twirling ropes But in the past forty years, it’s moved out of the streets and schoolyards, and into entirely different settings. That’s mainly thanks to the introduction of music and tricks to the routines. Double Dutch is now a varsity sport in New York City schools and is played on stages all over the world. Some of its main players even dream of seeing it played on the biggest stage of all: the Olympics. One thing Double Dutch has going for it is a strong presence on all five continents, and a popularity that has long gone beyond American borders.

PART ONE
Double Dutch is pretty easy to visualize. It’s a style of jump rope born in New York City in which players leap between two twirling ropes. Most would imagine little girls in pigtails and dressed in school uniforms, jumping the ropes on the side of a dirty street. But Double Dutch has become more than that in recent years. Since the early 1970s, it has rapidly evolved from girl-only street game to full-fledged sport. In part one of this three-part series, Linda Abi Assi looks at the history of Double Dutch, and how it made its way out of the streets.

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PART TWO
Double Dutch is widely known as a street game that originated on the streets of New York City, and that is very popular with young girls. But in the past forty years, it’s moved out of the streets and schoolyards, and into entirely different settings. It’s now also played in gyms and rec centers, in preparation for regional, national or international competitions. Over the years, the entertaining aspect of the sport has appealed to a larger audience. That’s mainly thanks to the introduction of music and tricks to the routines. In part two of this three-part series, Linda Abi Assi takes a look at the way Double Dutch competitions are structured.

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PART THREE
Who would have thought that Double Dutch would one day become a varsity sport? Well, in 2009, New York City schools added it to their program… New York City became the only school district in the United States to adopt Double Dutch as a sanctioned sport. Double Dutch was once a street game. Now it’s played on stages all over the world. And some of its main players dream of seeing it played on the biggest stage of all: the Olympics. In the third and final part of this series, Linda Abi Assi looks at Double Dutch’s boom on the international stage, and its chances of one day becoming an Olympic event.

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The Greening of Roofs

You might think of solar panels and urban gardens as the pet projects of environmentalists. But now, entrepreneurs are embracing green rooftop infrastructure for a new reason: money. They’re using the real estate over their heads to farm vegetables, generate renewable energy — and turn a profit. In a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden takes us to buildings where green projects are thriving financially — and to some that still face major economic hurdles.

PART ONE
Gardens have been a staple in New York for many years. People have grown flowers on rooftops and have turned empty lots into community vegetable patches. Now, entrepreneurs are taking urban gardening a step further. They’re starting commercial farms on top of buildings. In the first of a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden takes us to a farm in the heart of Queens that has proven the success of the model.

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PART TWO
You might not think of New Jersey as a leader in environmentalism. Even though it’s called the Garden State, it usually brings to mind oil refineries, shopping malls and suburban sprawl. But in fact, New Jersey has become the number two state in the country for solar power — second only to California. Large commercial buildings all over the state are putting up solar panels on their roofs. In the second of a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden reports that solar energy is growing fast in New Jersey … and it’s for a simple reason: Solar panels mean profit.

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PART THREE
New Jersey has become a national leader in solar power — second only to California. That’s because it has an incentive system that enables people to profit from putting up solar panels. But next door in New York, it’s a different story. In the last of a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden reports that for most New Yorkers who might want to go solar, the costs outweigh the benefits.

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Globalizing Hindi: One Indian American at a Time

By Aliza Moorji

PART ONE
In an era of globalization, knowing foreign languages is crucial especially for a country as diverse as the United States. Spanish, French, Italian, German and Chinese, are all common options for many U.S. high school students. But, as Aliza Moorji examines in part one of this three part series, there’s a surprising omission of one language that’s causing a stir within one community.

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PART TWO
Hispanics are the largest immigrant population in the United States, and Spanish is the most popular foreign language in American high schools. The Chinese are the second largest and their language is becoming increasingly available in schools. Finally, Indians take the third spot on this list. But Hindi is scarce among the world languages taught to students. And that’s why some recent Indian immigrant high schoolers are not allowing their native language to take a backseat. In part two of this three part series, Aliza Moorji reports from a high school in Queens.

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PART THREE
You’ve heard of Spanglish—the combination of speaking in English and Spanish. But there’s a new cultural language fusion emerging and that’s Hinglish. English mixed with Hindi. It was mainly created by Bollywood—the Indian film industry—to appeal to the young Indian American audience. In this final part of this three part series, Aliza Moorji explores the concept of Hinglish through Hindi cinema and its relationship with the younger audience.

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What’s the Skinny on Weight Loss?

By Chienye Ogwo

PART ONE: Who’s Losing It – and Why?
Which of us hasn’t been in a conversation that just somehow turned to the subject of weight – that new diet that we’re on, the hours we spent at the gym, that new outfit that we’re still trying to fit into? How many haven’t felt that life would be just right if we could only just lose a couple of pounds? Why do we care what the bathroom scales say? Just how far would we go to get to that perfect pant size? In this first part of a three part series, Chienye Ogwo looks at why body mass is such a weighty issue and just how far we’re willing to go to lose it.

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PART TWO: The Business of Weight Loss
The economic recession that began in 2008 had a devastating effect on many industries. One industry that managed to hold its ground was the business of weight loss, which pulled off a 2 per cent growth in 2009 and already appears to be on the road to recovery. In this second part of a three part series, Chienye Ogwo explores whether, with the money and effort they are spending on weight-loss, Americans are really getting any thinner.

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PART THREE: Regulating Weight
The 60 billion dollar a year weight loss industry in the U.S. is watched over by federal regulators who work to keep unsafe pills off the market and bogus advertising claims out of the media. But there are those who say that government regulation of the weight issue is very restricted, and that there are other elements that the government should be looking at. In this concluding part of a three part series, Chienye Ogwo looks at why some advocates think that regulating the weight issue hasn’t even started.

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