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May 11, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 17

Biologist Kenneth Miller speaks with Boston College Biology Department chairman DeLuca Professor Marc Muskavitch (right) and Asst. Prof. Anne Stellwagen prior to Millerís talk, "God, Darwin and Design" on May 2 in Robsham Theater.

Around Campus

Making a Cleansweep of it

It may not be the first end-of-the-year tradition that immediately comes to everybody's mind, but since 1992 the Boston College Alumni Association Cleansweep program has made it easy for BC resident students to get rid of stuff they don't need: by giving it to people who do.

Cleansweep volunteers go through Lower Campus residence halls during the period when students are packing up to leave, and collect items that are no longer needed or for which there is no room in the car or van. Cleansweep will take food (like those cans of soup you never got around to eating), clothing, laundry detergent, office supplies, towels, linens, sports equipment, plants, stuffed animals and many other things, and donate these to area churches and social service agencies.

The program has benefited more than 200 organizations including the Allston Brighton Food Pantry, Catholic Charities, Crossroads Family Shelter, Jimmy's Shoe Repair and the New England Home for Little Wanderers.

Cleansweep collections will take place on May 15, 21 and 22. Unfortunately, the program doesn't have enough volunteers to go through Upper Campus, Newton Campus or off-campus residences, but donations will be accepted at the first floor lounge of Edmond's Hall.

For more information, see www.bc.edu/cleansweep.

Extreme makeover

Massachusetts can lay claim to the nation's oldest public retirement system, but the distinction has become rather a dubious one: The system has been criticized as being outmoded, inefficient and unfair. Now, Drucker Professor of Management Sciences Alicia Munnell will spearhead an effort to improve it.

Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at BC, was recently appointed by the Massachusetts Legislature Joint Committee on Public Service to head a blue ribbon committee that will analyze and recommend changes to the retirement system.

"Massachusetts' system is a unique and complicated one that has evolved over many decades," said Munnell earlier this week. "Most other states are covered by Social Security, so their systems are not as large and complicated."

The prospect of trying to overhaul a decades-old structure might seem daunting, but Munnell expressed confidence that the panel would be successful.

"Reforming the Massachusetts pension classification system will benefit state workers and taxpayers by establishing clear guidelines for different types of jobs and presenting everyone with a level playing field. "Our job is to lay out the proposals. The politicians have the job of getting the proposals adopted."

-SS

Smilin' Maile

Emmy Award winner Maile Flanagan '87 is one of several My Mother's Fleabag alumni who have found success in show business. (Photo by Edward Carreon)

The 21st century has been very good to alumni of the BC student comedy troupe My Mother's Fleabag: Amy Poehler '93, who enjoyed a happy return to campus last month [see separate story on p. 7], has found a home on "Saturday Night Live"; Tom McCarthy '88 has been successful as a writer and director ("The Station Agent") and actor ("Good Night and Good Luck"); and Nancy Walls '88 works regularly in film and TV, including "The Office," which stars her husband, Steve Carell.

But Maile Flanagan '87 might be having the best time of all right now. She just earned a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance in the PBS animated children's show, "Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks." Flanagan voices the character of Piggley Winks, a spunky young pig who lives in 1950s rural Ireland.

Chronicle recently caught up with Flanagan, who agreed to do the interview as long as she could visualize herself "on the set of a lavish TV talk show with huge glass of expensive champagne."

Chronicle: Were you surprised to win the Emmy?

Flanagan: I was very surprised. Two of my competitors for the award happen to be my co-stars on "Jakers!" - Russi Taylor, who has an enormous resume and is the current voice of Minnie Mouse, and Tara Strong, who is on about 15 shows, at least. There's no way I thought I'd win.

Chronicle: How much of you do you think is in Piggley?

Flanagan: I think there's a lot of me in Piggley, especially being adventurous and having a good sense of humor and a lot of friends. It's a very different main character for cartoons, because he's not perfect.

Chronicle: Do you have a favorite "Piggley moment"?

Flanagan: You mean, aside from winning the Emmy? No. Just kidding! We've done 52 episodes over the past four years or so and recording every one of them is a blast, and that's the truth.

Chronicle: How did being involved in Fleabag help your career?

Flanagan: The main thing about doing improv is that it allowed me to portray different characters in different voices. And it prepared me for about 15 years of eating Top Ramen.

Chronicle: Are you in touch with other former members of My Mother's Fleabag?

Flanagan: In LA, I hang around with Fleabaggers constantly, and they're still my best friends: Nancy Walls Carell, Andrea Beutner Hutchman, Wayne Wilderson and, when he's here working, Tom McCarthy. I also hang around with and collaborate with two other BC guys in the business: Kevin Kappock and Andrew Turner. We've all done plays, TV shows and other things together.

Chronicle: Is there a kind of unspoken competitiveness among former Fleabaggers? Will one of your old pals now feel compelled to top your Emmy?

Flanagan: I really hope Wayne wins a Nobel Prize, but at this point, I don't think it will happen, because he spends too much time sitting on his couch. And I have to point out that Tom McCarthy won a BAFTA award, Independent Spirit Awards, Sundance awards and many more for his movie "The Station Agent" that I was in [she played a waitress]. Now he has to give me a bigger part in his next movie, and I plan on being a total diva.

Chronicle: Is your Emmy on display in your living room, or is that considered gauche?

Flanagan: Right now it's on a coffee table near my Red Sox shrine in my TV room. That's probably gauche, but I've never won one before.

-SS

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