Best and worst from this week’s headlines

Irene Ly, a senior majoring in psychology, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

New virtual reality technology can now take you inside your surgery, but the University’s summer study abroad programs likely won’t take you where you want to go.

Here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs up:

Virtual reality is for more than just video games or making you feel like you’re in another world. The technology is now being utilized at GW Hospital, making it the first hospital in the mid-Atlantic region to use it.

Precision Virtual Reality Technology allows doctors and their patients to see inside the body in 3D and in color – a step up from the 2D images that doctors traditionally use for MR and CT scans. Now, with technology that allows doctors to test and display surgical procedures on a touch screen, patients won’t have to worry about not understanding the medical jargon their doctors use. They’ll be able to see for themselves how their operation will be performed. This will benefit the next generation of medical professionals as well, allowing them to clearly observe how a surgery is done before they perform it themselves.

In addition, this technology will help doctors improve the end result of complicated operations. For example, virtual reality imaging can allow doctors to maneuver around vein-like structures when removing a tumor.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. Just across the street, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences is getting $3.9 million in the next fiscal year to improve its labs, classrooms and facilities. These updates will certainly enable students and faculty to continue their education and research work. Maybe soon, we will see even more innovative technology being used in the operating room.

Thumbs down:

If you were planning to study abroad this summer, chances are a wrench was thrown in your agenda.

Eight out of the 14 planned summer study abroad programs were scrapped last month, mostly due to pricey tuition that deterred students from signing up. This is at least double the number of cancellations than a typical summer, according to the University’s top study abroad official.

This is despite the number of short-term study abroad programs rising in the last few years to provide students, who cannot go abroad for a full semester, an opportunity to travel for one to two weeks in the summer.

The low enrollment numbers aren’t surprising though: a two-week-long cultural program in Moscow that was cancelled costed nearly $6,900, making these programs financially implausible for most students.

The program cancellations are unfortunate for those students with an interest in traveling and immersing themselves in a different culture without a lot of time on their hands. With many students too busy during the semester to leave GW, these short-term abroad programs were the perfect opportunity for students to venture out of the U.S. in an educational setting.

Not only are students losing out on opportunities to participate in the programs they want, but scrapped classes means that the efforts of the professors who take the time to plan them have gone to waste.

If students want the chance to study abroad for the summer, then it’s time to look elsewhere, and that’s a shame.

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