Students shouldn't have to be asked to volunteer

Regarding "Volunteer College Students" (June 13, Editorial): It's a sad commentary on American college students – once the most active subset of the American population – that their involvement in the community must be required by a Call to Service Act. From this college student's perspective, this act is a needed reminder and push toward heightened awareness and participation in the community and the nation.

You mention that the federal government encourages students to work off loans through community service, yet I had never heard of this alternative at my school. Instead, I hear the moans of financial-aid students spending four to 10 hours a week washing dishes or reshelving books while our community service organization touts "one-hour" or "one-time" projects – many of which working students are too busy to participate in – even if they want to.

Though Sept. 11 widened students' scope, this global awareness has not translated into an increase in student involvement at the local level. It seems the new federal push for student volunteering would not only help students pay for college and improve the community, but reinvigorate the ranks of socially conscious youth, which are so important to forging a socially conscious America.

Jessica Potts Princeton, N.J.

Global warming connections

In a recent Readers Write column (June 10) I read some excellent discussion of climate change and global warming. I also read "Drought, wind spark early fire season in Colorado" (June 12) which addressed the forest fire raging in Colorado – the largest fire in that state's history. Your reporting states that so far this summer, the 1.3 million acres burned in the nation are almost double the average for this time of year. But nowhere do I see a discussion of the link between global warming and these wildfires. This connection should be looked at and discussed.
Marjorie Young
Wilmington, Ohio

Variety of those on marriage quest

Regarding "East meets West on love's risky cyberhighway" (June 11): Thank you for this article on Russian brides. It was more accurate than most on this topic, yet a portion of the story was missing. As an American man engaged to a Russian woman, I'd like to offer my perspective.

Not all American men are looking for a Russian "homemaker" – the reasoning given by the male in your story. And not all Russian women are driven by the economic need described by the woman in your story. Certainly there are individuals with these motivations, but the range of reasons is much larger than this stereotype. This lack in perspectives offers an unequal view of the men and the women involved in these programs.

As far as the "scams" experienced by some participating in these programs – love is always a financial and emotional risk – no matter where the people are from. It comes with risks and there is no "safe" path to it.
Dan Moreman

Parenting pays off

Regarding "Lessons from a frugal father" (June 14, Opinion): Nadine Epstein could have been writing about my own father. Although his list of "frugal" habits would include wearing clothes until threadbare, compulsively turning off lights around the house, and being an inveterate pack rat – not only saving a decade's worth of electric bills, but the little glossy newsletters as well! But I wouldn't have traded him for the world. Just like Ms. Epstein, I chafed under my father's frugality as a child, but now I'm doing my best to pass his values along to my children in a day when such values seem to be fading.

Gary Sullivan Washington

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